TechSpot

I have probs with new hardware

By TAAnderson
Jan 16, 2004
  1. I was wondering if I could get some help here.

    I'd say, that I've just bought a brand new computer.
    I've been desperately trying to find the source of the problem, but so far I was unsuccessful.
    I have a monitoring utility (Asus probe), that alerts me, when something is out of range.
    When I start one of the newest games available (e.g. Deus Ex - Invisible War) (something, that uses heavy 3D) my 12V begins increasing. After one or two minutes, it reaches the +10% limit (13.2V). The Asus probe warns me with the alarm. First I thought, that it must be showing a false value, so I ignored the warning, and continued playing. After some seconds the system kind of hung. But just as I was to reboot, the display came back in 640*480 16 colors, and I got the following error message:
    "Microsoft Windows has detected a hardware error, and thereafter stabilized. Save your unsaved works, and restart the system, to regain the full stability."

    Actually my Windows is not English, so this is just an approximate translation. I've checked the Asus probe, and it showed a maximum of 13.312V.

    Here are some details about my comp:

    MB: ASUS A7V600 (+integrated sound)

    CPU: AMD ATHLON XP BARTON 3000+ (on 2.2GHz)

    RAM: 1024MB

    DRIVES:
    2* 60GB MAXTOR HDD (7200rpm)
    1* (40x) TEAC CD-ROM
    1* DVD-RW
    1* FLOPPY DRIVE

    CARDS:
    1* REALTEK 10/100 ETHERNET LAN CARD

    PSU: 300W

    My guess is, that my 300W PSU is not capable of running this system.

    Anyone has any ideas?
     
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Which brand is the PSU?
     
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Almost certainly a PSU-problem. Go for an Antec or Enermax or Zalman (quiet...) PSU of about 450W.
     
  4. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've just checked: it says UNIPOWER
    That must be the brand (I've got the feeling, it's not the best brand around)
    I've found the following:

    Switching power supply
    Model: ATX300W P4READY
    Max 180W for +3.3V and +5V dc output combination
    Max 280W for +3.3V, +5V and +12V dc output combination

    This "P4 READY" is not a good sign, is it? :confused:
     
  5. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Your power-consumption with that big Barton is almost at the limit of your PSU!

    Read the first post "Power Supply concerns" in this forum
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=377

    Look here first:
    http://www.pcpowerandcooling.com/maxpc/index_cases.htm

    Before investing in a stronger PSU, see if one of your friends has a good 400W plus brand-name PSU yhat you might borrow first to try out if this is the problem.

    P4READY means it supports mobo's with Intels Pentium 4 processor, so that means it is reasonably up-to-date.
     
  6. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the infos!
    Unfortunately I don't think, that I could borrow my friends' PSU... they are not too familiar with computers... and thus they wouldn't understand. :)

    I've read the following in the topic you mentioned:
    "The two most wattage hungry components of your computer are the CPU and the video card."
    which reminded me about my video card. I forgot to share its details:
    GEXCUBE ATI RADEON 9600XT (8x) 128MB RAM

    One more think I don't know much about is my new CPU fan. I've never seen so large CPU cooler before. I thought it might require more than just 3W:
    CPU Cooler for socket 462/A/7/370 8025mm fan, two ball bearing, 1500-4600rpm speed adjustable copper base + 87x80x45h mm copper plated aluminum heatsink.
    If it does require more than 3W, then my power requirements are really on the edge.

    I'll read the whole topic "Power Supply Concerns...", I just tought, I check back here first. (it's going to take me some time to read everything, but it worth it)

    Thanks for your reply! :)
     
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    If your friends are not computer-"savvy", why don't you ask the shop where you got that PC from, if they can upgrade/exchange your PSU with a brand-name stronger one? Tell them you are going to put a few more harddisks in, [li'l white lie] and need more power. Is probably cheaper than buying a new one (and what do you do with the "old" one?)

    Which reminds me, you just bought it, it does not work, so give it back or get it fixed (bigger PSU) under warranty. Why should YOU spend money when the seller is at fault?
     
  8. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Actually the situation is a little complicated. Where I bought my new computer, this was a special bargain. I could make a choice: Either I take a case for free, or leave it. I was delighted. I thought I could save some money if I didn't have to buy a new PSU. Then they said I should choose. "Which one do you like?" - they asked me - "You can take this or this." - and they showed me _TWO_ cases. Both of them were the same. One was white, the other black. (I chose the white one :D)
    After I made my decision of the year, I still hoped I get lucky, and my new computer will like the new PSU. But they don't seem to get on with each other. :)
    If it really turns out, that my PSU is the source of the problem, then I will have to buy one. I'm not sure, how much it could cost.
     
