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Thread: Computer problem, tell me what you think!

  1. #1

    Default Computer problem, tell me what you think!

    Hello Errbody,

    I have a Gateway Desktop with a Phenom quad core processor and 4 GB RAM, and I have added an ATI HD 4850 graphics card to it. This combination has run very well for me, over a year, until recently, when I am playing Fallout: NV the system just shuts off, no warning. The LED in the power button stays lit, but everything is shut down. What I don't know is if it is a thermal issue with the CPU or if the power supply is failing. The fan is running on the graphics card, and on the CPU, so I'm leaning more towards the power supply being the issue.

    Also, possibly related, when I shut the computer down and leave it off for a few days, when I start it up, it jumps to the BIOS screen to enter the correct date/time before it will run. Could the backup battery be an issue? I don't unplug the box or anything crazy, just a normal shut down in Windows (Vista, BTW)

    Any ideas? I really can't afford to just throw parts at it right now, so any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2


    Gateway isn't a great company, Especially for gaming Their computers aren't built to last no more than 3 years. The parts in it are flimsy and get deteriated pretty fast. From experience their built in wifi is horrible. The hardware in those computers will only be good for a few years until computers will require more power and ram memory. If you want a computer to last awhile you should go after one that is easierly upgradable. You will pay more but it will last you 3 times as long as Compaq, HP, Gateway, Acer.
    ZT Affinity I think its called is a great computer that has plenty of RaM room so you can add more as technology requires it. It comes with 8GB and has room for 8 more. Its not totally a gaming PC but you can make it one. For a good starting package $700, you'll get your money's worth.

    You will want a stable Hard Drive which is built for gaming. It can take a lot of gaming punishment and it reads and writes much faster. It will be different from a regular that you would already have with it for pictures, music, video, and other things that doesn't need a lot of resources to run it. (Other than games)

    Alienware is good for that and you can get everything in one package.

    If you want gaming, buy a gaming PC, and not one off the store shelves that say its a gaming PC because it will upset you before long.
    I say sell it for a comfortable price for you and someone will buy it. Take that money and put it down on a better computer and make payments via loan. Otherwise you can bring it to a shop that will fix it for $200+ to have it be useless again before long.

    It's like getting a steak at wafflehouse instead of a steakhouse.

    Sent from my T-Mobile G1 using Tapatalk

  3. #3


    Without getting on a soapbox, I'd guess you're right about your power supply. You're driving it pretty hard as it provides the power to your video card under heavy load. Your CPU's probably not super-busy, and from what I've seen CPUs are more likely to freeze your system than to make it power down.

    It wouldn't hurt to change your CMOS battery, but I think that forgetful-CMOS problem could be caused by an undervoltage as well. The circuitry powers the CMOS by battery when no power is coming from the power supply, and it powers the CMOS from the power supply when it's available, so it could possibly be under-powering the CMOS from the power supply while the power supply is providing inadequate voltage.

    I'd try that... just don't buy cheap. I'd figure a proper new power supply is like $80 or so. Good luck!

  4. #4


    I knew going in that they are consumer grade computers, but the price was too good to pass up ($550, right after the Phenom x4 processors dropped, saved a couple of hundred $) Honestly I don't need a gaming rig, Fallout is about the most I'll play on it, and if it's a power supply, $40 and I'm in business. I have plans to get a new motherboard and maybe the Phenom x6 if I don't get a new system when I can afford it, but this does what I want it to , well, when it's not blacking out, anyway. I can do any work on it myself, just looking for ideas about which way to go.

    Currently, I am on a temporary (hopefully) layoff from my job, along with half the staff, so money is an issue. What ever I can do to keep this'n running for a bit longer is the way to go for now.

    EDIT: Thanks whisko, I hadn't considered the power supply not sending enough juice to the CMOS, that kinda makes sense if the power supply is failing , huh.

  5. #5


    Well, the first problem I see is that its a gateway lol. Anyways, all jokes aside, it sounds like what whisko said, one of the internal batteries is failing. Especially if the clock gets messed up. That's not an expensive fix for the battery itself, but you would probably need to pay someone to install it. Another, less likely problem, could be that it overheats. My old laptop did that quite often.... but most likely its one of the internal batteries.

  6. #6


    the battery is actually simple to replace in most desktop computers (from my experience) if you search online with your specific model, you should be able to find instructions on how to do so. If the power led indicator is lit after it all shuts down, is it possible that it is just putting it instandby, to cut the load, and when you turn it back on it just comes out of standby, or does it completely shut off, and reboots windows when you hit the power button?

    Gateway is a very unreliable brand, and the first thing that went after about two years of work (using it for gaming and running it 24/7 ) was the power supply, and those were the first and last two gateways we had. You could try another powersupply from another desktop, and if it stays on than you know it is the power supply, and if not, you know it is some other problem (such as an overheated processor.)

  7. #7


    The bios thing likely means your bios battery is dead. These are cheap to replace (although it can be tricky to actually get at them) .. but aside from the minor annoyance of your bios settings getting wiped on reboot.. it shouldn't cause any issues.

    Main problem is probably the power supply as you guessed. When your computer starts just suddenly dropping for no reason or while under heavy load... it's usually the PSU. The easiest way to test for a bad PSU it to swap it out with a known working one and see if the problem goes away.. if you have a tech savvy friend buy him a beer and get him to check it out for you ;p

    Other possible culprits are dust (if you are comfortable with it, you can get compressed air pretty cheap.. open up the case and give it a good dusting) or a dead fan on the processor heatsink (but you've already ruled that out).

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by MeTaLMaNN1983 View Post
    Alienware is good for that and you can get everything in one package.
    if you have the money! Their prices go up and over 2000!

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by BoundCoder View Post
    . The easiest way to test for a bad PSU it to swap it out with a known working one and see if the problem goes away.. if you have a tech savvy friend buy him a beer and get him to check it out for you ;p could get a massive power resistor...for a twelve volt output on the supply to pull ten amps you would need a 120 watt resistor at 1.2 ohms, so that would be impractical.

    or a breakout board or some other way to measure voltages when it fails while still connected. Or just find another way to apply a heavy load, at a regulated output...maybe a constant current driver.

    I forgot to mention this in my previous post but you can make a thread on the forum Bleeping Computer and see if anyone has any other ways to test it. Either way, good luck with it.

  10. #10


    Thanks for all the helpful advice! I think I am going to replace the PSU and the CMOS battery, and if that doesn't work, I'll definitely hit up the Bleeping Computers forum to see what they say. The OEM PSU is only 300 watts, I had just assumed that adding the HD4850 card wouldn't stress it too much. I can get a nice, well rated 500 watt replacement on Newegg for under $60 (after rebates, of course).

    Everyone try and stay cool! (The high temp where I live is 108 for tomorrow! WHEW)

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