Playing Sherlock Holmes with a Craigslist purchase (CPU Heat)

Hello everyone! I've been lurking around the forums for the past few months looking for answers and I was a bit overwhelmed at the outpouring of support and suggestions the community gives --- even to folks who are new to the boards!

Luckily I'm a veteran computer builder, so I'm familiar with most of the terms you all have been throwing around in similar threads.

OK, so here's the story:

My girlfriend and I play WoW, but her only computer is a tiny ACER 9" laptop, so we decided to buy/build a cheap gaming rig that would at least allow her to run the game at ~30FPS.

I found a guy selling his home-built computer on Craigslist for about $275. Here's what I can ascertain from the Hardware Directory:

Intel Celeron
2Gigs of DDR2 Ram
PF88 Motherboard
Radeon X800
Crappy tiny ancient 60Gig hard drive

Now when I picked it up from him, I noticed it had no sides to the case, he said he lost them. "It'll run cooler that way anyway, heh." he said.
I should've been more wary.

I've had it for about a month now, and the thing has had nothing but heat problems. When I first got it and installed WoW, the thing shut down on me 3 or 4 times. After installing SpeedFan, I realized that the core temperature was idling at around 55C, and when searching the harddrive (for hidden, illicit photos or incriminating evidence of terrorist activities :o ) the temp would quickly rise to ~70+ Celcius.

I got into BIOS and saw that the automatic shutoff was set at 75C, a number that I felt comfortable that a properly-heatsinked, non-OC'd Celeron should be able to avoid. I saw that the CPU Fan was set to scale with the temperature, and logged out.

Games like WoW could only be played for 10-15 minutes before automatic shutdown. So, I rigged up a box-fan to the case. But even with the fan blowing at max speed into the case, the CPU temp still hovers at near ~70C.

I have confirmed that the heatsink is tightly levered down to the motherboard with no wiggle room. I can also confirm that the CPU fan does spin (I can feel it blowing warm air on my hand when the box fan is off and the chip is running hot.)

I recognize that I need to remove the heat sink to make sure the Craigslist scammer seller actually put SOME or NOT TOO MUCH thermal paste down, but in the meantime I'm wondering where I should go from here if that turns out not to be the case.

I have recently re-built my computer with a 6000+ AMD64 x2 and even with Crysis, Ventrillo, iTunes and Mozilla going I can't get the thing to creep past 60C, and I don't have any aftermarket cooling components!

Anyway, my plan is to take the thing apart tonight and take a look at the CPU/Heatsink. Look forward to an update from me tonight. In the meantime (my last 3 hours at work while I sit here helpless) I'd like to hear where I should go from here if I reseat the heatsink with new thermal paste and run into the same problem.

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  1. Other than 275 in any currency was far to much to pay for that POS, no.
  2. ^^^ ditto. You paid way too much for that. seriously. And theres no way you should be idling that high, even if you have zero airflow in your case. Speaking of which, having the side off disrupts the flow of air designed to take heat out of the case. With the airflow directed, it simply heats up the ambient air temperature around it.
  3. +1, too much for that computer ;). You could try getting new thermal paste for it, or you could use a desk fan on blow air directly on it since you don't ahve the side covers.
  4. Best answer
    +1 over payed. For $30-40 more you could have gotten a MUCH better system.

    As for the temps, check to see if HSF is properly seated (and has thermal paste,etc). Also what software are you using to report temps? Also is it a stock fan or a aftermarket?
  5. Ok, so when I got home tonight, the system wouldn't even POST.

    (And by the way, I appreciate the honesty, but I already know I got ripped off. Rubbing it in only makes me install RAM with more force ;) )

    So I took the computer into the shop, and pulled all the wires, and unhooked the CPU. I don't know if it's bad or not, but the thermal paste was a goldish-brown color and the motherboard around the CPU was caked with dust. /facepalm

    So I've ordered a new CPU and motherboard from Newegg. For only $90.

    I did notice that the heatsink was pretty caked with dust. Would that make the thing rise up to 75C?

    Anyway, I'll repost here if I have any more issues.

  6. You want to make sure that the fan on the HSF is clogged up with dust bunnies ;)
  7. Quote:
    I did notice that the heatsink was pretty caked with dust. Would that make the thing rise up to 75C?

    Yes. Depending on the dust concentration. Also put new thermal paste.
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