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Ever since I replaced the graphics card in my Shuttle, the computer has been acting a little "odd".

Sometimes the hard drive will just power down. Windows will still continue to function, but doing anything that would require a program to access the hard-drive causes the spinning circle to be displayed. Most of the time it'll recover, but that could be anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes. Once it blue-screened, but I didn't have mini-dumps enabled so I couldn't find out what the problem was.

In addition, sometimes the computer fails to boot up. It either gets stuck at the end of the animation (where the four colours come together), or it'll get past that to the login screen and when you've entered your password it'll then hang on the "Please wait" screen.

I have:

  1. Checked I'm running all the latest drivers for all components.
  2. Checked I'm up to date with Windows Updates.
  3. Checked for dislodged SATA cables.
  4. Swapped SATA cables with the DVD re-writer.
  5. Installed Acronis Drive Monitor and checked for S.M.A.R.T. errors - everything is within tolerance.

I've looked in the Event Viewer and there are a large number of ATAPI errors around the time these problems happen. They are all event code 11 ("The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort1") which, although I've not found a foolproof way to double-check, I'm pretty sure it's my internal hard drive.

I have a horrible feeling that all of these problems are caused because my PSU is too underpowered for the computer. This would be annoying for the reason that Shuttle don't do more powerful PSUs, so it would be an expensive replacement.

Could it be a PSU power problem - or is there something else I could try?

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so just curious... 1) what's your power supply rated at? 2) what are this machine's specs? – nc4pk Jul 16 '12 at 21:11
Yes, it could be (and probably is) a PSU problem. The only thing you can "Try" is a more powerful power supply, at least temporarily to rule it out or to determine if it IS the cause. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 16 '12 at 21:18
one thing to try is putting a wattmeter (like the Kill-A-Watt) and measuring the wattage your computer is drawing. if it approaches 350W when the hard drive dies then it's definitely the PSU. – nc4pk Jul 16 '12 at 21:38
Does the problem continue when you switch back to the old card? – Bon Gart Jul 16 '12 at 22:31
@tapped-out: although an external meter will give a rough indication of the power draw, it won't say whether that power is available either at all or consitantly to the components within the box. The only way to find that out is a power meter across the power terminals when the machine is operating (warning: not for amateurs!). Supplies operating near max (and sometimes nowhere near max!) may exhibit poor and inconsistent power delivery. – Julian Knight Jul 17 '12 at 10:46

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