Advice needed from PC Hardware experts...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Andrew Bunk, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey all,

    I'm running into a possilble voltage issue and I'm not sure why. I figurted there are probably some very knowledgable people here so it couldn't hurt to ask.

    First here are my system specs:

    WinXP Pro
    Intel P4 3.0 Ghz
    2GB DDR RAM PC3200 FSB
    LanParty PRO875 board (Canterwood I believe)
    2 120 GB SATA drives running RAID 0
    1 120 GB IDE drive
    1 DVD-Rom drive
    1 CD-R/RW drive
    BFG Tech Mad Dog GeForce FX5200 Ultra 128MB AGP Video Card
    Delta 66 PCI Audio Card
    420W PSU

    I have been using this PC for almost a year for digital audio production and have had no issue at all. Today I installed World Of Warcraft. When I started watching the intro movie, my Winbond Hardware Doctor would very briefly display a warning message and then disappear. I finally caught one, and it looks like my +3.3V is dipping just below my low limit, which is set at 3.10. I believe the warning I caught said 3.07. The +3.3V is generally steady around 3.18 when the system is idle, and I have never had this warning come up during extensive use of my audio applications, which can be pretty demanding. I'm not sure if this means the system is not getting enough power, but I would have thought 420W would be plenty. I am running about 6 case fans and also a UV light. I should also mention that today is the first day I am using dual displays with my video card. I'm not sure if this would affect system voltage, but I felt I should mention it.

    I have not yet started playing the game, but I'm afraid that this issue could continue. I've read around the net that some people were not happy with the FX5200. I'm hoping my video card does not need to be replaced.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point, as hardware is not my strongest area of expertise.

    Any info or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Remember, not all PSUs are the same. A "eh" 420 would get pummeled by a good 350, etc.

    Good power supplies (known good)

    Antec
    PC Power & Cooling
    Mercury Research
    Vantec

    Not-So-Hot PS's

    CaseMagic
    IOMagic
    Codegen
    Deer
    ForcePower
    ChinaStar

    And so forth.

    I don't recommend this company, and their stats are totally stolen (ripped) from TomsHardware, but the calculator is still valid:

    http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/
     
  3. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the info Chris-it is very helpful. I ran that calculator and it had me needing about 385W, and I'm sure that's a low average since I could specify everything I have.

    My PSU came with the case I bought, so I'm guessing it's probably on the cheaper side. I can't egt in the case right now, but none of your good recommendations sound familiar.

    I am using a custom PSU from PC Power and Cooling in my Dell (Dell and their damn proprietary connections), and it's been very solid.

    I'll probably go get a 500W PSU-I think a few stores around here carry Antec.

    Andrew

    EDIT-Just noticed on the NewEgg product page for my case some mentions the power supply being weak. Oh well, live and learn. Antec has a 480 watt model that looks good.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Antec are very, very good. Right now, that's what I'm using.. I'm using the NeoPower 480 in my main box, and enjoy it.

    In my HTPC, I'm using the Antec Phantom.

    In my wife's PC right now, I'm using a Vantec Stealth Ion 2, which has also done us well.

    Anyway, I know a lot of people bypass PS or just use what comes in the case.. you'll find yourself a lot better off in the long run to get a good, decent one that will last. I can't tell you how many people I've seen with totally borked PCs because a power supply blew out, etc. because it was a real "lightweight" (if you pick up a 400W PS, it should have some "heft" to it, it should not be paper light [​IMG] )
     
  5. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Chris,

    Do you have any experience or knowledge of the Antec TruePower 430W or TrueBlue 480? Best Buy and CompUSA seem to have those around. I might have to pick one of those up if the MicroCenter near me doesn't have the NeoPower 480.

    Also, do you think my weaker PSU could also result in the CPU temp being a little hot? When the system is idling or I'm running audio apps, I seem to be between 35-43C. However, if I'm installing something like World Of Warcraft or GB's of sample data, and the CPU is being run more heavily, my CPU temp will sometimes hover around 54-55C. This seems a little high to me, especially with all the fans I am running. Just curious...thanks again for all your help!
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 1999
    Messages:
    6,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Another good PSU is the Fortron.

    I'm using a server level one in mine and no problems with voltage at all. 550W PSU. I believe its made by AGB aka Athena Power and ran me $89 at PC club.

    http://www.pcclub.com
     
  7. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It just occurred to me that I should have posted this in the Computer area-I forgot about it.

    Mods, please move if possible. Thanks!
     
