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The Joys Of Losing Your Cooling Device 388

nitecreep wrote to us about Tom's latest article: What happens to procs when the heatsinks fall off?. Having just had my brand new fan stop working on my computer, I can sympathize. I've found that it takes my 1.2 Ghz Athlon to reach 80 degrees Celsius in about 6 minutes, from time of starting machine. The results of running without a heatsink at all are....interesting.
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The Joys Of Losing Your Cooling Device

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  • Fried my Athlon. Doesn't work right anymore. Once a crash-proof macine, now a bomb factory.
    • This isn't a particularly good time to be putting that phrase in your communications... []
    • Only computer I ever fried was a Spectrum, but that was quite funny. I bought it at a car boot sale for £4 and was cycling home with it in a carrier bag over the handlebars. It went between the spokes of the front wheel, causing the wheel to saw through the plastic case and a large chunk of metal that looked quite useless.

      Anyways, when I got it home I plugged it in, and it booted up with a fabulous display of white acrid smoke. Needless to say, Bubble Bobble didn't work.
  • What does condensation do to a proc when you... say... don't know how to correctly install a Peltier cooler?
    • I'll tell you: bad things. This is from personal experience incidentally. I had a shiny new K6-3 450MHz and the world was my oyster. Unfortunately I had also recently heard about using to peltiers to overclock processors, and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. I got a 120W peltier and by enlongating the distance between the heatsink and the CPU I was able to wedge it in there. I only fed it 5V, but that was enough. It didn't have any problems at first, but it also didn't O/C worth spit so I gave up on that part and left it on. Little did I know the damage had already begun. About a week later my system started randomly crashing, which was odd because I ran Linux exclusively. It got worse and finally got to a point where it would barely boot. I finally pulled up the heatsink and processor, and to my undying horror saw loads of brownish-green corrosion on the underside of the processor, grouped around several pins. Even worse, touching one caused it to bend easily, whereupon it fell off. We had an evaporative cooler at the time, and the combination of condensation, dust, and electricity ate through the pins like acid. I then learned that it is very difficult to solder a CPU pin back on. It would work for a while and then get flakey again and I'd re-solder the pin on, and then another fell off and I had to fight with it too. It's currently sitting up in my closet in an antistatic bag now.... Moral of the story: never use peltiers unless you know what you're doing.
  • Yeah, the results of the test are quite interesting. Of course, you could buy 2 or 3 Athlons for the price of one P4 and have them
    waiting around for when your heatsink/fan fails...
  • fire? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by donabal ( 116308 )
    gives a new meaning to firewire...

    yea. i had a quantum fireball burst into flames before...
    lost a mere 20 gigs of data.

    • Re:fire? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike&baptiste,us> on Monday September 17, 2001 @03:40PM (#2310627) Homepage Journal
      i had a quantum fireball burst into flames before

      Back before we had a real fileserver at my old job, we had a home built box - Dual Pent II 300 with Tyan mobo hooked to a tower of 8 of the original 9GB Seagate Cheetahs - talk about HEAT! That tower pumped out so much heat we didn't worry about hte HVAC in the winter!

      Well, one day we start getting hammered with calls from folks - file server is down. We walk into the server room and the first words out of my mouth: "What's burning?"

      TUrns out it was the server. We powered it down, pulled it apart - the power supply cable had overheated and burned (yes BURNED) from the mobo socket about 6" up the wire. OooooK. Talk about a head scratcher - we had NO idea WHY the system had failed, er, burned. SO we start poking around (literally) and notice - one of the heatsinks had come off one of the CPUs ever so slightly, had overheated, and had drawn excessive current (though why teh PS didn't pop a fuse, shut down, etc is still a mystery) WE reattached the heatsink, replaced the power supply - system came right back up. Unreal. I know for a fact that the CPUs are still running systems today - amazing.

