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PSU inadequate?

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April 20, 2003 1:57:14 PM

I have recently got a new computer. After (eventually) getting all off the drivers etc working correctly, I began to make use of the computer and play games.

The computer tends to crash to a blue screen with various stop 0X00... messages. Most of them blaming my display driver, or various other drivers.

The computer usually crashes after between 5 - 30 minuites of playing a 3d graphics based game. The crash sometimes occurs when transferring large files between HDD's and CD drives. The same type of crash was also occuring when capturing video onto my computer.

I have a Augria 300W PS with specs: 3.3V 14A, +5V 30A, +12V 10A with a specified max load of 160W on the 3.3 and 5V lines.

Is this ps a likely cause of the frequent crashes?


-Thanks
-Chris
----------------

My Specs:
Augria 300W PS
MSI GF4 4800SE 8X with VIVO
Athlon 2400+ CPU w fan
ASUS A7V333 Motherboard
Samsung 512MB DDR Ram
WD 80GB HDD
WD 120GB HDD
Sony 40/12/48 CDRW
Sony 16* DVD
3.5 Floppy
1* case fan
Creative Audigy Soundcard
10/100 Network card
56k LT Win Modem

More about : psu inadequate

April 20, 2003 8:18:12 PM

Could very well be. Are you overclocking?

XP 2500+ Barton @ 198x11.5@.185v
Thermalright SLK-800
Thermaltake Smartfan II
A7N8X Dlx
2x512MB Corsair PC3200
MSI GF3Ti500@265/570
2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
Soundstorm
April 21, 2003 3:26:33 AM

No I'm not overclocking

I just tried underclocking the GF4 and that made it last for longer before crashing.

-Chris
Related resources
April 21, 2003 3:51:37 AM

It might... Despite them calling it a 300 watt supply, as you pointed out the two most used voltages peak off at 160. It's probably running pretty close to peak load most of the time.

I'd suggest either the Antec or Powerman brands, at least 350 or 400 watts for your system.

(I always prefer to over-spec a power supply, they run cooler and will last a lot longer.)


--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 21, 2003 7:46:40 AM

I believe that this power supply is inadequate, whether your motherboard powers its CPU entirely from the +5V line (has only one power connector, the 20-pin one) or uses the +12V line for this (has either a square 4-pin connector or uses a disk drive power connector). C'T magazine found that an Athlon 2400+ system with a fairly fast video card required about 150-180W. Also, many power supply ratings are exaggerated, especially with the lesser known brands, by about 15% (www.tomshardware.com tests, excluded some that failed), while the best put out 30% more than their ratings indicate. Try to get a power supply by Delta, Astec, Antec, Fortron/Source/Powerman/Sparkle, HEC/Heroichi/Compucase, Zippy/Emacs, or Lite-On. Also good are Channel Well, Enhance, Enermax, Sirtec. A top quality 300W power supply is more than adequate for your computer, but a low quality 400-450W may barely be adequate and not very reliable.
April 21, 2003 5:21:42 PM

That Enermax will be more then adequate. And yes with the ratings of your current PSU and symptons I say the chance that it is your PSU causing the problems is very likely.

My dual-PSU PC is so powerfull that the neighbourhood dims when I turn it on :eek: 
April 21, 2003 5:30:25 PM

Yes that PSU is not suppling enough power across the +12V line.

Most AMD Model 8 Athlon systems consume more than 12A across the +12V. The XP2400+ processor can draw 8.9A<font color=red><b>**</b></font color=red> from the +12V line all by itself. (Not overclocker) Add in a few other hardware devices that draw off of the +12V line and you have an overload and shutdown.

(((<font color=red><b>**</b></font color=red> Taken from the AMD Athlon™ XP Processor Model 8 Data Sheet Chapter 6 page 23.)))

