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Old 04-22-2004, 12:46 AM   #1
itsjustme
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Far Cry killed my computer. Need advice.


I started a thread in the Games forum about Far Cry and then Far Cry killed my computer. I started ranting over there, but thought I might come over here and seek some advice.

I have an Asus A7V333 motherboard with 1GB of PC2700 memory and an Asus GeForce4 graphics card with 128MB and an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ CPU on the affected machine. I was playing the new Far Cry, crawling through grass to get to a fixed machine gun, when all of a sudden the machine powered down.

The A7V333 has C.O.P. which shuts down the CPU if it overheats. It's never overheated before. The power supply has a fan, the CPU heatsink has a fan, there are 2 case fans, and the graphics card has a fan. Anyway, if the C.O.P. kicked in, then everything should be ok once the CPU has cooled down. However, after having the machine completely shutdown for a long time now, the little green light on the motherboard will illuminate when the power supply on/off switch is on, but once I push the power button on the front, the case fans barely twitch, the speakers go 'thump', and then nothing happens... I don't even get the front power light.

Any serious advice???

Thanks...

If this is considered a double post, then maybe the hardware comments in the game forum could be deleted, or I could edit them out.

Last edited by itsjustme; 04-23-2004 at 04:39 PM.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 01:18 AM   #2
itsjustme
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OK, I figured it out. The power supply died!! I have never had a power supply die.
I just happened to have an extra power supply, as anybody who has a few naked pc's around should have, and sat it next to the PC, disconnected all the connectors of the installed power supply and connected the new power supply... poof, started right up.

I'm glad it's that and not the CPU or graphics card!!

Sorry for my panic... but that's my main PC!
 
Old 04-22-2004, 02:03 AM   #3
itsjustme
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DANG!!!!

This second power supply, hardly used, crapped out also. Both of these are basically no name (turbolink) power supplies that came with a couple of cases I bought. They are 350Watt.

Far Cry must be one power hungry mammer jammer!!

edit: Just for fun: http://www6.tomshardware.com/howto/20040122/index.html

Last edited by itsjustme; 04-22-2004 at 02:21 AM.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 03:44 AM   #4
J.W.
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Go with Antec PSU's. In my experience they are the best. -- J.W.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 09:46 AM   #5
itsjustme
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Thanks for the recommendation.

I'd like to see some discussion on why both of these PSUs died.
1. Is the complexity of Far Cry just so overwhelming that it ran my CPU and graphics card at full power long enough to kill the 'guts' of these inferior power supplies?
2. Are these power supplies, "TurboLink CWT-350ATX-12V (350W Max)", really that inferior?
3. What makes an Antec or Enermax PSU better than the TurboLink?
4. With a better PSU, will a higher wattage be needed or is the power 'cleaner' and 350W is plenty? (AMD Athlon XP 2000+, Asus V8440 Geforce4 128MB, 80GB HD, 16/12/40x CD-RW)
5. What part of the 'guts' of the power supply has died, such that the green light on the motherboard illuminates, but all I get from pushing the power button is a thump and a twitch, then nothing else?

I've never had a PSU problem on that machine running UT or Quake or the Far Cry demo, or any other games or software.

Thanks...

Last edited by itsjustme; 04-22-2004 at 11:34 PM.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 08:45 PM   #6
J.W.
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1. It's doubtful that a 350W PSU would be taxed to the point of failure just because you're running a video-intensive app, unless it simply was an inferior quality PSU. At least in my experience, "no-name" components are less reliable than brand names.

2. Apparently so.

3. All I can say is that I've been using Antec for a few years now and they have never given me any trouble. I've never used Enermax, so I can't make any comments one way or the other.

4. 350W should be more than enough for most boxen. It sounds like you've got a pretty nice rig, but I wouldn't consider it to be unusually power-hungry. Most PC's sport a similar set of components as you've listed (more or less) but I don't see anything out of the ordinary.

