Random shutdowns

By Traverse ยท 18 replies
Apr 20, 2008
  1. Hello, so this issue arose some time ago, but my computer from time to time randomly restarts or turns off. At times when it restarts, I get no video, so I cut it off and it won't come back. Same issue as when it shuts down, I hit the power, the fans will spin and it quits on me. The only remedy is to take the processors power connector from the motherboard. So my question is, is this a cpu, psu or mobo issue?

    EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card

    A-DATA 2GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (underclocked to 667, 3006GB found)

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6300

    ASUS P5B (motherboard)


    Linksys Wireless-G Card (disabled)

    Creative Soundmax Audigy SE


    320GB SATA Seagate HDD

    500GB SATA Seagate HDD

    80GB PATA Maxtor HDD (Primary OS)

    Windows Vista 32-bit

    USB thing that came with the motherboard. Goes into the motherboard's USB thing instead of a PCI. O.O

    Plugged into the PC I have:

    MI Keyboard, 20 bucks at walmart?
    Razer Copperhead mouse
    T-Mobile Dash
    Ethernet Cabel

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    ...Ooorrr, it's that paper weight you have for a PSU :). Try borrowing or buying another one.
  3. Traverse

    Traverse TS Rookie Topic Starter

    What would you suggest? I'm on a bit of a budget. :)
  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    How tight?
  5. Traverse

    Traverse TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'd rather not spend over 80, but that's impossible, so $120.
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    ELT400AWT $64.99 (After MIR)

    I would definitely try and borrow a PSU from a buddy or relative first, though, if possible.
  7. Traverse

    Traverse TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you, but what exactly about this one makes it better than my current?
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Specification-wise, the ELT400AWT has Active PFC whereas your current PSU has none at all, it has more amps on the 12V rail, probably a better hold-up time and it's 80% efficient (among other partially irrelevant things). More importantly, the ELT400AWT is of a higher quality.

    On a side note, if you take a look at Newegg, one and two egg reviews for your PSU make up 30% of all the reviews it has (37). The ELT400AWT's one and two egg reviews account for 4% of the total reviews (80). Take that how you care to...
  9. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Having random restarts, and trying to power it again immediately, and failing, seems to me like a heat issue.

    Taking out the connector might just be allowing the PC to cool down, and when you actually do reconnect it, it's cooled down sufficiently to actually start back up.

    Check the temps, you might just need to change the CPU heatsink or something, which you can do under 60 bux.

    However, it is pointed out that your current PSU is not a really good one, so I'd look into changing it to a good PSU. I wouldn't go for the 400W one neither, no matter how efficient it is (Note Traverse's HDD count, RAM count, PCI cards...). The easiest way to choose a good PSU, would be just to weigh it. Generally, the better PSUs will be heavier. Or just stick with good brands; cheap, no-namers tend to make PSUs which don't last, or don't supply the right voltages (2.5V instead of 3V on the 3V rail....), or have calculated their max wattage in a really crappy way (I'll explain)...

    As a user, you'd want maximum wattage to be the maximum watts produced by your PSU right? However, another way cheaper PSU manufacturers calculate their max wattage is via testing each rail independantly, instead of together with the other rails, and adding all the wattages together. This gives a much higher wattage, but when you actually try to use all the rails to their rated maximum, the whole thing just fails....

    And it can be dangerous too, since the PSU might overheat, burn up, and start a fire.....

    Also bear in mind that maximum wattage for all PSUs are measured according to room temperature (set at 21C). Even good PSUs don't produce their max wattages for too long under normal operating circumstances, since they heat up. Bad PSUs just fail way before anything happens....

    Bottom line is, check your temps first. Get rid of the PSU later.
  10. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    double post.
  11. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Not exactly sure what his motherboard consumes, but let's throw it at the high end of things, 50W. The E6300 consumes around 65W. His RAM is probably between 1-3W per module, so, lets go with the absolute max at 3 x 4 = 12W. I believe the 7600GT tops out at around 35W. I can't find the exact power consumption of his exact sound card, however, other comparable Audigy's consume around 3W. His HDD's probably consume somewhere in the range of 9W (idle) to 20W (seek). So, running all of his drives at peak transfer at the same time with the absolute maximum of 20W each = 60W. I bet his DVD-RW pulls around 15W at full speed. His keyboard and mouse and an iPod charging is probably around 3W at max (just guessing, though, I'd bet they really don't draw much at all).

    So, here's the scenario: Traverse's CPU is at 100% load, his RAM is fully occupied, his HDD's are all seeking/transferring at their maximum capabilities simultaneously, his VPU is being pushed to the edge, he is blasting music on surround sound, occupying every bit of bandwidth his NIC has, burning a DVD, charging his iPod and all the while he's bashing on his keyboard and letting the kitty play with his mouse.

    Though rough, I overestimated in every situation that I'm aware of so in all likelihood it's less than this, but, if he were pushing every component to the limit, he'd be pulling around 50W + 65W + 12W + 35W + 3W + 60W + 15W + 3W = 243W.

    Still think he needs something better than that ELT400AWT?

