It’s only that one game. Why it happens seems to be a mystery.

I mentioned recently how much I enjoy playing Valheim at the moment. In the course of playing this game, I’ve come across a peculiar issue: At intervals, my PC will simply switch off. As in the power will completely fail and I’ll have to toggle the hardware switch on my power supply to get it to start up again. This only happens while playing Valheim. More hardware-intensive games are fine. My computer simply doesn’t have this, or other problems, aside from playing that game.

As far as I can tell, this only happened since I installed my 3080 TI. The system was fine when I previously installed my Ryzen 5 5600X CPU and was still running my GTX 980. I first suspected the system was running too hot, but I’ve since tested playing Valheim with an open case and CPU and GPU temperatures are within acceptable parameters. The other culprit I am suspecting is my power supply. I upgraded to a 650 Watt PSU when I upgraded the graphics card and according to my research at the time, that should suffice.

However, I am now suspecting that the GPU is drawing so much power at points that, together with the power draw of the CPU, it causes the power supply to shut off to protect itself. Using the MSI overclocking tool to limit the GPU to 80% power usage seems to alleviate the problem. I will, however, have to perform more tests to figure out if that permanently stops the issue. If it is the case, I might have to invest in a new power supply. The problem is somewhat hard to diagnose because it only happens sporadically and at seemingly random points in the game.

What I find weird is that only Valheim would cause this issue. Other games that seem to be more taxing on both CPU and GPU don’t cause this issue. Is it something specifically about Valheim or the Unity engine that causes this? I’ve run into a two year old report on Reddit that would suggest I am not the only one with this problem. The original author never solved his issue. And some of the suggested fixes, like turning off XMP don’t seem to apply for me – as far as I can tell I can’t even enable XMP with my RAM and motherboard configuration.

I’m a bit hesitant to buy a new PSU only because of issues with one game. There might be other issues at the root of this, after all. If you have a suggestion on how to get to the bottom of this mystery, please let me know!