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CPU temperature spiking

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November 13, 2009 6:28:50 PM

So, I wanted to move from a P45 to an X48 chipset. Got a new ASUS motherboard, but used all the same components - Memory, HDDs etc.

When I powered up, the system remained up only for less than a minute and then does a shutdown. The problem has remained after all the testing that I describe below.

I ruled out memory issues by switching between different brands/speed/slot placements etc. Memory gets verified correctly and is displayed as such.

I ruled out graphic card issues by switching between different PCI-E/PCI cards - all work.

LEDs on motherboard show all green for CPU, memory, SATA etc.

Where I should have looked first - of course - was the CPU temperature. If I can actually get into the BIOS fast enough, the readings show it spiking upto 87 C. NB, SB, motherboard temps stay in 27-33C range.

I'm using the same CPU (Q9550) from the previous motherboard.....I wanted to use a new Zalman fan, but the motherboard heatsinks surrounding the CPU wouldn't let it fit in. So I just cleaned up the CPU and stock Intel HSF and used the thermal compound that came with the Zalman fan. Obviously, I think its seated fine.......can't be sure though.

If I clear out the CMOS, sometimes the system can remain up for as long as 3-4 minutes and allow it to boot up - but most of the time as soon as I go into BIOS, it just shuts down before I can even monitor the temperature.

My question is - and I couldnt find the answer after googling - can a quad core go up to 87C in such a short time - literally less than 30 seconds....from a completely cold startup (yes, I waited a few hours to test) The CPU should be idling.....its barely into its BIOS settings at this point.

Should I even bother with other fans/thermal compounds - could it even be a HSF seating problem?

My setup is sitting on a cardboard right now - so there's no ambient temperature issues.

TIA
a c 159 à CPUs
a c 435 V Motherboard
November 13, 2009 8:59:15 PM

Flip the board over and check the plastic push pins if you use a standard heatsink. They should all be seated and showing the same amount on the backside. If it's crooked, one push pin may not have seated into the board.
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a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2009 9:05:24 PM

A quad can definitely heat up that quickly - check your heatsink, and make sure it is properly seated against the CPU.
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a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2009 11:54:21 PM

Obviously you have a cooling problem,and whilst you have the mobo out of the case go to www.frostytech.com ,,look see ,, and make a choice either local or online,consider,,,, the type [of cooler] that have their own backplate as they can be ported too your next upgrade...:) 
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a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
November 14, 2009 7:00:26 AM

Those temps should not be that high while in the BIOS as there is practically no load on the CPU. I suspect the HSF is not seated properly and not making a tight enough contact with the CPU.

Also, check your BIOS if you have a thermal shutdown setting for the CPU.
If you can't get into the BIOS, try a different CPU. Did you buy the motherboard retail or is it from a friend. Maybe the CPU voltage in BIOS was inadvertently set manually to some crazy high voltage and that can also spike your temps.
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November 14, 2009 6:51:02 PM

Had a system with the same problem in my shop today, It was only a dual core but turned out one of the heatsink retention pins was loose.

Double check the heatsink, if your not sure jut by looking at it then remove it and see the spread of paste. Should give you a good idea if the heatink is pressed evenly against teh CPU or if sections seem smooth as it they have not been touched.
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November 16, 2009 1:46:00 AM

Thank you for all for your replies. I just finished the build - It was indeed a heatsink problem.

One of the push pins in the intel HSF assembly seemed not to go all the way through - but I couldn't get it to do any better. When I pulled the fan out, the paste seemed spread out fine - I'm not completely sure why it wouldn't work.

I couldn't find any thermal shutdown limit for the cPU in the BIOS...wherever that setting is, I'm guessing its set around 90C. The voltage(s) were all within normal ranges.

I had bought the ASUS motherboard from newegg (new) - I ended up getting an Arctic Cooling fan with a backplate & mounting screws from microcenter....it has a smaller footprint, so I could actually fit it on the motherboard.

The CPU temp now seems to hold at around 27C. What threw me off was how quickly the temperature was going up to 87C...within seconds and with no load. Guess that speaks to the importance of good cooling with these cPUs.
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