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I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (RTM) on a box with the following specs:

  • Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4GHz)
  • 4GB DDR2 667 RAM
  • Built-in Realtek 888 audio
  • ATI Radeon 4890 graphics card
  • Shuttle SD39P2 with 450 Watt Shuttle PC-55 power supply
  • 320GB Western Digital 7200RPM hard drive

Whenever I fire up the Sims 3 or Trine on my machine, each game seems to crash my machine at the same point. I don't get a BSOD or crash to desktop with an error; the entire system just turns completely off (and won't turn back on again unless the master power switch on the back of the case is flipped). I can play other games without any issues.

I'm using the very latest drivers for my sound and graphics as of 8/23. Any ideas?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Sounds like a hardware problem: overheating or insufficient power supply. I think the ATI Radeon 4890 requires a minimum of 500W for a power supply. Check the specifications here, 500W recommended

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Quick test if it's a heat problem: does it run a little longer with the case open? –  Nelson Aug 23 '09 at 23:02
    
Nope, crashes at the same point with the case cover off. :( –  Kyle B. Aug 23 '09 at 23:02
    
hardware diagnosis is always tricky if you don't have access to the computer. but when i read the specs the 450w PSU immediately rang an alarm bell. you're already 10% below the manufacturer recommendation. and if you're running a demanding program/game, this could very well cause the system to shut down. doesn't necessarily have to be a new game. remember Diablo 2? almost 10 years old now but no matter how powerful the CPU, the game will crank up the workload to a maximum. it's just the way it was coded, which was OK back then when a 450 MHz processor was top of the range :) –  Molly7244 Aug 24 '09 at 1:06
    
Since my temps seem to be in line and my RAM is fine, power seems like the issue here. It's a shame that Shuttle doesn't offer a 500W unit as an upgrade; only the latest barebones models seem to have them. :( –  Kyle B. Aug 24 '09 at 1:29
    
Try dropping the resolution of your game. I'm stuck with a 350W Shuttle PSU but running games at 720p instead of 1080p doesn't seem to tax the graphics card enough to cause power problems. –  Richard Jul 14 '12 at 18:48

Take out the video card and try your onboard video (I know, it will be painful) and see if it crashes at the same point.

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I don't have onboard video, but I may have an old Nvidia 8600GT lying around...let me check. :) –  Kyle B. Aug 23 '09 at 23:07

Have you tried stressing your system with programs like Prime 95 or CPU Burn-In? When you do so, you should simultaneously monitor your CPU temperatures with a program like CoreTemp. If you're getting too hot, you need to suspect your heat-sink & fan is either poorly installed or not sufficient.

Your possible heat issue could also be graphics-card-related, so I'd look for a utility to specifically stress the graphics etc. However, I'm not specifically aware of one - perhaps somebody who is can provide a link.

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Neat tools. CPU Burn-in doesn't seem to stress both CPUs. It pushes the first core to around 70-80%, and the 2nd core seems to be taking up the extra 20-30%. –  bobobobo Aug 23 '09 at 23:44
    
Actually, you can run multiple copies of CPU Burn-In, one for each core! Great little tool. –  Chris W. Rea Aug 23 '09 at 23:52

As a last resort I would say try another PSU. It's a pain I know to install a new one, but that does seem very power oriented. Most of my heat related issues cause the screen to freeze or graphical artifacts to appear before the computer turns off. Depending on your BIOS, you can also probably check what the voltages are on each of your rails. Your 12volt is pretty important to your graphics card, make sure it's not too far off.

How long have you been running this setup? It's not uncommon for a PSU to die over time, really depends on the manufacturer. 450 watts also seems like it might be cutting it close for a 4980. But then again, if you don't have the same problem on more graphically demanding games maybe it's not your psu or overheating. You could try running prime95 or a game that would really draw a lot of power to see if the problem persists.

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+1. I've learned to keep a spare PSU on hand to diagnose this and other kinds of problems. –  Chris W. Rea Aug 24 '09 at 0:01
    
Shuttle PSUs aren't the standard size, but a friend had a spare 450 watt one from his unit around. Swapped it in, still getting the same issue. –  Kyle B. Aug 24 '09 at 1:25

Could be faulty memory and it doesn't cost anything to check so you might as well.

  • To test it keep pressing F8 as your computer is booting
  • When the Advanced Boot Options screen appears select "Repair Your Computer."
  • Click Next (or select another keyboard if you don't want US).
  • Log on under your username.
  • Under System Recovery Options select "Windows Memory Diagnostic" and choose "Restart now and check for problems."
  • When it starts press F1 and select Extended to run the full suite of tests. Press F10 to Apply the change.

Alternatively you could download MemTest86+, burn it to CD and boot from that to thoroughly test your RAM.

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Switching your PSU can fix this problem.

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The issue could be inadequate CPU cooling. Check your CPU heatsink and fan to make sure you are not using too much silicon paste between the CPU and heatsink/fan. You can also try a new fan.

Coretemp is a good program to monitor your CPU temperatures. If the CPU temperature is over 60 C, then it is not good a good sign; you will likely need to purchase a new CPU heatsink/fan or clean up silicon.

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If it crashes at exactly the same point its not likely to be a heat problem, rather a problem specifically with what the graphics card is being asked to do –  Ciaran Aug 23 '09 at 23:36
    
Idling around 31C and at load I hit 52C, for the record with CoreTemp. –  Kyle B. Aug 24 '09 at 1:26
    
Clean cpu, clean PSU fan, try a new PSU. –  nysingh Aug 24 '09 at 16:41

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