1. #1

    Replacing a failing PSU

    Good morning everyone,

    For the past few months I have had an issue where my computer reboots when I am about to play a game (50-70% of the time). Usually when I open a particular game (Fallout4/Diablo3/WoW), it will go through the load bar but as soon as it reaches the the playable part the whole computer turns off and reboots. As the problem seems to be getting worse I think its finally about time to invest and fix it. I have done a complete reinstall of windows/everything, cleaned out and re-seated all the components but the issue remains. I have been keeping an eye on the temperature so I don't believe the problem to be heat related. A few people I have talked to have suggested that my PSU may be failing but I looking at voltage readings, it does not seem to be out of the desired range. Is there a chance it is giving normal voltages under most conditions but has a complete reset under these specific conditions? Or do you think I should look elsewhere for my problem?

    Also I have the PSU linked below. Is there would there be any compatibility issues I would need to keep in mind if i wanted to replace it with something else? Assuming this doesn't work and different components are causing issue (and I am unable to return the PSU after testing), I was thinking about just building myself something new since if i have to replace the GPU or MoBo I may as update it all since my system is about 4.5-5.0 years old at this point

    Current PSU - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...4?ie=UTF8&th=1

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Looks like an older unit. Try cleaning it first maybe? It looks like your system is pretty close to maxing out the specs of the PSU and your PSU has a hard time keeping up with it with 3-5 years worth of dust.
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  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Evildeffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    Good morning everyone,

    For the past few months I have had an issue where my computer reboots when I am about to play a game (50-70% of the time). Usually when I open a particular game (Fallout4/Diablo3/WoW), it will go through the load bar but as soon as it reaches the the playable part the whole computer turns off and reboots. As the problem seems to be getting worse I think its finally about time to invest and fix it. I have done a complete reinstall of windows/everything, cleaned out and re-seated all the components but the issue remains. I have been keeping an eye on the temperature so I don't believe the problem to be heat related. A few people I have talked to have suggested that my PSU may be failing but I looking at voltage readings, it does not seem to be out of the desired range. Is there a chance it is giving normal voltages under most conditions but has a complete reset under these specific conditions? Or do you think I should look elsewhere for my problem?

    Also I have the PSU linked below. Is there would there be any compatibility issues I would need to keep in mind if i wanted to replace it with something else? Assuming this doesn't work and different components are causing issue (and I am unable to return the PSU after testing), I was thinking about just building myself something new since if i have to replace the GPU or MoBo I may as update it all since my system is about 4.5-5.0 years old at this point

    Current PSU - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...4?ie=UTF8&th=1

    Thanks for your help
    Please post your entire specs so I can see whether or not your PSU is being taxed to the max.
    Your issues do conform to the PSU being a possibility (but not a certainty), best is if you can borrow a test unit to see if it does.

    However... how old is your system exactly?
    Because XFX offers a 5 year warranty on the PSU so you could request an RMA for that if your PC is younger than 5 years.

    Most PSUs of course are held to universal standards ... so there shouldn't be too many issues with compatibility .. but just buy a proper one if you can't wait for the RMA (provided the unit is either defective or you pushing it to the max).
    "A quantum supercomputer calculating for a thousand years could not even approach the number of fucks I do not give."
    - Kirito, Sword Art Online Abridged by Something Witty Entertainment

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderball View Post
    Looks like an older unit. Try cleaning it first maybe? It looks like your system is pretty close to maxing out the specs of the PSU and your PSU has a hard time keeping up with it with 3-5 years worth of dust.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evildeffy View Post
    Please post your entire specs so I can see whether or not your PSU is being taxed to the max.
    Your issues do conform to the PSU being a possibility (but not a certainty), best is if you can borrow a test unit to see if it does.

    However... how old is your system exactly?
    Because XFX offers a 5 year warranty on the PSU so you could request an RMA for that if your PC is younger than 5 years.

    Most PSUs of course are held to universal standards ... so there shouldn't be too many issues with compatibility .. but just buy a proper one if you can't wait for the RMA (provided the unit is either defective or you pushing it to the max).
    Linked below is by full build from a few years ago. I feel like I'm still pretty far below the max wattage but I also dont know how much wear and tear can impact it. I bought the system in July of 2013 so 4.5 years. I can look into the warranty but if its a few weeks I would rather jut pay the $60-80 and save myself the time. I just want to do all that i can to make sure this is the problem before tossing out the money since all my friends have laptops and thus no PSU I could test.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/list/sGY86X

    Of course my other option is to pay $100 and have a professional look through and test it. Obv, if i can save that it would be nice, but if you think it is my best option let me know.

