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Sudden Death - PC Dies Mysteriously

Posted on 2003-11-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I thoroughly 'cleaned' my PC of dirt and accumulated dust recently. This invovled removal of the CPU heat sink and re-attaching it. Also, I've added two additional RDRAM modules. Since then, the PC dies at random  - and quite frequently too causing me to lose data (files currently in use - TMP files from Bearshare (a P2P download manager). When this happens, the monitor LED is still on as well as the num lock LED but the PC is rendered inoperable for all practical purposes. The reset button does not work. The XP Scandisk kicks in when I have completely powered down and restarted. It 'truncates' many files - usually the above mentioned TMP files.
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Question by:Oceanstar
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by:Jonybrv
ID: 9676372
Make sure the heatsink is properly seated. Also try removing the additional RAMs you have installed coz they could be bad.
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by:philby11
ID: 9676376
when you replaced the CPU heatsink did you check the thermal paste was still evenly coated over the CPU?
If you need to monitor the system temps try Aida32
http://www.webattack.com/get/aida32.shtml
It sounds more like a heat related problem than a RDRAM issue
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by:philby11
ID: 9676386
although it doesn't hurt to remove the new modules also
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by:akboss
ID: 9676422
Like was pointed out remove the new RAM. Swap out one at a time testing between swaps. It may be that one of the ram doesnt play well with the other(s). if they all work ok by themselves try placing 2 together and repeating the test.

Also a little info on your machine(cpu,mobo,ram,etc) would help us out .
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by:Oceanstar
ID: 9676688
Processor : x86 Family 15 Model 0 Stepping 7 GenuineIntel ~1395 Mhz
Motherboard : Intel D850GB
RAM : Total 384 MB (64 - 64 - 128 - 128)

I have the latest version of Intel Active Monitor installed and running but it shows nothing.

The swapping method would be too tedious because I may have to wait hours, even days testing each combination because the symptoms mentioned in the originnal post occur at random and there is no way to predict the sudden death. I do remember the PC acting strange when I installed the new modules (128 X 2). Im also unsure about the thermal paste issue. The heatsink came right off after I removed the clips. is it possible to get it glued back on properly?
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by:CycLonE
ID: 9676844
Dear Oceanstar,
I am affraid that your problem is much more serious than just a couple of badly plugged RAMs.

u c, when u unplugged the CPU fan. the cpu fan and upon installation a coat of thermal paste (as philby implied) is inserted between the cpu fan the cpu.

This paste is usally soft upon installation and dries out and became sort of sticky powder after use.

This paste protects the cpu by allowing the fast exchange of heat between cpu fan and the cpu for fast cooldown.

The symptoms you described in your comment indicates an overheated cpu.

Unfortunatly i don't know if you can just purchase only this cooling paste or u may have to buy a brand new cpu....

check the interl website for more info: http://www.intel.com


Good Luck ;-)
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by:CycLonE
ID: 9676850
Dear Oceanstar,
I am affraid that your problem is much more serious than just a couple of badly plugged RAMs.

u c, when u unplugged the CPU fan. the cpu fan and upon installation a coat of thermal paste (as philby implied) is inserted between the cpu fan the cpu.

This paste is usally soft upon installation and dries out and became sort of sticky powder after use.

This paste protects the cpu by allowing the fast exchange of heat between cpu fan and the cpu for fast cooldown.

The symptoms you described in your comment indicates an overheated cpu.

Unfortunatly i don't know if you can just purchase only this cooling paste or u may have to buy a brand new cpu....

check the interl website for more info: http://www.intel.com


Good Luck ;-)
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by:CycLonE
ID: 9676873
Dear Oceanstar,
I am affraid that your problem is much more serious than just a couple of badly plugged RAMs.

u c, when u unplugged the CPU fan. the cpu fan and upon installation a coat of thermal paste (as philby implied) is inserted between the cpu fan the cpu.

This paste is usally soft upon installation and dries out and became sort of sticky powder after use.

This paste protects the cpu by allowing the fast exchange of heat between cpu fan and the cpu for fast cooldown.

The symptoms you described in your comment indicates an overheated cpu.

