I think my PSU is Dying. Help me Confirm?

Discussion in 'Power Supplies' started by Zarathustra[H], Feb 19, 2019.

  1. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Hey all,

    I'm having some problems with my desktop today, but I havent had to do this kind of a trouble shooting session in quite some time, so I am rusty and could appreciate some help.

    I have a hexacore x79 Core i7-3930k which as been running at a constant overclock of 4.8Ghz since it was brand new in 2011. It has been a champ this entire time, which is why I have never felt a need to upgrade.

    The plan is to upgrade to a 7nm AMD CPU this summer, so I'm really hoping it lasts me until then.


    I had been doing some several day long video encode jobs queued in handbrake under Linux, when I came back to my desktop after work today, it was strangely sitting on the logon screen rather than being booted up and chugging along on the 3rd day of my 100% load encode.

    Odd I thought. I wonder if there was a power outage or something.

    I powered it back up, restarted handbrake, and got my encodes going again. Went to the kitchen to make a drink, but when I get back to the office its sitting on the logon screen again, but this time there is an acrid electrical smoke smell in the office. Uh Oh.

    I open up the case, with my flashlight in hand and look for obvious problems. None found. Decide to power it up again. Boots up fine. I log back in. System appears to be behaving normally. All normal desktop type stuff appears to function. Until, I put another heavy load on it with Handbrake. This time I stayed around to see what happened. It runs for 30 seconds to a minute, then there is a brief power down and spontaneous reboot.

    At this point my nose is numb to it, but I'm guessing that burnt smell reappeared.

    A test with Prime95 confirms that it is not just some weird Handbrake thing. It goes down the instant Prime95 fires up its workers.

    Just do be on the safe side, I am going to stop using it for now until I get this figured out.



    At this point I'm guessing it's probably my power supply, based on the symptoms. This would make sense. It's a Silverstone Strider ST-1200 Gold I bought back in early 2011, so I've gotten 8 years out of it.

    My theory is that the PSU was already getting tired with its old caps, and I went and did something silly, like run a 3930k on full load at 4.8Ghz and 1.445v for 3 days straight, and that put the nail in the coffin.

    Does this sound like a reasonable diagnosis? I don't have any spare PSU's laying around powerful enough to power my desktop, so I can't swap it out and test. Are there any other diagnosis steps I should take to confirm before I order a new one?

    If I order a new one, any recommendations for good high end PSU's today that won't break the bank? Right now I'm leaning towards the 1200w Seasonic Prime Platium.

    I know those PSU calculators are guesstimates at best, but punching in my particulars it says I need 915W, so staying with a 1200W unit seems to make sense, unless I'll need a bigger one for a Ryzen 3 or Threadripper in June (I plan to decide when I see what chips they release and the particulars of the x570 chipset when it surfaces.

    I'd appreciate any input!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  2. causticspill

    causticspill Limp Gawd

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    Sounds a little similar to my recent issue, sorta- down a few threads. Electrically, I'm not sure how to go about testing the PSU any further, but you've done the thinking and the evidence is pointing to the PSU and given the age it isn't a bad idea to replace anyway at this point. Without a spare to swap in, you've really only got one option and that's the conclusion you've come to.

    From my understanding the online power calculators are rather generous/conservative and are kind of aimed at lower tier parts. I'd be surprised if a 1200W wasn't enough for your next build, but I haven't paid much attention to threadripper.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    thats a lot of years on ANY hardware......might be a very good idea to replace the power supply before it catches fire lol...i think occt has a power suppy test function that puts both the cpu and gpu to high usage and could be a quick way to ramp up the needed power and do a quick test
     
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  4. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Best advice: order immediately from Amazon, for the return policy, and don't look back.

    I assume that you're posting because you're dreading the work of all the cable routing... ;)
     
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  5. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    Id also bet the rails are sagging pretty bad compared to a brand new model and something tells me you havent checked into that
     
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  6. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I'm actually asking because my current build (and all my other builds) has been remarkably reliable for the last 8 years, and I haven't really needed to troubleshoot that much, so I am really rusty.

    I don't mind me some cable management, but I would hate to buy a $200+ component if I don't need it, especially since I have no other application that requires such a large PSU.

