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My friend owns a CyberPower PC that he bought six months ago. He wanted to upgrade the video card and I offered to help him.

The old card did not have a power connector on it, but the new one does. Using the adapter provided by the manufacturer, I connected the new video card to the power supply.

The card worked for three weeks but today he reported that the computer turned off randomly while he was playing a game. Any attempts to turn the computer back on are unsuccessful.

Since CyberPower built the computer and knew what components were being installed, I'm assuming they used the minimum required power supply to get the job done.

Is it possible the new video card was drawing too much power and it fried some circuitry in the power supply?

If I replaced the power supply, can I expect everything else to work again? Or is it possible that additional components have been damaged?


Update

Replacing the power supply ended up working. The system is 100% functional again :)

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migrated from serverfault.com Nov 17 '10 at 22:55

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
This is a fairly common issue with changing out stock video cards with much higher powered performance cards, especially on cookie cutter systems. –  MaQleod Nov 18 '10 at 0:31

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

By replacing the PSU, your system should be up and running again. By overdrawing the power supply, components inside can melt, causing the entire machine to simply switch off. These are the symptoms you seem to be describing.

It would be more useful if you can provide some specs (most importantly, the number of HDDs, type of video card and rated max wattage of the PSU) so we can help determine if the supply was overdrawn or not, or consult the advice in this post. Bear in mind that failing PSUs are a very common cause of generic computer problems.

In the case of an overheating graphics card, the system might switch off, but after a moment or two should be able to be turned on again. Even if the card is damaged, it should not affect the machine from switching on.

The problem is in my mind absolutely the PSU.

Also try read the answers to this similar question.

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Thanks for the information everyone. The Power Supply that CyberPower provided was so generic I couldn't find any specs on it, so that made it difficult to check if the card would've been an issue; I obviously just risked it. Anyway, I ordered an new PSU. I'll check back here once we install that. –  macek Nov 18 '10 at 6:50
    
Any results yet? –  Paul Lammertsma Nov 27 '10 at 21:17
1  
Sorry about the long delay in response here. Replacing the power supply got everything up and running again. 100% functional :) –  macek Aug 12 '11 at 18:39

Symptoms do look like a failed PSU, but don't be too scared with those kilowatt requirements of the modern cards. Most setups will do just fine with 350/400W PSUs. See this review for a reference http://techreport.com/articles.x/19934/5, a super heavy system barely climbs above 400W.

P.S.: Power spikes during PSU failure can take multiple components with them.

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Highly likely to be a dead supply, though I have seen similar problems with the processor (yes the actual CPU) dead as well.

Replacing the PS with something in the 450W + mark should be a good first step - these are available everywhere very cheaply.

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If your friend was running with a decent surge protector his system is likely fine... However it isn't impossible that his power supply might have fried the system.

Not turning back on is bad news generally, but it could be any number of things...

In the future you should always check the wattage rating before installing new components.

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Whether a surge protector was used or not is not relevant in this case; that simply prevents surges from the wall socket from damaging the machine. A fried PSU will typically do nothing at all, and therefore it is expected that the machine does not turn on. At this point, really nothing can be said about the state of the components. –  Paul Lammertsma Nov 18 '10 at 8:53
    
Actually, the question was 'Why doesn't my computer turn back on'... He's guessing that a new video card was drawing too much power from the PSU, which is highly unlikely... A power surge is a much more likely culprit. –  Gary Nov 20 '10 at 17:00

Sometimes voltage or load spikes cause the PSU to shut down without doing harm. You can try to reset it with the following procedure: try for 2 times to power the machine on without cable attached. Then reattach and try again.

If it works, fine. You should in any case re-check the power requirements of the machine.

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All PSU's are not created equal. A good PSU will cut out before damage occurs, I believe. And not only that, a good PSU will be quiet, and efficient (A bad PSU will not). This website was like gold when I was shopping for a new PSU: http://www.silentpcreview.com/section10.html

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