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CPU causing lockups?

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July 5, 2010 9:58:57 PM

I have an AMD Athlon 64 II x64 (I think the model number is a 6000+, but it's a 3.0 Ghz processor). It's about 2 years old (give a few months). It's not overclocked and I'm using the default heatsink.
For the last few weeks I've been having problems with the machine locking up simi-randomly. It's usually when I'm doing something processor intensive, so I assume it's the CPU causing the problem (though some of the other parts are not out of question). What happens is I'm working and then the mouse (or a game sometimes) will lock up. The screen still displays fine without any distortions, but I do get about 3-5 seconds of this strange buzzing sound coming out of my speakers right after it locks. From that the only thing I can do is hard reset it. If I attempt to use it right after it locks up, then the computer usually hangs on the BIOS load screen (but not always).
I think it's overheating, but when I log the temperature (using speedfan), it lists my processor temperature at 56C at max load, which I don't think would be enough to cause a lockup like that. I'm using it in a hot room (21-26C (70-80F) during the day), so I doubt that helps any.
What I was wondering is if it's possible for the thermal pad that came on the default heatsink to degrade so it doesn't work as well?
I did the same thing last year without any problems, but it was cooler last year (outside I mean), so I'm not sure. I clean the case out regularly, but I've not taken the heatsink fan off since I built it for fear of messing up the thermal pad (so there is some dust built up in the spaces around the heat speaders). Would removing the pad and replacing it with thermal paste cause it to cool that much(and cleaning it out while I'm at it)?
Also if anyone else that has a suggestion as to what the problem could be, please let me know.

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July 5, 2010 11:25:35 PM

I agree that it sounds like it is overheating, but I am surprised by the Speedfan results. If the CPU fan is working properly (visually inspect) then perhaps its not a thermal issue. Removing the heatsink, cleaning the surfaces and properly applying some thermal grease wont hurt the computer at all, assuming that you can reconnect the heatsink without issue. (sometimes the cheap plastic connectors on some heatsink/fan assemblies are twitchy). Doing the former will verify the HS/FAN is working properly and connected properly. Usually overheating is caused by the assembly not being installed/connected to the motherboard/cpu properly or the fan not working because its clogged up. Doesn't sound like thats the case here, but wouldn't hurt to check. You could also open up the case and run it that way for a while, see if the estra air flow changes anything. Maybe run a memory test too.
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July 9, 2010 5:33:02 PM

canadian69 said:
Usually overheating is caused by the assembly not being installed/connected to the motherboard/cpu properly or the fan not working because its clogged up. Doesn't sound like thats the case here, but wouldn't hurt to check. You could also open up the case and run it that way for a while, see if the estra air flow changes anything. Maybe run a memory test too.

I took the thing apart today and cleaned it and greased it. I have actually been running it for the last week with the case open, which did help with the problem some, but it still locked up from time to time.
I did clean quite a bit of dust and lint(?) out of the area around the fan on the heatsink, and that combined with thermal grease seems to have solved it as best as I can tell.
I tried another program the measures the cpu temperature, and according to it (before I cleaned it) the temperature was at 66C at max load, which I think may explain the random lockups. Anyway with the new grease, its running at 60C at max. I don't know that much about cpu thermal limits other then 60C is a bit warmer then it should be.
There is only one other thing that bothers me, when my cpu is idle, one core reads at 27-29C, and the other at 35-37C, is it normal to have that much of a difference between the cores or could that be a sign that the heatsink/ paste is not making contact properly. If I remember correctly it's always been that way, but I wonder if this was a problem from the start that I just didn't think anything of until now.
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July 10, 2010 2:56:50 PM

IF only a single core is active, that would certainly create a teperature delta, but I honestly dont know.
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July 19, 2010 7:29:45 PM

Hum that might be. According to speedfan, when the computer is idle, it tends to run only on the first core, but that is the cool one. The only thing I can think of is if windows is processing stuff on the second core and not really reporting the use. Which doesn't really surprise me all that much.
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