That Enermax would give you 26A across the +12V. That more than enough to satisfy a hungry system





<A HREF="http://www.millionmanlan.com/MMLDefault.asp" target="_new">Million Man LAN 2 is June 25-29, 2003 in Louisville Kentucky... Be there!</A>
April 21, 2003 7:45:39 PM

I'd also look at that memory. I've read alot about people with buggy samsung ram. Download memtest v86 , search google for the link, and test your ram also. It creates a bootable floopy disk that tests your ram. 1 error = bad ram
April 21, 2003 8:18:05 PM

Chris,

It is most likely not a memory problem.

Let's go over the items in your box and what draws power off the +12V line.

~0.30A - Motherboard
~0.50A - CPU Fan and Case Fan
~8.90A - Max non-OC'ed draw from AMD XP 2400+ (Min 5.40A)
~4.00A - The HDDs
~2.00A - The CDRW and the DVD optical drives

At the max draw off that XP 2400+ the system is at 15.70A on off a 10A max +12V line. Even if the was at the minimum draw on his HDDs, Optical Drives, and CPU, it would still be taxing that PSU.

You stated...

Quote:
The computer usually crashes after between 5 - 30 minuites of playing a 3d graphics based game. The crash sometimes occurs when transferring large files between HDD's and CD drives. The same type of crash was also occuring when capturing video onto my computer.

Both of those devices draw from the +12V line. It is no wonder his system crashes during those kinds of operations.

As per the memory errors...

The CPU has two levels of SRAM on the CPU die. (L1 and L2) If there is not enough power to keep the cells charged then you will see memory related errors.

I cannot 100% rule out a memory error but with power deficientcies like what you have... it is not your primary problem. If you still want to twst the memory, upgrade your PSU and then go to <A HREF="http://www.memtest86.com/#download0" target="_new">the Memtest website and download Memtest86 Version 3.0</A>. If you do it before you will probably see errors in the L1 and the L2 as well as the main system memory.






<A HREF="http://www.millionmanlan.com/MMLDefault.asp" target="_new">Million Man LAN 2 is June 25-29, 2003 in Louisville Kentucky... Be there!</A>
April 21, 2003 11:02:52 PM

After you explained it like that, I have to agree that it is most likely a power supply. I was just offering other suggestions :) 
April 22, 2003 2:29:40 AM

I downloaded memtest x86 3.0. It encountered 2 errors in Test 4, and 94 errors in Test 5. :-( There is however a note in the readme that says thre are sometimes unexplained errors in Tests 5 and * with AMD CPUS.

Is it possible that when I get my new psu these memory errors may magically disappear?

If it is the memory, should I be able to get it replaced unedr warranty?

Thanks
-CHris
April 22, 2003 3:53:26 AM

If it's bad memory the warranty should cover it.

The only way to be sure is to stuff it into another machine, which is known to be stable, and test it again.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 22, 2003 5:48:48 AM

I got my new PS today and just installed it ($199 Aus). :-( My computer still crashes in games. I think that it must be bad ram. I have just run memtest: 1 error in test 4, 186 errors in test 5.

I just ran memtest again with the setting (no CPU cache).
This gave a esult of NO ERRORS!!

What does this mean? My CPU is broken?

What do you suggest I do? Is this enough info to take the ram back to my computer supplier?

-Chris
April 22, 2003 5:56:02 AM

Turning off the cpu cache is not really an option... they get really really sluggish when you do that. What you probably did was slow down the memory access enough that your ram could keep up without errors.

If you have control over memory settings put them on "by SPD" or "Auto" and run the mem. test again. If it fails this time... send it back and get it replaced. (If you got it in a store rather than on-line, it's likely they can exchange it on the spot for you.)


The good news is you now have a better power supply and a good spare too.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 22, 2003 1:07:13 PM

It doesn't have to mean that your CPU is damage... it can also be caused by overheating, to low VCore or to high CPU clock speed.

