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Possible Overheating Processor?

Old 12-19-03, 02:25 PM
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Possible Overheating Processor?

My machine has been going crazy today, with BSODs, application errors, and straight-up reboots. I've disconnected everything but the OS drive, the RAM, video card, and ADSL modem.

I have dual Athlon 1800+'s, and I've noticed throughout this that one of the two processors gives off significantly more heat than the other. The heatsync appears to be working, but when I hover my hand obove one, it's a bit below room temp, and when I hover above the other, I can feel a noticeable rise in heat.

Granted, there could be another cause to this like a bad stick of RAM or something with my video card, but I can't find anything helpful from the stop errors in the event log, and it seems odd that there'd be such disparity in the heat coming from the processors.

I don't have much hardware experience in this area, but is it likely that the heatsync is bad, or the processor itself, or am I barking up the wrong tree? If it is the processor, how difficult is it to replace a heatsync? I got the feeling when I put it on that there was a level of permanence to it.

Thanks.

das
Old 12-19-03, 02:30 PM
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It's actually good to feel the heat over the heatsink because that means it's being drawn away from the CPU. I'd worry more about the one that feels cool.

Why don't you download Motherboard Monitor and get a handle on what your CPU temps really are?

http://mbm.livewiredev.com/
Old 12-19-03, 03:13 PM
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That's logical, although the heat difference isn't limited to the air flow from the fan, but is also apparent on the sides. I'm off to download the monitor right now.

Thanks for the response.

das
Old 12-19-03, 03:30 PM
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6 crashes since I made that post.

das
Old 12-19-03, 09:08 PM
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Well, this is most frustrating.

I ran hours worth of memory tests on the two DIMMs I have in my machine (one at a time), and each of them passed every test over multiple passes. Yet, 3 times now I've made the machine crash almost immediately on one DIMM, and 3 times now I've kept it alive on the other. In fact, I've been error free for almost an hour now on it.

It doesn't take Sherlock to put together that maybe one of the DIMMs is bad, but it's damn frustrating not to be able to get it to fail on a test, and I don't want to go buy another one without something more concrete. Plus the disparity in processor heat is still unsettling.

das
Old 12-19-03, 09:21 PM
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Have you tried Memtest86 on each of the DIMMs? That'll probably make it fail.
Old 12-19-03, 09:40 PM
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I tried Memtest86, but the boot disk was failing before I could even get to the test.

It may be a non-issue, though, as the machine has gone down 3 times since I trumpeted the "good" DIMM, so either they're both bad and looking good (highly unlikely), or it's back to the processors.

I couldn't connect to the Motherboard Monitor site earlier (which is why I went on the DIMM tangent), so I'll go try that now.

das
Old 12-19-03, 10:08 PM
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Few more crashes later, and I finally have Motherboard Monitor up and running. Assuming I have it set up correctly, here are the disturbing results:

Case 170'F
CPU #1 123'F
CPU #2 149'F
Fan #1 5350 rpm
Fan #2 2050 rpm

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that's not good.

das
Old 12-19-03, 10:25 PM
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open the case up. get a normal fan running on high blowing into the case.

see if it helps.

the temps seem real high.

you have a case temp of 76 C

cpu 2 is running at 65 C

do you have cases fans?


you are too hot,
Old 12-19-03, 10:38 PM
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Can you control the fan speeds? Obviously Fan #2 is not running fast enough.

The case temp is extremely high. You definitely need more air blowing through it. As gcribbs said, open it up and see how it does.
Old 12-19-03, 11:05 PM
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Definitely get a new fan on CPU 2.
Old 12-19-03, 11:31 PM
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holy carp that's hot!!!

my p4 3.2 ran about 56C (133F) after i ran prime95 for about half an hour, and mine didn't even have a fan on the heat sink. if those are the nominal temps (you weren't stressing out the CPUs), then that does seem a little high. that case temp is way too high. at that temp, it would prematurely wear the hds and other components.
Old 12-20-03, 12:08 AM
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I have to question the accuracy of that case temp. Over the last few hours, it hsn't budged from that 170F temp, but the CPU temps have dropped a few degrees with the nightime air on average and fluctuated frequently.

das
Old 12-20-03, 12:39 AM
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Is there a way to disable the offending processor so I can use my machine until this is resolved? I don't see anything in the BIOS or manual that addresses that.

My mobo is a Tyan S2466 Tiger MPX.

das
Old 12-20-03, 12:44 AM
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You could just take it out....

Dave
Old 12-20-03, 05:19 PM
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Amazingly, I don't own any small fans, so to get through the night, I took one of the case fans out, and rigged it up on a platform to blow directly on the 2nd processor, and the machine stayed alive through the night, leading me to believe that the 2nd HSF was most certainly my problem. After staring at the fans for hours while watching the readouts from Motherboard Monitor, it became apparent that the motor on the 2nd fan was just very unstable. Sometimes it would go at full speed, sometimes it looked like it was just coasting.

