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PC turns off when almost any game begins

Posted on 2006-11-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Where do I begin.  

This is a relatively new system, perhaps 6 months old.  The problems started 2 months ago, where the machine would get up to the XP Pro startup and then never complete boot, it would hang forever.  We swapped the MB, and the machine worked for two days and began the same symptoms.  We swapped the MB again, the machine still exibits that symptom on occasion, but the biggest issue is that starting almost any game causes the PC to power off.  Tested games include Unreal Tournament 2004, Warcraft III.  Please note that when I say starting a game, I mean if we start up the PC and immediately go into a game it shuts off.

I have set it to not shutdown on a halt error to perhaps catch a blue screen, but to no avail - it still just powers off.  There is no indication of any relative errors in the event viewer.

I have updated the BIOS, swapped out the PS, vidcard, memory, and CPU - I have reinstalled the vid, sound and MB drivers/chipset drivers.  I have also moved the machine to a dedicated line to ensure the wall outlet is ok.  As a final hurah - I reinstalled XP on top for grins.

This machine will run continuously for days without shutdown if left in idle - we ran it from last Thurs till we got home last night from vacation, and it was still on.


System is a 939 MB - ASUS A8N Sli-Deluxe w/Nvidia n-Force chipset
AMD 64 3200 - Thermaltake cooler
2 sticks of Ultra 512 3200
Coolermaster 600w PS
Seagate Sata II 150GB hdd
NEC 3540 DVD burner
Logitec optical mouse and KB, both USB
XP Pro SP2, fully updated
Kaspersky 6 AV, fully updated.


I am certain this is NOT heat related, as this box runs runs at 38c and the chip is at 31 at startup, raises to about 37 after 1 hour of idle time.  Any and all suggestions are welcome.







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Question by:someitguy
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by:
Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 17858184
This seems to be power-related, since the machine is actually turning off when it encounters a power-drawing event (starting a 3D game).  That isolates it to the power supply or the motherboard, and if you see actual visual cues of bad capacitors (www.badcaps.net), that would confirm it, but bad capacitors can exist without any visible evidence.
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Author Comment

by:someitguy
ID: 17858275
I am leaning toward another MB swap as well... I have ASUS on Speed dial. :)

I considered power as well Callandor, hence the PS swap.  Previously I had an Ultra 550 in there, but after reading some bad reviews I decided to spend a bit and get the Coolermaster 600w unit.

I'm going to call the ASUS hotline again today to see if I get buyin.  In the meantime, when I get home tonight I'll swap the MB with a working one to see where that gets me.

Can it be that ASUS has RMA'd two bad boads in a row?  I've never had such a MB nightmare like this.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 17858674
Asus tends to be better quality, but I have had 3 boards from Abit before I had a working one, and the current one doesn't work as well as I would like.  Hopefully, this is a statistical anomaly and not an indication of declining quality.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Mnf
ID: 17861042
i think it is Ram issu
try to replase the Ram, or try to boot and test your sys only in one ram and randomize it's place each time
try to work with you system only in one VGA card, and test it

there is a small ram between your two PCI-E you have to switch it when you put two Card

if all this not work for you ,, so try to assemple your hardware out of your case .. this maybe help you to prevent the Static on your MB

Best Regards
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:ganon48
ID: 17879940
I get the feeling this could also be a graphics driver/directx issue.  If windows boots up and is happy in idle (Does other software work OK ie Office etc) then generally most hardware is fine.

After installing the new vid drivers did you reinstall or test directx (Start -> Run -> dxdiag).

If it loads run the direct3d and directdraw.  Does the computer switch off when running the tests (in the display tab)

Most up to date version of directx can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=2DA43D38-DB71-4C1B-BC6A-9B6652CD92A3&displaylang=en

I am only mentioning this because the last time I updated a Nvidia card to the most recent drivers all games crashed until i reinstalled DirectX.

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Author Comment

by:someitguy
ID: 17898596
Sorry I haven't responded sooner, I have family in the hospital and am quite distracted.

On a quick note, messed with the reg to allow DX9c to load again, and reinstalled the nForce 4 chipset drivers, along with the latest and greatest nVid vid drivers.  No change.

I never gave any thought to something in the box, but there is a mulitslot media card reader stuck on a usb slot inside the case to the mobo, as well as the cases usb slot in front to the mobo.  I removed all of those connectors, ran Warcraft III, and it stayed on for about 10 minutes.  Then the PC powered off.

I don't have the head for this right now, but for grins I'm going to flip the drive and install XP Pro SP2 tonight.

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Author Comment

by:someitguy
ID: 17940587
After all, I'm left with the MB. - did I mention my other box, same mb is starting to have similar symptoms.


ASUS is sending two new (premium) boards.
http://usa.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=3&l2=15&l3=148&model=539&modelmenu=1

We originally bought the AN8SLI's at 69 each..  the premiums sell for about 140, so I guess that's something :)

I'll follow up.
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Author Comment

by:someitguy
ID: 18036691
Asus decided to send only 1 board, and the CAP near the PCIe16 slot was crushed, obviously by the previous owner.
Sadly, they seem to not return calls now, and I have contacted an attorney.

BAH
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 18042968
What a bad turn of events!  Is it worth the cost of an attorney?
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Author Comment

by:someitguy
ID: 18045128
Certainly is, I belong to [url=http://prepaidlegal.com/hub/thomaspavlick]Prepaidlegal[/url]... it's a very small monthly fee to have an entire law firm on retainer :)

I got a ahold of the RMA supervisor Jeremy's manager named Maurice Reed, and after dropping the name, address and number of the firm he should contact regarding my situation, he called me at 5 till 5 last night and left me a message that they would contact me this morning to come to an amicable solution :)

I've been in the situation before where I've felt ripped off at a car dealer for a crappy repair that wasn't a fix after all, and once you involve the attorney in either a call or a letter to them, you get the respect and action you require.

I'll update once I see what they will propose.
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