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I was playing a game on my PC today and it just turned off as if someone hit the power button. I am somewhat technically inclined, and figure it has to be the power supply or motherboard?

My question is, how can I figure out which it is without ordering both parts online?

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migrated from serverfault.com Aug 17 '11 at 22:18

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

5  
What happens if you try to turn the PC back on? –  ChrisF Aug 17 '11 at 22:22
    
Did you post your question from that PC, another one or a phone etc..?? If another PC, does this mean you have a second, suitable PSU you could use for testing? If you are posting from the affected PC I guess that answers ChrisF's question. Could also be RAM-related. –  Linker3000 Aug 17 '11 at 22:34

3 Answers 3

Rather than faulty Motherboard or Power supply, which it may still well be, another possible cause of this could be overtemperature protection. There are differing behaviours in different pieces of hardware, but sometimes when CPUs overheat, the protection on the motherboard may well just turn the whole PC off.

Try cleaning out the dust on all of your motherboard components and heatsinks with a can of compressed air preferably, or a soft brush of some kind if you have to and see if that helps. Also while you're there, have a close look at all of the components on the motherboard and see if you can find any components with obvious scorch marks around it. If you decide to take the cover off of the power supply to clean out the fan(s) and look for these burn/scorch marks, make sure to unplug from the wall and leave for a while before opening the cover.

You may also want to try running a temperature monitoring program to see what sort of temperatures your CPU reaches while gaming.

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In addition to scorch marks, don't forget the good ole bulging capacitors! –  Scott Pack Aug 18 '11 at 1:17

I agree with Camster342. I had a similar problem a few months ago. I ended up replacing the power supply twice, the 1st time with a similar sized unit, the second with a larger power supply. I've not had any issues with the machine just turning off since. I also dust my machines on a regular basis (always have) it seemed to help a little.

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My troubleshooting order would go:

  1. HW Monitor or some such application for data logging your temps and stats
  2. Reset to default any possible software options for your CPU and GPU
  3. Reset your BIOS, if you dont know how, you can just pull the battery (your clock will be wrong after this)
  4. Clean your PC out, take a look for physical defects
  5. Get a PSU tester on eBay (should only be $10 or so)

This should either fix your problem or let you know what it is.

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