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thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA

PC turning itself OFF - HELP!

I wrote before about my problem (»Help: PC cycling ON and OFF). I installed an extra fan to blow in from the side and it seemed to work. I spent last week re-installing all my software, settings, customizations,etc. The machine stayed up and I slowly was getting it back to "normal".

And then yesterday, after working all week without any problems, BOOM, it shut itself off and then started to turn itself back on. ( CR*P )

It didn't even let me completely boot up today before it shut down. I am at a total loss to know what to do at this point. I can mostly fake my way around software glitches, but I am especially clueless with hardware glitches.

I re-checked all connections, memory, etc and it all appears fine. It's an ASUS X58 motherboard and it has a "memory check" button which runs memory diagnostics; all of which comes back as fine. I have an Intel i7 - 950 processor, 6 gb memory, 2 1 Gb hard drives, GeForce GT 430 1Gb video card (I am not a gamer and the card does just fine for me), running windows 7 pro 64kb. I have a cooler master 750W power supply which should be overkill for what I am running (or maybe I only think it should be enough - but it worked for the last 2 years without any problems).

Right now all I have for access is my old netbook and yikes it is soooo slow!

I would appreciate any advice on what to do at this point. I have no trust in bringing it in to a local "geek squad"; too many stories about them. Please help.

Thanks in advance,
s.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
I can't recall all of the suggestions from your previous threads so forgive me if this is redundant. If someone came to me with such a problem here's what I would do.

I would first suspect a CPU over temp issue. Thinking along the lines of it being a CPU chip heat issue, I'd check the heatsink/fan to the CPU; make sure it has thermal goo and is very well seated; and that it was completely clean of old gunk and dust. Talking down to the bone bare metal and go up from there. I wouldn't move on until that is settled properly.

Then I would look at the BIOS and check the fan speed settings (make sure the CPU fan is plugged into the CPU Fan port on the MB and not a case fan port). I would set the fan speeds to be the most aggressive (loud - not soft and quiet) as possible. I'd set the fan alarms to warn as early as possible (lowest alarm temp).

The second thing I would look at is the PS. PS do go bad and I understand it's only 2 years old, but I had one I used for 2 months and it died in a slow, strange way. IMHO those are the 2 most likely things to take down a running system without warning - assuming it's not a virus.

While troubleshooting this, I would remove everything non-essential and keep only the CPU, fans, 1 memory stick (if allowed), and one HDD after you get the BIOS working. Then I would use some diagnostics and let them run while monitoring the temperature and voltages.

Key point, one small step at a time.


psafux
Premium,VIP
join:2005-11-10
kudos:2
reply to thephantom
"boom it shut itself off" will almost always be a hardware issue. Temp or power related most likely. Software issues rarely cause a complete shutdown with no restart in the manner described.

How do the temps look?

I wouldn't bring it to geek squad primarily because they aren't worth the price. You are better off putting an ad in your local Craigslist looking for a tech if you can't do this yourself - many do it on the side for cheap and can be trusted because it's a hobby and not a main source of income. The few ruin the name of the many unfortunately.

If you are confident the PSU is fine I would pull the HSF, clean and re-paste the processor. Make sure the HSF is completely clean and dry before reattaching. If you are able to monitor the temps and they are fine I would be looking at the PSU.

It might be worthwhile checking event logs in the OS. Check System Events around the time of the last shutdown. It may have something helpful and it may not, quite a few variables there..


craig70130
Premium
join:2004-04-27
New Orleans, LA
reply to thephantom
This is what I'd do, some have been suggested above:

I'd start with running Memtest86 from a bootable CD or other device. That will take the OS out of the picture and do a decent check of your memory - a faulty module can cause reboots like you describe. The "memory test" button on your motherboard doesn't do much beyond verify that the RAM can run at the settings you have selected.

If you are doing any overclocking, go back to the proper settings for your hardware. (actually this would be my first step)

If you have any add-in cards, take what you can out of the picture. If you have a video card and onboard video, take the card out and use the onboard while you troubleshoot. Bad video and other cards can cause these problems.

As was mentioned, my next step would be to remove the heatsink, clean off the bottom of the heatsink and the processor of the old goo, reapply thermal past and reattach the heatsink, making sure you've blown out any dust stuck in the fins.

I'd rethink the new side fan you added blowing in the case. Normally you want to blow out.

Another thing - you should be able to get a reading on your CPU temp in the BIOS. I'd check that out.


