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Another CPU Overheating problem

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May 8, 2008 3:10:28 PM

Wintec Ampo 1 GB DDR2 PC2 5300 (2 sticks of RAM, 2 GB of RAM total)
EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB
Gigabyte GA-MA69VM-S2 Micro ATX motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane
Arctic Cooling ACF64LP 60mm CPU cooler

I built this machine about 4 months ago.
Everything worked fine.
Now all of a sudden I'm hearing the internal alert going off from the PC stating that my CPU is overheating.
The alert sounded from within the case.
(Case has been left open for 2 months now). PC seems to overheat a bit if I left the case closed before.

idle my CPU temps run about 45c. When playing a game like Company of Heroes the alarm will start sounding after about 15 minutes. Give or take.

This is something new, it never had this problem before. I played games for hours and no problems with temp.

I installed a program that came with my motherboard that keeps watch on the temperatures. Now when the alarm goes off, I hit the Alt-tab button and switch over to that program and it's reading my temps over 90c.

My fans are running fine (two fans on the heatsink). Running around 3200 rpms or something like that. Looking inside the case I can see them running fine.

Touching the heatsink it feels warm.

Two nights ago I took off the fans and heatsink. Cleaned off the thermal paste (that came with the heatsink) and applied Arctic silver compound before mounting the heatsink back on the CPU. Altough I do admit, I believe I may have put too much on. I covered the whole CPU top with the compound and the bottom of the heatsink.

I tested the temps. I booted up a game again to see how the temps were rising. Left my monitoring system up in the back ground. idle temps still stayed around 40c or so. After playing the game for about 5 min, I'd alt-tab and check the temps. Starting to rise in the 50's. swithed back to the game for 5 more minutes of playing, checked, it's up in the 60's. (mind you the temps do a QUICK drop when I alt-tab out of the game to check temps.) After playing for another 6-7 minutes the alarm starts to sound and my temps are above 90c.
Fans are running great at 3000 rpms.

After reading through forums, I did use an air can on the fans and heatsink. Thinking there may have been dust. But to my surprise, there is NO dust what so ever in my case. Not too any noticeable degree anyway.

Sorry for the long and maybe confusing post. Sometimes I tend to ramble when I'm trying to explain something.

I'm providing a link to what cooling heatsink I use.
I'm very confused as to what is causing this. Whether it's a heatsink problem or a CPU problem or maybe something is going on with my PC that I haven't heard of. Motherboard / BIOS problem? Bad CPU?

My BIOS are all set to default. No over-clocking, etc. In fact I have my power settings set to "power save" within Windows XP. Throttles down the CPU when not being used to its full potential.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 8, 2008 3:48:59 PM

Not sure about your case, but sometimes adding a couple 120mm fans (one intake and one exhaust) will bring temps down. Other than that, the heatsink you have may be better than a stock factory heatsink, but there are better heatsinks available. It might be a good idea for you to read some of the heatsink tests at Anandtech in order to get an idea of what's a good brand and type.
May 8, 2008 4:02:38 PM

Yes, thank you, I was thinking that it may have something to do with the heatsink. Although the confusing part to it is that it worked fine for a good 3 1/2 months keeping the CPU cool. Nothing changed, I haven't moved the PC. or done anything different to the heatsink except for the time I took it off to apply the Thermal paste.
Whatever the problem may be, I'm going to take your advice and pick up a couple more fans to get the air our of the case.
I thought the quick fix would be keeping the side of the case off. It worked for this long but now even with the side off of the case, it's now wanting to get hot.
I was silly enough to believe that it may have been a virus or something as well. Doing something with the operation of the PC. My anti-virus stated last week that it found and removed a virus. (I don't know much about PC viruses and their abilities). So last night I formatted my HD and was in the process of re-installing windows. Through the install process the alarm went off again as though it was getting too hot. I ended the install and shut my PC down. (side still off of the case).
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a b à CPUs
May 8, 2008 4:19:35 PM

If the alarm is going off, there is something wrong with the installation.
Check that the fans are working.
Apply Arctic Silver with the instructions on their website.
Reinstall the heat sink.
Check the orientation of the heatsink. Air must blow out the back of the computer.
The alarm should not go off during normal running of the machine.
May 8, 2008 4:40:48 PM

