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New System Overheating?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Arkady, Feb 8, 2005.

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  1. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
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    Hey all,

    I've just built a new system based on an AMD 64 3000+

    Specs are:
    AMD 64 3000+ with AMD retail heatsink and fan boxed with CPU
    Gigabyte GA-K8NS Pro
    256mb 3200 DDR ram
    Maxtor 80Gb SATA hardrive
    Geforce 4 TI 4200
    40x CD-Rom
    onboard sound and Lan.

    The case is a standard midi tower style, with 400W generic PSU.

    Most components are new except for the Geforce 4 which is cannibalised from my old system. The HDD and memory are from a reputable used dealer who rigourously test stuff before resale, I've never had a problem with stuff from them in 8 years before so have no reason to suspect duff hardware.

    Onto the problem:
    The systems runs fine for office, net browsing and general low intensity purposes but hangs when I try to play Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow or Halo. Motherboard Monitor shows the idle CPU temp to be about 42-44C which strikes me as being hot for an idle machine. After the computer boots (ie just after XP has loaded) CPU temp spikes to about 70-72C and then drops back quickly to about 42C.

    I presume that the CPU is overheating during the games which is what causes the hanging. So my question is really how do I fix this? Is 70C too hot? (that's probably a silly question) But is Motherboard Monitor reliable? (Ie how confident should I be about the temps it is recording?)

    I'm going to pick up a better heatsink and fan, and some thermal paste to see if that makes a difference. I'm also going to get some cable ties and make sure the cables are neatly out the way to ensure decent airflow in the case. But is there anything else I should do? Should I stick an extra case fan in? I've heard case fans can cause turbulence in the box and so reduce airflow, thus preventing cooling. Also are there other hardware options I should rule out first? eg Bad memory, bad HDD, bad CPU, bad MOBO, low power. Heat is the cheapest thing for me to check so it seems the best place to start.

    Advice greatly appreciated

    Arkady
     
  2. NightLord

    NightLord

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
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    Let Motherboard monitor write a logfile when you crash the system, then you can see the actual temp when system goes bad.
    70C for a processor nowadays is not even that crazy, but it may be the reason ( e.g. in combination with your graphics card) for the problem.
    Decent cooling never hurts, I'd recommend Zalman for this, esspecially those huge copper heat sinks that they have... expect a 20C temp drop from those things :D

    To be sure that the heat problem is not due to a bad airflow just run the system with an open case for a while a see what happens.

    Cheers

    /NL
     
  3. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Thanks Nightlord for the quick reply. I was playing Splinter Cell yesterday morning for about 30-40 minutes with no problem. I had just disconnected the case fan in case there was a power supply problem, so had the case open. Tried it again this morning with the case partially open, the game was stable for longer than with the case closed but still froze after about 20 minutes.

    I guess this might indicate bad airflow could be the cause. Other than tidying up the cables inside what should I do to increase airflow? The case has a case fan that has no effect on the freezing - the system hangs during games with it connected or disconnected. Should I invest in a better one, or just add an additional fan?

    Cheers Arkady
     
  4. NightLord

    NightLord

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    You said you've been using Motherboard Monitor right?

    Make it write voltage and various temps to a log.txt file, that way it may be easy to determine where the problem is. Voltage shouldn't be it, 400 W is more than sufficient (unless your PSU really gone bad of course, but that should definitely show!)
    Temperature is in my opinion indeed the first candidate, and if case temp is not it, look into CPU temp.

    Another thing you could do is lower FSB value in BIOS in order to run your CPU at a lower speed than it was designed for, thus generating less heat.
    I have no experience with 64 bit systems but I thought those socket 939 boards have a FSB of 200 MHz right? Try lowering it to 166 to see if temp problems disappear or take longer to show up...

    /NL
     
  5. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Its a socket 754, but underclocking it sounds sensible, I'll give it a go when I get home.

    Case temp from motherboard monitor tends to be about 25-30C if that's any use.

    Arkady
     
  6. brite750

    brite750

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    we have to determine if your cpu cooler is inadaquate or your case cooling, try running your games with case open and desk fan blowing on cpu, if this works then case cooling is suspect, if it doesnt work then cpu coller is suspect. Also as a side note, i've seen problems with trying to run an older gfx card (4200TI) on new Gigabyte moboz, freeze ups during games, artifacts, etc, installed newer card and problems went away, just a heads up.
     
  7. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Just picked up a stick of Ram (512mb) to chuck in just to make sure memory isn't the problem, and I'll experiment with the cooling later.

    Cheers for all the help so far.

    Arkady
     
  8. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

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    Well I've stuck in the extra RAM, and taken the sides off the case. Unfortunately no desk fan to point at the CPU. The computer ran Splinter Cell 2 stably for a little longer than usual but it still froze up. Motherboard Monitor showed the CPU temp was about 44C when it froze so I think the CPU must be ok.

    I tried underclocking, but the mobo has 200mhz as a minimum so I haven't been able to do that. I've also installed Sisoft Sandra to run some more diagnostics. This is flaggin up the motherboard temp as too high. I take it I need to sort out better airflow. So what's the best plan to do this? Extra Case Fans? Better case? Or is it possible the motherboard might be faulty that is causing it to run hot?
     
  9. Skivvywaver

    Skivvywaver

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    Sandra goes nuts on any Nforce board I have ever tried it on. Is this an Nforce board? If so disregard anything Sandra tells you.
     
  10. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

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    Yep its an Nforce, so if Sandra is spouting rubbish I'm no closer to nailing down my problem.
     
  11. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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  12. 4steve44

    4steve44

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    Soo.... just what is your fan cooling configuation;?)
     
  13. Arkady

    Arkady Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Everest is reporting the CPU temp as up to 70C - its dropped down now to 38C.

    Fan configuration is a fan and heatsink on the CPU, a case fan at the back, and that's about it. There are vents on the front and side for air in take. I presume the case fan is for exhaust but it seems to push more air in than it extracts!

    I've updated all the drivers so I don't think its a driver problem.
     
  14. NightLord

    NightLord

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    So the CPU temp doesn't seem to be the problem right now... However I've had a CPU that acted strangly as well and it turned out to be overheated at some point and I suppose due to that heat damage it suffered from current leaks or something because it definitely gave errors on a CPU test in DOS while temps at that moment never exceeded 50-ish degrees... Have you tried running a CPU test??? If not, I would do that first.

    You've ruled out the RAM for sure? Then maybe looking at the voltages may be worth the effort, just to rule out the power source.

    Another approach may be just to remove everything your system can do without (IDE/ATA/SATA/RAM/LAN whatever) and start adding things and see what happens...

    /NL
     
  15. 4steve44

    4steve44

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    A fan will not do both. Blow in and out. If you are not sure which way your fan is blowing put a sheet of paper up to it and see if it is sucked in or blown out. It definately should blow out. IMHO you have to little Fan cooling. If your fan in the back is a 80mm see if you can change it out to a 120mm. If the side panel will support a fan put one in there. Also IMHO most stock heatsink/fans are not up to the task of doing proper cooling. My prescott was cooker until I put a Zalman on the and upgraded my back exhaust to a 120mm blowing out As you can see in my pic I have also added a 120mm in the window just over the CPU and 2 80mm's over the HD's. My idles at high 30'sC and wiil load on [email protected] at 51C :p
     
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