  5. #5
    The Lightbringer Evildeffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    Linked below is by full build from a few years ago. I feel like I'm still pretty far below the max wattage but I also dont know how much wear and tear can impact it. I bought the system in July of 2013 so 4.5 years. I can look into the warranty but if its a few weeks I would rather jut pay the $60-80 and save myself the time. I just want to do all that i can to make sure this is the problem before tossing out the money since all my friends have laptops and thus no PSU I could test.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/list/sGY86X

    Of course my other option is to pay $100 and have a professional look through and test it. Obv, if i can save that it would be nice, but if you think it is my best option let me know.
    From the looks of your specs it is nowhere near maxing that PSU out in terms of running @ your settings.
    And PSU degradation at your load doesn't normally occur that fast.

    Your PSU may still be failing and it's not always noticeable from the voltages alone.
    RMA-ing your PSU will take a week or 2 regardless unless XFX does advanced RMAs in which they put a charge on your credit card but not actually deduct it unless you don't meet the send-back deadline.

    Though ... and this may sound meh ... but I've had a lot of people, and I do mean a lot, poke me with issues with a Z87 chipset with GigaByte boards, all with weird crashes etc, it is entirely possible your motherboard may be glitching out as well.

    Unfortunately it's hard to assist you further without having components to test since you did the basic legwork already.

    Here's what I'd try for now if possible:
    1. Grab a fan, preferably a large room fan you use in the summer, and park it over the VRM/graphics card see if it shuts down immediately on a game still when doing so. (the fan must of course be working and throwing air towards the VRM of the mobo, VRM being the power circuitry to the left and top of the CPU)
    2. Run Prime95 small FFT torture test first, if system remains stable then run Furmark (with Prime95 stopped) and test, see if it remains stable.
    If both remain stable separately then run them together, if they continue running stable then there's something else at play, very likely the motherboard.
    If it fails @ Small FFT (by failing I mean crashing) but not at Furmark then it's a good chance there's something wrong with the motherboard or PSU.
    If it fails @ Furmark but not with Small FFT then it can be the PSU or graphics card with issues.
    The commonality in this is the PSU but it doesn't have to be it... doing this is preparation for the following point since you cannot borrow hardware to test.
    3. Have someone, an actual PC techie and not those "Hobby types", have a look at it by testing the components, primarily PSU, GFX and Mobo, depending on the results above.
    This should reduce costs for having it checked if you bring them the information an ask them to do a specific testing points since you excluded the prior.

    All tests should be run once with and without the extra fan blowing on the VRM/Graphics Card.
    If it shuts down instantly with both regardless of fan blowing or not then there's a definite hardware issue.
    If it doesn't shut down instantly but takes longer to with the fan blowing then it's likely either the mobo or the graphics card has issues.

    The reason is that PSU is easy to test but it doen't necessarily have to be the issue.
    Your graphics card can also be the cause and so can the motherboard, the steps above are to help you/the guy you bring it to diagnose it.

    And it may seem like a lot of work but if you do most of the legwork prior then your system can be diagnosed quicker and very likely cheaper.

    From what you've told me and my personal experience I'd likely point to the PSU first (75%) and motherboard a more likely 2nd (25%).
    You could take the risk and get a new PSU to test but if it's not it then it's either the Mobo or the graphics card forcing you to either go to a proper PC techie or to spend more on components.

    But if you do get a PSU then you can more easily tell the PC Techie what you've tried and he'll just have to test a new graphics card and/or mobo instead of the whole shebang.
    There's a plus to doing most of the legwork yourself.

    That said if the problem turns out to be the PSU I would still RMA the old PSU as getting a new one RMA'ed to you is still good and you can use it as a spare.
    (or if you feel so inclined shipping it to me :P)
    "A quantum supercomputer calculating for a thousand years could not even approach the number of fucks I do not give."
    - Kirito, Sword Art Online Abridged by Something Witty Entertainment

  6. #6
    Just try cleaning first. Failed PSU fan can easily result in the symptoms described, as does dust accumulation on radiators.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Evildeffy View Post
    From the looks of your specs it is nowhere near maxing that PSU out in terms of running @ your settings.
    And PSU degradation at your load doesn't normally occur that fast.

    Your PSU may still be failing and it's not always noticeable from the voltages alone.
    RMA-ing your PSU will take a week or 2 regardless unless XFX does advanced RMAs in which they put a charge on your credit card but not actually deduct it unless you don't meet the send-back deadline.

