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Creeping CPU Temps

Hello all.

Over the past year or so my CPU temps have been slowly but surely creeping upwards. It has gotten to the point now that using 100% of my CPU for more than about five minutes will cause the machine to shut down. Even with an open case in a 65 degree F room it now idles at about 158 as measured by the CMOS setup utility. I run an AMD Athlon XP 3200+, so I've been using a bus disconnector called S2k Control. This thing is great as it allows Athlon XP chips to achieve sub 90 degree temps in idle. With S2k Control I can get down to about 130 in idle with the case open. When I first built my computer, I had a hard time exceeding 130 even after hours of 100% stress testing. Nothing about the setup has changed since then; the fans are all running at speed, and the heatsink has not been removed and reseated. Also, I am using a Nexus Breeze case and the Nexus AXP-3200 CPU fan/heatsink with Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound. The bottom mounted 120 mm fan and the CPU fan have been speed limited with resistors. I can hear it now. "Oh, there you go... take off the resistors!" I will probably do this soon, but the fact remains that the same setup used to work perfectly. That means there is another underlying problem, and this is my question. Can a CPU go bad?


Randyman... Wed, 03/22/2006 - 17:22
I'd blow it out with a can of air. It does not take much dust to start making a difference (especially on the fins of a Heatsink where airflow is easily disrupted with a few millimeters of dust between the fins). My temps will creep up a degree or 2 every month I don't clean my case.

Aside from that - Maybe try re-seating your HSF again? Does this PC get transported where the HSF could have been nudged out of place? The AS-5 is fantastic stuff...

I don't know anything about the S2K Control you speak of. Could that be causing an issue? What does it do? Throttle the clock, throttle the fan, throttle the Vcore? Can you disable it or un-install it just for grins?

The PC shutting off after 100% CPU Utilization for 5 minutes is indeed a BIG problem. I have not heard of a bad CPU causing this kind of thermal behavior (bad CPU's tend to limit Overclockability, or cause errors and HD corruption). Any Thermal Issues I have seen were attributed to improper HSF Seating, too much Thermal Compound, or tons of dust...

Sorry David - That is all that came to mind :)


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 03/22/2006 - 18:11
158f is almost reaching meltdown point for that cpu...

I would do as the others say and spray it with some canned air. I do that every week. If that doesnt change anything the thermal compound may have lost its bond somehow. (rare)

Only way to check that is take the cpu off and reseat it with some new thermal compound...

btw my 3000+ barton used to run at 122 IDLE! when I had a shitty case. I went out and bought an Antec Sonata II case with 2 120mm fans and lowered the cpu hsf fan to 3800 rpm and it dropped to 109f idle.

David French Wed, 03/22/2006 - 18:15

Yup. That was it. Dust. Boy am I embarrased. Dust. I man, dust, man. Dust.

OK enough of that. :roll:

S2k Control is great. It operates by disconnecting the northbridge from the CPU or something like that. Can you tell I don't know much about low level computer hardware? It only works on certain chips, all the Athlon XPs and some Durons. If you have one of these chips, I highly suggest this app.

Man, it's amazing how little dirt it takes to kill heatsink performance! You know, over the past eight years I've owned five computers and this is the first one that's ever done this on me. Must be this heatsink. To repeat, it's a Nexus AXP-3200... a fantastic cheap, quiet, effective unit, but keep the damn thing clean! Those itty bitty fins clog up easily! Everyone learn from my hilarious ignorange!

David French Wed, 03/22/2006 - 20:14
This is from the 'about' page in S2k Control:

S2k Control wrote: This program written by Serge Galkin (StarGaz0r)
Copyleft © 2003-2004 TwinSSoft Co.

Significant power savings of the AMD Athlon processor
only occur if the processor is disconnected from the system
bus by the Northbridge while in the Halt or Stop Grant state.
The Northbridge can optionally initiate a bus disconnect
upon the receipt of a Halt or Stop Grant special cycle.
The option of disconnecting is controlled by an enable bits
in the Northbridge.