      • Back in the days before I knoew much about computers I was messing around inside one. When I put it back together I had accidentally takes the serial port plug (where it plugged into the motherboard) and plugged it into the PS2 hookup. I turned on the system and it booten nicely into windows, but my mouse wasn't working. after a few seconds I noticed that the mouse felt kinda warm... a few seconds later a thin curl of black smoke started coming out from the seam between the buttons. I quickly hit the power button and found the problem. I wonder how long it would have taken to the mouse to actually burst into flames? The best way to learn something is to break it.
  • He he he (Score:3, Funny)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <joelinux&gmail,com> on Monday September 17, 2001 @02:33PM (#2310260) Homepage
    I remember I could tell if the 386 was on or not by how often the Centralized Air conditioning came on. My Celeron 433 runs so cool now I keep it under a blanket for noise protection. Ah....Peltier devices are so cool. (no pun intended). My question is: When are they going to come up with a heat sinking device that runs like the engine block on a car (I.E. the water/freon/liquid nitrogen/liquid helium/butane actually flows in channels built for it within a heatsink block)

    • Well... Quite a few people are already doing it in a homebrew fashion: check out this site [] for details on one of the common configurations.. Also, some high-end machines come liquid cooled right out of the box, er.. truck.
    • Re:He he he (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @02:47PM (#2310329)
      > When are they going to come up with a heat
      > sinking device that runs like the engine block
      > on a car (I.E. the water/freon/liquid
      > nitrogen/liquid helium/butane actually flows in
      > channels built for it within a heatsink block)

      Talk to yer granddad or someone your granddad's
      age if your granddad didn't work with computers
      about the IBM 360, or just about any other main-
      frame of that era. From the 50's to the 80's
      just about *all* the big iron was cooled in just
      that manner. Mostly water--I can still remmeber
      having to monitor the chilled water flow through
      an IBM 3033--although I believe that the Crays
      used some funky proprietary coolant (it was

      Chris Mattern

      • Re:He he he (Score:2, Interesting)

        by morcheeba ( 260908 )
        >an IBM 3033--although I believe that the Crays
        >used some funky proprietary coolant (it was

        The cray-1 didn't even bother with heatsinks... the liquid flowed right over the chips!
      • I've heard of cases where the cooling system was actually implemented as a pretty waterfall; this isn't actually a bad idea, as the increased surface area should allow good heat dissipation.

        ISTR this was done by Silicon Graphics; they were always the ones for prettifying their systems. :)

        • I've had that idea actually, inspired from very common industrial cooling towers. The cooling towers are used for many purposes, such as cooling pumps, motors, molds, and many other things. They are basicly that, a waterfall, or cascade as that type of cooling tower is refered to as. Basicly the water trickels down over radiator like fins, wich have air flowing through them from a fan or natural breezes/convection. Very efficient, very simple, and very reliable.

    • That makes no sense:
      1) 386s ran cooler than your Celeron 433. Try running your Celeron without a heat sink & fan.
      2) Peltier devices increase the temperature significantly. If you had one under that blanket you wouldn't have hands to type that message with.
  • are Marshmallows, Grahm Crackers, and Chocolate. Be sure to invite all the slashcrew to share your s'mores!
  • by mmmbeer ( 9963 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @02:37PM (#2310273) Homepage

    I can sympathize too. I cracked a corner off my Athlon 1.2 (266) over a hundred bucks ago (back when they were $250). When it didn't boot I decided to see how hot it would get without the heatsink. I turned it off as soon as it started to smoke, but like any idiot I just had to see what temperature silicon starts to smoke at. Luckilly I had a calibrated measurement device, my finger. That T-Bird burned the heck out of me, and you could almost make out the "A" branded into my finger!

    I've also just cracked the core on my current 1.33 T-Bird, and I've just picked up a 1.4 at lunch today. Is this some sort of marketing scheme by AMD?!!? I figure they're sticking it to me hard enough with the way their stock is plummeting, every point making my Tahitian retirement much more distant.

    Cap'n Bry
    • Wish I had that much cash to be spending on replacement CPUs, it would go a long way towards paying the bills =)
    • I've also just cracked the core on my current 1.33 T-Bird, and I've just picked up a 1.4 at lunch today. Is this some sort of marketing scheme by AMD?!!?
      What are you doing that's caused you to break so many processors? I had to remove/reinstall the heatsinks on three Duron systems recently because they had been put in backwards. I started into the job with some trepidation because of everyone else's comments, but all it takes is a moderate amount of care (and a couple of flat-bladed to press down on the retaining clip and another to flex it out so it'll clear the tab on the socket). They're all running fine, with no cracked cores.

    • Heh, I learned a long time ago never to touch an operating chip when I burned my thumb on an uncooled Cyrix 486 processor.
  • are also interesting. Any games which used 3d graphics would freeze totaly after some random period of time. this went on for months. Finally a tech guy suggested I check the heat sinks, there might be a gap between the heat sink an the card or cpu.

