Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Pushing a CPU to Heat Death, Intentionally

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the or-maybe-it-will-loaf-along dept.

Hardware Hacking 291

sdougal writes "This site is showing a Pico-ITX board running Ubuntu with no cooling whatsoever. They even let the public guess how long it would last: 'Last week thousands of you placed bets on how long the new Pico-ITX board from VIA, the VIA EPIA PX5000EG, can last without any cooling whatsoever. An ARTiGO Builder Kit was offered as the grand prize. Yesterday afternoon the voting stopped and the Naked Pico Challenge started in earnest. We simply loaded up Ubuntu 8.04, set it to work playing an mpeg-4 video and then removed the heatsink, leaving the CPU and VX700 chipset bare to the world. We recorded the event here in this video and set up a live video stream so you punters can keep a watchful eye on the PX5000EG as it works away.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Ehh, it's been done before (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23504988)

Anyone remember Patrick Norton frying that CPU on "The Screen Savers [wikipedia.org]" back in the TechTV days? Patrick and Leo were building their annual "Ultimate Gaming Machine" (using all the best components available at the time) and his Nortoness forgets to put the heatsink on the CPU. They turn it on, and within minutes, they smell something burning. They had just fried one of the most expensive CPU's you could buy at the time, right there in front of God and the nation.

It was an expensive lesson in the importance of the heatsink.

Of course, many of us can remember back when CPU's didn't even need heatsinks. My first build was a 486SX with a zif chip slot and no CPU cooling--hard to believe now.

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505190)

I was at one of the audience tapings for 'TSS' in san francisco, a few years ago. very sad to see the show leave, taking all that good geek (true geek) talent with it.

I once sent an amd k8 system to a friend in the mail. I made the mistake of leaving the big heatsink (I think it was a barton chip and those were VERY hot back in the day) attached. the pc was sent ground, I think, and so it didn't get the best treatment. turns out that the heatsink came off the cpu socket and was doing some kind of 'round the world tour' inside the pc case! when he opened it up, there were ding marks from the sharp edges of the heatsink all over the mobo ;(

that was bad. but it gets worse. my 'genius friend' decided to just try it as it was and not even bother to fix the heatsink back to the chip!

I think in 5-10 secs, he -guaranteed- that that system will never run again. I would have liked to know if the mobo was still working - but now, the whole thing is toast.

he didn't know? really? a BIG HUGE HONKING heatsink and he thinks he can turn on a system without it?


now, that was years ago. today with the core2 arch, you almost don't NEED a heatsink. its amazing. I have overclocked core2 chips (see 'BSEL mod' for changing 800fsb to 1066fsb via some conductive paint) and STILL the chip is cold to the touch when I run memtest86. my bsel mod photos are here, btw: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=bsel&w=47907743%40N00 [flickr.com]

its now my usual procedure to install a fan speed control and set it to MIN for all my core2 systems that I build. I love the fact that even at slowest rpm, it still never gets hot enough to even pull your hand away from the hs/fan. amazing..

I also do have a via epia that I use for my mythtv box:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2010/1890660635_273662e3c9_o.jpg [flickr.com]
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2299/2005750966_a1b8d242b3_o.jpg [flickr.com]

in that 2nd photo, you can see its drawing 24watts (with a kill-a-watt lcd meter). its 100% fanless, uses a 1ghz cpu but it DOES get quite hot to the touch so I leave the top case skin off; that way I can get by with no fan at all. its been doing my myth-tv recording (using hdhomerun HD tuner box, networked) for about half a year now; no reboots and very reliable.

low power systems are cool ;)

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506192)

I've had two CPUs die from heat death when their cooling fans became clogged with dust, cat hair and pot smoke. The latest box's motherboard has a thermometer hooked up so if it reaches a certain temperature the power will shut off.

It's gotten flakey lately when booting to Windows (although it boots to Linux flawlessly. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing to say about the respective OSes). The default is Windows, and it would reboot continually until Windows finally "caught" (unless I told LILO to go to Mandriva).

