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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been having some really annoying system instability. I've replaced my GPU and my PSU but the problems keep on coming.

Right now, the biggest issue is that I get system lockup. Can't move the mouse, can't do anything. It was happening for a long time, and seemed to mostly happen when I wasn't using the computer. I couldn't figure out why it was freezing when not under load. One night, I went to the bathroom and it was frozen when I got back, and I had an idea... so I rebooted, and then stomped on my floor. Not too hard, just enough to send a little rattle through the comp. Locked up. I tried it again just to be sure, and lo and behold, the computer froze again. So I'm pretty sure it's a hardware issue.

Took apart the system, compressed-aired the whole thing to get as much dust out as possible. Resettled all the cables, and it worked for a few days, but then started to mess up again.

I examined the Mobo carefully for failed capacitors, and noticed at least two that are bulging at the top. If I'm correct, this is indicative of a dying mobo?

Now, I want to get an inexpensive replacement Mobo if this really is the problem. My current board is an Asus m2a-vm. I'm looking at NCIX and Newegg, and seeing, bear with me:

ASUS M4A785-M mATX AM3/AM2+ 785G DDR2 PCI-E16 PCI-E 2XPCI SATA RAID Video Sound GBLAN Motherboard

Assuming I purchase that motherboard (80ish dollars), will it be as good as my current one, and will it accept all the other parts I have right now?

Thermaltake 600W PSU
AMD Dual Core 6000+ (2x3000mhz)
A soundblaster Audigy card (not a big deal if I have to use the onboard sound).
Whatever RAM I have atm. (I can rip the comp apart to find the brand)
EVGA GeForce Gtx 465
Western Digital 320 gig SATA hard drive.
All the necessary USB and sound ports on front and back of my case.

If this board isn't ideal, what would be ideal? Assume my budget is 100 dollars with shipping and taxes.
 

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I would suspect the Thermaltake 600W PSU could be contributing to your problems.
The GTX465 requires a minimum 550W system power. The only ThermalTake PSU's that are recommended is the ToughPower series. The rest are not good quality and 600W is not enough for your hardware.
I would want to be at 750W with a good quality SeaSonic or Corsair PSU.
Knowing the RAM brand & specs might also be helpful.
 

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What type of CPU do you have? You wrote AMD dual core 6000+, that isnt a CPU thats a description of a CPU. If you tell what exact CPU you have, we can find a good mobo that will work for that.
 

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What type of CPU do you have? You wrote AMD dual core 6000+, that isnt a CPU thats a description of a CPU. If you tell what exact CPU you have, we can find a good mobo that will work for that.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Dual-Core Processor
3100 MHz Core Speed (3.1 GHz)
2 x 512 KB L2 Cache
Socket AM2
 

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Ok thanks, that mobo you picked is a great motherboard for the AM2 or if you want to upgrade to an AM3 later. Here is what I am using for my LAN gaming setup, its a few dollars more but I love Gigabyte BIOS and OCability:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128394

About what the other guy said about your PSU, while the GTX 465 does say recommended 550, that doesnt mean you cant run a system perfectly fine at stock settings with a 600w PSU. Your GPU will never be using the full 550w of power, Toms hardware power consumption only has it pulling 283w under full load. I dont think your PSU is the issue, although eventually you may want to upgrade it to give yourself some headroom or if you want to overclock.

As for your original issue, the failed capacitors definately mean its time for a mobo swap, but you may want to diagnose your RAM too, system freezes and lockups usually point bad mobo, RAM failure, or overheating CPU or System temps
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I understand some people here aren't thrilled with thermaltake PSUs, but I have a hard time believing that the company is only capable of releasing faulty, kill-your-PC PSUs. My instability has been occuring since before I swapped out my PSU, and my previous Thermaltake 500w PSU gave me no grief on this setup for three years. I'm not trying to be dismissive, but I just doubt that it's the real issue. Could be wrong, of course.

As for RAM, I'll get the brand on here shortly. But, I have successfully run Hot CPU tester for the full six hours. It came back with no errors, and one of the tests says 'memory' I believe. Not sure if that helps.

As for the temps, I don't think those are the problem. When I play games I usually run EVGAs OC Scanner in the background to check my GPU temp (Usually running 70-78 degrees under load, card is rated for 105 degrees), and SiSoftware's Sandra to check my CPU temps. From what I've read, my CPU should be fine under load at 50-63 C, and it's usually around 46-56. It only ever really even spikes to 56, staying steadier around 50-53. I've got two case fans and a gigantic heatsink with a built in fan sitting on the CPU.

