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For the past few months my system has been a little unstable. Mainly when playing 3D Games. I can surf the net all day without any problems. If I start playing a game like World of Warcraft, I run the risk of my system crashing. It used to just reset until I enabled the blue screens. I have recieved a variety of error messages for it.

My first thought was that my 3D Card was failing, so I switched it. Just to make absolutely certain, I switched from an nVidia 6800 to an ATI HD 3750 (a nice upgrade by the way! :)), but that didn't solve it. The problem seemed to be a little less frequent for a while though. Next thing was my CPU, I bought a newer CPU, went from an AMD Athlon 1700+ to a 2800+ (another nice upgrade, although I overclocked my 1700+ to 2600+ speeds for many years without problems), this hasn't solved the problem.

The other day, I booted up World of Warcraft, as it seems to happen more frequently in that game plus I'm a WoW addict :) and when my system crashed I started to feel the components to see if any were hot. I could smell a faint smell of something (I have a very good nose). I noticed my power supply (iCAN 500W) was VERY hot. I also noticed my monitor (a flat screen acer 1280x1024) started to shimmer before a crash, I thought that may be interference from the power supply when it overheated, so I pulled the power supply out and hooked up an older 400W power supply and it ran cool all day yesterday while playing WoW constantly. I raised my video settings up to high quality, something that would cause it to crash in the past and nothing. I thought I had the problem solved. Today, I woke up and turned my computer on as I do every morning. I went out shopping for an hour and came home and when I entered my computer room I could smell something overheating again, so I put my hand on my older power supply and it is really hot.

Now I am back to square one. It seems that something is causing my power supply to overheat. And it has caused this problem with two different supplies. I was told that the resetting problem I have had is often caused by RAM, I checked my RAM, tested it with memtest86 and no problems. I also tested it with a windows memory tester (both booted off a CD at startup). The system actually crashed during the windows test, which I thought was strange. It didn't detect problems, the computer itself crashed. It also once crashed after sitting idle after I booted up off the Windows CD!

Oh, the RAM I am using, I forget the name of it, but it is rated to run well with my motherboard (Asus A7N8X) and it isn't all that old.

Could it be my motherboard itself failing? The only things left are my RAM, Motherboard or Hard Drive. I've ruled out the hard drive after it crashed while being booted from a bootable CD.

I'm not made of money and quite frankly I am getting a little tired of buying new hardware. ;)

Any help would be appreaciated.
 

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What one needs to know about...the relation of the negative effects of heat on the computer...That can be caused by the power supply.

Manufacturers test their PSU's at a set temperature...from this their rating is determined... for most this No. is 25 degrees Celsius...which falls short of the temperature that most computers are capable of achieving.

Given that a PSU will actually lose 2-5 watts per one degree of heat above the 25 Degree Celsius testing temperature...coupled with the fact that computers tend to run at 10 degrees higher than room temperature... In the summer time when the room temperature can easily reach 80 degrees F... your computer will be running at 33 Degrees C. or 90 Degrees F.

So the...math can make...your 500 watt power supply into a 460 watt unit.

In addition to this...what needs to be taken into account is that each degree that your computer components are operating at...under powered...adds more heat to the equation.

Consider also...the possibility...that ratings given by the manufacturer of single components...such as graphics cards...need to be treated with skepticism... Manufacturers may minimize support issues and under rate the power required...in order to make a larger profit.

The above has not taken into account...the issue of high quality vs poor quality units...Power supplies convert voltages from wall outlets to lower levels used by the PC. During this conversion, some power is lost as heat. The efficiency level of the PSU determines how much extra power must be put into the power supply to run the PC. A high quality PSU can help reduce the noise and heat generated within a computer system. The higher the efficiency rating the less heat the PSU has to deal with.

Therefore heat is the computers enemy...The hotter the temperature your PSU is forced to run at...the poorer the supply of power the rest of the components will receive...which has been known to lead to such things as crashes, freezing, rebooting, BSOD’s, and video distortion, as well as partial and complete failure of other components.

The fact is very few PSU’s are capable of producing the wattage that the companies advertise.

For a very good comprehension of recommended brand names, wattage, and models in listed categories...Plus much more...check out this link. http://www.techsupportforum.com/f210/power-supply-information-and-selection-192217.html
 
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