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Unsure whether PSU or Motherboard has issues


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#1 malcontents

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 09:59 PM

Hello all, I'm looking for help identifying an issue with my PC running Windows 8.1 x64 (I have StartIsBack don't worry :P).

With somewhat growing frequency, my PC will randomly turn off and reboot.  Not like it shuts down then reboots, more like it acts like it suddenly lost power, then restarts as if I had just turned it on.

I have been looking but to no avail have I been able to identify any trends relating to a particular task I would be performing; it seems to be completely random.

 

Also, not sure if this is related or not, but sometimes my PC can also lock up, I want to call it more of it hesitates.  I still can move the mouse and numlock will turn on and off (another way I check to see if it's completely frozen), but whatever programs I was using freeze up for up to a minute.  Then everything I clicked on will all load.  For example, I usually try to bring up task manager and test launching another program when I know it is beginning, but only once it un"hesitates" does it load both.  If I'm in something processing/listening to audio, such as FL Studio, the track will continue to play but the program will not respond to any inputs, or only one before becoming unresponsive.  CPU usage also drops to 0%, as I noticed when it froze while copying a large file.  Unlike my problem above, this issue seems to have more of a trend of happening more when the system is under a (heavy) load (copying large files, compressing to an archive, rendering audio tracks, even playing a YouTube video while multiple other programs are open). I am unsure if this problem is relevant or related, but just in case I wanted to mention it.

 

Is there a good way to test what component could be failing?  To my understanding, I would think that either my PSU or Motherboard could be at fault for this(these) behaviors.  If I can't find anything else I will and definitely am willing to physically inspect the PC for bloated capacitors or something, but my knowledge is somewhat limited to what I have stated.  Any tips or advice are appreciated!  Now that I'm really thinking, I will trying using Safemode and see if these problems exist, but I think unfortunately they are hardware issues.  Happy to answer any questions that might clarify or help.

 

PC Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-8350

Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme4 (ATX)

RAM: G.SKill Sniper Series 16GB DDR3 @ 1866MHz (8GB x2)

Storage: Samsung 850 Pro SSD 512GB

Samsung 840 Evo SSD 120GB

Western Digital Black (Performance) HD 7200 RPM 1TB x2

GPU: Asus R9 280X DCU II TOP Edition

PSU: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Semi-Modular

OS: Windows 8.1 x64

 

Tests (Will update)

Safemode test: Unexpected power loss still occurs, however no "hesitating"/freezing yet

Memtest 86+: No errors found testing both modules together

Memtest 86+ Individual: Planned next test

SeaTools Test: All 4 drives passed the "Short Generic" test

Motherboard Inspection: Planned next test


Edited by malcontents, 03 April 2018 - 04:17 PM.


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#2 ranchhand_

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 08:44 AM

I usually start with testing the usual suspects when having this kind of random problem.

> Unless you have a power supply tester, OR you know how to use a voltage tester, the only way is to swap your PS with one you know for sure is good. However...do this last after testing other components.

> First, enter Safe Mode and use your computer normally. If your problems stop, then you have a software problem not a hardware problem. Then run a clean boot into normal mode and see if your problems stop. If so, one of the disabled items is causing problems. If you need any further help on this, post back.

> Test your memory using Memtest 86+. Do one stick at a time. Download the ISO, burn to a CD/DVD, and boot with the disk in the optical drive. Be sure to set your drive to 1st boot device in the BIOS. Any red posts at the bottom of the screen will indicate a bad memory module.

> Test your HDD using Seatools for Windows; run the short test first, if you get a "fail" notice, run the long test. If Seatools says it cannot find a drive, use GSmart Control.

