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Overheating P4

Posted on 2006-03-22
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Firstly this question leads on from

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_21765926.html

As the problem reappeared again merely hours later.
In trying to solve the problem I've tried a bunch of things and I'm pretty confident the issue is related to CPU temperature, that is when the temp is high (50-60 degrees) on a P4 3.0Ghz, things tend to fail, on the other hand when it's low (40-48) it seems less likely to fail.

This is a multipart problem - firstly I'm fairly confident that the temperature is related to the problem from much trial and error, but I haven't been able to find info about what temperatures are acceptable for a P4. So what are they?

Secondly, while trying to keep the machine cool, I've used Speedfan to adjust the fanspeed in an upwards direction (from 33% to 100% - very noisy but it works better) - however the fanspeed drops to normal a second or so after going up, even though speedfan claims 100% neither the noise nor the RPM match this. I've had to tap speed up and slow down quickly in order to keep the fan steady at 100% speed. Why is it doing this, and how do I fix it?

Thirdly, I've been looking in the BIOS for some options that might help, things I'd been hoping for include underclocking the CPU to gain a bit more stability, putting the default fan speed up, and searching in vain for a 'break randomly = Enabled' option I seem to have had on since recieving the PC. The bios seems to lack any of these features. As such I'm looking to update it - I can't find an updated version of the BIOS on the system manufacturers site, in fact the site drives me insane with circular links and misdirection, moreover I don't know for sure which   of the many brands of Acer Aspire I've got.

PC info: p4 3.0ghz, MB model# E61ML, BIOS ver#R02-A4, 1GB RAM, Win2k.
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Question by:DiamondMX
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Accepted Solution

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willcomp earned 375 total points
ID: 16264972
50 to 60 degrees C is a fairly normal operating range for a P4 with stock or similar CPU cooler.

You problem could be heat or stress related but not due to CPU itself.

Testing done previously tends to indicate a motherboard problem such as a faulty capacitor or memory controller.

Try removing side cover and placing a portable fan blowing into case to see if additional cooling helps.

Usually part swappping is the best way to resolve issues similar to yours.  Already changed RAM and PSU which leaves CPU and motherboard.
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Author Comment

by:DiamondMX
ID: 16264990
Slight problem in that I don't have a spare CPU nor motherboard and neithers is a 'buy on a whim' component.

On that thought, which CPU types would be compatable with my motherboard?
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Author Comment

by:DiamondMX
ID: 16265027
Also I don't see any clear problems with the capacitors.

Further note, the problem is very intermittant, in that it varies in regularity, sometimes almost stopping completely. This makes it very difficult to test for and it's had the all clear from a PC repair shop twice already.
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Author Comment

by:DiamondMX
ID: 16265045
By portable fan, what sort of thing do you suggest?
A desk fan?
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Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 16265139
Any small (10" to 12") portable fan such as a desk fan or a larger fan placed on floor or table blowing into case.  What you need is additional air flow into case.

Although deformation or leakage indicates failed capacitors, they can and do fail or exhibit erratic behavior without any visible signs of damage.
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Expert Comment

by:compfixer101
ID: 16270584
badcaps.net

cf101
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Expert Comment

by:compfixer101
ID: 16270602
you could look into water cooling for you system

cf101
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Expert Comment

by:SpheroidUK
ID: 16270702
65 degrees would be a "threshold" if you like, for good operation of a P4 processor. I would say that you should try replacing the stock P4 fan/heatsink with an Akasa one (i find them one of the best and cheapest) and apply some thermal paste to the CPU. This, combined with an intake fan in the front of your PC and an exhaust at the back for good airflow, should stop it from overheating. If you still find that the PC is overheating, you might want to consider replacing the CPU as some transistors inside the CPU itself may be starting to fail, causing the resistance within the CPU to be lower, hence causing overheating and CRC errors in your applications.
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Author Comment

by:DiamondMX
ID: 16359987
But given the max temp is around 54, can anyone suggest a reason for the comp to be showing symptoms of overheating, without actually reaching the temperatures at which it should overheat?
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Author Comment

by:DiamondMX
ID: 16592618
Accepted the A that answered most of my Q.
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