    Though ... and this may sound meh ... but I've had a lot of people, and I do mean a lot, poke me with issues with a Z87 chipset with GigaByte boards, all with weird crashes etc, it is entirely possible your motherboard may be glitching out as well.

    Unfortunately it's hard to assist you further without having components to test since you did the basic legwork already.

    Here's what I'd try for now if possible:
    1. Grab a fan, preferably a large room fan you use in the summer, and park it over the VRM/graphics card see if it shuts down immediately on a game still when doing so. (the fan must of course be working and throwing air towards the VRM of the mobo, VRM being the power circuitry to the left and top of the CPU)
    2. Run Prime95 small FFT torture test first, if system remains stable then run Furmark (with Prime95 stopped) and test, see if it remains stable.
    If both remain stable separately then run them together, if they continue running stable then there's something else at play, very likely the motherboard.
    If it fails @ Small FFT (by failing I mean crashing) but not at Furmark then it's a good chance there's something wrong with the motherboard or PSU.
    If it fails @ Furmark but not with Small FFT then it can be the PSU or graphics card with issues.
    The commonality in this is the PSU but it doesn't have to be it... doing this is preparation for the following point since you cannot borrow hardware to test.
    3. Have someone, an actual PC techie and not those "Hobby types", have a look at it by testing the components, primarily PSU, GFX and Mobo, depending on the results above.
    This should reduce costs for having it checked if you bring them the information an ask them to do a specific testing points since you excluded the prior.

    All tests should be run once with and without the extra fan blowing on the VRM/Graphics Card.
    If it shuts down instantly with both regardless of fan blowing or not then there's a definite hardware issue.
    If it doesn't shut down instantly but takes longer to with the fan blowing then it's likely either the mobo or the graphics card has issues.

    The reason is that PSU is easy to test but it doen't necessarily have to be the issue.
    Your graphics card can also be the cause and so can the motherboard, the steps above are to help you/the guy you bring it to diagnose it.

    And it may seem like a lot of work but if you do most of the legwork prior then your system can be diagnosed quicker and very likely cheaper.

    From what you've told me and my personal experience I'd likely point to the PSU first (75%) and motherboard a more likely 2nd (25%).
    You could take the risk and get a new PSU to test but if it's not it then it's either the Mobo or the graphics card forcing you to either go to a proper PC techie or to spend more on components.

    But if you do get a PSU then you can more easily tell the PC Techie what you've tried and he'll just have to test a new graphics card and/or mobo instead of the whole shebang.
    There's a plus to doing most of the legwork yourself.

    That said if the problem turns out to be the PSU I would still RMA the old PSU as getting a new one RMA'ed to you is still good and you can use it as a spare.
    (or if you feel so inclined shipping it to me :P)
    Wow, thanks for the very detailed response, I have actually tried running those stress tests before without causing my computer to fail. To verify, I just set them to run together and they have been going about an hour without issue, even without the room fan. Can I assume that leans things more towards the motherboard being the problem rather than the PSU?

    Additional info: Also, just recently (the past few days) I am having boot issues where the system restarts itself like 3-5 times before making it all the way to windows. Can I assume this is also pointing towards the motherboard since it is generally booting through that before windows?

    I guess my next step is to have a PC techie run some tests on it? Do you have any recommendations on the best way to differentiate quality over, as you called them, "hobby types"? I live in Sacramento California, independent of computer services I woudl normally just dig through Yelp, but i feel like this is one of those things where the vast majority of reviews are just people getting help with very basic problems. Are there any ways to target a quality business?

    Also, assuming it is a motherboard, I sent out an email to a few of those business from yelp asking for approximate prices. Basically I heard back that it would cost about $100 for the diagnostic, $100 for the labor to install a new motherboard and about $200 for a new motherboard.(Side note: i originally bought an OEM version of Win8 back in the day and those are linked to the motherboard, am I going to need to buy windows again too?) Assuming that much I feel like I'm getting very close to the point where I may as well just build a new system on my own and try to upgrade from my 4.5 year old system. I would hate to do it since it works perfectly well for what I'm running at the moment but that's like half the cost of the system. Do you think there is any merit to just biting the bullet and upgrading to the latest gen of hardware?

  8. #8
    The Lightbringer Evildeffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    Wow, thanks for the very detailed response, I have actually tried running those stress tests before without causing my computer to fail. To verify, I just set them to run together and they have been going about an hour without issue, even without the room fan. Can I assume that leans things more towards the motherboard being the problem rather than the PSU?
    Though normally I'd say yes because both those programmes are "Power Viruses" that devour a hell of a lot more power than anything a game can generate it can still be your PSU.
    If after doing this several times (as a test for the spike in load) the PC remains stable and directly after a game will cause it to crash I would say there's a good chance it's the mobo yes, since you've already said you did a complete reinstall for a fresh start and it does it regardless.

