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New computer has problems turning on

Last response: in Components
July 5, 2002 1:26:39 PM

Hey I just just put together a new computer for a buddy of mine and it has problems staying on. What happens is when someone presses the on switch the power supply seems to turn on for a fraction of a second (really short) and then turns off. Eventually after trying to turn it on multiple times, it would turn on and stay on.

I was thinking that it could either be the wall outlet, the power supply, or the motherboard. I'm going to have him plug it into a different wall outlet and I'm going to bring a power supply tester over to check it out. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Here are his specs:
Case: Antec SX830 with 300W Antec Power Supply
VC : Gainward Cardexpert Geforce4 TI4200 64MB
PROC: Athlon XP 1800+
MEM : 512 MB PC2100 CL2.5 Mushkin DIMM
HDD : IBM 120GXP 60 GB
DVD : Toshiba SD-M1612 16X
BURN: Teac CD-W540E 40x12x48
NET : NetGear FA311

July 5, 2002 4:53:59 PM

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Yes, sir ... I do.

First suggestion ... a surge protector with power conditioning, from a company like <A HREF="" target="_new">APC</A>. Plugging a system directly into a wall outlet is <i>never</i> a smart move. That's just asking for trouble.

Second suggestion ... a larger, more powerful PSU. The power supply may be inadequate for the system, which in turn may be causing some problems with the computer due to the large amount of power needed when the system is first initialized. Antec 300W power supplies, although widely distributed, are not what I would consider in my work experience to be a heavy-duty model, or adequate for all higher power systems. I certainly would hesitate using a PSU of this brand and size with a GeForce4 card, and several other internal components. I'd also recommend a PSU with dual-fans, for extra cooling, such as a 431W <A HREF="" target="_new">Enermax Whisper</A>, or a PSU even more powerful than that, to include the possibility of future expansion.

The days of a 250W or 300W PSU being all that is necessary to run a modern system are already behind us, and a good PSU, to run at an optimal level, should operate at no more than 70% of the maximum efficiency to do the job well, without causing problems, now, or in the future.

Some people are under the impression that a smaller PSU is more than sufficient, and will gladly offer an opinion which lists the many components that their 250W model can run, claiming to have no issues; but without any real regard for the electrical specifications of the unit, or the fact that the PSU has little overhead or redundancy due to this type of setup, and/or that it may be running very hot, often without their knowledge. But these same people often experience unusual problems with their systems over a period of months, interestingly enough, and think that this is entirely due to the operating system. While in some instances, the operating system <i>is</i> to blame, an inadequate PSU can cause problems ranging from hard lockups while running games, inexplicable data loss, and over time, damage to the hardware, similar to the kinds of damage that can occur from static electricity discharged from the body into a component, or a sudden power surge.

In these situations, less is NOT more, and there is no real justification for having a budget so low that a good PSU isn't used ... it is the central power plant for the computer, and should be respected as such, IMHO. I regularly install 550W power supplies for any gaming system that I build, simply to avoid these kind of issues.

My two cents.


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