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Old 10-12-2007, 12:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Random power off

I've had this problem for several months (since last spring) and I am now just sucking it up and not playing too many games, but I thought I'd try one last time to hope someone has a bright idea and solves my issue.

The Problem: My computer randomly shuts itself off. No BSOD, no restart, no warning, just instant powerdown, as though I would unplug it.

Details: Originally, when I was playing a lot of Europa Universalis III, it happened almost exclusively when I was playing the game. Now that I no longer play it, or really much of any games, it happens with seemingly zero consistency. Sometimes once a day, sometimes more. Always when running Windows (never before boot)
At one point, I unplugged my front USB ports from the mobo, and I thought the issue went away, but it obviously didn't. I think the frequency may have reduced, but I'm not even sure about that.

Things that it's NOT:
Power supply - tested with volt/amp meter, also tested with alternate supply
Power surge - I've moved across the country twice, so it's definitely not from the wall outlet.
Video Card - tested with alternate, same issue
CPU overheat - temperatures are fine: 30C idle, 40C full load, definitely not the issue
GPU overheat - Vid card is at a stable 68C, also tried different card

My system
CPU: Athlon X2 4200+
Mobo: ABIT AN8 Fatal1ty
Vid Card: BFG GeForce 6800GTOC
Memory: 2x 1GB Corsair XMS memory
PSU: OCZ Modstream 520W
CPU cooling: Zalman 9500
Case: Lian-Li PC-65
HDD: 160G SATA, 200G IDE
OS: Win XP Pro sp2
All drivers up to date

Throw any thoughts or questions at me that you'd like. I've attempted to troubleshoot this issues on several forums a couple months ago with no luck, so I'll try not to snap at anyone for asking a question I've heard several times before. Just please read all my details and don't question my "things that it's NOT" section too much

Thanks in advance for tips/suggestions/questions.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

power supply is faulty/failing
is the outlet giving out a stable voltage? surge, spikes or dip in domestic power?
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My computer uses 1.5A-load, .8A-idle, .65A-standby, .05A-turned off on 125V.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

Alright, I'm not snapping back a condescending remark, I promised. Both of those issues are addressed under "Things that it's NOT". I will say no more.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

Fine, enjoy your stay here. Hopefully, someone else can help you.
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

Have you tested your RAM? Go download Memtest86 and let it run for at least 4+hrs (hopefully it doesn't turn off while testing). You mentioned its only within Windows that it does this? Have you tried reinstalling your OS? Could be that your motherboard is going out, as well.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

Hmm, it might be a power problem, unless your computer is set to auto-restart or something on a crash.

You can disable the feature in Windows XP that automatically restarts your computer in the case of a critical error. Instructions on how to do this can be found at Microsoft's support site and have also been listed below:

- Log on to the host computer as either an administrator or the owner.
- Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
- Under Pick a category, click Performance and Maintenance.
- Under the or pick a Control Panel icon section, click System.
- Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
- Uncheck the Automatically Restart checkbox under System Failure.
- Click Apply or Ok.

Many times if you disable this feature, instead of restarting, your system will instead give you a "Blue Screen" error message. If this is the case, you might be able to look up the message or find better help on your problem.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

Quote:
You can disable the feature in Windows XP that automatically restarts your computer in the case of a critical error.
I already do this. It's not a restart, the computer just powers off. I haven't gotten blue screen in quite a while.

I forgot to mention in my original post that re-installing Windows was about the third thing I tried when troubleshooting this, right after reinstalling that game and reinstalling all my drivers that I could think of.

I'm running memtest86 at home as I post this. I've run it before, but maybe it'll pick up something after running all day. I'll post an update tonight when I see the results.

Thanks for the suggestions, and keep 'em coming.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

@scangel: Your issue definitely sounds like a heat issue. first thing to do is clean out your case with some canned air and maybe a damp cloth.

However, the general rule on these forums (I haven't used this one before, but I'm not new to forums in general) is one issue per thread. Please start your own thread so your issue can get more attention. I doubt many people will find it here.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

honestly, heat could very well be the problem, or mobo. I've had a computer do this before, and I'm still waiting to fix the issue. starting with new CPU. I wish they made mobo testers, or something that (outside of the actual computer) tested the hardware. either way, it looks like you have crossed the bases, consider the mobo tho, that's the last thing I can think of (short of virus and I wouldn't suggest it as you have done your homework very thoroughly)
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random power off

OK, I checked my memtest status over lunch, and it's running solid with 0 errors after 4 hours or so. I'm letting it continue for the rest of the work day, but I seriously doubt it's a memory issue.

I'd have to agree with SirCyber that the motherboard is the most likely suspect. I really would hate to have to upgrade my mobo/CPU/memory quite yet, but s939 boards are so **** hard to find.

Anyone have an opinion on whether it's possible for a HDD to cause this issue? I kinda doubt it. I ran SpinRite on both of my drives not too long ago (well after this issue started), and there didn't seem to be anything unusual. Just the normal amount of correctable errors and no bad sectors or anything.

If anyone has a spare s939 mobo that would support all my other hardware, or if you know a place to get a cheap one, let me know. I've been thinking that it's the next thing to try for a couple weeks.
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