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Frequent Random Shutdowns, Thermal? or something else. Details inside


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Zuluster

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:19 PM

Hey everyone,
I'm really puzzled here, I built my own desktop a few years back and I'm good at fixing computers, both software and hardware, but I cannot figure this one out.

The Issue:
Computer is frequently shutting down randomly on its own. Sometimes it will stay on for two days and sometimes only for a half an hour.

The Background:
About a month or two ago I tried to turn on my computer and double-tapped the power button on accident. Not sure if the double-tap has anything to do with it, but my computer tried turning on and then something popped and it shut down; PSU fried. Sent it in for an RMA and I got a new one. Plugged it all back in and it booted up fine, but after a little while the random shutdowns started. Here is a list of actions I've taken to try and resolve the issue:
  • Pulled out each stick of Ram (3 total) and tried running the system with only one at a time. Every stick got tested by itself.
  • Pulled out each video card (I have two) and ran it with one and then the other. Computer still shut down with either of them.
  • Pulled out all HDDs except for my main OS HDD.
  • Unplugged peripherals
  • Checked to make sure PSU is on right voltage setting (it is)
  • Made sure all fans are running; case fans, cpu fan, video card fans, PSU fan (its a coolermaster case with 4 huge fans so its not a circulation issue)
  • Formatted OS HDD and reinstalled Windows 7
  • In Windows 7, put power settings on Balanced (this seems to keep the computer from shutting down, but I haven't done extensive testing)
  • Took apart the entire desktop and cleaned every part: Reseated CPU fan to CPU with new Thermal Sealant (Arctic Silver 5)
  • Took apart one of the video cards and reseated its processor with the Sealant
  • Installed both GPU monitoring software and CPU monitoring software: Both GPUs average around 55-60 Celsius and the CPU around 45.
  • Placed the GPU fans and CPU Fan on max speeds (they get a lot louder and the temp drops to the 40s for the GPUs.
  • Stress tested both CPU and the GPUs and it didn't trip the shutdown, even when the temperature for the CPU was hitting 71 Celsius and the GPUs were also in the low 70s.
  • Changed BIOS settings to stability mode for the CPU (instead of TURBO), also set the BIOS so it warns me if the CPU temp hits 80 Celsius

The Specs:
  • RAM (3 Sticks): G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
  • MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor
  • GPU 1: EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • GPU 2: Its the 8800 version of the above one
  • PSU: ETASIS ET750 True 750W, Max 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
  • HDDs: 4 of them
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit

I've exhausted all my knowledge besides going out and buying new parts and testing the new parts in the system to find what's causing the problem. Any ideas?

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#2 JUICYboy

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:37 PM

Hello

I know how you feel, sometime I myself feel like I hit a brick wall... :smash:

Well as far as my suggestions: Sounds like the motherboard or the power switch is grounding itself to the frame and might be causing short circuits. :idea:

If you tested every component and they passed, then this might be the issue. I would try to check the switch..
"I tried to turn on my computer and double-tapped the power button on accident"
Maybe it does have something to do with it and it is in need for a closer inspection.
Anyways a component grounding itself would make perfect sense that will explain the computer shutting off at different times.

Well let us know how it went. And don't pull your hair out it will come to you... :gathering:

#3 Zuluster

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 06:20 PM

JUICYboy,
thanks for your response, I'm testing out your idea now, I unplugged the reset switch chord and pulled out the power switch chord so its not touching the case anywhere, now the power switch is going directly to the MOBO. As far as the MOBO grounding itself, wouldn't that be an instant shut down or no? Maybe you could explain that to me. I'll let you know if the power switch idea works.

#4 Zuluster

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 08:02 PM

Power switch idea didn't work, still shutdown even though the chord wasn't grounded anywhere. Any other ideas? This is killing me.

#5 JUICYboy

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:21 AM

OKAY So it is not the switch.
I am sorry that did not help.. :wink:

When does it do this?? Is it at any given time??

How about testing the power supply again. Maybe the cpu shuts down at different times(Might be faulty). Can you swap the power supply?

It might give you the full power but it probably overheats or something and it shuts down, given no power to the Mother board. :busy:

We will figure out I had this happen to me plenty of times :hysterical:

#6 JUICYboy

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:30 AM

Did you ever find out what was wrong??

And if you did tell us what it was and how you did it, please

thanks

#7 Socratesx

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 03:55 AM

How about testing the power supply again.


I agree. Maybe you are too unlucky and you got back a faulty PSU. The problem seems to be your new PSU. Try if it is possible with a different PSU, just to be sure that this is not the reason of the fault. However, 99% of power related problems are caused due to a PSU malfunction.
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#8 Zuluster

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 04:11 AM

Hey sorry for the lack of update, classes have piled on the work. But I've managed to try a few more things to fix the problem. Still somewhat skeptical about the GPUs, I went ahead and removed the graphic cards entirely and remote connected to the comp just to make sure that wasn't the problem. After a while, it still shutdown so its definitely not the GPUs. Now here is what's interesting, I was spending more time on it and I heard my primary OS HDD make a funny noise, sounded like it lost power. My comp froze momentarily and then it kicked back on and was working for like a minute and then WHAM, lost power. Later on the same thing happened again with the noise, freeze, unfreeze, and shutdown. So two possibilities here, either the HDD is failing (it was the only one to lose power out of the 4) or my PSU isn't providing enough power to it for some reason. I was leaning towards the PSU like you guys suggested, but then, out of a last attempt before having to purchase a new PSU, I went ahead and wiped one of my other HDDs, installed the same OS system on it and booted with that one...it's been running for about 2 days with no problems.

What do you all think? Is a cold shutdown a symptom of a failing HDD? I was under the impression that a failed/failing HDD results in a BSOD. But if it isn't the HDD, why would the switch to a different one eliminate the shutdowns? I'm planning on testing this out for a couple days to see how it runs, but the only other step now is to buy a new PSU. They did send me the RMA in shrink wrap and not in an original box so I'm assuming it was a refurb, which provides a greater possibility for a bad replacement PSU.

I'll keep you updated and thank you for the advice.

Edited by Zuluster, 16 November 2010 - 04:15 AM.


#9 Zuluster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 04:28 PM

Update:
Went ahead and purchases a new/better CPU fan...much better and also a new PSU (begrudgingly). Fan showed up this morning and I went ahead and popped it in. For the last couple days I have been able to trigger the shutdowns within a few minutes by playing demanding video games; it was crashing on both OSs I had installed so the other OS on the other HDD didn't really solve anything, shutdowns happened on either HDDs while playing the game. Soooo, since putting in the new CPU fan, I haven't been able to trigger the shutdown. Played a couple different games and neither were causing the power down. Problem resolved? Maybe, time will tell. If not, the new PSU will surely fix the problem. I just don't understand why the original fan wouldn't work anymore. It functioned fine before. AND I don't understand why the temp readings for the CPU were entirely normal. Is there a way to get wrong temp readings for the CPU?

Anyways, thanks for the suggestions.

#10 trebormuhaha

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 01:39 AM

The location they get the reading from the cpu can have a very big effect and can be out by 20 degrees pretty easy also. I normally try the can you hold your hand on it for 10 second test if you can then its not to hot.

Also I have had heat sinks that I have had to reseat 3 or 4 times to get them right little pockets of air can be a major pain in the Nuttz
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