The other day I turned it on and went out for a beer; it's been the center of my living room stereo, with a few thousand MP3s ripped from my CDs, tapes, and LPs. When I got back it was shut completely off.

My house has no carpeting, so I'd loaned my vaccuum sweeper to a friend. I'll get the sweeper back before I open it up, but I'm wondering if the power suply fan is what gave out this time and fried the power supply, or the CPU fan gave out and fried the CPU, or if the temperature sensor had something to do with it.

When the CPU fans died in earlier incarnations, the lights would blink momentarily before going dark. They don't even do that now. I'm not making any bets, but if I were a betting man I'd bet the power supply is dead. In a quarter century of building and repeiring PCs I've never had a power supply die. Have any of you lost the power supply in a PC?

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506418)

I work as a technician, and I've seen a fair number of power supply deaths, including one truly bizarre power supply that failed in such a way that it now kills motherboards. Usually they're either old or crappy, usually both.

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (2, Interesting)

Eg0Death (1282452) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506474)

You've never seen a power supply die in 25 years?! Wow! That seems to be one of the most common causes of PC "death" I see. I bought a $20 test device to confirm the deadness of PSUs.

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (5, Funny)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506480)

I've had two CPUs die from heat death when their cooling fans became clogged with dust, cat hair and pot smoke.
I'm not sure if this story should result in a LOL-cat or a computer-shaped bong...

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505528)

A former cow-orker did something daft like that with an AMD around the early Duron/Athlon days.
He connected an 800MHz Athlon without the heatsink. Four seconds after the power was switched on,
he had a nice, big hole where the CPU was. I would have loved the pictures of that :)

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505678)

I ordered a Tunderbird 900mhz when they were "the big thing." The guy who was building it fried 6 CPUs and 4 motherboards before he figured out that it wasn't a good idea to bench-test them without a cpu fan. Helps to read the instructions ...

Another guy (who builds systems "on the side") asked me about one that he similarly toasted - it would boot, but wouldn't run Windows. I told him that he now had a very expensive dos-box, and to enjoy running the original Doom at 1.2 ghz.

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505882)

How do you 'ork' a cow? And is it legal in your state or country?

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505758)

They turn it on, and within minutes, they smell something burning.

The better one was the Tom's Hardware one where they tested an AMD chip and Intel chip by removing the heatsink on a running game. This was right after Intel came out wiht the Speed Step tech stuff that everyone scoffed as it would slow down the processor. It slowed down all right, but didn't fry in a second like the AMD chip did.

I would love to see a repeat test with the low power chip line-up. The 1 watt VIA processor against the new 4 watt Intel Atom. I would guess the Atom would slow down to reduce power, but not self destruct. Playing video may crash as it would no longer keep up, but it would be unharmed and re-bootable after the heatsink was replaced.

Anyone care to run a side by side test and post the video including the reboot after crash?

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506382)

I guess I must be old, when I read your comment "Many of us remember when CPU's did not even need heatsinks" and you mention a 486SX... I figured it would at least be something you found in the C64 or the Intel 8048 8-bit microcontroller running at 1.79 MHz from the Philips G7000. And lets not forget the price CPU, MC68000.

Anyway, i'm sure people can find older cpu's they remember, but, really... "back when cpu's did not even need heatsinks" does not compute into a 486..

*my* 486SX... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506410)

...didn't even have a zif socket, you insensitive clod!

Re:Ehh, it's been done before (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506534)

One of my first computers was a 486 with an optional math co-processor. We decided to buy a co-processor to run a 3D cad application but the store only had a 386 co-processor. We took it home and plugged it in only to find it produced buggy results due to heat.

Fortunately I had a race car lug nut lying around so I put it on the chip and it ran fine for as long as the computer ran.

What's the point? (0)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505036)

It's just a waste of a CPU isn't it?

