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My bipolar computer finally bit the dust (Random shutdowns, now dead)

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December 14, 2011 2:53:41 PM

Alright, I was not sure whether to post this thread here or the systems category, but here I'll go nevertheless:

I built my PC with my friend last April this year, these are the specs:

PSU: Corsair cx500 builder series (500W)
GPU: Radeon HD 5850 xTreme
CPU: Athlon II x3 445
MoBo: Asus M4A77TD
Memory: Corsair 2x2GB 1333
DVD: Some LG cheapo
HDD: Samsung 500GB
Case: Antec 300

Everything was fine till July, when I think my first shut down happened. For a month or two it occurred only once in a week or so, and regardless of my worries I kept using it. I tried asking for help but nothing really helped. I wondered if it is the PSU, but Corsair told me I'd be responsible for any defects it might have, so I'm not sure about that either.

Eventually the shutdowns became more frequent, happening usually at least once a day, in the worst cases 5 times a day.


During these times, there were FIVE different kinds of symptoms:


The most common symptoms:

1. The computer shut down at any random time point, whereafter it would stay shut for 1-2 seconds and then reboot again. After the reboot, a notification complained about apparent "power surges" from my PSU.

2. The computer would shut down randomly and reboot, but without posting again.

3. The computer would shut down randomly and stay shut without rebooting.

Less common symptoms:

4. The computer would shut down randomly, stay shut for 1-2 seconds and then reboot, but without posting. Instead, the GPU fan would run extremely fast and the CPU stock cooler would not be running at all. If I restarted it manually, it would boot normally again.

5. The computer would simply stop posting during normal use, but the fans keep running inside the case. This was the rarest occurring.



Some other points:

- The computer used to shut down more often when playing more demanding games (Skyrim, Amnesia and MW3), while games like Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike Source didn't affect the crash frequency.

- Sometimes when booting the computer after it had been shut down for the night, it would take a few extra seconds for the PC to turn on after pressing the power button. A silent but a high pitched sound could be heard from the case at those moments.


The death:

Today morning I tried to power up the PC, but now all it does is:

1) The GPU fan keeps running extremely fast right after power-up
2) The CPU fan does not run at all
3) The motherboard does not post



I'm afraid I might have messed up my components by not taking action earlier... The question is, which component(s) do you think is/are affected? From the most of it, it sounds like a PSU problem, but the weird way how the CPU and GPU are acting, I'm not really sure.

Thank you.
December 14, 2011 3:00:35 PM

I'd go with PSU since it is the cheapest and easiest resolution... if issue still occurs you may want to check your motherboard... Do you have it plugged into a surge protector or a UPS... try using a different outlet... could be "brown outs" from your home electrical... Best guess power supply... but try the other things first.
December 14, 2011 3:03:11 PM

Outlets are likely not the problem, since even at my friend's place the PC used to shut down every now and then. I don't have a UPS either.

I will try to get my hands to a working PSU as soon as possible and test with it... I'm just afraid that, if the PSU was indeed faulty, my other components might have taken too much strain.
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December 14, 2011 3:29:14 PM

It can affect your other parts... no doubt. But it may not have. Only one way to find out...
December 14, 2011 11:42:05 PM

Alright, for some reason the PC started working again, although I'm keeping it shut because I don't know what might happen. Still, this is an opportunity to run some tests on my PC — What programs could I use to determine the problems?
December 15, 2011 12:14:17 AM

Memtest.. PC check... but really nothing you do will point to exactly what the problem is.... it may be working, but it will fail again... still consider a new PSU.
December 15, 2011 12:26:35 AM

Take out one stick of RAM at a time and try running on each one for a while. A stick of my Corsair DDR3 slowly went bad and I started getting errors from VGA Failure at post to CPU Failure to Initialize to HDD SMART Failure, and a couple of other ones. Probably isn't your problem, but it's certainly worth a try first... this sounds a lot like what happened to me. It started working for about three hours and then it completely burnt out and would run all system fans at 100% as soon as the power button was pressed with no output.
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