View Full Version : Heat Problems and Power Supply dying

13-10-2004, 22:08:35
Oh no, I can never have any serious problems with my computer, no sir, why should I...
Anyway, I've got two quite pressing issues. I would be really really thankful for some help on anyone who would help me solve them, as I really need my computer working in good shape during this semester.

OK, my first issue is the CPU somewhat getting hotter than it should be. It's a Barton Athlon XP 2600+, with an original fan on it (I bought the box version). It ran for about a year without any problems, with a normal working temperature of about 51 Celsius. Well, about two weeks ago it started going all weird. Sometimes it's close to what it was, ie. 52-53, but occasionally it goes over 60 on normal operation, and eventually goes up to 70 when I'm doing MP3 compression or playing games (or suchlike), at which point I naturally shut down the comp. Now, the problem is I don't have the slightest idea what's wrong - the fan is properly in place, it's running on the same speed as always, doesn't make any noises, etc. etc. Maybe the PCM was somehow defective and now has decreased effectivity?

My second problem is the power supply. Frankly, as of today the power fan has problems with starting as I turn on the computer. It just stands still. Now don't worry, I'm not running my comp with a PSU sanse air cooling, I managed to solve the problem with "helping" the fan with a vacuum cleaner. It works, but is a temporary solution. And, since the PSU is not really top quality anyway, I'm thinking of a change. So, can any of you recommend a 350-400W PSU with a power input management system (or whatever it's called)?

Please please please help me!

Sir Penguin
13-10-2004, 23:51:14
You can't go wrong with Antec PSUs. I think Enermax is good, too.

The stock HSF that comes with your CPU is pretty crap. Buy a tube of thermal compound (Arctic Silver's good) and a new HSF. You probably don't actually need the new HSF, but it's better to start off with one that hasn't had the thermal pad melted on it so you can get good contact between the metal and the compound.


14-10-2004, 01:32:02
Antec True power

And ditto the fan/heatsink...I like Zalman...but there are lots of good brands

No longer Trippin
14-10-2004, 08:18:05
I prefer Thermalright Heatsinks with Panaflow fans, but they can be expensive when combined. Have to agree with the Antec for a PSU though, that is what is in both my systems.

MP3 encoding is an intensive CPU task, so I'm not suprised to see you having such an increase in load temps running with the stock heatsink. Barton cores are rated to 90 C IIRC, though tend to crash somewhere in the neighborhood your reaching, at least when overclocking.

You may want to check and see if all your case fans (or your heatsink fan even) are spinning or not choked with dust in the bearings thus running slower. Also if there is dust on the heatsink itself, that will greatly reduce it's dissipation abilities. I'd lean more towards a fan since it was sudden though. Has your case temps gone up recently as well?

Ifthe fans are working, and you want a cheap HS/fan combo, I'd go with a Speeze unit and use thermal grease instead or just use thermal grease after cleaning the HS and core. You don't need to pay a premium for AS5 or even AS3. Normal silicon grease will work just as well for your situation and is only a couple bucks tops and still better than a pad. So about 10-15 bucks with a speeze HS/fan and silicon grease.

14-10-2004, 09:05:36
Well, hello again. This time I restarted my PSU fan with a toothpick (sic).
Thanks for the advice. The problem is Antec doesn't have official distribution outlets in fucking Austria, of all the countries. They're here alright, but they're not easy to come by. Is there any good alternative to Antec then?
BTW, what's the acronym for that automatic power conservation function on PSUs?
Also, for the CPU fan/heatsink, won't I void my warranty if I install something else then the stock one?

14-10-2004, 09:30:49
Save your stock fan and slap it back on if you need to use the warranty

14-10-2004, 13:59:12
I just occured to me... The electric motor in a vacuum cleaner is probably not something you want running near your computer or related magnetic media.

No longer Trippin
14-10-2004, 17:48:05
Fortron, Sparkle, Enermax would be my picks after that, but some easier to find ones might be Vantec and Thermaltake. They generally test fairly well in the reviews I've seen, but still have the stigma of their brand attached to them - even though they are outsourced by the company.

No longer Trippin
14-10-2004, 17:51:13
Long as your other HS is approved by AMD it shouldn't void the warranty. It has to be under X grams, so check AMD's website as the policy is a bit questionable and the HS has to be approved. But save the HS and don't remove the thermal pad on it if you want to keep the warranty. It's easy to slap it back in a machine then I'd imagine and even with a cleaned core have some of the thermal pad melt onto the CPU and they'll never know the difference IF your that worried.

