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CPU or Video Card temperature issue suspected

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September 17, 2008 4:19:57 PM

I took a short work-break to play TF2 and wanted to get to the bottom of random crashes. I am thinking that my video card is the problem, but want to run the results past a group of people that would know better.

Immediately after crashout, I ran two programs (Speedfan 4.5 and Hardware Sensors Monitor 4.4) to see if I could learn anything. The results are below in this simple time-scale graphic:



It's worth noting that, at the moment, I have the side of my PC off and a small clipfan blowing on the vid/CPU part of my mobo. I have been suspecting temperature issues - my video card is technically a hand-me-down from my bro-in-law, along with my CPU.

My biggest problem is that I don't know the temperature tolerance of my equipment. I've listed these below in case some of you have an easy way to obtain this information:

Mobo: NF4 Ultra-A9A
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 @ 2.61 GHz
Ram: 2.0 GB Ram
Videocard: nVidia GeForce 6800 Series

I can't figure out the added specs of the videocard, try as I might.

Any thoughts? Am I correct in thinking the temps look a little high?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 17, 2008 4:45:08 PM

Video card temperature:

80-90 is average
115 is threshhold
127 burnout

CPU temperature

up to 70ºC okay.

Speedfan 127º means nothing connected to the sensor.
September 17, 2008 5:48:14 PM

Do you know of a way to record these temperatures outside of what I was doing? My idea is that there could be a logfile with temperatures recorded that I can consult later. I don't have any external sensor and am scratching my head.

Thanks a bunch for your input, by the way.
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September 17, 2008 11:40:43 PM

I just got through running NewEgg's PSU calculator. With my peripherals and rig, they recommend a 550w and I have a year-old (at least) 510w. Would this explain something?
September 18, 2008 12:51:31 AM

I have:

from my originating message:
Mobo: NF4 Ultra-A9A
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 @ 2.61 GHz
Ram: 2.0 GB Ram
Videocard: nVidia GeForce 6800 Series (PCI-Express x16)

I also have:
70gb hard drive
111gb hard drive
74gb hard drive
465gb hard drive
a CD/RW drive
a DVD/RW drive
Sound Blaster Audigy something-or-other

My understanding is that for every year you have a PSU, you can imagine, in your head, that you've knocked off 15%-50% of its watt rating. Is this correct?

My current 510w (over a year old) may not be up to the task.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 18, 2008 1:02:59 AM

You should get a new PSU, something decent for sure like an OCZ 600W or Corsair.

Poor voltage regulation could cause overheating, but it's doubtful that is your problem... unless of course your PSU itself is getting too hot. Of course, bad power could cause crashes that are NOT related to heat, especially while gaming.

I use a program called Sensors View (I think, it's on the other OS right now) that has a graphing function so that I can track actual temps while gaming.

RealTemp also works... it displays the max temp for that session.
September 18, 2008 3:36:02 AM

Okay, I just started running Sensors View and thought I'd get a nice and proper graph view of my temperatures.



The same thing happened: TF2 locked up for a second or two, then dumped me to the desktop. Then I ran the graph view of that program and marked it up to make it useful. Sensors View has been telling me that my CPU is running hot, not my videocard (which has a higher range of heat, apparantly).

Should I consider a new heatsync/fan combo for my CPU before spending the nut on a new PSU. My gut is telling me that maybe it isn't the PSU because if the power supply were nearing the limit it would be restarting or shutting down my computer, not just dumping me out of a program.

Any more thoughts? This problem is making me jump around to all sorts of wild conclusions - then, as soon as I think I know the problem - something else becomes possible. PC gaming is rocking, eh?
September 18, 2008 3:55:25 AM

I had another episode - but I'm getting really good at taking insta-snapshots and marking them up in Fireworks.

The only difference between this occurrence and the last is that I have the side of my case off and my can facing out of the case.



I'm going to put the side-panel back on my rig since I don't see the whole "remove it" advice that I got when this all began as improving it.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 18, 2008 3:57:20 AM

The thing is, and I should have warned you, that sensor view is not really stand alone in that you have to calibrate the temps manually.

I see a total of 20 degrees difference there, and that may be a bit extreme for an AMD...

You certainly have climbing temps that peak at the point of crash don't you? It certainly suggests overheatng.

