The builder may have very well sent you a working PC provided you "added" those ext. USB devices when it arrived, etc.. That is an added burden but it should have worked. Your comment on the SiiG soundcard does provide a clue if still connected. Remove it, if so at least during the testing. If your Biostar mtrbd. has audio on-board disable it via the bios setting. You do have a better PSU BUT!!! you remained with 500W unit. You should have upped the ante and gotten more due to your past problems. Let's be clear, better PCs now have 700W PSUs or better maybe a 650W or similar. The point being you don't want to stress the PSU to its upper tolerances even a good one. I suggest you use the rear USB ports. If the ext. USB devices are powered by USB port, find a powered ext. USB hub. Just how many USB devices are attached, don'e exclude any mouse, etc.. the whole USB list. Is the video card cooled by fan or totally quiet type with heatsink only? Have you applied any bios updates? Place a household fan to open case and try to run it? Goto Intel and check for any Sandy bridge issues, yours maybe an older CPU even if i5 type.
I posted earlier, re. whether or not to purchase a custom tower. After receiving a "Yes--with reservations" and making some changes with the builder, I purchased the tower. Only to immediately have problems with what I thought was the NVidia Graphics Card: upon installing the drivers, it would constantly quit, then restart, then, finally, freeze or blue screen the computer.
I posted a second time, here and elsewhere, with the specs of the adjusted build, and again received advice from several sources, advising that the PSU, a Raidmax 500-watt Power Supply (which in fact turned out to be a 450W PSU) might well be the problem. Okay, actually, it was pretty universally hated, so, I replaced it.
Here are tower's the new specs:
PROCESSOR: Intel Core I5-2320 Sandy Bridge 3.0GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) 1MB L2 Cache & 6MB L3 Cache Socket LGA 1155 Quad-Core Processor
MOTHERBOARD: Biostar H61MGC LGA 1155 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
4 x Rear USB 2.0 ports
2 x PCI-E x1 Slot
VIDEO: PNY Nvidia Geforce 430 GT (Fermi) 1GB DDR3 128-bit PCI Express Graphics Card
1xVGA Port, 1xDVI Port, 1xHDMI Port
Core Clock: 700Mhz
Shader Clock: 1400Mhz
MEMORY: 8GB (2x4gb) Team Elite DDR3 1333 Gaming/High Performance RAM
HARD DRIVE: 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 16MB Cache
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit (my copy)
OPTICAL DRIVE: Samsung Multiformat DVD Burner
2xUSB Ports, 2xAudio Ports
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair CX500 V2 80-Plus Bronze 500-Watt
MONITOR: BenQ GW2450 24" LCD
I installed the new power supply, and I must say the computer is running 100% better. It boots really fast, shuts down really fast, gets where I want it to go really fast.
When I installed the NVidia drivers, everything was fine... right up until the moment I plugged in my WD 1.5TB external hard drive.
When I did that, the v-card immediately began to repeatedly quit, then restart--three or four times in less than 5 minutes. Not illogically, I disconnected the external drive (which my laptop has no problem handling at all)--but the v-card continued to quit/start, though less frequently.
Then, about fifteen minutes ago, it froze, then blue-screened with a notice that the video card could not recover before Windows "timed out."
So the question is: What the heck is going on? Could it actually be possible that these specs, with the addition of an external drive, could be too much for the PSU? Or is it likely the card? Could there be something amiss with the mobo?
That last seems unlikely, since I haven't had a single crash with the onboard v-card... though the computer positively hates my SIIG Soundwave 7.1 USB sound card and freezes for a full five minutes if I click to get into its control panel.
So, what's my logical next step?