  8. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Man I can't believe how much less NewEgg is charging for the same PSU's-glad I caught that before buying at a B&M. Htey're out of the Neo480 at the moment so I think I cam going to order the TruePower 480. Thanks again everyone.
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    I use a good deal of the TruePower and Trueblue, both very good powersupplies. Fortron, as mentioned above, is also a very good power supply (FYI, Fortron is rebranded many times and marketed as Sparkle, but they are the same)
     
  10. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Actually, I've read some of the user reviews at NewEgg on the True Control 550 and it sounds really good. I like the front control panel option. Plsu for about $100 that's still less than I almost spent locally for less.
     
  11. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    http://www.overclockercafe.com/Revie...r_Edition_PSU/]ThermalTake Xaser III 480W




    Definately your problem is related to your power supply.

    Had the same type of problems due to inefficient power supply. In my case, my headaches were spawned by rabid BSOD (blue screen of death) and unannounced shut downs in Win_XP Pro. Replaced crappy eBay blue-light special PSU with ThermalTake Xaser III 480W and have never looked back. Thermaltake has a well-known reputation for quality parts but they aren't primarily PSU manufacturers like Antec.

    Having said that, the Xaser III has more than enough power for my rig which by part list is very similar to yours plus it powers case lighting. The primary reason I settled on it is because it has a speed control that mounts either in the PCI slot or in a floppy bay that controls the speed of the two fans in the PSU. If you want a quiet HTPC (or video workstation) but don't want to risk burning up expensive video cards & CPUs etc. this is the way to go. It is whisper quiet and does an excellent job at cooling. That's really no surprise considering its a TT product though. I don't remember how much I paid for it about a year ago but it was between $80 & $100 USD so not too outrageous.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    i'm also using an antec truepower 450w. while i have no complaints with it, i will say that one of the fans on my first ps went out after about two years. my replacement (about two years now) is going strong.

    i have had zero voltage issues...that's for sure.
     
  13. Mike Cohen

    Mike Cohen Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If the error only occurs when you are using the video card for 3d games, then it might be that there's a problem with the video card.
     
  14. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well my Antec is en route so we'll see. I don't think it's the video card though, unless the video card is drawing more power than it should during more intense use. Thinking back I can remember random system beeps once in a while that I could never find a cause for. I thought it was because my CPU was running a little warm (53C or so), but that's still inside the normal range set in Hardware Doctor, so it shouldn't trigger an alert.

    If it is the video card, that should become pretty apparent after putting the power supply in, which I think is a good idea anyway.

    Thanks for all of your feedback guys.
     
  15. Joe Rosiak

    Joe Rosiak Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I also need some advice...
    I received an HD capture card for christmas and now I fear that my processor is too slow to run the on demand function.
    What happens is that the video becomes very choppy when there is a bunch of action on the screen.

    How can I tell if it is my Video Card or Processor that is causing my problem?
    If it is my processor, would any one be able to recommend a processor I can use for under $200?


    I am running:
    AMD athlon 2200
    1.5 gig of ram
    Geforce 4 FX 4000 Nvidia card
    2 120 gig Western Digital Hard drives
    HDTV Wonder Capture card
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Your processor is on the slow side for doing HDTV on demand.. a Barton 2500 is often considered the threshhold on the AMD side.. your RAM helps, though, and if you're running an Nforce chipset motherboard, that helps too. I'm assuming, however, that your video card is a Geforce 4MX 4000, as their is no FX 4000. If that is the case, yeah, it's going to be a real dog on the whole shebang. If it is an MX 4000 card, it's basically a dressed up Geforce2 (DX 7.1) which will kick you in the ass. You need a DX8.1 or 9.0 compliant card to really get max use out of your HDTV card.. for that, you're looking at a GeforceFX series card.. you don't have to go balls out and get a 6600/6800 series card, but a 5500/5700 etc. and up on the Nvidia side, 9600 and up on the ATI side wouldn't hurt. [​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I installed a newer version of the hardware monitor for my mobo, and that has the low threshold for +3.3V at 3.00 and not 3.10, so I'm not getting warnings anymore. Still a good idea to put the power supply in though.

    Also, my P4 3.0 runs around 45-47C during moderately to heavy use, and sometimes around 54C when I am processing video or installing tons of data. Is that dangerously hot?
     
  18. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No. While it's hot, it's not frighteningly hot, especially on the Intel side. As of late, Intel's units have been running crazy hot (especially the newer Prescotts which act like mini furnaces [​IMG]

    While 54C seems hot (and is hot) it's not a danger to your processor; though many do get aftermarket fans that are better then those intel ships by default.
     
  19. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,825
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Chris.
     
  20. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Wow, what a difference in operating temp from my box. Admittedly the CPU that drives it isn't as *hot* as your workhorse but the AMD 2900+ in my HTPC has never been above 35C no matter the load its under or the ambient room temperature. Usually it's hovering around 28-31 C under normal use. But then again, having seven case fans running at low RPMs thoughout the server case and a Vantec Aeroflow blasting on the CPU does help in that regard [​IMG]
     

Share This Page