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igyman 11-06-2008 01:05 PM

Graphic card problems
A few days ago I bought a new graphic card - Asus EAH 3870 512MB DDR3 and at first everything looked great. Unfortunately I've discovered a problem and I don't know the cause - while playing a game (any game) the PC may at some point simply reboot. Now, this problem has been frequently occurring in Mass Effect, but very rarely in Red Alert 3, for example and it hasn't occurred in Assassin's Creed at all so far. It also happened once in The Witcher, but I haven't played that game too much since the graphic card upgrade and I don't know how often the problem actually happens in that game.

What I do know is that it's not related to in-game graphic details, because all these games run equally smoothly with the details maxed out and reduced to minimum, until the reboot happens, that is.

I've tried Google-ing to find the solution, but I haven't found anything so far. I was hoping someone here might be able to clue me in to what's going on (I personally am suspecting overheating so far, but I'm still not so sure) and how I might be able to fix it.

If it helps, my configuration is now as follows:
CPU: Intel Core2Duo E8400 3.0GHz, 6MB L2 cache
RAM: 3GB Kingston DDR2 667MHz (3x1GB)
HDD: Seagate 320GB, 7200rpm
Graphic card: Asus EAH3870 512MB DDR3

I'd really appreciate some help. :)

Balderdash 11-06-2008 02:34 PM

What power supply do you have?

igyman 11-06-2008 03:17 PM

Chieftec 360W.

Star Admiral 11-06-2008 03:26 PM

The problem is most likely as Balderdash pointed out. Your power supply is inadequate for the graphics card. The Asus card is based off the Radeon 3870 chipset, and those kinds of cards may require up to around 450W of power. Consider upgrading your power supply.

HdVaderII 11-06-2008 03:28 PM

Shouldn't this be in the tech forum?

Astrotoy7 11-06-2008 04:13 PM

hmmm...this sounds like a job for the ... techforum!

Im sure a clever local will be by soon to move it along.

Enjoy the ride :) See you there!


Balderdash 11-06-2008 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by Star Admiral (Post 2549945)
The problem is most likely as Balderdash pointed out. Your power supply is inadequate for the graphics card. The Asus card is based off the Radeon 3870 chipset, and those kinds of cards may require up to around 450W of power. Consider upgrading your power supply.

Yeah, this is what I am thinking as well. It sounds very much to me like the new card is using up quite a bit more juice, and it's causing the system to reboot itself because the rig is underpowered.

Unless Astro and the other tech forum regulars have any other thoughts on what it could be...

RedHawke 11-07-2008 02:54 AM

Moved to da proper place... ;)

Q 11-07-2008 05:33 AM

I'm going to say that it's a pretty safe bet that your power supply is inadequate.

That having been said, total wattage is not the best measure of whether or not your PSU is up to snuff. The total amperage on the +12v rail(s) is. A 3870 is probably going to require at least 28-30 amps (this is a guess, but I believe it to be accurate), and I seriously doubt that that 360-watter can deliver that kind of juice.

One other thing about your hardware configuration: you should go ahead and get 1 more GB of RAM because running with 3 DIMMs (or 1 for that matter) as opposed to 2 or 4 is preventing your memory from running in dual-channel mode. This hurts performance.

igyman 11-07-2008 03:37 PM

Thanks for the answers guys. I'll probably get a new power supply and see if that fixes the problem (unless someone has some other idea as to what's causing the reboots), I'm thinking a 550W Chieftec should be strong enough.
As for the amount of RAM, I agree, I actually had a spare 1GB, but the thing is I have a 32-bit XP and 32-bit operating systems don't see more than 3GB of RAM. If I were to put that fourth module, I'd have to get a good 64-bit OS that can also run all my games without problems.

Q 11-07-2008 11:03 PM

Be sure to check out the +12v rail amperage before you buy anything. It may be wise to get more than you need right now in case you want to upgrade your video card in the future. There are quite a few PSUs that can deliver ~40 amps for a decent price, and those should be capable of powering any single-GPU card.

