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Complete power failure

Trish's Escape from Hardware Hell Help Board » Hardware » Dead, Dying or Booting Problems » Complete power failure « Previous Next »

Author Message
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Friday, July 5, 2002 - 11:19 am:   

I am completely going off my nut about this, my home built system is as follows: Athlon XP 1900+,MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard (MS6380-E), 512 Mb PC2100 DDR RAM, Maxtor 5400 rpm 30G HD, GeForce2 GTS 32Mb graphics, Fortissimo2 Sound,350w power supply and extra case fan, and my problem is this...

During system heavy tasks such as 3D gameplaying (especially that)my system experiences total power loss, as if someone switched it off at the wall. The system does not reboot itself, I have to switch it on manually. It has happened once or twice on normal tasks such as internet use, but very rarely.

I have run the system with both windows XP and with Windows 98 but it happens with both. I have changed graphics cards, but the same happens with each. I have reformatted and re installed the operating systems/harddrive a number of times incase of corrupt files and started the system with the bare bones, but to no avail. According to PC Alert, the CPU runs about 48-54 degrees and the case at 30-35 degrees, which I think is OK for the system I have. I have also changed between three different power supplies but no change.

I have tried a couple of diagnostic programs but the system freezes before finishing.

Can anyone help? This is really doing my head in.

Any suggestions as to where to start looking would be of great help.
Posted on Friday, July 5, 2002 - 11:24 am:   

athlons need a at least a 400 watt power supply. have you changed out power supply only using 350 watt ones? the power supply should be a good one too, recommended from the manufacturers list.
Ian Mckinnon
Posted on Friday, July 5, 2002 - 11:36 am:   

No, I've only used 350w power supplies, but they all state that they suitable for the athlons.

Do you reckon changing to a 400 watt power supply would stop the above occurring?
Posted on Friday, July 5, 2002 - 3:40 pm:   

not enough power output can cause problems. regardless what they say, athlons require greater amount than 350's can provide, as well as the rest of the hardware, they need to be stable too. sounds like you have a hardware issue anyway, not a software issue if it keeps turning off. it keeps turning off with no errors at all? no blue screens i mean. it's possible a circuit breaker inside the power supply is simply shutting it down, most have fuses. just a guess, but i am not looking at it physically.

i've got an asus m/b with an athlon 1600+ and almost the same hardware you seem to have but the hard drives are 7200 rpm 30 gig fujitsu's. however, i use a 450 watt power supply and i've had no problems running games or anything even under heavy loads. extra cooling fans too.
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Saturday, July 6, 2002 - 2:59 am:   

Thanks a lot for you help Win, it never occurred to me that it mght be a lack of power. I have a new 400w power supply arriving shortly (AMD approved - won't make that mistake again), so fingers crossed that will sort it!

Cheers again Win, I'll update when I've tried it.

It's a learning curve I suppose...
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 7:50 pm:   

Well (sigh) I tried the system with a 400w AMD approved power supply, but the system keeps doing the same thing.

How can I tell how much power my system is using?
Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 10:38 pm:   

Well, it would appear the only common denominator is the mainboard and cpu. If you have the space, try removing the mainboard and setting it up on a flat table on top of an antistatic bag, hook up a power supply HDD and floppy, and a vid card, it helps if you have a couple momentary switches with leads for power and reset make sure everything is connected properly, power it up and run it like you normally would. play a game or whatever, if the system runs stable than there is probably a contact point between the case back panel and the motherboard at fault. If you experience the same mysterious shutdown problem than you should probably consider replacing the board and/or cpu.
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 5:23 am:   

E.S. I've tried the system in three different cases, and I always make sure have paper washers between contacts so (though I'm definitely no expert, thats for sure)I'm almost certain it's not a contact problem.

However, i checked the specs on my 'approved' power supply and found the following:

+3.3v was 20A
+5v was 35A
+12v was 16A

Max 3.3/5v load 210w

My previous PSU was 3.3/20, 5/30, 12/16, with max watt of 150w(!!)