And, forgive me for being a bit paranoid, but when I started learning about bulging/failing capacitors, I read that Gigabyte had suffered some serious PR issues with unreliable capacitors, something Asus typically hasn't. That might sound funny coming from the guy who has an Asus board with failing capacitors, though.

And Sandra records my processor info as:
AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+
Speed: 3GHz
Cores per Processor: 2 Unit(s)
Threads per Core: 1 Unit(s)
Type: Dual-Core
Integrated Data Cache: 2x64kB, Synchronous, Write-Back, 2-way, Exclusive, 64 byte line size
L2 On-Board Cache: 2x 1MB, ECC, Syncronous, Write-Back, 16-way, Exclusive, 64 byte line size.

I post this because the cache looks different than what Tyree posted, so maybe it's not the same. I'm just learning all this stuff on the fly, though.
 

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ThermalTake PSU's aren't all bad but they are certainly not top quality.
All PSU's deteriorate in time and lower quality units do so at a faster rate.
I'm not saying the PSU is your entire problem but yours is not the best choice for a GPU that demands almost as much power as the PSU can (according to it's specs ) supply.
Poor quality power could also be related to the failing Mobo caps.
The Bios is the most reliable source of info for Temps & Voltages.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How can I access the BIOS temps and voltages without doing a system restart? By the time I restart the machine the numbers will have all declined, right?

And if looking at the voltages in the BIOS is a good idea, how much is too much or little? I've read on here +/- 5 to 10% is safe. Will the voltages while in BIOS be the same as the voltages while I play games?
 

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http://pcsupport.about.com/od/insidethepc/a/power-supply-voltage-tolerance.htm
That link is for psu voltage tolerances. the +3.3 +5 +12 are the ones that really matter.
As for the restart your voltages won't change and the temps in bios should be close to your system at idle and we can determine if you are running hot from them. with bad capacitors on the motherboard and the possibility of your former psu being out of tolerance you may want to consider new ram..and if you do decide to get ram I'd recommend getting a ddr3 motherboard and ddr3 ram. Some other things to consider is a motherboard with usb3 and sata6. When replacing a motherboard you want to think upgrade as opposed to replacement and luckily with a amd chip you have alot more options than you would with a comparible intel cpu.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just watched the BIOS for a few minutes. Here are the voltages and the temps.

VCORE: 1.5V
3.3V: 3.31V
5V: 4.94V
12V: 12.03V

The temps were 39-43 C for the CPU and the mainboard stayed at a flat 37 C.

I would consider upgrading, but I recently lost my job. Sitting on debt, and recently spent too much trying to fix this thing myself. I've budgeted 100 dollars for making this machine work, and if I can't get it to work with that it'll have to run faulty or off.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just had a first-ever experience. Computer locked up, and I went into the BIOS after a hard reboot to check the temps and voltages, and it locked up whilst in the BIOS. I think this would let me rule out quite a few things? My GPU or HD isn't going to cause a lockup while in the BIOS, is it? Could the RAM still be a factor? I'll take the machine apart tomorrow if I get time to get more info on the brand, but I thought this new development might cross a few things off.

Mind you, I got INTO the BIOS first and managed to scroll through two options before it locked up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sorry for all the posts, but I figure the more info the better. I removed the GPU to test if stomping would still cause an issue with the onboard graphics. Thought maybe the GPU wasn't seated properly, or some connections were loosening from the mobo. Instead of just freezing what was on the screen, my whole screen went black until I did a reboot. Different reaction with the onboard video card, but still instability.

To give more detail on the specific bad capacitors I've found, I circled them on a detailed picture of the motherboard.
 

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if the capacitors are bulgin or leaking you will need to replace the motherboard at some point. But what you need to realise or think about is why are the capacitors going bad.

The simple answer from what I have read about your issues is that you are underpowering your system and most likely your low powered psu has over volted the motherboard at some point when you have been doing something intensive like playing a game or whatever and thus caused some dirty power to damage the mobo.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I do understand that people think that, but also understand that I almost certainly wasn't under powering my system before, or if I was it took 3 years for the symptoms to show. If you want to lay the blame on my PSU, it would have had to have been my old one. But I didn't have my GTX 465 then, and I had no issues with my 500w Thermaltake PSU for 3 full years without changing any hardware. I started having issues (after 3 years), replaced the PSU first and the GPU second. You can argue that my new PSU won't handle my new GPU, but it doesn't change the fact that I have 100 dollars to fix this system. If the Mobo is causing the lockups, I -have- to change that. I can't get a new Mobo AND a new PSU. Heck, it's unlikely I could just get a 700w PSU for 100 dollars Canadian, plus shipping and taxes.

