How to Stop Games From Randomly Shutting Down Your PC


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There are few things more annoying (or alarming) than your PC randomly shutting off in the middle of a game. If you’ve ruled out other solutions to the problem—like upgrading your GPU’s drivers or motherboard’s BIOS, or fixing improperly installed hardware—the most likely culprit is your PC’s power supply unit (PSU). It’s either too weak to power your hardware, or it’s not properly connected to power-hungry components like your graphics card. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent these sudden PSU-related crashes.

Upgrade your PSU

There are a couple of potential reasons your GPU may be overtaxing your PSU, but the most likely is simply that your PSU isn’t powerful enough. For example, while a 750-watt PSU is technically enough for most GPUs, including high-end cards like the RTX 3080 and 3090, some games can cause power spikes that exceed your PSU’s limits and crash your PC.

As evidenced by the responses in this Reddit thread, many users confirm switching from a 750-watt power supply unit to a 1000-watt PSU (or higher) solved their random shutdown problems. For some users, simply swapping to a better quality 750-watt PSU was enough—though increasing the wattage is more likely to fix the problem.

However, like any PC parts upgrade, swapping out your PSU to a 1000-watt model will cost you money. You also need to make sure that the new PSU is compatible with your PC case and other components before buying and installing it. In some rare instances, you may not even be able to switch to a new model if you bought a pre-made gaming PC with a custom case that requires a proprietary power supply unit, such as certain Alienware “console” PCs with external PSUs.

It’s also possible that a bigger PSU is unnecessary, anyway. Sure, upgrading the PSU is almost guaranteed to solve the issue (barring some unforeseen problems with another component), but the Reddit thread above has numerous other solutions you can try before spending money on upgrades.

Make sure your PC components are properly wired to the PSU

The other possible cause is that your GPU’s power cords aren’t properly connected to the PSU. Your GPU requires dedicated cords for each available plug it slots into. Power down and unplug your PC, then pop open the case and make sure everything is wired up properly.

What is undervolting?

You can also try lowering your GPU’s power limit, also known as “undervolting.” This is only possible on Nvidia and AMD’s latest graphics cards, but it’s a safe and relatively easy process that reduces your GPU’s power draw and heat output, and only minimally affects performance (if at all). It’s especially helpful for GPUs that come pre-overclocked. Undervolting is done through your GPU manufacturer’s software, such as MSI’s afterburner or AMD’s Adrenaline Radeon app. The exact process will differ depending on your specific hardware, but this guide from PC World is a great general overview.

Reduce in-game graphics settings

Finally, if the above solutions don’t work for you (and you can’t afford a better CPU), try reducing the in-game quality for everything you play. The simplest way is to select a lower graphical preset, like dropping from “High” to “Medium” or “Low,” and see if that fixes the issue. Limit the frame rates, or set the FPS cap lower than whatever you currently have it. Don’t play with “uncapped” frame rates enabled. You can also customize other individual in-game settings if you want to preserve as much graphical fidelity as possible, though this may take a lot of trial and error.

 



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