Around 18 months - 2 years ago I built my brother a home PC with the following components:
ASUS A8V mobo
AMD 64 bit 3000+
2x Corsair 512MB
Western digital 160GB
ATI Radeon 9550 256MB
I put it into a fairly standard case and, as deserved, the standard PSU gave out after about 6 months. I replaced it with another I had lying around which again gave out after several months. We then went for an Antec SmartPower 400W. This configuration lasted for around 8 or so months before the computer has again died.
Now when I hit the power switch nothing happens except the speakers emitting a polite and soothing voice repeatedly informing me "system failed cpu test". I spent many hours removing and replacing various parts before discovering that the same configuration works when I briefly replaced the PSU with my own Zalman 300W - I didn't leave it in for long for fear my own PSU would be fried!!
When I replaced the Antec PSU the original problem occurred again (as an aside, I cannot attempt any further investigations with the Antec PSU because I've performed an awesome trick where I flicked a red switch at the back, switched it on and was rewarded with an extremely loud noise and lots of smoke ...)
So obviously I now need another PSU but I'm confused as to what I can do to prevent further casualties. Has anyone got any ideas as to why 3 PSUs have failed in this computer and what I can do about it?
Have we just been unlucky or was an Antec 400W insufficient power for this system? If so, can anyone recommend what sort of power I should be looking for?
Is Antec a reliable brand or was I asking for disappointment? If so, can anyone recommend a more "rugged" brand?
Should I be suspicious that my brother's apartment has some strange electrical abnormalities (he assures me he's been using a surge protector) or should I suspect that he's been dealing out some PSU abuse?
I've built many other PCs for myself, other family and friends (with different specifications) and this has been the first one that's broken a PSU and the first with recurrent problems.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.