Is my Power Supply Dying

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Wistrel, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    OK so following from my last problem with the graphics card I have a new more serious issue. Now my PC won't start. It turns on for a random number of seconds maybe 1-5 (it varies each time) then repeats. Sometimes it gets further sometimes it barely makes a seconds or so.

    A friend suggested I remove the gfx card and hey presto it started posting (ie beep code for "I have not gfx"). So then I cleaned the PC got all the dust out etc cleaned the dust filter and that's all good (ie CPu not getting hot and stuff now).

    Put the gfx back in and no joy... same issue. Tried swapping the power cable on it over and one false start and all good. Then several reboots to test and all still good so used it last night.

    This morning it is back to the re-starting after 1-5 seconds. So I've had to leave it off.

    So... other info. The power supply is 400w and when I bought the gfx card (XFX 260gtx black) I knew it was on the edge of maxing the PSU. I carefully balanced everything on the rails and did the calcs and worked out I could just about pull it off without changing the PSU. This has been fine for 2 years now.

    The Power supply is 10 years old and has a dodgy fan that occasionally unbalances and makes a loud whirring noise. Most of the time it is fine though...

    So... thoughts and advice? I have a spare gfx card I think I can stably use for now (an 8500gt cause it won't pull as much power) This definitely feels like a power/gfx card issue to me. But what has changed?

    - is it that the PSU suddenly can't deliver as much power as it used to?
    - or is it that the gfx card is suddenly pulling more?
    - or have I missed something (I'm sure it isn't the switch)

    the problem is that I've got two potentially malfunctioning components and either could be causing issues with the other....

    A friend suggested I buy a new power supply because if I do that and it turns out the gfx card is faulty I'd need a new power supply most likely for a NEW graphics card anyhow.

  2. khaos

    khaos DnB'addict

    I can't really tell what the problem is. It would need some more troubleshooting, and that's not my best skill :)

    I suggest you go to, create an account and ask the question there. There are a lot of skilled professionals on that website that know a whole lot more than your average joe. They will probably guide you trough the troubleshooting to find the faulty part.
  3. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    From my memory I had the same issue and thought "well, it can't be the PSU" so I changed everything else and it turned out to be the PSU anyway and it was not as old as yours. So, my ques is that for some reason your PSU is producing less power. But to be a 100% sure I have no idea how to test that other then to test with a multimeter and see the actual power that comes out of it, but I'm not sure if that is even possible or safe ;)

    I think Khaos's idea is a nice one and even your friends idea sound OK and he probably is right as well.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Nor Alien

    Nor Alien Wisker Fish

    Yep. I would also think it's the power supply. I had the same problem with my card when I updated. It says it needs a minimum of 450 watts to run and my psu was 750.

    Next thing is, even though it says it runs at 750 watt, it really doesn't. That is max rating and it can't run on maxed all the time. Plus the 450 watt was the minimum requirement needed to run the vid card, but when using software demanding heavy processes, it can draw alot more.

    Power supplies will lose their ability to run at a constent power over time. Due to heat and wear. Even power supplies I build for my electronics are going to have to be replaced in 5 to 8 years. Nothing lasts for ever. :wink:
  5. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    Yep if you have a good PSU it will run at about 85%, and with your 10 year old one that will have dropped, so I guess it had dropped to low.
  6. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    OK so interesting. Having read a bunch of stuff about PSU and gfx cards being underpowered and the effect it sounded very familiar. (artifacts, drivers stalling suddenly and so forth). So I bought a new power supply. I remember my gfx card claimed I needed an insanely big one something like 650W I think (I was running on a 400W). Anyhow, according to some folks on the internet the card has a maximum draw of 225W but I don't know if its possible to verify this...

    I checked my old PSU and it wasn't getting above this. I think it was a max of 204W on the 12v lines, claimed something like 17 and 15 amps on each giving 204 and 180 watts respectively.

    The new one (a 500 watt) delivers a lot more on those lines, 400 or something max. Even the Amps was something like 25 and 20 which is 300W or 240w.

    So I installed the new one though last night and....

    Wow its so quiet (and has a much bigger intake fan) so it was a worthwhile upgrade regardless but...

    Same issue. I got it going after a few attempts of re fitting the gfx card everything good played entropia a bit all fine for a few hours (actually it seemed a LOT smoother and cleaner.... and quicker to go in and out but that could be my fancy).

    This morning though, same issue, won't boot. :'( its got to be something to do with the card but I don't know what cause its clearly temperamental whatever it is and fixed by taking the card out, shaking it and putting it back in... then it breaks if you leave the PC off....

    So... I don't know now. I'm away for a few days so no more time to test for a bit. I guess I'll see if I can get it stable with an old geforce8500 and then try the gtx260 in someone else's computer, maybe try a high end one from someone elses machine in mine...

    Would be annoying to have to fork out for a new card though on an intermittent problem... -_-

  7. Nor Alien

    Nor Alien Wisker Fish

    Your new psu might not be powerfull enough to sustain your card. You say your power supply can supply 20 to 25 amps, and I did a quick check and found that you need about 32 to 38 amps at the rails. It may just be that your psu isn't strong enough to handle your card, so checking it in a system with a bigger psu will help solve the problem.

    If your card recommends you use a power supply of 650W, it is more then likely a good idea to use that size of psu. This is usually a minimun recommendation as well. So it may require higher if continuous use is planned. :wink:

    Here is some requirements for your card.

    It says that a 500W supply with at least 38 amps to the 12v rails is the minimum. If you plan on using your system for long periods of time, it can reduce the life of your power supply even kill it, by continuously drawing the power that is close to peak of your psu. I would still suggest you purchase a psu that is higher. (650W to 750W)

    The example given above is just that, an example. The real world though is a bit different. Your new psu may supply a peak voltage of 500W but it might have an average voltage of 350W to 400W. This is why most card manufacturers recommend higher psu's. They take into acount that not all systems are equal. Your system may just need more power then most. If so, your new psu may run for a bit, but then die early.

    Just fyi, not all power supplies are equal. I have seen 650W psu's that can't even run simple tasks on most computers, so spending some extra cash for a good name brand, with the proper spec's, will help you out in the long run. :wink:

    Quick edit: Running your vid card with a power supply that can't support it, can seriously damage your card. When you check it in a comp that has a bigger psu, and it dosen't run, it may have been damaged. If so and you plan on buying a new card, you may still need to change out your psu.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
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