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Please Help! Processor Keeps Dying!

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February 19, 2006 12:17:15 PM

Hi

Decided that I was going to build a second PC to use as an XP Media Centre. I had some spare components already and purchased a new PSU, case, graphics card and CPU heatsink/fan.

Got the PC built and working but fairly soon after it started hanging, usually when I was downloading or installing windows updates. This got increasingly worse until one time it wouldn't restart and boot into XP. It would boot past POST but then would hang when the OS was loading. I also tried booting off a Windows 98 boot floppy disk which wouldn't boot to a command prompt, the Windows XP CD which hung when inspecting hardware configuration or memtestx86 on a bootable CD.

One by one I swapped out components with working ones from my existing PC and narrowed it down to the processor. Put a working processor in and everything would boot, load and work perfectly. So I bought a new retail boxed processor and installed that. Worked fine for a day or so but then started to freeze up again, got worse and worse until it wouldn't boot once again. Swapped the processor with a working one and was fine, put this new processor into my other machine and that wouldn't boot past POST.

So I got another new processor but also bought a brand new, boxed, ASUS P4T-F motherboard. Installed both of those, along with a brand new Samsung SP 250Gb hard drive and consequently did a complete rebuild of XP MCE. That setup has been working perfectly for about two weeks, during which time I have been consistently running ASUS Probe which monitors CPU and motherboard temperatures, voltage supply and fan speeds, all of which have been perfect. The machine has power through an anti-surge socket.

Not a single problem for two weeks but then started rebooting itself. No errors, no BSOD, no entries in event logs or Norton IS logs. So I cleaned up the machine, removed all apps that I didn't need, did a disk cleanup, ran diskeeper and registry defrag from System Internals but reboots just kept happening with increasing regularity. Had a suspicion it was hardware related as there was no bsod or event log entries and sure enough, I'm now back at the point where it will not boot at all, even into BIOS. It either comes up with error beeps to indicate that video card isn't found or that there's no DRAM installed.

Swapped out RIMMS but no change. Swapped out graphics card, no change. Swapped out processor and everything runs fine again

Can anyone shed any light on why the processor keeps dying!?

Spec of machine is

ASUS P4T-F socket 423 motherboard with Intel 850 chipset - latest BIOS
Intel socket 423 1.5Ghz and (2x) Intel socket 423 1.7Ghz processors
Gigabyte FX5200 graphics card
2x Samsung ECC 256Mb RIMMS and 2x C-RIMMS
Greenerger 400W SSM PSU
Linksys PCI Wireless PCI Card
M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card
Hauppauger 150 TV Tuner card
Samsung Spinpoint 250Gb hard drive
NEC DVD/CD RW

I've tried running with all non essential components and peripherals attached but no difference

Any advice very gratefully received!

More about : processor dying

February 19, 2006 1:21:18 PM

:idea: I had a similar problem over the summer,random reboots till it wouldn't load past welcome screen. I eventually narrowed it down to the power supply. I've had no problems since replacing it.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 19, 2006 2:43:32 PM

Do you have another known good PSU you can try?

Does that particualr mb require an additional 4 pin "CPU pwr" connector from an ATX12v spec PS, and if so, is it connected?

Is there thermal compound paste applied to the core or heat spreader, as applicable? (Is thin strip of tape removed from heatsink?)

What mem clock is being used in BIOS? (Do the RDRAM boards have "Auto-SPD" like the DDR boards? Running PC400, 667, or 800 RDRAM? Have you tested with only one stick of mem installed in proper slot? IS mem voltage set manually, or "Auto"?)
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February 19, 2006 3:44:31 PM

Thank you both for your replies. I'm suspecting that it is the PSU causing the problem but it's difficult for me to justify to the suppliers that it needs replacing as ASUS Probe has been monitoring the voltages and hasn't detected any problems.

I haven't really got another spare PSU but might have to try picking one up just to test with for a few weeks once I've forked out for another processor!

The motherboard does require a 4 pin 12V power and that is connected.

I have removed the plastic strip from the heatsink and I have been using Akasa silver based thermal compound

It's PC800 RDRAM that I'm running and because they're RIMMS, they need to be installed in pairs, so I can't check with just one stick.

Not sure about the mem clock or mem voltage but I've set all the BIOS to their default settings (but confirmed that the clock speed and CPU voltage are set to their correct values). I'll check these two and reply again though...
February 19, 2006 4:32:07 PM

Had a look through the BIOS settings and can't see any option for setting the memory clock speed or voltage

There's an RDRAM turbo option which is disabled and RDRAM Frequency : FSB Ratio which is set to Auto (other options 3x or 4x)

Thanks
dan...
February 19, 2006 5:18:57 PM

Check the specs for you PCI cards. They maybe BusMaster. If so, you need to have an equal amount of busmaster slots.
!