A bit of help please -- Overclock gone wrong

Ok so here's the deal... I was lately overclocking my Celery to see if I can get anything out of it (perhaps another month?), but the BIOS is locked up tight. So, I downloaded the latest ClockGen (CPU-Z's mother company) and got to work. The first profile for the board did the trick, so I'm up and running.

Intel Celeron 2.0GHz (Northwood core, PGA478, FSB400, L2 Cache 128kb, 20x multiplier)
Intel D845PESV (Board Rev.B0, ICH4 rev.2. Yes, Intel made it so BIOS locked. DIMM 1 (the second one) is burned out)
PNY Verto GeForce FX5200 (128MB DDR, AGP 4x, stock speeds for now)
SimpleTech 512MB PC3200 (At 2-3-3-7, 3:4 ratio, I loosened up timings for higher speeds)
Stock OEM cooler
OEM Power Supply, 300 watts (I have the specs, though not handy)
Western Digital 80GB Hard Drive, PATA-100?, 8mb Cache
Maxtor 8GB Hard Drive, PATA-?, 2MB Cache
50x CD-ROM Drive, OEM (unknown manufacturer)
OEM case (ATX Mid-Tower, possible full-tower)

I have an older installation of Windows XP Home 2002 Edition, SP2.

So I started overclocking with software. I first put it at 2.2ghz, then to 2.4ghz, and finally lost it (crashing) at 2.5ghz. I got it back to normal (don't ask how--i don't know how) and started again with the low speeds to the high speeds. Here's what I got...


I barely got the CPU-Z file saved when the computer crashed. Literally 5 seconds later it reboot.

So, after all of that, I decided to keep trying to get into Windows XP. I tried quite a few times, most successful when I got into safe-mode. It would still crash, though after a longer time (I couldn't even get ClockGen up and running to drop to 2.0ghz). I kept trying, then tried to load up Ubuntu Linux (5.10), though that would hang as well.

My questions--How can I get back and running and did I do hardware damage? I already know I need to reapply thermal compound (I will be going today or tomorrow to pick up a tube of generic stuff--I need the computer up and running within the weekend so ordering off of NewEgg is out of the question). Also, how do I clean the computer processor and the OEM heatsink? The thermal compound I found on the processor is blackened--I think I accidentally broke the seal a while back (thank God for early NetBursts that didn't run so hot) and thus started burning stuff.

It was working fine until I pushed it a little bit. The OEM heatsink was a bit warmer than comfortable after 5 minutes, I had the entire system torn down within 30 minutes. After that, I visually inspected each part, photographed most of it, and the reconstructed the entire thing. I did not reboot since I saw the blackened thermal compound.

Any help would be welcomed--I already know I need some new thermal compound. I don't want to spend very much as this computer is 4 years old and already needs to be replaced (once my family is in better financial shape, my mom will be funding a computer that will last as long as this one).
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  1. I have been reading an article on overclocking Northwoods... seems I hit both thermal and stability limits at the same time.

    P4 Northwood Overclock (should also apply to Celeron Northwoods)

    The Intel design spec states that when the cpu reaches 135c it will shut down automatically, but in reality you will never see a temperature that high unless you run with no heat sink at all.
    I may have reached that temperature with bad thermal compound after I pushed it a little bit.

    Something else to watch out for when pushing your cpu is the clock throttling feature. This makes the cpu step down the clock speed when it begins to overheat, so you may think your running at 2.6ghz, but the clock throttling has knocked it back to 2ghz.
    I have noticed my computer to be much more laggy and less reliable--larger differances in encoding than I thought should occur.

    I have no clocking options except for RAM--Auto and 266mhz (PC2100). From there I can adjust each of the timings. As said before, I had them set at 2-3-3-7.
  2. First things first. Always, always have a temperature monitoring program running when you're overclocking, it's a must. Try speedfan (google it).
    To clean the cpu and heatsink, ask the place you're going to buy the heat paste if they have any cleaner; they should have.

    The chances are the overclock has corrupted Windows, so you may have to do a repair or even a fresh install. This happens to me quite alot when I'm tinkering with overclocking. I now realise the importance of having a good motherboard/chipset to overclock with, I always have a problem with stability before temperature creates a problem.

