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Computer Shutting Off

My brother has an emachines T6410 that we bought new in 2005. It has an Athlon-64 3200+ processor, 1 gig of RAM, etc. Aside from an extra stick of memory, the only upgrade is an 8600GT video card I added about 2 years ago. It has run flawlessly since new. Tonight, while playing Civilization 4, the machine inexplicably turned off, leaving him staring at a black screen all of a sudden. The only sign of life was from the power button, which was blinking (as if the computer was in standby mode). Pressing the power button had no effect, and to turn the computer back on, he had to unplug and replug the computer, at which point the power button stopped flashing, and when he pressed it the system booted normally, but then died again a few minutes later.

He called me, and when I started it back up (after unplugging it) it booted normally and ran fine for probably 20 minutes. I tried loading some youtube videos to get the CPU cranking, but it seemed to be fine. I then decided that, just for good measure, I should back up all his digital camera pics, copying them over the network to my desktop. This is like 2 gigs of data, so I started it copying and then walked away, since the computer said it was going to take about 10 minutes. Five minutes later, I came back and it was dead (except for the blinking power button).

I am kind of suspecting overheating, so I opened the case and started the computer back up. It was not excessively dusty, the CPU heat sink looked clean enough, and all fans spin. The only thing I consider suspect is that when it turn the computer off, the CPU fan stops instantly, while the other ones coast to a stop. Could the CPU fan be on its way out?

What are your thoughts?
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  1. Best answer
    Any fan should coast to a stop and slow down to a stop in about 5 seconds after power is cut off. If the CPU fan stops as soon as the power is shut off, it means that it has failed. Replace the fan and you should be fine.

    And the type of problems you describe indicate a heatsink issue the CPU is shutting off because of overheating).
  2. A fan that stops immediately has a bound bearing, and is not likely able to spin fast enough to do its job.
    Another thing to check though, that computer is old enough and, being eMachines, cheaply-made enough that it may have capacitors that have failed on the mobo or in the PSU. Google "bad capacitors" for images, then see if you see any.
  3. As far as heat, run it with the case door off with a fan on it and see if the problem goes way. Additionally, install HWMonitor so you can look watch at temps.

    The trouble with something 6 years old or so is that anything can go wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the PSU is on its way out and is actually what's causing the shutdowns. The CPU fan could just be a lucky catch and it might not be symptomatic of the problems. Check it though.
  4. Check the temps, those old CPUs don't get tooooo hot. I'd say either the motherboard or psu.
  5. Best answer selected by eocoolj.
  6. I ordered a fan from ebay this past weekend, and installed it on the CPU today. So far so good. I had been running the cpu with no fan for the past couple days, with temperatures getting over 200 degrees F even under light load. I didnt put it under any heavy strain at all when there was no fan. I took the fan out because the bearing got so bad the whole computer was vibrating.

    The new fan is installed now though and its nice and quiet, and temperatures are way down. No crashes so far either, so hopefully this one is solved.
  7. Thank you!
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