This morning, I went to the store and snagged two new HSFs (I would have liked to order something nicer, but I need my machine up now, and I don't overclock, so I should be fine with just a good HSF that works instead of a stellar one). I dismantled my box completely, replaced the HSFs, added nothing but my video card, one HD (normally there are 6 ... yeah, I know ...) and RAM. Both CPUs seem to be stable between 116'F and 120'F, which is a vast improvement over that 150'F.

My case temp still sits at 170'F, and I still don't trust that. It's not hot in this room, and I have just barebones equipment in there. If it really were that hot, I would assume when I have all my other drives in there, it would catch on fire. Feeling around throughout the case, it's pretty cool in there, except immediately next to components that should be hot. Also, the fans blowing air out of the case are blowing cool air. I don't know where that sensor is, but it doesn't seem like it's accurate or at least helpful. Regardless, I'll be getting some new case fans just in case. I had been meaning to do that anyway and just hadn't gotten around to it.

Anyway, thanks for all the help. X, Motherboard Monitor was a life-saver. I would have ended up going down this road anyway, replacing the HSFs and praying it was the problem, but it's very helpful to get some confirmation of what's going on in there. Watching the temp slowly rise on the processor and then seeing it crash helped eliminate a lot of guessing and trial and error. Thanks.

das
Old 12-21-03, 12:35 AM
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Um ... uh oh.

So, I just heard a loud *POP*, followed by complete shutdown, followed by the stench of overheated metal. Flipping the hard power switch yeilds nothing, so I'm assuming my power supply died? It's 400W, and that's always been fine, but could switching the two HSFs create enough additional load to kill it? Or did something dreadfully worse just happen?

das
Old 12-21-03, 12:53 AM
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Yeah, its looking worse now. I wonder if the problem was the power supply all along? The PS was where the metal melted? Have you checked for burn marks on the wiring? What brand is it? 400 watts seems more than enough to handle a couple of fans in addition to its regular workload.
Old 12-21-03, 01:05 AM
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It's an Antec PP-412X, came standard with the case (I think the model is 3020 or something like that).

When it went down, here was the configuration:

Mobo
AGP Video card
PCI Sound card
PCI USB 1.1 card
PCI USB 2.0 card
PCI Ultra ATA Controller
4x HDD
3.5 floppy
4 self-powered external USB devices
2 Antec fans (came with the case), powered through the mobo
1 fan with a pot, maxed out to 75cfm/4800rpm (specs 2.40W-8.40W, 0.04A-0.50A, 12V) also powered through mobo

I don't see scorch marks anywhere, and immediately after it happened, none of the components were hot to the touch. I'm in the process of removing the power supply now so I can isolate the smell and see if there's anything visibly wrong with it. I have a 250W supply in another machine that worst case, I can try and test against. I guess the worse scenario is that the mobo is shot. Is there a way to test the power supply independent of the mobo?

das
Old 12-21-03, 01:58 AM
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Further data:

I put the old 250W PS in to power the mobo and fans, flipped it on and everything started whirring like it would work. I don't know what kind of load I have, so I shut it off immediately, but my 400W PS is clearly dead. The unanswered questions are: did it fry anything when it died, and if I buy a new one (even higher wattage), will it happen again?

Considering that my grandmother just entered the hospital and probably won't make it to Christmas, and I have a horrible case of that child-killing flu they're talking about on the news, I'm going to go ahead and mark this down as the worst weekend ever.

das
Old 12-21-03, 02:03 PM
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Sorry to hear that.

I was going to say to be careful putting the other PS in, if the mobo is shot (could be caused by the PS failing), it could damage the other PS. But not sure if it worked. I have to hand it to you, I'd have just thrown in the towel by now.
Old 12-21-03, 02:21 PM
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Now I'm just not sure what PS to get. I tracked down an Antec 430W that looks pretty nice and a generic CompUSA 600W that looks, well, generic. I just wish I knew whether my PS went bad because it's old and overheated or if it went bad because I maxed out the wattage and need to go higher. Btw, I tested the PS at CompUSA to confirm that it is indeed a paper weight. I really hope the same isn't true for my mobo.

das
Old 12-21-03, 03:18 PM
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The Antec TruePower series is pretty highly recommended across the board in PC circles.
Old 12-21-03, 03:27 PM
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I would think the Antec 430 would be plenty of power. They're rated conservatively.
Old 12-21-03, 03:30 PM
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That's what I'm hoping, but since my old one was an Antec 400 (not TruePower), I'm a bit skeptical that it's enough. I'm trying to hunt down a store in the ATL where I could get a 550, but no one seems to carry it. Patman, didn't there use to be a store by Tech called Gem Computers or something? I can't find it in the Yellow Pages.

das

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