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Windows 7: Is my PSU Dying?

16 Sep 2016   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Build 7600 / Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3
Is my PSU Dying?

Well... I had an interesting evening today.

Mom was using her PC as she normally does (formerly mine), when suddenly, a savage BSOD appeared, it pointed to atikumg (IIRC), so I assumed the drivers were faulty, so, I unisnstalled drivers, ran AMD driver cleanup, ran Ccleaner and upgraded to the latest drivers that VGA can have. No more BSODS, but system tends to hang completely at random times, which is weird.

This PC was working nicely since 2006... until just today, when it's exhbiting this symptoms just suddenly.

I've cleaned the system, removing any dust, replacing thermal paste on even the VGA itself, I need to test if problem persists tomorrow. System runs cool so far... I'm suspecting the PSU is dying somehow (I don't know how, probably a big ray that impacted nearby two days ago, even with the PC off?)

The VGA works, doesn't smell like burned... nor the PSU, all the rest of the components look good, no bad capacitors on the MoBo or such...

I'm leaving more details here if this helps somehow:
- CPU Temp Idle: 30 - 35 C
- CPU Temp Full Throttle: 50 C
- VGA Idle: 38 C
- VGA Stressed/Full Throttle: 55 C

The VGA is a Radeon HD 4350... not a gaming card, not even a card that draws a lot of power, the PSU is a PiXXo Transformer 800W 80+ Certification. The rest can be found on my System Spec section.

Is the PSU dying or the VGA? This setup worked like a charm 8+ years or so... this just started to happen suddenly. Ah! This tends to happen whenever she browses the web, keeping Firefox and Thunderbird open at the same time while using Winamp to hear some online music, both have hardware acceleration enabled, Firefox has e10s enabled and H264 decoding available. Checked Even Viewer for some extra info, but nothing was there to help me...

Thanks in advance for your help, guys
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2016   #2

Windows 7 HP 64

Lightning discharges can damage a PC even if it's shut ed down. On ATX PSU you have the +5 V SB that is always on.
This power in stand by is also present on TV, Micro wave, washing machine, etc and on any remote controlled device.
To protect these equipment s I have surge protectors with a hardware switch. I have one for the computer +printer +monitor +scanner and another to TV +decoder +DVD +router. When not in use, the switch remains off. Also important is to have the ground grounded.
On your computer the MB could be damage not only by the PS but also by the LAN. I've replaced a MB that was damage by a lighting that came through the cable modem.
It's very difficult to find a intermittent problem. Try to install another PSU. If you have a wired LAN connection to a router or modem, try to disable the LAN on BIOS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2016   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Build 7600 / Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3

Thanks a lot for your answer

Weird stuff though... I've made some tests to stress the GPU and the CPU at the same time, but nothing happened, not even a little BSOD... even recreated all the process, opening winap, Thurderbird, browsing with Firefox... no hangs...

It's... weird... The PC is connected to a multicontact bar, that is connected to a surge protector, so it's never all the time on (meaning the 5v+ SB)... when the lightning happened, all was off... probably the LAN cable is a main suspect in this matter.

I'll see if the symptoms persist... I don't know how to feel about this... just yesterday I just saw BSODs, crashes... I resist to believe that changing thermal paste and removing dust did the miracle?

I'm not closing this thread until I see this system really works as spected...

Thanks for the answer... if there are any ideas, feel free to drop them
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Sep 2016   #4

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit

Most people believe hardware acceleration should be disabled where ever possible in browsers.

If you have onboard graphic's have you removed the gpu and tried using it for a little while ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2016   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You have a no-name PSU that is at least 10 years old.

Is that correct? If it is, the PSU would be pretty high on my suspect list.

That's a low power system and I'd think a PSU of 400 or 500 watts would be plenty.

Do you show any voltage aberrations when using a monitoring program such as HWInfo?

I'm guessing you don't have any sophisticated tools to check the power supply.

