How to tell the CPU is dead...


Junior Member
Aug 15, 2001
After 2 months of constant troubleshooting and testing on my system I am still no closer to getting it to work than on day one. I'm convinced that the motherboard is a piece of dung wrapped in a pretty PCB wafer, but since this is my SECOND board I am reluctant to lay all blame on that. That leaves my poor OEM 1.4Ghz Athlon as the culprit in the following errors:
System is impossibly unstable. Kernel, Nv4_disp, irql_less_than, and other types of blue screen crashes occur every 2-5 minutes regardless of the functions being used. (though if I just play MP3's on the system it seems to work for that). This is WinXP and newest Detonators. The same EXACTLY the same software suite is installed on my Celeron with no errors at all ( I haven't even rebooted that one in ages) The system worked "ok" for about a week, and as recent as 2 nights ago I could get the sytem to complete the 3dMark2001 benchmark suite at full speed with no lockups. Now, my system boots but is unusable at any but the slowest of settings. My 1.4Ghz processor only finds real stability at 600 Mhz :( My urge to kill has risen greatly as I bought this just long enough ago that there is no more warranty on the OEM part. This cannot be a heat issue, as the processor NEVER once has reached higher than 45 degrees C and I have a Vantec copper cooler with Delta 7500RPM fan. The only things I can possibly think of seem improbable to say the least, but I'll put them out there as options: Motherboard short; I doubt this since I've double checked and triple checked the board risers and they not only seem in the proper places but also have insulator washers between the board and the metal of the case risers. Cooler misplacement; I doubt this as well, I took the cooler off, and can see a perfect little rectangular spot of arctic silver II. The chip also looked intact, no infamous crunch of the core. Ram? I did a Ram test during boot up (the long test type) but I also tried running benchmark with each stick separately of my PC2100 Crucial DDR. And my favorite possible solution that disappoints me most: VIA chipsets suck donkey balls. I'm least likely to blame the actual Soyo Dragon motherboard and chipset, but by god I've never seen so many errors from one machine in my entire life. First the Promise controller vomits on my working IBM drives forcing an RMA and now this unknown stability fiasco. Anyway on a more positive note, I'm hoping someone has some information on the possibilities of dead Athlons and if this type of increasing instability at decreasing speeds is a symptom of such a hardware failure.

Anyway: System setup is as follows: 1.4Ghz Athlon, 3x256 MB Crucial PC2100 DDR, Vantec Copper cooler, Gainward GeForce3, Sound Blaster Live 5.1, 2x40GB Maxtor 7200RPM drives, HP9300i CDburner. Thanks for your help.


Sep 14, 2001
Go get another new CPU, install, and see if that's your problem. If it isn't, return it.