PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Random Shut down issues


I have an issue with my computer shutting off completely after start up or at other random times during normal operation.  My specs are as follows:

MB- Asus A8V-X
CPU AMD Athlon Duel Core
GPU Radeon HD3650 AGP
4 GB Ram
Corsair 750 Power supply (replacement for old power supply see below)
1 TB hard drive
Windows 7 32bit
Please ask if you need more info then what is listed.

The original cause of the problem can be traced to an old external hard drive that I tried to access that caused what I can only assume was a power surge or short.  When I first hooked it up it just shut off the system completely, thinking it was a fluke I tried it again.  Then the system would not turn on at all.  I noticed that the stand by light on the MB was blinking so I went to get a new power supply (I know 750w is overkill but I figured it would be good to get if I need to start building from scratch again) and the light stopped blinking and the system would turn on and load windows.  This is when the random shut off issue started.  It would run some times for 5-10 minutes and then shut down or some times for 1 or 2 days then abruptly shut off (when I say shut down I mean everything shuts down without logging out of windows or anything, just off, fans and everything).  I disconnected the front USB ports, which is where the problem theoretically originated from with the bad external hard drive.  But it still did the same thing.  I proceeded to thoroughly clean the computer by taking it apart and cleaning everything and then reassembling.  I talked to a friend and they suggested that it could be the motherboard so I ordered a replacement.  When I received it I put everything back together and tried again, the first night I ran system recovery and it indicated that I had new hardware installed which I attributed to out of date BIOS for the motherboard since it was probably made before dual cores were used wide spread so I changed the CPU to a single core AMD Athlon to see if I could get it up and running to at least update the BIOS to accept a dual core CPU.  Everything I have tried continues to get the same result with shutting down randomly either during start up or after windows loads and runs for a random period of time.  I have tied switching out memory, Hard drive (with a fresh HD with only Windows 7 installed), GPU and every other component that I could think of trying to isolate what exactly this issue is and I continue to get the shut off issue.  The only thing that I have not tried to date, just because I can not seem to get it out of the new MB is switching the BIOS chip with my old MB to have the same as before the issue started.  I am thinking that I just need to start from scratch again but would like to not spend all the money at this time.  And I do not want to keep getting new parts for this system as most of the main components are discontinued (939 Socket and AGP Graphics cards).  Any light you could shed on the issue would be helpful.  If you need any additional info ask and I can provide.  Thank you in advance for your assistance.

I'm just going to say the first two things that come to mind. If I am off base let me know and I will think in another direction.
1. Cooling: Is your computer properly cooled? Are you monitoring temps. How many fans or what kind of cooling setup do you have?
Secondary questions to this would be, are you putting the proper thermal compound on the processor, are you using a stock or after market CPU heat sink and fan, and are you overclocking?
Random shutdowns, in my experience, happen due to a system overheating. This could be actual overheating or a setting in the BIOS that shuts the system down when it gets to a certain temp. The temp can be adjusted.

2. Have you tried running chkdsk on your hard drive to see if there are errors?

These are just a couple of things that come to mind.
Also, the 750W PS is not too high. It is better to have more power than you need than not enough.  

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Experienced in complete system builds where knowledge of kinds and types of motherboards, processors, and RAM have to be compatible. This includes intermediate knowledge of video card technologies and the troubleshooting and repair of problems associated with said hardware.


11 years experience as a self-employed PC technician with 100% customer satisfaction.

4 classes from a Networking degree. Mostly self-taught.

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