I believe that it was the installing of Windows keeping the processor working at full speed that caused the CPU to overheat again. If the CPU is idle and not doing anything there is no problem. But once the CPU starts working, that is when things start to heat up. The CPU was on a constant go during the installation of Windows. But halfway through the installation I had to shut it down because of the alarm sounding, telling me it's overheating.
Unfortunetly I can't adjust the direction of the heatsink and fans. The base plate has to line up with the holes in the motherboard and they only line up if turned to one direction. Problem with that is, the way it has to be lined up, the top fan is facing the top of the case and the bottom fan is facing the bottom of the case. I can't mount the heatsink any different.
What confuses me is that it was working fine in this position for 3 1/2 months. No heating problems. Now I'm getting heating problems whenever the CPU is working and not idle. I'm so confused and running out of ideas as to what may be the fix or cause of this. The confusion is that it indeed worked fine for the longest time and now out of the blue it wants to start over heating anytime the processor is working for more then 15 min or so. idle everything is fine. 40c temp average on idle.
a b à CPUs
May 8, 2008 4:45:17 PM

Is the 3-pin power connector plugged into the CPU fan socket?
May 8, 2008 4:52:04 PM

Yes. The fans are working great to my knowledge. I have the side of the case off and I can see them spinning. And hear them for that matter. The power connector for them is plugged in. When I had Windows installed I checked and my fans are running around 3000 rpms. I had them turned up hoping this would fix the over heating problem.
May 8, 2008 5:39:46 PM

Summary:
Side of case left open
Heatsink warm to the touch.
Fans spinning, one facing up, one facing down (can't alter with this HS).
Removed HS, cleaned/applied paste. Reseated HS to CPU.
Used air can to blow away any dust.
Fans still spinning at about 3000 rpms.
idle temp 40c
Temps rise to over 90c when processor under load.
Worked fine for 3 1/2 months, no problem.
All of a sudden temps are high.
HS has to be screwed in. I feel as though I screwed it in tight enough. Altough I'm leary about working to tighting it more. Don't want to break anything.

I think this is a lost battle. Maybe a bad sensor on the board?
May 8, 2008 5:51:33 PM

I believe your MB's thermal sensor is Faulty.
I had a pentium 4 on an intel motherboard once, and I wanted to change the stock HS for a Zallman, in the process I should have damaged the thermal sensor 'cause my temps skyrocketed. I went back to the stock HS and the problem wasn't fix. So my conclusion was that the motherboard's thermal sensor was damaged and had to disable every thermal alarm on my system.
That problem is about 2 years old and the machine is still working, if the CPU was overheating it would have died a long time ago.
May 8, 2008 5:59:48 PM

I'm beginning to believe that indeed it may be a heat sensor thing. Like you said Rojito.
I've researched over heating and I couldn't find out anything that I haven't tried.
And in addition I've read from a lot of posts where the CPU is overheating that it will cause the machine to crash or the CPU to shut down to protect itself. My computer NEVER shuts down, restart, etc. It seems to run fine except for the readings on my temps going up and the alarm sounding when I'm playing games or the CPU is under load.
I can't think of anything else that would be causing it. If it was the CPU truly getting hot, I'd think that the PC would shut itself down or something.
May 8, 2008 6:08:43 PM

That's most likely to be your problem, in my experience, even with the thermal sensor damaged I get different temp readings depending on the air flow and use of cpu, here's an example:

Before: idle: 35ºC
load (speed fan= low): 60ºC
load (speed fan= high): 55ºC

After: idle: 40ºC
load (speed fan= low): 95ºC
load (speed fan= high): 85ºC

this is just an example, since I don't remember exactly the temps two years ago when the thermal sensors where working fine, but they sure are approximate measures. And yes my memory is till working fine.
May 8, 2008 6:31:34 PM

Do the fans on the heatsink oppose each other? That would be a problem.
May 8, 2008 7:59:53 PM

Thanks Jim,
I'm not sure how to actually show a picture of the HS in this thread. My only solution was to provide a link that shows it.
The HS is an aftermarket HS. When I purchased the CPU it did not come with a HS.
The way the HS is mounted on my particular motherboard, it has the HS in the middle, one fan attached to the HS pointing toward the top of the case. This fan blows the air up if I'm not mistaken. In addition, there is another fan mounted to the HS pointing toward the bottom of the case. This fan is blowing the air to the bottom of the case. So both fans are pulling the air away from the HS in opposite directions.
The case itself has plenty of open space. I wouldn't think that it's cluttered. With saying that, I have the side of the case off so that all air can escape. None of it is trapped inside of the case.
May 8, 2008 8:05:12 PM

My question now is,
If this is indeed a sensor problem, how can I be sure of this?
I could turn off all of my alarms in the BIOS. That would fix the annoying alarm that sounds when I'm in the middle of something.
But if it's not a sensor problem and the CPU starts to get hot, and I don't know, I'd think that I'll fry the CPU cause I'd be leaving it running and it would just get hotter and hotter.
Would the PC shut down if it got too hot (before it damaged anything)?
or would the PC continue to get running and the CPU just keep getting hotter until everything is fried?
May 8, 2008 8:15:57 PM

well the simplest way to know almost for sure if it's a thermal sensor problem, would be to temporarily install another HS (maybe a stock one from a friend not using it) and watch if there are any substantial changes on the temperature readings. If the cpu keeps overheating, I would say its the thermal sensor. I don't think a faulty cpu (that creates to much heat) or motherboard (that sends to much power to the cpu) will be functional without errors or burning the components.
May 10, 2008 1:59:14 AM

