CPU: thermal meltdown or just a reset

By Rick Koenig
Mar 12, 2008
  1. I have a custom-built computer that was given to me, with a P4 processor, Intel D845PBET2 m/b, big case with multiple cooling fans, and honkin' big heatsink and fan on CPU.

    I recently experienced what appeared to be a thermal shutdown. I'd put this big case in one of those semi-enclosed cabinets (open in back) in a desk, and it got a bit warm in there. At the shutdown, I pulled out the case, found it to be quite warm. Mea culpa, should have known better. But it cooled off quickly and with enough ventilation it soon was back up and running.

    However the next day or so, I experienced another shutdown. This time restarting even when cold, it would not come up. Power to the box and the P/S is running, but otherwise no messages, and no output to monitor. In fact the monitor had a 'no signal' message, so the computer just won't boot. I suspected the heat got to the video card at first, but swapping cards didn't improve things.

    Now I'm suspecting the P4 is shut down. But is this a permanent damage situation, or is there a reset option? If I *promise* to keep it cooler, will it come back to life?

    Someone suggested that the heat may have dissipated the thermal grease and compromised the heatsink. And that I need only repaste the thing with Arctic Silver. Maybe, but getting the whole CoolerMaster fan and heatsink assembly off is not obvious, and I'm a little concerned that I might apply too little or too much Arctic Silver, generally make matters worse. Never having done this before, I only have the general idea.

    SO - is this likely to be the problem and a little heat paste will fix it, and that is within even my limited capability? Or is this CPU just toasted? Or am I somewhere in between?

    If this is a "leave it to the professionals" then I'll likely just start over with another system and move my working components over. The very moderate cost of a comparable system these days makes paying for expensive repairs not justifiable.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. someonedying

    someonedying TS Rookie

    First off, do you get power to fans or LED, video card fan? is cpu fan connected? ATX power cables connected?(main power cable from psu to motherboard; 24-20 pin cable)

    and you might want to take off the heat sink and read these instructions and re-apply the compound, if thats not the problem, I'll be here asking you more questions and we can walk you through things, better to save $$$ if you don't need to spend it.
  3. Rick Koenig

    Rick Koenig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yep, power everywhere

    All fans come on with power up - p/s, cpu fan, case 1-in and 2-out fans. The video card in there now doesn't have a fan, the original one did but I'm sure it would work, too. There's a green LED on the m/b that comes on as soon as I plug the power cable into the back.

    Getting the fan off the CPU is not intuitive. It has two metal bars with ridged tabs on one end to lock it down. But since I didn't install that, I'm not sure how to release them. They seem to slide forward or backwards a bit (being careful not to break anything off) but don't unlock. That is, they slide parallel to the m/b as though they're in tracks. How to release them and the fan is not immediately apparent.

    And should I even try that without getting some Arctic Silver first? That's a 45 minute trip each way tomorrow, and I'd like to do that only if it's reasonable to assume it will resolve the problem. Gas prices being what they are and all... But first of all I'll need to get the fan off.

    I could get photos of the fan assembly but that kind of posting probably isn't allowed here. First post, so I need to read up on the rules some more.

    Thanks for the start toward a solution,
  4. someonedying

    someonedying TS Rookie

    Did you mean: Intel D845PEBT2 (notice the pebt and your pbet)

    Now, you can always order online and save a bunch of gas and time, and work with other hardware until the thermal compound arrives. I'd do that if it was me.

    Well, it looks like you have the same exact problem as I have.

    Can you be specific with a list of your hardware descriptions?

    ie. RAM / PSU model / CPU / ect..

    And it seems to me as this guy bought a Dell a LONG time ago, and just put stuff from the Dell in a big case and gave it to you, I'm not 100% sure though as you have not gave any more information. But that motherboard looks really out-dated and it might be better to build your own computer or even buy one made already.
  5. Rick Koenig

    Rick Koenig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    More info as requested

    You're probably right about the M/B model, I no doubt transposed a couple of letters as I typed it. Intel D845PEBT2.

    Not sure of the specfic CPU, but P4 I think 3.2GHz, HT. P/S is 400W. It had 256mb, I added 1mb,. It had a 30gb hard drive, I added a 300gb drive. I had a Belarc Advisor run but, you see, it's on the computer and...

    If we have to know more I can pull the HD and find the Belarc files on another system.

    I knew this was a cobbled-together Frankenstein-type system, but it worked fine -- up until I tried to kill it, that is. And I don't need more than this for my home purposes.

    Thanks again.
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    When you start the PC do you hear HDD activity (as if Windows were loading)?

    Your components should be fine if the thermal compound is just dried up (including your CPU). If that is the cause of your system hanging upon powering on the system though, you are putting a lot of stress on the CPU by starting your PC over and over.

    Order some Arctic Silver 5 and it will probably be at your doorstep in 1-2 days if you order it via Newegg. You might also want to buy some ACN-60ML, it's not required but it does get the thermal compound off easily. You can just use Isopropyl Alcohol.

    Either figure out how to take the heatsink off yourself, or have a friend that is a bit more knowledgeable help you.
  7. Rick Koenig

    Rick Koenig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think I replied to this, but yes, activity everywhere as best I can tell but no output.

    I only tried to restart once or twice. Is there any kind of thermal "reset" needed? M/B is Intel D845PEBT2.

    Ay, there's the rub. I can't find anyone to help. And I really can't figure out how to mechanically release the clamps holding down the fan and heatsink. I'm afraid all my wiggling and such might damage the m/b. So I've suspended that effort for the time being, trying to do internet research to see how they typically work.

    I did get some thermal compound similar to Arctic Silver, but no way to try that without getting all this harness stuff off first.

    Any other thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.
  8. lamberth

    lamberth TS Rookie

    I have the same problem with my D845PEBT2 with a Pentium 4 Processor. The problem started yesterday. I replaced the thermal grease. The problem did not occur again for about an hour then reappeared. I removed the heat sink and gave it a good cleaning and reapplied the thermal grease. Rebooted several times with varying uptimes from one minute to one hour then would shut itself off. I shut it down to rebuild my RAID drives, but when I powered up, it now will not reboot. BIOS does not appear on screen; "no signal" message appears on screen, there is power to the motherboard as indicated with the green light on the m/b, fans are operational and hard drives are operational. Need some verification that the board has gone belly up?
  9. Rick Koenig

    Rick Koenig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Seems similar problem to me

    Sure sounds like the same symptoms that I had, except mine only powered back up once before going into this black hole of non-recovery. I replaced everything (video card, memory, CPU) and no luck. So I'd have to suspect it is the m/b. I finally gave up and bought another system. I don't have the time, money, or interest in replacing a m/b.

    If anyone else comes up with a solution to your problem maybe we'll both have our systems back. But until then it's an expensive doorstop.
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