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

Version 1

    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.