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Old 12-02-2012, 10:28 PM   #1
Grumpy Moose
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Default Freezing CPU Cooler?

Greetings. VERY Long time lurker here, but I've finally got a question that has me stumped.

I have an old computer (pentium D from 2005) that I run 24/7 as a dedicated all sky camera recorder that has recently experienced a few shutdowns from high CPU temp. Ironic thing is it's sitting out in my metal storage shed where temps have been averaging +5 to +10 F for the past couple of months! I need to wear arctic gear to go out and reset it when it shuts down!

Before being turned into a full time dvr, this computer ran fine 24/7 for years, even back in my hot, non-air conditioned room in SoCal. It uses your standard heat pipe and fan CPU cooler - actually a fairly good sized one at that - it's a Sony Vaio.

So it got me thinking. Is it actually possible that the fluid inside of the heat pipes is freezing at these low ambient temps, and thus cutting off all heat exchange from the CPU? It's about the only explanation I can come up with. In this application, would it just be better to go with a standard, plane-Jane aluminum fin OEM cooler?

Anyone else have experience in low temp environments like this?

Thx.


BTW, if you would like to see the camera feed:

http://alaskaweatherwatch.com/dwCamSky.php
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:43 AM   #2
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most heatpipes contain just water, however if they were to freeze the cpu would likely melt the water inside if it were really getting that hot. This is a laptop right? you might just have dust in the fan which would cause it to clog. it was a common problem with the Sony Vaio from 2005
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:44 AM   #3
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awesome video feed btw!
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
Grumpy Moose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragantoe View Post
most heatpipes contain just water, however if they were to freeze the cpu would likely melt the water inside if it were really getting that hot. This is a laptop right? you might just have dust in the fan which would cause it to clog. it was a common problem with the Sony Vaio from 2005
Actually, it's an old Vaio Desktop:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1869579,00.asp

It has a huge heat exchanger in it. If it is just water, I can see the air exchange section and copper pipes freezing up and disrupting the natural convective flow within the unit. Thus, all the heat would be trapped in the CPU block with no way to get out. Hmmm...
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
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awesome video feed btw!
Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy Moose View Post
Actually, it's an old Vaio Desktop:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1869579,00.asp

It has a huge heat exchanger in it. If it is just water, I can see the air exchange section and copper pipes freezing up and disrupting the natural convective flow within the unit. Thus, all the heat would be trapped in the CPU block with no way to get out. Hmmm...
the heat would melt the water though, but if you wanna try a new heatsink you can get them cheap on newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835200054
get one like that, it has no fluid and should get the job done
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:06 AM   #7
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Have you ever replaced the TIM on it? If it is original it is probably completely dry and hard. Try replacing the TIM. I'd be surprised if the heat pipe fluid froze. Seems to me that the CPU would thaw them. My money is on the TIM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:46 PM   #8
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I just replaced the TIM on this a few months ago when I rebuilt the machine for use in this application. I went out today and found the computer had shut down again. I'm pretty sure the heat exchanger is probably just a solid block of ice as it had been down for a few days before I restarted it the last time. My guess is the fluid may melt in the CPU block, but it probably cools too rapidly in the long copper pipes to get very far into the aluminum fin section and melt what's in there.

I have a couple stock Intel OEM aluminum air fin coolers left over from other builds I can use to try out.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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The copper alone should have decent cooling properties. Even if it was frown the CPU runs at least 100F... Have you tried monitoring the temps? Im thinking the cold temps might be affecting other parts of the machine such as the hard drive
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:40 PM   #10
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All I know is that when I go to restart the machine, I get a bunch of tone-chirps from the BIOS that I've never heard before, and an error message stating the machine was shutown unexpectedly due to CPU Overheating.

OTOH, the Windows installation on the HD seems to be totally corrupted now and won't reboot. However I can take the drive inside and still read the data off of my Win 7 machine.

I'm not really sure where to go from here.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:08 AM   #11
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cool website and I like your name.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:45 AM   #12
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Would it be a feasible solution to insulate the heatsink?
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