PC experiences hard shut downs while playing certain games, need to reset PSU to start up again

v0id

Member
May 30, 2003
162
6
81
Hi everybody,

In the last couple of months I've started experiencing some pretty serious problems with my PC that I suspect are related to the PSU. Hoping that some of you might help me diagnose the issue.

My (ancient) PC:

AMD Phenom II x3 720 Black Edition (stock clocks)
ASUS M4A78T-E mainboard
12GB DDR3 RAM
EVGA GTX 680
SilverStone Strider 500W PSU (this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256061)
2x 7200RPM HDDs
Windows 10

The problem: while playing certain (newer) video games, my computer just shuts off completely. No error message, no freezing, but a hard shut down. This seems to happen while starting up or shortly after starting various newer games - older less intensive games don't seem to cause the problem. Additionally, it won't turn on again until I physically reset the PSU with the power switch on the back. When I experience this issue the Windows Event Viewer reports a Critical 'Kernel-Power' error (Event ID 41/Task Category 63).

Temperatures don't seem to be an issue. Idle, the CPU runs at 27-29C. As I mentioned, when this happens usually the game I'm trying to play hasn't been running long enough to substantially increase CPU (or GPU) temps. When I started to experience issues I did clean out the inside of PC, which was somewhat dusty, so that shouldn't be much of a contributing factor any longer.

Finally, I should say that I started to experience these problems mostly after finally upgrading to Windows 10 (from Win 7) earlier in the summer. It's also possible that these issues are related to my replacing two incredibly old and feeble Radeon 4850s with a friend's GTX 680 shortly before upgrading to Windows 10. After the Windows upgrade was when I really started to experience problems, though.

To me, the obvious candidate here is that the PSU is dying, especially given that I have to reset it if and when these hard shutdowns occur. Perhaps this is related to trying to supply more power to the CPU and GPU when starting more demanding games. The PSU is now almost ten years old as it was originally purchased for a C2D 6400 build in early 2007. It served me well for a long time, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was starting to go. SilverStone is (was?) a solid brand and I would have thought that the PSU was enough to power a relatively moderately provisioned PC without major issues, but it's also possible that the upgrade to the GTX 680 proved too much for it.

I guess it's also possible that the mainboard or CPU are starting to die, as they are also both pretty old (c. 2009). My money's on the PSU, though.

Any ideas? A friend of mine has a PSU tester which I'm going to try and use soon. I would consider purchasing a new PSU, as I am thinking of building an entirely new PC in the next 3-6 months and will need one anyway.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,762
6,763
146
Try the PSU load tester you mentioned.

10 years out of a budget PSU with a sleeve-bearing fan, and with a one year warranty in the U.S. (3 years in EU) is pretty a good run. It would be the first thing I looked at if I was experiencing the type of crashes you are.

Also, the EVGA GTX 680 recommends a PSU 550w and above. As power supplies age, they lose some of their output. The fact that yours was already below the recommended power when new also could be an issue. Also, EVGA recommends a PSU with 38 amps minimum on the 12v rail, and your PSU when new was only rated for 34 amps.
 

v0id

Member
May 30, 2003
162
6
81
Try the PSU load tester you mentioned.

10 years out of a budget PSU with a sleeve-bearing fan, and with a one year warranty in the U.S. (3 years in EU) is pretty a good run. It would be the first thing I looked at if I was experiencing the type of crashes you are.
Thanks man. This is pretty much exactly what I figured.

If and when I build a new PC I am looking at a newer but still relatively modest single GPU setup. I was thinking about picking up either an EVGA Supernova G2 Gold or a Corsair RMx Gold, both in 550W. Would either of these do the trick, you think? Neither is especially expensive and if I could eke out several more months with my current setup, that would be great.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,762
6,763
146
Both of those are very good PSUs, just make sure to look at their detailed specs and make sure they offer 38+ amps on the 12v rail if you are going to keep using that same video card. If the 550w versions don't, just step up to the 650w versions, which have bigger 12v rails.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,530
7,851
126
I think both of you are right on the money, and it does sound like a PSU issue; specifically, because you have to hit the switch on the back of the PSU to turn on again. I have a friend that had that issue, back in the K6-2 days. A new PSU fixed the issue.
 

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