Unfortunatly i don't know if you can just purchase only this cooling paste or u may have to buy a brand new cpu....

check the interl website for more info: http://www.intel.com


Good Luck ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:CycLonE
ID: 9676880
Dear Oceanstar,
I am affraid that your problem is much more serious than just a couple of badly plugged RAMs.

u c, when u unplugged the CPU fan. the cpu fan and upon installation a coat of thermal paste (as philby implied) is inserted between the cpu fan the cpu.

This paste is usally soft upon installation and dries out and became sort of sticky powder after use.

This paste protects the cpu by allowing the fast exchange of heat between cpu fan and the cpu for fast cooldown.

The symptoms you described in your comment indicates an overheated cpu.

Unfortunatly i don't know if you can just purchase only this cooling paste or u may have to buy a brand new cpu....

check the interl website for more info: http://www.intel.com


Good Luck ;-)
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by:philby11
ID: 9676899
you can buy thermal strips or paste from you local computer store( at least i can in Aussie)
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by:philby11
ID: 9676906
Do not run the system again until you check this out as you will cook you CPU!!!!!
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by:Oceanstar
ID: 9676945
Can't I simply buy a new heat sink and get it glued back on to the processor?
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philby11 earned 125 total points
ID: 9676968
yeah you could but you already own one.
when its all cool you should be able to gently rub or scratch off any of the old paste then for around $2 aussie
you can buy either a small square thermal pad ( make sure you remove the adhesive from both sides) & you around 5 of them in the pack or a small sachet of thermal paste. (as supplied with your average Vulcan).
Both are very easy to apply
good luck
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9677243
Also along the lines of replacing/swapping ram....It may be tedious....but hey would you rather deal with bad ram?  lockups....?  and freezes and your problems you are having now?  or fixing the problem totally....?  
I still think it is quite possible a memory problem.  As stated earlier by others, JUST REMOVE THE TWO NEW STICKS......

Sheesh...not hard...not tedious....and RDRAM needs to be ran in pairs anyway....so....simple enuff....change it back to original and see what happens....It could be a heat issue...but not as likely....what you can do is go into your bios...Most bios' are capable of displaying a CPU Temperature.  Usually if the temps are ranging under 60C, you should be ok....60C is fairly hot...and I would think that heat could be an issue.  IF it is under that....then you should be ok....

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by:akboss
ID: 9679781
RDRAM...sheesh I need to look at what is written better..
Wakeup is correct they do need to be set up in pairs.



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by:cybermatrix911
ID: 9679842
i think when you cleaned you'r pc that something wen't very wrong!
i think you'r motherboard got damaged while the cleaning or while the ram memory  upgrade
well it's  very hard to find out what it is because nobody has a clone pc where parts can be tested on
but if you'r systems hangs and you'r not able to reset it then it's probably the mainboard
this is also possible with a faulty power suply unit
but my first guess would be the mainboard

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by:rustyrpage
ID: 9680048
Also, you may want to verify that there is no dust/dirt in the RAM slots.  I had a PC that when a client "cleaned" it, they didn't take out the memory, so dirt got blown into the slots & the the PC restarted randomly.  Dirt can act as a conduit for electricity, as such, shorting out the mobo.  Try to remove all of the memory & get a can of compressed air & blow out the memory slots very well.  Then, do what everyone else has instructed you & put some thermal compound on the CPU/Fan.  I think you are mistaking what people are saying as a paste...it doesn't actually glue the CPU & heatsink together...it basically takes the heat/cool & disperses along the whole CPU, keeping the entire thing cool.  That is an essential part of keeping the CPU cool as just the fan cannot do the job.  Lastly, I would remove the two new sticks of memory, run it for a few days, if it doesn't lock up, then remove the two old pieces & put in just the two new ones, and then run it for a few days...if it happens, then that memory is bad, if it doesn't happen then there is a compatability issue.

That sounds simple enough to me.  It takes a few days, and sure, it may be tedious, but hey, it will end up saving you the time/energy & stress in the long run.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9680349
Tedious as it is....you asked a question and we are giving you comments and answers....If you dont want to try them we can't help you fix it.
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by:Oceanstar
ID: 9695746
I just got the heatsink remounted on the CPU. Its been about 12 hours now and no lock-up. I shall test the RAM modules (in case of a lock-up) and post the results. The service center where I got the heatsink mounted felt it could be a power supply issue.
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