    Well there was a gap alright. The heat sink had fallen off and was lying on the card beneath it.

    After applying heat transfer goop and bolting it back on, things have been running well.

    • Or you could just try to OC your voodoo2 3000 to 140mhz and fry your primary IDE channel and loose half your ide sockets AND your AGP socket in your brand new 1.33G athlon system... happened to "a friend of mine". yeah, that's it.
    • I have a TNT2 - with the more recent nVidia drivers it's got overclocking right on the display properties panel. Thing was, even at the spec clock speed, the heatsink was too hot to touch for more than a few seconds... However, sticking on an old 486 CPU fan cooled it right down - I now run it almost 150% faster than it should, and it still doesn't get hot. (only warm...)

      I kind of wonder how high I could push it - the control panel doesn't go any higher... I don't know if that's a limitation of the card or the control panel.
  • Obviously with today's super-hot processors, lack of cooling, even for a short period of time can be a disaster.

    I've got kind of the opposite situtation - a laptop that runs really hot. I'd like to slow down the CPU (300 mhz would be plenty) to allow it to run cooler, which might hopefully also make the battery last longer.

    Does anyone know of any utilities? I don't think the BIOS will allow me to set the CPU speed and multiplier. It does support SpeedStep - is there a way to force speedstep on always?

    • I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that the BIOS on my Inspiron 4000 lets me specify when speedstep takes affect (ie always slow, always fast, depends). At worst, boot it unplugged, then plug it in later.
    • You don't give any useful information about your particular notebook... How could you expect an answer to your question?
  • I thought most (if not all) "modern" type Mobo's and BIOSes worked together to keep you from powering a system up without a processor fan running.

    Obviously you could disable this / defeat it easily, but why? I know processors are cheap, but gosh, the 25 mins of downtime to run to the store can't be THAT expensive to rsik melting your machine.

    Though it did take my roomate 2 days of tinkering to figure out why his amchine suddenly wouldn't boot anymore... =)

  • Well, look at it this way --

    You needed an excuse to upgrade, right?

  • I have used a temp. gauge that will automatically shutdown the box. Some BIOS revisions also have a processor fan failsafe.
  • compiling a kernel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Steev ( 5372 )
    I had just put together a new box, and was attempting to compile a brand new kernel on it (2.0.36 at the time). About 5 minutes into the compilation, I started getting reams of segfaults and I could not, for the life of me, find out why. Later, I discovered that when putting everything together, I had forgotten to plug in the power cord for my CPU fan. Nasty shiat, that is.
  • When I bought my first proc that required a heatsink (PIII), the tool at the show sold me the wrong type of heatsink. My fault really, for not being more informed, but the heatsink was for a PII and had this thermal pad on it that was in contact with the core. It took me a little while to figure out that that was in the way of proper heat removal.

    Even at 80C I was able to play quake II, etc. without any trouble. Those pentiums can take some serious heat.
  • alarm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CrazyBrett ( 233858 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @02:42PM (#2310292)
    Not a good way [] of reporting the problem :)
    • I think that "Light My Fire" would be more appropriate and much more recognizable of a heat-related problem.

    • Did anybody notice the following quote from the linked article:

      "This is a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed by Award/Unicore from 1997 on"

      Notice how they try to mislead you into believing that Award's specs say that Fur Elise should be played when the CPU overheats. MS sucks, spread the word.
  • Here lately I've been having a small problem. Our local computer dealer has been getting in new 'cheapie' (ie. standard) heatsink/fan combos for Athlons. These things are huge... a normal sized fan stride a large slotted brick of metal. Well, this is what these new processors require I would imagine, unless of course you want to plop down $50 or so for an Alpha solution.

    Well the whole problem I'm talking about is this. The heatsinks hook onto the normal tabs built onto the Socket-A, but due to the weight they can very easily shear off the smaller tab with even a moderately forceful impact.

    I wonder if we aren't going to be forced to develop more active cooling for baseline heatsink/fan combos, or just find newer and better ways to mount the increasingly large blocks we have. (Hooking onto the other two tabs on the socket, or attaching directly to the motherboard via the 4 holes around the socket are two methods I've seen)

    And what do we do in the post-2ghz world? Have heatpipes coming out of our cases like a Chevy hotrod?