  9. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Good point! If you just bought this system, it should be capable of running at least all the devices that were included in it. The shop where you bought it should have to upgrade that PSU at no cost to you(any builder that is worth dealing with would do it without question)
     
  10. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It is even more complicated...
    I only bought the motherboard and the RAM at this specific shop. Besides if they were to accept the fact, that my system doesn't run with their PSU, and they were willing to change it, I doubt they wouldn't charge extra for that... they are usually not too understanding.
    I got used to it. :(
    It took me a month to get the Barton 3000+ CPU. I practically visited every computer shop every day in December to finally get the processor.
    But it's not the problem. (at least I can't do anything to change that) I am prepared to buy a 400W or 450W good-branded PSU in order to get my computer to work. The question is: will it solve my problem?
    A branded PSU can't cost that much..... or can it?
     
  11. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    I was under the impression that the shop had assembled the machine and sold it to you. That would make things very different.
    Your best bet is to just buy a new PSU if that turns out to be the problem, which seems likely from what you have said. Not so much that it is faulty, just that it isn't big enough to handle the load.

    And yes, 450W should be plenty. I would recommend Enermax.
     
  12. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK. My first thing on Monday is to buy a new PSU.
    Thanks for your help! :)
     
  13. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  14. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That looks nice too, but I must admit, I can't afford that much money for a PSU at the moment. :(

    I've found this one:
    ATX12V 400W COOLINK AP-450DX
    with Active PFC

    Is Coolink good (or relativly good)?
     
  15. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    I looked around for that PSU, but found only the manufacturers in Taiwan and 2 (two) references from an former Eastblock country, Hungary. Not too promising, I'm afraid.
     
  16. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You know why's that?

    Because I'm a Hungarian... :)

    So you suggest I wait until I have enough money for a Enermax 450W.

    (You're the first one I met on the Internet, who actually wrote down the word "Hungary". I find it reassuring, that there are people out there knowing that this country does exist.)
    (Now I also know why is Coolink so cheap...)

    One more question:
    I'm not 100% sure what this PFC is. Is this the 'thing' that compensates the voltage fluctuations? There seems to be PSUs with and without this property. (Needless to say, the ones without this are much cheaper.) My guess is, this is not something I want to save money on.
     
  17. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    PFC stands for Power Factor Correction
    If you really wanto to know what it means and does, look here:
    http://www.dansdata.com/gz028.htm

    By the way, yours is supposed to be a beautiful country, and some of the wine they make is not to be sneezed at (Bull's Blood).

    Look around for other makes of PSU, like Thermaltake, Chieftec, CWT, Antec, Quiet-PC. If you live nearby, you may pop over to Austria or the Chech Republic.
    Check out www.amazon.co.uk, they are very cheap with their shipping charges.

    Just found this article in Artesyn's PSU-plant in Hungary
    http://www.electronicstalk.com/news/art/art122.html
     
  18. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've read the information about this Power Factor Correction. It can't hurt. I wasn't expecting that changing my 300W PSU to a 450W will cause my electric bill to drop anyway... :)
    Thanks for the links!

    It IS a beautiful country. Some things here are not the cheapest. (but if they were then it would be almost perfect)
    Bull's Blood... I didn't know it had a non-hungarian name :)
    They do a nice job there in Eger.

    If you are interested, you can check this out:
    (I usually go to this shop)

    http://www.mistral.hu/bolt/arlistakeret.php3?arl=100

    If you take a look at it, you'll see the currently available PSUs.
    Look for "SZÁMITÓGÉPHÁZ TÁPEGYSÉG". (search relatively close to the end)
    SZÁMITÓGÉPHÁZ = computer case
    TÁPEGYSÉG = PSU
    Nettó ár = net price
    Bruttó ár = gross price

    Oh, one more thing:
    1 USD = 210 HUF

    If you click on the (i) sign, you can get extra information (you will likely not understand...)

    Unfortunately I didn't hear anything about this Artesyn until now.

    Hmm... shopping on-line at Amazon... I've never done on-line shopping before. Is it secure?
     
