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Old 02-18-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Default Win XP question

I have a friend who's wife's computer is having a curious issue. It's an old Dell Optiplex GX270. She uses it mainly for surfing and emails. The CPU cooler fan died and the computer shut itself down with a thermal warning notice. I replaced the fan and when the XP load page comes up the computer shuts down, again showing a thermal alert. The fan is actually bigger than the original so it is providing sufficient cooling. However, when I boot to safe mode, the computer runs fine. It doesn't shut down. Any thoughts as to what might be going on with it? Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:48 PM   #2
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If I'm reading correctly; you only replaced the heatsink fan. On a PC that age I'd suggest removing the heatsink ( after it's heated up), thoroughly cleaning off the old thermal paste, and then replacing it with new. I'm sure the TIM is original, completely brittle, and no longer transfering heat effectively.

When you boot into safe mode there is virtually no load on the CPU since only the bare minimum of drivers and services are loaded, and the CPU is generating less heat than a normal boot generates. If you checked the temp of the CPU in safe mode, I'm pretty sure you'd see it just below the shut-down limit.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #3
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That Dell might be using a propriety fan connector so you must replace it with a Dell fan or else it won't work.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:34 AM   #4
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Try to plug the fan to a regular PSU connector instead of the Mobo's dedicated CPU connector.

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:37 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'll second what's already been said. Check the TIM, check the HSF mounting bracket (I've had those break off) and make sure the fan you installed is actually spinning.

I had a GX280 whose fan failed - the computer chugged along for I-don't-know-how-long before anybody did anything intensive enough to cause a thermal event failure. (It took a couple weeks to get the replacement part in, folks were still using the machine, and it didn't happen a second time. The PSU must have provided "enough" airflow.)

Dell really kinda over-engineered those for cool'n'quiet running.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:23 AM   #6
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Check the motherboard capacitors. A large majority of GX270 were victims of capacitor plague.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JackMDS View Post
Try to plug the fan to a regular PSU connector instead of the Mobo's dedicated CPU connector.
This wont work if the bios is reading the fan speed and is reporting the invalid reading as a thermal error. If it is merely reading the cpu temperature then yes all you need is any source of power for the fan.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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Ugh, we have some 270s at work still lol. I do not like them.

Dell proprietary
This connector is an expansion of a simple 3-pin female IC connector by adding two tabs to the middle of the connector on one side and a lock-tab on the other side. The size and spacing of the pin sockets is identical to a standard 3-pin female IC connector and 3-pin Molex connector. Some models have the wiring of the white wire (speed sensor) in the middle, whereas the standard 3-pin Molex requires the white wire as pin #3, thus compatibility issues may exist.
Wiki on "Computer fan" indicates Dell uses a proprietary connector. If it's looking for some sort of reading from it before boot, that may be the reason for it. I looked at one of our 270s in the back and it's using a three pin connector at least.

Also you might be able to simply go into the BIOS and disable those protections.
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Last edited by darkewaffle; 02-19-2013 at 04:24 PM.
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