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I think I have a cooling problem, and boy do I need help

By alwaysl3arning ยท 17 replies
Mar 13, 2006
  1. Okay - I don't know where else to turn.

    What's my problem and how do I fix it?

    Short version: If I leave the side of the case on the machine, after about 3 minutes, it completely shuts down without warning. If I take the side cover off the machine, it stays on for a long time (at least several hours).

    Long version: I have an Asus A8SLI-Premium board, amd64x2-4400+. It WAS in a stock Antec 640 case (no added fans). I haven't had a single problem untill about 3 weeks ago. I had a problem where I couldn't boot up the machine, and using a power supply tester, narrowed it down to what I though was the mb. Sent it off for warranty work. Just got it back, and had the same problem - no boot action even when the green led on the mb lights up. i dont even know if asus did anything. SO, thinking it still might be the ps, i bought an Antec 550 Neo ps and sure enough, the computer would boot up. i installed it in the 640 case and started the machine. i also just installed a thermaltake big typhoon with artic silver 5. not 3 minutes after i turned on the computer, it shut itself off without warning. i tried monitoring the cpu temp, and it stayed very cool. all this is under idle load. So I bought an extra case fan (80mm) and installed it in the front bezel, thinking that this would work. No deal. Then I thought, well maybe the case is not compatible with this big ps, so I bought an Antec p180 case (3 120 mm fans stock, with a separate ps cooling channel) and installed the stock amd heatsink again using artic silver 5. This time it stayed on about 5 minutes before it also shut down. I tried upping the 120 mm fan speeds from low all the way to high. No dice - shutdown after 1 minute (shorter time b/c of residual heating I'm guessing). Right now, I've got the side off and it's been running about 30 minutes. I may let it run all night (running memtest86).

    I'm at my wits end. I've dropped more $$ than I cared to fix this problem. I don't want to run with the side off the case. I'm not overclocking. I just want this thing to be fixed. What's going on with this? Did I maybe not put enough thermal grease on the cpu before installing the heatsink? What do I do?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I've been messing around system cooling for a long time. Which is why I'm quite active in the cooling section of this forum.

    I can't really tell if its a cooling problem, although your removal of the side panel does suggest it somewhat. Usually removing the side panel doesn't really help things unless you have a big fan blowing into the case.

    What happens after the computer shuts itself off? Overheating problems tend to be the restart kind, not rebooting if I'm right. And it'll just keep on restarting (since its already hot), shouldn't need to wait till windows load up to do that.

    If its an overheating problem, there's a few possibilities:
    1. You didn't apply the AS5 properly. Farfetched, especially if you had followed the instructions.

    2. Your PSU is overheating. Again, farfetched even if you had hidden your comp under the table with little/no breathing space because the PSU you mentioned is a pretty good one (I'm thinking of getting a small wattage one soon).

    3. Your chipset is overheating. Yet again, farfetched. You are not doing any overclocking, and the motherboard's standard heatsink (and fan if there's one) should suffice. Assuming you didn't do anything to it of course.

    4. You didn't plug in the fan for the cpu/gpu/etc. Its a simple problem then. Doesn't really explain why it'll run for so long though.

    If you're really sure its an overheating problem, when it shuts down, just quickly open the cover and stick your hand on all the heatsinks you can find, and your HDD. Be careful you don't touch what you're not supposed to (live wires aren't too friendly) or you unplug something. Just shutdown and stick your hand into the various parts before doing it for good, making sure you don't hit anything when you go in.

    If something is really hot (it'll hurt somewhat) then its an overheating issue. Fix it.

    What I think could be the case is that there's something wrong with the OS/drivers or something. I don't know much about it if thats the problem.

    And don't fret, all that money you spent are on stuff you can always reuse on new machines (I'm sure people who spend money on watercooling systems migrate those systems. Unless they have alot of disposable income that is. Come to think of it, they would have if they bought a watercooling system and a computer thats worthy of one....)
  3. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    get into BIOS and monitor temps through PC Health Status or somewhere along those lines. the temps in there are temps under load.. if your CPU is below 50, System is below 50, and all others aer around 30-45, then your temps should be fine.