> Mainboard:

> Open the side panel of your case. Check the motherboard capacitors for failure. This used to be a major problem, but mobo manufacturers have tightened their quality requirements for capacitors and it is not so prevalent now.  Capacitors look like small, "Quaker Oats" round boxes set on-end. They are commonly silver color, but can be black, green or brown. The tops of these should be perfectly flat on top; if there are any that are bulging upward, and if there is "goo" on the tops, possibly running down the side, or even on the bottom, that capacitor has failed. Even if the cap to is bulging with no electrolyte seeping out it is bad.

There are many capacitors on a motherboard, some large and some small. Check them all. The easiest way to do this is disconnect the computer and lay it on its side with a bright light shining in, a flashlight is good. If you find any, you have found your problem.

Additional info link:   http://badcaps.net/index.php?pageid=identity Note the pictures on the right hand side. If you find even only one on your mobo, you have found your problem. I have also attached a picture I took of one unit I recently worked on. Note the good caps on the left, and the bad caps covered with electrolyte on the right.

This will get you started; post back with results.


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#3 MadmanRB

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:44 AM

If I had a culprit it would be the PSU, some in the corsair CM series are known to be of sub par quality.

 

It probably needs replacing anyhow so I would start there.


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#4 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 01:19 PM

PC Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-8350

Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme4 (ATX)

RAM: G.SKill Sniper Series 16GB DDR3 @ 1866MHz

Storage: Samsung 850 Pro SSD 512GB

Samsung 840 Evo SSD 120GB

Western Digital Black (Performance) HD 7200 RPM 1TB x2

GPU: Asus R9 280X DCU II TOP Edition

PSU: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Semi-Modular

OS: .............Windows 8.1 x64??!!

 

Eee... All that lovely hardware....and then you go and cripple it with Windoze.

 

(You'll have to forgive me. They all know about my strange sense of humour on here by now...  :P )

 

Haven't used MyCrudSoft's 'abomination' for years.....

 

 

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#5 The-Toolman

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 01:31 PM

Eee... All that lovely hardware....and then you go and cripple it with Windoze.

 

 

(You'll have to forgive me. They all know about my strange sense of humour on here by now...  :P )

 

Haven't used MyCrudSoft's 'abomination' for years.....

 

 

Mike.  :wink:

 

You're Killing Me Mike.  :hysterical: 


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#6 malcontents

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 04:24 PM

I usually start with testing the usual suspects when having this kind of random problem.

> Unless you have a power supply tester, OR you know how to use a voltage tester, the only way is to swap your PS with one you know for sure is good. However...do this last after testing other components.

> First, enter Safe Mode and use your computer normally. If your problems stop, then you have a software problem not a hardware problem. Then run a clean boot into normal mode and see if your problems stop. If so, one of the disabled items is causing problems. If you need any further help on this, post back.

> Test your memory using Memtest 86+. Do one stick at a time. Download the ISO, burn to a CD/DVD, and boot with the disk in the optical drive. Be sure to set your drive to 1st boot device in the BIOS. Any red posts at the bottom of the screen will indicate a bad memory module.

> Test your HDD using Seatools for Windows; run the short test first, if you get a "fail" notice, run the long test. If Seatools says it cannot find a drive, use GSmart Control.

> Mainboard:

> Open the side panel of your case. Check the motherboard capacitors for failure. This used to be a major problem, but mobo manufacturers have tightened their quality requirements for capacitors and it is not so prevalent now.  Capacitors look like small, "Quaker Oats" round boxes set on-end. They are commonly silver color, but can be black, green or brown. The tops of these should be perfectly flat on top; if there are any that are bulging upward, and if there is "goo" on the tops, possibly running down the side, or even on the bottom, that capacitor has failed. Even if the cap to is bulging with no electrolyte seeping out it is bad.

There are many capacitors on a motherboard, some large and some small. Check them all. The easiest way to do this is disconnect the computer and lay it on its side with a bright light shining in, a flashlight is good. If you find any, you have found your problem.

Additional info link:   http://badcaps.net/index.php?pageid=identity Note the pictures on the right hand side. If you find even only one on your mobo, you have found your problem. I have also attached a picture I took of one unit I recently worked on. Note the good caps on the left, and the bad caps covered with electrolyte on the right.

