Question Games Crash to Desktop - PSU Issue?

Oct 14, 2019
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Hi Everyone,

I recently gave my brother a PC built from "older" parts from my last build, and he has been experiencing crashes to desktop while attempting to play various games. We've run many tests on the system to try to nail down what could be causing the crash and I think we have narrowed everything down, I believe the issue is coming from the PSU, which may be slowing failing (it's an older model).

But first, the specs:
MSI 970 Gaming DDR3
Crucial 2 x 8 GB
AMD FX 8320
AMD RX 460 - 4 GB
PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 400 W 80+ Bronze

As I said, we ran a bunch of tests to make sure it's not the RAM or GPU, here's the list of tests we have run (in no particular order):
  • DDU drivers
  • Keeping most updated drivers
  • Underclocking GPU and RAM
  • Reseating the GPU and RAM
  • Testing the GPU on another system (my current system, can post specs if needed)
  • Keeping most updated Windows version
  • Raising the power limit in Radeon Wattman
  • Memory Diagnostics Test
  • Testing various "Power Saving" modes
  • Testing different graphical settings within the games
  • GPU stress test
  • Running games as administrator and at a higher priority
  • TDR Manipulation
Now, if I were to take a bet at what is causing the crash, I would say the PSU. It's an older model, I used this in my very first PC build back in 2013, it's been sitting in my garage from around 2015 to 2019 until I put all my old parts together for my brother's build. Is it possible that an old PSU would cause this crash to the desktop without crashing the system entirely? My guess would be if the GPU demanded more power during gaming that the PSU couldn't supply, the system would set itself before the game crash. I'm hoping to get a second opinion before I give my brother the go-ahead to order a new PSU.
 

DSzymborski

Glorious
Moderator
Typically, this wouldn't be the behavior of a failing power supply, but it never hurts to replace a very old power supply that you're worried about.

When you say you gave him parts of an old build, did you just give him an already built old PC that was already running or did he upgrade parts in his current build with your old parts?
 
Oct 14, 2019
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cpu/gpu temp and usage during the game?
Temps never exceed over 75 degrees in heavier/intensive usage. Usually idle around 30-35 degrees.

Edit: Wanted to say as well, the games usually never run too long anymore, usually crashing within the first minute. While running stress tests (in this case FurMark) I let him run the temps to around 70-75 degrees to ensure nothing would crash in the benchmark.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Typically, this wouldn't be the behavior of a failing power supply, but it never hurts to replace a very old power supply that you're worried about.

When you say you gave him parts of an old build, did you just give him an already built old PC that was already running or did he upgrade parts in his current build with your old parts?
You're correct in the former, I recently upgraded my build (motherboard, RAM, GPU, CPU) and put the old parts into my old case and gave him that PC, the only thing I kept for my build was my PSU, which is why he inherited my old one.
 

DSzymborski

Glorious
Moderator
You're correct in the former, I recently upgraded my build (motherboard, RAM, GPU, CPU) and put the old parts into my old case and gave him that PC, the only thing I kept for my build was my PSU, which is why he inherited my old one.
So there was no change that would necessitate a full wipe and reinstall of Windows? Has the hard drive with the operating system on it stayed with the motherboard and CPU the whole time?

With a difficult-to-pinpoint problem, a full wipe of Windows to eliminate the OS as a possible issue is frequently a good idea.

Is it possible that your brother installed something that could be having a negative effect on the system?
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Wait, is it the CPU that's hitting 75 degrees? That's hot for an FX CPU and likely to cause throttling. Have you seen any evidence of throttling in benchmarks?
I'll have to double-check, that being said, I haven't seen any evidence for throttling to think that may be occurring.

So there was no change that would necessitate a full wipe and reinstall of Windows? Has the hard drive with the operating system on it stayed with the motherboard and CPU the whole time?

With a difficult-to-pinpoint problem, a full wipe of Windows to eliminate the OS as a possible issue is frequently a good idea.

Is it possible that your brother installed something that could be having a negative effect on the system?
I installed a clean version of Windows when I first gave him the PC, so I was actually hesitant to have him fully wipe and reinstall Windows, though that is on the list of things to do next, was personally hoping to avoid that step as I always consider it a hassle (that's my own bias though, it would be good to wipe and reinstall).

As for his installing something, I doubt it, he's college-aged and (or at least I like to think) wary enough to know not to download anything from unreliable sources. Plus he's only had PC for about a month now.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Do you know if the PC ever worked for him?
The crashing occurred before I gave it to him, but I thought I had fixed the issue. Initially, I thought it was the RAM, but it seems I just got lucky a few times before I passed it off to him. That being said, I've only upgraded my PC recently, as in within the last year, and have never had an issue with the system.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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I wanted to backtrack a bit to the CPU temps, this was primarily happening when I was running stress tests on the system to try to replicate a crash. When I had the system I don't think temps ever broke past 61-63 degrees.
 

DSzymborski

Glorious
Moderator
While I still don't think it' s PSU problem, you're running out of things to look at!

After replacing the PSU, I'd next try a full wipe-and-reinstall and failing that working, go back to square one and treat it as a new build, disassemble/breadboard.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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While I still don't think it' s PSU problem, you're running out of things to look at!

After replacing the PSU, I'd next try a full wipe-and-reinstall and failing that working, go back to square one and treat it as a new build, disassemble/breadboard.
I'll start with the full-wipe since that's a readily available option, then move to the PSU replacement. After that, I'll take it apart and put it back together again! If that doesn't work I'll certainly be at a loss, lol. Now my worst enemy is time, he's off to college so I can't be hands-on with the system until he returns this winter break.
 

throwawayaccnt

Reputable
Apr 20, 2016
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Just shootin from the hip here since I was recently dealing with some desktop crash issues myself after replacing my RAM. My particular RAM kit had issues with XMP auto clocking according to user reviews so I set it manually and Voila the desktop crashing for more intensive games ceased (BF4, GTA V, Quake Champs kept crashing to desktop)

is the RAM frequency and voltage properly set, and if it auto calibrates try setting it manually? Used to have an Fx-8320 build but it's been too long for me to remember the settings in BIOS
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Just shootin from the hip here since I was recently dealing with some desktop crash issues myself after replacing my RAM. My particular RAM kit had issues with XMP auto clocking according to user reviews so I set it manually and Voila the desktop crashing for more intensive games ceased (BF4, GTA V, Quake Champs kept crashing to desktop)

is the RAM frequency and voltage properly set, and if it auto calibrates try setting it manually? Used to have an Fx-8320 build but it's been too long for me to remember the settings in BIOS
Yeah, RAM frequency and voltage are properly set, we did both auto and manual settings and still experienced a crash. I'm hesitant to say the RAM is the issue because I basically used this system (minus the PSU) from 2016-2018 and experienced no issues.

I'm going to have him run Memtest86 again to be safe and verify that the issue isn't coming from the RAM. If that passes, the next step is to reinstall Windows, and if that doesn't work, the first step is to replace the old power supply.
 

throwawayaccnt

Reputable
Apr 20, 2016
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Hrmmm, well if you're in the market for a new PSU I'd highly recommend SeaSonic's gold&platinum series, also used a Corsair CX650MBronze in a build for my friend if you're not looking to break the bank
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Update: Bought and installed the PSU, unfortunately, he crashed again. At this point, I'm at a loss. We have run just about every test we could, if anyone has a suggestion or a test that isn't labeled above, I'm all ears.
 

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