  19. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Before you go into spending money, try out the following first:
    disconnect both your CD-Rom and CDRW, disconnect the floppy drive and if you can, disconnect the second harddisk.
    By this I mean, only pull the power-connectors from the drives, leave the RIBBON-cables.
    If you need a CD-ROM to play the game, keep that one (not the CDRW) connected (You may have to change it from Slave to Master). If you have more than 1 stick of memory, take some out to keep only 512KB.
    That should reduce a fair bit of the load on the PSU.
    Now play that game Deus Ex again, and see if it maintains stability.
    If this now works, it is fair to assume that you need a bigger PSU.

    I have done a bit of research on this Coolink company. Apparently they are a new outfit, trying to break into the market. Their other products include CPU-coolers, and they seem to be very good (if a bit loud), even winning prizes already.
    The specs of the COOLINK AP-450DX look good, and I like the the dual fans and temperature-controlled fan-speed.
    But a lot of people prefer to buy from established and proven companies, such as Enermax and Antec, because a good powersupply is so important. I see that Enermax is available in your shop, but a fair bit more expensive than the lesser-known brands.

    Try first what I suggested above, then we'll talk some more about power-supplies, if they are your problem, OK?

    As for shopping online, I have been buying stuff on the internet for many years now, even from the US. I am a registered customer with Amazon, amongst many others, and they are as save as you can get it. Unfortunately they don't sell PSU's, so my idea has fallen through.

    Artesyn turned out to make power supplies for medical equipment etc., not for computers.
     
  20. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Checking out some more PSU's, from your Mistral-shop there is a very respectable alternative:
    SZÁMITÓGÉPHÁZ TÁP ATX12V 420W CHIEFTEC PFC NÉLKÜL, price 12960 16200 , which is slightly cheaper even than the COOLINK.
    This PSU model CT420AN also has 2 fans, even if they don't show them. I found that info on this page: http://www.kellytech.hu/hun/case/start_b.htm

    So now you have the choice between the well-known Chieftec with passive PFC, or a lesser known (but probably just as good) Coolink with active PFC and adjustable fanspeed.
    I'd say get the Coolink, unless you want to save up for the very expensive (but extremely good) Enermax.


    Should you be able to order from Germany, have a look at: http://www.komplett.de
     
  21. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Problem solved. :D The PSU wasn't adequate.

    I've bought a new AeroCool 550W PSU. Specifications:
    - Titanium-coated surface with acrylic windows
    - Blue UV active cable sleeve and connectors
    - Compatible with both P4 and AMD
    - 2x LED fans (quad blue)
    - Temperature speed control fans
    - UCP, OVP, SCP, PFC
    - 2x SATA cables

    AsusProbe now shows a constant 12.22V on the 12V line and the games don't hang after a couple of minutes.

    Thanks for your advices! I thought about this "disconnect-tactic" myself, but I have RAID-0 on my HDDs, and I need 1 CD-ROM for the game. (I could have disconnected 1 DVD-RW and a LAN card)
    I even thought about "underclocking". I mean reducing the clock frequency to a lower value like 1.3MHz, thus lowering the power comsumption of the system. But with this new PSU it runs perfectly.

    Something strange happened though, after I installed my new piece of hardware. My 1024MB RAM became 512MB...
    I've experienced this earlier with my old computer. Then it turned out, the RAM was damaged. But now I have no idea. I've checked if it is in its place right, and as far as I can tell, it was. I took it out, and repaced it. But at the moment it seems to be working fine. :confused:

    I'm delighted. :) Finally I can use my new computer.
     
  22. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Congratulations!

    You must have bought one of the best PSU's available on today's market. Initially I got the impression that you were an a bit of a budget....

    If you are worried about your memory, take it/them out and clean the contacts with an eraser. Blow off the eraser-remnants and put it back in. Try another slot to see if it makes any difference.
    To test the RAM, download Memtest from http://www.memtest86.com and let it run overnight. It will tell you if there are any problems.
     
  23. TAAnderson

    TAAnderson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Actually, this PSU was even cheaper (25 000 Ft) than the Enermax 450W (30 000 Ft).

    RAM seems to be working now. It must have been inserted badly into the slot. Now it's fine. :)
     
  24. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

  25. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    NoisySilence,
    Last night I tried out the modified program from your link, just for the heck of it.
    Unfortunately, that version does not work on my PC, whereas the one from memtest86.com DOES work. I'll email memtest.org with my findings.
     
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