Question PC Shuts Down Suddenly When Trying To Startup Demanding Game

Genralkidd

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I just built a brand new PC, Windows freshly installed and upon starting a very demanding game like Star Citizen, it just abruptly shuts off, no errors or blue screens and then it will reboot itself shortly after. I was watching the CPU temps when it happened and at most I saw it hit the 80s before shutting off so I don't think it's a matter of the CPU overheating. Plus I've run benchmarking software like 3DMark and Passmark without any issues. Here are my PC specs:

Core i9-11900K (no overclock)
32 GB T-Force DDR4 RAM
1x PCIe4 1 TB MSI Spatium M.2 SSD
1x PCIe3 1.6 TB Enmotus M.2 SSD
Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti
MSI Z-490 A Motherboard
Enermax CyberBron 700W 80 Plus Bronze PSU

I suspect it's just a simple matter of the PSU not supplying enough power for such a demanding game (despite being fine for benchmarks). I was thinking of upgrading to an 850W PSU, either an EVGA 850 BQ, EVGA 850 B5, or a Gigabyte GP-UD850GM. Any of those PSUs good enough for this (I'll probably be upgrading that GPU in the near future to something from the RTX 3000 or 4000 series)? Or is this even a PSU issue at all?
 

A_Goat

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When the PC shuts itself down under load and reboots, it's commonly either a temperature issue or a power issue.

Before even bothering to troubleshoot the PSU, I'd do some more in-depth temperature monitoring. Download some software of your choice that actually logs the CPU temp, and review it after a crash if you can easily reproduce it. If you're having trouble reproducing the crash, you could try running two stress tests at the same time... for example, prime95 + furmark. 3Dmark and passmark do not typically truly stress the system.

However, that PSU is not the greatest and I imagine you've had it quite awhile. It's very possible it could have degraded enough to no longer support the power demand.
One last test would be to ensure the PSU itself is staying cool, clean filters and blow the dust out of it.
 
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DSzymborski

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The Enermax PSU is certainly suspicious; an ancient, group-regulated PSU had no business being used with any of these parts.

While the PSUs you link are better, I'm not sure I'd classify any of them as particularly good. Those were two rather cheaply made EVGA PSUs -- especially considering the wattage -- and I would never run them with a quality 30 or 40 series GPU. And I'd have little confidence in Gigabyte considering their recent history of fires and mediocre builds from a manufacturer with little prior experience with consumer PSUs; they only seem to bother with quality on their Aorus PSUs and there are usually better ones at the price.

PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P6 850 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($115.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $115.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:28 EDT-0400


PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: Corsair RMx (2021) 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $134.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:25 EDT-0400


PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: Super Flower Leadex III Gold 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg Sellers)
Total: $119.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:28 EDT-0400
 
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Genralkidd

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When the PC shuts itself down under load and reboots, it's commonly either a temperature issue or a power issue.

Before even bothering to troubleshoot the PSU, I'd do some more in-depth temperature monitoring. Download some software of your choice that actually logs the CPU temp, and review it after a crash if you can easily reproduce it. If you're having trouble reproducing the crash, you could try running two stress tests at the same time... for example, prime95 + furmark. 3Dmark and passmark do not typically truly stress the system.

However, that PSU is not the greatest and I imagine you've had it quite awhile. It's very possible it could have degraded enough to no longer support the power demand.
One last test would be to ensure the PSU itself is staying cool, clean filters and blow the dust out of it.
The PSU is actually brand new and hasn't had any issues with other normal tasks on that PC. But I mainly only got it because there was a good deal on it and I figured maybe I could get away with 700W for those specs. But I'll try those stress tests soon and see how the temperatures look. The cooler I have is also an Enermax cooler but it seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the CPU cool under the other benchmarks. By comparison, my previous PC had a Core i9-9900 and used an Intel stock cooler and I've never had it shutdown from an overheat before.

The Enermax PSU is certainly suspicious; an ancient, group-regulated PSU had no business being used with any of these parts.

While the PSUs you link are better, I'm not sure I'd classify any of them as particularly good. Those were two rather cheaply made EVGA PSUs -- especially considering the wattage -- and I would never run them with a quality 30 or 40 series GPU. And I'd have little confidence in Gigabyte considering their recent history of fires and mediocre builds from a manufacturer with little prior experience with consumer PSUs; they only seem to bother with quality on their Aorus PSUs and there are usually better ones at the price.

PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P6 850 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($115.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $115.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:28 EDT-0400


PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: Corsair RMx (2021) 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $134.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:25 EDT-0400


PCPartPicker Part List

Power Supply: Super Flower Leadex III Gold 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg Sellers)
Total: $119.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-09-12 00:28 EDT-0400
I kind of blew most of my budget on those other parts and I saw a really good deal at the time on that Enermax PSU so I figured I'd give it a try. Was hoping to keep the cost down of the ugpraded PSU but I suppose it probably is better in the longer to get a proper PSU. Out of curiosity though, of the 3 PSUs I listed, if you had to pick between them, which one would you feel the most comfortable with?
 

A_Goat

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The PSU is actually brand new and hasn't had any issues with other normal tasks on that PC. But I mainly only got it because there was a good deal on it and I figured maybe I could get away with 700W for those specs. But I'll try those stress tests soon and see how the temperatures look. The cooler I have is also an Enermax cooler but it seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the CPU cool under the other benchmarks. By comparison, my previous PC had a Core i9-9900 and used an Intel stock cooler and I've never had it shutdown from an overheat before.
If the temps are fine, I'd be blaming that PSU.
The normal task power requirements are easy, it's under load that's the problem with your component selection.
Especially if that i9 is keeping cool and staying at high turbo clocks.
 
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DSzymborski

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You bought that new, now? Geez, I didn't realize Enermax was still selling PSUs that large designed for 20 year-old PCs.

The EVGA Platinum listed is a solid deal given the reduced price.

Really should be done. You should not be running a group-regulated PSU in modern hardware with any discrete GPU that requires supplementary power or a high power CPU of Haswell or more recent vintage.

I understand it sucks to spend money, but this should be done regardless of any apparent problems, lest you cause long-term problems that don't become apparent for a while. If the budget for X PC part doesn't have the budget for the PSU to safely run it, then the budget isn't really enough for X PC part. It's like buying a Ferrari and then being surprised by not having money for the insurance!
 
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Genralkidd

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If the temps are fine, I'd be blaming that PSU.
The normal task power requirements are easy, it's under load that's the problem with your component selection.
Especially if that i9 is keeping cool and staying at high turbo clocks.
So the plot thickens a bit. I did try running both Prime95 torture test and Furmark at the same time. No issues at all with the PSU and temps were relatively good. Prime95 did keep the CPU temps in the low 90s on average with dips to the low 80s and sometimes short jumps to upper 90s but it didn't hit any thermal shutdowns. It really seems like it's just Star Citizen that causes the PC to suddenly shut down. It shuts down before I even go in game. Soon as I clear the easy anti cheat launcher and it starts loading the game, that's when it shuts down. At that point the CPU temps are the low 70s with occasional spikes to low 80s. So I'm not sure anymore if it's the PSU at fault or not.

You bought that new, now? Geez, I didn't realize Enermax was still selling PSUs that large designed for 20 year-old PCs.

The EVGA Platinum listed is a solid deal given the reduced price.

Really should be done. You should not be running a group-regulated PSU in modern hardware with any discrete GPU that requires supplementary power or a high power CPU of Haswell or more recent vintage.

I understand it sucks to spend money, but this should be done regardless of any apparent problems, lest you cause long-term problems that don't become apparent for a while. If the budget for X PC part doesn't have the budget for the PSU to safely run it, then the budget isn't really enough for X PC part. It's like buying a Ferrari and then being surprised by not having money for the insurance!
Out of curiosity, what is a "group-regulated PSU"? I'm not familiar with that term and wasn't aware Enermax was one of them. At the moment, the PC runs fine for everything else except Star Citizen. I did some stress testing and never encountered any other issues so might be something else causing it. But since I'm planning on upgrading my GPU eventually, I'll go with a better PSU like the ones you listed. But I'm probably going to wait until Black Friday perhaps to see if the price will drop further. Until then, I think this Enermax PSU should probably be ok for the moment.
 

A_Goat

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So the plot thickens a bit. I did try running both Prime95 torture test and Furmark at the same time. No issues at all with the PSU and temps were relatively good. Prime95 did keep the CPU temps in the low 90s on average with dips to the low 80s and sometimes short jumps to upper 90s but it didn't hit any thermal shutdowns. It really seems like it's just Star Citizen that causes the PC to suddenly shut down. It shuts down before I even go in game. Soon as I clear the easy anti cheat launcher and it starts loading the game, that's when it shuts down. At that point the CPU temps are the low 70s with occasional spikes to low 80s. So I'm not sure anymore if it's the PSU at fault or not.
Did you happen to also check GPU load/temps? Prime95 is sometimes so intense on the CPU that furmark cannot adequately load the GPU. There are ways around this, for testing purposes however.
 
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Genralkidd

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Did you happen to also check GPU load/temps? Prime95 is sometimes so intense on the CPU that furmark cannot adequately load the GPU. There are ways around this, for testing purposes however.
Yeah I did, Furmark was running fine and GPU load was at 100% and temps were fine too, stayed cooler than the CPU for sure.
 

