PC hardware forum: Why does my (assembled) desktop shuts down randomly?

by: tdeshp March 30, 2013 2:22 PM PDT

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Why does my (assembled) desktop shuts down randomly?

by tdeshp - 3/30/13 2:22 PM

I know that there are some excellent threads on many forums addressing this problem; I have read all the ones I could find easily. These forum posts, rather than helping, are simply leaving me more and more anxious. Don't get me wrong, but they are helping in the sense that my knowledge of these systems is increasing greatly. But they are not helping me fix my own problem. There are just too many things to check. I fear that I will pick a wrong starting point, go down the list of things to check, and get back to square one without having fixed the problem; in other words, stuck in an infinite loop with no break condition. Anyways, let me give you specific details of what I have observed so far and (hopefully) someone will be able to offer a spot-on (or close enough) explanation of what's happening.

One thing that I have noticed about these shutdowns is that it only happens in a couple of seconds or minutes from when I start my computer or leave the sleep mode. After 3-4 shutdowns (in the worst-case scenario) the computer seems to become stable. It can then run for hours without shutting down. The shutdowns that occur in a couple of seconds have occurred both before and after the computer starts to run windows (64-bit windows 7). The shutdowns that occurred in a couple of minutes usually occurred when I had been watching a video file for 5 to 10 minutes. Once again I'm trying to be very specific; I highly doubt the video files or the player have anything to do with it. After these shutdowns, ranging from just one to a couple (3-4) of them the computer resumes its normal operation. Although there have been just two instances where the shutdowns occurred at an arbitrary time (i.e. not just a couple of seconds or minutes after startup). But, like I said, this has happened only twice as opposed to the hundred times the former (shut down after startup) has occurred. It's almost as if the computer needs a little bit of a "push" (rebooting several times) before it can "adjust" to its new state (i.e. running).

Since this was the first time I was assembling a desktop, have been constantly nervous about proper application of the thermal paste. When I use the ASUS Thermal Radar (see MOBO specs below) the temperature of the CPU seems rarely deviate too much from its regular value (~30°C). But since all of my shutdowns were pretty random, I was not looking at the Thermal Radar just before the shutdowns occurred. So I don't know if there was a sudden spike in temperature (which I suspect would last for long) that was sufficient to cause an immediate shutdown. But there's no way for me to know for sure; which is why I am asking for your guidance. It could be anything: faulty motherboard, power supply not powerful enough, bad memory, thermal paste issue, and lastly a virus. I doubt the last one since I've installed Norton before the first time I connected my computer to the Internet.

Here are the specs (relevant to this issue) for my computer if it helps:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (Model F3-14900CL10D-16GBXL)
MOBO: ASUS Sabertooth x79
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011
Power supply: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold

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