Do you have another PSU you can swap in briefly?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2016   #6

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

My two cents worth try my ditty to check the PSU volts for example.
One word of warning though don't go trying to to do anything with the PSU (dismantling to look) because it can have lethal voltages stored in the large inverter caps even after an extended length of time of power off.
Using HW Info
You can test the volts on the PSU with HW Info HWiNFO, HWiNFO32/64 - Download < download the right bit version and close the right hand window select Sensors and scroll down to the power section where you will see what the volts are doing see my pic. In my pic the section (Nuvoton) with VBATT as a dead give away you are in the section for the rail voltages. There are other section titles and one that pops up often is ITE (sometimes the usual one for Gigabyte boards)
Now the voltage on the different rails have to be within 5% =+/- of what is required or the machine will not work properly if at all.
Limits +/-
12v = 11.4 12.6v
5v = 4.74 5.25v
3.3v = 3.135 3.465v
The Power good signal voltage at pin 8 on the 24 pin plug (grey cable) should be the same as the 5v rail reading/s
See this for the rail voltage info
PSUs 101: A Detailed Look Into Power Supplies (Section 2.)
The original right hand window shows the machine running and is handy for that but for looking at the components in some detail close it and use the main left hand side panel
Open each small square with + in it on the section the components are in and then click on the individual component/s (it will highlight in blue) - in the right hand side will appear all sorts of details including brands speeds and other essential info that particular device. See pic for example.


Attached Thumbnails
Is my PSU Dying?-hw-info-desktop-psu.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2016   #7


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FerchogtX View Post
It's... weird... The PC is connected to a multicontact bar, that is connected to a surge protector, so it's never all the time on (meaning the 5v+ SB)... when the lightning happened, all was off... probably the LAN cable is a main suspect in this matter.
None of those items even claim to protect from a surge that might do damage. Furthermore, if a surge was both incoming and outgoing from that computer, then a failure is obvious - not speculated. And yes, a surge can be incoming to everything. But only damages items that also have an outgoing path to earth. IOW damage would be on the outgoing path - not a video controller.

Second, you had numbers in that BSOD. Those provided the most important fact. Why are you suspecting all kind of irrelevant suspects (ie thermal compound that never needs changing, DC voltages, dust) when no facts even point in those directions?

Third, better computer manufacturer provide comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free. Those made available so that strange intermittents can be defined. Obviously you do not even have that best diagnostic tool.

Four, heat is a diagnostic tool - not something to be feared. Best way to find an intermittent is to put a computer in a 100 degree F room and run comprehensive diagnostics. A completely defective part will work fine in 70 degrees F and fail at above 90. That same part may start failing month or years later at 70 degrees. Heat at those near zero temperatures does not harm hardware. But does find defective parts.

But again, no useful answers are possible when you did not even record four critical numbers on that BSOD. Maybe use heat to recreate a problem. And please ignore so many ill informed naysayers who foolishly assume thermal compound must be replaced anytime in 30 years.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2016   #8

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

Did you run the HW Info surges are irrelevant if the problem lies within any of the internal components of the PSU ie especially caps for example which if they become non functional will cause problems and in most cases failures.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2016   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Build 7600 / Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3

When I said I was resisting to believe that only changng the thermal paste and removing dust fixed the problem like magic, I was trying to mean that, unless you have a very OLD thing (kinda... 6 years of no changing thermal compound or cleaning dust), it's like a magical solution taking in mind the syptoms I was experiencing in that PC XD...

This obviously doesn't mean by any chance that not changing thermal compund is a good practice AT ALL... In fact, I have a Cooler Master compound (400 something, I forgot the name) and I like to change thermal paste at least twice a year (ever 6 months if you like) and removing dust, since those two are part of the potential enemies a computer have and CAN lead to big problems.

Going back to HWinfo, I'll get the chance to run it on that PC as soon as possible... I've run AIDA64 and gives similar numbers in 12+ and 5+ rails, but probably it's way better to check with another software to be sure :P

I appreciate all the help you are giving me guys, thansk a lot.

I hope I can get back to you soon
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2016   #10

Windows 7 HP 64

Sorry to say, but you are wasting your thermal compound. As air, or any other gas, is a terrible thermal conductor, thermal compound are used to remove all air between the CPU and the heat sink. The thin it is, the better is the heat conduction between CPU and the heat sink. Once installed some fluids of the compound will evaporate and any space between the CPU and the heat sink will be filled with an dry compound (silver oxide). If you don't remove the heat sink, there is no way to air get between them.
As I wrote before, as the power supply is always on to the MB (+5 V SB (Stand By)), the only effective way to protect your computer from discharges is by disconnecting using a hardware switch, that almost all suppressors has.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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