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Is It Safe To Run Demanding Games With my Current PSU?

redro_guy

5 months ago

Currently I have a 500W 80+ Thermaltake PSU which came with the PC I have. All the components are what came with the PC, which I bought from CyberPowerPC. The PC can be found here:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/cyberpowerpc-gamer-ultra-desktop-amd-ryzen-5-1400-8gb-memory-amd-radeon-rx-580-1tb-hard-drive-black/5833100.p?skuId=5833100

And here are the specs:

Motherboard: ASUSTeK SATA 6Gb/s DDR4 CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6-core processor GPU: AMD Radeon RX 580 RAM: Single 8gb XPG ADATA DDR4 stick Storage: 1 TB Hard Drive PSU: Thermaltake 500W 80+ Cooling: Deep Cool brand fan mounted on the mobo that came with the PC

Basically over the past ten or so months, I've had the computer shut down on me while I was in the middle of playing games. The likeliest explanation I've seen for this is a faulty PSU, however I've been told that two shutdowns over a ten month period isn't definitive. I've downloaded hardwaremonitor and intend to use it while playing Fallout 4, the game I was playing when it most recently shutdown on me, to monitor temperatures and voltages. Is it safe to do this? I'll have to alt-tab to check every now and then since I've only got one monitor, but in the case that it does shut down again, it sounds like the PSU has protections in place to keep other components from being harmed.

I guess my biggest question is whether this is a good idea to try and if so, I was also wondering if someone could help me make sense of the readouts in hardwaremonitor regarding voltages. Is it the 12V under ASUSTeK Computer Inc., Voltages at the top that I need to be looking at? And what number should I make sure it doesn't exceed?

Picture of what I'm talking about: https://imgur.com/a/IgQl0XT#7xEEIbP

Thanks for any help anyone can provide!

Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

I guess my biggest question is whether this is a good idea to try and if so, I was also wondering if someone could help me make sense of the readouts in hardwaremonitor regarding voltages. Is it the 12V under ASUSTeK Computer Inc., Voltages at the top that I need to be looking at? And what number should I make sure it doesn't exceed?

Unfortunately you cannot measure power supply voltages with software, any software. The sensors are never accurate and will never show actual values (some motherboards may even tell you have something like 7V on 12V, which is obvious bull - since the PC wouldn't even run with that). The only way to measure voltages is using a digital multimeter (with true RMS if possible).

Sudden shutdown under load is a common problem with inappropriate PSUs. Your Thermaltake SPD-0500NPCWUS-W is a unit not suitable for any modern computers ("modern" here means last 5 years or so), since it's group regulated. It uses just one choke to regulate +12V and +5V output voltages, which means if you load one hard and barely the other, both voltages may go out of spec. "Today's" computers hardly load +5V at all, so what you've got is the situation described above. Out of spec voltages damage graphics cards and other components fed form that voltage, and they can also trip over- or undervoltage protection, shutting down the computer.

Top tier graphics cards of last years also display high transient power spikes under load, which also cause high voltage drops in low end power supplies, especially double forward, group regulated, passively rectified ones like yours. They can't respond to the rapid load changes quickly enough, drop voltages and shut down.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

So I can't really be sure that demanding software won't result in another shutdown... still seems weird to me that it wouldn't have happened for so long (I've been playing Fallout 4 for months). I would think it'd be a more consistent problem. If that's the case I may bump settings down to the lowest and start with monitoring my temps while its running as well as fan speeds etc. Unless you think that might even be too risky?

I don't really feel comfortable replacing the PSU myself, if that's what I end up doing. Would you recommend I send the PC to CyberPowerPC and pay the difference for an upgrade and let them do it? Of course shipping both ways will also drive the price up.

Thanks for the advice. It's kind of surprising to me, because it seems like that PSU I have has pretty good reviews on Amazon and Newegg, and the PC itself had overall really good reviews too.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't really feel comfortable replacing the PSU myself, if that's what I end up doing. Would you recommend I send the PC to CyberPowerPC and pay the difference for an upgrade and let them do it? Of course shipping both ways will also drive the price up.

