Hot Athlons die quickly

19 replies [Last post]
RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

Here's a warning that might help others. The tower case was on its side while I tried a new Athlon that had arrived. This new one worked fine and I put the original Athlon back and (I thought) clipped the fan/heatsink in place. Unfortunately, the heatsink was NOT clipped, just resting. I turned on and . . . . thats funny, it's not booting . . . . . whats that smell? . . . . Oh dear.

Heat conducting paste had been used but it was still not enough to prevent destruction in a few seconds when the Athlon did not have a firm mechanical contact with its heat sink.

Ray Liffen

ps Having a dead CPU sort of completes the 'set' - I have a non-functioning motherboard, some dodgy RAM, a power supply that doesn't work, and various dead floppy, hard and CD-ROM drives. If I put them all in one case and sent the resulting 'computer' for repair . . . .

akanga
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Joined: Apr 14 2001

Jeez! That sounds painful, but - really - what has all this got to do with the fact that the processor was Athlon?
Am I missing something?

dopebrit2k
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Joined: Mar 10 2001

had the same thing happen to me, has nothing to do with the fact that its an athlon though. CPU's overheat in roughly 9 seconds without a heatsink.

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

>what has all this got to do with the fact that the processor was Athlon? Am I missing something?<

From experience with older processors where, for example, the fan had seized up but the processor just got very hot and then errors occured before the computer just closed down, this rapid Athlon failure seems worrying - surely modern ATX motherboards arte supposed to protect and shut down under these conditions?

Ray Liffen

Richard Choroszewski
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Joined: Sep 28 1999

Yes Ray's comments echo with something I read recently that in effect stated that AMD's overheat quicker than Pentiums. Supposedly the Pentium without heat sink does overheat and crashes the PC but that when the cooling is sorted the chip is ok again.

But then again you can't believe everything you see and hear can you...

Storm/Edius3.01 PAL 3Ghz Pentium in ASUS P4G8X M/board WinXPProSP2. 3x120G ATA & 2x300G Sata Raid0. 1024Mb DDRAM, Matrox Parhelia, 2xTFT 20" +SB Audigy2Platinum

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi Ray,

Sorry to hear of your experience and thanks for raising an important issue. Just out of interest what manufacture and model of heat-sink were you using?

dopebrit2k, the difference between current Athlon and Duron and current Intel processors is that Intel have implemented thermal protection circuitry in their processors to prevent this scenario occurring; AMD will imminently introduce this with the Palomino core processor variants and though obviously Ray was at fault this is unlikely to have occurred if the processor had the same thermal protection circuitry as the AMD Palominos.

Ray, FYI some mainboards will not power-up if a functioning fan is not detected as attached to the mainboard fan header and some mainboards have options to shutdown the system if either processor or system temperatures or CPU and system fans monitored by a hardware ASIC reach (mostly user definable) levels.

In response to a lot of queries I’ll soon be posting some mainboard recommendations.

Cheers.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

>Just out of interest what manufacture and model of heat-sink were you using?<

Evercool with ball-bearing fan (8 x 6.5 x 6.5 cm of aluminium and whirring blades). Keeps the replacement Athlon finger-cool.

Ray Liffen

ps
Whats the common name for a ball-bearing mousetrap?
A tomcat.

col
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Joined: Jun 12 1999

If any of you chaps are using a single fan on your Athlon heat sink then you are asking for trouble (that is a polite way of saying that you are an idiot)!

Always but always have a dual fan on your Athlon with seperate power supplies to each fan.

I have bought two recently, one at 19 pounds and another at 25 pounds. The 25 pound unit is a vertical cylindrical stack and so there is no danger of it fouling adjacent components (side by side fans can have monstrous heat sinks that can foul adjacent components).

The temperature of the processor shows as being 5 degrees cooler with the twin as with a single that I tested it against.

col

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

>If any of you chaps are using a single fan on your Athlon heat sink then you are asking for trouble. Always but always have a dual fan on your Athlon<

Hmm - disagree on this one. Properly fitted, a single fan seems quite adequate for cooling, and the big disadvantage of dual fans is NOISE.