  • My GeForce fan stopped working. It destroyed the GeForce card, worked intermittently while I troubleshot things, and then took the motherboard out with it.
  • Come on now folks. A real test would be to stop the fan, how often does the actual heatsink fall off? Why make a video where someone struggles to remove the heatsink, those things clip down hard for a reason. Fan failure would of been a far more logical test video.
  • This article belongs on News for Newborns, not nerds. Talk about non-usefull completely obvious information. Let me sum up this post in the imortal words of Frankenstein..."Fire Bad".

    I want the 2 min of my life back I took to read this garbage! I demand 2 min back!

    Screw it. I would have just wasted it downloading porn anyway.

  • ...And i thought putting my cdr's in the microwave for 5 seconds was fun! Where do i sign up for this job??
  • That's why I have Motherboard monitor running on my computer, along with Shutdown...if my CPU gets too hot (set at 131 degrees F right now), it'll shutdown my computer (my comp doesn't usually get above 110, so 130 is plenty of warning time).

    I don't know of there are any equivalents for Linux, but I'm sure they exist.
  • I woke up one night at 3am thinking my pager had beeped and gone off...when it hadn't I was confused...10 minutes later...I think the same thing..but it's in the living room.

    turns out that was a heat warning on my motherboard. The fan for the cpu had gotten wore out and was dying...I killed the box and bought a new fan the next day...but I could have fried my processor if the box hadn't started beeping and woken me up.
  • I have it clocked at 450, and at least twice this summer it's overheated. Simply shut it down, let it cool, and fire it back up. Three years running like this hasn't hurt it one bit.

    --I think I'm going to drop it next and see how it holds up
  • by Whyte Wolf ( 149388 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @02:47PM (#2310327) Homepage
    While working as a network admin once, I had a processor burn out without its heatsink. Smoke started rising from the open case, so one of my comrads in arms decided to 'put out the fire' with his bottle of Coke.

    I've never seen a machine burn so brightly. We were lucky (or maybe not) that the building's sprinklers were on the blink.

    And I live to tell the tale....

  • Play it safe (Score:2, Informative)

    by fobbman ( 131816 )
    There are freeware programs available for Windows (probably Linux as well) that monitor the temperatures reported by your motherboard. Some like Motherboard Monitor will actually shut down your computer if one of your sensors report a temperature greater than a threshhold that you can set.

    I'd link to them, but I believe that linking from Slashdot to websites hosting small free projects like this is cruel and inhumane. Go do a search and download it from one of the mirrors.

    • Re:Play it safe (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Phork ( 74706 )
      There is a package for linux called lm_sensors. It consists of drivers(kernel modules) for various smbus controllers and sensors. it includes a command line utility(sensors) that reads data from the sensors. There are several daemons out that monitor this and when it gets over the alarm temp, shutsdown, or does som eother specified action, like maybe killing dnetc.
    • Re:Play it safe (Score:2, Informative)

      by pointym5 ( 128908 )
      Problem is they can't respond quickly enough to prevent CPU burnout. The probes are polled at most once per second, and the probe itself doesn't detect the temperature rise very fast.

      The Athlons apparently take only a small number of seconds to burn out, so a software solution is inadequate - indeed, that's the point of the article. The PIII and PIV have internal coolant failure handling.

      • They only take a few seconds to burn out if you have no cooling whatsoever. Therefore if your fan dies and your heatsink is still on it will get hot but your probe will notice this and therefore you will be able to shut down in time.

        However, if your heatsink falls off, then you are screwed. But this is the way to learn.

    • On this subject, does anyone know of any Linux software that will monitor/report CPU temperatures? I've searched before, but with no luck, and I don't feel like disassembling one of the Windows ones...
  • by BillyGoatThree ( 324006 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @03:02PM (#2310423)
    "I've found that it takes my 1.2 Ghz Athlon to reach 80 degrees Celsius in about 6 minutes, from time of starting machine. The results of running without a heatsink at all are....interesting."

    One time my stopped working heatsink and the to go first thing was spell/grammar check my.
  • I've noticed that any stock fan will fail anywhere between 2 and 12 months. I'm listening right now to a socket-370 fan making all sorts of noise. I have about 15 similarly-dead fans lying around, from CPU to power supply to case fans...