14-10-2004, 19:46:42
Thanks again guys!
Ad. warranty - it explicitely states I have to use the included heatsink/fan, so I guess I'll do as zmama and Tripp suggested.
Ad. power supply - since no one answered my question, is this automatic power adjustement feature of some PSUs just a figment of my imagination? Or is it so ubiquitus that no one mentiones it anymore?

Sir Penguin
14-10-2004, 21:07:25
Are you thinking of ACPI? It allows the OS to change power flow to different peripherals.


14-10-2004, 21:10:52
What I mean is that the PSU doesn't consume the same amount of power the whole time, but adjusts to the demands of the hardware.

14-10-2004, 21:47:52
I don't know about adjustment, but Antec's Universal Input feature refers to some kind of circuitry that automatically detects whether the input is 115 or 230 volts. This eliminates the little red 115/230 switch seen on most PSUs. Without a fallback in case detection fails, the PSU had better guess correctly.

14-10-2004, 21:51:35
Sorry LoD...sounds good but I don't know anything about that.
I'll look around...

14-10-2004, 21:54:04
Hm... I think the more formal name is Active Power Factor Correction. Efficiency is said to be better than Passive PFC.


14-10-2004, 22:22:52
I'm 90% certain it's not PFC...

No longer Trippin
15-10-2004, 03:38:05
Some PSU's (more and more nowadays) do have variable speed fans on them - either you can control them or the PSU does it by itself. Though i don't think that is the case with yours, or if you do have it, it doesn't matter - the fan is dead if it isn't spinning. The lowest setting on my 550 and 480 and the fans are BARELY pushing air, but they are moving.

Get a new PSU, if the fan isn't moving then it is one less fan pulling hot air out the case and one bloody hot component sitting inside of it that will increase temps happily until it keels over (and takes your system with it) or you replace it.

If you know what not to touch, or know how to safely drain the caps you could just replace the fan. (or be real cheap and glue one to the outside and be damned with how it looks with cables hanging out).

I'd take the side of your case off for right now to alleviate the PSU's heat load, as also a lot of that is sitting in your case. If your temps drop, your CPU is fine, your PSU is just needs replacement.

15-10-2004, 13:01:42
I don't think it does have speed control either, the fan has no connection to the MOBO.
And, as I've mentioned before, I'm not that stupid to leave the PSU running without a fan ;). How it is currently is that i budge the fan with something (for example with the aforementioned toothpick), then turn the comp on and off a couple of times (not very healthy for it I know). It starts to revolve increasingly faster, and I leave it until I can a)feel air coming out b)I cannot see the individual revolutions (which means it must be more than 1800 RPMs according to my logic).

No longer Trippin
16-10-2004, 03:32:33
It doesn't need to be connected to the motherboard for speed control, to monitor speed control it needs to be connected, that is all.

In the BIOS, what are your rail voltages? If they are steady and within 10% of what they should be, your okay. Though if they are spiking or dropping your not.

16-10-2004, 21:14:32
Hmmm... are constant fluctuations of about 0.08V (ie. back and forth) on the -12 V as well as +12V rails something normal?

Sir Penguin
16-10-2004, 21:35:19
You mean from 11.2V to 12.8V? No.


16-10-2004, 21:47:01
I mean 11.86V to 11.92V and (-12.52)V to (-12.44 )V respectively. But from you just said it's evenmoreso normal. Thanks!

No longer Trippin
17-10-2004, 00:13:47
It sounds okay, what about your 5 and 3.3 rails?

17-10-2004, 00:28:54
3.3V rail - 3.63V to 3.65V
-5V rail - steady at -4.99V

The current PSU is a Chrieftec one BTW.

No longer Trippin
17-10-2004, 05:08:04
Your PSU sounds like it is fine, just the fan is crapping out. You can either replace the fan (if you know what your doing, as a shock from a capacitor in there will do more than just sting) or replace the entire PSU as that is probably what is contributing to your heat problems with the CPU I'd wager if the CPU fan is spinning and the HS is still seated properly.

I wouldn't worry about the CPU temps until you get a fully functioning PSU fan as since it is an exhaust and PSU's do put out more than a fair amount of heat, they can greatly increase case temps which in turn case raise CPU temps as the ambient air isn't as cool which raises the delta compared to if the PSU fan is working properly and pulling hot case air out.

Cheiftec's are solid, but fans do fail even in the best of PSUs.

17-10-2004, 18:02:37
Well, I've cleaned the heatsink yesterday (there was a film of dust between the heatsink and the fan) and now it's working a bit cooler - doesn't go higher then 66, and normally is bellow 60.
So, Tripp' , heard about this PSU function I've asked about in one of my previous post:

What I mean is that the PSU doesn't consume the same amount of power the whole time, but adjusts to the demands of the hardware.

I'm getting mixed opinions from the people I ask, so I don't know whether it actually exists or not...

