Temp Problems

I recently upgraded my computer to a Pentium 4 3.0ghz @ 800mhz Northwood processor with Hyper Threading enabled (waiting for the core 2 duos to come down in price a bit). Everything seems to work fine except that my system monitor shows erratic temperatures in the processor zone at times. It generally idles at around 109-111 degrees Fahrenheit, but will jump sharply to 170 in only a matter of seconds & whilst performing the most seemingly-menial tasks such as visiting certain websites, playing video, etc... Then, within a matter of seconds after closing everything, it will sink back down to its idle temperature. This can't be normal, can it?

The only things I changed during installation were the heatsink/fan & the type of thermal compound I normally use. I had been using Arctic Silver 3 but switched to Ceramique after having run out of AS3. The heatsink and fan are stock. I am not attempting to OC nor do I play games much, so the stock heatsink/fan should do the trick. Or am I mistaken? The heatsink fins are cold to the touch during all of that I might mention. If anybody might have an idea to what might be causing these erratic temperatures, I'd appreciate any advice.
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More about temp problems
  1. Make sure the locking mechanism for the hsf is fully engaged.
    When the chip is @ 170f, the fins should be hot to the touch. Either the heat sink is not making good contact with the chip, or the sensor is fubar.
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