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Is my power supply getting old?

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June 4, 2012 10:00:55 AM

Hi, everyone. I'd like to ask the community at large a few questions regarding some hardware issues I've been having that I think might be related to my power supply, but I want to make sure before I invest in a new one.

OK, so the problems have been happening very infrequently for about a year or so now: I'd randomly get a blue screen (Windows 7 64-bit) with a stop code 0x0000007E or 0x0000001E. I'd restart and everything would be fine after that. When it got a bit more frequent around mid 2011, I wrote it off as driver issues, reformatted my PC and then it ran fine, until last week.

So these blue screens with the same stop codes as above, including new ones like BAD_POOL_HEADER and, more frequently, IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL kept coming up, even on start-up, before I could log into Windows. Along with that, I had noticed the week before the crashing started that my external sound card was cutting out for about a second and then slowly faded back in. This would happen about once every 2 minutes or so. Sometimes it would even cut out for about 10 seconds at a time, then come back with a slight static sound that builds to a deafening WHOOSH to finally fade back into the original sound output. Given some of the stop codes above, I did some googling and some of them pointed to memory errors. Before the format, I ran MemTest to see if there were any RAM issues, but they all checked out.

I was kinda stumped on the sound card's behavior, but I still thought a format would help. And for a while, it did. Even though the start-up cycles were kind of laborious and strange (Turn PC on, POST doesn't kick in. Turn PC off, post works, loads Windows, b ut graphics acceleration is disabled. Restart PC, works fine now. I think this should have been my first indication of an aging PSU.). But one day after the format, while I was playing games, the sound kept cutting out, and I got a blue screen again. Stop code 0x0000007E and the file dxgmms1.sys was given. So, I figured it must again be related to the graphics card, but it's about a year and a bit old, so it's way too young to start causing problems now already. I keep telling myself it would either have worked fine for a few years, or it would have stop working earlier because of a defect. Then I started thinking that it might be my power supply.

I summed it up as:
- The PC was been working fine for well over 5 years now, so under-powering was not a problem.
- The bad start-up procedure can be because of a bad power supply.
- The sound card's constant cutting out can be because of an under-powered card.
- the GPU-related blue screens can be because of an under-powered card.

Is my reasoning flawed, or is there something I missed?

My PC's pretty old (constructed June 2007), and I use it mostly for gaming. The power supply itself has been around for the whole time.
Specs:
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700, not overclocked.
- RAM: 4GB DDR 2 800MHz
- HDD: 3.5 TB distributed over 2 standard 7200RPM SATA drives and 1 'green' drive (WD Caviar Green 2TB)
- MOtherbaord: Asus P5N32-e SLI
- Graphics card:
XFX Nvidia GeForece 8800 Ultra, up until +- Feb 2011.
Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 570 (it was on special). Just over a year in use.
- PSU: Cooler Master iGreen Power 600W
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate

I would really appreciate any help on the subject. I don't want to fork out for a new PSU until I'm sure that it's at the root of the problem.

More about : power supply

a c 139 ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 10:19:58 AM

Have you run the system without the external sound card?
Still having the same problem when it's not connected?
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June 4, 2012 10:22:35 AM

WR2 said:
Have you run the system without the external sound card?
Still having the same problem when it's not connected?


I'll try that tonight.

Oh, and I forgot to post, the sound card is Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 SE.
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June 4, 2012 11:29:35 AM

Hi Scratch17,

First of all I would like to tell you that Cooler Master iGreen 600w is an excellent power supply.
The Nvidia GTX 570 requires only 550w PSU to run without problems. So, your PSU is not the main
cause for the crashes you face. From my knowledge and the types of errors you're facing, it seems that your Motherboard is dying.
I also experienced this similiar kind of problem with my old PC and after a lot of research,
I came to know that my Motherboard was faulty.
However you can follow these steps and see if they solve your problem or not---
1. Run the system without the external sound card.
2. Update your GTX 570 to latest drivers. (Sometimes outdated drivers cause issues)
3. Run your system without the graphic card and observe carefully if its operating without crashes. (This will ensure that the power supply is faulty or not)

Regards,
SmartGeek
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a c 158 ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 11:40:35 AM

It definitely sounds like driver issues / hardware conflicts associated with the sound card. WR2 is spot on - let us know if removing the sound card helps. Make sure you uninstall/remove the drivers when you uninstall the sound card.

