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Can a graphics card damage a PSU?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
As the title says, as this repair job seems to indicate maybe yes? Although I'm hesitant to conclude that, since it makes no sense to me. A bit more info (all mentioned parts are stock):

My girlfriend's computer has a GeForce 250, worked fine for over a year. She also had an Ultra Lifetime Series 550W PSU, worked fine for over 2 years. The other day while playing Borderlands, her computer powered off, the side of the case where the PSU was was really hot, and there was a weird smell. I gave it some time to cool down, tried to turn it back on, nothing. The next day I tried again, still nothing. I put in my own PSU, an Ultra Lifetime Series 500W PSU, and boot no problems. I ran OCCT on the CPU, no problems. I ran OCCT on the GPU, and temps got up to 105 with tons of errors very quickly.

I opened the case and discovered her card was caked with dust, odd since I just dusted her case not so long ago, but ok. I couldn't get some of the dust out without removing the fan assembly (first time doing this on a GPU), and I had trouble doing so (and thought maybe the TIM on the chip had dried up anyway) so took off the heatsink assembly as well to get a better look (also my first time doing this on a GPU). I get everything thoroughly cleaned up, apply new TIM, put it back together and pop it back in. No errors this time, but the temps still went up (more slowly) and I aborted at 90. I thought perhaps my TIM application wasn't very good, so I took it apart again and reapplied. This time the temps went up much more slowly, but they still kept climbing. I let it go until 100 this time to see if maybe it would stabilize, but just as it hit 100 it powers off and there's a weird smell. Uh oh. The PSU and case were actually pretty cool this time, however. I waited a while and tried to power back on. Nothing. More uh oh.

The next day, still nothing. In desperation, I put my PSU back in my machine, and miraculously it worked like nothing was ever wrong. I tried to turn on her PSU with the paper clip trick, both with and without load, but it seems well and truly dead.

That's where I stand, as I don't know what other tests I can do without apparently risking components that I can't afford to lose. Has anyone seen a graphics card damage a PSU before? Or am I taking the wrong conclusion away from this? Any help is appreciated.
Dusty
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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Dusty
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Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
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post #2 of 8
Is the fan on the GTS 250 speeding up under load?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capwn View Post
Is the fan on the GTS 250 speeding up under load?
I verified that it was spinning, but I didn't think to check if it was spinning faster with load I'm afraid.
Dusty
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Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
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Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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Dusty
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Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
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Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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post #4 of 8
Most of Ultra's stuff (Save for a few things like the X3 line) isn't that great.

Anyway, yeah a graphics card can damage a cheap PSU that doesn't have OCP. Without OCP, the PSU won't shut off when the system asks for more current than the PSU can provide.
GE60
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GE60
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post #5 of 8
99% of the time, no.


If it short circuits in a particular way (a large parasitic short), then yes.

Or if the PSU is a piece of crap.

Otherwise no.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sLowEnd View Post
Most of Ultra's stuff (Save for a few things like the X3 line) isn't that great.

Anyway, yeah a graphics card can damage a cheap PSU that doesn't have OCP. Without OCP, the PSU won't shut off when the system asks for more current than the PSU can provide.
Can't find the manual and the unit itself doesn't say, but according to this:
http://techwiki.hardwarecanucks.com/...3/Ultra-LS500/

it's supposed to have over-current protection.
Dusty
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
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Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
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Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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Dusty
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post
99% of the time, no.


If it short circuits in a particular way (a large parasitic short), then yes.

Or if the PSU is a piece of crap.

Otherwise no.
Is there any way to test that without risking a PSU? Or, hell, a way to fix it? I'm not exactly a whiz with graphics cards, but I don't want to just toss something as expensive as a 250. It's a BFG, so odds of an RMA are slim to none.

Re: Your sig
Wish I'd run across your PSU articles earlier, would've kept me from making some bad purchases. Ah well.
Dusty
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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Dusty
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
So... That would be a no, then?

Hmm... Risk a ~$50 power supply to try salvaging a ~$100 graphics card... Decisions decisions.
Dusty
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
  hide details  
Reply
Dusty
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X2 245 BioStar MCP6P M2+ GeForce GTS 250 Kingston 2 GB DDR2 533 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Samsung 502HI Windows XP Pro Acer X223W Ultra 550W 
Case
Cooler Master Centurion 534+ 
  hide details  
Reply
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