This will get you started; post back with results.

Thanks for the help! Will be completing these tests and updating the post regarding each test result.

 

If I had a culprit it would be the PSU, some in the corsair CM series are known to be of sub par quality.

 

It probably needs replacing anyhow so I would start there.

I'm wondering whether these symptoms can be caused by placing to much demand on the PSU.  I'm not saying the times coincide, but I can't remember this issue (issues) happening before I added the second Western Digital 1TB HD, which is the latest component I have installed (roughly few months ago).  Maybe I need to consider getting a PSU with a higher wattage output.

 

 

PC Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-8350

Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme4 (ATX)

RAM: G.SKill Sniper Series 16GB DDR3 @ 1866MHz

Storage: Samsung 850 Pro SSD 512GB

Samsung 840 Evo SSD 120GB

Western Digital Black (Performance) HD 7200 RPM 1TB x2

GPU: Asus R9 280X DCU II TOP Edition

PSU: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Semi-Modular

OS: .............Windows 8.1 x64??!!

 

Eee... All that lovely hardware....and then you go and cripple it with Windoze.

 

(You'll have to forgive me. They all know about my strange sense of humour on here by now...  :P )

 

Haven't used MyCrudSoft's 'abomination' for years.....

 

 

Mike.  :wink:

 

Haha I am open to other OSs but everything I use is on this machine so no real reason or way to switch without a lot of effort or building another rig.



#7 MadmanRB

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 04:38 PM

Yeah you may be pushing it with that PSU, at base the PSU calculator recommends 650W.

 

https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator

You are not doing anything crazy like custom water pumps or liquid cooling right?


Edited by MadmanRB, 03 April 2018 - 04:41 PM.

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#8 malcontents

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 05:29 PM

Yeah you may be pushing it with that PSU, at base the PSU calculator recommends 650W.

 

https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator

You are not doing anything crazy like custom water pumps or liquid cooling right?

Oh nice that website is very useful.  As far as my system goes no I'm not doing anything crazy, Hyper 212 CPU cooler, 6 cheapo case fans.  Still I am considering upgrading to perhaps a 700W unit.



#9 MadmanRB

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 06:52 PM

Okay well if you are going to get another PSU please consult this list:

 

https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/631048-psu-tier-list-updated/

 

The PSU tier list is a good guide on buying a good PSU.

Anything above tier 3 is considered good though if something on tier 3 is all you can afford than it will do just not be as strong.

Mine is a tier 2, not the best but still good.

Just avoid anything tier 4 and below.


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#10 ranchhand_

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 06:59 PM

Ok, you had failure in Safe Mode  but no freezing. Interesting.

Power supply: many folks are on a tight budget, so I try to make sure by testing before arriving at a PS cause. From the components you post I think 600 Watts is plenty. But if you are planning on replacing the power supply anyway, then go ahead and do so.  But...if you are like many and money is a consideration, I suggest continuing to test. Your choice.

> Next, I suggest a clean boot, and run the unit for a while. If the problems stop, that will be a strong indicator as to the cause.

> If the computer still auto-reboots running a clean boot, test your Reset Button, and next your Power button on the front panel. I have seen plenty of times that these start to short out, and the result is the sudden reboot what you are experiencing. Start with the reset button, and next the power button. It's easy: open the case and trace the cable from the reset switch to where it plugs in to the mainboard. Pull it off there, revealing two wire contacts. Now start your computer and run it for while to test. If still reboots, do the same thing with the Power switch cable, and use a screwdriver to cross the two contacts on the mobo, and the computer will boot up. Run it for a while to test.


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#11 malcontents

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 07:19 PM

Ok, you had failure in Safe Mode  but no freezing. Interesting.