    I know you're only trying to get another month or so out of the unit, but you can get a 2.6ghz celly on ebay for literally a few quid/bucks. I think your board can handle a 533fsb pentium 4. These can also be very cheap on ebay.
  3. I think its a overheating processor--I doubt it corrupted both windows and linux as both were refusing to run. I have some silicon heat sink compound that should do the trick--I didn't have to buy it (just asking around with people who might have some spare). I wasn't getting any thermal warnings, though I will get speedfan. I'm thinking of replacing the board if everything else is still good.

    How exactly would an overclock corrupt windows? Can I do a repair without the disc (it's an OEM installation--there is no disc I can find)? I didn't really choose this computer at all--it was on the cheap back in late '02 and would do what I needed for a while. I made the stupid move of buying that video card. I'll look around. If I had plans to keep this outdated system much longer (a year), I would have dropped some money on a P4EE (3ghz) and a new motherboard. A few nicer parts on NewEgg that I could use to revive the system (for the time being) such as the P4EE, a GeForce 6800GT, and 1GB more RAM. None are budget-functional as none can carry over to a new computer.

    Anyone have a guide on removing the OEM thermal compound?
  4. Agree with mlek, you have most likely corrupted your XP installation.

    One of the first things that can go wrong if you overclock your system to the point of instability is corrupting files on your drive. You can have read and write errors to the disk that can leave your OS unstable or completely unusable. You may have corrupted the HAL or abstract hardware layer of your drive, the registry, and other critical areas of your software. And yes, you may have corrupted both of your OS installations.
  5. The best thing for removing old thermal compound is isophophyl alcohol and a lint-less cloth. Just apply it to the cloth and wipe it clean. Be sure to get all of it off, there should be absolutely no residue left on the sink, any left could act as an insulator instead of passing the heat to your heatsink.

    One option you might have for a repair/reboot is using someone elses copy of windows. I don't think you need a cd key for a repair. If the oem provided you with a key for windows you might be able to borrow someone elses windows cd of the same version and just enter in your key
  6. OC can corrupt windows by corrupting data on the HD. This is actually a fairly common occurance. I would try to boot into safe mode and then go to a command prompt and run 'chkdsk /r'. This may fix the problem if there are indeed errors on the HD. Otherwise first try a 'repair install' and then a fresh install if the repair fails, as was suggested above.

    If your software OC utility is simply raising the bus speed uniformly for all componenets then it may be raising the PCI bus also. This could also explain the software corruption. When I OC in my BIOS I have the option to set the PCI bus to a fixed speed. I just don't know if that is happeneing in your software OC.
  7. I fixed it all.

    OK here's what I had used...

    1) I got some Silicon heat sink compound
    2) A litre of 70% Isoprophyl Alcohol
    3) A few papertowls
    4) A bunch of Q-Tips

    So I tore apart the entire computer, disconnected everything, removed the motherboard (so I didn't cut my hand on the case--I don't trust cheap $20 cases), and took off the heat sink and fan... so I got right to work. I put a Q-Tip into the alcohol to soak it quickly, wiping down the processor, putting a nice load of alcohol over it. Then I grabbed one of the paper towels and started to rub the blackened thermal tape off of the processor. Finished with that, then did the same to the heat sink. I went over both processor and heat sink several times with alcohol and Q-Tips, then spread a bit of thermal compound on it (the main "drop" was about 3mm wide, it had a bit of a "tail" from the consistency of the compound). I put the heat sink on the processor, then grabbed the retaining clip and clipped both side on it. I connected the heat sink fan and rebuilt the computer from there. I ran into a problem with wiring the various LEDs and switches; I disconnected them all. I finally figured out how they should have been by looking at my digital camera (I took pictures I originally intended to upload) and figuring out which way the wires went in. I wired them up correctly after observing 2 of the 4 wires to connect (the label was facing the bottom of the case) and then continued wiring stuff. I attached the floppy drive incorrectly (the cable had no indication of direction, so it was a guess-and-check deal for that) so when I booted the light was always on... I closed the case tight BEFORE seeing it and had to open it up again to fix it. I fixed it and rebooted--right into Windows and no problems I've seen so far. I decreased the overclock from 25% to 20%--then did some functionality testing (I failed a CPU-dependant program--it would run like a slideshow when at 2.4ghz, though wouldn't at 2.0ghz). I upped the overclock to 15% from stock (2.3ghz), then tried again--still a slideshow. Dropped the overclock from 15% to 10% and got it running smoothly. I have it running at 12% boost (2.24ghz) but I'll test it later.
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