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Sudden PSU failure. Dynamics Plugins
Old 9th September 2011
Here for the gear

Sudden PSU failure.

A weird occurrence happened to me the other night. Let me preface with some info. Just built a PC in July and it has been running very smoothly with no problems until my PSU died.

My specs:
Fracal Design R3 Case
i7 2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4 ghz
Asus Z68 VPRO (using built-in graphics only, no graphics card purchased)
G.Skill Sniper 8gb RAM
Corsair HX750 Watt PSU (diagnosed that a capacitor BLEW out)
Crucial M4 64GB SSD
Windows 7 64-Bit Home Premium
Lacie Firewire PCI 400 Card
Nexus Real Silent Fan as a top exhaust

DAW: Reaper 4
Audio Interface: Saffire PRO 40

OK. So, I had a session open and ready to record a guitarist (going DI). The session was around 5% cpu usage. This would normally be about 90% on my crappy laptop that I WAS using before I decided to get up-to-date and build a PC for my DAW needs...

As he was auditioning his guitar through an ampsim, he said "Oh, there's a SLIGHT delay". I automatically knew that I forgot to set the buffer size lower in my Saffire MixControl. I had it at 192 samples because I was mixing prior to this session. So, I said "OK, I can fix that. Let me lower the latency for you." I lowered it to 96 samples, figuring that should be good, which usually is for me whenever I record DI guitar and monitor ampsims.

GREAT, he's satisfied and jamming along to a backing track in the session while rehearsing his part. Maybe 2 minutes, if that, my PC shuts off suddenly. I didn't notice any CPU usage spiking in Reaper after I lowered the buffering/latency. CPU usage will rise in this situation, but it didn't get to an extravagant amount to where there's clicks/glitches while monitoring or playback. I'm just wondering if that had any correlation to the PC shutting off, somehow. Saffire Pro 40 did not power off and no other electronic devices plugged into the same surge protector as my PC turned off either. So it wasn't an electrical storm or anything like that. Plugged everything out of the PC and tried turning it back on. Nothing. No mobo flashing lights even while it was turned off. Had a PC-Tech friend of mine come over and checked the PSU and said the capacitor BLEW. I'm baffled as to what caused this, since it happened very shortly after lowering buffer settings, which slightly raised the CPU usage and I guess power consumption. He also raised the question that the 750 Watts may not have been enough and reached it's maximum wattage to the point of suddenly giving out. I'm kind of baffled by that as well; shouldn't 750 watts be enough for my usage? Like I listed above, I'm not even using a graphics card, so how could it "max out". It's such a minimal setup compared to other current DAW PC's.

Any insight would be very much appreciated. I realize I've typed an exorbitant amount of info here, but I feel that explaining everything in detail might help those who are more PC/Tech savvy diagnose something that I'm missing. Perhaps the PSU was just a dud waiting to happen? Not quite DOA, but after 2 months, it just flat out bricked. Anyway, I'm RMA'ing it to Corsair and getting the same replacement hoping it was just faulty parts. Though, my friend suggested that I should buy a PSU that's rated at 850 watts or higher instead.
Old 9th September 2011
Gear Maniac
FUBAR's Avatar

Corsair are generally top notch but as with all electronics components can become faulty and die. You should have a 7 year warranty for the 750 (I have the 850) so it will get repaired or they might just give you a replacement. Means your system will be down for a few weeks unless you have a spare psu.

I disagree with your friends advice as you have absolutely no need for 850watts, 750 is more than enough for your system specs. You can work it out here: eXtreme Power Supply Calculator

Good luck !
Old 9th September 2011
Here for the gear

Your reply confirmed what my thoughts and suspicions were about the faulty parts and wattage. I'll definitely be down for a few weeks waiting for a replacement/repair. I haven't come across that power calculator before, actually. Thank you!
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