Hot Spot: How Modern Processors Cope With Heat Emergencies

The Test Candidates

We wanted to find out how well the latest processors from AMD and Intel are able to cope with the worst-case scenario - a sudden complete removal of the heat sink. Here is a picture of the four processors before the test procedure:

We tested an Intel Pentium 4 2 GHz, a Pentium III 1 GHz, an AMD Athlon 1.4 GHz with the 'Thunderbird' core and an AthlonMP 1.2 GHz, which comes with the new 'Palomino' core, as also used in the upcoming AthlonXP processors.

The next picture shows the four processor after our heat survival test. As you will find out soon, only two survived.

As test platforms we used the latest ones available. Pentium 4 ran in a Socket423 motherboard with i850 chipset, the Asus P4T. Pentium III was tested using a Socket370 motherboard with i815EP chipset, the Asus CUSL2. For both Athlon processors we used a Socket468 motherboard with VIA KT266 chipset from Siemens, the D1289, which is already equipped with the logic that handles the thermal diode of 'Palomino', because it was directly developed for this processor.

We booted up those systems normally, started Quake III Arena, running the NV15-demo, and then removed the heat sink.