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Old 2009-10-31, 19:40   Link #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philippines
Age: 40
Angry Man, getting pretty stumped here -- PC shuts down without warning

All right, I've been in the IT business for more than 10 years and yet this problem is beating my ass -- my brother-in-law's PC shuts down without warning and leaves off a blinking power light.

For some detail, the PC is loaded up with the following:

MSI K9N6PGM2-V with MCP61
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000 with 1mb of cache/OEM fan
1GB DDR2 800 x 2
Sparkle nVidia 8400GS with 512MB/PCI-E
Seagate Barracuda 80GB IDE
Windows XPSP2 and AVG Free 8.5

Plugged into the USB ports are:
a generic card reader
an A4Tech PK-635MK webcam
an external HD (Seagate Barracuda 80GB IDE)
a generic USB optical mouse (from CDR King -- the discount PC accessories shop chain)

As far as the story on this rig is concerned, back when I arrived in January it was using a Logitech cordless mouse that often ran out of batteries, and in April was replaced by a PS/2 optical mouse my sister bought from CDRKing. In May I vacuum-blasted the innards. By September, my brother-in-law thought that mouse was screwing up and he had it replaced by the current USB optical mouse from the same chain dealer. Last week, I discovered that the GPU heatsink fan on the previous nVidia 7200GT (Sparkle, 256MB, PCI-E) plugged onto this machine no longer spun and the in-law bought a new 8400GS.

Now, apart from the aforementioned shutdown symptom, the mouse pointer would sometimes stop for about 20-30 seconds before moving again.

I was thinking that previously we didn't had this problem before we plugged in the new USB mouse, and I suspect that this mouse is probably causing the problem, so I think I might have the older PS/2 mouse plugged in as a test to see if the same error could happen.
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Old 2009-10-31, 19:47   Link #2
Obey the Darkly Cute ...
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 60
Do you have a temperature monitor package running? My first impulse is a mobo or cpu overheat issue? (cpu heatsink not seated well, etc).

Wouldn't hurt to do the "remove new hardware" test but a bogus USB device doesn't seem like a shutdown culprit.

I had a similar problem a month ago.... and ended up doing the "change everything one piece at a time" .... ended up being a mobo problem.
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Old 2009-10-31, 19:53   Link #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philippines
Age: 40
I would love to put Speedfan to check it out, but this machine has a fully-ventilated casing, she's still clean, and even an electric fan pointed at it. :lol:

I'm considering this possibility that turning off power management on the USBs might work.

Update 1 (9:18am/+8GMT): had power management for USB devices turned off completely. No sign of strange symptoms so far.

Update 2 (4:33pm/+8GMT): damned thing was shutting down too much. Probably had to do with the CPU, the heatsink and thermal grease. Cleaned them up and put on some new grease, and now I'm giving a check this time.

Last edited by sa547; 2009-11-01 at 03:34.
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Old 2009-11-01, 04:51   Link #4
Exitus Acta Probat
*Graphic Designer
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Permanent retirement from raws-hunting
Age: 31
Sounds indeed like the CPU area and I'm no stranger to this annoyance - I once made the mistake of replacing the heat sink on my previous computer (the fan got damaged and since it was a 60x60 model that wasn't easy to find and thus replace, I had to change the entire block to install a larger and more powerful 80x80 cooler) without replenishing the layer of thermal paste and anything CPU-heavy such as playing media, ordering virus scans and the like caused sudden shutdowns, forcing me to cycle the PSU itself before pressing the power button.

I hope the power down thing isn't too serious on your rig, SA - in my case the brutal shutdowns managed to wear down the PSU until one morning it stopped working altogether. Something shorted or plain melted inside the casing and I had to go back to the comp shop for a new unit. But then again, that was a couple years ago, and the PSU was meant for old PATA machines.
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Last edited by Renegade334; 2009-11-01 at 05:08.
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Old 2009-11-01, 09:02   Link #5
Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 28
Sounds alot like overheating or insufficient current to me. What is the PSU?

Blinking power light often points towards a hardware problem, probably the mobo/processor or PSU. If it is a peripherals (GPU, RAM) problem the PC should still run but make funny noises like a kid high on sugar.

My suggestion is to change out the PSU. Get something with at least 500W or more (600 preferably) because your processor runs like an engine of an M1 Abrams (one reason I never liked AMD processors).

When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
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Old 2009-11-01, 11:08   Link #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philippines
Age: 40
Well, I should've included the PSU in the specs. It's a three-year-old Dynamo 500w with a single large fan on the bottom, and it was a leftover from my brother-in-law's previous dual-core (and heat-prone) Pentium 4 machine before he had this PSU transferred to the current machine.

Turned out that as I opened up the machine and checked the CPU, the stock thermal paste had dried out completely, and so I gave a new daub of fresh grease (fortunately I managed to keep this in a mobo box three years ago).

So far, I'm seeing if this machine would be doing fine again, along with some power-management and cooling adjustments in the BIOS, as my sister's family has an intense love for Facebook's games from 7 in the morning till 12 midnight, more than my love of MMOGs (shakes head).
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