Hey guys, I've been reading online for a few days while trying to uncover why my computer will not stay on for very long.

Running Hot within minutes. Shuts down at 90deg.
Get hot faster when in BIOS.
Can boot all the way to the desktop, but once there it has been long enough to heat up and it shuts down or go into a "coma" type mode. It seems like a reboot but kinda stays in a black screen mode while the computer continues to heat up (Probably causing damage).

My process of elimination started with the power supply. While in the BIOS setup, the blue screen background would slowly start to dim and go in and out, then a shut down. So I assumed not enough power. Replaced the PSU with a better on and it did the same dimming type situation.

Second step was check the RAM sticks for damage or improper installation. I replaced the two sticks with one stick of a completely different manufacturer and speed and all that. No changes so it's not the RAM.

At that point I dismantled the entire setup. All drives out, cables out, PSU out, stick out, MOBO out and inspected all components. They all look good. Plugged everything thing in back nice and snug. Powered on. It seemed to last a little longer but then I realized that I should check the temperature. That's where I resolved my hunt down to an overheating issue, the BIOS temp sensor is watching as the temp. climbs from idle (60ish to 90) when it shuts off. Everytime it hits 90 deg in a matter of minutes or seconds depending on ambience around the CPU.

While inspected all the components I just want to mention that I did notice something very slight that may or may not be something. One pin in the Power Connector attached to the MOBO (for main power) is darker than the others. All are shiny either silver or bronze and this one and maybe one more are dark brown if not black. It's integrated so I'm not sure if that is an easy fix, or if it's even an indication of a problem.

So that's it, all pieces together and fix nicely. The computer overheats within minutes and to the best of my knowledge has been working fine for 3 or 4 years. The main CPU and the Southbridge Chipset get extremely hot to the touch.

What are my next steps without getting a new MOBO? Take the CPU out and re-heat doping it (probably all original from 4 years ago)? Install a better CPU fan or System Fan? Currently there are two. The BIOS tells me that the CPU fan runs about 4k RPMs and the System fan runs 2.5k RPMS which I'm not sure what is normal. They run that speed all the time, regardless of temperature. All voltages are within specs from the BIOS reporting.

I'm sorry this is such a long post, I've been pondering this all day and night for days. One more thing. The processor speed reported by the BIOS system information is an AMD Athlon XP 2338M which when I looked it up online doesn't exist. I'm wondering if this chip was overclocked to be faster then it should be without proper cooling. How can I tell an overclocked chip? There aren't too many jumpers on the board, and BIOS has a lot of options such as memory chip speed setting, which doesnt' sound like overclocking to me.

Any suggestions would be extremely helpful to me, and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

Dan Murphy

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First, load default settings in BIOS. It will set your CPU speeds to the factory settings. If your BIOS is latest one for your mobo, it should positively identify your CPU and it's settings. There might be, however, incompatibilities with system RAM and in such case you would need to manually set the DDR timings yourself. Otherwise you would get memory-related random errors/crashes during windows boot-up or during normal runtime.

Regarding the overheating, if the CPU fan is working, then the problem might be one of 3 causes:

1- Extremely dusty heatsink
2- Heatsink isn't tight enough on the CPU
3- Thermal paste between CPU and heatsink is old and dry

Heatsink needs to be TIGHT in order to efficiently transfer heat from CPU to heatsink. Also, the thermal paste layer needs to be really thin.

My general advice is to ditch the AMD heatsink and fan and get some serious cooling solution. Zalman or Thermaltake for example.

Regarding that darkened pin.. Darker color usually means that there were some speakings. Sparks are usually caused by bad connection. Also, dark color might be caused by oxidation. Either way, you would need to clean it up a little. Little bit of sandpaper would do.

Hi 'warmexxus'
While reading you're post I got so excited that I didnt even finish reading the last four sentences. reason being you one lucky guy.Meaning you're lucky you didnt frie the cpu/ board.In a nutshell its defnitely overheating. Chaky is leaning in the right direction.Follow his instructions and also Id llike to add, check you're fans ususally there two fans by default in you're tower. make sure the fan on you're CPU is positioned to draw the heat from you're CPU

Cheers and Goodluck

Thank you for responding and confirming that it's most likely a heatsink issue and CPU cooling fan issue. My plans are to dismantle the CPU and heatsink, redope, and install better cooing units to try and keep this board from being toast. I'll let you know my results because I'm guessing something else has to be wrong (this board has been working decent for a few years).

For now I will have to buy the dope, cooler, and take the time to tear it all apart.

I am so happy that I actually got some responses. I was getting depressed that noone could help me. :)

Thank you all so much,
Dan Murphy

Glad to help.

>>I'll let you know my results because I'm guessing something else has to be wrong (this board has been working decent for a few years).<<

Please let me know, Im almost certain its a cooling issue. but if you're right than we'll take it from there. :)


I just wanted to share the solution after everything. It was the heat dope between the CPU and it's heatsink. There wasn't any. Ever. For like 5 years this thing has been off and on, and even a technician said that it's a heat issue but never discovered the heat dope not being there. I applied a thin layer and BOOM the CPU stays at a constant temperature and no shutdown. Amazing stuff.

Now I'll know exactly where to look if I have the same issue again.

Thanks to all, and I hope maybe someone else can gain some knowledge from this.

Dan Murphy

Well done

please mark as solved for follow up


... and even a technician said that it's a heat issue but never discovered the heat dope not being there.

tsk-tsk-tsk @ technician

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