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Community Manager
Community Manager

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

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.

1 Reply
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Miniboss
Miniboss

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

This kind of FAQ is great...what I'd like to see is all the site faqs linked and displayed in one place on the page.  I've noticed that some faqs get displayed prominently for awhile and then for some reason drop off the page, and the only way to find them is to search for them--but then, of course, you have to already know the name of the faq you want to find.  Could save you guys a huge amount of troubleshooting to have all of your faqs displayed in one place on the drivers & software page.

BTW, this faq about PSUs could do with some added information about amperage.   Amps are if anything more important than wattage estimates on PSUs--because, for instance, a PSU with 19 amps on a 12v rail but a 600W estimate would be greatly inferior to a 500W PSU with 35 Amps on the 12v rail, even though the wattage estimate is higher...

I just noticed there's a "How-to & FAQ" section...but, hey, I'm locked out of it...Smiley Wink  I really don't need them, but my point is that most AMD customers would benefit from such an access to a centralized faq location.