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Author Topic: Computer Problem  (Read 3494 times)
Grimes
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Posts: 225

« on: Apr 06, 2009, 04:49 PM »

Apologies for posting this here, but I know we've got a good share of computer savvy pirates, and figured I might be able to get a good answer.

A little background on my computer. I've run a Dell Dimension 4700 with XP for almost four years now. 80GB HD with a hair over half free, and a 120GB external HD. 1GB RAM. I reformatted 2 months ago, and it's run much smoother since.

The problem is my computer has been crashing quite frequently for the past few days. Everything but the mouse will lock up, and if I try to do anything from there, the mouse will freeze and my computer (not the speakers) will produce the steady "oh noes now you've done it" error noise. I cannot find any real pattern for the crashes, although they do happen most frequently when I try to multi-task. I've never had anything like this happen before, and I didn't add anything that correlates with first crashes.

I reinstalled an internal thermometer to gauge the heat, and it's high (between 126-132F), but it's always run about that hot. Like I said, I reformatted recently, and the computer has been under much more strained conditions, so I'm not quite sure what the problem may be.

Any insight, recommendations or solutions? The road less cost is appreciated on the collegiate budget.
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Tacita
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 06, 2009, 07:06 PM »

I am not certain of anything, but I had a similar problem when I was an undergrad, and again when I was in Japan from very different sources.  The first time it happened, my motherboard was in the process of frying.  It eventually crashed (complete with a bit of smoke coming out the back of the machine) and wouldn't turn on again, but once the motherboard was replaced everything worked well.  Perhaps this is something to take a look at?

The second time my computer went nuts on me it was spyware which hijacked the whole thing.  I ended up having to reformat.

Some options to check into anyway.
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Mars
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 06, 2009, 08:03 PM »

Try removing the heatsink, cleaning it and the cpu with rubbing alcohol (on coffee filter), and reapplying new thermal paste.  Sounds like heat could be causing said problem.  (install speedfan to see CPU internal temps, thats whats important.)

But because you say everything but the mouse freezes, run Malwarebytes.  Let me know how that goes.  Also, reformatting could never hurt :P
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Rome
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 06, 2009, 10:23 PM »

Heat can cause freezing?  Well that explains it...
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sandwitch
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Posts: 38

« Reply #4 on: Apr 07, 2009, 12:24 PM »

I'm no computer maven by anyone's standards, but I had a similar problem 2 years ago with my Dell dimension 4500.  There was no pattern to the crashes and they weren't always global.

My comp guy's solution was merely to reinstall XP from the disc provided by Dell and I haven't had that type of problem since.
Of course he also ran Adaware and recommended that if it crashed again, I could try changing the fan for about $10.
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Sammy
majestrate
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 07, 2009, 01:05 PM »

Try removing the heatsink, cleaning it and the cpu with rubbing alcohol (on coffee filter), and reapplying new thermal paste.  Sounds like heat could be causing said problem.  (install speedfan to see CPU internal temps, thats whats important.)

But because you say everything but the mouse freezes, run Malwarebytes.  Let me know how that goes.  Also, reformatting could never hurt :P

This was my precise thought when I read that you're at 126+ F.  Please tell me that 126+ is what the CPU is running at, not the internal temp of the case.  What is the ambient temp for the PC?  Is there any way to lower that?  How many case fans are there?

My biggest concern is that you're going to really burn out your CPU.  Does your removable panel have holes for venting?  If so, does one set of holes have anything that would allow you to install a fan?  If you don't have any holes, you might want to consider drilling some directly over the heatsink fan, so that the heat is exhausted immediately, instead of being circulated.

If you don't have a case fan in front, to suck in cool air, then you might want to look to see if there's a spot to install one.  And also make sure you have one in the back of the case, to push out the heated air.

Even if your issues aren't caused by heat, it's something you'll want to address, otherwise you're risking destroying your components (mobo, hd's, cpu, ram, add-in cards).
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Grimes
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Posts: 225

« Reply #6 on: Apr 07, 2009, 01:26 PM »

I'm running the program HDD Thermometer, so I assume that's where the 126+F comes from.

