MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World

On computers shutting down...

Posted on 2007-06-20 20:00:00, modified on 2007-06-20 10:00:00
Tags: Computers

A short time ago my computer started shutting down at random times. No reboot, no kernel panic, just a full power-shutdown. The first time it was when I was recompiling the new Xorg 7.2 distribution, and that left me without a desktop for two days.

Pressing the power button would not bring back the computer, it needed to be done a couple of times.

Later on, when Xorg was running again, it happened when compiling a new version of GCC. I suspected it was caused by some strange GCC issue (don't trust computers, but don't trust compilers neither!). And it happened when reencoding media streams. All very CPU intensive issues.

I mentioned the issue a couple of times, and people suggested I looked at the CPU temperature: It might be a motherboard trying to protect itself against overheating. sysutils/mbmon told me that the fan was running at 2400 rpms and the temperature was between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius.

75 and 85 degrees Celsius!???! That's a little bit much. But the PC Health screen in the BIOS showed the same. And it showed that it would shutdown the computer at 90 degrees Celsius. Aha. That's one and one.

People suggested to check if the fan was still working (I could hear it), or to replace the thermo-paste between the cooling-metal and the CPU. But first, they urged, see if the fan is dirty.

Ouch... That was a dead give-away. The whole cooling-metal below the fan was gray-brown with a cover of dust. Trying to blow that away would not be possible without causing a local fog cloud!

After the cleaning the cooling-metal, and the fan, and the powersupply, and the videocard, and the rest, the CPU was back at temperatures between 35 and 45 degrees Celsius and running the fans running at 1700 rpms.

Note: According to my wife, there was no danger of getting the CPU fried. That's because frieing happens at 200 degrees Celsius, while this wasn't even close to boiling (She's a chef :-)

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From: Philip Paeps
Posted on: 2007-06-20 18:17:49
CommentInteresting. I recently had a machine go similarly weird
on me. Instead of "shutting down" though, it would just
hang hard. So hard that the only was to shut it down was
to pull the cable. Sometimes, it wouldn't even boot past

I suspected cooling as well, but putting in new cooling
paste and checking the fan didn't seem to fix my problem.

Machine replaced. *sigh*

- Philip

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