17-10-2004, 18:31:35
What I mean is that the PSU doesn't consume the same amount of power the whole time, but adjusts to the demands of the hardware.

Not being an expert I probably have this wrong but, my thoughts would be ...

Most power supplies these days are going to be switched supplies. When the power transistor is switched off, no current flows so no power is taken (or negligable). When the power transistor is switched on, there is negligable voltage drop across the transistor so negligable power is taken. It's all (well most) taken during the short transition periods, on and off.

And if the switching frequency is constant, as I'd expect it to be, then the power taken by the PSU is constant. (Give or take next to nothing.)

But that all depends on my assumptions being right :D

17-10-2004, 18:39:09
Thanks nonetheless :). Still waiting for our resident tech guru's response 'though...

And correction ad. max temperature - I've just managed to get it to 67 C running a Haskell program to determine whether 33550336 is a perfect number :cute:...

17-10-2004, 19:04:02
Thinking about it there may be a slight increase in power with increased load, during the transision period. I guess it all depends on how fine/accurate you want to be.

I really must read the rest of this thread to see why it's important ;)

No longer Trippin
18-10-2004, 18:21:38
All PSU's can't supply fulll power or run at full all the time (well they can run at full, but only when needed will they), where is the extra power going to go. It's a supply/demand issue for the PSU. I'm sure there may be some stupid name for it even though it is just simple voltage regulation that has existed since practiaclly forever in the PC world. If more power is needed, it gives it until it can't. If all PSU's put out max power, PSU's would have to be practically handmatched to a system as a slight overvolt can kill a lot of components easily. Current only goes where it is needed and in the amount it is needed in controlled situations, the PC is a controlled situation. This isn't grabbing a downed powerline type deal. :) Not all is done on the PSU's end either, a good deal is also done on the motherboards end and other components which will only allow X amount to be pulled, and the the PSU has less power that it needs to convert from AC to DC. That is why nearly everything has some power regulation, be it a mosfet or something less desireable. PSU's have been "adaptive" to some extent as long as I've played with PC's (386 days).

Why do you think even generic 550's don't blow boards except when they fail? A component inside them fails, be it a voltage regulator or whatnot. They don't have all the whistles and bells feature wise that an Antec or Sparkle may have, but they are adaptive power wise. It is common knowledge that if you want a PSU to last, make sure it has a good deal more power than you need, as then it doesn't have to run at 100%. Generics just blow because they are cheap, higher end ones blow from stress or a rare bad unit, else they could command the prices they do.

The best way to determine quality of a PSU compared to another of the same wattage (minus features you really may not need and most don't) is weight. The heavier 300 watt PSU will put out more power than the lighter one. Antec used to have a 330 that put out a solid 400 without problem a good while back. Don't know if it is still sold as now everything on the high end is 400 on up and OCer's who are the few who will actually torture a PSU don't review 300-350 watt PSU's anymore really.

The Shaker
18-10-2004, 19:14:08

19-10-2004, 22:47:59
Right, how stupid of me! Well, gonna' buy a new PSU any day now...

20-10-2004, 20:55:13
OK, I've narrowed it down to these babies:

Enermax Coolergiant 430W (World Version) (EG435AX-VHB-(W)-SFMA) (http://geizhals.net/?a=100181&t=abholung#ang) (bloody expensive)

Enermax Coolergiant 380W (World Version) (EG385AX-VHB-(W)-SFMA) (http://geizhals.net/?a=100180&t=abholung#ang)

Enermax Noisetaker 375W (German Version) (EG375AX-VE-(G)-SFMA) (http://geizhals.net/?a=107371&t=abholung#ang)

Antec SL400, 400W ATX (761345-04400-4) (http://geizhals.net/?a=60608&t=abholung#ang)

Antec True380, 380W ATX (761345-07380-6) (http://geizhals.net/?a=41880&t=abholung#ang)

Antec True430, 430W ATX (761345-07430-8 ) (http://geizhals.net/?a=41879&t=abholung#ang) (also bloody expensive)

Which one do you think is the most cost effective?
My current PSU is a 400 Watt one, but this thing (http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/) tells me I need about 380 Watts, IF I add a second hard disk, a better video card (6800 FX instead of 5200), a second stick of RAM and a DVD rewriter - the last two upgrades are the ones that are actually planned for the near future.

20-10-2004, 21:08:49
Antec True 380

No longer Trippin
21-10-2004, 02:32:19
The link shows full output, some things never run at full, like GPU's. Also you won't be playing FarCry while ripping a DVD as you ghost one drive to another while doing who knows what else at the same time. I've used that site to ballpark my PSU to get. Whatever it says, I generally add 50 to it, but sticking with whatever it tells you should do you well enough.