    The only fan I've had for more than a year that still functions is the Antec PIII dual-fan cooler in my desktop system. Unfortunately I'm too lazy to buy quality fans for the other boxen.

    I wish higher quality fans were included in things like power supplies (which are a pain to replace, not to mention dangerous), and especially ones bundled with CPUs. I also don't find many fans actually connected to the motherboard (for monitoring etc); usually they connect inline with a drive power lead...

    I once overheated a K6-233 because a drive cable was resting on the CPU fan. Worked for weeks until I was compiling a kernel...

    Unfortunately, PCs these days are made as cheaply as possible, with cheap fans, flimsy cases, etc.
    • I once overheated a K6-233 because a drive cable was resting on the CPU fan. Worked for weeks until I was compiling a kernel...

      Unfortunately, PCs these days are made as cheaply as possible, with cheap fans, flimsy cases, etc.

      If you knew that the drive cable was blocking the fan for weeks before it caused a problem... why not move the cable?!! Otherwise, blaming cheap parts sounds really weak.
      • Actually, that was a side note, not really intended to blame cheap fans (but stressing the point about having no means of monitoring the fan).

        I didn't know about it for weeks; I only knew that when I discovered it, it had been weeks since I was last inside that particular box.
  • by lowdozage ( 319641 ) <> on Monday September 17, 2001 @03:06PM (#2310440)

    I remember when Patrick Norton [] who co-host the "The ScreenSavers []" on TechTV [] forgot to install the heatsink for UGAM 3.0 [].

    Article link below

    The Dish: The UGM Incident []

    "Windows - A thirty-two bit extension and GUI shell to a sixteen bit patch
    to an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor
    and sold by a two-bit company that can't stand one bit of competition." (Anonymous USEnet post)

  • SMP DOA (Score:2, Interesting)

    I had an older SMP box (dual MMX-233's). The procs I found shipped with super cheap-o fans. They both went dead in a few weeks after ordering (only the CPU's themselves were covered by the warrenty...). I hadn't noticed at first. I started wondering why KDE (really, the OS in general) was starting to run VERY slow.
    I hit every newsboard I could find looking for suggestions. Every suggestion was a flop. One day, I cracked open the case (I forget why exactly) and had a found esentially a microwave oven inside the box. WTF?!? I thought. I quick scan of everything showed me the 2 fans just sitting there jittering (not spinning). DOH!

    (No, I don't don't work for these guys) [] has a great selection of cooling things for just about anything. I've since ordered a ton of stuff from them. Fast and reliable, they are. I ordered a couple of the super-duty fans for the older slot-CPUs and the thing ran great! A bit loud but...

    The SMP box is now collecting dust (but I know it's 100% ready for mnore when I need it)since I found a Super-Worth box for real damn cheap at an EggHead Auction [].
  • that should say 6 seconds, not 6 minutes. I believe AMD's spec is that a K7 will die in six seconds without any cooling.

    On the two AMD DDR boards that I've played with, there is a new BIOS setting that allows the motherboard to power down the machine after a specific temperature. I have mine set to kill when the motherboard's thermal probe measures over 65c.

    This is a great feature, and thankfully I've never had the pleasure of testing it out. Hopefully it responds better than the on-die thermal diode of the Palominos.
  • You cannot let the smoke out of the CPU, because it it the magic that makes it run....

    Well, anyhow, last week I mounted a cheap heatsink to my brand new AMD 1.3G CPU and it burned up before I really got to the post screen. Ish. A few days later my new copper heat sink showed up, but I was more afraid of chipping the CPU than having it burn up... done that too.. They ( have long since commented about the few seconds it takes to make an AMD processor keychain by running it without a heatsink, but man... don't even mess with something that may be marginal.

  • by Beckman ( 136138 )
    I had the fan fail several times on a 1.2 GHz Athlon, but didn't suffer any damage. Apparently AMD design engieers considere the heatsink, but not the fan, as an integrated part of the CPU.
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @03:18PM (#2310503)
    I remember a story when the first Pentiums came out, and they had the FPU bug. A guy wanted to swap his chip out, but couldn't. They had glued the processor in. Turns out his comp maker had found out that Zero Insertion Force also meant Zero Removal Force and people were swiping the chips fairly often.

