How to determine if my system’s instability is related to the power supply

Document created by amdmatt Employee on Oct 27, 2015
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This article provides information on possible issues caused by a defective or inadequate power supply and troubleshooting tips to help rule it out as a source.

 

 

 

 

Potential Issues:

 

The power supply is the single most important component in a system because it provides the necessary power to allow all other hardware to work. A defective or inadequate power supply can cause the system to experience:

 

  • System instability: No boot, random reboots or hangs
  • Performance instability: Random application crashes or hangs
  • Display corruption: Dots, lines, flashes on the screen
  • Display Abnormality: Additional monitor(s) in a multi monitor setup does not work or randomly stops working

 

 

 

 

Possible Causes:

The cause of potential issues is not limited to the power supply. However, a common reason a power supply may cause an issue is if it is:

 

  • Defective
    • Completely stops working
    • No longer outputs its specified wattage
    • Overheats due to a bad fan

 

 

  • Inadequate
    • Its wattage output is less than the total wattage requirements of the system’s hardware

 

 

 

 

Troubleshooting:

The following troubleshooting guide can help determine if the issue is related to the power supply:

 

  • If the system does not turn on:
    • Check that the wall outlet works
    • Check the outlet’s breaker to ensure it has not been switched off or
    • Plug the system into an outlet that is not on the same breaker as the original outlet
    • Inspect the power cable for damage: cuts, scuffs or exposed wires
    • Try replacing the power cable
    • Check the power supply for signs of damage: burnt marks / scent
    • Test the system with another known working power supply of equal or greater wattage

 

Note! If you do not feel comfortable with or are unable to remove / replace the power supply on your own, consult with an expert

 

  • If the system turns on, but is unstable:
    • Verify that the power supply fan continually spins when the system is on
    • Ensure the power supply exceeds the combined wattage requirements of all installed hardware. To do so:
    • Determine the wattage output of the power supply by referring to its packaging, manual or the label on the power supply

 

GPU-104_PSULabel.JPG

 

Label on Power Supply: Max Wattage for Power Supply = 600W

 

  • Calculate the wattage requirements of the installed hardware and compare it to the wattage output of the power supply
  • The following third party utilities can help calculate the system’s total wattage requirements:
  • eXtreme Power supply Calculator Lite v2.5
  • ASUS Recommended Power Supply Wattage Calculator
  • If unsure of the hardware installed in the system, the following third party utility can help identify the system’s hardware configuration
  • Belarc Advisor
  • If the wattage of the power supply covers the wattage requirements of the hardware, determine if the power supply is working properly
  • While the system is off and disconnected from the wall outlet:
  • Disconnect all hardware that is not required to allow the system to boot and load the operating system
  • The motherboard, processor with heat sink/fan, graphics card, memory, hard drive with operating system, keyboard and mouse should be sufficient enough to allow the system to boot
  • Verify that the system runs stable with the minimal components connected
  • If so, turn off the system and disconnect it from the wall outlet
  • Add a single, previously disconnected hardware component and turn on the system to ensure it still runs stable
  • Repeat the last two steps until all hardware is connected or until the system becomes unstable
  • Test the system with another known working power supply of equal or greater wattage

 

Note! If you do not feel comfortable with disconnecting/installing the hardware components on your own, consult with an expert

  • For additional troubleshooting tips, check the power supply manual or contact the system builder / power supply manufacturer

 

 

 

 

Additional Troubleshooting:

If the power supply does not seem to be the source of the issue, the following articles provide additional troubleshooting for other possible causes:

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for AMD Certified Power Supplies.

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