Piero V.

Seasonic G360, MSI boards and "CPU failures"

Ten years ago, or so, I bought my first external hard drive. At a certain point, one of my cats dropped it. So I switched to a networked RAID 1 with a modified GoflexNet at the beginning of 2016.

That escalated more when, in 2018, I built a PC to replace it. The GoflexNet was quite good, but its CPU was a bottleneck for file transfers. Also, I was a bit worried about the quality of the power supply: I used a cheap LED transformer for over two years 😅️.

I bought a Celeron G3930, the less powerful but also the cheapest processor of the Kaby Lake microarchitecture. I wanted a recent (for the time) CPU because of the improved power efficiency. It is not as good as ARM, but it is acceptable to me. I paired it with an MSI B250 Pro-VD motherboard and 4GB of 2133MHz memory.

The most expensive part was the power supply: a Seasonic SSR-360GP, the littlest member of the G series. It cost more than twice the price of the CPU. But it has good reviews on many sites.

So, I was remarkably surprised when one year ago the system stopped running because of it!

MSI motherboards have so-called “EZ debug” LEDs, which reported that the CPU failed. I happen to have also another Kaby Lake system, so I exchanged parts with it. Eventually, I discovered that the PSU was the culprit.

The 2 years of seller warranty had just expired, but Seasonic provides 5 years of manufacturer’s warranty. I was about to start the RMA when I double-checked the issue, and the system started working flawlessly again… until a few days ago.

After one year, I had the same problem.

To be honest, disks are noisy, PCs are voluminous, and I do not have Ethernet everywhere… Therefore I placed the NAS on the underground floor, which becomes very wet during summer. And humidity is one of the worst enemies of computers.

So, I moved the PC to a drier place, left it some days off, but nothing changed.

Then I had the illumination: CPUs have the 4 or 8 pins 12V connector. In particular, while the Seasonic has 4+4 pins, the cheap PSU I used for the tests has only the 4-pin connector.

Using the same configuration with the Seasonic PSU somehow worked.

I tried the PSU on another MSI-based system which had the same error. The only difference is that we keep the second system on the ground floor, which is much less wet. So I think that the PSU is to blame. I wonder whether the 12V pins got oxidated.

Although the unit is still in its warranty period, I will not use it. First, the outbound shipping is at my expense and would not be worth it for this PSU. Then, I fear that they would refuse to pass my power supply under warranty. So I will keep it and change it if it fails; I think the problem is not dangerous for my data.

However, it is ironic how power quality was one of my biggest concerns, I thought I resolved it, and then it was the first issue I faced.