Power supply: many folks are on a tight budget, so I try to make sure by testing before arriving at a PS cause. From the components you post I think 600 Watts is plenty. But if you are planning on replacing the power supply anyway, then go ahead and do so.  But...if you are like many and money is a consideration, I suggest continuing to test. Your choice.

> Next, I suggest a clean boot, and run the unit for a while. If the problems stop, that will be a strong indicator as to the cause.

> If the computer still auto-reboots running a clean boot, test your Reset Button, and next your Power button on the front panel. I have seen plenty of times that these start to short out, and the result is the sudden reboot what you are experiencing. Start with the reset button, and next the power button. It's easy: open the case and trace the cable from the reset switch to where it plugs in to the mainboard. Pull it off there, revealing two wire contacts. Now start your computer and run it for while to test. If still reboots, do the same thing with the Power switch cable, and use a screwdriver to cross the two contacts on the mobo, and the computer will boot up. Run it for a while to test.

I suspect the freezing is probably a driver/software issue, and the power failure is hardware related. As for your advice regarding the possible shorted switches, thanks I would never have thought of something like that but of course will test them out amoung the other tests when I open the PC up this weekend. I won't replace the PSU until I'm fairly certain that it is my problem.

 

Okay well if you are going to get another PSU please consult this list:

 

https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/631048-psu-tier-list-updated/

 

The PSU tier list is a good guide on buying a good PSU.

Anything above tier 3 is considered good though if something on tier 3 is all you can afford than it will do just not be as strong.

Mine is a tier 2, not the best but still good.

Just avoid anything tier 4 and below.

Perfect thanks! If it boils down to be my best option I will definitely use this list for purchasing.



#12 ranchhand_

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:22 AM

 

driver/software issue

When you ran in Safe Mode, you still had reboots. Most, if not all, of the peripheral drivers were not functional in safe mode, so it would be impossible for them to cause a crash. Again, I strongly suggest running with clean boot for an additional test.

Another suggestion: monitor your CPU and system heat. Reboots can be caused by overheating, especially if the computer is older and hasn't been cleaned. Check for dust buildup in your CPU heatsink.

As far as the PS unit; very difficult to test without a dedicated tester. If you can find one that you know for sure is good to swap with, that would verify that possibility for sure. All it takes is for one of the rails to have fluctuating voltages to cause the type of problem you are experiencing. It can be crazy; I just had one of my SATA power plugs go bad. The others on the same cable are fine. Without a tester I would have had difficulty finding that out.


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#13 malcontents

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 03:42 PM

 
driver/software issue

When you ran in Safe Mode, you still had reboots. Most, if not all, of the peripheral drivers were not functional in safe mode, so it would be impossible for them to cause a crash. Again, I strongly suggest running with clean boot for an additional test.
Another suggestion: monitor your CPU and system heat. Reboots can be caused by overheating, especially if the computer is older and hasn't been cleaned. Check for dust buildup in your CPU heatsink.
As far as the PS unit; very difficult to test without a dedicated tester. If you can find one that you know for sure is good to swap with, that would verify that possibility for sure. All it takes is for one of the rails to have fluctuating voltages to cause the type of problem you are experiencing. It can be crazy; I just had one of my SATA power plugs go bad. The others on the same cable are fine. Without a tester I would have had difficulty finding that out.
I could be mistaken, but I think you might have misunderstood my last reply and I just want to clarify, because I was saying that some driver/software issue must be causing the freezing, not the power failure, as proved by the absence of the freezing but presence of power failure in safe-mode. Anyways, I'm about to tear into my rig and complete the other tests. I don't have a PSU tester or a spare laying around but I figure I might be able to test voltages with a voltmeter.

#14 ranchhand_

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 09:12 AM

In that case, use a clean boot to diagnose if a driver is causing the problems. I suspect your power supply, but since it has not been tested it's just a guess. You can unplug all your HDDs except for the Windows drive to test since you mentioned that you noticed this after you added multiple drives.

Have you tested the memory, one stick at a time?


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.





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