Every air-cooled computer I've built since my Athlon 3200+ has, within a year, gotten to the point where it overheats and crashes while playing a game, forcing me to switch to water cooling. I thought it would be different with my current machine, a Phenom II X4 965: I upgraded to a Windtunnel case with two 250mm fans, but it seems even those aren't enough, because it's started crashing. What am I doing wrong? I'm using the heatsink and fan that came with the PiB. Is that it? Is the thermal grease drying out? Is the environment I'm keeping it in the problem (I keep it in my room, but I live in Florida, and I turn the A/C off when I'm at work)? Is this a problem endemic to AMD processors?
I guess what I'm asking for is an AM3 air-cooling sollution that works. I really don't want to have to switch to water-cooling again.
Monitor your temps for about 4-5 days and keep an eye on the highs and lows.
You can also check the following situations:
1) Does the space you keep the computer in have adequate ventillation? Stuffing you box under your desk or in a corner may keep it out of the way, but it does it no good when the only air it pushes around is the same air it heated up just a few minutes ago. If it must fit in the corner or under your desk, get a fan to circulate air into that closed space and keep it at least 4 inches from any solid surface like the wall or your desk.
2) Blow out those dust bunnies at least once every 3-4 months. This will mean actually unhooking your computer, taking it out to the back porch or garage, and going to town with a can of compressed air or your vacuum cleaner attachment.
3) Take a look at you case. Does it have proper airflow? Do you possibly need more case fans? Look for big, slow 120mm case fans that move a consistent amount of air without making a lot of noise. Did you manage the cabling inside your case to allow for better airflow? Sometimes this makes all the difference in the world by eliminating airflow dead spots.