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505064)

Ah, the point is to demonstrate how efficient the CPU is. Fair enough, I thought this was just breaking stuff for no reason.

Re:What's the point? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505198)

Its not for no reason, its for "science" -- at least in that 8th grade science fair sort of way. A friend of mine one time coated the inside of an altoid can with home made napalm, punched a hole in it for fuse, and tried to see how many fire crackers we could stuff in at a time and explode before we couldn't use it anymore (the answer was 12, but that was after 11 previous detinations, so, it may be morel like 12 + 11 + ...1)

Of course, we were 22 and 23 at the time...

You never know when knowledge like this can be useful to you in the future.

Re:What's the point? (5, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505090)

Destroying things is fun, especially done with unorthodox methods.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505356)

Just startup Vista on it, that thing will be crispy before the splash screen disappears.

The rule of thumb is.... (4, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505044)

The rule of thumb among engineers is: One square inch of flat aluminum surface will dissipate one watt at room temperature and rise about 20 degrees Farenheit.

A CPU chip with 900+ pins run a bit cooler as it's a it more than one square inch if you an include the substrate, and a certain percentage of the heat will conduct itself down the pins.

Re:The rule of thumb is.... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505226)

I predict a lot shorter now that the page with the video is linked on the Slashdot front page.! ;)

Re:The rule of thumb is.... (0, Offtopic)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505478)

WTF? Someone modded me insightful! Mods can't possibly be that dumb can they? (Yeah, yeah, I must be new around here... ;)

Re:The rule of thumb is.... (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505714)

And now your modded "Offtopic". That'll learn you.

Bog knows what this will get modded as - Off-Off topic, or is that Redundant?

Re:The rule of thumb is.... (5, Insightful)

IllForgetMyNickSoonA (748496) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506004)

There are quite a few guys around here who moderate "insightfull" instead of "funny" because "funny" gets you no karma and "insightfull"... well, does. :-)

Re:The rule of thumb is.... (2, Funny)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506250)

You don't need to know how thick it is? 'cause I guarantee this won't work with aluminum foil for example.

The video (5, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505094)

They should make the mp4 hours of video of hardcore pornography, and we can all make bets on what the final frame that it shows before locking up and shutting down will be about. Blowjobs, anal, AtM, Bukkake, fem domination, tentacle sex, etc. It will bring more people to RTFA and WTFS (Watch The Fucking Stream).

2 CPUs 1 Cooler? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505490)

They should make the mp4 hours of video of hardcore pornography
Or just the "Hungry Bitches" trailer [wikipedia.org]. (Wikipedia's article is safe for work because its subject is non-Free.)

Re:2 CPUs 1 Cooler? (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505860)

ew... I can't quite see why anyone would ever want to watch that. I mean, I know some people are weird and would generally count myself as one of them.. but that video sounds almost as bad as having to judge your country's possible entries into the Eurovision song contest..

If there is just.. (1)

atamagabakkaomae (1241604) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505100)

an MPEG4 video player running the CPU will probably last forever (or at least until the heat gun experiment). Not enough load..

Re:If there is just.. (1)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505966)

That's is what I was thinking off...

Even the via motherboards has on-chip video decoders, so, this kind of work will not add many load to the cpu...

Must...resist...saying (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505120)

slashvertisement. There I said it.

VIA showing off their board, offering a VIA-equipped toy to someone, disguising the entire thing as a geek event and plastering it on geeky sites. Gee, that sure is great news for nerds, stuff that (doesn't) matter...

Re:Must...resist...saying (2, Insightful)

ekimminau (775300) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505470)

Put a micro camera inside the case and close it up so it gets no air circulation.
Here we have the new ABC corp multi-Quad core CPU, over clocked to 50X standard. We are going to remove the heat sink and see how long it will last here in the absolute zero room with the case wide open and all the fans turned off.
Yes, this is a flame bait to the vendor in question but just how worthy is it to say an "ultra low voltage" cpu/motherboard can survive in a open office cooled to ~68 degrees F. with an open case playing a 1/8th screen resolution video on an external display?
To me? Worthless.
Want a nuce comparison?
How long can your cell phone with 3G networking survive in your hand while watching streaming video live from the internet? At least it is performing streaming video via cellular networking with its own dedicated power, storage and display. And my cellphone does it daily.

