Computer Randomly Shuts Down

Hey everyone

Recently my computer has decided that at random points it will shut down whislt playing games.  There is no beeping, and no real indication that something is wrong.  One minute it's fine, next it is instantly off.  

I have checked the event viewer and couldn't really see anything.  Any ideas what it could be?

Hardware is as follows:
Intel Core 2 Dueo
4GB Ram
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX

At first I thought it was a nvlddmkm error, but I usually just get dumped to desktop with them.
LVL 15
angus_young_acdcAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
Especially if you're playing game, it could be overheating.  Try this:

SpeedFan  http://download.cnet.com/SpeedFan/3000-2094_4-10067444.html
Monitor fan speeds, temperatures, and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips.
Company: Almico Software
Version: v4.02
Date Added: 02-28-02
Size: 795 KB
OS: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP  
Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP
License: Free
 
From the developer: "SpeedFan monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hards disks that support this feature (almost all :-)) and show hard disk temperatures too, if supported. At the lowest level, SpeedFan is an hardware monitoring software, but its main feature is that it can control the speed of the fans (depending on your sensor chip) according to the temperatures inside your pc, thus reducing noise and power consumption. Most Winbond sensors and ASUS AS99127F support fan speed changing, as well as others from MYSON, ANALOG DEVICES, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTORS and ITE, but the motherboard should make use of available pins."
 
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ibrahim52Connect With a Mentor Team LeaderCommented:
1)First thing,check your Startup items,if there is any unknown application running in background by using MSCONFIG command in your Run command box from your start menu

2)If you are still in doubt,then use HijackThis and post your logs here.
Download Link :
http://download.cnet.com/Trend-Micro-HijackThis/3000-8022_4-10227353.html

3)As LeeTutor has suggested check your speedfan or your Power Supply FAN by changing the Power Supply FAN.

I hope your problem should solved.Thank you.
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ibrahim52Team LeaderCommented:
1)First thing,check your Startup items,if there is any unknown application running in background by using MSCONFIG command in your Run command box from your start menu

2)If you are still in doubt,then use HijackThis and post your logs here.
Download Link :
http://download.cnet.com/Trend-Micro-HijackThis/3000-8022_4-10227353.html

3)As LeeTutor has suggested check your speedfan or your Power Supply FAN by changing the Power Supply FAN.

I hope your problem should solved.Thank you.
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angus_young_acdcAuthor Commented:
Hey guys

I installed SppedFan and the GPU does seem rather high (66C), but it's strange my computer up until last weekend was on 24/7 and I never had such issues.

Going to try and run a hijackthis scan too.
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icsi_wizConnect With a Mentor Commented:
These recommendations are based on the 'Instant Off' shutdown concept. If your computer is going through any type of Windows shutdown, then I'd bet it's something else. Also, Fans cooling, etc (from above) would be on this list, if they weren't already listed above.

I'd check:
 1st) Verify your electricity is good. Voltage should be 110v-120v, grounded with the correct parity. Some poorly constructed power supplies will have problems with bad electricity. Also, bad electricity can damage power supplies.

 2nd) Power Supply. Many times a funky power supply can cause random behavior. You can work real hard at testing the PS with a volt meter, but in the end it's easier/cheaper to go buy another power supply, trade it out, and check to see if the problem went away (I am assume this is a desktop computer.) Also, it never hurts to have an extra power supply.

 3rd) Memory - verify that your memory doesn't cause errors; you can download a bootable memory tester called memtest86. With memtest86 It's possible to have memory errors and pass this test, but good memory will never give a false positive....so if it does show an error, then you know you have a memory issue.
I recommend running memtest86 anytime you think your computer is acting wacky. It's too easy. Download a bootable image from : http://www.memtest86.com/ , burn it to CD-rom, and use it to start the computer. It'll do automatic memory testing and flag any errors.

 4th) Video and/or motherboard. Start researching your motherboard and video card. There could be firmware and/or driver updates needed. Also, you might find that others are having problems with the same equipment at the same time as you, or after the same period of use. I.e., defects.

that's it for now.  Hope this helps
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mdieeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
This may be completely different, but we built a new system for a buddy and used the new amd 45nm phenom II. It would play games for maybe an hour and just reboot. Turns out the voltage the motherboard was giving the processor wasn't enough so we researched and found the right ammount of voltage the processor needed and adjusted the BIOS accordingly. Also, when it shuts down put your hand on the back of the power supply and make sure it isn't scorching hot. A can of compressed air to the inside never hurt either.
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Caveman420Connect With a Mentor Commented:
I have had this issue as well. I had to rplace my case because my components would overheat. this started happening after I install my 8800GTS 640. It runs hot in the 60c range when idle. it will hit upwards of 68c when gaming. In a small enclosure or a large enclouser with inadiquite airflow this will cause your system to reboot. try leaving the panel open with a fan pointed at it. If this works, you know it is an ocerheating issue. Riva tuner is a good application to use as well to record your system temps. REMEMBER WHEN THE CASE IS OFF ALL YOUR PARTS ARE EXXPOSED. BE CAREFULL!!!
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Caveman420Commented:
One more thing if you have an inadiquite power supply you could have this happen, and undervolting your video card can destroy it!!
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scarsremainedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. Make sure you have all the updated drivers
2. Make sure you only have the updated driver, and not the old ones still on the computer (delete them)
3. Make sure your card's fan is working as well as any fans you have blowing on it
4. Make sure the power connector is firmly put in on the video card
5. Make sure you have enough power getting to it (you probably need a 500w or higher for that card)
6. Let me know once you've done all these steps!
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PCBONEZCommented:
Okay:
PC works fine except randomly shuts down during games.
-
Translation:
PC works fine except randomly shuts down when heavily loaded.

