[SOLVED] Computer turns off, seems to be overheating except it's not

Feb 27, 2021
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Hi everyone. Longtime lurker when I'm looking to buy something or have a technical issue. Now I have a large(ish) one that's not immediately solved by combing through the forums so here I am.

I built this pc a little over 4 years ago. Specs:

  • i7 4790K 4.0 GHz which I do not overclock
  • msi nvidia 970 card
  • 16 gb (8x2) RAM corsair vengence
  • Corsair CX600M power supply
  • AsRock z97 motherboard
  • Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250 GB SSD HD
  • 1000 GB HD not being used in problem specified
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 RBG fan cooler (bought yesterday - details below)
The issue started two days ago. My computer would shut off without warning when playing Civilization VI, about two minutes in. I had played this game on and off for a year and there has never been any issue. It would take about three minutes before it would turn on again. This happened twice - at around 2 minutes of play each time - before I started investigating.

The computer felt a little warm on the inside so I downloaded a hardware monitor and ran an antivirus. Sure enough the cpu was hitting 90C+ at only 42% capacity running the antivirus, and this is before I intervened by shoving my desk fan in there to cool things off while the antivirus completed. I looked up overheating issues and concluded it was time to change my thermal paste. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I broke the pegs of the stock cpu fan trying to get it back in the motherboard so it forced me to finally do the right thing and buy the cooler master. I installed it and was able to boot the computer back up. Note it did turn off once after the first 30 seconds, but that hasn't happened again so I think there was just a loose plug or something like that (I'm only including this tidbit just in case).

Cleaning out the dust (there was a TON), installing the new fan, and reapplying thermal paste seemed to do the trick. My CPU now runs at 30C at rest as opposed to 50C before, and I can play civ VI at 50C instead of pushing 100C (I ran a test right before disassembling the computer and it got to 90C+ in the first minute, then I shut it down). The GPU rests at 70C playing the game.

Here's the issue - the computer still shuts down, without warning, about 20 minutes into playing the game. This has happened twice now, both around the 20 minute mark. Temps were still at 50C for the cpu and 70C for the gpu immediately before shutdown. Both times the computer wouldn't immediately turn back on. Both times the computer did turn back on when unplugging and plugging it back in. The first time it was to unplug it from a strip and plug it directly into the wall, in case my strip was dying and that was the issue. The second time, however, it was directly into the wall. I don't think it's an issue with the current coming from the wall because this has never happened before. Perhaps unplugging + replugging resets the safeties on the computer and that's why I was able to turn it back on after doing so?

Also note that I can run the computer for long periods of time when not playing the game and it doesn't shut down.

The parts feel warm to the touch immediately after shutdown, but again, the hardware monitor doesn't show them as too hot.

I see a similar issue was posted here (https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/computer-just-turns-off-when-gaming.3686896/) with the solution being a faulty power supply. My power supply does feel hot to the touch, but not burn-my-hand hot. Also unlike the poster there I have no lights on in my motherboard. No error codes either.

One weird coincidence is this started happening right after a game update. I don't see how this would matter though. Even if the update for some reason changed the graphics settings, the hardware monitor doesn't show overheating.

Thanks in advance.
 
Feb 27, 2021
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Thanks for the responses. More evidence it's the psu: when I ran the game with my desk fan up against the psu, it lasted over an hour before shutoff. Then I ran it with the fps down to 30 in Nvidia settings and the fan up against the psu and not only did it last indefinitely but the psu didn't get hot to the touch. As with before all measurable temps were fine throughout.

The psu fan works when the computer is on. However, I recently took it out to clean for dust and perform a paperclip test. There was no dust and it failed the paperclip test. I was not expecting this since the fan is on when the computer is on. Any advice as to what this means? Does it mean the psu is going or does it just need more load to start.
 
Thanks for the responses. More evidence it's the psu: when I ran the game with my desk fan up against the psu, it lasted over an hour before shutoff. Then I ran it with the fps down to 30 in Nvidia settings and the fan up against the psu and not only did it last indefinitely but the psu didn't get hot to the touch. As with before all measurable temps were fine throughout.

The psu fan works when the computer is on. However, I recently took it out to clean for dust and perform a paperclip test. There was no dust and it failed the paperclip test. I was not expecting this since the fan is on when the computer is on. Any advice as to what this means? Does it mean the psu is going or does it just need more load to start.
My view would be time to buy a new PSU.
 
Feb 27, 2021
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New update: I don't think the psu fan was actually on before when I thought it was. I just hooked it up to the computer again and felt that it appeared on, but when I looked with a flashlight it was definitely off. I was just feeling the "afterblow" of the other fans and the vibration of the computer case. I started up the game again without the desk fan on the psu to test it. After about twenty minutes I heard a light but nasty snoring sound and went to look again. The fan was spinning, slowly and inconsistently, like it wasn't getting enough power. The bad news is it's a familiar sound from the last two months or so, but it's so light and was even lighter when I had the case stood up normally (with the psu fan blowing on the floor) that I didn't think anything of it.

So definitely the psu. Thanks for the help everyone.

You think I can convince Corsair to refund me on an over 4 year old psu??? :p
 

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