I’ve been struggling off and on with an issue on my Dad’s computer the last month or so. He said that it would occasionally just shut off completely out of the blue. (He also admonished me not to spend much time on it. Unfortunately problems like this are usually the ones that take the most time to solve because they seem random and it’s hard to pin down the cause.) He runs Windows XP primarily (although we have an ubuntu install setup as a dual boot choice.) In the last year the power supply and video card have been replaced for similar behavior. Although it’s been several months since the replacement with little “misbehaving” since. One of the things I did was run a memory test, which came out fine.
The hard drive also tests fine. So, I tried a stress test of the cpu, cpuburn.
The system died and it took several minutes before it would restart. It sounds like an overheating issue.
I installed speedfan under windows so I could see the reported CPU temperature and sure enough when it came back up it was in the 50-55 degree celsius range. After testing a few online videos and observing the temperature (and a few online searches for the expected temperature range and auto-cut off levels) it appeared that it would shut down at around 57 degrees celsius (maybe 56) and then refuse to reboot until it had cooled well below the threshold.
So, we ordered a new cooling fan. Unfortunately it didn’t do much better than the initial fan. The temperature still hovered in that borderline high range of 53-55 degrees celsius. So, I looked in the bios to see if there was any way to adjust the auto cutoff. (At this point in time it was annoyingly frequent.) No way to adjust (bios on this by the way is identified as F15 revision (for the long string of GA – 7VT600 F15 that shows on system boot…. the revision date is 8/16/2004-kt600-8235……etc.etc. The processor is an AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Socket A)
SO…. new cooling fan not being productive, no bios updates to allow us to tinker with the threshold temperature for cutoff… so I did the smarter thing which was add a second fan to the case. This fan was placed to blow air out of the back of the case from just behind the cpu heat sink. Since that fan has been installed I think the highest temperature I’ve seen registered was 51 degrees celsius (under heavy load – 10 minutes of an online flash video running fullscreen.) Most of the time it settles in the mid 40′s celsius.
My hope is that has at least bought us a few more months of use out of the system.
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