A_Goat

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Yeah I did, Furmark was running fine and GPU load was at 100% and temps were fine too, stayed cooler than the CPU for sure.
Interesting indeed, well, to help rule out a potential power issue... you could lower the power limit of your GPU and disable your CPU from boosting in the BIOS.
That alone should reduce the power draw enough to potentially affect star citizen booting.
 

Genralkidd

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Interesting indeed, well, to help rule out a potential power issue... you could lower the power limit of your GPU and disable your CPU from boosting in the BIOS.
That alone should reduce the power draw enough to potentially affect star citizen booting.
Looks like that worked! I tried turning off the Intel Adaptive 251W Boost thing in the BIOS and now I've been able to launch and play Star Citizen just fine. So I take it that means it was definitely a PSU issue because the temps while playing Star Citizen were still well within normal ranges? If so I guess the 700W Enermax PSU is just barely cutting it, but I'll start keeping an eye on more powerful PSUs, especially cause I plan on upgrading to a high end 3000 or 4000 series GPU eventually.
 

DSzymborski

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I would still replace the PSU immediately; an old group-regulated design is completely inappropriate for these components.

Basically, group-regulated PSUs don't independently regulate the different voltages. On a PC later than Pentium III, the vast majority of the power is used of the +12V variety and group-regulated PSUs can have awful crossloads that put voltages horribly out of spec. You damage your parts over time in situations like this; it's a bit like buying a new sports car and then filling up its gas tank with an old container of gasoline that's been sitting in your garage for years.
 

Genralkidd

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I would still replace the PSU immediately; an old group-regulated design is completely inappropriate for these components.

Basically, group-regulated PSUs don't independently regulate the different voltages. On a PC later than Pentium III, the vast majority of the power is used of the +12V variety and group-regulated PSUs can have awful crossloads that put voltages horribly out of spec. You damage your parts over time in situations like this; it's a bit like buying a new sports car and then filling up its gas tank with an old container of gasoline that's been sitting in your garage for years.
I got curious and looked into Enermax a bit more. I'm not so sure they still use group-regulated designs. Years ago they stopped making their own PSUs and now has a 3rd party make their PSUs. In fact, I read that group regulated PSUs are almost non existent these days for any PSU made in the last 5 years or so.

But I have no idea how to actually tell if a PSU is group regulated or not so I don't know if Enermax despite switching to a different manufacturer and design is still group regulated. But the current PSU I'm using is definitely one of their newer models and I bought the exact same one over a year ago for another PC I built and everything has been running fine since then. I do still intend on upgrading this PSU though since it clearly can't handle the full potential of the CPU but since I'll only be using it occasionally in the short term, I think I'll still probably wait till Black Friday to see if there's better prices on PSUs.
 

DSzymborski

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I got curious and looked into Enermax a bit more. I'm not so sure they still use group-regulated designs. Years ago they stopped making their own PSUs and now has a 3rd party make their PSUs. In fact, I read that group regulated PSUs are almost non existent these days for any PSU made in the last 5 years or so.
If you identified what you have correctly, it's a group-regulated PSU, period. Only 648W of +12V in a 700W PSU always means group regulation.

While it only takes about five seconds to determine it's group-regulated from the specs, you can also do things the more difficult way.



That there is a group-regulated PSU.
 
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Genralkidd

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If you identified what you have correctly, it's a group-regulated PSU, period. Only 648W of +12V in a 700W PSU always means group regulation.

While it only takes about five seconds to determine it's group-regulated from the specs, you can also do things the more difficult way.



That there is a group-regulated PSU.
Ahh ok I see, so as a general rule of thumb, if there's a big chunk of the wattage that's not on the 12V rail then that's a group regulated PSU?
 

DSzymborski

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Ahh ok I see, so as a general rule of thumb, if there's a big chunk of the wattage that's not on the 12V rail then that's a group regulated PSU?
Because they physically can't. The same voltage regulator has to deal with both the +12V and the +5V simultaneously. You can't just throw a huge load onto +12V in a group-regulated PSU and a light load on the +5V rail or the voltage regulation gets destroyed, which is why group-regulated PSUs are so incompetent at dealing with crossloads. You see these PSUs because group-regulated PSUs were in consumer PSUs for a long time because up until Pentium 4 CPUs, they were generally powered with +5V. Since then, about a quarter-century, CPUs have wanted +12V power. Which is also what GPUs want. This leaves pretty much any modern PC with any kind of a gaming GPU in rather dire straits since the vast majority of power you need to use comes from +12V power. They're also not compatible with things like modern CPU low-power sleep states as well.