>with seperate power supplies to each fan.<
Surely you are not suggesting a separate electronic power supply just to run each fan?
And if you simply mean separate wiring from the common computer power supply via a Y-connector, well, isn't this what would happen anyway?

Ray Liffen

Bomag
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Joined: Aug 15 2000

COL
>If any of you chaps are using a single fan on your Athlon heat sink then you are asking for trouble. Always but always have a dual fan on your Athlon<

How are you supposd to fit two fans to a socket A heatsink? Stacking them only gives a marginal increase in air flow. The only effective solution is to use a high speed (7000 rpm) fan. But as Ray says its gets a bit noisy. If you want a good HS which will give some leaway to overclock you should expect to pay £30+

>with seperate power supplies to each fan.<
If possible you should connect your fans to the motherboard fan headers not a standard 12v molex connector as most MBs can moniter the fan speed and flag up a error message if they stop.

col
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Joined: Jun 12 1999

You chaps are missing the point which I should have emphasized more.

Apart from removing the heat more efficiently the dual fans provide a belt and braces situation. That is if one fails the other will still work and hence should protect your Athlon, the change in sound will be noticable.

Bomag - the heatsinks have two fans fitted as standard.

The supplies to each fan are seperate, that is they are not tee'd off the MOBO cpu fan connector. I am not suggesting twin power supplies, just seperate supplies to the fans

The extra noise is a pain but you get used to it.

col

jlrichards
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Joined: Sep 3 2000

Paul, you mention mobo's shutting down after processor overheating. I have an MSI MS6630 Pro mobo which did this. Any ideas on how to get the board up and running again...every time I turn on the PC the only action i get is from the CPU fan???

James

Bomag
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Joined: Aug 15 2000

COL

>Bomag - the heatsinks have two fans fitted as standard.

Hope. Socket A heatsinks only have one fan.

Slot A heatsinks may have two fans (my FKK 32 on a K7-5 850Mhz does) but slot A has been effectively dead for 6 months and slot A processors are thermally a lot less fragile.

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi jlrichards

Currently if your Socket 462 system won’t boot because the processor has overheated then that’s that and it’s almost certainly history.

However what makes you sure that the “mobo's shutting down after processor overheating”?

If you’ve tried to 'overclock' the system and subsequently the system won’t boot, firstly reset any mainboard dip-switches or jumpers that have been altered (FSB frequency, CPU core multiplication and voltages) to their defaults, and then try holding down the ‘Insert’ key and keep holding it down as you switch your system on.

If this doesn’t work try the same process by holding down either the ‘Home’ key, or ‘Ctrl and Insert’ together or ‘Ctrl and Home’.

This procedure should clear your BIOS settings.

Alternatively unplug your system PSU from the mains and wait for 20 seconds or so until any diagnostic LED’s on the mainboard extinguish or, again with the system PSU unplugged from the mains press the system on/off switch a few times until the Power LED on the front of the chassis will no longer illuminate; then refer to your mainboard manual about clearing the CMOS, usually by temporarily relocating a mainboard ‘jumper’; if there is no reference to this carefully remove the CMOS battery for a short time, I cannot be specific on this as I have seen that this can vary from a few seconds to several hours.

I routinely operate processors and other system components beyond the markings of their packaging but I don’t recommend doing so for video editing systems; put it this way, if people really understand all the implications of so doing and have deep enough pockets to suffer the consequences, whether this be in terms of component failure or time wasted in rectifying the situation, then they probably don’t need my or anyone else’s help, but if they don’t then my recommendation stands.

With a validated heat sink installed properly, the heat sink fan functioning correctly and the temperatures within the chassis maintained within the processor manufacturers operating recommendations, I have never seen a production processor overheat.