I'm led to believe that this values are pretty poor, but what I don't know is whether they are poor enough to cause the problems I'm having.

Thanks for everyones assistance so far...
Posted on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 9:08 am:   

Actually, those spec's are not to bad for both unit's, and well within the needed parameters for AMD. You should still consider a possible Mainboard/cpu problem......
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 7:21 pm:   


I loaded the default BIOS settings again and I can get the system to run (apparently) stable at an FSB speed of 120. This means my MB recognises the CPU as a Athlon 1600xp (as opposed to the 1900xp it's meant to be) at a speed of 1440Mhz.

Any higher and the problems persist.

Does this narrow it down to any particular problem?
Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2002 - 10:46 am:   

sounds like a setting either in the bios or something's wrong with the hardware on the motherboard/plugged into the motherboard. have you tried to see if there is a bios upgrade for this? let's see....what slots are the cards plugged into? and what other hardware do you have attached to it? seems as if it's finally getting narrowed down. the other possibility, is that the motherboard is an rma. but try to tweak the bios settings first. then upgrade the bios if there is one available.

it's an MSI board? if i got the model correct, try here:

by the way, according to MSI's site, if this is the board you have, it's only rated to use a 2100+ cpu max. now. if you actually have the KT3 Ultra(MS-6380E), then you can use up to a athlon xp 2200+ (1.8ghz cpu), you can also use the KT3 Ultra2 series board which also can go to a 2200+ cpu. so be careful when upgrading the bios, if you do, because there's 3 diferrent variants of the board.
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2002 - 1:10 pm:   

Firstly, thanks again for your continuing help.

I've now downloaded the newest BIOS (It's the KT3 Ultra board I have, but I haven't inserted it yet.

I have my soundcard in the second PCI slot and my modem in the fourth.

I have my first stick of DDR Ram in the first slot and the second in the third slot.

I have the DVD Rom attached to the first IDE connector(one on left-IDE1) and my HD (5400rpm UDMA 100) on the second(IDE2).

I also have the D-Bracket that came with board attached to the JLED connector.

My GeForce2 GTS is attached to the single AGP slot.

The chipset has no cooling fan attached, but I have the coolermaster fan and heatsink attached to the CPU and I also have one additional case fan (3000rpm).

The CPU, RAM, MB, and fan came as a bundle from Komplett and I cannibalised the rest from my old system. The hard drive is relatively new (less than a year old).

I'm not sure what RMA is, could you explain?
Ian McKinnon
Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2002 - 1:12 pm:   

Further to above:
I'm running it on Win98.

I have XP but until I can get it running stably, it's not worth the while upgrading.
Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2002 - 4:10 pm:   

ok, first, the hard drive needs to be, if it's C:, set as master on ide1 the dvd needs either to be set as slave on ide1, at the terminated end, or set as master on ide2. you need to change the jumpers accordingly, if necessary. shouldn't matter which slots the ram is in, unless there's an issue with the motherboard, but if there is, use slot 1 & 2. what i do is insert the modem, sound, in one of the farthest slots from the agp. i think that's part of what is going on, the drives. so before you upgrade the bios, do the switch, and see what happens. best thing now is to remove the modem, and sound card, reset the drives, repartition and reformat, then install cleanly, so the mess that was the hardware, isn't reflected in the install.

if it works ok, then you can try to install the sound and modem, without upgrading the bios, you can do that later. remember to write down the bios settings before you upgrade it, so you have a reference to set it back after the new bios software is installed.
Ian Mckinnon
Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2002 - 4:34 pm:   

That sounds like a plan.

I'll make a start on that and get back to you.

Ian McKinnon
Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 6:44 am:   

Well, I've done all of the above, including updating the BIOS, but to no avail.

I fitted a new 550w power supply (just to be sure)but the problem persists.

I think I'm gonna have to face facts...

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