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Possible under-powered psu or gpu fault


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#1
fishtheorange

fishtheorange

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Hi, having a strange problem with the hardware on my pc...
XP SP2
Athlon X2 2800
4g DDRAM
Sapphire X1950XT
No overclock

I recently had my GeForce 9600GT fail on me so reverted back to an old ATi Radeon 1950XT. Once I installed it it was fine until I tried to play a game on it. I can run movies and other software no problem but games... Half Life 2 for example will load but once I start the game I hear the fan spin up and within a few seconds the pc will freeze or just shutdown without warning.
Using the ATiTool, once I select 'show 3d image' to test the framerate, it will run for (again) 2-3 seconds then freeze or shutdown.
I have checked the temperatures because I was worried that it could be an issue as I live in Thailand and it can get quite hot in my room, generally over 34 degrees everyday. But although they are high (idle around 88-92 degrees Celsius), it doesnt seem to directly affect the gpu or cause it to die. What I mean is that although the temperature rises when underload, it will crash before it gets above 97 degrees, which although high, is probably not enough to damage the gpu (is it?)

I have now thought that it could be a psu issue. I have a 500W PSU but these symptoms suggest to me that when underload, the gpu is using more power than the psu can give, therefor the system failure. The psu is a random brand name and since I bought it here I doubt it would be up to standards of Antec or other decent brands...

Does anyone have any suggestions on this?
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#2
Digerati

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Does anyone have any suggestions on this?

I have a canned text on sizing and selecting a new one:

Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite to determine your power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30%, and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or Folding@Home), I recommend setting TDP to 100%. These steps ensure the supply has adequate head room for stress free operation and future demands. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:
  • Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
  • Efficiency,
  • Total wattage.
Then look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mechanic's PSU Reference List. Ensure the supplied amperage on the +12V rails of your chosen PSU meets the requirements of your video card. Don't try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply. And don't count on supplies that come included with a case. They are often underrated, budget or poor quality models "tossed in" to make the case sale. Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. I strongly recommend you pick a supply with an efficiency rating equal to, or greater than 80%. Look for the 80 Plus - EnergyStar Compliant label. And don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation), as surge and spike protectors are inadequate.
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#3
fishtheorange

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Right, thanks for that. I'm assuming that you also believe that the psu is at fault here, and as such, I will purchase a new one following your guidelines in the very near future.
Thanks again.
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#4
Digerati

Digerati

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I am not sure I would assume it bad, but it looks like it might be. And good power is always a necessity.
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