    Are you suggesting Amazon will take back opened parts that are fully functional?
     
  7. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    So, multimeter on the 12v rail to see if it is still 12v? Or what do you mean?
     
  8. fullvietFX

    fullvietFX [H]ard|Gawd

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    That's a sweet overclock.
     
  9. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, the first stepping of the 3930k tolerated quite a lot of voltage and got great overclocks. On the flipside their VT-d implementation was broken.

    For once I won the silicon lottery back in 2011. Hasn't happened again since :p


    32nm @4.8ghz and 1.445v means lots of heat. I bet my entire system will run so much cooler when I upgrade, hopefully this summer.
     
  10. psy81

    psy81 Limp Gawd

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    I wouldn't rule out CPU degradation due to high voltages. Although in my experience CPU and RAM issues tend to hard lock as opposed to reboot.
     
  11. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing. You tend to have either hard locks or thread crashes if that is the case.

    The symptoms (all of a sudden black blank screen, fans turn off, and system reboots) tend to be ones I associate with the PSU.
     
  12. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, I've ordered the Seasonic PRIME 1200W Platinum PSU on Amazon.

    They say it will be here by Friday.

    At that point I guess I'll know if it is the PSU or something else for sure!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  13. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well that and the 5volt you want to see how bad they dip under full CPU/GPU usage....that supply probably dips down to 11v under full load by now
     
  14. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, I guess it is pretty moot at this point. I can't get it to stay powered on under full load. No way to measure how far it dips :p
     
  15. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    for what its worth.....that much time in use it needed replacing anyhow and can be reused with zen2 7nm build wehn its time
     
  16. fullvietFX

    fullvietFX [H]ard|Gawd

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    Mine only did 4.4GHz.
     
  17. psy81

    psy81 Limp Gawd

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    It sounds like his OC was stable for many years so I doubt vdroop would be an issue.
     
  18. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, it's here:

    IMG_20190222_212620.jpg

    Jesus. 12 year warranty.

    Wish me luck! (...but not until tomorrow, I'm way too damned tired tonight)
     
  19. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    ok well give you 30 minutes to do the entire swap out;)
     
  20. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Shouldn't take much time. I do have to undo all my zipties I use to keep it neat though, but that won't take too long.

    I'll spend more time looking for that damned screwdriver I just had in my hand a second ago... That's where most of my project time goes. :p

    As for the wishing me luck bit, that was more about wishing me luck that the PSU was indeed the correct diagnosis :p
     
  21. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles [H]ard|Gawd

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    You got SLI titan X? Unless you are running 3x SLI the 1200 is huge overkill for that. Either way that's a great PSU and I hope it fixes your problem. However I would have gone to stock clocks and tested before buying a new one.
     
  22. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    his supply had to many hours on it anyway.....it needed to be changed out regardless do to what we have learned in [H] tests
     
  23. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles [H]ard|Gawd

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    We'll find out!
     
  24. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Alright. Getting started.

    This Seasonic PSU is solid, heavy and screams quality. Very impressed.

    IMG_20190223_150617.jpg
     
  25. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    IMG_20190223_150945~2.jpg

    Going to have to read the manual and figure out what this "Hybrid Mode" button does.

    First time in 30 years of doing this I've had to read a PSU manual.
     
  26. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Alright. The manual is not very detailed on the subject, but what I can gather from it is that it has to do with PSU fan control. The section in the manual is a little bit on the vague side, but it sounds like in standard mode it controls the fan speed, but never shuts off. In Hybrid mode it includes an off state in the fan control. Seems like there is no reason to not use hybrid mode, if the fans spins up when needed anyway. I may have to go to the [H] review and see if they did any testing on the subject.
     
  27. tedych

    tedych Limp Gawd

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    Hybrid mode means the PSU fan would stay off while the PSU is lightly loaded and only spin when you put heavy load on it. In my opinion this mode is the evil of today's PSUs. It leads to "enhanced" aging of components just to "please" the user of being dead silent when lightly loaded.
    Most quality PSUs when spin slowly their fan are practically inaudible unless you happen to use the PC in a totally isolated room with totally silent PC.
    I've never had a PSU fan die on me even after 6-7 years of 24/7 service (the way I use my PCs).
     