    THE ONE THING that confuses me is HOW your computer tends to stay on longer with the side panel off.. i was thinking there's something loose that when the side panel is on, the airflow blows this 'loose' part a little that must be restarting your system. so that when the side panel is off, the air flow is pretty much blow out to the side. \\

    Possible solution:
    unplug everything out of the motherboard, yes everything, even your CPU and video card and what not. clean off the AS5 with some good cleaner. now inspect your motherboard. shake a bit n make sure it feels sturdy (as in no loose parts clicking around) now check your harddrive (visually), ram sticks (make sure they dont look like theyve been fried) if you have an amp/volt meter, check your PSU and make sure its giving out enuf power (optional)

    replug everything in, inspect it visually again and boot n see what happens
  4. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did this on both cases - the 640 and the big p180. In both instances, the computer would run until I turned it off or restarted it myself.

    It just shuts down immediately. No reboot. Power LED on the mb stays green. I have to press the power key to turn it back on.

    No mods or overclock, chipset uses a stock heatsink, all fans are spinning/plugged in. I did follow instructions putting a 3/4" bb-size of compound on the heatspreader. maybe i need to spread it out myself instead of using the heatsink base (by twisting according to instructions).

    I'll try feeling around the mb, although this same thing happened after i disconnected all the drives and removed all but one memory module (and switched it around). the memory modules have heatspreaders on them too.

    Also, I don't suspect a driver problem, as it does this whether i boot into windows xp as normal, or use a boot disk to start memtest86.

    Thanks for the help. I'll let you know what I find. I may also try moving the psu outside the case just to see what happens. can't hurt. i'll really be disappointed if this is the case, esp with the fact that it basically has an extra 120 mm fan dedicated to it (outside of it's own fans).
  5. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'll try this too. Sometimes I can't move around in the bios fast enough to monitor temps (it shuts down when I'm in the bios as well). I didn't see anything strange about the cpu temps when i was running the windows boot, though. seems like 34-36C was the cpu temp, according to the asus monitor utility.

    You and me both. It did the same thing with both cases.

    I've actually tried this - kinda. I've unplugged all the drives, peripherals, etc to see if it would do the same thing, and it does. Just shuts off. Even if I'm in the bios. I haven't tryied shaking it, so i'll try that. I don't have a volt meter, but I may go get one today.

    So I thought that it's gotta be either the psu, mb, or chip. I've already removed the heatsink from the cpu, so I'll go ahead and check this too. As mentioned above, I'm gonna take the psu out and let it run on the floor, outside of the case, and see what happens too. that should narrow down the psu cooling issue, at any rate.

    Thanks. I'll let you know what I find.
  6. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    Hm, its strange that the PC shuts down even in BIOS... never heard of this happening before.. What kind of PSU are you running? I believe you've swapped your PSU for another one and still doing the same thing? if it is, try ONE more PSU (bring it to the shop and borrow one there or something and/or ask a friend to lend you one for a minute) If it still does that, it probably isn't the PSU and something is wrong with the board.

    Have you tried RMA-ing the board or exchanging for a different one?

    Its quite unfortunate that you forked out so much $$ for this system and all it gives you is trouble and more money-forking-out... makes me sad =[
  7. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update on my problem

    Just so you know, I sent the mb off to asus about 4 weeks ago to try and solve the problem that evidentally turned out to be the psu (doesn't look like asus did anything b/c it acted the same way when I got it back). I hope I don't have to sent the mb off again b/c it's a two week turnaround time that ends up being around 3 weeks with shipping.

    Okay, here's the weird thing. I removed the heatsink and noticed the entire heatspreader surface was not coated with the articsilver. So I removed it all again, and applied slightly more (a full bb size) to the heatspreader. I placed the heatsink on it and twisted it ccw and cw as much as I could.

    I turned the computer on and went to the bios to watch the temps. CPU temp maxed out around 31C and the mb temp was around 33C. This stayed like this for about 45 minutes. I rebooted the computer, and started the memtest86 program from a boot floppy. The side panel was on the computer. Now, here comes the weird part. The whole time, this mid-tower had been laying on it's side. Not more than 3 minutes after I righted the tower and booted to memtest, everything shut off!!! To test this, I turned the computer back on its side and rebooted to memtest. I left it running. It's been running for about 2 hours like this.

    Okay, so I just turned it right-side up, and I'm timing this. It's running memtest. We'll see how long it lasts. I'll post an update as soon as something happens.
  8. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update #2

    Okay, so this time it took about 20 minutes before it shut off once in the upright position, side panel on.

    Question: when you put artic silver on the heatspreader, do you spread it around, or just use one dot/dab in the center of the h-spreader, and let the heat sink distribute it?

    I know that when I installed the HS the first time, it was covered with thermal compound, a square of it that mated with the heat spreader. Much more than artic silver recommends from their website.

    Also, I notice that the fan on the top of the case is an intake and the back of the case is an exhaust. Don't know if that helps or not.