Even if I'll be slowly killing the new mobo with this setup, which I find a little dubious, I would rather have two years of a functioning system now than have to have no system at all for the foreseeable future. The card recommends a minimum 550W supply, and I'm 50 over that. I assume they're going to play it safe on the minimum. I don't have any brand loyalty to thermaltake but I'm assuming that every PSU they make doesn't fail spectacularly.
 

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Did you take into consideration that its not only the gpu consuming power but the rest of your components as well. Motherboard,cpu,case fans, HD,Optical drive it adds up to over the 600w.

Not knowing the exact model of the thermaltake...Im going to assume it is the purepower....2 12v rails at 18a a piece, Clearly right there the card is not getting the correct amps.

We are not trying to chastise you in any way, We just want to help you and your computer run a long health life.

Have a read thru our Power supply selection (in my sig)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I'm not trying to sound ungrateful or anything. I think people have sort of put on blinders to the issue I'm trying to get at here. I understand everyone believes I need something more than 600 Watts. Fair enough. If I had the money, I would upgrade right away.

I also understand that, in the long run, running under-powered will cost me more money. If I ever decide to upgrade, I'll go with Corsair or Seasonic and I'll make a point of getting much more than I think I need.

But, I don't have the money to get the recommended parts, so it's moot. Unless anyone is suggesting that the PSU I have right now is somehow responsible for issues that have existed since before I even had my current GPU or PSU, then we can forget about the PSU right? It started locking up on a system that ran stable for 3 full years. That's what prompted the change in GPU and PSU to begin with. I'm trying to determine if it IS the motherboard that is locking the system up, and if so, what can I replace the mobo with for 100 dollars or less? And yes, I am aware people may be bewildered that I would risk a brand new Mobo on an underpowered system, but I'm not seeing an alternative here short of not using my computer.

I ran the extreme power calculator, which included my current Video Card, and based on all the parts (unless I'm not adding something, but I was accounting for even my USB ports, etc) claimed I would need 508 minimum/558 recommended. 600 isn't the +30% you guys suggest, of course.

I chose 4 sticks DDR2 Ram, Gtx 465, AMD Athlon 64 X2 3000 MHz processor, 4 USB, 3 fans, 1 Sata HD, Soundblaster Card, 1 Physical CPU, 1 DVD read/write, set the Mobo to 'high end desktop' just to be safe, and changed the stock Vcore from 1.4 to 1.5v based on what I read in my BIOS. Set system load to 100% and CPU load to 100%, and the numbers still fall below.

The company recommended 550 Watts or more. I would like to think they're keen enough not to expect dedicated power supplies for the GPUs? They would be factoring in the HDD and optical drives and all the other standard junk, would they not?

Chris.basquit said:

"About what the other guy said about your PSU, while the GTX 465 does say recommended 550, that doesnt mean you cant run a system perfectly fine at stock settings with a 600w PSU. Your GPU will never be using the full 550w of power, Toms hardware power consumption only has it pulling 283w under full load. I dont think your PSU is the issue, although eventually you may want to upgrade it to give yourself some headroom or if you want to overclock."

Do people disagree with this statement, flat out?

This only covers the wattage. The Amps, I don't know, and didn't even know about until you brought it up. I'll go looking into that, if only for my own curiosity. How do I find out how many Amps my card needs?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Should do this when I'm not tired out of my mind. It's a thermaltake TR2600NL2NH. Side of the PSU itself says +12v1 is 32a, and +12v2 is 24a. I'm in the dark now... does that mean my card is only getting 32 or 24 at a time? The card takes 2 six pin connectors, and it's running off of 3 rails I think... one with a natural 6 pin end, and two that are 3 or 4 pins with an adapter linking them both.

I compare this to something close to it, but another brand. It's confusing me, now.

My PSU: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Corsair TX650W: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

My PSU splits the 12v rails somehow, and the Corsair doesn't?

Card needs a minimum of 38 amps.
 

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Considering you financial situation my best suggestion for a solution to your situation would be to get a mATX Mobo, that is compatible with your CPU, and use the Onboard Graphics.


Chris.basquit said:

"About what the other guy said about your PSU, while the GTX 465 does say recommended 550, that doesnt mean you cant run a system perfectly fine at stock settings with a 600w PSU. Your GPU will never be using the full 550w of power, Toms hardware power consumption only has it pulling 283w under full load. I dont think your PSU is the issue, although eventually you may want to upgrade it to give yourself some headroom or if you want to overclock."

Do people disagree with this statement, flat out?
Basically, yes. ALL PSU's deteriorate in quality over time and lower quality PSU's do so at a faster rate. As the quality deteriorates so does the units ability to supply clean efficient power in the quantity that is required by the hardware. That is the basic reason knowledgeable PC builders use a PSU that is top quality and has minimum +30% more power than what is assumed to be required.
 
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