PeeWee
Premium
join:2001-10-21
Madera, CA
reply to thephantom
My blind guess would be that the PSU fan quit or is obstructed with dust.
--
Iphone. Helping computer illiteracy become popular since 2007


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to thephantom
Thank you all for the suggestions so far. I did wipe off all the old thermal paste from the processor and heat sink and reapplied fresh thermal paste and reassembled. I did that when I added the extra side fan. It worked for the week which is why I thought it was done. but no.

As far as I can tell, the power supply fan is still operating and not dusty. (I made sure I blew that and all the components clean when i was inside the box.)

While it was running during this last week, I installed the motherboard utility for getting temperature of the processor. It was running around 32-36 C, and the default alarm was set at 70, so I thought that looked ok.

I can't boot it up at all at this point, whether I am using a boot disk or relying on the C drive. The furthest i got today, was about half way through the windows start up when it crashed. And that in itself seems to have f*cked up my install. I tried again telling it to go into safe mode with a command line and it was loading drivers but shut down before finishing.

Is there some way to check the power supply? I'm thinking it must be hardware since it doesn't even get into Windows.

thanks for the help. If I'm not doing something I should, let me know.
S.


craig70130
Premium
join:2004-04-27
New Orleans, LA
I'd do the memtest86 like I recommended above. That takes your OS out of the picture and tests your memory which would be my first suspect. Let it run multiple passes or better yet, overnight. If it still reboots, you're definitely looking at a hardware problem. If memtest shows errors, well you know the problem then.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
reply to thephantom
said by thephantom:

Thank you all for the suggestions so far. I did wipe off all the old thermal paste from the processor and heat sink and reapplied fresh thermal paste and reassembled.

To be clear, what do you mean by "I wiped off the old paste"? Exactly how did you do this? With a dry tissue?

If you did not use something like rubbing alcohol and got down to the bare and ultra shinny copper - on both the heat sink and the copper, then you still have some work to do. If you are not down to the bare, shinny metal and 100% clean, then all you are doing is adding a heat insulation layer, rendering the heat sink useless. When when you reapplied the thermal paste, how much did you use? it only takes a very small amount and ultra thin layer. More will act as a there conductor and is not better.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to craig70130
How do I do the memtest86 if I can't get the machine to turn on?

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
said by thephantom:

How do I do the memtest86 if I can't get the machine to turn on?

Unless you bring it to another system, you cannot.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to bbear2
I used a dry lint free cloth and rubbed until I saw bare metal. Maybe that wasn't enough? I wiped on a small layer on both the processor and the heat sink. Maybe I applied too much?? I could do it over again.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
said by thephantom:

I used a dry lint free cloth and rubbed until I saw bare metal. Maybe that wasn't enough? I wiped on a small layer on both the processor and the heat sink. Maybe I applied too much?? I could do it over again.

Correct. If you did not use rubbing alcohol then you did not get down to the bare shinny metal and there was still a film of the old goo left. Don't need to apply to both sides.

There are many YouTube videos on this but here's one that demonstrates how to clean the old heatsink well; and it really does take several passes removing layer by layer. It doesn't show cleaning the CPU chip, but the process is the same and must be followed if the CPU is being reused. Both parts need to be as spit shinning clean as they were when new. Take your time with this and get them clean, it really does matter.

FYI, I think the amount they apply is this video is more than generous enough. I certainly would not do more than that.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3gx6c62D7I

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to thephantom
Temps could be the problem. TIM is one issue, a dust-clogged heatsink is another possibility. You might want to remove the heatsink yet again and blow the dust out with an air compressor and then reclean off the old TIM (again), apply a little new TIM and remount the heatsink.

You could have a short in the motherboard when the mobo is mounted in a case. Remove the mobo from the case, set it on a cardboard mobo box (or a USPS Priority Mail box) and see if the mobo will run normally outside of the case.

Memtest can run from a CD or from a floppy. Use your lappy to download memtest and run it from dos after the mobo boots up. Most download sites for memtest explain how to do that.

Those are three likely ways to tackle your problem.

A fourth possibility is that you have a sporadic random short on the mobo which, if you can get it to repeat every time, should justify an RMA to Asus for repair or replacement.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to bbear2
said by bbear2:

Correct. If you did not use rubbing alcohol then you did not get down to the bare shinny metal and there was still a film of the old goo left. Don't need to apply to both sides.
. . . . .

bbear- thank you. I watched the video and will re-do my job tomorrow. It looks like I may have used too much paste so I'll start over first using the alcohol to clean everything and then be a little less generous with the paste.

