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Overheating for no good reason

By MrZach
Apr 28, 2008
  1. I'm pretty sure my computer just started overheating for no apparent reason. I left it downloading some files this morning, and when I returned in the afternoon everything on the screen was frozen - including my mouse pointer. I reset and listen to that happy "crunching" sound of the computer processing information, but after a few short minutes it freezes again - and all I hear is the humming of fans... If I leave the computer off for an extended period of time, I can get a bit more life out of it before it freezes, so I'm pretty sure this is a classic overheating problem...

    The trouble is, I've done all the normal troubleshooting and it still isn't getting better! I checked all the fans and they're operating just fine. I opened up the box and thoroughly cleaned out the dust (there was a LOT), including getting dust out of the fans, vents, heatsinks, and everywhere else - that baby is CLEAN... I put it back together and started it up, monitoring all the fans... but still it won't make it more than 5 minutes without going completely frozen.

    I tried running the PC in safe mode: Same result.

    I'm at my wit's end here trying to get my PC up and running again. Please let me know what else I can do, thank you so much!
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,266   +92

    Try monitoring your temperatures in the BIOS if you can. Test your HDD and RAM.

    Otherwise, leave the side of your case off and set a house fan on high pointing toward the innards of your PC. If you can get even more "life" out of it, you're likely correct with your assumption. Now, you need figure out what is overheating.

    Start with the CPU, and PSU. Reseat your CPU's heatsink with fresh thermal compound and if that fails, swap your PSU with another.
     
  3. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes,
    Open up the case and also check for dust and orther debris inside the computer and make sure all the fans are running properly
     
  4. Germ

    Germ TS Rookie

    Also be sure to test all your components...it COULD be you might have damaged something when it did over heat...if it is partially damaged it will act very sporadic or wont work at all...let us know the results!
     
  5. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I kinda agree with Germ, something might have been damaged from it overheating, but I kinda doubt it. Usually it'll take more than just overheating for a day or two.

    You did mention alot of dust, which you cleared out. You also mentioned that you put it all back together again.

    The question here is, did you do it properly? With thermalpastes and everything (assuming you took off the heatsink)?

    However, before we go off searching for heat related issues, check your temps first. Go to BIOS, there should be a temp reading in there somewhere.... and see what the last reading is before your comp shuts down on you.
     
  6. MrZach

    MrZach TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry it took me so long to get back on this - I had finals last week and needed to focus and not stress about my rig...

    Okay, so first, I swapped my HD out for a known good and booted off of that - same problem: computer froze within 15 minutes...

    Next, I installed a PC diagnostics program to monitor temperatures and it froze at:
    CPU/MB: 44c
    HD: 23c
    GFX Card: 63c

    So... I'm pretty sure heat isn't the problem.

    What next? Could it be faulty RAM? The RAM is a pair of Corsair 1GB's and I noticed the indicator bars on the side stop going up and down when it freezes... Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean its the RAM, but what next...? Replace my RAM?

    Also - I have a little clock running on the desktop and that freezes as well, so I know it isn't just the input devices!

    I'm going to take it apart again and double check my assembly... If it starts working I'll post here, otherwise... help! =o(
     
  7. Eduardomi

    Eduardomi TS Rookie

    Yeah, my laptop's fan seems to not be very efficient as it is ALWAYS on and also over revs sometimes to try to cool the laptop, Also the front panel (where you rest your hands) get super super hot. Would this be normal ?
     
  8. MrZach

    MrZach TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...I think I may have stumbled across the source of my problem! The nForce4 SLI chip has a small heatsink and fan attached to it... As I *COMPLETELY* disassembled every last tiny piece of my computer that I could I discovered that this heatsink/fan was loose.

    A bracket holding it in place had snapped off, AND the thermal compound was worn, corroded, not holding it down anymore... I carefully removed the heatsink/fan and cleaned the old TC off... I'm picking up some Arctic Silver 5 tomorrow to reattach the bad boy. I'm also going to have to retrofit some kind of makeshift plastic rod to hold it in place better, but I'll figure it out...

    Hopefully this fixes it and all my tinkering hasn't damaged the motherboard too far beyond repair. I decided that after all this crap I'm just going to start upgrading - starting with the mother board - and putting all the old working components into a case for my little sister to have her own comp...
     
  9. MrZach

    MrZach TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...I think I may have stumbled across the source of my problem! The nForce4 SLI chip has a small heatsink and fan attached to it... As I *COMPLETELY* disassembled every last tiny piece of my computer that I could I discovered that this heatsink/fan was loose.

    A bracket holding it in place had snapped off, AND the thermal compound was worn, corroded, not holding it down anymore... I carefully removed the heatsink/fan and cleaned the old TC off... I'm picking up some Arctic Silver 5 tomorrow to reattach the bad boy. I'm also going to have to retrofit some kind of makeshift plastic rod to hold it in place better, but I'll figure it out...

    Hopefully this fixes it and all my tinkering hasn't damaged the motherboard too far beyond repair. I decided that after all this crap I'm just going to start upgrading - starting with the mother board - and putting all the old working components into a case for my little sister to have her own comp...
     
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    This is not normal! Your laptops CPU heat sink assemply or exhaust ports are probably clogged with dust
     
  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    You might try checking the HDDs for any EOL signs. Freezing is usually one of the first signs, followed by clicking noises.
     
  12. elbongo

    elbongo TS Rookie Posts: 22

    yea def check your HDD for EOL signs. I had a HDD that messed my system up, it wouldnt freeze my comp but i had to live with the clicking for about a month, my slave hdd fried and my comp wouldnt allow me to take it out lol, i couldnt start my comp w/o the hdd, i finally replaced the slave with a new 160gb solved all my probs.
     
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    EOL= End of Life? What are some of these signs?
     
  14. pdyckman@comcas

    pdyckman@comcas TS Rookie Posts: 527

    Try one ram module at a time, or a different module for a test. I didn't see that mentioned. PC Wizard has a readout that includes your GP temps as well as your CPU. Everest free "Ultimate edition" shows mainboard temps, as wel as graphics processor and CPU temp. If you combine these temp monitors, you may see in real time which part of your PC is the offender. Good Luck.
     
  15. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    guys, he said he found the problem.

    Btw, if you can get another NB heatsink, you should be able to get your computer back to working condition. However, its not a bad idea to replace the motherboard anyway if you need it to be safe.

    A quick google of EOL signs for HDDS:

    1. Frequent freezes. You lose complete control of mouse and keyboard. In a freeze, your cursor remains stationary and does not respond. You have no option but to force quit, then restart.

    2. Losing files. If you know you were working on a file a day earlier, but it's not on your computer today, your hard drive may be showing signs of failure. Another symptom is losing recently saved parts of files. If you frequently find yourself thinking: "I know I saved that little section I added to the document, but it's not there now," you're experiencing what could be the forerunner of a crash.

    3. Lockup during boot up. Computer experts have assured me that all computers -- even new computers in pristine condition -- sometimes lock as they're booting up. But if it happens frequently, consider it a danger signal.

    I'll add extremely slow boot to that, although there are a number of factors which may cause that.

    Also, weird noises. May be clicking, scraping, etc. Just make sure they're coming from the HDDs, and not something else (fans, DVD drive, etc)

    Just be careful once your drive is about 4-5 years old. It can fail sooner than that, but the average drive will fail around that time.
     
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