Did you have the most recent GPU and sound card drivers installed? All Windows updates installed?
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a c 243 ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 12:26:13 PM

scratch17 said:
Is my power supply getting old?

5 year old Coolermaster, yeah, it's definitely getting old
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June 4, 2012 12:51:32 PM

@SmartGeek: I'll see what I can do, however, my motherboard has no on-board video output port, much to my frustration and surprise. I'll try and unplug the sound card and see if that works. And if the issue is indeed my motherboard, I might as well buy a new machine, since it's gonna cost me more to salvage the machine than it will to build a new one. I can just transplant the GPU, and that will already save me a lot of cash.

@Rugger: I'll check if Windows is fully updated (I turned it off for the sake of saving bandwidth after the big format), but like I said, I formatted recently, so unless there's some catastrophic flaw with the new drivers for the GTX 570, I don't see how the sound drivers can be the issue. Creative haven't updated the drivers for that model since 2009. I'll plug that card out anyway and see if that works.
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June 5, 2012 8:01:57 AM

OK, so here's what I did so far:
- I uninstalled the drivers for my external sound card.
- I removed the sound card itself.
- I removed a wireless card that I barely use from the PCI slot.

After installing the drivers to my on-board sound card, everything was working fine. The sound glitch was gone, and I played a game on it that wasn't very intense on my system. I had the idea to give it a quick stress-test the next day.

But then this morning, as I was just browsing the web with Chrome, my PC blue-screened again, citing MEMORY_MANAGEMENT as the cause. I'm starting to think you might be right, SmartGeek. Maybe my motherboard is finally caving after so many years of loyal service.

Any other thoughts / possible causes before I commit?
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June 5, 2012 11:13:17 AM

scratch17 said:
OK, so here's what I did so far:
- I uninstalled the drivers for my external sound card.
- I removed the sound card itself.
- I removed a wireless card that I barely use from the PCI slot.

After installing the drivers to my on-board sound card, everything was working fine. The sound glitch was gone, and I played a game on it that wasn't very intense on my system. I had the idea to give it a quick stress-test the next day.

But then this morning, as I was just browsing the web with Chrome, my PC blue-screened again, citing MEMORY_MANAGEMENT as the cause. I'm starting to think you might be right, SmartGeek. Maybe my motherboard is finally caving after so many years of loyal service.

Any other thoughts / possible causes before I commit?


These errors which you're getting indicate that your motherboard is faulty. "Memory Management, Bad Pool," etc. usually have a root cause of a dying motherboard. I think you should get a new motherboard because if you'll continue to run your system like this, there is a risk that your dying motherboard might damage the other components of your PC in the process i.e., RAM, Graphics Card, etc.

One last thing that you could do before you take any decisions is to update the BIOS of your motherboard or if its already up to date, then you need to re-flash it. This might solve your problem because sometimes corrupted BIOS results in Blue Screen errors.

Regards,
SmartGeek
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June 5, 2012 1:28:59 PM

SmartGeek said:
These errors which you're getting indicate that your motherboard is faulty. "Memory Management, Bad Pool," etc. usually have a root cause of a dying motherboard. I think you should get a new motherboard because if you'll continue to run your system like this, there is a risk that your dying motherboard might damage the other components of your PC in the process i.e., RAM, Graphics Card, etc.

One last thing that you could do before you take any decisions is to update the BIOS of your motherboard or if its already up to date, then you need to re-flash it. This might solve your problem because sometimes corrupted BIOS results in Blue Screen errors.

Regards,
SmartGeek


I actually hadn't thought of flashing the BIOS. I'll try that tonight and get back to you. Thanks for the tip.
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June 5, 2012 6:55:41 PM

OK, so the flash went fine, but now I got SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION as the source of the problem. So, to sum up, the different blue-screens I've gotten are:

- BAD_POOL_HEADER
- SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
- MEMORY_MANAGEMENT
- IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
- Stop code 0x0000007E
- Stop code 0x0000001E
- dxgmms1.sys

Since it seems like all the hardware is failing simultaneously, I have to think that SmartGeek is right. Guess I need to start saving up. Thanks for the help, everyone.
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