Wierd issue (power supply related)?

Okay. Sometimes, for whatever reason, my computer won’t turn on. My wife claims to be able to hear this high pitched whining sound occassionally, even when the computer is shut down. She has some wierd way to link it with the computer not turning on (I think she claims she hears the sound when the computer won’t turn on).

Turning off the power strip and resetting the surge protector resolves the issue, but it is becoming a pain in the ass (and obviously, I shouldn’t have to do that). I have a Sonata II case, along with a 450W power supply that came with the case (reputable, should be a good supply). Any thoughts as to what could be causing this?

I had a similar problem six years ago that was the first sign that my motherboard was going bad. The power supply and/or the motherboard would be the two items I would suspect.

It’s probably easier to test the power supply first. I use SpeedFan to monitor the positive power line voltages when I’m running a CPU heavy application (e.g., WoW in a window). A significant deviation from the line rating has been a reliable indicator that I needed to replace the power supply. It’s not a perfect test, however, because once a power supply was the source of my problem and SpeedFan showed solid voltages.

To diagnose the motherboard failure, I swapped out my power supply with my wife’s, and the computer continued to have problems, so I could rule out the power supply as a cause.

Good luck.

If I just keep letting it go until one of them dies, is there any drawback or risk? Other components damaged, or decreased performance?

Yep. Do you like the contents of your Hard Drive?

Freaking great. Well, I ran FanSpeed, and really have no idea what it told me. nothing seemed to be abnormal, all of the voltages seemed to be about average, though I really don’t know what they are supposed to be, or which voltage is which.

I now hate computers. Any way to check the motherboard other than swapping power supplies? As I don’t have a second conveniently handy, I’d basically have to go buy another one, which would be useless to me.

Open the case, get a hose, listen for where the noise is coming from. That’s what they used to do to find cylinder problems in car engines. Dead serous dude. Luckily, in today’s HDs, the head lifts up and then swings over to the park position unlike the older days where head crashes were more common. Still, if the drive is in the middle of a write and something blows… No promises.

The monitored voltages for +3.3V, +5V, and +12V lines should remain fairly close to their respective ratings, even when the CPU and graphics card are under load. It’s important to watch the values with an application running, not just at rest after boot. In my experience, power supplies that are working well don’t drift more than 5% out of the rated voltage on those three lines (e.g., +5V stays within .25V either way).

Any way to check the motherboard other than swapping power supplies? As I don’t have a second conveniently handy, I’d basically have to go buy another one, which would be useless to me.

I don’t know another way to check the motherboard, but some posters in this forum have a lot more hardware experience than myself. I just build my personal machines; I’m not employed in a tech/repair field.

By the way, I’m not griping because I don’t like the advice I’m getting; you guys are a great lifeline. I’m griping because my damn computer is going haywire. :)

I popped open the case, and listened. Both my wife and I agree that the high pitched tweaking sound is coming from the power supply. So, I guess we’ll roll out to Best Buy and see if we can find one to replace it. 500W should probably do the trick for most anything out there now, right?

Incidentally, I did run SpeedFan with EQII running in the background window, so I had the CPU up to 100% (well, at least SpeedFan said it was).

I have this problem too. I had a friend with this problem as well. Common element? Both are Sonata II cases with 450W smartpower 2 power supplies.

I replaced the 450W power supply with the exact same model, and the problem lessened significantly. It’s still around though.

If you solve the issue for sure, please let me know. I’m at wits end.

Edit: Also, replacing the motherboard didn’t help. I’m 99% sure it’s the power supply.

Well, I just went out and bought a 500W power supply. So far, no noise.

One problem though; I was able to reconnect everything except for this little 3 pin fan connector; the power supply I bought only had a little 4 pin connector. I know, not very technical, but I’m not at all smart about these things.

I started it up anyway, and I honestly don’t see a single fan in that case that isn’t spinning, so I’m not sure what that was for. Could it have been for an optional front of the case fan that you could buy separately (my case doesn’t have that). I’m looking for the motherboard instructions to try to find out.

Those connectors are usually so you can monitor the power supply’s fan speed. It doesn’t actually control it.

Also: What power supply did you buy? And let me know if your problem goes away for sure.

I’m using one of these with no issues:

A Best Buy Dynex 500W ATX12V. I know, it would have been a bit cheaper from Newegg, and I probably could have found a better brand. But for something like this where it is a fix, I just want to be able to go out on a Saturday, buy the thing, and slap it in there to see if it works. Sometimes mail order is a pain.

So far it is working like a charm; we can not hear the sound anymore, and it has started up each time without a problem (admittedly, only twice so far, since we’ve had it for about 24 hours).

Chances are you’ve fixed the problem from the sound of it.

Question: Did you add anything to that machine after you purchased it? Meaning did you add an extra drive or anything or did it just suddenly start making noise one day with no alterations?

No alterations I can think of. The only possibility is the 7950GT video card I bought not to long ago. It is hard to know when it “started,” because it was such an odd sound that you could barely hear it, and we didn’t really piece it together until it started having difficulties starting. But I don’t think it coincided with the video card.

The 7950 pulls a lot more juice than most. Did you check to see what the max Amps was on the vid card leg? Perhaps you exceeded it slightly and over the course of time it damaged the PSU. I had an issue like that which is why I upgraded to the 650W.

Wow. I’m learning much more about this stuff than I ever wanted to.

Okay, the 7950GT states as a minimum recommendation that it needs “28A on the 12V rail.” Whatever in the hell that is.

When I look at the specs on the power supply I just bought, it says under Voltage: “+12V1 16A. +12V2 18A.”

Does this mean that I somehow magically have 34A, or that I have 16A on something, and 18A on another thing.

I know even 34A is small if we’re talking women’s cup sizes, but sadly, we are discussing something much more boring.

There’s a whole thread on Power Supplies and how they’re rated, but the long and short is you fried it.

Follow me:

Required - “28A on the 12V rail.”
Supplied - “+12V1 16A. +12V2 18A.”

Max on any one leg is 18A.

You need to make sure that you’re at least close on one leg and then dedicate that leg to the card. 26-27A should be close enough but matching the recommended spec is better.

Even my PSU couldn’t power that card.

Stupid computers. I wish consoles didn’t suck so badly. Okay, off to Newegg I guess.

I assume when you said “Fried,” you meant my PSU, because nothing bad has happened to my videocard (yet) that I know of.

EDIT: Great, so I do some more google digging, I get the official nVidia forums, where some dude (I believe an nVidia guy) tells another that his 18A supply (picture of said supply linked in the post) is “more than enough.”

Check your specs on the card again, this is what I got from the BFG support site:

NOTE: For two GeForce 7950 GT-based graphics cards running in NVIDIA SLIconfigurations, a minimum 500W system power supply (with 12V rating of 28A) is recommended. Visit www.slizone.com for more information.

2 cards need 28A, not one. That would be more reasonable at around 14A a card.