    Traverse, it is indeed very possible that heat is causing your restarts. That is definitely worth checking out (either before or after the PSU), either way, I would suggest you try and borrow the PSU before actually purchasing one. If you do decide to purchase the ELT400AWT, do so through Newegg or another trustworthy outlet so you can return it if need be (though, I'd probably keep it regardless).
  12. Traverse

    Traverse TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh, I forgot to mention I have 2x120mm case fans (i think that's the size) and Artic Cooler 7 freezer pro on the processor.

    The CPU is usually at: 50 whole, and 28-35 on both cores
    so it reads: 48, 31, 32 right now. The GPU temp is at 52 right now. The mobo temp is always at 35, and no clue how hot the ram gets.

    The HDD's all sit around 32 aswell and the PSU is 120. All heats are in C.

    I was never actually looking at the temps before it crashed, but I did have to underclock my ram from 800 to 667 when I got my razer copperhead as my Vista kept giving me BSODs, BUT this issue existed before I got the mouse.

    It is possible I messed up with the thermal paste as I needed to repaste it, so I took what was on it off, put the new stuff on when nature called. So I was gone for a few seconds before I put the heat sink on the paste. Oh and once more, thanks for your responses.
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Need? Probably not.

    Do remember tho, like I said, as temperature rises, the max wattage lowers. Couple that in with the efficiency rating, and factor in the fact that as capacitors age (on the motherboard and PSU both), your power consumption will go up.

    Sure, it'll run fine with a 400W, but I'd rather go an extra 100W (which doesn't cost much more). That way, when you add more stuff (TV Tuner, HDDs, DVD-RWs, fans, whatever), you don't have to worry about the extra load.

    Besides, lets fix his problem first.

    When checking your temps, I'd recommend checking it with something that hogs CPU power running. With the E6300, Intel TAT should do fine. It will simulate a computer environment where the CPU is under stress, while monitoring your temperatures as well.

    Here's the link: http://www.overclock.net/downloads/138139-intel-tat.html

    Your GPU should be fine, besides, if that was overheating, you'd be complaining about weird things happening on your screen (random lines appearing is common). So lets just concentrate on the CPU temps.
  14. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    There is no "Probably" about it. He does not need a 500W PSU.

    The situation that I have outlined above is unrealistic because of both the situation and rounding. That situation is absolutely ridiculous (by design) and the numbers I've provided are rounded up by quite a bit in at least two situations. In a real world situation is PC isn't pulling anywhere near 200W if measured with something such as Kill-A-Watt. The 500W version of that PSU (not that he's bound to that particular model) is an additional $20. So, for another $20 he can gain literally 0% performance. Wooo. Wasted potential for the win eh?

    He's already posted his temperatures (which are fine, as I'm sure you're aware). Yet, you continue to focus in on them as you tend to do in most threads.

    If you know what Traverse's problem is, by all means, go ahead and fill us in.

    I will spare this thread of my presence. Good luck to you, Traverse. I am sure CMH will eventually work out a solution for you, even if it costs you an extra bill or two heh.

    Ignorance is bliss they say...
  15. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    zzzz I hate online rage.

    This is the overclocking and cooling forum anyway.

    I'm just trying to discount overheating as the cause of the problem, since it might be a quick, cheap, fix, instead of buying a whole new PSU. Since you mentioned that those temps are as you are using it: ie, under light loads; I'd want to see what those temps are like under heavy loads.

    Of course, if the temps come out fine, I'm not gonna bug you about temps anymore, and look for some other problem, another of which may be the RAM, since you've already have some issues with it, requiring an underclock of them.
  16. KaitenV

    KaitenV TS Rookie Posts: 16

    well TAT claims I have a pentium M. I've been running utorrent all night and just got on, so that's as idle as it gets.

    Starts at: 27 | 29

    Under load by TAT: 39 | 41
  17. Traverse

    Traverse TS Rookie Topic Starter

  18. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    If you're willing to spend the money, sure, its a pretty solid product. It is well within specs, and will deliver more than the rated power (according to a few reviews), so it should be a good investment.

    Of course, I'd still recommend making sure its the PSU thats giving the problem, and the fastest way to do this is to swap it over with another PSU (from a friend or another computer, etc). Make sure you test it thoroughly; ie: actually using the computer as usual for a day or so with the new PSU, or try to get it to restart/turn off.
  19. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I did a quick search on possible problems which may cause random restarts. While most were due to heat problems, other problems you might want to consider:
    1) bad capacitors
    2) bad components (RAM or Graphics card most common)
    3) underrated PSU
    4) bad firmware (solved via updating)
    5) malware
    6) using a Mac :)D:D:D Google random shutdown, and about halfway through the page onwards, its willed with Mac shutdowns. Filter it out, and you'd find mostly handphone problems. Mac anyone?)

    Might be unlikely, but in your case, is there a possibility of your connector being a problem? I personally get problems with my SATA cable, where my comp won't boot up, but opening my case, and re-plugging the SATA cables seem to do the trick. It happens about twice a year, so I'm not too worried about it, but in your case, I'm assuming its happening too often.

    If this is the case, other than the dangerous solution of replacing the connector (which would require cutting and crimping the wires), you'd probably need to replace the PSU.
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