    So the guy's pissed, wondering how he's gonna get the offending non-dividing Pentium out. Then he realizes, hey it's a Pentium. He took off the heat sink, ran his comp for a while. It did it's impression of an Easy-Bake oven and generated enough heat to melt the glue. He then removed it and got his replacement.

  • I'm not a specialist in cooling and overclocking and things like that, but the question I have is : if modern processors can't survive themselves "as is" (i.e. without thermal protection), why don't processor manufacturer sell them with an integrated heat sink and a fan bolted on forever, as an integral part of the product ? Even better, the heat sink itself could be bolted through the sides of the processor, and adventurous overclockers could still replace it with whatever piece of heat removal wizardry they want. If nothing else, it would force motherboard manufacturers to invent stronger CPU socket to hold the CPU/heat sink combo.
  • URL wrong? /.ed? (Score:3, Informative)

    by merlin_jim ( 302773 ) <James.McCracken@ ... m ['pul' in gap]> on Monday September 17, 2001 @03:39PM (#2310622)
    I couldn't follow the link, so I navigated the site a little... Not sure if tomshardware is slashdotted or if the link was wrong... in any case here's the mirror I got to, page came up immediately: .html []

    I tried the same link both in the www6 and in the root subdomain, and both gave me a 404... try this link if thats still the case...
  • At least there's one guy who's banner ads are paying off...

    "well computer news aren't really running these days, let's fry a few processors"

    Either that or the AMD parts are REALLY cheap.

    Oh... they are :)
  • When I got my Slot A Atlon a while back when they first came out, I got a heatsink that had 3 fans on it. Its a great setup - fans blowing across the entire surface area of the heatsink. I run Motherboard MOnitor and noticed my temp had risen a bit (like 10 or 15 degrees) so I figured I'd check it out - sure enough, one of the fans that DIDN'T have an RPM sensor on it since it powered off the PS had died. I tossed in a replacement and my temp dropped back down.

    Which makes me wonder why only now are heatsink companies installing dual fans? Yes the Socket A setup means smaller or boxier heatsinks, but still, it seems a no brainer the way small fans die all the time to have a backup. Heck - I have a 4 drive RAID 5 tower on one of my servers and I touch the drive trays constantly to see if they are warm meaning the small fan on the tray is probably dead - now I shell out the $$ for a drive tray with dal fans and a fan monitor circuit to alarm if one dies. I mean given the speed that these suckers died - you have to wonder if you were lucky enough to HAVE a BIOS that would shutdown on a fan failure coudl do it fast enough even if the heatsink was still attached.

    I love AMD processors and use Athlons in all my machines - but what was AMD thinking when they left out the thermal diode or an overheat circuit?

  • This is related and I don't feel like asking Slashdot or doing a Google search so:

    I have a Athlon 800 with a Giga-byte mobo (VIA KT133). As soon as I got the mobo/proc I overclocked it via the bus speed. I set it to 112, (highest speed that would boot), which got me 896 MHz. During the extremely hot summer it started locking up fairly frequently so I knocked it back down to what it was suppose to run at. I just installed a GeForce2 MX200 and 256 MB PC133 RAM and now I can't clock it higher than 104 (834 MHz). It just won't boot higher than that. Anybody have any insight as to whether or not the GeForce or the RAM could be preventing the overclocking or if I've screwed something up from running it hot in the past. I'm too lazy to swap all my components out to try and see what is actually preventing it.
    • I have an answer but I don't feel like responding to you or providing links that would help you out so :P.

    • It's possible that you've permanently screwed up the chip... this is why I avoid overclocking on any hardware that I actually want to keep for awhile.

      My friend was in the same scenario as you. He bought a Celeron 333 and overclocked it to something in the high 400's, which every OC'er was doing in those days. It ran just fine for a few months, but after awhile it would crash randomly and even eventually refused to boot. He ended up lowering the clock back to 333, which worked fine but was dog slow for the types of applications and games being run at the time. (This was about a year ago.) He had to suffer with it for months and months while he saved up to buy a new processor, motherboard, SCSI board, and network card (the latter two were integrated into the Celeron mobo) so that he could have a respectable system again.

