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Is this most likely a CPU overheating issue?

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cel4145

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
I'm helping a friend by phone troubleshoot her first build of a PC, so I have sort of limited access to the machine. Her build is:

MSI KM4AM-L KM400A
Duron 1.2 GHZ
1 x Crucial 256MB PC-2700 4-T
Antec 300W(SLK300S)Smart Power PSU

From a cold start up, the system starts, displays AMD Duron at 1200 MHZ, and then offers the option to setup or skip setup (uses Phoenix bios). But within a few seconds of entering the bios (not long enough to check cpu temp), it shuts off. If restarted almost immediately, it shutsdown even sooner or doesn't turn on at all.

The jumper for the FSB on the board has been properly set to 100MHZ. There are no drives connected (although it has been tried with the floppy--same results). To me, this sounds like the CPU is overheating. I do know that the CPU works--it came from an older, working system.

Also, and perhaps this is related, she did have all of the jumpers pulled off the FSB jumper pins the first time she tried to boot (sigh). CMOS was cleared once this problem was corrected. From looking at the motherboard manual pin settings, it's possible that no jumper pins would have set it at 200MHZ FSB, so perhaps the CPU was damaged (although, then it should not start at all, should it?).

She' starting to get very discouraged, so I want to be sure to take the most liklely direction of attack for diagnosing the problem. Any suggestions or thoughts before I have her clean the CPU grease and reseat the heatsink? Is it more likely a bad motherboard or RAM?
 
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cel4145

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
follow-up

we've managed to check the cpu temp by getting into the pc health status menu in the bios for a few seconds before the machine shut down. strangely, the system temp shows up at a temperature which correctly represents the ambient air temperature in the room (the case is open), but the cpu temperature reading comes up as N/A.
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
Can you underclock it by jumper settings?

How certain are you that she did what you explained in the first post correctly? (I troubleshoot PC problems over the phone everday for work, so I know this can be difficult depending on who you are working with)

Is all of this hardware new, or is some of it used? If it is used, was it used by her and does she know that it is in good working condition?
 
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cel4145

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
"Can you underclock it by jumper settings?"

Well, the FSB setting is the only jumper clock setting on the board. And that has been set to the lowest setting at 100MHZ.

Meanwhile, I'm looking through the MB manual, and there is an "Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk" which appears to be enabled by default in the picture in the manual (which makes sense). Could it be that the FSB is overclocking because it's picking up the speed based on the the memory. Admittedly, I'm guessing. I usually don't tweak the bios for overclocking, which is why I posted here. Who knows better about getting a CPU to work correctly than the members of OC Forums :)

"How certain that she did what you explained in the first post correctly? (I troubleshoot PC problems over the phone everday for work, so I know this can be difficult depending on who you are working with)"

Because we had to go through a lot of trouble by repeatedly double checking it several times. LOL
 
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cel4145

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Jul 17, 2004
"Is all of this hardware new, or is some of it used? If it is used, was it used by her and does she know that it is in good working condition?"

The CPU is an old one of mine and came out of a working system that was not overly used (not a ton of mileage on it). I pulled it and packed it. The motherboard, RAM, case, and PSU are all new.

So I suppose it could be the CPU, if she handled it incorrectly, but otherwise, the odds are more in favor of it working right than a new one.

Meanwhile, I just talked to her, and this evening, we are going to clean the CPU grease off the CPU and heatsink (using 9x% isopropyl alchohol) and reapplying the grease with my assistance over the phone. Seems the next most logical step. But I am still concerned that the issue could be related to something other than heat.
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
Ok, good answers. Welcome to the forums by the way! :D You should stick around and help some people out in your spare time like the rest of us forum flies. :D

I would manually set the RAM timings for sure, and eliminate any possible confusion the board is having there.

So she applied the grease the first time? Do you know how she did this, like did you walk her through it? That is often not done right by n00bs, so if she doesn't know what shes doing, something could have gone wrong. I dunno what her experience is though.

