Computer won't boot up when it's too hot out

The past 9 months or so, my computer has been acting wonky. Mainly, it won't get past the BIOS when it is hot. It turns on, shows my CPU and memory and stuff, then shows the drives, and locks up. After 30 seconds of sitting on the first BIOS screen, it will go to another screen that says "Detecting arrays" and just hangs there forever.

This happens whenever the computer is hot, or even warm. So whenever I restart my computer, I have to let it sit for 10-15 minutes for it to cool down (sometimes I took the side case off and blew a full-sized fan into it to speed it up). After it was off for awhile, specifically overnight, it would boot up fine 100% of time. It showed no problems once I got it to turn on. So it really wasn't anything more than an inconvenience, although I obviously feared it getting worse (and I feared summer, when it is constantly warm).

Well, fast forward to now, and it is 90F degrees out, and 80F in my room. Now the computer won't turn on, period. I'll try it again tonight when it cools down, but this is going to get old fast.

For the time being, I'll probably just never turn it off once I can get it back on (perhaps sleeping it?) for the duration of the summer - at least the warmer days. But that's not really a long-term solution. Is my motherboard borked? Or is there anything I can do? I can get into the BIOS config, even when the computer itself won't boot up. Specs:

Q6700 @ 2.67 (stock)
ATI 5850
4gb RAM
I have two HDs installed, one 70gb that has my OS on it and a few other programs, and a 750gb data drive (both standard drives; the 70gb is plugged in through SATA)

I'd appreciate any help!
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  1. It would help if you would first provide how many case fans you have and what motherboard you have. A computer should boot fine at stock voltages/frequencies even at 80F.

    As a test, let's see what happens if you do the following:

    1) Make boot CD-ROM for for some linux livefs system -- knoppix would be a good choice.

    2) Pull the hard drives -- point here it to isolate out those as the problem; you can use the knoppix livecd to get into an operating system without introducing hard drives to the equation

    3) Pull all but one stick of RAM.

    3) If possible, pull the ATI5850 and just use the onboard video

    Now try booting on a warm day and see what happens. If it works, start adding in components one-by-one -- first the memory, then the video card, then the hard drives.

    If it doesn't work, try using the other stick of memory instead of the first. I'm betting that you'll be able to figure out which component is causing your failures that way.

    One more quick question -- I think that stock cooling is fine at 80F ambient, but out of curiosity -- are you using the stock Intel cooler or a third-party heat sink/fan combo?
  2. +1 to fullofzen

    and i was going to say something like is the fan on top of your CPU spinning?
    I hope that you did not ever remove it as the thermal paste will need to be replaced.

    if you get into windows download speedfan and monitor your Temps.
  3. The array thing sounds like an onboard RAID thing. If you're not using it, you could try going into the BIOS and turning RAID off.
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