HELP! weird CPU problems

Ok, i've had my Athlon tbird 1.4 GHz with the Soyo Dragon motherboard with VIA chipset for nearly a year now with no problems up until a month ago. It was even overclocked by 100 MHz to 1.5 all the time. And i had a good Antec full tower case, lots of airflow, and a good heatsink/fan - the Antec Jet Cool.

i formatted about a month and a half ago due to some unrelated problem (IE and My Computer took a minute to load after clicking on them but rest of the computer ran perfectly fast)

when formatting I got a new hard drive, the IBM Deskstar 80 GB 7200 rpm

well about 2 weeks after my computer just mysteriously froze three times one afternoon and evening. First time i didn't suspect anything, but third time my computer wouldn't reboot as i didn't hear the double set of beeps and nothing showed up. I had a feeling it might be some fail safe thing in the BIOS and my CPu was overheating. I left it off for 15 minutes came back, it booted up but everytime i went to the BIOS to look at the temperature it would go to the temp section and jsut freeze there, esc or any buttons didn't work. my BIOS would just freeze. and the shocking thing was the temperature reading was 75 degrees Celsius! i knew this was too high, so I shut down for 2 hours, came back and downloaded a CPU temp program called Speedfan quickly and it showed my temperature rise from 30 something degrees to 64 degrees in just 5-10 minutes after booting up.

I shut down for the night, and the next day and for the next week it ran fine... 55(idle) - 59(in use) degrees. but that's only with the AC on in the house. With the AC off it ran from 59-61 degrees at IDLE and i never let it get higher cause i just turned the AC on.

i left my comp on overnight and 24/7 as usual for a week until one morning i noticed everything kept going slow every now and then. windows when maximized and minimized would stutter, if i right clicked, it'd take a couple of second for the window to pop up. i couldnt test any games cause i hadn't reinstalled any after formatting. i reboot, go out for the rest of the day and come back to find my computer frozen and the idle temperature at 61 degrees.

even weirder... looking at Speedfan i noticed the CPU usage kept spiking to 100% every 3-5 seconds, then jumping back to 10-30%, then back to 100. and i had NO programs running except speedfan. and for the first minute after rebooting it would run fine but after than minute is when it would start spiking, as if something kept randomly using my CPU every few seconds. i thouht i had a virus. even leaving it off the whole night did nothing.

then mysteriously i reboot to install a virus scan software and notice my comp running at full speed and normal, and CPU temperature staying at 57-58 degrees. i scanned for viruses and found none, and CPu usage no longer spiked. it was weird and I did nothing to cause the spikage to start, or stop.

so it was back to normal,,, 56-59 degrees in usage with the AC on. but whenever the AC was off temperature rose up to 5 degrees, even at idle.

i go on vacation for a week and come back to find the temperature has slowly risen again. This time even with the AC on in the house it runns from 59-60 degrees, even at idle, and with the AC off it went from 61-64 degrees. The only programs i ever have open are AIM, Winamp, Internet explorer, and sometimes mIRC. but i don't even play games. i can't imagine what the temperature would rise to if I were to install my games back up and start playing first person shooters, let alone overclock it again.

sorry for the long post, but ANYONE got a clue why my computer is doing this? The sudden overheating to 75 degrees, the freezing, then going back to normal for weeks, then the CPU usage randomly spiking to 100%, then stopping after a day, and now the temperatures slowly rising. I know for a fact that 61 degrees is too hot for an idle CPU, even one in use. and why is the AC being on and of in my house seeming to make such a difference?

Could it be that i'm using a heatpad instead of thermal compound... but I did have it overclocked and played nonstop games for a year with the heatpad perfectly fine... or do heatpads wear out after time and you gotta replace them? I checked my fan thru the BIOS (when it doesn't freeze) and thru speedfan and it's running fine.
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  1. this smells like a cpu/heatsink problem.

    a friend of mine almost fried his system when his heatsink retention mechanism (rinky dinky plastic piece) broke off. newer cpus don't fry though, they just misbehave "wierdly". i'd make sure the cpu and its heatsink is firmly seated. moving your box from place to place will cause alot of stress on the heatsink retention. your new hd also adds to the case heating too. if your new hd is really a refurb, i'd really suspect that. after a year of use, my last athlon system required a floor fan blowing into the case or nice air conditioning to keep it from locking up/rebooting... after my futile efforts to diagnose the problem, i decided the junk it.

    also, something you might wanna consider when a system overheats.. not only is the cpu in danger, but other components on the motherboards are stressed as well.

    <font color=green> there's more to life than increasing its speed -Ghandi</font color=green>
  2. Here's a few things to think about.......

    Ok first off yes the thermal pad does "wear out" but what really happens is that it turns hard...well from what ive seen it doesnt work effectively anyways...........also...what is your Antec Jet Cool HSF rated for...for max. speed CPU.....1.4GHz ??

    Ur fan might run within a respectable range...but it may vary to much now because of dust....have u ever thought about takign apart ur computer and cleaning out everything...including heatsink/fan....the fan and heatsink could be filthy is dust...which makes it VERY inefficent at its job......if u dont wanna take it apart...go to ur local Future Shop, Best-Buy or Fry's or whatever u got there and buy one of those 'Air In A Can' things.....its to blow all the dust out of ur case.....easy way of doing it...u wont necesarily get everything though.......

    Also..about ur A/C.......with ur A/C on...the room temperature goes down, therefore Naturally ur Computer temperatures WILL go down aswell.....and the reason why ur computer seems to run betetr with it on is a clear indication ur having a heat problem...also hows ur case fans setup in ur case if any? If u dont have any u should think about getting some...make sure the fan at the bottom is ur INTAKE fan (sucks air INTO the case) and the one at the back of the case is ur EXHAUST fan (blows air OUT of the case) for the strange abnormalities.......Coudl be cuz of dust like i said...that and a combination of the dust and the Thermal Pad being messed up...pcik up a tube of Arctic Silver 3 and put that on ur CPU...

    Use a razor blade to take all of the thermal pad off your heatsink...than rub all the remaining residue with some rubbing alcohol and a cloth...also make sure u clean all residue off of the CPU core aswell...than apply some Arctic Silver 3 onto the die of the CPU.....aproximately half the size of a grain of rice....than put your heatsink and fan back on and watch ur temps. see if there any better....

    another thing..ur heatsink on the chipset on the motherboard.....clean all dust etc. off there....that coudl also be causing instability......

    Anyways i hope this helped u out..........

    <A HREF="" target="_new">-MeTaL RoCkEr</A>
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