5. I don't know enough about the internals of a PSU to answer, but a similar thing happened to me about 2 years ago - I powered on the PC, it booted, and then in the midst of some perfectly ordinary activity there was a pop, the screen went black, and the stench of burned plastic filled the room. Regardless of whatever had gone wrong, it was obvious that the unit needed to be replaced.

Good luck with things. -- J.W.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 11:34 PM   #7
itsjustme
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Thanks for the comments.

I removed the second dead PSU (no burning smell, actually) and then, don't tell anyone, I took the Enermax EG465whatever out of my Red Hat machine and put it in the dead machine. I played the same 'scene' in Far Cry that killed the other 2 PSUs and this time there was no problem. I also played through to a couple more 'checkpoints' and all was ok.

I'll be off to the big city tomorrow to replace the Red Hat machine's power supply and I'll either pick up an Antec or Enermax.

I'd still like to find out what actually stopped working in the power supply, but I realize that it's probably not find-out-able. And I'm certainly not going to go have it tested.

I'll just chalk it up to cheapy power supplies that came with the cases.
 
Old 04-23-2004, 01:58 AM   #8
Electro
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Quote:
1. Is the complexity of Far Cry just so overwhelming that it ran my CPU and graphics card at full power long enough to kill the 'guts' of these inferior power supplies?
Software does not do that. It could be the coincidence that a brown out or surge has occurred during the time you were playing Far Cry. Buy a line conditioner. It will minimize the chances of this happening.

Quote:
2. Are these power supplies, "TurboLink CWT-350ATX-12V (350W Max)", really that inferior?
Yes, it comes down to better electroyte capacitors that can withstand very high frequencies and temperatures. A capacitor that is damaged by high frequenices and temperatures can changed to a resistor. When this happens, the power supply can blow out other components by bad filtering or even worst catch on fire.

Quote:
3. What makes an Antec or Enermax PSU better than the TurboLink?
Better circuitry by using better electroyte capacitors to withstand very high frequencies and high temperatures. Sensing input voltage drops and compensating. Releasing more heat by using a more efficient heatsink design and thicker metal.

Quote:
4. With a better PSU, will a higher wattage be needed or is the power 'cleaner' and 350W is plenty? (AMD Athlon XP 2000+, Asus V8440 Geforce4 128MB, 80GB HD, 16/12/40x CD-RW)
Both higher wattage and cleaner power. What I mean by cleaner. Look for ripple voltage. The lower the ripple voltage (in millivolts) the better the power supply. Another spec for a cleaner power supply is how well it is keeping to the design output voltage or regulation tolerance. Many computer power supplies have a regulation of 1% tolerance (I think). The lower the regulation tolerance the better. Higher wattage power supplies should be used for Athlons and Pentium 4. For an Athlon you should use atleast a 300 watt for the slower Althons but for much faster Athlons you should look for 400 watts or more. You can get buy using 300 watts for a Pentium 4 but also 400 watts is much better for future processors upgrades and adding more hardware.

Quote:
5. What part of the 'guts' of the power supply has died, such that the green light on the motherboard illuminates, but all I get from pushing the power button is a thump and a twitch, then nothing else?
Computer power supplies are switch-mode power supplies. It uses digital circuitry and concepts of an inductor, diode, capacitor, and transistor to regulate the output power. What went wrong in your power supply is very hard to figure out. There is about five or six power supplies in a computer power supply.
 
Old 04-23-2004, 10:39 AM   #9
itsjustme
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Thanks for the input. It seems that all computer/system reviews should start showing PSU specs too. It certainly is an important part of newer, more powerful systems. (Hey, and this system is ancient history... about 2 years old!)

When I go for the replacement PSU for my Red Hat machine, I'll be sure and look for ripple voltage and output tolerance.

I live in a shack in the country, so I have all of my systems connected to APC UPS's. This one is connected to a Back-UPS Pro 1100. No line conditioning, that I'm aware of, but no brown outs at the computers either.

Thanks.
 