      The moral? He's permanently sworn off overclocking his production machines. :) (And I got to interject a nice, fulfilling "I told you so.")
  • I remember the day I spent trying to figure out why my box would bluescreen and reboot at random times after 1 to 15 minutes after boot. I tried everything including finally reinstalling the whole OS. Still had the same problem. I was about to start switching out memory and had opened the case to get a better look inside when my knuckle wandered into the CPU fan, I pulled back expecting a sharp rap and to my surprise got nothing, Turns out the fan was dead. Now they say a Athlon 1Ghz will fry in a matter of seconds without a fan, but mine managed to live through a whole day of reboots and installs with no damage... If anyone thinks Silver paste and copper heatsinks are nothing but a fad I say I'm sold. But more importantly It shows what weird errors you can get with a dead CPU fan, I never would expect a BSOD. I figure it had to be the CPU giving off bad data or inverted bits because of high heat.
  • by Herstel ( 517116 )
    They say it can be frelly run with no fun attached. See low heat dissipation thanks to 0.13 and 0.15 micron processes []
  • AMD Athlon 900MHz (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @05:43PM (#2311715)
    When I installed my AMD Athlon 900MHz several months ago my fan fell of for a few seconds. I went to grab my fan and my finger rubbed up against my processor for half a second as I reached to turn off my computer. My finger welted up in seconds leaving a large blister for several weeks. Infact I can STILL see the scar on my left index finger if I look hard enough.

    To say the least, I will not be putting my fingers near an atlon processor without a fan on it ever again. I was lucky I didn't fry my processor along with my finger! I figured the thing would be HOT .. but not enough to melt my skin .. OUCH ..
  • Right under the picture of the Athlon 1.2GHz's smoking, charred remains?

    "Click here to find lowest price for AthlonMP 1.2 GHz."

    I'll take two!

    • Yes, that's a wonderful example of "context sensitive advertising." Not the first time I've seen an article panning a product accompanied by advertising for the same product. I suspect many sites have software to scan the page for key words and select matching ads -- but Artificial Stupidity is nowhere near being good enough yet to tell whether it said good or bad things.

      If they ran articles on the terrorist attacks of 9/11, would they be accompanied by ads for airlines and office space in the WTC?
  • I'm sure a lot of people here have cpu overheat stories. Mine fits with Tom's test quite well, but with a slight twist.

    My somewhat weird setup is a P3 in a slocket in an old slot1 BX board. This means that the system cannot monitor the CPU temp and shut it down safely.

    One day after some h/w modification (I seem to recall it was moving a tv card from slot to slot) I must have accidentally jammed a power cable in the CPU fan.

    After about 10 freezes in a day I wonder if my graphics card is overheating. It is as cool as ever (about 40 deg C), so I just touch the P3 heatsink, and blister my finger. So I spit on a spare finger and *tssst* the spit boils away instantly. I turn the machine off, thinking, "Oh well, I wanted to upgrade anyway".

    I cool the poor fevered cpu down with strips of damp tissue paper and find the trapped cable.

    An hour later I nervously turn the machine back on and hey presto, the old thing jumps into life as if nothing happened.

    I'm currently planning to upgrade to an MP athlon, but I will have to have a checklist for when I muck around with anything ;)
  • I'm sorry, but am I the only one who wonders why in the @()#*$ didn't AMD build in at least something to power down the chip when it got too hot?

    I've seen MANY MANY MANY shipped computers which had the heatsink not on the processor when it arrived at the destination. Having the processor be able to destroy itself when you loose a heatsink is just bad karma...

    Not to mention that the processor obviously gets hot enough to catch something on fire if it happened to be in the wrong spot in the case.

    Product liability lawsuit anyone? This makes me want to reconsider my AMD is better than intel position.

  • you could run a P4 without a fan, although it's probably not recommended, voids all warranties, etc. etc., and slows the thing down considerably. It'd be interesting to see how much power it needs and some performance data on this, maybe compared to notebook processors. Instead of going for MHz-Rates nobody needs and which give only very small Performance-Benefits anyway, maybe the industry should consider to think more about processors needing less power and hence less cooling.

    Think not only laptops, but also desktops in a work-environment, where small, silent, easy handling and even powerconsumption is much more of a concern, than computing power. Embedded devices, where a noisy and large heatsink+fan is not an option, or even computing power per m^3 when heatdissipation starts becoming a limiting factor.
  • From the article:

    We booted up those systems normally, started Quake III Arena, running the NV15-demo, and then removed the heat sink.

    Cool, I do this all the time!!

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