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When I am playing a game with high system requirements (this time: Battlefield 3) after a while my hard drive randomly shuts off (it's the hard drive. I hear it shutting down.)

After Windows realizes the hardware is gone, it first closes all Explorer windows relating to this device, my current game often also shut down instantly. Then random applications start hanging up and finally Windows crashes due to the now missing system drive.

Sometimes Windows doesn't even show a bluescreen - the computer shuts off and doesn't turn on for a minute after that. This time it actually did show a bluescreen.

Afterwards my computer case was pretty hot, but the temperatures while gaming (second monitor with temperature meter) aren't exceeding 60 °C on the processor and 80°C on the graphics card.

I know my case isn't completely flawless in terms of air flow, but these temperatures shouldn't really be critical, yet, as graphics cards can go up to 120 °C until crashing out.

I already suppose my hard drive temperature is the error, so for a test I put it standing next to the case on a piece of antistatic plastic.

As a side question: What are the maximum temperatures for hard drive?

What could be the source of the problem? I can't pinpoint it.


Alright, new knowledge that could bring me closer to the real culprit.

My dad had a kickass big "Chieftec" case lying around, with lots of air flow and stuff.

So I went and dusted all my equipment with compressed air and put it into the new case. Then I went and played Battlefield 3.

The GPU never reached more than 60° celsius, the CPU never more than 50 ° celsius. The HDD stayed at 25 °c.

Then, after the round of BF3, I browsed a little and... click, the PC went out! Afterwards the PC behaved like a infant trying to walk: It turned on... turned off, turned on... turned off ... ... turned on and off directly... I disconnected the power and while doing that I recognized that my PSU is... really, really, really hot. The fan inside the PSU runs and all, but wow. The rest of my equipment was dandy and cool, but the PSU... Hot.

Which brought me to the culprit of my whole pc being hot all the time. The new case doesn't conduct the warmth from the psu to the whole case anymore.

Another thing because somebody asked about the PSU.

My PSU is a Xilence RedWing PSU with 480 watts and a passive power factor correction. I had this cpu for like 3 years now. Mainboard: ASUS P8P67 RAM: 4x 4gb 1333 Mhz RAM CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k HDD: Western Digital 500 GB (Shown as WD5000AACS-00G8B1) caviar GREEN

Wow, when I think about it... The hint was pretty good, I really think that my PSU might be underpowering the components, maybe this is why my HDD turned off.

HDDLife says that the HDD is still on 91 % "life".

Error Rate is zero, the reallocated sectors are... zero. Spin up time is the thing that is on 91 %. Positioning errors: zero.


I felt couragous and tried playing the game again, until the hard drive turned off again, thus making everything hang up and finally the computer turned off flat again, with that turn-on-turn-off cycle going on. I removed the power, waited a bit, and started the PC again... Then this appeared on the BIOS screen:

"During the last start of the computer a power surge was detected. ASUS Surge Protect was triggered to prevent damages to the system (or something along these lines)".

Wow, it does feel like the PSU is dying.

share|improve this question
What is your power supply? – Renan May 26 '12 at 16:03
GPUs can also crash at 75 °C. It depends on the card more than anything. It sounds like you need to replace the hard drive. – Bon Gart May 26 '12 at 16:05
What is your computer configuration, sometime windows crash out without bluescreen because of lacking RAM. If the HardDrive stop running, the computer should be totally freeze. – Nam Phung May 26 '12 at 16:46
@NamPhung Well it does totally freeze, but only after a few seconds of spastically killing all applications including the Explorer. – sinni800 May 26 '12 at 18:21
The overload of PSU happen to me once when i used a 300 watt PSU to load my PC. When I played games it's work fine with a Big noise of fan. But when i start to put it on 24/24 for downloading, after 3 days.... Nothing could start, the PSU is totally dead. – Nam Phung May 26 '12 at 23:17

Ok. The first actual question you ask is this...

As a side question: What are the maximum temperatures for hard drive?

But as you state it, that's not your main question. Your main question appears to be this...

What could be the source of the problem?

The hard drive appears to be the source of the problem. Yes, it could be "overheating" and failing, or it could be failing and shutting down due to other reasons not related to temperature.

I already suppose my hard drive temperature is the error, so for a test I put it standing next to the case on a piece of antistatic plastic.

... and what was the result of this test? You put it "standing" meaning it is now standing upright, where in the case it is laying flat? You will need to lay it flat in order for the test to be accurate, but that's a small point. You didn't say whether or not removing the drive from the case, and thus changing it's temperature, had any effect on the system crashing.... or for that matter if standing the drive upright had any effect. Not that it should have, mind you.... but if the drive is having issues, it could.

You said nothing about the make and model of the drive. Without that information, we can't look up the operating temperature range for the drive. Sure, an average range can be guessed at, but different drive makes can be more susceptible to temperature. You said nothing about the actual temperature of the drive, and whether you used a program like Speedfan to try and access those sensors. You said nothing about what the results of Chkdsk were, or even if you used a tool like that to check the data and surface of the drive. You said nothing about S.M.A.R.T data (which Speedfan can access as well) and the overall health of your drive.

Again... what could the source of the problem be? The hard drive. How do you pinpoint it? You start checking the drive with every available tool you can find.

share|improve this answer
About the hard drive: Put it outside and.. Now I am testing it... Please stand by for those results :) – sinni800 May 26 '12 at 18:20
I'll make an edit about it... briefly: It changed the symptoms around... – sinni800 May 26 '12 at 22:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The PSU was dying. Replacing it fixed everything.

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