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  28. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    The [H] review mentions the "semi-fanless mode" but does not call it by the same name as the manual. The only time it is mentioned though, is that they keep it off for their testing.

    Point taken about the temperature. I'll probably leave it off, because my pump will likely be louder than the fan in low speed modes anyway. That said, with a warranty that's going to last me to 2031 (20-fucking-31, aren't we all supposed to be exploring the galaxy in starships by then? :p ) premature death from heat seems like it is a small problem at best.
     
  29. Paul_Johnson

    Paul_Johnson [H] PSU Editor & Admin Staff Member

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    Different people call semi-fanless operation different things. Seasonic's name was covered when it was introduced about a decade ago https://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/09/25/seasonic_x_series_x750_power_supply_review/6
     
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  30. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    In order to see if it was mentioned I took the verbatim name off of the back of the PSU next to the button, and just in-page searched the text of the article for it, and was a little confused at first when I didn't find it, even though I saw it in the PSU pics in the article. It forced me to actually read the ting again (i think I originally read it when it was first posted :p ) I read things all the way through the fist time, but after that I'm a notorious skimmer and skipper to the section of interest :p
     
  31. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    So, I haven't even gotten started on installing the new PSU yet.

    As I am taking stuff out, I am finding a ton of dust that I couldn't even see with everything buttoned up. This has turned into The Great Dusting of 2019.

    My DataVac is getting a good workout today :p
     
  32. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    So, when I installed my reservoir in my case, I partially blocked one of the cable passthroughs where the main motherboard power cable goes through.

    64689_IMG_20160816_174723.jpg

    Having to unmount my reservoir in order to get that big-ass connector through the hole :p

    These things always take longer than you expected when you get started.
     
  33. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    The extra long motherboard power cable that came with this PSU is a godsend.

    I thought I'd have to use this power extension forever.
     
  34. dvsman

    dvsman 2[H]4U

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  35. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    HO-LEEE-SHIEEET!

    I found the culprit.

    An 8pin motherboard power extension cable I bought in 2015 at Microcenter when I moved to a full tower case and the cable on my old PSU wasn't long enough.

    This explains the burnt smell.

    IMG_20190223_165838.jpg

    IMG_20190223_165913.jpg

    I guess having that fire extinguisher close to my PC wasn't a bad idea after all.

    So maybe it wasn't the fault of the old Silverstone PSU after all, but after 8 years it probably wasn't a bad idea to replace it anyway.


    What I don't understand is how this extension cable worked fine for 3.5 years, including several long (48 hour) stability runs in Prime95 only to fail spectacularly now....


    I hope the included cable with the Seasonic PSU is long enough that I don't need an extension anymore.

    Certainly makes me think twice about using the extensions and adapters aisle at Microcenter again....

    Luckily the motherboard connector seems unscathed.
     
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  36. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Whoa.... glad I got rid of my Microcenter PSU extension recently!
     
  37. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I'm just hoping this little adventure didnt do any other damage than to this cable. I really want this build to last until this summer when 7nm AMD CPU's launch...
     
  38. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Initial prime95 testing shows we are back!

    The replacement took about 10 times longer than I expected due to having to partially dismantle my water loop in order to get some of the connectors through the motherboard tray passthrough holes, but we are back in business.

    Surprisingly (and this may just be an anomaly) it looks like CPU temps in Prime95 are much lower than I remember. Maybe the old PSU was feeding my CPU more voltage than it should have? Still we seem stable. Time will tell though.

    I must have lucked out. It's amazing how resilient these things can be.

    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  39. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    Im using an extension on mine, but mine is like ten times higher quality cable lol.....IM pretty sure its still in use for my current pc just located on the back side of my case so its impossible to see without pulling the back cover off. Seems like i hand picked mine off ebay when i got mine. Mine is like 3 times as long....good grief that little ext wasn't made to help much
     
  40. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, did one of those mid-build MicroCenter runs because as I was putting everything together it became apparent it wasn't going to be long enough.

    I've always had good experiences with MicroCenter, so I didn't even worry about the cable. I'm guessing whoever manufactured these never intended them to be used with a 1200W PSU that theoretically can put out 100A on the unified 12V rail...