I had a little trouble re-mounting the heat sink due to the little plastic feet it uses so I hope I don't screw anything up with those. I'll be offline for a couplel of days while I take care of this and will repost the results.

Keeping my fingers crossed,
s.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
said by thephantom:

said by bbear2:

Correct. If you did not use rubbing alcohol then you did not get down to the bare shinny metal and there was still a film of the old goo left. Don't need to apply to both sides.
. . . . .

bbear- thank you. I watched the video and will re-do my job tomorrow. It looks like I may have used too much paste so I'll start over first using the alcohol to clean everything and then be a little less generous with the paste.

I had a little trouble re-mounting the heat sink due to the little plastic feet it uses so I hope I don't screw anything up with those. I'll be offline for a couplel of days while I take care of this and will repost the results.

Keeping my fingers crossed,
s.

I recommend that you try to "dry fit" the heat sink to the CPU before applying the thermal paste. It's important that you get a solid and tight fit at all four corners. You might have to experiment with it a bit, but if it's not tight all the way around, then your heat sink will be useless.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to thephantom
The correct amount of thermal paste to use is alternatively said to be an amount equal to "a single grain of rice" for a single core and "two grains of rice" for a multicore.

If a multi-core processor, separate the two grains of rice measure by a little bit so they are about 1/4 to 1/6 of an inch apart.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA

1 edit
reply to thephantom
bbear & gem- thanks for the advice. I'll be working on it this afternoon. I'll try the "dry fit" and be spare in my use of the thermal paste. I'll write again tomorrow one way or the other.

edit: I watched some of the other youtube videos after watching the one bbear had and now I have one other question. When I went to my local Fry's to pick up the extra fan and thermal stuff, I may have picked a bad thermal paste. I chose it because it had a brush and at the time I thought that would help spread the stuff. But after watching the various videos, I now think I may be better off with a different product. What I have is "Zalman Super Thermal Grease, ZM-STG1" So before I pull apart the pc, I thought I'd check back in with you on what I should use. Is that stuff good? Would I be better off with something else? I'll wait to hear back.
Thanks very much for the help,
s.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
I don't know that I'm a connoisseur on thermal paste, but I did find this: »www.tweaknews.net/reviews/zalman···ndex.php
complete with illustrations and photos, etc. I found it interesting that the product takes 7 days to cure and achieve maximum effectiveness. Have a read for yourself. According to that test, it is very equal in function to the popular Arctic Silver. BTW one issue I have with AS is that it is conductive and you need to be really careful not to get any on traces or pins.

At this point I would say you should be fine with what you have and it's not worth buying anything else.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to thephantom
said by thephantom:

edit: I watched some of the other youtube videos after watching the one bbear had and now I have one other question. When I went to my local Fry's to pick up the extra fan and thermal stuff, I may have picked a bad thermal paste. I chose it because it had a brush and at the time I thought that would help spread the stuff. But after watching the various videos, I now think I may be better off with a different product. What I have is "Zalman Super Thermal Grease, ZM-STG1" So before I pull apart the pc, I thought I'd check back in with you on what I should use. Is that stuff good? Would I be better off with something else? I'll wait to hear back.
Thanks very much for the help,
s.

The Zalman Thermal Paste should be okay. My choice used to be Arctic Silver 5 and is now MX2. Neither of those require a brush. The TIM will spread out on it's own when you tighten down the heatsink and as the processor naturally heats up when you boot up the first time after applying the paste. Remember the small grain of rice rules as how much and where to apply it. Then seat heatsink, tighten heatsink, connect fan, and restart the computer.

Be sure the power cord is totally unplugged when you work on the processor and also be sure that you have discharged any remaining electrical charge in the motherboard before beginning to work on the CPU.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
reply to thephantom
For the techies out there or anyone wanting to know a bit more about the science of TIMs or simply how to apply them (and why more is not better), have a read of this article: How TIM Works & How To Apply It Correctly

Published on 16th February 2009 by Stuart Andrews & Antony Leather

»www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2009/0···ut-tim/1


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to thephantom
I would most definitively focus on testing out a new psu before doing anything else. A pc shutting down and sometime not booting really seems like a psu defect.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to bbear2
said by bbear2:

I don't know that I'm a connoisseur on thermal paste, but I did find this: »www.tweaknews.net/reviews/zalman···ndex.php
complete with illustrations and photos, etc.
. . .