Don't pay them to do it. All replacing a PSU is unplugging cables, unscrewing it, screwing the new one, and plugging the cables in.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I would run AIDA 64 and stress test the CPU, GPU Ram, FPU.

Monitor your three main voltages that time being.

The graph above, doesn't show any problems with the PSU as voltages on all three rails concerns, even at full load.

https://imgur.com/c5L91TW

...however I've been told that two shutdowns over a ten month period isn't definitive.

And yes that's true. It could be just game related, Windows related, Ram related, CPU and GPU temp related, driver related, HDD related, malware related, or even a malfunctioning PSU fan can be the culprit.

Currently I have a 500W 80+ Thermaltake PSU which came with the PC I have.

Which Thermaltake is it?

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I believe it's this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Certified-Continuous-cooling-PS-SPD-0500NPCWUS-W/dp/B014W3EM2W

I don't own any version of AIDA 64 but I do have HWMonitor, Open Hardware Monitor, Core temp and MSI Afterburner. Which one of these would be best for monitoring my PSU and various voltages?

Also, when using HWMonitor, which numbers do I need to be watching, is it the ones you marked in the red rectangle? And what should I make sure they don't exceed exactly?

The graph above, doesn't show any problems with the PSU as voltages on all three rails concerns, even at full load.

Are you saying that hardwaremonitor isn't going to be helpful for this or that what you see on my screenshot just isn't problematic? Because that screenshot was taken before running any games, so that's why it'll look like it's not had to meet any demand.

Thanks for your time, I appreciate the help.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't own any version of AIDA 64

It's free to download and it has a free 30-day trial period.

But you would use it only for once, so that wouldn't be a problem.

Now, your build isn't particular powerful and power consumption is also nothing to write home about.

But that's not the problem.

Just stress test your RIG with AIDA...[selecting all the tests from the graph below}

Monitor tour CPU temps and your three main voltages. If the CPU throttles AIDA 64 will show you that as well.

https://imgur.com/YGOY3tj

https://imgur.com/8KoQKkh

Now as you can see, the three main voltages are as follow (at full stress load)

12V: 11.880V
5V: 4.890V   
3V: 3.146V

[These three voltage rail values are acceptable for a 24/7. Aren't excellent values, but still...]

CPU voltage: 1.032V
DIMM voltage: 1.188V

if you get anything lower than the above, just replace the PSU.

The above voltage numbers are from the following build configuration...

https://imgur.com/6wE7t4f

That computer and many other similar ones (from am internet station store) are working 24/7 with only gaming.

So that's the best stress test example that you can have. These computers are never turned off, unless there is a reason for that.

If you have in mind to keep that build as it is for as long as possible (and with not overclocking in mind), keep that PSU at least until the warranty expires.

However, if you have in mind to make an upgrade to better components in the near future, i would suggest to get a better PSU now and you are good to go.

Also keep in mind that Thermaltake PSU is a group regulated unit. You know that because it has a max. wattage output of 420 Watts only on the 12V rail. (so way lower than this PSU can deliver 420W<500W)

What is really important for the case you ever face such a load are the 1 transient response times and 2 cross load testings.

1 Transient response times shows the stability of the rails according to the changing working load of the PSU depending the load of the GPU and (or) GPU

2 Cross-load tests are showing the behavior of the load/voltage regulation, ripples, efficiency and noise levels on the entire operating range of the PSU.

Example:

Thermaltake Litepower 450W Power Supply

At 50% load on either the 12V or 5V

https://images.hardocp.com/images/articles/124754028826f1yzmDGp_7_7_l.gif

https://images.hardocp.com/images/articles/124754028826f1yzmDGp_7_8_l.gif

5V is an acceptable result, but 12V rail is disastrous low at load!

That PSU unit is not to be used on a gaming RIG!

If it has proper and correct working protections, it will shut down if a voltage value exceeds the safety operating values of the PSU.

But safer would be not to rely on such a extreme event.

Funny thing is, that hardocp gave that PSU a pass!

Even so, i would not use that particular PSU on a gaming RIG if demanding games are your priority.

Because that screenshot was taken before running any games, so that's why it'll look like it's not had to meet any demand.

That's what i was afraid off, even if it shows acceptable voltages at max load as well.