Really, unless it's grandma's email computer or a very basic office PC, a group-regulated PSU should have no place in anyone's computer these days.
 

Genralkidd

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Because they physically can't. The same voltage regulator has to deal with both the +12V and the +5V simultaneously. You can't just throw a huge load onto +12V in a group-regulated PSU and a light load on the +5V rail or the voltage regulation gets destroyed, which is why group-regulated PSUs are so incompetent at dealing with crossloads. You see these PSUs because group-regulated PSUs were in consumer PSUs for a long time because up until Pentium 4 CPUs, they were generally powered with +5V. Since then, about a quarter-century, CPUs have wanted +12V power. Which is also what GPUs want. This leaves pretty much any modern PC with any kind of a gaming GPU in rather dire straits since the vast majority of power you need to use comes from +12V power. They're also not compatible with things like modern CPU low-power sleep states as well.

Really, unless it's grandma's email computer or a very basic office PC, a group-regulated PSU should have no place in anyone's computer these days.
I looked at some more PSUs to try to spot group regulated ones, some are only missing a few watts from the 12V rail, are those still group regulated or does it have to be a significant chunk of missing wattage? Like the Super Flower PSU you suggested, it's missing like half a watt and I've seen other PSUs on NewEgg missing like 2 or 4 watts from the 12V rail.
 

DSzymborski

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I looked at some more PSUs to try to spot group regulated ones, some are only missing a few watts from the 12V rail, are those still group regulated or does it have to be a significant chunk of missing wattage? Like the Super Flower PSU you suggested, it's missing like half a watt and I've seen other PSUs on NewEgg missing like 2 or 4 watts from the 12V rail.
Those are fine as it comes down to different PSU design. It's when you're missing 30W or 40W or 50W or more that the red flags. Some really awful, cheap ones, far worse than yours, can have 100 or 200W missing.
 

Genralkidd

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Those are fine as it comes down to different PSU design. It's when you're missing 30W or 40W or 50W or more that the red flags. Some really awful, cheap ones, far worse than yours, can have 100 or 200W missing.
Good to know thanks! And yeah I saw an Apevia 1000W PSU that was missing nearly 400W from the 12V rail. But now I know what to look out for future PSUs.
 

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DSzymborski

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Good to know thanks! And yeah I saw an Apevia 1000W PSU that was missing nearly 400W from the 12V rail. But now I know what to look out for future PSUs.
Now, there are other things to look for too. Generally speaking, you want to see a teardown and component analysis of a PSU before purchasing; since it's safety equipment, you generally fare best when you take the approach that PSUs are guilty until proven innocent. Sadly, jonnyguru's archive is gone and there are fewer review PSUs than before. Aris here, and the reviews at TechPowerUp are very good and properly have/use tools like an oscilloscope and load tester. I'm hoping Steve Burke at Gamers Nexus and LTT's new lab fill some of that missing gap.

Generally speaking, you will see certain PSUs recommended by lots of people. These are almost always PSUs that have wide distribution and have been dissected, frequently by multiple reputable sources. You can also generally trust PSUs when they run on the same platform as another quality PSU. Leadex IIs sold by Super Flower were uncommon in the US as they didn't have a US presence until recently, but a lot of Leadex IIs were torn down in the form of EVGA G2 and G3 PSUs.

Here's what a proper PSU review will look like.

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-rm850x-2021-power-supply-review/2

The good news is that, even in the worst-case scenario when you're completely flying blind when buying a PSU, it's harder to accidentally buy a horror than it used to be. 80 Plus rating means efficiency rather than quality, but it's a lot hard to build an awful 80 Plus Platinum unit than and awful 80 Plus Standard or unrated one. As you note, most PSUs today by big companies are DC-DC, so a random purchase makes it more likely to get you one. Even a few of the big brands who are known for really cheaping out on their branded PSUs -- Cooler Master and Thermaltake are probably the two most notable here -- have generally gotten better.

We recommend all these PSUs not to spend your money -- I'm a baseball writer, I don't get anything when people buy a PSU -- but simply because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when you pay top dollar for parts, we want them running as correctly and safely as possible.
 

A_Goat

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Looks like that worked! I tried turning off the Intel Adaptive 251W Boost thing in the BIOS and now I've been able to launch and play Star Citizen just fine. So I take it that means it was definitely a PSU issue because the temps while playing Star Citizen were still well within normal ranges? If so I guess the 700W Enermax PSU is just barely cutting it, but I'll start keeping an eye on more powerful PSUs, especially cause I plan on upgrading to a high end 3000 or 4000 series GPU eventually.
You are correct, and once you upgrade your PSU be sure to turn that adaptive boost back on to get your performance back!
 

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