What about the seating of the heatsink itself? Are you sure she placed the raised portion of the heatsink over the raised portion of the socket? The raised portion of the base has to be over the socket cam box, or else there will be very poor contact, possibly a cracked die, and quite likely the system won't start at all or will shutdown seconds after starting up.
 
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cel4145

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Jul 17, 2004
"Ok, good answers. Welcome to the forums by the way! You should stick around and help some people out in your spare time like the rest of us forum flies."

Thanks. I'm a "forum fly" over on the Drupal support forums . Try to help as much as I can there, so I really do appreciate the help :) But I don't know how much help I'd be here. I never overclock. I leave that to the experts. I'm a college writing teacher by trade :)

"I would manually set the RAM timings for sure, and eliminate any possible confusion the board is having there."

Will do. I wouldn't be surprised if the board/bios is confused since the range of CPU's for the board is Duron 1000 (200mhz FSB) to Athlon 3000 (400mhz FSB). Entirely possible that they never considered in the design using DDR 333 ram with a 100mhz CPU clock.

"So she applied the grease the first time? Do you know how she did this . . ."

She's brand new at this (other than installing memory and PCI cards). I had offered to help through each step of the process, as well as having already provided some links to tutorials, especially since I gave her the CPU and an old IBM 60GXP hard drive and ASUS burner to build this budget box (she was using an old Gateway BX board 500 Pentium II). But she insisted on doing things herself. So this time, once she cleans the heatsink and CPU, I'll walk her through the application of the grease and installing the heatsink.

Thanks again so much for your help :)
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
Aw crap, an english writing teacher - did I spell the plural of fly right? I'm surprised it wasn't too painful for you to read my posts, haha... I struggle in english and only have one business writing course left before I graduate. :) Bleh.

No problem for the help, if you walk her through the grease application (less grease you use the better), and make certain she understands the right way to put the heatsink on (it can easily be fully clamped on completely backwards), you should hopefully be good to go.

/IMOG looks at the punctuation throughout his post... shakes head :rolleyes:
 
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cel4145

New Member
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Jul 17, 2004
LOL

Look at my use of (or lack there of) of capitals in my second post. I'm not a grammer nut; don't even worry so much about it myself and try to deemphasize it in my classes. Instead, I'm much more interested in the study and teaching of rhetoric, electronic discourse, and open source/open content, and, as a matter of fact, will be teaching business and technical writing this fall for the first time at Purdue.

From my perspective, *sooo* many people overstress the importance of grammar and mechanics at the expense of writing clearly and creating a good argument. After all, someone with good grammar and spelling but with nothing to say is still someone with nothing to say ;) And your posts were very well articulated and informative (as well as helpful) while having a distinct voice--much more important in my classes since you demonstrate strong communication skills. :thup: And your extensive forum posting may be infinitely more valuable than your business writing course in the long run for continuing to develop your communication skills.

Now I'd better shut up instead of giving a writing theory lesson :)

Thanks again!
 
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cel4145

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Jul 17, 2004
Thanks. I just checked. The manual specifically allows manual DRAM Burst Length settings of 4T or 8T, so it seems like it should.
 
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cel4145

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Jul 17, 2004
fixed!

when cleaning the cpu and heatsink, we discovered that the cpu fan was plugged int the sysfan header on the board and that the heatsink was installed backwards. also, for some strange reason, the pc health cpu temperature in the bios would not display until we set a cpu warning temperature. note that we also did not have to reset any of the memory settings; left everything default.

thanks again for the suggestions!
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
I knew that heatsink got in there backwards! Well atleast that is an easy fix, and fortuneatly it didn't kill anything. Which fan header you plug it into wouldn't be a big deal, but the bios might not want to play nice if it doesn't detect a fan on the CPU header.

As for the bios temp display, temp reading always seem so dodgy it wouldn't surprise me one bit if there were some finicky quirks like you mention noticing.

Glad you got her problem solved. :)