Ummm, copying VW folks? (4, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505122)

They've been doing this with aircooled VW engines for probably 50 years at shows and races. Pull the fan belt, drain the oil, and put a brick on the accelerator. Everyone pays a buck to bet on the time, and with any luck the engine explodes spectacularly, much to the crowd's pleasure.

Yet again, "on the internet" somehow makes it original...

Re:Ummm, copying VW folks? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505244)

Yes, well... everyone everywhere should stop doing interesting things, because someone, somewhere may have done something similar. You don't per chance work for the US Patent Office do you? Software Patent Division?

Re:Ummm, copying VW folks? (0, Redundant)

GreenEnvy22 (1046790) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505472)

There is also a cool video of some guys draining the oil out of a Kawasaki sportbike, and running it at redline. For some odd reason I can't seem to find it online, but basically they run it until the exhaust eventually catches on fire and the thing seems to die. The next day they fill it back up with oil, and it starts right up :)

Not all CPUs require heat sinks (0)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505150)

So what happens if it runs indefinitely?

You didn't RTFA, did you? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505270)

Of course not, what was I thinking.

The maximum length of this competition test will be two weeks. At that stage we'll we'll take a hair dryer to it, turn the heating up in the room, anything to make it crash!

Re:Not all CPUs require heat sinks (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505314)

So what happens if it runs indefinitely?
Exactly. Neither my 8088, 80286 nor my 80386 boards had fans or heatsinks on the processors. I remember thinking "Wow, the 486 requires a FAN and a HEAT SINK? Damn, that thing must run hot!"

Of course, now they're just par for the course.

Re:Not all CPUs require heat sinks (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506342)

My TRS-80 Model 1 would sometimes do funny things after long sessions.
Since the heat from the circuits dissipated up through the keyboard, it became uncomfortable to use, and if you kept using it, unpredictable things would happen.

I didn't understand enough in those days to realize my problems were correlated with heat, even though I knew people who were overclocking their Z-80s :-)

Re:Not all CPUs require heat sinks (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506416)

I replaced my 8088/8086 chips with NEC V20/V30 respectively (which had the 80186 instruction set in them...and as such had some of the important instructions for memory moves and multitasking, this was improved in the 80286), plus you could up your clock speed then and really fly even though it already had about 30% more speed just by swapping the chip. Sometimes though if you clocked the v20 too high, you needed to add a heat sink for stability but never a fan.

Why should it even crash.. (5, Insightful)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505180)

If a CPU is going to crash or go up in smoke after heatsink removal under load it will do so within 30 seconds. Since it hasn't done so yet and considering it's a 1W energy efficient CPU the only effect should be a reduction in its longterm lifespan (maybe it will only run 2 years rather than 8). I don't see the excitement here, until they take a hairdryer to it which they say they will do after two weeks. That should be interesting.

Re:Why should it even crash.. (1)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505238)

I agree. I don't know much about the hardware they are using, but my old Pentium III 933MHz lasted for months without a heatsink. To be honest, I put a house fan on it and it kept cool, but still. Sometimes, it would be fine without even a fan. That CPU would take about an hour or so before it would overhead to the point of crashing (not under load). Under load, like playing an MPEG video, it would take about 5-10 minutes.

Anything more than 10 minutes or so and it will make it indefinitely.

Re:Why should it even crash.. (1)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505440)

5 years ago I had a couple of old (450mhz?) computers that I had to check if were working or not, and if possible merge into working units.

On one of them I came a few screens into the DOS-part of the win98 installation, before it started to behave strange/crash. I had a quick look into the tower, and noticed I had forgotten to put back the heatsink after swapping CPUs... I burned my finger touching the CPU, but it worked just fine later.

