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XP Randomly Shuts Down (3D games) - Must be unplugged for several minutes before it will restart

Posted on 2007-04-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-26
Windows XP Home shuts down within minutes of starting any 3D game (eg Doom 3).  The system will not start again unless unplugged for several minutes.  There is no error message and no logged messages, nor any error messages when it starts up again.

This is a brand new computer and as I suspected defective components I have replaced the following with new components (one at a time):
- power supply
- RAM
- Video card
- mainboard

I have also completely reinstalled Windows XP with all service packs and updates before replacing the RAM/ Video/ Mainboard.

All that is left is the CPU.  This computer has cost me double as I have had to purchase all new components to replace the ones I suspected of being defective.

Your help would be most appreciated.
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Question by:internethotspot
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 18883123
>>This is a brand new computer
Is it not possible to return it to the supplier?
If it needs to be left to restart it's clearly a hardware problem even if you can't trace it.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 18883162
I am the supplier - computer technician for >18 years...first time to encounter this problem.  Therefore I must solve the problem.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 18883187
Note, it's probably important to note that it will ONLY restart if unplugged for several minutes.  If it sits with power off with the plug still in, it will not start no matter how long I wait.  As I had suspected a power supply or bad caps as a potential problem, I have replaced the power supply with a quality Cooler Master, and also a brand new mainboard (and RAM and video card).
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by:Kitezh
ID: 18883523
You dont get any BSOD appearing?

Are you using the right drivers as sometimes suppliers only supply 32 bit drivers whcih should not be used with say 64 bit CPU's.

Maybe have a look at the power settings in the bios and windows so if this makes a difference.

Also can you use a different type of MBD or maybe flash the bios of the exsisting board.

Replace the sata cables and see what happens. Actually inspect all the cables and swap them out one by one to see if you locate a fault.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 18883985
Hi - Thanks for your reply.

There is no BDOD and no error message when starting up again.

I reset all BIOS power settings - no change.
Just replaced the mainboard with another one - no change.
Replaced the 80-wire IDE cable - no change.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 18884015
Seeing that it's the only piece you haven't pulled
Can you monitor the CPU temp via the BIOS, then run your 3D app for 20mins reboot and see what's happening? (if the board supports monitoring in Windows even better!)
Thermal paste?  Iffy fan?
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by:AndrewCink
ID: 18887409
It sounds a lot like heat to me. Can you check the CPU heat sink to make sure it is properly installed, that it is on tight, with no gaps, and using thermal grease? Also, what kind of case are you using? Can you make sure that all of the case fans are on, and that those fans are running at full speed?

You can try testing it by taking off the side, taking a household fan and facing it inside the case and running it at full speed. This of course won't do much if the problem is that the CPU cooler is not on tightly. You might try another CPU cooler if you have one available. If not, I think you owe it to yourself to try another CPU, even if not an identical one, just to see if that stops the crashing.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 18889258
As there are no other parts to replace, I also figured the CPU is the only other thing to try.  When I changed the mainboard, I also of course had to reseat the CPU and cpu fan.  All fans are working properly and the cpu temperature is not excessive - it's within normal operating parameters.

The key I believe is in having to unplug the computer before it will restart.  It will not restart if it is shut off and sitting for hours.  It will only restart when unplugged for a few minutes, then plugged in again.

As there are no BIOS settings nor Windows settings telling it to shut down (for temperature or errors), I need to know what is actually shutting the comptuer down, and why it MUST be unplugged in order to start up again.

Note, after the system shut down I touched all of the fans and even the CPU heatsink, and they were not very hot...the cpu fan was only warm.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 18889311
The power issue suggests a cut out in the PSU.

There is one other thing you haven't replaced, will the MoBo run outside of the case?
Did have one once that was fine until someone touched the case in just the right place and then the mobo shorted and the PSU protection circuit cut the power.  To reset the PSU you have to disconnect the transformer from the main supply.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 18909009
I've replaced the power supply with a good quality cooler master unit.  I just replaced the mainboard and double-checked all insulation etc. and there are no possible shorts, etc.

My next step is to physically remove the video card, uninstall the ATI software, and order in an nVidia video card.  I am suspecting the specific mainboard and video card are having a conflict (not defective, but something just not 100% compatible).  All the latest drivers are installed, so I don't suspect a driver issue.  If the two devices are not compatible, it is really an issue with Microsoft Windows and compatibility with the devices...(for example, much the same way two IO ports could cause an IRQ conflict, etc.)

This upcoming week i will order in a new nVideo card and with all traces of the ATI card removed, I hope to see the conflict removed.

One question I really would like to know is, has there been any specific problems that have caused a PC to shut down, and REQUIRE it to be physically unplugged for several minutes before it would restart?  Note, without actually unplugging, it will never restart.
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by:netadminsge
ID: 19013633
This might be obvious, but have you "thought outside the box".

I have experienced in the past were a power board has caused the PSU's protection circuits to cut power to the PC until it was physically disconnected from the power cable. Replacing the power board solved the problem.

Other issues could be a faulty power cable , power outlet or other environmental issue.  
Worth checking if you havn't already done so.
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internethotspot earned 0 total points
ID: 19015372
Solution: By checking the system error logs I found numerous references to ATI.  While I had already tried two brand new ATI video cards, they both produced the identical results.  The solution was to try an nVidia video card, which did in fact remedy the problem.  No more random shutting down.

For future reference, I used the following mainboard and ATI video card, which in Windows XP would not operate: BIOSTAR PM800 Pro-M7 and HIS Radeon X1650Pro Dual Link DVI 512MB DDR2 (128-bit) AGP 8X video card.  I tried replacing the board with the same model, as well as tried replacing the video card with the same model, with the same unpleasant results (random shutdown).  Once I replaced the HIS card with a nVideo video card, the problem vanished and the computer has not shut down since.
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by:internethotspot
ID: 19015411
Solution provided - request question be closed and be added to database.
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