Most every element of systems integration is critical to its optimal and reliable performance.

Hope this helps.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

In the main you’re right Bomag but there is a Socket 462 Thermaltake product, the ‘Super Orb’, which employs two fans, though it is not a design I particularly favour; additionally there is at least one other but the manufacturers name escapes me for the moment, the two fans on that unit were positioned to flow air laterally across the heat sink rather than downwards as is the general trend, though not imho exclusively the best orientation when all factors are considered.

Systems chassis should be designed to promote a free flow of cool air across all components. As most well designed systems chassis make provision for at least one motorised cooling fan that exhausts the warm air from the chassis, and more often than not this is located close to the CPU (and PSU, many of which now also exhaust air) then it makes more sense to me that any fan on the heat sink should work with the chassis (and PSU) fan and assist the airflow out of the chassis rather than working against it. Well-designed chassis will also have a facility to mount fans at the front, and in the main these should be directed to draw air into the case.

Fyfi one of the first of Thermaltakes products which came to my attention and which was at one stage targeted to Socket 462 enthusiasts, but later withdrawn for that application, was eventually admitted to be plain destructive, either to the CPU core or ZIF Socket; having investigated it myself it certainly is not a product I feel comfortable in recommending either. Thermaltake later introduced a revised clip for Socket 462 applications, but none of these products are validated by AMD and I’m not sure but I suspect that this may be because the design uses more than two location points on the ZIF socket which could cause an uneven interface between the CPU core and face of the heatsink.

An interesting product turned up for evaluation here the other day, it’s a large copper heat sink, not dissimilar in design to the Kanie ‘Hedgehog’ product; but what is interesting is that it has been entirely coated in industrial silver. I believe it is the first really high-end product by the manufacturer Akasa and will be marketed under the product name Silver Mountain.

I have found it to be very effective in it’s purpose and observed an immediate reduction of 3°C under heavy load over an AMD validated heat sink that was previously installed on the 1.3GHz Athlon processor.

The one thing I particularly like about it is the attachment clip; whilst this is conventional in overall design I found it rather more easy to manipulate it onto the ZIF socket than most I have seen; this is very important for two reasons both of which can result in a non-functioning mainboard. Firstly, as more often than not there are electrical traces running directly beneath the ZIF socket lug on mainboards so if you don’t have accurate control of the clip during installation these can be damaged by the clip scraping them as you locate it under the lug and secondly if you don’t have proper control of the tool, usually a flat bladed screwdriver, you are using to manipulate the clip, it can slip off of the clip and damage any of the mainboards local components. The clip on this product has what amounts to a non-slip bracket that the tip of a screwdriver can fit into; this greatly reduces the chances of an accident and as I said offers rather better control than most I have seen.

I can see a number of areas for both cosmetic and functional improvement and have made my recommendations to the manufacturer but I have to accept that the small changes I would like to see may not be justified to the wider market who would probably prefer not to pay the additional £5 or so to accommodate the increased cost of manufacture those changes would require.

The prototype I have is assisted by the attachment of a high-speed 60mm fan manufactured by the respected Delta corporation. The noise from these fans can be rather intrusive dependant upon the design of the heat sink to which they are attached and the orientation of the air flow; I’m a bit particular about this but with the chassis panels attached I found it acceptable even with the tower chassis on the desktop.

The SRP of the Silver Mountain is likely to be significantly less than the comparative products from Kanie and those from, the quite consistently excellent, Alpha as those are manufactured and imported from Japan as opposed to Tawain,

I’d tell you exactly where you could get this product, which apparently has now entered into volume production, but at the time of writing I’m not absolutely sure. I’m confident that www.overclockers.co.uk up North will stock them and possibly in London from Advan http://www.hitechpc.co.uk/ who are on 0207 636 7408.

As regular readers will know, if you’re concerned about warranty issues, I only recommend installation of products that have been validated by the CPU manufacturers; the Akasa Silver Mountain is unlikely to be validated by AMD as it weighs approximately 340g, which I believe is 40g over their recommended weight.

