Sometimes, I think I’d be better off just getting a computer from an OEM. Today is one of those days, as I’ve been having (yet again) issues with my home-built system.
This time, the computer is turning itself off without warning. As in, I’ll have been happily puttering about for several hours, and all of a sudden the computer is completely powered off without going through a Windows shutdown. One second on, the next second, off.
Looking at the Event Viewer System log made me think this was a problem with the UPS, since errors generated by that were showing up saying that it wasn’t configured correctly with a time stamp immediately prior to system shutdown. I fixed that by moving the USB cable to a different port; you’d think it wouldn’t matter, but apparently the software prefers that the UPS be plugged into USB 1 or 2, rather than in USB 3 or 4. That UPS event isn’t showing up since I moved the cable.
The computer is still shutting down, though. Turning it back on usually but not always gives me several more hours. The exceptions are when it’ll power up, load the OS, and get partially through setting up my personal settings before powering off. I’ve noticed that when it’s done this, the POST messages will not list the CPU or RAM size. (Twice it even powered off before Windows finished loading; when I turned it back on, it went through the CHKDSK program (first on the NTFS boot drive, then on the FAT32 spare drive) and fixed some index entries.)
I thought I’d paddle through the BIOS to see what could be seen. I found a BIOS menu for “PC Health”, which lets me set an alarm for CPU temperatures exceeding 60, 70, 80, or 90 celsius. It had been disabled; I’ve been using a freeware program called Motherboard Monitor (MBM) to keep an eye on system temperatures and that seemed to indicate that everything was fine. Even under load, the CPU was, according to MBM, running around 40 celsius. The BIOS, however, is disagreeing. I turned the CPU Temperature alarm on and worked my way up the temperature points. The alarm is still going off even when it’s set to 90 celsius, which means that despite the liquid cooler system I put in, the CPU may be running dangerously hot. (I’ve since turned the BIOS monitor back off, since that was the only way to get peace.)
I’m not venturing a guess as to why the BIOS is claiming the CPU is running at a higher temperature than the software that is monitoring the CPU’s temperature sensor.
I haven’t been able to find info on safe operating temperatures yet. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that the problem IS an overheating CPU, since quite often I can simply turn the machine back on and have several more hours without issue.
Saturday, I replaced the power supply, going from a Thermaltake 560 watt to a Thermaltake 650 watt, on the hypothesis that a computer losing power may have a problem with the power supply. (Also, I seem to have problems with power supplies, anyway. They have to be the most frequently replaced part on any of my systems.)
This hasn’t helped, as the computer shut itself off again last night after about 2.5 hours of use. Note: it had run for 3 or 4 hours each on both Saturday and Sunday without any sign of a problem. Also, I shut the computer down completely when I’m not physically sitting at it since it is no longer in a room where I can shut the cats out (cats + keyboard = interesting internet experiences, sometimes).
I’m guessing a trip to a local PC shop is in order, as I’ve pretty much exhausted my limited store of hardware geekery. I’m not at ALL happy about this, so any suggestions of causes or fixes would be appreciated. Also, recommendations of good repair places in the Pottstown, PA area.
HW Info:[ul]Gigabyte Tech GA-K8N Ultra SLIAMD Athlon 64 XP (Dual Core) 3200 or 3400 (I forget which)2 Hard drives2 CD/DVD R/W drives1 Floppy DriveThermaltake Toughpower 650W Cable Management (the new power supply)Thermaltake Silent Water Liquid Cooling System2 (at the moment, until I remember the trick for putting in number 3) chassis cooling fansATI Radeon 8500 video card (unpowered)[/ul]Computer, monitor, and cable modem are all plugged into an APC Back-UPS RS.