Help! Loosing hair fast.

Hi peeps. Merry Xmas.

I have an intermitant problem with a machine I built for a friend of my son.

The system:

Tower case, 400W PSU, voice activated cathode tubes.
ASUS A7V8X-X motherboard
AMD AthlonXP 2200+ retail
Crucial Memory 256Mb CT3264Z265
XFX Gforce MX440 8x AGP 64Mb video card
Maxtor Plus9 80Gb 6Y080LO 7200 UDMA133 hard drive
Alps floppy drive
2 extra case fans
Hansol 510 15" monitor.

The problem is. Every now and then the system just switches itself off. Sometimes it will start back up ok, other times the tower's running but the monitor's power light remains flashing (blank screen) as though the tower is powered down.
Doesn't matter what I do in XP, I cannot find any one thing to trigger fault (can switch itself off whilst screensaver running, watching mpegs, listenning to music, writing a doc or just sitting idle, after ten minutes or a full day uptime).

My son's and my own systems are based around the same motherboard, cpu and memory, and my sons's system is identicle appart from the video card and monitor.

I've substituted everything in tern as a process of illimination but still it does it. What I noticed though is the hard drive seems to run hotter than my son's identicle one, and no matter which PSU is in the faulty machine it also blows warmer through its exhaust fan.

Question? Do PSU's have a thermal cut-out device and if so could it be possible that the hard drive is running excesively hot thus drawing more current from the PSU thus causing it to overheat and cut-out, sort of like a thermal runaway condition? If this is possible, how can I test the hard drive to get it to thow up an error code with the MaxBlaster diagnostic softare, so as to return it to get a replacement, without fear of the supplier or Maxtor sending it back to me claiming no fault found?

Any help/advive would be very welcome.
3 answers Last reply
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  1. strange problems...

    Ok when the system dies, do you need to shut off the surge bar (or unplug from wall) to turn the system back on? Or can you just hit the switch and the thing boots back up. If you need to unplug there is a good chance your psu has tripped.

    Next, make sure you have the latest of every driver.

    You may have some sort of virus, maybe try a fresh windows install?

    To test the hard drive why dont you run some hard drive benchmark such as drivetach or sisoft sandras drive benchmark.

    If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
    110% BX fanboy
  2. hehe, if you suspect your power supply is overheating, why would you replace the hard drive? Yes, some power supplies have thermal protection and won't restart unless they've cooled down.

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  3. Hi piii_man

    In answer to your question, I can power back up without unpluging the mains. Sometimes the system will boot up ok, but sometimes the tower seems to boot up but the monitor's power light flashes as though in power saving mode/tower not switched on.

    I have re-installed WindozeXP four times. Each time reformatted the hard drive. Installed XP service pack 1, the latest drivers for all hardware, Norton SystemWorks with latest updates and upgraded the bios. Still no joy.

    Dear crashman (Ho Ho)

    Happen I didn't explain my reasons for suspecting the harddrive properly (sorry!). If I Put the PSU from the faulty machine into either mine or my son's machine there is no problem. In fact I have the faulty machine's PSU (400W single fan) running in my machine as I write this post, and my PSU (550W twin fan) is now in the faulty machine, and still the problem is there.

    If I put an identicle substitute harddrive in the faulty machine the psu runs cooler and have not had the fault occur. I have connected the faulty machines harddrive temporarily to my machine (placed outside of case) it runs hot but the fault does not occur.

    Is the harddrive faulty because it is running too hot (hotter than an identicle model) and causing a thermal runaway condition once inside an enclosed case.

    Thanks for replying.

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