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Computer overheats, then shutsdown

Posted on 2006-07-17
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Here's my issue:

I have a computer that I built myself about 9 months ago.  Recently, the computer/CPU has begun to overheat and shuts itself down for protection.  I know it's overheating because the BIOS indicates a high temperature (over 145 F) and ASUS Probe agrees with it.  The motherboard temperature seems to be fine (about 75 F)  This is what I've tried to eliminate problem:
1.  Reseat heatsink using thermal compound
2.  Replace CPU and heatsink
3.  Open front grill for more air circulation
4.  Checked event viewer for errors
5.  Did complete virus scan
6.  Did complete spyware scan
7.  Did Windows Update

The condition persists.

Here's my specs:
Intel P4 3.4Ghz 650+ Socket 775 CPU (800MHZ FSB) and replaced with Intel P4 3.2Ghz 640+ Processor
ASUS P5AD2-E Premium motherboard
2x1GB Kingston Memory sticks (KVR533D2N4K2/1G)
350W Power Supply
4 SATA Hard Drives in a RAID 10+1 configuration (mirrored and striped)
1PCI Express video card (not sure of model but it's an ATI knockoff)
1 Case fan near back of unit

Anyone have any ideas?  is it my power supply or what?  Help!


Question by:spackler
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LVL 70

Accepted Solution

garycase earned 420 total points
ID: 17125538
That is a very modest power supply for such a well-loaded system.   No guarantee it's causing your problem, but marginal power can and does cause a lot of issues.   I'd suggest a much larger supply - at leat 450w, and from a top-quality maker.   I'm a big fan of Seasonic -- this would be a good supply for your system:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817151023 (not quite 450w, but will be fine since it's a high-end unit);  or if you want some extra headroom (extra power) use this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817151024

If you properly mounted the heatsink (cleaned off the old thermal compound with isopropyl alcohol; waited for it to dry; used a top-quality thermal compound like Artic Silver 5; and applied it correctly) then you should NOT be seeing such high temps.   An unstable voltage rail is certainly ONE of the things that could still be causing this -- and it never hurts to have a top quality power supply.

Expert Comment

ID: 17126114
Just throw in my two cents.  My motherboard was beeping ridiculously a few weeks ago, although everything looked okay.  I took the fan/heat sink off the CPU and examined it.  Between the heatsink and fan, there was TONS and TONS of dust........an area not visable without removing from the box.  You can double check that two.

Author Comment

ID: 17126189
I'd like to comment further that the brand new CPU I used to test is running at a normal temperature and that I've removed both sides of the case to allow even more airflow.  Same thing is happening.  I'm thinking it is power supply issue but will put a new one in there and will check for dirty fan and check RPM tonight.  Thanks to everyone so far.
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

phototropic earned 80 total points
ID: 17126606
There is an argument that says that removing the case sides actually reduces the chance of the cooling system working. Your pc is a sealed unit which has a cooling system based upon the idea of fans moving air through it. If you remove the case sides, the fans have nothing to push against and cannot move any air.
Over 145 F is very hot and the heatsink and fan are the first suspects. Is the fan turning freely? Might you have used TOO MUCH thermal paste? (A blob the size of a small pea in the center of the contact area ought to do it).

Author Comment

ID: 17126645
Hmmm.  Interesting.  I will put it back together.  Right now, I'm using a brand new out-of-the-box Intel CPU so the thermal compound already afixed to the heat sink should suffice.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 17126678
While it's true that an open case does not have the designed airflow, and can cause the motherboard's overall temperature to increase, I have NEVER seen a case where the CPU temp increased -- since the ambient air around the CPU heatsink (which has its own fan) is decreased when the case is open.

... and yes, if you're using the stock heatsink, the originally applied thermal compound is exactly the right amount.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 17128383
i would suggest trying this  :
check the cpu temp, open the case, and put a fan on it. Then the temperature should show a lower reading.
If you want to calculate the power you need, look here :  http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp      
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 17128442
If the heatsink, fan and thermal paste situation is all as it should be, and you have swapped out the PSU, you may need to consider other solutions.
Have you considered CPUIdle:


This is a piece of software which lowers CPU temp.by up to 10 degrees. And unless you do a lot of on-line gaming, you shouldn't notice any impact on performance.
I have used this software on several client computers and it seems to work.

Expert Comment

ID: 17128519
350W is not enough for this system. 450+
look for any damage around the cpu. little electronic things :) may be damaged because of heat.

Author Comment

ID: 17134629
So far so good.  The 450W is doing the trick after about 5 hours on the job.  It's an Antec 450W Smartpower 2.0 power supply.  $65 on http://newegg.com.  Has a few drawbacks (only two SATA, no 12V PCI-E clip).  The system is stable even at more than average loads.  The case is also completely sealed and temparatures are above normal but that's environmental (no AC).  I'm going to wait a few days and give points to gary case and probably a few to phototropic.  Thanks everyone.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 17134648
You're welcome -- that's almost certainly all you need.   As I noted, marginal power causes a lot of issues; and 350w was definitely too low for your system.   The Antec is a good mid-range power supply unit, and should give you excellent service.

Expert Comment

by:Sam Cohen
ID: 17161087
is the sicker remove from the bottom of new cpu?

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