[SOLVED] Determining the cause of shutdowns that occur regularly during gaming

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Mar 7, 2020
Hi all,

I just built a PC a few weeks ago for gaming purposes mostly, and in that time it has crashed four times, all under similar circumstances.

First off, here are my components:
CPU = AMD Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor
Motherboard = MSI B450 TOMAHAWK ATX AM4 Motherboard
RAM = G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
M.2 = Crucial P1 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
GPU = Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB WINDFORCE OC 3X Video Card
HDD = Western Digital 500GB SATA / 16MB Cache WD5000AAKX
HDD = Western Digital 2.0TB Sata / 64MB Cache WD20EARS
Case = Cooler Master (I am reusing my old case, and there is no identifiable model name or number on this thing that I can find)
PSU = Kingwin Maximum 750 Watts ATX Power Supply - ABT-750MM
OS = Windows 10 64 Home

All of the above components are brand new except for the two HDDs, the case, and the PSU. I cannibalized those four components from a few older PCs that were built about eight-ish years ago. This was my first time building a PC, and the new parts were selected for me by my very very knowledgeable friend who also built my last PC. I have done no overclocking or really anything that you might consider an "advanced" technique. I am an extremely simple person when it comes to computers and wouldn't even know how to do something like that.

I have done a bit of reading already and have an idea of where the problem most likely lies, but I would like to get some opinions from you all about my specific experience and see if there's something I'm not considering.

Crash #1: The first crash happened the day I built the thing, about three weeks ago. I stupidly fit the PC into a very snug PC tower shelf built into my desk. There was maybe a centimeter of clearance on the left and right and not much clearance in the back either. I was playing Half-Life 2: Lost Coast because I have fond memories of playing that on highest settings to test out the PC I had built eight years ago, so it was more of a for-old-times-sake thing. I knew my new 2020 PC should be able to cut through it like butter, so at first I was very surprised that the PC shut itself off after 10-15 minutes of playing, and would not turn back on. I felt the heat radiating out from the case and realized that the cramped space I put the PC into was probably the cause, so I unplugged it from the wall, moved it to an open space, plugged it back in, and found that I was able to turn it on again. Don't worry, now the PC sits out on the floor with tons of clearance on all sides of it.

Crash #2: The only game I've been playing since that first day is Doom (2016), which I have been playing with all settings maxed out and finding that my new PC can handle it very well. During one play session a few nights ago, however, the PC shut itself exactly the same way as the first crash, and would not turn back on afterwards. The game was not struggling or stuttering or anything prior to the crash: it was fine for a few hours, and then all of a sudden it crashed with no warning. I did some research and wanted to test the PSU, so I unplugged the PSU from the wall, unplugged the 24-pin from the motherboard, and did the "paperclip test." The fan in the PSU whirred up just fine, so I plugged everything back and and was able to turn on my PC again.

Crash #3: Last night after playing Doom for a few hours again, the PC crashed and wouldn't turn on again, just like the first two crashes. And again there was no sign of a struggle prior to the crash, the game had been running just fine up to that point. I tried to restart it, found that I couldn't, and just went to bed frustrated without further troubleshooting. When I tried to turn it on again this morning, after it had 8 hours to cool and settle down, it still wouldn't turn on! So I unplugged the PSU from the wall, unplugged the 24-pin, did the paperclip test, plugged everything back in, and was able to turn it on again. It seemed like the plugging/unplugging or maybe even the paperclip test was a necessary part of bringing it back to life.

Crash #4: I wanted to stress test the GPU and see if that was the problem. I installed MSI Afterburner and used Ungine Heaven as the stress test. It ran for probably about 20-30 minutes before it crashed. The entire time, the GPU temperature did not rise above 61 degrees Celsius, so I am pretty confident that the GPU is not the issue. I was also feeling the PSU for much of the time and did not notice it getting suspiciously hot, and the PSU fan did appear to be working the whole time. When it did eventually crash, I found that I could not turn it on again, as always. I unplugged and replugged the PSU from the wall, and that did not fix it. I unplugged and replugged the 24-pin, and that did the trick. No paperclip test necessary.

TLDR: PC crashes during gaming and won't turn back on immediately. Does not seem to have anything to do with the GPU because GPU temperature is fine during stress testing. Unplugging and replugging the 24-pin motherboard power cable seems to be the key to get it to turn back on again.

So that's where I am now. With my very limited understanding, it seems like the PSU or motherboard is the problem, and I would guess the PSU is the more likely culprit given its age and not-quite-name-brand. I hope there might be some clue in the story that is definitive proof one way or another! I would like to be confidant before dropping the cash on a new PSU. And a recommendation on a more ideal PSU would be appreciated, if that does turn out to be the problem.

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