Unexpected shutdown during high usage

Hello all,
My system, which is otherwise stable, has started turning off after a period of high system demand.

It shuts down instantly, powering down both the machine and the monitor and not attempting to restart itself.

Running XP Pro, Asus P5n-E SLI, 2.4 g proc, 2 gbs ram, Nvidia GTS250,

It only occurs after 10-20 minutes of high-usage (like when playing a game or watching an hd video). In periods of low usage, the computer is infinitely stable.

This is an easily duplicated problem that's only been occurring over the last month. The only change I've made to the machine was a video card that I'd gotten six months ago. PSU was handling it fine at the time. Also, not sure if video card power draw fluctuates based on demand, or if it draws as much as it will theoretically need at any time.

My event log lists this as a user initiated shut down. Did a virus scan, didn't see anything.

Thinking that RAM sticks might be going bad... and that the computer might be initating a shutdown because the sticks are shorting something... maybe? Any thoughts?

PS: What I've done so far:
Updated video drivers, ran memcheck86 (pass), cleared all non-essential startup programs, ran virus scan (pass).
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    1st, Monitor ur CPU temperature. It might overheat and the shut down mechanism kicks in to prevent ur CPU from frying. Maybe ur CPU heat sink might be full of dust or the fan doesn't work properly.

    2nd, It is possible that ur PSU capacitors are aging and can't perform well.

    It would be better if you can post your full system spec but i doubt it's either one of the above or both.
  2. Temp should be good. I've been watching that pretty closely.

    About the PSU- I'm a little confused on why it would stop working during high-video demand but not any other time. Isn't the power draw the same either way?

    Might try cleaning it out. Does seem a bit nasty in there.

    Here's the system specs I can think of. Is there something else I should add?:
    Processor: Intel(r) Core 2cpu 6600 @ 2.4ghx(2 cpus)
    2046MB Ram (kingston)
    dx 9c
    Nvidia geforce GTS 250
    ASUS P5N-E SLI motherboard
  3. Clean the dust out that may be whats causing it if it is overheating because it could be blocking proper airflow. Get yourself one of those aerosol spray cans you can get them from frys for like 5-6 bucks.
  4. claiminglight said:

    About the PSU- I'm a little confused on why it would stop working during high-video demand but not any other time. Isn't the power draw the same either way?

    GTS 250 have 2 different power draws. On the idle, it draw about 150W and on full load, it draw about 250W.

    What are the details of ur PSU ?

    If ur CPU temp is ok, then, i suspect it's ur PSU.
  5. PSU puts out 850. I did end up getting the dust canister, which I think fixed it. There was a bunch of junk in the heat sink that insulated the heat. Weird that it didn't show up on my temp gauge on the tower. Might not have gotten to the sensor?

    Anyway, I think it's all good. Silly problem- but I thank you for the help!
  6. Best answer selected by claiminglight.
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