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Old 11-11-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
mikeymikec
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Default P4 3.2GHz overheating... is it?

A friend's PC has problems booting and has been steadily getting worse according to him. When I started it today, it took about 5 minutes before it shut itself down completely (power off, no LEDs on the front, no fan noise, as if someone had held down the power button for more than 5 seconds).

When switched back on, the BIOS reckoned that the processor had overheated. The HSF is clean (ie. no dust) and the fan is able (and is) spinning, no dodgy fan noises either. I took the HSF off, cleaned off the old paste and re-applied it. The system still had problems starting, again citing the CPU overheating. It wouldn't let me into the BIOS setup at all (I wanted to check the sensor readings myself). It would then auto power off.

Considering that I removed the HSF soon after I last started it to clean up the paste situation (both HSF and CPU), I didn't feel much warmth from either surface then either. The HSF feels secure before removal and reconnection.

I did a BIOS reset (CMOS jumper), which allowed me to get into the BIOS setup. Sure enough, the processor temp says 76 - 80C depending on how long I've risked leaving it on for. However, the HSF is completely cool, as if the system has been off for hours. There isn't much heat radiating in that general area either (a bit around the capacitors between the CPU and rear I/O panel, but not loads).

I am wondering what to do. Could a sensor have malfunctioned and that's it? Unfortunately I haven't seen an option in the BIOS yet to disable auto shut down to test that theory but it seems like a risky theory to test.

Ideas?

What's the expected operating temperature of this CPU? I'm thinking that the overheating message is bogus and the BIOS was just having a fit and needed resetting. The processor temperature is getting higher than even expected for this CPU because I'm in the BIOS and the processor tends to run full whack when in the BIOS.

Last edited by mikeymikec; 11-11-2012 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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Possibly. Either that or the TIM between the die an the heatspreader is so bad at this point it's not able to conduct heat properly to the heatspreader and thus, to the heatsink, which could explain why the heatsink feels cool to the touch when the system claims it's overheating.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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"P4 3.2GHz"

What a good excuse for an upgrade!

I guess the temp sensor could be damaged.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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Ah, it was bogus. I just booted Windows, the CPU fan speed has dropped considerably and SpeedFan reports the processor temp as 61C.

Well, I suppose it might not have been bogus originally - the paste may have dried out and so wasn't cooling the processor correctly, then compounded by the BIOS having a hissy fit.

I'll test it out more thoroughly and run something like Prime95 on it for half an hour to see if it handles it properly now.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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Hmm, stress-testing the CPU is bringing the temp to 89C in less than three minutes. The fan speed on the stock cooler ramped up when it hit about 80C, and it looks like it is holding steady, but that scares me a bit.

According to CPU-Z the processor is a Pentium 4 Prescott core, the P4 550.

Does anyone have any experience with this particular CPU? I know Prescotts run hot, but this is hotter than I expected. I'm inclined to recommend a different cooler... preferably not one that requires me to take the board out.

- edit - I ran it for 20 minutes and the temperature remained at 89C, occasionally 90C and back down again, it ran without errors.

Last edited by mikeymikec; 11-11-2012 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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I've removed the heatsink last time and it caused a similar temps as yours did, 70-80C at BIOS. Socket 478 on the ol' P4 is just dreadful with its push levers. The heatsink had no contact with the CPU. Reseated it properly and it worked fine afterwards.

You could try lapping the heatsink before buying a new one. I don't recommend getting a new heatsink though, its just not worth it for such an old PC.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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Its time to upgrade buddy.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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There's not much of a point in trying more complicated solutions. Upgrade time, probably.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #9
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How much paste and what type are you using?

I recommend at least AS5 and with Prescott, a spot in the middle about the size of two grains of rice.

Prescotts came in both S478 and S775 variants, do you know which kind this is? If it's S775, it's very easy/cheap to get a better cooler on it, like $10 or so. If it's S478, they're a bit harder to find.

Further along that line of questions, is this a custom built PC with the stock generic heatsink mounts (clips for S478, pushpins into holes for S775), or is it a branded system like a Dell or HP? Many of the branded systems, particularly of that era, have somewhat proprietary heatsink mounting setups. Pics would be ideal, if you can manage that.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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S775. That was exactly the type of paste and size I used

Stock Intel heatsink, standard push-pin. I didn't build it, but it wasn't a big name company that did it either.

If you have a HSF that you can recommend that'll do the job significantly better, at that sort of price they won't say no. The PC otherwise does just fine for what they need.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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This would be an order of magnitude better than the stock HSF

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835226049

A few bucks more and another step up :

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835999048
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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Sounds like there is no good contact between the heatsink and the cpu.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:58 PM   #13
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No, I am pretty sure I remember P4 Prescotts hitting 60-70C when idle with stock HSFs, I was wanting to double-check its load temp really.

He wanted to go ahead with a replacement HSF. I picked the Arctic Freezer 13 (not Pro), after checking the site's compatibility list. The way I see it, his budget is limited at the moment and when the machine works, it is quick enough for him.

Well, the old stock HSF definitely was in good contact with the CPU, because when I pulled it off, the amount of paste I had applied was pretty perfect and was showing decent adherence patterns on the HSF (also bear in mind I was getting similar readings before reinstalling the original HSF, the HSF was clear of dust before and after, and the CPU shows no sign of dust which might have suggested bad HSF contact).

The new HSF is pretty damn decent. Apart from a bit of faffing around installing it (this board has an annoyingly large chipset heatsink which stopped me from mounting the cooler in the way that I originally wanted, which would send air directly towards the chassis fan so it presumably would get pulled out that way), it's now on and the idle temp is 41C with a CPU fan speed of 1200rpm. Sustained load temp is 60C with a max fan speed of 1500rpm.

I think I might get this HSF for my CPU as well (PhII 960T)

Last edited by mikeymikec; 11-22-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:03 PM   #14
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Heh, I thought this was another epic necro.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Heh, I thought this was another epic necro.
But its not!
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:33 PM   #16
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If you're reading 60C at idle in Windows, 80C in BIOS is a very real possibility. BIOS can load a CPU tremendously.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:44 PM   #17
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Is this a Dell? See if that mobo can take a 65nm C2D CPU. Then upgrade it. Shouldn't cost more than $20 on ebay.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
TIM between the die an the heatspreader is so bad at this point it's not able to conduct heat properly to the heatspreader and thus, to the heatsink, which could explain why the heatsink feels cool to the touch when the system claims it's overheating.
I would open up the CPU and apply paste inside it. Nothing (P4) to lose
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeymikec View Post
The new HSF is pretty damn decent. Apart from a bit of faffing around installing it (this board has an annoyingly large chipset heatsink which stopped me from mounting the cooler in the way that I originally wanted, which would send air directly towards the chassis fan so it presumably would get pulled out that way), it's now on and the idle temp is 41C with a CPU fan speed of 1200rpm. Sustained load temp is 60C with a max fan speed of 1500rpm.

I think I might get this HSF for my CPU as well (PhII 960T)

Obviously the last couple of posters didn't bother reading the whole thread... sounds like there's not an issue anymore since the temps with the new heatsink are totally acceptable.

OP, were you able to unlock the extra cores on your 960t?
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
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OP, were you able to unlock the extra cores on your 960t?
Yep, though I keep them locked for a rainy day. Game performance didn't seem to be any better for the extra cores at the moment, maybe some game I might play in a few years' time will need a bit more ooomph.

Someone asked about this board's C2D support - I doubt it, it's an Intel D925 SCV board. I did a quick google search for cpu support and didn't get any results.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:28 AM   #21
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When that day comes, you'll need to upgrade.
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