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I have a computer that is about 4 years old and has an even older PSU. A few weeks ago, it started behaving strangely. The system seems to be running as normal in most cases- except when I fire up World of Warcraft, and attempt to pwn n00bs in Battlegrounds. As soon as the graphics cards starts to work harder the system will suddenly and instantaneously shutdown.

Has anyone ever experienced a similar issue? I have examined the computer and cleaned out any dust, but the issue still presents itself.

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This is the anti-n00b-pwning safeguards in WoW ;) –  Majenko Mar 8 '11 at 13:10

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Over time electrolytic capacitors in PSU can degrade and have negative effects on PSU's power output. It could happen that they are in so degraded condition that PSU can't provide enough power, even if it could do so at one time in the past.

As for the shutdown, it could be cased by several factors. PSU could have protection circuitry which could detect if it's overloaded. Motherboard could also be causing the shutdown. Basically, when the computer is started, it takes some time (usually in millisecond range) for PSU to stabilize. There are voltage sensors which on the motherboard which will prevent computer from working if the voltages aren't good enough for it to work safely. It could be that PSU is tripping that sensors which could be shutting down the computer.

It could also be overheating issue with the PSU or some other component. If you haven't done so, clean the insides of the PSU with compressed air or something similar. There cold be tons of dust inside which can be causing overheating.

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Given that the problem occurs when you stress the graphics card it could well be that there is no longer enough power available to the system which could cause it to shut down.

You should check the peak power consumption of all your components (graphics card, optical and hard drives as well as motherboard and CPU) and check that against the rated output of your PSU.

If the consumption is anywhere near the output then you should get a larger power supply.

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The system has been running perfectly in its current configuration for the last couple years. One of the components has degraded, or there is some software error. All the fans are fine. –  MattUebel Mar 8 '11 at 13:37
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@Matt - it could be an upgrade to WoW that requires more graphics performance than before. This is now stressing your graphics card.... –  ChrisF Mar 8 '11 at 13:41
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This is actually not that uncommon of an issue, but just to make sure you have everything covered, make sure our GPU fan is still spinning. –  MaQleod Mar 8 '11 at 19:08
    
The GPU fan was broke. –  MattUebel Mar 8 '11 at 20:22
    
@Matt - that would do it too. I was going to suggest a problem with graphics card, but I thought it would manifest itself differently. –  ChrisF Mar 8 '11 at 20:24

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