Program key features:
Enables bus disconnect bit in the Northbridge.
Full control under Clock Control (CLK_CTL) MSR
that determine the internal clock divisor when
Athlon system (S2k) bus is disconnected

Supported processors:
AMD Duron, Athlon Processors Model 2,3,4 (w/ limitations)
AMD Duron, Athlon, Athlon XP/MP Processors Model 6 &

Supported chipsets:
VIA KT133, KT133A, KLE133, KX133, KM266
KT266, KT266A, KT333, KT333 CF, KT400, KM400,
nVidia nForce series, nForce2
SIS 730, 733, 735, 740, 745, 755, 746, 748
AMD 751, 760, 761, 762

McCheese Wed, 03/22/2006 - 22:11
Glad you figured it out. I just wanted to point out that opening your case up will rarely drop the temp if your case has any decent airflow setup (120mm blowing out the back, etc...). In fact IME it has caused temps to go up a few degrees. It disrupts the airflow that your case was designed for.

I have two 80mm's blowing in the front, over my HD's then over the CPU cooler, and out the back via a 120mm. I also have a slot cooler blowing on my vid card fan and my chipset fan.

It's noisy as hell, but my speakers get louder. My next project is to cut out the honeycomb grills over the fan holes to get unobstructed airflow.

And who deals in computer temps in °F? Celsius man, that's where it's at.

I clean my gaming rig out once a week, shopvac and canned air is all it takes to keep my cpu (Athlon 64 3500+) running at a cool 32°C while playing BF2.

Randyman... Wed, 03/22/2006 - 22:24
Agreed about the *C when talking CPU Temps. Also agreed on aftermarket HSF's (I love Thermal-Right and the XP-120 personally :) )

On the Fan Volume thing - it is very possible to have a very quiet PC - even in my case with Overclocking a Pentium D on air. 120mm fans are the ticket. A 120mm fan around 1000RPM will move plenty of air, and makes barely any noise (hard to tell if they are even "on" below ~700RPM). One in the front (for intake and HD cooling), one on the side (as a side intake and CPU Fresh Air Tunnel), one on the rear to exhaust the stale air, and one on the CPU to keep her cool. Add a quiet Power Supply like the OCZ Powerstream , and you too can have a fairly silent PC that can run 3.9GHz x2 cores :P

I love the Silverstone 120mm 9-blade fans. They max out at 110CFM at 39dBa @ 1 Meter, and have an INCLUDED Potentiometer to regulate fan speed from roughly 600-2600RPM. Dual BB's round out a killer fan choice.

A high-performance Overclocked PC (even an Intel Dual Core like mine) can be quiet. Seriously!!! 80mm fans suck ass IMO... 120mm + speed regulation is IT.


David French Wed, 03/22/2006 - 23:09
The Nexus products I'm using are great. Those combined with the resistor mods and my vibration isolating Zalman HD heatsink mounts make for a very quiet and, um, *cool* PC.

McCheese, about your noisy computer... I used to have a fairly noisy computer, but when I replaced it with my current superquiet machine, playback became significantly more 'real'. I suppose it's all the low-level detail that's getting masked. I used to like loud levels, but it's amazing how much quieter you can listed in a very quiet room and still feel like you're getting a heapin' helpin' of dynamics. I seriously suggest you look into it if you can.

Reggie Thu, 03/23/2006 - 09:50
McCheese wrote:
And who deals in computer temps in °F? Celsius man, that's where it's at.

Randyman wrote: Agreed about the *C when talking CPU Temps.

Commies!! :evil: Fahrenheit for life! You can keep your kilometers too.

Thanks for the reminder to clean out the CPU. I don't have a temp reader, so I probably need to stay on top of it...

McCheese Thu, 03/23/2006 - 17:32
Maybe I should clarify. My noisy computer is a gaming rig. It's not my audio computer. Also the reason it's noisy is that the factory fan grills are obstructing too much airflow. My plan this weekend is to cut them out, then replace the 80mm HD fans with a single 120. I'll still have my 80mm blowing down on the CPU from the window, and another 80mm blowing air in from the top.