However many people want to go with something a little more extreme and what I am saying is that if you are one of those people, then this product does the job very well indeed, isn’t going to cost the earth for what you get and very importantly has been designed in such a way as to reduce the risk of peripheral damage during installation.

Hope this helps all…

Cheers,

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

jlrichards
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Joined: Sep 3 2000

Paul,

Thanks for the advice.

My problem is definately a mobo failure following the processor over heating. How do I know? ...a new mobo and same processor and the story ends in smiles.

Before getting a new mobo I did all that you suggested but to no avail. The moral of the story maybe to steer clear of MSI (microstar) mobo's - who knows!!!

thanks, James

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi James,

Thanks for your feedback and I am glad it seems to be working out for you.

Our Bob Crabtree did have a problem with one of his Microstar K7T Pro 2a mainboards; I believe one or more of the CPU Fan 'headers' was failing on him.

He has now had that particular mainboard replaced with I believe the same model and everything seems okay.

I've built about ten systems or so based on that mainboard and all have worked fine, so Bob must have been a little unlucky.

Imo Microstar have come a very long way in the past two years and now make some excellent products; our James Smith uses a VIA KT266 based Microstar MS-6380 K7T266 Pro mainboard which he is pretty happy with.

Out of interest, and help to all the Forum visitors, which mainboard have you now settled on, and which display accelerator and video capture and editing card are you using?

Cheers,

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

cyberwest
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Joined: Sep 13 2000

I had a Pentium III 600 working without a fan for about six months before I realised. All that happened was that the motherboard started emitting a high pitched whine, which I later realised was actually a warning alarm that overheating was occurring.

On the other hand, I fried a 1.33GHz Athlon a couple of weeks ago because the Thermaltake heatsink I was using had left behind some plastic in the thermal glue when I pulled the protective tab off. This must have melted and torched the CPU. Luckily I saw the funny side.

James

James Morris

jlrichards
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Joined: Sep 3 2000

Paul,

I settled on another MSI board, cos until failure point (which was my fault - cramming too much into a small case without adequate cooling), this product was working fine. This time a 6330 Lite version (didn't realise at the time that overclocking features were not present on the Lite version).

Unlike the rest of you with your semi-pro gear, I currently get by using a G400-TV for capture and graphics display etc which I have had for between 18mths and 2 yrs (the days before OCHI compliant gear was affordable).

However things have moved on since then and I am considering the purchase of a Canopus DVStorm card (fed up with waiting for renders to complete!). Do you know of any hardware issues with this card as very little information about compatability is available on the Canopus web site unlike the Matrox and Pinnacle sites for their respective products.

Many thanks,

James Richards

Richard Choroszewski
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Joined: Sep 28 1999

James,

I suggest you use the search function to find all posts where DV storm is mentioned. I think you'll find quite a lot of interesting stuff.

This thread is probably not the place to continue, but if you look at my sig file below you'll see the spec I went for, and which now works very well indeed.

------------------
DV Storm and Prem6.
1300 Mhz Athlon in EPOX 8KTA3+. M/board Win 2000 Pro SP1.
20 gig (C:\SysDrive: Reads 34Mbs, Writes 22Mbs) and 30 gig (D:\Audio/digi images and misc. R33Mbs, W30Mbs) (E:\)Plextor CD rewriter and (F:\)DVD player.
with 2 x 75 gig hd's in Raid 0 as (G:\ DV, R 51Mbs,W46Mbs). 512Mb PC133 SDRAM,
Matrox G450 driving 2 Illama TFT 15" monitors ,SB Live 5.1

Storm/Edius3.01 PAL 3Ghz Pentium in ASUS P4G8X M/board WinXPProSP2. 3x120G ATA & 2x300G Sata Raid0. 1024Mb DDRAM, Matrox Parhelia, 2xTFT 20" +SB Audigy2Platinum