Ok I did a stupid thing. I was so sure it was just a heatsink problem. So when the alarm started going crazy and sounding again I just ignored it. A half a minute later, the PC shut off on me. Guess it truly was overheating. Now I'm hoping that it didn't fry the CPU. I haven't turned it back on yet. Or tried for that matter. Let it set to cool down. Then took the HS off and cleaned it as well as cleaned the CPU. Just my luck, I don't have any thermal paste left to put this thing back together.
Anyone have any ideas as to why this may be overheating?
Is the chances of me frying my CPU high?
I'm not thinking the problem was caused by air flow, due to having the case open. I took the HS off and cleaned it and put it back together twice now. This will the the third time.
I do have to say, the temps at idle on this second round was 60c instead of the previous 40c.
But now that the PC shut down from getting hot. I'm not sure what is going to happen, if anything when I put it back together. I could use all the suggestions I can get right about now. I'm empty on the cause.
a b à CPUs
May 10, 2008 2:08:04 AM

Imo, that HSF doesn't look up to snuff esp. with the 60mm fan. Could you try another cooler?
May 10, 2008 2:44:37 PM

I believe its possible the shuting down was the MB as a precaution of burning your house down. What I'm trying to say is that if the MB believes your hole computer is going to go on flames it will shut down the system, so it still could be a thermal sensor problem and every component should still be functional. I'll give you 2 choices (that I can think of):
1) ask your friends if they have a HS you could use and watch if your cpu is still overheating (that will discard any HS, thermal paste issue). Almost any overclocker has his stock HS available.
2) ask your friends for or buy a really cheap used compatible MB and try your components on that MB (including your actual HS) so you get a temp comparisson.

One final thougth: I know you must be going trough hell, so your judgement must be shaky, but know that after arround 2 minutes shut down, your cpu will be at room temp, so next time try to make sure your computer still boots (which won't burn anything else) before removing the heatsink, even more if you don't have any thermal paste left. The you would be less worried.

About the thermal paste, I believe you have no choice but to buy some. If you where my neighborg I would gladly give you some for free, but I doubt you live in Venezuela.
June 17, 2008 11:42:29 PM

Unfortunately I still have yet to purchase or borrow another HS. I'm really thinking that this one should be fine. The fans are spinning, it's seated correctly. Thin layer of thermal paste. There was no dust but I cleaned it anyway.
Could it possibly be the PSU causing the CPU to overheat? I checked my voltage and instead of 12v it's running around 11.75 but fluctuates a bit. Should I try the route of purchasing another PSU first? The PSU is about 2 years old. The HS is a few months old. Plus when I turn my PC on, the PSU makes a crazy whining noise for awhile with its fan then after a bit, it's normal again. PSU anyone?
June 17, 2008 11:43:22 PM

It's driving me crazy. I'm going through withdrawal. I haven't been able to do anything for a long time with my PC besides browse the Internet.
June 18, 2008 1:01:18 AM

Its very unlikely that the PSU could cause the CPU to overheat. I suppose you could experiment with the idea. If the power lines are long enough, you could take the PSU out of the case and set it on top or something. Then there would be no way for it to affect the CPU.



"The way the HS is mounted on my particular motherboard, it has the HS in the middle, one fan attached to the HS pointing toward the top of the case. This fan blows the air up if I'm not mistaken. In addition, there is another fan mounted to the HS pointing toward the bottom of the case. This fan is blowing the air to the bottom of the case. So both fans are pulling the air away from the HS in opposite directions."

This does not sound right. Both fans should be blowing in the same direction, otherwise turbulence can occur and it could be the cause for no effective cooling of the heatsink itself. I think Anandtech had an article on this at one time, but the basic idea that Anandtech conveyed was to have a push-pull setup when using two fans. That is, one fan pushing air into the heatsink, while one fan pulls air out of it. Since nothing else seems to have worked so far, try having the fans blow in the same direction and see what happens. You really can't loose by trying.
June 18, 2008 11:20:56 PM

Ok, I've ordered a replacement HS. Should be coming in in another 3 days or so. I ordered the Rosewill RCX-Z940-LX. I hope that it's good.
Now back to the problem at hand. I read what you had to say Sailer. I opened the case and looked at the existing HT. Both fans are indeed facing opposite directions. One facing up and one facing down. I checked the direction of the spin on each fan and it seems as though both fans are blowing inward toward the HS. Not blowing heat away from the HS. Is this the way it is suppose to operate?
My question concerning the possibility of the PSU causing the CPU to overheat is in two parts. One being that maybe it is going bad and not supplying enough volts for the CPU. Although the fans seem to be running fine. The second, maybe if the PSU is going bad, the fan inside the PSU may not be pushing the heat out of the case fast enough.
June 18, 2008 11:53:48 PM

I've never read of anyone who had direct experience with the Rosewill heatsink, so can't comment on its performance. At least its cheap in cost.

