Power Supply crashing under video stress (particularly during WEI)


I'll start off by providing most of my system specs before the issue started:

Team Xtrem Dark 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz
SAPPHIRE 100314-2SR Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready
1 old DVD drive
3 7200 RPM HDDs
750W Coolmax PSU (don't have the model in front of me at the moment).

I had no issues with this setup for about a year. About a week ago I decided to get 4GB of additional RAM and a new hard drive for additional space. Unfortunately, the exact memory model I was previously running was discontinued thus I could not purchase the same memory. Thus, I instead went with the following (which has the same specifications):

AMD Performance Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AP34G1608U1K

The following detailed specifications are the same for both types of RAM:

Cas Latency

The first thing I did when I got the new parts was install the new memory. I installed the memory fine, and Windows seemed to be fine with it. Everything was running faster with no errors to report. Then, I started up a graphics-intensive program (in this case, Diablo 3), and my power supply turned off completely.

There was no blue screen, no errors, nothing in Event Viewer of note other than shutting off of power without proper shutdown. The power supply simply shuts off all power completely, with zero power going to the board. In every instance of this problem, I have to cut power to the PSU completely for several seconds then I can turn it back on. When turning back on, I could run Diablo 3 without issue.

Next, I replaced my main hard drive with the new HD I bought and reinstalled Windows 7 64-bit with a clean install. No more issues to report. Then, I tried running the brand new "Max Payne 3" and it again crashed in the same way as the first time I ran Diablo 3 since the installation of the new memory. Again, I restarted and tried again, this time Max Payne 3 ran without problems. However, the next several times I would try to run the game, sometimes it would work and sometimes it would fail (cutting power to PSU). I then took out the new RAM and tried, and it seemed to work fine. This led me to thinking the new RAM was faulty.

However, I ran Memtest86 on both sticks of the new memory and found no errors. Granted, I only ran one pass but I ran it for both individual sticks and ran it again for both individual sticks in different DIMM slots. And then I ran it again with both installed at the same time. No errors reported throughout any of this testing.

Furthermore, I have noticed that it crashes *every* time I try to refresh the WEI (Windows Experience Index). Particularly, it crashes right at the beginning when starting the video test. It crashes with all RAM (both old and new) installed. It crashes with just the new RAM installed, and it crashes with just the old RAM installed. It crashes the same way (PSU cutting power) every single time without fail.

Thus now I am thinking it is either a problem with the PSU or GPU. I have not run GPUShark yet but Speedfan reports nothing out of the ordinary in terms of temperatures. I am not currently at the computer so I cannot give specific readings but I will post more details when I can. The airflow in the machine is good and I have never had an overheating issue with this specific configuration. Still, I am not ruling out the possibility.

The GPU is less than a year old (I bought it in July of 2011) and I do not wish to buy another GPU if I can avoid it. The PSU (which is admittedly overkill at 750W.. But someone else bought it for me) is something that is cheaper to replace but still something I wish to avoid. That unit is roughly 3 years old.

I appreciate anyone who can help me out with this issue, as it is becoming fairly problematic for me. Thank you very much for your time,

4 answers Last reply
More about power supply crashing video stress particularly
  1. I think its fair to say that it is a problem with the power supply. What is likely happening is that your power supply cannot deliver enough Amps on the +12v rail. The processor, GPU, and a few other components draw from this part of the power supply, and when the processor and GPU are stressed at the same time the power supply just gives out.

    Overall wattage of the power supply is a good number to shop by but it is definitely not the only number that is important to the power supply's performance. Look at the large sticker on the side of your power supply, it will list all the different voltages (rails) it supplies along with the maximum Amps per rail. It will also list the Watts for each rail, add all of these up and you will have a number greater than 750W I promise, this just means your power supply cannot put out the max Ams on each rail simultaneously, which no power supply I am aware of can do, and when over taxed on one rail it will just shut down.

    The solution: either buy a new power supply, not necessarily of higher Wattage but ideally one with a single +12v rail with a high number of Amps on it (35 or more), the amps-per-rail are rarely listed in the product description but, if pictures of the product are provided, often a picture of that sticker I mentioned earlier will be among them; or try to distribute the power more evenly if your power supply has multiple +12v rails.
  2. http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/977

    Your PSU crashes and burns when you try to pull around 450w from it. With your setup, I wouldn't be suprised if it was pulling around 400-450w when stressed. Get a new PSU immediately as it may kill your system taking down other components with it.

    Maybe this PSU? It'll run your system.

    If you want to run CF in future.
  3. Hey all,

    Thank you very much for the replies.. You were right. I went out and bought a 600W (still more than necessary but it had a good 12v rail). So far so good. I haven't crashed yet and it's been a couple days.

    Thanks again!
  4. Did you buy a good quality 600w?
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