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PC Shuts off During Gaming


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#1 PsvyXloneAeon

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 02:33 PM

I've been having a problem. When (and only when) I play PC games of graphical quality, at random intervals during the game, my computer will shut off. For example, Skyrim, Brink, Battlefield 3. Without warning, no explanation. It will boot itself back up and generally not have a problem afterwards. I bought my computer in 2008 and at the time it was explained as a high end gaming PC, which for the first year or so, it was. Then I noticed that it was giving me some trouble, specifically what I mentioned above. I at first thought it was an overheating issue, and that the computer was shutting itself off to preserve itself. I monitored some of my gaming with Speedfan and measured how hot it got during the times I played, and with different graphical settings. My computer was getting to around 180-190F internally. Last week I spent a good amount of time re-applying thermal compound to every heatsink in the rig. My temperatures in-game went from 180-190 degrees to averaging at around 120. It's a monumental improvement, but the computer still keeps giving me the shut-off treatment. My next logical deduction tells me a faulty power supply. I know it's not a conflict with hardware or a lack of capability on the computers part as my computer meets and exceeds all modern game requirements by at least double. Any opinions?

A few specs about my computer:

System Type- x64-based PC
Processor- Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q9300 @ 2.50GHz, 2498 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date- Phoenix Technologies, LTD 841P041G, 5/16/2008
SMBIOS Version- 2.5
Adapter Type- GeForce GTX 275, NVIDIA compatible
Adapter Description- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275

If you need more spec information let me know.

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#2 Agent24

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

180-190 F Sounds pretty hot for a CPU, I assume you mean CPU when you said my computer. Though perfectly fine for a GPU.

A system can power off due to a faulty card, insufficient power or overheating. In my personal experience, overheating will generally cause lockups as well and graphical distortions before getting to a point where it powers down the system. The GTX275 IIRC was not around 2008, so I assume its an after market card.

Nvidia recommends minimum 550W - http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gtx_275_us.html Thought you probably want to go higher if you have additional components.

#3 Abseil

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:07 PM

Drivers could also be a problem. I would say heat or the power supply 1st.

Nvidia drivers are getting pretty ticky and installing new drivers over old drivers is not a good idea. It can cause some really strange behavior on a pc that was working fine before. If you have ruled out other things... it may be worth your while to dig into this tutorial on correctly installing invidea drivers.

Due to the significant changes in Nvidia driver packages over the last year and the surrounding confusion in how these changes have effected installing and uninstalling Nvidia Drivers, a clear outline of what those changes are and how it effects users has become extremely important.
This guide is intended to help both novice and experienced users understand how Nvidia drivers have changed their install and uninstall behavior when using Windows and what those changes mean.

either search this topic or use the link. good luck

Ultimate Nvidia Driver Guide for Uninstalling and Installing driversets

http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1174372

Abseil

#4 PsvyXloneAeon

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:05 PM



Due to the significant changes in Nvidia driver packages over the last year and the surrounding confusion in how these changes have effected installing and uninstalling Nvidia Drivers, a clear outline of what those changes are and how it effects users has become extremely important.
This guide is intended to help both novice and experienced users understand how Nvidia drivers have changed their install and uninstall behavior when using Windows and what those changes mean.

either search this topic or use the link. good luck

Ultimate Nvidia Driver Guide for Uninstalling and Installing driversets

http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1174372

Abseil

Thanks for the link, I'll look into it here soon. I'm still toying around with it being a power issue, because I've identified a certain point where the power cuts off.

During highly intense points in games, the power shuts off. Only when the screen is loaded with various effects does it shut off. For example, in Skyrim, I can play just fine the whole time, until I start battling dragons. Every time they breathe fire/frost, my computer shuts off, but if I look away right before the attack, I'm fine. (This also occurs with Ice Wraiths too but I think it's also because they are also very rich in textures and effects, so I think the same principle applies). When I would play GMod (Garry's Mod), I would be able to play for a considerable amount of time until I started toying with things like fire, layers of images spawning on top of each other and disappearing might be an effect. The same things would happen in Unreal Tournament 3, Far Cry 2, Crysis, the list goes on. This repeatable act leads me to believe that this is a power issue, as I have monitored the temperature during the games, and it's not going above 65C. Which I'm lead to believe is fairly average. The GPU gets a bit hotter but noting significant. What I think is happening is the sudden increase in effects on the screen causes the power intake to jump, simulating a power surge, which triggers a response from the computer to shut itself off to preserve itself and the data. I'm not very well versed in electronics so this could be totally ridiculous but that's why I'm here asking.

This shutoff occurs in almost every 3D game, so I'm fairly certain it's power as well, considering my recent fix of the heating issue was the only problem that had affected me.

180-190 F Sounds pretty hot for a CPU, I assume you mean CPU when you said my computer. Though perfectly fine for a GPU.