This really looks like a CASE temperature issue. If your PSU is old and getting too hot it might be contributing.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 18, 2008 4:00:19 AM

If you are going to take the side of your case off, you need a big fan blowing in. Taking off the side often worsens temps as the airflow through the case is destroyed.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2008 4:03:04 AM

Here's a way to tell if it's overheating, put one of those large box fans beside the pc with the side of your case off, crank the fan up to highest level, and fire that computer up again. It it acts fine, you know it's a heat issue.
September 18, 2008 4:43:19 AM

I'm about done for the night, but I thought I'd report the latest change. The side-panel is back on the PC. While I can feel the graphics chugging considerably (and they are all turned down, mind you - I was able to play TF2 for about 40 minutes with no crash-out.



Any thoughts as to the true cause of this mystery?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2008 7:32:26 AM

If you say the vid card is having a hard time keeping up, it could be the video card is overheating after a little time.
September 18, 2008 4:48:09 PM

I am continuing to get confused. Is it my PSU? Is it my CPU temp? Is it my videocard temp? What factors would allow me to determine the true cause? I got the following response to another board where I have crossposted this issue:

Okay rivatuner should be able to give an accurate reading on your GPU temperature and more importantly the fan speed.

Here is a guide (http://www.vaguetech.com/users/dwood/blog/tutorials/riv...) for making use of its more advanced functionalities.

However, for now we just want to keep a tab on the fan speed and temperature. In that guide, scroll down to the "Configuring Automatic Fan Control" and follow the steps to bring up (and configure) the real time monitors that the program provides.


Further thoughts?
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 106 U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 18, 2008 8:01:33 PM

The antec sonata is a good little case. I'm not sure you need a better one since you aren't even overclocking that FX. You should get a can of Compressed air to clean out the CPU Fan, PSU, and the video card fan. It could just be a case of some nasty dust bunnies. Even if it looks clean you can have dust stuck between the fins and you may be surprised at what the compressed air flushes out. You may also want to check out your voltages by going to the BIOS screen and checking out PC Health. If you see the volts fluctuating greatly then you may need a new PSU.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 19, 2008 5:38:40 AM

Ah yes you need to blow out that dust. I see it hiding in there, pretty thick.
September 20, 2008 4:05:08 AM

Okay, I have performed a bit of work on my computer. Among these:

    Removed all cards, used either contact cleaner and/or compressed air and cleared any fans, syncs of dust.

    Moved a few cards further down the tower to allow for more space between the video card and the others.

    Removed a CD/RW drive (bringing the total to 1).

    Removed a hard drive (bringing the total to 3).

    Used zip ties to affix a standard-size casefan into the area where the 5¼ bays would be - it now pushes air through the computer and out the back.


Based on my informal test of almost an hour of TF2, I have found that the CPU is down from 75° to 60°. The videocard is not down at all - it's still hovering at 109 to 110.



I tried to swap out my 510watt PSU for an Antec 550watt PSU but then found that the connectors won't work with my motherboard's connectors. I'm sure it's an out-of-date issue, I'm just enough of an old timer to remember when I didn't have to give a damn about PSU connectors (wheezing noise).

Next on the agenda:
Reboot this machine, boot up TF2 and then crank up the options again. We'll see how the graphics card temperature fares (though I am to understand they have a higher tolerance - is this true?). When I first started using the graphics card, I could have TF2 cranked all the way up and it was butter.

The "tomorrow steps" are going to be:
    Use a bunch more twist-ties to tie things off so that the air will continue to move through, and won't get blocked by a fallen wire.

    Work on the media server. If I can get that assembled PC to function. If so, I will move an additional hard drive to that machine.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 20, 2008 8:07:10 AM

Yeah GPUs take more heat, but that is on the hot side, still. Maybe you should get Riva Tuner and max out the fan... that card is likely nearing it's end though. They don't last forever. I don't have any cards that lived more than a few years.... except for that TNT2. Now there was a tank of a GPU. I think it's in some dusty retired comp somewhere, still working as intended.
September 20, 2008 3:42:09 PM

Thanks for the reply. I am running through the Riva Tuner documentation right now. I had no problem until I got to this part:

To proceed to the next step click the “Add” button (plus sign) (Again, ignore any crossed out text) [immediately followed by a graphic]

I think I may have a slightly different iteration from the software used for that tutorial, because I can't add the conditional-information that triggers the fan profiles. Any thoughts? Am I just missing something.

I agree that I may be looking at a new video card real soon - but I want to forestall that eventuality as much as I can.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 20, 2008 6:48:38 PM

Honestly, I just winged it :)  Heh I don't need it in Vista 64 for some reason... I'll go look in XP in a few minutes and get back to you if you haven't sorted it out.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
September 20, 2008 8:48:58 PM

Ah yes I just modified the default settings. Set the fan control to direct and the fan to 85%.
!