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Author Topic: Computer problems...  (Read 3117 times)

wraith808

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Computer problems...
« on: September 21, 2007, 01:30:38 PM »
I have 7 computers in my office, and just recently one at a time, they started to overheat chronically.  The fans are at full capacity all of the time, and I get lockups from heat sporadically.  Before this, they had all been on all the time (except the three laptops- they get shut down regularly), and in the case of my two servers, had been up for over a year, literally, other than the couple of times that electric failure extended beyond their battery backup time.  Has anyone heard anything like this anywhere else?  Or does anyone have any suggestions?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2007, 01:59:14 PM »
Have you checked there isn't a think layer of fluff coating the intake filters on the case which will stop cool air getting in. Look on the front of the actual case in front of the intake fan and you should find something like spongy cloth held in plase by a piece of plastic with large holes in it (or a lattice of plastic).

Are you fans good quality and orientated to give good air flow (in most systems air should be pulled in from the front and bottom of a tower case and pushed out through the back and possible top of the case). Check on the fans that the air is going the right way.

Check you CPU heatsink and fan - again I find the fins on the heat exchange can get clogged with fluff - are the fans working properly. I have had a number of CPU fans fail over the years - usually bearings wearing down which you can hear but I have had them just stop turning)

If you check all that and there doesn't appear to be a problem can you upgrade your CPU cooling system with something better (even really good heat sink and fan sets are pretty cheap). Can you replace your case fans with better quality fans (they are very cheap $3-4 each - check the volume of air they push and go for the biggest, but also try for quiet fans which is a bit of a trade off).

If you want to clear stuff out buy cans of compressed air to blow away dust rather than being tempted to use a vacuum cleaner (which can kill a computer by static discharge).

tomos

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2007, 02:31:42 PM »
If you want to clear stuff out buy cans of compressed air to blow away dust rather than being tempted to use a vacuum cleaner (which can kill a computer by static discharge).
Carol,
I'm curious 
- having used a hoover a couple of times in the past... :tellme:
would that be from the metal of the hoover touching the machine or something else ?
Tom

edbro

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2007, 02:36:20 PM »
Have you checked task manager when they are overheating? Are there any new programs/processes? Anything misbehaving programs using 100% of CPU?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2007, 02:40:31 PM »
If you want to clear stuff out buy cans of compressed air to blow away dust rather than being tempted to use a vacuum cleaner (which can kill a computer by static discharge).
Carol,
I'm curious 
- having used a hoover a couple of times in the past... :tellme:
would that be from the metal of the hoover touching the machine or something else ?

No I read an article when I was building my first system. Up until then I used a vacuum cleaner to clear dust. It seems to be to do with the airflow over the plastic nozzle on the end of the vacuum tube which causes a charge to build up.

The other thing is I did break a fan blade off with a vacuum cleaner once (easy to do!)

wraith808

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2007, 10:55:20 AM »
Well, I did check the case, even though since there was more than one computer, I had my doubts.  They are fine.  I checked the task managers also, and they don't have anything *new* and *in common* in them.  How frustrating.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2007, 11:00:36 AM »
Are you absolutely sure that it is overheating?

Try running a sensor reading program on one of your machines and watch the temperature.

It seems strange that it would affect all of your computers at the same time ???? Maybe it is a symptom of a virus or something your systems have picked up.

SpeedFan is free and very good (you will need to know the model of motherboard if you want to download the appropriate config file). Don't let it manage your fan speeds though as if it is a heat problem it may compound the issue. See http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php for download and details.

Lashiec

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2007, 11:04:11 AM »
Can you get temps reading? If you could say what components are used in those computers, we could pinpoint a possible problem (and if you're using Pentium 4 Prescotts, we found the suspect ;D). Things that could be happening: the computers don't have enough space around for the fans to get and expel air, the PSUs are failing (HIGHLY unlikely, unless you bought all them in bulk and they're from the same faulty batch), there's no proper circulation of air inside the case because of cables mess, the thermal paste could have dried up (HIGHLY unlikely again)... I'll tell you, it could be a lot of things.

wraith808

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2007, 12:30:37 PM »
Well, I downloaded speedfan (thanks for that tip!)  I haven't checked all of the systems yet, but on the first laptop I installed it on, the temperature is 57C, and the first desktop says 98C(?!?)  Internal Temp, though all of the sensors say that their temperatures are low (31-35C)... this is a *really* interesting tool...

Update: The core temperature on that desktop is 46C, I found out.  I wonder what Internal Temp is- I'll have to do more research.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 12:32:52 PM by wraith808 »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer problems...
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2007, 01:04:28 PM »
Core temperature is the CPU temperature. 46C is not a problem, 57C is a bit warm but should be OK - but 98C is a bit OTT !!

Internal temperature is presumably the motherboard sensor for the case temperature. These can vary in temperature enromously depending on where they are mounted on the motherboard (and if there are hot components near by).

One of the problems with SPEEDFAN is that you can change all the names of the sensors/fans etc. so there is little naming consistency.

You may want to try downloading a config for your motherboard. Just hit the "Info" tab and at the bottom click "Get Config" on the next page is a link to the website - click on that and answer the questions to identify your system properly. A list of user defined configs will be displayed  for your motherboard - if you click on one it will give you a ticket number which you can enter in SPEEDFAN. Restart SPEEDFAN and it will be setup according to that configuration. Note that these configs are all supplied by users so cannot be guaranteed but as I understand it they all set up the program with any dangerous controls (including fan control) disabled. You may need to experiment with a number of configs to find one that is set up properly - just leave the browser window open and use BACK to go back and choose a different one.

If you genuinely seem to have temperatures above 70C regularly there is something seriously wrong. If it is a CPU temperature I would suggest you buy a new heatsink and fan for the CPU with some thermal compound (Arctic Silver is very good and comes with instructions). You might want to check temperatures in your BIOS - switch on the computer and press DEL (usually) when you see the first printed screen - go into the BIOS and look at the sensor values there - leave the system running for an hour and see if there is any significant increase in temperature.

Also a number of questions:

  • What kind of graphics cards do you use - are they actively cooled by fans or passive?
  • Do your PSUs have fans - are they dirty? Not easy to fix as most PSUs are sealed to stop users getting electrocuted - but a compressed air can should do the job.
  • How many fans are there in your cases?

Could you take a digital photo of the inside of the worst offending system and post it here so we can see what you are looking at.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 01:07:29 PM by Carol Haynes »