My dual-PSU PC is so powerfull that the neighbourhood dims when I turn it on :eek: 
April 22, 2003 3:43:43 PM

I checked bios. It was already set to "by SPD". I am 100% sure that it is not the temperature. Temp monitor says 48 deg C. My new PSU gives really good airflow past the CPU :D  It has reduced my CPU temp from 53 deg C.

I'm going to take out my old AT power supply from my seccondary PC and replace it with my ATX reject. THe old one in my 2nd computer was having a habit of killing hard drives after a year or so.

I tried underclocking the cpu to ~1500Mhz, it still crashed. And last of all the Vcore level is 1.68V. Is this normal?

What is the most likely reason for these crashes? What would you bet on?

1) Bad RAM?
2) Bad CPU or cache?
3) Bad graphics card? (I don't want to rule this out, but I am about 80% sure that this is not the cause)

I have recently found a way to make mu computer crash on demand in XP. Just copy a large (500mb) video file between the two hard drives. I think this points towards either the CPU or the RAM as the problem.

Chris
April 22, 2003 3:50:33 PM

If you are getting errors from memtest I'd be betting on bad ram.

Either try different memory in your machine or try your memory in another machine... it's really the only way to know for sure.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 22, 2003 4:31:39 PM

I agree. You have to try different memory to see if it is only the RAM. Both test 4 and 5 in Memtest allow the CPU cache to be used. Those tests allows it to check for "sensitive" memory errors. 4 does it by testing a pattern and slightly altering the pattern. 5 does it by moving blocks of data.

Here are some thoughts...

If the CPU does not get enough power it will still try to draw it. This can overheat your CPU. You can damage parts of the CPU including the L1 and L2. This is the worst case scenario.

The memory could be just as bad as the PSU and both needed to be replaced.

You could have motherboard and a whole host of othere problems.

The only way to walk through this is to test each suspect in a logical order.



The PSU was grossly in need of being changed. Your old one might have do above the rated level on the sticker. That could account for why your system was operational in the beginning.

You then need to check the memory. Memtest is good at finding errors. Get another stick or sticks to check out if the RAM is bad.

If you still see the same problems with the new RAM, then you have a bigger problem. It could be the motherboard and or the CPU.

Order:

1 PSU
2 RAM
3 CPU
4 Motherboard
5 throw everything out the window in a fit of rage.

You can leave out the last step if you like. Some people find it to be a good stress reliever.





<A HREF="http://www.millionmanlan.com/MMLDefault.asp" target="_new">Million Man LAN 2 is June 25-29, 2003 in Louisville Kentucky... Be there!</A>
April 23, 2003 9:13:23 AM

Bought a new 256MB stick of ram and mem test comes up with 0 errors. So far playing games hasnt caused any crashes either :D  Now all i need to do is take that 512MB stick back and get it replaced and then i should have 768MB of good ram.
April 23, 2003 3:27:59 PM

There ya go!

Glad you got it sorted.


--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 23, 2003 3:36:42 PM

I am glad to see that your problems are fixed. It sucks when it is more than one thing at a time. I guess that it is Murphy's Law in full effect.

But just when you thought that you were having a bad day.

<A HREF="http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_773079.html?menu=n..." target="_new">Clickty Click Click Here :smile: </A>

<A HREF="http://www.millionmanlan.com/MMLDefault.asp" target="_new">Million Man LAN 2 is June 25-29, 2003 in Louisville Kentucky... Be there!</A>
April 23, 2003 5:09:35 PM

What really pisses me off is when I went looking for new ram, I noticed the prices. The 512MB sticks were $130 Aus. When I bought my Commputer 3 months ago, they were about $350 Aus. And all that time it hasn't been working. The Computer shop should give me a partial refund, or 1Gig or something when I return the crap ram. But I bet they will not.

Also the people at the computer shop should have commented on the crapness of the PSU when I bought all the parts. The best psu that shop sold was th 350W version of my crap PSU.

That is the last time I shop there..

Thanks everyone for all your help.
-Chris
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