Gaming Computer switches off by itself

R2DJ

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Hello. My friend's custom built PC is turning off by itself. I haven't turned it on for a long time until today and it seemed fine, until after 3 minutes or so, it just turned off by itself. I have tried the following:

- Unplugged additional devices i.e. internal card reader, graphics card
- Changed power supply
- Removed 1 stick of RAM (went from 1GB to 512MB)
- Formatted to Windows 7 - this was only successful once. I tried doing it several times and the installation starts up but the keyboard and mouse don't work at all.
- Reformatted BIOS settings to Optimal and Fail-safe Defaults

Any advice on what can actually be fixed?
 

Costello

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that sounds like overheating to me
the CPU is probably turning too hot, maybe a fan's disabled or the thermal paste is gone or something...
 

Saken

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If your memory is dual channel i suggest you put the RAM back in... it does sound a bit like the computer is overheating?
What are you doing when it "switches off"? Anything heavy-duty or does it happen at startup?
When it first started switching off what were you doing?
 

Vulpes Abnocto

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I had this same problem very recently.
The problem was traced to a popped capacitor on the motherboard.
Take a close look at the capacitors and see if any of them have domed tops rather than flat tops.
 

R2DJ

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My friend has a USB keyboard and a brand new PS2 mouse. I also checked inside and no capacitors are blown or anything. I just discovered that the CPU heat sink is actually loose (thanks to a simple flick) but I don't know...I was told that it was loose for a long time (which I know is a very bad thing) but it hasn't turned off (not restarting) sporadically until now...

I suggested to them to get a new heat sink, but how can I know which heat sink should I get for the motherboard?
 

Elritha

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You mightn't need a new heatsink for the cpu, it may just need to be reseated. If it's loose, take off the heatsink.
I'd suggest cleaning both the bottom of the heatsink and the cpu to remove any old thermal paste. Then reapply new paste and attach the heatsink again (make sure it's attached properly, some of them can be tricky). Check to see if it's still loose after that.

If you need to get a new cpu heatsink, first figure out what socket type the motherboard is. Then it's a simple matter of looking for a cpu heatsink that matches the socket type.
 

kylehaas

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I would definitely monitor the temperatures of everything inside there.
Just download a program like Speedfan. That always works for me.

Also, you might want to check the health of the harddrive.
A damaged harddrive has lots of problems.
 

Originality

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If you do decide to get a new heatsink, first find out what socket the motherboard is using. The easiest way is simply to find out what CPU it's got (BIOS can help there, or just System Properties in Windows or Device Manager or dxdiag or SpeedFan will tell you too - many ways to find out), look it up on WiFi and it'll tell you. For example, most Core 2 CPUs are LGA775, so you just need to look for a heatsink that supports LGA775.

Whether or not you do get a new heatsink, get some new thermal paste and probably a cleaning solvent for the thermal paste already there.
 

Zetta_x

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Your heatsink for the CPU must be working somewhat, as if you tried running the computer without the heatsink it would be off in a matter of seconds not minutes. I would try reapplying thermal paste and remounting it to make sure it is getting the best efficiency out of it.
 

Velveteer

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Zetta_x said:
Your heatsink for the CPU must be working somewhat, as if you tried running the computer without the heatsink it would be off in a matter of seconds not minutes. I would try reapplying thermal paste and remounting it to make sure it is getting the best efficiency out of it.
Yeah, well they will work fine up until the tjmax is approached and they'll shut off. So my guess is that it's touching, but there's not enough pressure/it's uneven.

For a bit of perspective, you should be able to pick up the motherboard from the heatsink (if it was removed from the case. Don't try to pick up the system from the heatsink or you'll fuck the board.) It should not move with the exception of some larger tower heatsinks (if you have to ask, it's not one), which can rotate slightly with enough force and fresh thermal paste.

Again, as others have said, use a program such as SpeedFan or CoreTemp (doesn't work with Pentium 4 or Athlon XP and earlier) to check the temps at idle and load.

There's no dust in the CPU heatsink, is there?
 

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