Acceptable as far as the max. safe voltage limits concerns, but way of with recent high grade PSUs.

And that's why if suggested to run AIDA 64 stress test tool on that matter. :)

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey thanks a lot. I really appreciate the well explained, thought out response.

I'll get AIDA 64 set up for sure. I'm a bit lost on some things but I think I've got a good part of what you're saying. I'm a bit confused on the PSU I have. In the example provided you used a 450W rated Thermaltake PSU, which is a bit less powerful than my 500W rated. It looks like the PSU in your example is tolerable, but not ideal. The PSU I have is slightly better I but still not ideal. Is my assessment here right?

I suppose I have only a few options in regards to my PSU:

a) Upgrade it myself. I'm reluctant to go down this path as I'm not great at hardware installation aside from basic stuff like RAM and GPUs, and I have zero experience in cable management and am not keen on voiding the warranty. b) Contact CyberPowerPC to get it upgraded through them. c) Just keep going along with what I've got.

In general, what kind of usage would you recommend my PSU for? My PC isn't on 24/7 and I run strenuous games fairly regularly, and when I do it's usually on medium/low settings.

I will definitely run AIDA 64 as you suggested and when I get a chance upload my results. Do you recommend running it while playing the game that my PC shutdown while running (Fallout 4 on I believe a mix of high/medium settings) or starting with something less strenuous that won't be demanding on my PSU?

Thanks again for all the information and graphs you provided, it really helps me understand this stuff a lot better.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

In the example provided you used a 450W rated Thermaltake PSU, which is a bit less powerful than my 500W rated. It looks like the PSU in your example is tolerable, but not ideal. The PSU I have is slightly better I but still not ideal. Is my assessment here right?

We do not know the real manufacturer of these PSUs (OEM most probably), so they may be the same brand, but the internals may differ form series to series.

However, we are sure for one thing, that does play a role as internal quality and voltage regulation concerns. Both as group regulated units!

Group regulated units are not the best example of a PSU that should be used these days on a high performance gaming RIG.

At least if you can't do otherwise as you are budget constrained or if there aren't any better units sold in your country where you live, you should be sure about the protections of these PSUs.

Do they offer the proper protections? Do they work as intended if something goes deeply wrong?

Because if not, at worses you may end up not only with a non working PSU, but with some broken component parts as well.

And you definitely don't want that. Because if that occurs, most probably the manufacturer will give you a new PSU unit, but will NOT replace the remaining faulty parts.

In general, what kind of usage would you recommend my PSU for? My PC isn't on 24/7 and I run strenuous games fairly regularly, and when I do it's usually on medium/low settings.

I do have a cheap group regulated PSU unit as well. And it does even have worse Voltage results on the 12V rail if stress tested.

In fact i have stress tested my system yesterday with AIDA64.

My results on the 12V rail did ranged from 11.65-11.75 Volts.

That's just BAD!, but it's at full load of everything. Not quite realistic even if you play.

However i do not play any kind of games right now, and if i did play, only a couple hours a day.

In you situation there is only one reasonable solution to go with.

Stress test your PSU with AIDA 64, and if you get voltages that are as near as possible to the numbers 12, 5, 3.3, without a huge variation like the example above, you an keep that unit for now.

If you see great variations, then the best thing you can (and should do), is to change that PSU that this pre-build came with, ASAP.

Do you recommend running it while playing the game

No, you will run just AIDA 64. It will steess test your computer components to the max.

Actually you will not be able to do anything else anyway, as the CPU will run at 100% and if you try to move your mouse to open something, AIDA 64 may crash.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I've been a while, waiting on a response from CyberPowerPC. I couldn't get AIDA 64 setup because for some reason it wouldn't send the trial code to my e-mail, am I perhaps doing something wrong? Still, I do have other programs to monitor with.

So here's a quick run down:

I contacted CyberPowerPC and am awaiting a response. In the mean time I ran Fallout 4 on medium settings for about an hour and at the end there were my results on hardwaremonitor:

https://imgur.com/a/St5qmi0

How are those voltages? No issues other than the game crashing to desktop on me once, but it's Fallout 4 so that's to be expected. Other than that I experienced no issues.

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