Most likely suspects:
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Overheating.
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Inadequate Power. [To 'something'. Most likely: RAM, Video Card, CPU.]
May be caused by bad/inadequate PSU or the next problem.
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Voltage regulators that can't handle heavy load.
This is usually one of: a design problem or bad caps on Mobo, PSU, or video card.

.
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scarsremainedCommented:
that is pretty much what I just said PCBONEZ
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PCBONEZCommented:
No actually it's not scarsremained.

You threw out some GP fixes that may indeed work but that's not helping to identify the actual problem it's treating symptoms.

"Bad motherboard" or "Bad Video card" are only symptoms.
There is a reason they are bad.
Finding that reason is what I try to do.


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scarsremainedCommented:
I am about 80 percent sure this has something to do with the power supply.  My guess is that it is not big enough (wattage) to supply adequate power to all the components.  If it only happens during games or watching large videos, that is the problem you are facing.  Could you tell me what PSU you have?
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PCBONEZCommented:
Maybe but no where near enough info to call it yet.
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Too many cards with the complete junk FZ series caps on the market and GeForce cards get more than their fair share. FZ also show up on two brands of motherboard that I know of. This isn't the 'old' cap problem that began 7-8 years ago this is current.
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Also boards with DDR or DDR2 by way of 4 modules can be unstable, especially under load.

Just not enough info here yet.

What is the make of the video card [NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX is the chipset, not the make.]
Does it have any caps labeled with blue or black with a prominent 'FZ' in the part number?
[Same same about mobo.]
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I agree with: "what is the power supply"?
-
What is the RAM and how is it configured? : 4x1GB or 2x2Gb?
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What is the motherboard?

.
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scarsremainedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would answer PCBONEZ questions because he seems to know a lot more on this subject than I do.  I just know this happened to me before and it was a PSU problem.  i wasn't being sarcastic either when I said answers PCBONEZ questions. Good luck!
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PCBONEZCommented:
scarsremained
Don't run away. - My intention is not to put anyone down. It's to teach what I know.
I know a whole lot, but over a small range.
Your input and experience is valuable and your range is probably wider than mine.
Besides, what if I can't be here to answer something and you know an answer.....
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lovylove143Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Best is to restore to system to earlier state.... using system restore point. Try updating all of ur hardware driver,,, if even then its not working format and install new OS....
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scarsremainedCommented:
well i was just saying, i know this happened to me, and if my memory serves me right, which i have a great memory, it was that i had a faulty video card.  i sent it back and got a refund for it.  if you didnt purchase the video not too long and its made by EVGA or something similar, it probably is a faulty card.  either that or, you dont have enough power supply.  i am pretty much 100 percent sure it is one of these two problems.
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angus_young_acdcAuthor Commented:
Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of replies.  I have been working (some Easter holiday, eh?).

I have updated the drivers but the problem seems to still happen.  Is there anyway that I can check the voltage/power supply on the machine via software?  Or do I have to buy something?  

Strange thing is it is only a recent problem.  I haven't had any gaming issues like this before (apart from the dreaded nvlddmkm).  

I will try and answer the questions as best as possible, if I miss any please let me know:

>> What is the make of the video card [NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX is the chipset, not the make.]
Does it have any caps labeled with blue or black with a prominent 'FZ' in the part number?
[Same same about mobo.]
I thought that was the make.  How can I find out?

Most spec details should be below from when I purchased the parts (last year)
Arctic Power 700W PSU - With PCI-E, 4x SATA, 20+4, ATX12V, 8pin +12V Connectors
Nvidia 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 Dual DVI PCI-E Graphics Card OEM
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3GHz Socket 775 4MB Cache 1333MHz FSB Retail Boxed Processor
Asus Striker II Formula 780i SLI Socket 775 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
OCZ 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 CL 4-4-4-15 PLATINUM XTC (x 2)
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jhiebCommented:
The suggestions you've gotten so far seem to be good ones. Like the guys said, the problem could have just started because the Power Supply finally is going bad. Your wall power could be lacking, which is also putting too much stress on your power supply and components. Do yourself a favor. Get a new Power supply, and put your computer on a UPS. At least that will help protect your system with steady voltage. If your UPS starts throwing fits or is drained then that will confirm for you that your wall circuit is affecting your computer.  A good power supply is affordable. It also sounds like you need to get yourself a better cooling system. Your system is running too hot. Add more fans and make sure there is enough circulation around your computer.

