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Dell XPS 435MT Motherboard Temps Crazy HIGH?!

Posted on 2014-01-20
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi all.
I have a Dell XPS 435MT with a 1st gen i7 CPU.
Had it for a few years and then gave it to my friend.
He used to for a year or two with the tower being under his desk.
It's a very compact space and he left the PC on nearly 24/7.
Eventually he said it was running poorly and he wanted to upgrade.
I helped him find a new PC and took his old one.
I used compressed air to clean the system out and then powered it on.
When I ran Speccy to check out some temps, I saw the motherboard had a temp of 79 (celsius).
I thought maybe the thermal compound needed to be reapplied so I went ahead and did that.
This didn't help at all.  I also wound up removing the data on the drive because I attempted to reinstall Windows. This didn't work out very well.  It just shut off halfway through the install so now I can't get into Windows to run any diagnostics or anything.
The fans kick into high gear immediately upon booting so the fans are working.  I'm at a loss as to what could be causing this issue.
I definitely don't want to toss the PC as it's a pretty decent machine and I need it as a spare.
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Question by:homerslmpson
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39795022
>>  When I ran Speccy to check out some temps, I saw the motherboard had a temp of 79 (celsius).

Possibly a bug in Speccy.  Run other utils to check such as Speedfan http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

I know you used compressed air but did you blow out the heatsink and fan as well?

And does the system start up with the hard disk disconnected?
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39795383
The system starts up regardless.  I can have it boot from the Windows DVD and attempt to install Windows but it doesn't get too far before the screen goes black indefinitely.
I can't tell you for sure if I cleaned out the heat sink but I needed to take the heatsink out to reapply the thermal compound and I don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary.
I have a feeling the temperature is accurate only because the fans are going into high gear and don't die down. They just stay on full blast.  The computer shouldn't sound like a server lol
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39795432
>>  I can have it boot from the Windows DVD and attempt to install Windows but it doesn't get too far before the screen goes black indefinitely.

Model of graphics card?  That could be the graphics card playing up.  

What happens if you put in say a live Linux CD such as Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop (go through the options and download for free) and run it like that.  Does the screen go black or stay up?
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by:nobus
ID: 39796259
>>  I saw the motherboard had a temp of 79 (celsius).  <<  you can check that easily - just touch the heatsink momentarily - it should feel VERY hot
or use a touch digital thermometer

>>  removing the data on the drive <<   you can best do this with the drive attached to a working system  - best connect it on a sata cable (not usb)

consider also the Powersupply -  it may have degraded considerably
i would suggest to inspect motherboard and PS for bulging, or leaking capacitors ; here an example :
c
as a general rule -  i would test all components : ram, disk, video card...on another pc, to be sure
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39796624
@dbrunton:
The video card is a Radeon HD5770 I believe.
The system didn't come with that card. I put it in as an upgrade when I owned the system.
I will try putting in a simpler, smaller video card to see if that helps.

@nobus:
I don't need any of the data on the hard drives.
I formatted the drives while trying to reinstall Windows so the data is gone anyway.
I will take a look at the mobo and see if the capacitors look ok.
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39801095
Ok well I put in an old NVIDIA 256MB video card and it seems to be pretty darn quiet. The cover is currently off but I'm going to try to install Windows again and see if it shuts off.
2 questions though:
- if the video card was causing the issue, does that mean there is something wrong with the video card that was in there? Or is the power supply struggling, etc?
- why would the motherboard temperature show as hot instead of the video card when I ran speccy?
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39801186
>>  If the video card was causing the issue, does that mean there is something wrong with the video card that was in there? Or is the power supply struggling, etc?

Could be either.  Such as fan on video card failing (seen that) or the power supply struggling.

>>  Why would the motherboard temperature show as hot instead of the video card when I ran Speccy?

Misidentification by Speccy perhaps?  Don't know.  I've been assuming that the temperature has been coming from the board rather than the video card as well.  But if the fans have now gone quiet then it seems that the BIOS of the computer was reading the old video card temperatures and was maxing out the fans of the computer.
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by:nobus
ID: 39802230
calculate the power you need here , and see what you have  :
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp      

did you touch the heatsink, or can you confirm the high temp ?
also - did you try speedfan, and did it give the same readings?

**you can always have a bad temperature sensor as cause
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39802446
After reinstalling Windows, the temp is still high on the mobo in both Speccy and Speedfan.
I don't hear any high fan noise though...
Just touched the heatsink. It's cool to the touch. I can feel the heatsink fan blowing air lightly (likely because the CPU temp isn't in fact high).
Bad sensor?
temp
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by:nobus
ID: 39802732
it does look like a bad sensor, if the heatsink is cool, but it does not say cpu temp; but system temp
feel around on the mobo, on north and southbridge chips also to verify which is hot or not
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39804083
Yeah, most likely bad sensor.  Also look in your BIOS, there may be temperatures in there.
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39804148
I don't think Dell has temps in their BIOS (at least not what I've seen) but I'll take a look when I get home. I'll also check and see if any other areas of the mobo seem warm/hot and report back.
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39805278
No temps in the BIOS.
I felt around and have attached a picture of the only area on the mobo that was emitting heat.
It wasn't hot enough to burn me or anything but I felt the warmth coming off of it and when I touched it, it was definitely hot.
Any ideas?
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39805280
mobo
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dbrunton earned 250 total points
ID: 39805294
That'll be the Southbridge.  

Get a small fan and and place it on top of that heatsink and get it blowing down onto the bridge.  Don't firmly attach it but make sure it doesn't move.  See if that drops the temperature in Speedfan and Speccy.

If it does then you can either find a replacement heatsink or get a small fan that can be screwed into the existing heatsink.  (I often do the latter with fans gutted from dead computers).  You'll find you can screw into the splits in the fins of the heatsink quite easily.  You'll find adapters to attach to the power supply cables for the floppy driver or splice into the cabling there.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 39805749
agreed, that will be the southbridge.
i would check if the heatsink can be removed - and replace the theat paste
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by:homerslmpson
ID: 39807511
Thank you both for your help. I'll take a look and see if I can fix the southbridge when I have time.
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