With both fans blowing into the heatsink of your present setup, the air goes in, but has nowhere to exit properly. That is not good for heat removal. A far better fan setup is to have one fan blowing in, while the other blows out, therefore providing a good flow over the heatsink fins, with cool air going in one side and heated air being sucked out the other side. This is what Anandtech describes as a push-pull setup. I just looked up the ACF64LP heatsink on Newegg and it doesn't look like a well thought out design. Worse, the fans are listed as only providing 25.4 CFM flow. This is not enough airflow, possibly caused by the fan design. Can't say for sure. The AC Freezer Pro just above it is listed as having a 45 CFM flow, and thats a lot better. The Rosewill you ordered doesn't list its airflow, but at least it has a bigger fan.

As to the PSU, if it was under volting the CPU, the CPU would run cooler, as well as slower in speed. This is essentially what Cool and Quiet in the BIOS does. It reduces the voltage to the CPU, thereby reducing its speed and the resulting temperature when you aren't using the CPU hard. If the fan on the PSU is going bad, then the PSU can overheat and send out erratic current, which can cause the computer to crash. Yes, a bad PSU is a possibility, but I doubt its causing the CPU to overheat unless it would be sending in too much voltage.
June 19, 2008 12:12:48 AM

Thanks for the quick response. I'm still rather novice when it comes to PCs even though I've been putting my own together since 94. The things I learn would be from trail and error.
I totally agree with you with what you say about the two fans blowing inward and then having no place for the air to go. But unfortunetly I don't believe with this type of set-up, the fans can be changed to any other way. As you may be able to see from the photos, they are clipped on the HS. I wish I could turn one around just to see if this was the problem.
I never knew to look at CFM flow. I purchased the HS due to the reviews it was receiving. I just don't understand how a lot of them with the same processor as mine, are having no problems what so ever. But you are correct. Very poor HS design. Looking at the photos I've posted, does it look as though there may be further troubles? It's clean, no dust. A little cluttered but I wouldn't think enough for it to cause heat. You may not be able to see but I do have a system fan located at the bottom front of the case as well. Blowing air inward.
June 19, 2008 12:23:59 AM

Not sure how to fix this problem though. For about 2 months the PC ran fine without overheating. Same HS and everything. But now it's giving me this trouble. I'm not thinking it's dust though, or being seated incorrectly. I've cleaned it twice and reseated it multiple times.
I know I've ordered the other HS but if I can get by without having to use it and continue to use this one that would be great. I would be able to just return the other HS.
Could a faulty motherboard cause a CPU to overheat?
When it's idle my PC is fine. currently 31C steady. But under load it starts to climb above 100c.

Voltage:
VCoreA 1.300
+3.3V = 3.310
+12V = 11.790
CPU Vid = 1.320

Fans:
CPU 1748 RPM (only because it's not under load, under load it reaches 2,700)
System 2689

Temp:
System 44c
CPU 31c
June 19, 2008 1:03:07 AM

The voltages from your PSU appear to be fine.

From the pictures of the inside of your PC, it appears that you have a fan blowing air in, but no active fan taking air out. The case doesn't look like it would be easy to work on, but an exhaust fan either up by the PSU or better yet, next the CPU heatsink and blowing out the rear of the case should help a lot. With the fan that you already have, this would provide an airflow that brings cool air into the front of the case and gets rid of the hot air at the back, thus relieving the hot area around the CPU. As it is, the heatsink fans blow air around the heatsink and it has nowhere to go, and so it just gets hotter.

Another thought might be to buy a different case, one with more fans. Don't know if you're up to that idea.

It could well be that during the winter, the basic air temperature was cool enough that the CPU didn't overheat, but with summer coming on, the ambient air temperature is now warm enough to cause the CPU to overheat. Don't know for sure about that.

June 28, 2008 5:22:56 PM

PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!
Ok, I was sooo sure it had nothing to do with the seating of the HS. But maybe that was the case. It was one of those HS that you had to screw in with a backplate. I did it over and over again and was sure I had it right. Cleaned the HS, replaced the paste on the HS. Like I said nothing seemed to have worked. But then I bought a new HS. A Rosewil RCX-Z940-LX. This HS just clips on. Now everything works great. idles around mid-thirties and never goes about 40's during load. So I guess either the old HS went bad or I'm not the one to be messing with the HS you have to screw down.
June 28, 2008 5:23:23 PM

Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions.
!