I've never heard of anyone running into problems while using 4GB with a 32-bit OS, but maybe you have. If you're running XP you can get by with 2GB.

igyman 11-08-2008 03:18 AM

OK, the power supply I'm thinking about (GPS550) has the following +12v specs:
+12V1: 18A
+12V2: 18A
+12V3: 18A

Now, I'm not really knowledgeable when it comes to interpreting PSU specs, but I see you said a 3870 probably needs a 28-30A +12V, so what I need to know is what does V1, V2 and V3 represent and will the specs above be good enough?

Q 11-08-2008 03:30 AM

They should be, yes. Those individual amperages should combine, but that does NOT mean that that PSU has 54 total amps on the +12v rails. It still should be enough to power that 3870.

igyman 11-08-2008 03:36 AM

Well, in that case I might consider getting a bit stronger PSU, I've also been looking at CTF-560-A12S ( and if the GPS 550 should be enough, I'm thinking the 560 must be enough and the price difference isn't that big.

Q 11-08-2008 04:55 AM

One more thing, Igy: I don't know what's available to you over there or how much more it would cost, but if you can send that 3870 back and get a 4850 it would be a worthwhile upgrade. It leaves the 3870 in the dust and doesn't cost much more here in the States. The performance leap between 38xx and 48xx was astronomical.

igyman 11-08-2008 09:27 AM

I don't doubt it. Unfortunately, the 48xx series cards are still very expensive over here, which is why I decided to get this one.

Now just an update on my current problem:

I got a new PSU, a 650W one - Chieftec CFT-650-14CS, the +12V rail amperages are +12V1: 18A; +12V2: 18A; +12V3: 18A. Unfortunately, even if the PSU had anything to do with it, the problem is still there. :( And it was the most powerful PSU the store (the same one where I bought the card) had. I've checked other stores before buying this PSU, but they didn't have what I needed and the prices on what they had also differed.
I've also checked ATI's official forums and found some people who have the same problem as I do, but no explanation for it. One guy said that in the end he reinstalled the OS and after he did that and installed the drivers and utilities on a freshly installed Windows XP, the problem did not appear anymore and he still doesn't know what the cause was.

I'm running out of ideas. I use Mass Effect to test whether the problem's still there, because the reboots happen the most when playing that game (they only happen in-game, otherwise everything works fine) and so far the longest I've been able to play was for about 40 minutes before the system suddenly rebooted, this with the latest card drivers and utilities installed. And the GPU temperature after the reboot was usually around 42 ºC (106 ºF) and dropping (though sometimes it was up to 47ºC), but I doubt this temperature would qualify for overheating. I thought about updating the GPU bios, but Asus doesn't have any bios downloads for my card and neither does ATI.

If I don't find another solution, I'll probably have to try reinstalling the OS and everything else along with it. Any ideas?

Q 11-08-2008 09:46 AM

Sorry, Igy, I could have sworn that the problem lay with your PSU. :(

Well, I'm stumped. I guess you could try reinstalling Windows. If it helped that one guy, it might work.

stoffe 11-08-2008 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by igyman (Post 2549889)
Unfortunately I've discovered a problem and I don't know the cause - while playing a game (any game) the PC may at some point simply reboot.

I had somewhat similar problems with the graphics card in my old computer initially. It would just shut down the image on the screen or restart the computer on its own every now and then when playing games.

It my case the problem turned out to be an old version of the BIOS/firmware on the motherboard. After flashing the BIOS to the latest version downloaded from the motherboard manufacturer's webpage all those problems vanished. Don't know if it's the problem in your case, but might be worth checking up at least.

igyman 11-08-2008 01:39 PM

Well, I've already updated the MB bios back when I bought it (which was about three months ago), but I'll check if they've released a new version.

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