At this point I would say you should be fine with what you have and it's not worth buying anything else.

Thanks for digging up that article for me. The only thing I messed up on was not wiping off the old stuff with the alcohol as you previously mentioned. It looks like they also "painted" the entire surface. Maybe this time I'll try being a bit more conservative with the application.
s.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

I would most definitively focus on testing out a new psu before doing anything else. A pc shutting down and sometime not booting really seems like a psu defect.

Thanks. I am going to make one more pass with the thermal paste before giving up on that.
However, I do fear it may turn out to be the power supply after all. Is there a way for me to test it before sending it out?

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
said by thephantom:

said by alkizmo:

I would most definitively focus on testing out a new psu before doing anything else. A pc shutting down and sometime not booting really seems like a psu defect.

Thanks. I am going to make one more pass with the thermal paste before giving up on that.
However, I do fear it may turn out to be the power supply after all. Is there a way for me to test it before sending it out?

Yes there are ways documented on how to bench test a PSU (with videos ). You can do web searches on that and come back with a new thread if needed. But please, do not try to work on a PSU unless it is something you are comfortable in doing so and know how to use a volt meter.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
said by bbear2:

Yes there are ways documented on how to bench test a PSU (with videos ). You can do web searches on that and come back with a new thread if needed. But please, do not try to work on a PSU unless it is something you are comfortable in doing so and know how to use a volt meter.

Thank you again. I will look for the videos, but as I am not entirely comfortable working on the PSU, I probably will look for someone local to help me.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to thephantom

said by thephantom See Profile
The only thing I messed up on was not wiping off the old stuff with the alcohol as you previously mentioned. It looks like they also "painted" the entire surface. Maybe this time I'll try being a bit more conservative with the application.

Yes, you definitely need to thoroughly clean off the old TIM first.

I do not recommend painting or trying to spread the new TIM manually. The weight of your tightened heatsink will do that more evenly and better than most of us can do by hand.

"One small grain of rice in the center for single cores."

"Two small grains of rice separated by 1/4" for multi-cores."

That has worked extremely well hundreds of times here.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
reply to thephantom
said by thephantom:

said by bbear2:

Yes there are ways documented on how to bench test a PSU (with videos ). You can do web searches on that and come back with a new thread if needed. But please, do not try to work on a PSU unless it is something you are comfortable in doing so and know how to use a volt meter.

Thank you again. I will look for the videos, but as I am not entirely comfortable working on the PSU, I probably will look for someone local to help me.

Well, I checked out my PSU with a tester made for that purpose. It checked out OK. I was kind of hoping it wouldn't so I could point my finger at something specific, but it looks like the PSU is operating as it should be (unless there is some kind of intermittent fault with it). The tester was a Coolmax, PS-228. The instructions that came with it were not very good and at first I thought I discovered that indeed, there was a problem with a 12v line. But after searching around the internet, I found much better instructions for its use and when used properly, it showed the PSU was OK.

So I'm back to re-applying the thermal paste and see what happens next.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
Good luck. We're all waiting to hear how it goes.


thephantom

join:2001-04-24
Alamo, CA
It went terribly!
I reapplied the thermal paste, reassembled the PC, and turned it on. It said I had a new processor, then continued and said there was a problem with files on my C: drive. It then started going through them and before it got 1/3 of the way done, it shut itself off.

I guess I fried something on the motherboard and have no real idea where to go from here.

Thanks to all for your help along the way.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
If your MB lost knowledge of your CPU, then the either the CR2032 battery is weak or your MB is fried. I would start with the former.
Disconnect the power. Remove all non-essential components: HDDs, SSDs, video card (if you have internal video), case fans. Press the power button to remove excess remaining power in the PSU.

Then remove the CMOS button battery. Press power button again for good measure. Reinstall the CMOS battery, then the PSU to the motherboard and the +12V plug as well. Make sure the CPU fan is plugged into the CPU fan plug on the MB and not the case fan.

Boot into BIOS. Everything should be reset to defaults but just in case go in and select safe defaults and reboot. Leave the BIOS up a bit and you might find a temperature monitoring page. Go there and observe what's happening. Then let us know how long this can run for.

Are you sure you got all 4 corners of the CPU heat-sink tightly seated?