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PCBONEZConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Checking voltages via software can be inaccurate and problematic.
The best thing to do for an accurate number is check with a multimeter.
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Thing is even then it won't help much with this particular problem.
Your system is fine until you game.
Voltage is probably fine until you game.
Under heavy load current goes up and voltages tend to drift down.
You would have to monitor the voltages -while- you are gaming.
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Software monitor would be fine to check if voltages dip.
Even if the numbers are off you will see how much it drops with loading.

Adding to something jhieb said:
Motherboard caps and video card caps are same-same in so far as typical ratings.
Lifespan of electrolytic caps is reduced by 50% for each 10°C rise in temperature.
The scale is logarithmic and most motherboard caps are rated for 2000hr at 105°C which works out to:
At 65°C - 3.75 years
At 55°C - 7.5 years
At 45°C - 15.0 years
- And cheap motherboard/video card caps are often only rated for 1000hr at 105°C.
Motherboard caps and video card caps are same-same in so far as typical ratings.
At 65°C - 1.875 years
At 55°C - 3.75 years
At 45°C - 7.5 years
If card has 85°C rated caps instead of the recommended 105°C it's A LOT worse.

This is why most recommendations about case ambient temp recommend something less than 50°C.
I know GPU temp is not capacitor temp but that GPU is certainly heating things up.
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If your GPU is getting to 66°C you need lots of airflow -through- the case.
Around in circles inside doesn't help, you need it to go -through- the case.
.
.
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PCBONEZCommented:
sorry for typo - dupe.
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scarsremainedCommented:
the make of the video card comes before the nvidia geforce part.  it should say something like EVGA Geforce 8800gtx or XFX Geforce 8800gtx or ASUS Geforce 8800gtx.  EVGA, XFX, ASUS, PNY are some of the more popular names.  If it is EVGA, I am 101 percent sure that it is just a faulty card and you should return it.
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MrMintanetCommented:
scarsremained, I am not challenging you, but I do have to ask; How do you come to that conclusion based on the manufacturer's name?
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scarsremainedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
because I had an EVGA geforce 8800 or 8600, it was working fine until one day it got green lines on the top of the screen and froze the game when I tried to play.  actually, im not sure if this author mentioned green lines, but if thats what is happening i am sure its a faulty card.  but if it is just shutting down during games, then im 100 percent sure the power supply doesnt have enough wattage to run everything.  the 8800gtx is going to require at least a 500w or higher, he never mentioned his PSU wattage.
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PCBONEZCommented:
eVGA has been known to use the crap Sacon FZ caps.
As well as -->
XFX 8600GT XXX Edition
http://images.bit-tech.net/content_...x_edition/1.jpg
Albatron 8400GS
http://www.imgx.org/pfiles/613/5173_large_albatron.jpg
aptiva 8500GT
http://www.easy-tecs.com/abilder/cap-8500gt1g.gif
XFX again..
http://www.overclock.net/attachment...p6030010nf1.jpg
FSC OEM 8600GT
http://img.alibaba.com/photo/200164...GT_VGA_Card.jpg
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Sacon FZ also show up on low end motherboards.
I know for a fact Jetway and Biostar have used them.
Sacon = Evercon = New names for GSC = Junk Parts.

They do this.
Sacon-FZ-Jetway-skt939mobo-pcb.jpg
Sacon-FZ-Geforce-6200-pcb.jpg
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PCBONEZConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Sacon is not only junk but a sleazy brand.
The black one are made to look like Nichicon solid polymer.
The blue ones are made to look like Chemicon solid polymer.
The Sacon's are even solid polymer, they are electrolytic.
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PCBONEZConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Lower cap is a vented FZ.
Upper cap is a legit Chemicon Solid Polymer.
-
Photo is from an 18 month old Biostar tForce 590SLi Deluxe motherboard.

FZ-UCC-caps-pcb.jpg
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IneptedCommented:
The previous comments were on the right track, could be bad power supply, or video card. My brother, however, had a similar issue once, and I just told him to open up the side of his case. The problem went away. I am assuming it was heat related, even though the GPU was reporting temps in the safe range. You also have to keep an eye on the temps for the motherboard and the cpu, since they can cause the system to shut off too. I see a lot of these types of problems, computer runs ok for months, then when spring and summer roll around, lots of freezing and sudden rebooting.

This is just a suggestion, what the other guys have been saying could very well be true.
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iceblitzCommented:
Have you check the processor temp. Try check the processor Fan, it could be clogged and the fan speed getting slow to disperse heat from heatsink.
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angus_young_acdcAuthor Commented:
Hey guys,

Sorry for the massive delay in closing this, but as you can see from this support thread (http://mobile.experts-exchange.com/Q_24427605.html) I'm having rather a lot of trouble with EE caused by my companies network.

The advice given in this thread has been very indepth and spot on.  It was indeed apparently overheating, caused by my own lack of house keeping (hey, I'm a single male in his early 20's... :) ) causing a *massive* amount of dust to gather in the graphics card, and around the CPU.  So I spent a few hours very carefully removing as much of it as I could.   I still need to buy a can of compressed air, but that will be a job for another day.

Thanks again
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