Question Completely stumped, is this a PSU issue? (Hard shut down/reboots)

Oct 16, 2019
Hello! So I've had a frustrating issue that I cannot pinpoint. My PC completely shuts down under moderate stress and above, but it's the weirdest of things because of its behavior. I'll try to summarize everything:

-My rig is an i5-9600k, 16GB RAM Kingston Technology HyperX, NVidia GTX 1080ti Hybrid, Corsair CXM 750 Bronze, MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus motherboard. It is not OC, everything is running stock.

-I've tried a lot of troubleshooting methods, most found here, but nothing comes back wrong. About the few things I haven't tried is testing another PSU or testing the PSU via a non-software alternative.

-It is not a temperature issue. GPU at 100% load remains in the 55 degrees area, CPU 70 degrees. The temperature warnings and shutdown parameters in the BIOS are well above that too. I tried disabling every temperature safeguard as well, but nothing.

-The issue that perplexes me is this: If I run, for example, OCCT (the power supply test where it pumps everything to max) for 30 minutes, nothing happens. But, if I open OCCT, put on the graphics card test, once the donut pops up there's 2 things I can do to make my PC shutdown on the spot reliably:
  1. In windowed mode, if I grab the donut window and drag it around it immediately shuts down.
  2. If I, in windowed mode, maximize it, it shuts down.
-Outside of stress tests, the PC will also shut down when, i.e, running Unreal Engine 4 after some time. Again, if I just leave Unreal Engine 4 as is, even though the GPU is at 80% nothing will likely happen. But once I start opening material windows and whatnot, bam, closed. In games, same thing. GPU/CPU intensive games will eventually make my PC shutdown after 20-40 minutes. BUT, once again, I can stress test my CPU/GPU for 30 minutes no problem.

I'm very much confused at this point. On one hand, I'd expect this to be easily PSU (sadly I do not have another PSU or someone near me that owns one). However, I find it extremely odd that if it were the PSU, why would it withstand stress tests of both CPU/GPU at the same time for 30-45 minutes, but crash within 5 seconds if I move the donut window of JUST the 3D test in OCCT? I also tested FurMark by the way. My PSU is approaching 5 years old.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
Oct 16, 2019
Out of curiosity, what country are you in?

Also, are you using a power strip or anything other than plugging the PSU directly into the wall?
I'm in the US.

Yes, I do have it plugged in a power strip (CyberPower brand)

Might be worth mentioning that this seems to have started happening after I upgraded my MOBO, RAM, and CPU (to the ones mentioned in the OP). I can't tell with 100% confidence though. Most things (mid-tier games and even 3D modeling softwares) seem to never cause this issue.

Just tested without the power strip, same issue
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Unplug the PSU from the power strip and plug it DIRECTLY into the wall socket. You can use the power strip for plugging in anything else you like, but don't plug the PSU into it. Power strips, even supposedly "good" ones, are notorious for causing problems and if you don't have an industrial model made by a top notch company that caters to enterprise industrial customers, you aren't doing yourself or your hardware any favors.

Years of experience using PC systems and having to diagnose bushels full of issues that a high number of ended up being faults with the circuitry inside the power strips. Primarily, cheap box store models but also a good number of supposedly premium power strip "surge protectors" that don't actually protect you from anything other than your own fear of what might happen if you actually end up needing a surge protector. A false sense of security.

Most people buy and use power strips because they THINK that the fact it says surge protector means something. Usually, it doesn't. This is one of my favorite quotes on the subject from an electrical engineer and residential/commercial electrical journeyman I know.

Buy a good one, but understand expensive does not equal good.

"Monster" brand are the low end junk that are sold for a premium price. Look for what us professionals use. Tripp-lite is one of my go to absolute favorites as they have a price to quality mix that is exceptional. The Belkin brand is junk as far as I am concerned as they focus on how it looks and not how it works. APC is also another one that I will trust , but they mostly cater to data centers and Corporate.

Lastly, if you really care about your electronics, get a Whole house surge suppressor installed in your electrical panel. Only a few hundred bucks and it protects everything including the overpriced LED lightbulbs that is all the rage these days.
APC, Tripp-Lite, Leviton, Eaton, Leviton, General Electric, Polyphaser, Ditek, Siemens, ABB, Square D, Intermatic, Cutler-Hammer (Eaton), and Syscom, these are the brands you can trust to have high quality internal electronics if you MUST use a power strip. Do not however use a power strip thinking that it offers significant protection, because even the best of them does not, not really. Whole house protection is the only real protection from surges.

Monster and Belkin, and a few others that are commonly used, almost unilaterally use the same protections in their 45 dollar surge protector strips as what you would find in an 8 dollar Amazon or Walmart branded model. And if you ever take one of these, or any cheap box store, dollar store (Even worse than these others usually BUT occasionally about the same) or Harbor Freight power strip apart you are likely to find frayed wires, poorly soldered connections with blobs of solder nearly touching crucial and potential short circuit points, super low quality MOVs, and a ton of other indicators that no real integrity was involved in the design or manufacturer of these units.

Another factor to keep in mind is that even with some of these high quality units, any protection that MIGHT be afforded, is usually the end of that product after one shot. This, directly from the Tripp-Lite manual for the #1 selling surge protection power strip in the world.

All models feature an internal protection that will disconnect the surge-protective component at the end of its useful life but will maintain power to the load now unprotected.
I believe many models from APC and a couple of the others I listed have now incorporated designs that permanently disengage any ability of the device to deliver power once a surge or short of significant enough caliber to incur the protection has occured. That basically means once there has been a surge or short, throw the device away. Even for high end models. Only whole house protection and properly earthed circuits offer any true protection from a serious surge or direct strike from lightning somewhere close enough to affect your segment of the grid.

And whatever you do, don't EVER buy any kind of extension cord, power strip or other electronic device with slip rings.

I would recommend that you go to Harbor Freight, or Walmart, or Lowes, or anyplace where you can buy a five to ten dollar volt meter, and test your PSU as follows, before wasting time trying to guess at anything else.

Or, if you already have one, or have access to borrowing one, so much the better.

Oct 16, 2019
Thanks for the advice on power strips. I never really researched them just kind of used them when needing more plugs.

Anyways it was the PSU. After further testing and dire need of restoring my PC for study I ordered a new PSU the very same day. Got it today and everything works well. I can now see that the PSU was actually bottlenecking my GPU since I now get solid 60 FPS on almost everything.



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