    If the "load" were the issue in this case then running both together should have caused the maximum amount of power draw as both programmes are known to push the CPU and GPU well beyond their originally rated specs and devour power easily beyond their TDP targets.
    A game CANNOT push this much load onto both (yet)... so you indeed may have issues that isn't your PSU.

    A CPU may also be the issue here but that's truthfully unlikely, a CPU rarely fails.
    And if the CPU were the cause you should have errors in your Prime95, not crashing but actually telling you a worker stopped because of a rounding error f.ex.
    Prime95 is good at picking up if the CPU is running stable... so if there were no red marked threads in Prime95 with rounding errors ... you should generally be fine there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    Additional info: Also, just recently (the past few days) I am having boot issues where the system restarts itself like 3-5 times before making it all the way to windows. Can I assume this is also pointing towards the motherboard since it is generally booting through that before windows?
    Quite possibly but I'll need more exact details before I'm able to say anything of the sort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    I guess my next step is to have a PC techie run some tests on it? Do you have any recommendations on the best way to differentiate quality over, as you called them, "hobby types"? I live in Sacramento California, independent of computer services I woudl normally just dig through Yelp, but i feel like this is one of those things where the vast majority of reviews are just people getting help with very basic problems. Are there any ways to target a quality business?
    This is unfortunately one of those things that is difficult to ascertain from an external PoV.
    Most of the time you figure it out whilst engaging in conversation with the techies present but I'm often annoyed/disgusted with the level of stupidity present in a lot of companies whom employ such people.
    I understand that everyone started from some point and we were all hobbyists in the beginning but the difference lies in actual knowledge, experience and dedication and that's just a hard thing to judge if you just want to be helped properly and not prodded like a lab rat.

    Often enough when you talk to some of them you can ask them simple questions to gauge what their knowledge is such as "Do you know what a power virus is?" or "What's the general power a 3/4-pin fan header can supply?" ...
    If they start with "Power Virus" being a virus that destroys files immediately and the power of a fan header being up to 12V instead of approx. 15W then you know they've not got the basic knowledge of things and you should walk away.

    Though there are exceptions to people whom answer these questions and people may not specifically know these questions but do know quite a bit of the rest .. in general these kinds of things help you a long way past the crappy ones.

    Also added to the fact that I'm from the Netherlands, a sloppy 13.000 kilometers away from California (been there during BlizzCon 2014) I can't honestly tell you any local services that don't suck either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donimic View Post
    Also, assuming it is a motherboard, I sent out an email to a few of those business from yelp asking for approximate prices. Basically I heard back that it would cost about $100 for the diagnostic, $100 for the labor to install a new motherboard and about $200 for a new motherboard.(Side note: i originally bought an OEM version of Win8 back in the day and those are linked to the motherboard, am I going to need to buy windows again too?) Assuming that much I feel like I'm getting very close to the point where I may as well just build a new system on my own and try to upgrade from my 4.5 year old system. I would hate to do it since it works perfectly well for what I'm running at the moment but that's like half the cost of the system. Do you think there is any merit to just biting the bullet and upgrading to the latest gen of hardware?
    There's honestly no need to upgrade at all if you just game.
    If you were doing encryption, content creation etc. then I'd say it's worth it but otherwise no.

    And if the prices you got quoted are as such... honestly I'd literally say find a well priced Z97 board from eBay/Craig's List and do it yourself.
    (not from those whom ask completely and utterly retarded prices of course like 300 USD for a motherboard)
    This is an example of slightly expensive but acceptable if you message them to ask if the back I/O shield is present as well as if they can make a picture of the socket and send it to you to check if the pins are straight.
    You should be able to do it for 1/4th the quoted prices and even if it's something else you could buy other components and STILL be cheaper doing so.

    Like a PSU in the US goes between 50 - 80 USD for a good one (EU ones are CONSIDERABLY more expensive) and a 2nd hand proper Z97 is up to ~100 USD.
    If you have the knowledge to do as much as you've done so far you can also build in the stuff yourself.

    However... have you actually run a Memtest?
    If you haven't: https://www.memtest86.com/

    Get the UEFI test version and let it run at least 3 - 4 full passes on the RAM and see if there are any errors that pop out.
    Just in case.
    "A quantum supercomputer calculating for a thousand years could not even approach the number of fucks I do not give."
    - Kirito, Sword Art Online Abridged by Something Witty Entertainment

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