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Old 05-22-2004, 07:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question CPU Temperature problems (maybe)

I'm having some troubles with my girlfriend's computer, and I'm not really sure as to what the problem is.

Here are the basic specs:
Athlon 1333Mhz
32MB GeForce 2
All the rest are pretty basic stuff, came with the comp.

What was happening a while ago was that after using the computer normally (i.e. IE, Word, Winamp, etc etc, nothing heavy like games n such) the computer would seem to stop working even though everything was on. It wasn't that Windows would freeze, but instead that the screen would turn off (as though you had gone into Standby), but the fans were all still running.

I asked her to check to see if Windows was still working by asking her to unplug a USB device and see if the telltale "ding-dong" that Windows spits out came out of the speakers, but no-go.

I went into the BIOS and set the CPU Warning Temperature to 66C and the CPU Shutdown Temperature was already set to 75C.

She found a temporary solution by running the computer without the side panel on her case, and that seemed to solve the problem.

I got my trusty compressed air bottle out and blew away quite a bit of dust from her mobo, heatsink, fans, and the power supply. Quite a bit of dust came out, so I think that may have been part of the problem.

Now my wonder is what would be a normal operating temperature for this computer under light loads? I've got the evaluation copy of Hardware Sensors Monitor and here are the current readings:

CPU Temp: 56C
HD Temp:37C
CPU Fan Speed: 4615rpm
12V: 12.21V
Core:1.74V (Highlighted Red)
I/O: 3.30V

The computer has been running for about an hour and a half now, and the CPU temperature has been pretty stable at 56C.

Is this a normal temperature for the processor? or should I look into a better heat sink/fan/thermal paste combo?

Thanks for reading this all the way to the end. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again.

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Old 05-22-2004, 08:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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THe temperature seems normal to me; 56c is about what mine runs at, too. Is this reading taken with the side panel on or off? Try doing the same thing with the side panel on. If there is a significant temperature increase (there probably will be), then I would consider a case fan rather than a cpu fan.

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Old 05-22-2004, 11:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That temperature is with the side cover off.

Any other ideas as to why her computer is cutting out? The only thing that's been added to the computer is a single 256MB PC2100 chip to up the total to 384 (the original was PC2100 as well). Could this be due to a failing power supply? Or a mobo problem?

I came back about 3 hours after I first started it and it had "shut down" again.
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Old 05-23-2004, 02:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, if having the side panel off improve the issue, youve narrowed it down to heat.

56C is far from ideal. That is an idle temp, so if she is doing anything that takes much processing power... shell be up in the 65ish range.

Having already tried some good stuff (removal of dust, etc) I would say first, try removing the heatsink and give it a cleaning. Remove any dust you may have missed and wipe off the thermal paste (isoprophyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or q-tips). Reapply some Arctic Silver 5 (CompUSA carries it for like 8 bucks) and see if that makes any difference.

If not, invest in a better HSF.

Also, if the HDD is running at 37C with the side panel off... you may need a total cooling makeover. The next step would be either adding fans if possible or a new case altogether.

But these recommendations are all assuming cooling is the problem and go step by step- by price.
System specs? Lets just get down to it people:

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Old 05-23-2004, 06:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As for detailed specs, I can only give you a few, since the computer was store bought, and I don't know all the components.

Here is what I do know:
Athlon 1333MHz CPU
300W Power Supply
256 MB Kingston PC2100 RAM (running at 266MHz)
128MB of some other RAM, doesn't say what brand it is
52x CD-ROM Drive
48x24x48x CD-RW Drive
40GB Hard Drive

As for the LEDs, the hard drive light does NOT light up, but the power light (the one on the power button) does remain lit.

I'll see if I can get a tube of Arctic Silver from a computer store. Not to sound like too much of an idiot... but how does the heatsink come off? Is it similar to a ZIF socket? or do I need a screwdriver or some tool to remove it?

Thanks for all the help.
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