A system can power off due to a faulty card, insufficient power or overheating. In my personal experience, overheating will generally cause lockups as well and graphical distortions before getting to a point where it powers down the system. The GTX275 IIRC was not around 2008, so I assume its an after market card.

Nvidia recommends minimum 550W - http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gtx_275_us.html Thought you probably want to go higher if you have additional components.


Yes, my apologies for not specifying. Firstly, my graphics card is an aftermarket card, the card that was initially with the computer burned out and was replaced in around 2009. Also yes, the initial temperatures listed were my CPU and the average temperature of the individual cores. I hadn't kept a very accurate record of the GPU as I had figured it would be allowed to reach higher temperatures, as you said.

#5 PsvyXloneAeon

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:24 AM

So I did some tests with some games and monitoring the temperatures using Speedfan. Normally I play my games on the mid to low range graphic settings because it's at those settings where my computer gaming experience lasts the longest. I cranked up the graphics to the highest possible quality for a few games and have found that there's no temperature change. Full screen, farthest draw distance, all possible effects, perfect shadows. Everything turned up and I averaged about 60-80C across my 4 CPUs, and averaged about 80C on my GPU. I'm pretty much POSITIVE that this is not a temperature issue. So now I ask if some sort of oddball power surges could be doing this.

#6 Abseil

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 07:36 AM

I'm no electrical engineer but here's my laymans take on this. When the components that you are running ask for more power than your source can supply you're going to have a problem. Your computer is shutting down. My fear is that you are going to fry your power suppy and maybe take your video card and your mother board with it. It hasn't happened to me but there are endless stories on the internet of this happening to people. If you are running a generic power supply I would suggest getting a new power supply asap. The psu is not the most interesting part of a computer... but everything else depends on it and a cheap or under powered psu can make for a really bad day.

#7 PsvyXloneAeon

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:18 PM

I'm no electrical engineer but here's my laymans take on this. When the components that you are running ask for more power than your source can supply you're going to have a problem. Your computer is shutting down. My fear is that you are going to fry your power suppy and maybe take your video card and your mother board with it. It hasn't happened to me but there are endless stories on the internet of this happening to people. If you are running a generic power supply I would suggest getting a new power supply asap. The psu is not the most interesting part of a computer... but everything else depends on it and a cheap or under powered psu can make for a really bad day.


That's the one area of computers that I'm embarrassingly not well versed in. I don't really know how to do any of that. I can try though, it shouldn't be horribly difficult, should it? Are there any guides on the internet that would help me choose a good PSU that's compatible with my setup?

#8 Abseil

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:43 AM

Don't feel bad... I've found that this computer thing is a life time learning process. Most stuff you don't learn until you need it.

the good news is yes there are tons of places to get the info that you need. First I'll give you the quick and easy. There are lots of people out there right now who need a new power supply unit (PSU). They are scowering the internet for spec's and the best deals. It's easy to tap into that collective knowledge with forums. I'll give you 3 that come to mine... there are 100's.
Start a thread asking for advive on upgrading your PSU. Post as much info about your system as you can. If you aren't sure about what's in your magic box... get the info here ----> start\programs\accessories\system information or for more detailed download a free program like speccy here ----> http://www.piriform.com/speccy/download Make sure you get the free version. When you install it make sure to un-check the google tool bar.

Bleeping computer forums system building and upgrading http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum139.html

Maximum PC forums Help me build or Buy http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=35&sid=c5610a7cd99ef32837fb72e834cf4992

Tom's Hardware forums system\Home built http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-31-202.html

a couple of things to keep in mind... How long do you plan to keep this box? Do you plan to upgrade your GTX275? If this Box is nearing the end of it's effective service... do you want to get a PSU that you can use in your next box or just get 1 that will get this box to the end of life? I know that the Maximum PC forum has a moderator that really stays current on specs and pricing. They are very good at helping people save money. So if money is an issue and you want to go as cheap as you can get away with... that's a good place to start.

Ok... If you want to do it yourself. Read these articles from Tom's hardware and you'll know more about PSU's than 99% of the people out there and you'll be well on your way to becoming a PSU expert. Good Luck and let me know if you have any more questions... Abseil

Don't Be Surprised When Your Cheap PSU Blows Up http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-cost-psu-pc-power-supply,2862.html

Picking The Right Power Supply: What You Should Know http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-review,2916.html

Power Supply 101: A Reference Of Specifications http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-specifications-atx-reference,3061.html

Power Supply Reference: Consumption, Savings, And More http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-protection-calculate-consumption,3066.html

80 PLUS Gold: Four Efficient 700-850 W Power Supplies http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/750-watt-psu-80-plus-gold,2927.html

Who's Who In Power Supplies, 2011: Brands Vs. Manufacturers http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-oem-manufacturer,2913.html




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