The True 380 is the first choice price wise, though the 430 would be my pick personally. Also Enermax is just as generous generally as Antec with amperages per rail (which is important), so a 380 from either would do fine. Just I prefer Antec a tad bit more than Enermax.

21-10-2004, 19:25:23
Well fuck :(.
(but don't worry, my computer's still alive)

I bought the Enermax Coolergiant 380W - I really wanted the Antec, but wherever I looked they were either:
a) out of stock.
b) out of stock, BUT they'd generously let me wait 3 weeks so they can order it (I don't have the time, it's almost the middle of a semester, and I can't afford risking running a PSU with a failing fan that long).
c) have in stock, but I would have to drive through half an Austria to get it.

So I went to the nearest store that sold the Enermax and bought. I install it, no prob, everything is working, I start up Win, turn on the Winbond Hardware Dock - it turns on an immediately pops up a warning. I look at the stats and see that the -5 V rail is at PLUS 3.6 V. OK, I shut down the computer, turn it on, this time I go to BIOS. Here it says 0.0 V on the -5 V rail (the rest are perfectly normal).
I'm 100% that's not a MOBO problem, since I reinstalled the old PSU and it has -4.99 V on the - 5 V rail.

Hmmm... replace or refund?

No longer Trippin
22-10-2004, 03:22:51
What is the amp rating on the 5V rail (should be on side the PSU), also the 12 and 3.3?

Sounds like a bad PSU, but it's rare for Enermax to send out units that will fail on start. I think it was a return IMO. Refund (note that a lot of monitoring software will read things wrong - the BIOS won't though, and getting nothing on the -5V is well, refund time).

If you want I can order you an Antec here and ship it to you - though you'll probably be waiting just as long for shipping if I do it - I know hardware cost a premium there so I don't know if you'd save anything after overseas freight.

23-10-2004, 18:55:00
I've replaced it, being pressured by my parents and failing to find an Antec (BTW, thanks for the proposal, but yes, I think the package will travel about as long as if via order, so it would be just a waste of your time - and we wouldn't want that, would we ;) ?). The problem is, the replaced PSU ALSO has 0 V on the -5 V rail . As everything functions and the damn thing even loads into Windows, that got me thinking - perhaps it's a motherboard/PSU compatibility problem? Have you heard of a situation like this?

No longer Trippin
24-10-2004, 05:18:14
The 5V pin may not be making solid contact with the motherboard, thus not providing a motherboard return. Though if everything is working, screw it. :)

Motherboards and PSU's (other than server boards) are practically always compatible, if they aren't, you can't plug in the connector, or can, just will have extra spaces to clue you in that something isn't right (though fixable). Since that most likely isn't it, ignore it unless it is. :)

I'd venture to say the motherboard either has a problem with it's detection chip (usually winbond) or that the connector isn't tapping the female end - though then you'd have boot errors if your board draws anything from the 5V rail.

You can check the voltages yourself with a multimeter - though if everything is working, I wouldn't be too worried, especially with two in a row. It isn't a good omen, but it could be far worse and it sounds like the PSU is okay and putting out how it should (long as the other rails are okay). You can't have a positive 5 without the -5, so that is a hint that it is most likely the chip that gives the bios the voltages.

25-10-2004, 18:24:41
tapping the female :)

01-11-2004, 01:29:39
I've been silent, because I need to use a cutter on my case to install the new PSU (as there's a thin sheet of metal that's blocking the bottom fan). Keep your fingers crossed ;).

No longer Trippin
01-11-2004, 18:27:13
Stick the PSU on top your case until you get the cutters or bend the metal even - which would probably be easier in my experience.

11-11-2004, 02:22:53
It's been over a week and it works fine :).
One last question - the PSU has a so-called "smart fans" feature. This bascially amounts to the PSU fans running after the computer is shut down, until the PSU internal temp is 40 - this claims to conserve the hardware. Is this actually a useful feature or a cheap gimmick to reduce the lifetime of the PSU fans?

No longer Trippin
11-11-2004, 04:00:36
It isn't going to reduce the lifespan by any measurable degree, and yes, it does have it's purpose (arguably). I've heard of people rigging their waterpumps and fans to run a few minutes after shutdown as temps rise even without the power as all the heat in the metal that air (or water) usually extracts now gets "pumped" right back into the CPU, PSU, GPU, etc. For a CPU unless you go way over, it is only a 5C increase or so for a couple minutes then it drops slowly to ambient (nothing hurting the processor there). Same would go for power supplies, they have stuff that has to be kept cool or it'll go boom. It just is an added measure of security which isn't needed IMO for a PSU at least (unless your really pushing it hard 24/7 by folding and running a ton of shit off it).