    I have yet to start up the computer and feel around for the components; that will probably come soon. I just hope my CPU isn't messed up.
  9. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    ive never really heard a computer that will only operate while its lying on its side. did you do anything to the computer gods? =P

    to apply arctic silver, you can either put a little bit on the center on the CPU and let the HSF do the flattening (as Arctiv Silver recommends) OR you can do some manual spreading. I've never really noticed a difference in temps with these two methods (i've tried both ways).

    Is it possible for you to go to a local shop and ask them to test your parts in a different motherboard? or if you ca, plug ur stuff in ur other computer (or a friends PC's motherboard) and see what happens. as of right now, the best I can advice is to do trial and errors.

    I have never heard of something like this so I am not sure mcuh what else to tell you
  10. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    A computer that only works on its side? I am starting to suspect something is loose somewhere.... Try shaking the comp and see if anything's rattling.

    Also, it could be that during the installation of the m/b into the casing, a screw has made contact with something it shouldn't, and for some reason, lying it on its side makes it lose contact.

    A very weird problem, I must say. Best thing to do is to get another comp, and plug your components into the other one one by one. Not many people have another comp of about the same age to do this, and if you have, you're kinda lucky.
  11. rickatnight11

    rickatnight11 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    I had a similar problem where the machine would turn off after about 5 minutes TOPS, and I would have to unplug the machine for 10 seconds to drain the power because it wouldn't even let me turn it back on. When the machine was on it's side, however, it ran perfectly fine. I found out that the CPU Heatpipe cooler was not tight enough on the the CPU. I removed it, reapplied the thermal paste using Arctic's tutorial and retightened it. The problem, was solved. I don't know how my ASUS recognized it, but this could be your problem
  12. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Stock stuff shouldn't have tightness problem, but this might be the case, sounds very plausible.

    *Adds to list of stuff to check.
  13. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update #3

    Okay - I feel like this should be a blog.

    Turns out, there is an issue with Antec Neo 550HE and my Asus MB (A8N-SLI Premium). After a few minutes of operation, it turns off without warning. I contacted Antec on a whim and they told be about this, that there was a batch of psu's that were flakey. Now, my SN didn't match up with the lot that was bad, but they told me that they felt like this was definitely a psu issue, and they told me to rma it. I bought it locally, so I'm headed down to exchange it and try a different psu right now. If this doesn't work, I may follow through with the rma process, maybe continue to chase the other.

    I shook the MB and didn't hear anything rattle. I double checked the AS5 website to make sure I was doing everything correctly, and I feel like I am.

    Just installed the new Neo 550 HE. Testing it now.

    I'll let you know what I find.
  14. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update #4

    Well, after exchanging and replacing the psu (again), the unit ran okay with just memory, fans, cpu and a floppy to power, sides of the case on, standing upright - all night long, under a table. I'm hoping my problem is fixed, though I won't have a warm fuzzy until I get the hdd and dvd connected and running, and running the OS.

    By the way, if this does solve my problem, I want to thank everyone that posted and provided me help. It was invaluable.

    Now I just hope that I haven't put too much as5 on the chip. I guess I can always redo that - again.

    Any experience on putting too much ArticSilver5 on the CPU?
  15. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    I once put a bit too much, the temps were warmer but nothing drastic. anyway, the HSF will press on it so tightly that it'll squeeze out the excess. I've tried the way AS5 instructs ppl to apply the TIM, and ive tried it the other way, whcih is spreading the TIM on the CPU nice and thin. as thin as possible. I've even tried putting the HSF on without an TIM and let me tell yah, it was the same temps.. I almost forgot I didnt even put any AS5 in there.

    All in all, as long as you didnt squeeze like, a quarter of the tube on ur CPU, ur pretty safe. I recommend doing it the AS5 way:

    squeeze out AS5 about hte size of a small BB in the center of the CPU, put the HSF on and clip it or tighten it, and try the HSF side to side a little. and that it. overtime, do some extensive CPU work to 'bake' or 'cure' the AS5

    btw, TIM = Thermal Interface Material (i.e Arctic Silver 5)
  16. alwaysl3arning

    alwaysl3arning TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, 10 hours and running, so it looks like the whole ordeal was the psu. Thanks again for everyone's assistance.

    I didn't squeeze a quarter of the tube on there - probably about a good bb size, maybe a little more than a bb. Sounds like I'll be okay.
  17. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    ahh sounds good then. have fun with your build!
  18. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Ah cool. Another happy ending....
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