Old 04-23-2004, 01:01 PM   #10
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If your machines are connected to a quality UPS, (which APC is) you'll be fine. If your power fluctuates wildly, and the lights go dim constantly then maybe that's another story but I doubt it's the case. Personally I'd say that as long as you've got a good quality power strip/surge protector, that's all you need. The academic comments about PSU's may be of interest to someone designing the thing, but esoteric things like ripple voltage really aren't worth spending time on IMHO.

This is a great online vendor (both machines I have were built entirely from components purchased from them) and I'd recommend them highly. Here's a link to the Antec PSU's they sell; as I've mentioned I biased towards Antec, however there are plenty of other brands available here as well. Check it out: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...tby=14&order=1

Good luck with it -- J.W.
 
Old 04-24-2004, 05:48 PM   #11
upchucky
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The first clue is that You live in a Remote area, there is a very likely chance that you do not have a good ground on your home's electrical system, in fact there is a good chance that the house wiring itself has been worked on, and the ground system is compromised. without a good ground reference, even the very best power supplies will have trouble. further power utilities can have grounding problems a few miles away from your home, and it can affect you.

A clue would be if the lights dim, when the fridge or vaccume is turned on or off, then you definately have power problems. sometimes lightbulbs will "pop" when turned on. all of these are things that need to be checked by a good electrician of your choice.

The Electrician
 
Old 04-29-2004, 03:01 AM   #12
captaincaveman
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Get yourself a good heavy and I mean heavy as in weight power supply thats got lots of watts.. say 500+ as a minimum.. The New video cards from Nvidia and ATI are using duel power connectors that must come from two separate power lines from the Power supply. The new video cards are just that power hungry. The Nvidia card has 222million transistors after all. Then to forgo all of your dirty power from your house supply you'll need to spend some hard earned cash on a good UPS that offers line conditioning. The UPS (interruptible power supply) has a battery, a battery charger circuit, a DC to AC power inverter and conditioning circuitry. It will clear up the problems your having with your home supply power from the outlet. Also try to get power directly from the house power box from the outside power lines. That way you don't share any lines with the fridge, vacuum etc. Have fun.
 
Old 05-24-2004, 04:12 PM   #13
itsjustme
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Dang.. I forgot to come back for followups on this thread.
I ended up driving up to CompUSA and got an Antec 430 True Power.
Works great. No problemos.

Also, one of the first things I did when I moved in here was to test the grounding in the electric outlets with one of those A.W. Sperry 3 light plug testers. None were grounded properly, so I fixed them all. The ground wires were connected to each other at the receptacles(behind the receptacles), but weren't actually connected to the receptacles.

Also, this building was designed to be a 'shop' for my dad to do some printing in, but that never worked out (good thing too since the grounding was incorrect). But, he put an extra 4 receptacles in the ceiling and each is on it's own separate 25amp circuit. I'm using those to power up my systems.
And as I said previously, I have 3 UPS's, all APC's: Back-Ups Pro 1100, Back-UPS 650, and Back-UPS CS 350.

We have brownouts and power outages occasionally, but the computers and phone and answering machine don't even blink.
 
Old 06-15-2004, 05:16 PM   #14
anonymous555
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Serial killer Program. Far Cry

Killer Software?

Yes, Far Cry will kill your system if there’s anything at all wrong with it.
Over the weekend I fell victim to the killer program myself.

It killed a 4-month-old geforce 5600… The fan on the card had failed.
And the only thing I saw before the card blew.
Parts of the screen stopped rendering and then it went dark.

Replaced the card with a 5700 and all’s well for now.

Watch out she’s a killer!
 
Old 06-15-2004, 09:01 PM   #15
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Software can not hurt hardware unless hardware is mechanical. Only the user can hurt the hardware. In this case its your fault that your GPU overheated and failed. You can use an infrared beam to sense if the fans in your system are moving at a decent speed. If they are not moving, output an audible sound. Games puts a huge load on hardware, so you need to keep an eye on the temperature of your GPU, video memory, CPU, and system memory. If you do not want to mess with fans, use water cooling. Though you still have to make sure water is flowing and every once in while flush out the water cooling system.
 
  


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