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CPU slowly dying-help please

Last response: in CPUs
July 8, 2009 2:01:46 PM

Hi. I am new to the forum and in desperate need of some quick help.

I have an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600@2.4ghz on a p35 msi mobo. The cpu cooler is the monster IFX-14 by Thermalright. The system was built by myself.

For 1 year I was running the cpu at 3.6ghz and the Vcore at 1.575. Temp was idle:35C max:65C.

The past 3 months I returned the cpu to stock speed because of instability and constant crashes. Ever since then, the pc is crashing more and more frequently and after testing everything I realized that the only thing that works is increasing the Vcore. Every 2 weeks the cpu's voltage demands appear to be increasing and now the only settings that work are the following:
2.4 ghz - 1.62Volts and 1.8 ghz - 1.57Volts. Temp is rising accordingly: 40C-67C.
Anything less and the pc gets in an endless cycle of rebooting: bios logo->windows logo(until the optical drives spin)->reboot. In stock Vcore the bios logo isn't even displayed.
Also the system isn't stable. It still crashes when idle(42C). There are no BSODs. It just shuts down and, after 1 second, restarts.

I have a feeling that something is going to get fried very soon. My guess is the cpu.

My questions are: Is the cpu failing?Is the mobo failing?Is the PSU failing(550w from non reputable brand)? Could it be a cooling problem? Is there something else that I have overlooked? Is there something I can do? It is driving me insane!

Any help would be greatly appreciated(sorry for the long post).

More about : cpu slowly dying

a b à CPUs
July 8, 2009 3:04:02 PM

I hope you got the retail CPU last year because you should still have 2 years left on its warranty. RMA to Intel or to your parts dealers (forgetting to mention your fearless overclocking exploits) and advise them the CPU is failing to operate as advertised. If that particular CPU will only operate at 1.62 vcore on stock setting, that should tell anyone the CPU is defective. If they ask if you have been overclocking, that's between you and your principles.

What troubleshooting steps have you done? Do you have other mainboards or CPUs (or a friends' computer will do nicely) to swap and isolate the problem?

July 8, 2009 3:10:03 PM

For god's sake - reduce your overclock and reduce vcore! This is a classic case of electromigration. 1.5V is the MAX for 65nm chips. Running it higher than this as you have done just runs the chip to its death. It will die within months or even weeks unless the voltage is reduced back below 1.5V.
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July 8, 2009 3:10:39 PM

Haha you posted at the same time as me. I knew that would happen :p .
July 8, 2009 3:59:08 PM

Thank you both for your advice.

@ HundredIslandsBoy: I had completely forgotten about the warranty. I also didn't think that the local dealer might accept to replace the cpu. Wouldn't the after-market cooler, that wasn't installed by a certified technician, cancel the warranty? As for the steps: I have tested the ram modules(even though they are brand new) with memtest and swapped them with other modules, swapped the graphics card (ati 4870) with my older one, checked every combination of voltage setting for nb,sb,ram,vtt, underclocked it to the lowest 1596 mhz, tested every frequency-related bios setting.

However, I didn't try a different PSU,cpu or mobo(and that's my problem). I must note that all my previous ram modules had failed(not overclocked) and had to replace them. That is why I was suspecting the PSU.

@ XenonVector927: The cpu is currently underclocked. I only keep such a high vcore because, otherwise, the pc doesn't boot at all. I only overclocked so hard because I didn't mind upgrading after a reasonable amount of time. I was told that such overclocking would reduce the life expectancy to 6-8 years. I have only had it for 2 years(overclocked for 1).

