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Question: GPU, PSU or Something Else?


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#1 Kevalin

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 12:54 AM

Hi, Folks,

I'll try to make this long story as short as I can.

Here are the current specs of a custom tower I got about a week ago (I will be using it mostly for video editing and graphics work, with occasional bouts of Need For Speed thrown in):

PROCESSOR: Intel Core I5-2320 Sandy Bridge 3.0GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) 1MB L2 Cache & 6MB L3 Cache Socket LGA 1155 Quad-Core Processor

MOTHERBOARD: Biostar H61MGC LGA 1155 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

4 x Rear USB 2.0 ports

2 x PCI-E x1 Slot

VIDEO: PNY Nvidia Geforce 430 GT (Fermi) 1GB DDR3 128-bit PCI Express Graphics Card

1xVGA Port, 1xDVI Port, 1xHDMI Port

Core Clock: 700Mhz

Shader Clock: 1400Mhz

MEMORY: 8GB (2x4gb) Team Elite DDR3 1333 Gaming/High Performance RAM

HARD DRIVE: 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 16MB Cache

OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit (my copy)

OPTICAL DRIVE: Samsung Multiformat DVD Burner

2xUSB Ports, 2xAudio Ports

POWER SUPPLY: Corsair CX500 V2 80-Plus Bronze 500-Watt

MONITOR: BenQ GW2450 24" LCD


The original PSU was a Raidmax RX-450K. The issue was that, every time I loaded the NVidia Drivers, they would stutter, stop, restart, and eventually either freeze the computer (something I never had a problem with with my Gateway P7805 laptop), or blue screen it with a message that the video driver could not restore itself before Windows "timed out."

The consensus on the other forums I've visited was that, though the NVidia card could be the problem, the PSU--which was pretty universally hated--was the more likely issue. With that in mind, I bought and replaced the Raidmax PSU with a CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified this afternoon.

The addition of the CX500 has made a substantial difference: where the computer was starting up and running no faster than my dual-core laptop, it is now booting, shutting down and getting to where I want to go with suitable alacrity.

Unfortunately, the display drivers again began going black as soon as I plugged in my WD 1.5TB external drive to begin loading the programs I that are the reason I bought this box. They do so, so long as the external drive is plugged in, every three to four minutes. The computer went to blue screen once as well, and had to be shut down via the whack-a-button method.

Here is my question: can it be that the items I have and am using with this tower (including the external drive) are too much for the PSU? Is it more likely that the issue really is the video card? Could something else be going on, say, with the mobo?

HWMonitor shows the temperatures for everything maxing out at about 40C... which on my laptop, at least, would be considered a heavenly temperature range. I'm too new to desktops to know if that is good or bad, however. There is also a fan FANPWM0, that is running at 99%, while its partners (assuming they exist), FANPWM1 and 2 show 0%, but that means nothing to me. I have attached the HWMonitor Log that was running while the external drive was still on, for anyone who may be able to translate it.Attached File  HWMonitor 9-7-12 9-46PM.txt   29.72KB   3 downloads

I don't mind replacing the video card if need be, and have had some good suggestions on replacements... but I don't want to spend the money if the issue is still basically one of power.

Any ideas/answers/suggestions would be greatly appreciated; I'm losing work time and money because of this problem.

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#2 Wildabeast

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 07:43 AM

Hi, have you updated the drivers for your video card?
If so, you might want to check to make sure your PSU is large enough. HERE is a link to check it out. I don't know all the parts to your computer, you do. I think the PSU is big enough, but I'd make sure before going out to get a new video card.
Hope this helps. :blink:
"The nine most feared words in the english language, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help'..."
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#3 s1lents0ul

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 11:03 AM

The heat is not the problem, and the fans showing 0% are most likely not being read by your motherboard, and are most likely running. You can open the tower to look and confirm.

Here are the PSU minimum requirements for the Graphics Card you have, retrieved from Newegg:


A minimum 300W or greater system power supply (with a minimum 12V current rating of 22A)

I am not sure if your power supply is putting out a constant 500W but you would have been better off with a 750W PSU. You should figure out how much power your tower requires besides the graphic card usage.

If the PSU is not the issue than it could be a driver problem.

Have you been to the Device Manager to check for yellow ! marks or Red X's ???
==]--s1lents0ul-->

#4 Kevalin

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:35 PM

Based on the chart I was pointed to by Wildabeast, the computer and the peripherals I have on it (all of which play together nicely on my Gateway P7805 FX) shouldn't need more than 300W; figure a max of 400 if I get crazed. While I understand that different computers have different "personalities", if you will, none of the peripherals I am using are outside the pale in terms of power usage, and none of the interior parts should be.

This tower simply isn't coming close to working when I add whatever it decides is "one thing too many." Once I changed out the original PSU, the NVidia card and drivers ran smoothly... that is, until I added that one thing too many. Once I did that, not only did the video card go hinky, but suddenly, the wifi began cutting in and out (or just disappearing altogether and swearing that I had no drivers). What's more, the computer itself slowed like it was trying to pull a car uphill. And yet, none of the temps anywhere rose above 40C.

This indicates to me, at least, that whatever might be the issue, I can no longer assume that the PSU or video card really is the problem. Since that is the case, my solution at this point is to send the computer back to the builder and get a refund. I just don't have anymore time to deal with this.

I don't mean that snippishly, by the way, but literally: I just got emails from three businesses that are interested in having me do some video work for them. I MUST be able to rely on my computer, especially since that's the entire reason I bought it.

For now, I'm just going to have to limp back to my lappy and do what I can until I can take a bit of time out to either buy or build what I need.

#5 Wildabeast

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:50 PM

I understand your frustration. I'm thinking it may be your external HD. Something about it is screwed up. Like you said

until I added that one thing too many.

If you haven't sent your computer back yet, is there another computer you can hook your external to? Or does it work OK with your laptop? I've had very little experience with externals, the one I have has worked great for the few years I've owned it. :blink:
"The nine most feared words in the english language, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help'..."
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