Mars had me install Speedfan...
Local: 58C
Remote: 88C
Core: 91C

91C sounds insanely hot. I have two fans, one specifically for the HDD and the heatsink one. Both are at the rear.
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"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." -Churchill
majestrate
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Posts: 2010


« Reply #7 on: Apr 07, 2009, 05:17 PM »

Holy crap.  yeah, 91C is almost 200F.  You're positive that it's actually in C and not F?

Also, I'm not sure I understand how your fans can be at the rear of the PC, if they're specifically for the HD and heatsink.  Is there any way you can take pictures of your hardware and post them?
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Excalibur
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« Reply #8 on: Apr 07, 2009, 05:44 PM »

If you haven't already, get some compressed air and rid the fans and components of dust. That alone can slow air flow over the CPU and through the computer. However, by the looks of your temperatures that alone may not be enough.
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Excalibur
Pirates of the Damned
Grimes
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Posts: 225

« Reply #9 on: Apr 07, 2009, 10:21 PM »

Yes, I'm positive it's celsius.

There's a fan at the top of the back (behind the power supply, not the HDD, my mistake). The heat sink is behind the green cover, and the second fan exhausts behind that.



I already cleared things out with compressed air. I usually do that every 3-4 months.

« Last Edit: Apr 07, 2009, 10:24 PM by Grimes » Logged

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." -Churchill
Mars
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« Reply #10 on: Apr 08, 2009, 11:40 AM »

Hah, I'm working on one of those machines right now! Sittin right behind me.
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majestrate
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Posts: 2010


« Reply #11 on: Apr 08, 2009, 11:59 AM »

I had a 3000-series (I think).

So, I would try 2 different things, one at a time.

First, replace the heat-sink on the CPU (because of those temps, you might end up having to replace the CPU).

If your PC still runs hot, remove the green "vent" and drill holes over into the side-panel, above the heat-sink.

If your PC *still* runs hot, then you're going to have to look for a place near the front to put a fan in.  That fan will need to be able to suck in cool air.  You'll also want to consider getting a new CPU.

Again, heat might not be causing the problems you're seeing, but a CPU running at 200F is like 70 degrees outside over the maximum accepted operating temperature.

Oh, are you over-clocking?
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Mars
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« Reply #12 on: Apr 08, 2009, 12:19 PM »

its actually less than 70 degrees outside max temp but either way still not good.  I would recommend cleaning the heatsink first (I generally use compressed air to blow the dust out) and then checking temps.  If still unacceptable, reapply thermal paste (as I mentioned above).

I used to get my Pentium D 830 up to 95C or so when gaming if the heatsink was dirty (I always knew when this happened because the processor's thermal throttling always kicked in and slowed my gameplay) so, I'd recommend checking that out first.
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majestrate
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Posts: 2010


« Reply #13 on: Apr 08, 2009, 01:04 PM »

I said "like 70", but really, it's closer to 60, if you consider 136F to be maximum.  I think Intel says it's 120 or 125?  Maybe not?

If you have to reapply the thermal grease anyway, it wouldn't hurt to spend 20 or 30 on a new heatsink, if you can afford it.  I do realize that money is tight for a lot of people right now, so it might not be practicle.  If it's doable, and you want to keep the machine for a few more years, getting a better heatsink isn't a bad purchase.  Just be sure to do some research to ensure the one you purchase is compatible with the processor you have, and will work with what Dell uses to hold its heatsink in-place.

I used to get my Pentium D 830 up to 95C or so when gaming if the heatsink was dirty (I always knew when this happened because the processor's thermal throttling always kicked in and slowed my gameplay) so, I'd recommend checking that out first.

He already said he did that:

I already cleared things out with compressed air. I usually do that every 3-4 months.

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Mars
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« Reply #14 on: Apr 08, 2009, 03:14 PM »

I win at reading! Sorry.
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