My greatest concern now is to determine which part is failing and if I can slow it down. Would it be correct to assume that the cpu is the problem without trying different cpu/mobo/psu? Because if I buy a quad core for my current mobo and find out that the motherboard was faulty it would really be a waste.
July 8, 2009 4:23:06 PM

Also, do you thing that this could be cause by multiple power outages or having to do with the thermal paste applied? It's weird how, from the beginning, this cpu needed significantly higher voltage for the same frequency for oc, when comparing with other fellow overclockers. Even though the temps were low.
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2009 10:37:51 PM

The local dealer can advise you if he will replace the CPU or you will have to get the RMA number yourself. Usually, the dealer helps in replacing the CPU if it's under warranty. The aftermarker cooler does not negate the warranty as long you keep the original box and cooler to ship back to Intel. Before any of that happens. the dealer should have test systems lined up ready to go and he can test your CPU before it goes back to Intel. For now, I would refrain from making any assumptions on which part is failing until troubleshooting isolates the problem.
a b à CPUs
July 9, 2009 1:00:31 AM

The Cpu may not be faulty, a failing power supply can give the same symptons, try replacing the power supply.
July 9, 2009 4:35:31 PM

pjmelect said:
The Cpu may not be faulty, a failing power supply can give the same symptons, try replacing the power supply.

I am starting to think so too. The timing of the crashes is impeccable. No matter how many times I try it, it always reboots at the exact same moment. And there are no BSODs(except for MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION once). Also, when the problems appeared, was when I first heard the optical drives do some sort of checking when the windows logo is displayed. The noise from the drives appears to change as I change the Vcore. I really can't figure out what this has to do with the vcore.
Does this help with the diagnosis?

Anyway, I've been meaning to get a new psu because I've kept this one for too long and it is really low-quality stuff. Silverstone is a reputable company for PSUs, right? I'll try to rule out the PSU or hopefully solve the problem that way.

Thanks again for the assistance. Unlike other forums, here you can actually get some attention.

Quick question:

Core i7-920+Mobo+Ram=630$
Core 2 Quad Q9550(same board etc)=280$

Is the price difference(350$) justified by the difference in performance?
July 9, 2009 8:47:27 PM

Try a new PSU, and if that doesn't work then its most likely your cpu thats gone. It doesn't matter if you undervolt your cpu now, since you have been running it at a dangerously high level of voltage for a year, the damage is already done and it is permanent.
a b à CPUs
July 9, 2009 11:51:42 PM

Silverstone is pretty good for PSU and stuff. used for gaming,

maybe, but new i7s are coming out so don't get any now, cuz the old i7s are going to be obsolete, the sockets are different from the new ones.
July 10, 2009 10:56:02 AM

I see. You are not referring to the i5 cpus,are you? Because, I hear they are actually going to be slower than the i7s. When, approximately, will they be out?

Weird thing: ran prime95 blend torture test for 20 minutes and got no errors or crashes. Temperature got high though(65C). If there was a problem with the CPU wouldn't it appear somehow?
July 12, 2009 5:22:03 PM

Hi again. Still waiting for the PSU to arrive.

However, I checked the Vcore voltage with CPU-Z and according to this program the Vcore fluctuates between 1.62 and 1.73!!!Even though it is set to 1.61.Is this normal? I read in other threads that it is due to the motherboard regulation. Is it true in my case?
July 14, 2009 8:24:37 PM

Confirmed the diagnosis. Swapped the PSU but the problem persists. Btw the PSU is huuuge!!It doesn't even fit in the case.

It's the CPU that is slowly failing. Now, is there anyone who can plz direct me to the best choice for CPU upgrade?

Is any core 2 quad processor worth upgrading to?
Should I go i7?
Should I go AMD?
Should I wait for the arrival of new sockets/processors by Intel/Amd, and if so how long should I wait?I estimate that I have 2 weeks of functionality left with my current setup.

It's a CPU sub-forum there has to be someone with a suggestion!
July 14, 2009 9:11:22 PM

If I was in your situation, and gaming was my main power usage, Id stick with mobo and get another C2Q
July 20, 2009 3:36:49 PM

TY for the input. Probably will go c2q since I'm in a hurry. also, is there a release date for the i5s for Europe?