So, yupp. Either it's going to happen soon, or it will probably last until they start changing the conditions. (And given the slashvertisment, I guess VIA has already done this themselves.)

Re:Why should it even crash.. (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505466)

Not true at all. Have you heard of electromigration? Its rate increases with temperature, exponentially (actually, by the Arrhenius law). Accelerated electromigration failure tests are and have been extremely common both in the industry as in research institutions.

Re:Why should it even crash.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505938)

>> Have you heard of electromigration? Its rate increases with temperature, exponentially

No wonder it's only people from warm countries comin' up here to steal our jobs.

Slashvertisment (0, Redundant)

rpp3po (641313) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505206)

The whole thing is a marketing campaign by Via. Surprise!! The board is going to run and run....
Nice idea, but shouldn't make it to Slashdot's front page.

How about (2, Funny)

Phyrexicaid (1176935) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505256)

A server with all heat sinks removed, and then linked to on the front page of Slashdot. ;nspb Will it melt?

Re:How about (1)

Phyrexicaid (1176935) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505334)

A server with all heat sinks removed, and then linked to on the front page of Slashdot. ;nspb
Will it melt?
Darnit, that will teach me to pay more attention to what I'm clicking on.


Re:How about (3, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506402)

<OT>You really don't need the non-breakable space, but if you would have you got it backwards. The apersand goes before nbsp and the semicolon follows. If there are any spaces it won't work. </OT>

Will what melt, the CPU, the server, the building, or the polar ice caps?

Shit, my ice cream cone just melted...

AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (5, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505258)

Like the ole Timex watch that "took a licking and kept on ticking" my desktop box, an ancient AMD Sempron 2600+ with a VIA chipset, unknown to me, lost its power connector to the CPU fan, which I only discovered by accident when replacing a hard disk drive. The CPU was hot enough to scald my finger, but neither its performance nor its stability has suffered one bit.

Of course, the heatsink was still connected. But the Sempron was IIRC most definitely NOT a low-power cpu.

Yes, I reconnected the CPU fan. But at least I know my sh*t can take the heat.

No video is available ;o{ .

Re:AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505426)

pics or it didn't happen!

Re:AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (5, Informative)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505726)

That's because of a rather famous incident with the *previous* generation of AMD chips.

Intel had recently introduced an overheat sensor into their CPUs. They still have them, I think. There's basically a thermal probe included in the CPU packaging, and if the temperature goes over a certain critical level, the CPU starts throttling itself down, until the temperature goes down to a safer level.

Tom's Hardware (probably being paid by Intel...) did a video experiment on this. They got an Intel (early P4, IIRC) and a then-current-gen Athlon, started them both playing Quake 3, then removed the HSF.

The Intel chip promptly throttled itself down to 400MHz or so, and kept running the game (rather slowly). The Athlon crashed, hit something like 200-300 degrees C, and burned a little hole in the motherboard.

After that little stunt, AMD started building overheat sensors into their CPUs quite fast.

I saw this in action on one of my own machines, a Shuttle SN62K, a couple of years back. That machine has a known issue with the motherboard fan headers dying after about a year of use. It's also a very quiet system. I was using a 2.4GHz Celeron in it at the time. The fan header died and the fan (only fan in the machine, if you know Shuttles) stopped working. The CPU throttled itself down to 800MHz and kept right on going, for two weeks, before I actually noticed.

Re:AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506376)

I also have a Celeron 2.4GHz, in a little mini-tower case, set up as a PVR with Sage TV. One day I was watching it and it suddenly turned itself off. I tried to turn it on a couple of times but it would only get a few seconds into the POST and then turn off again. I took off the side of the case and found the heatsink+fan just dangling from its power cord. One corner of the plastic frame around the CPU that the heatsink clips onto had broken, and the whole assembly just fell off. I had to order a new frame directly from Intel for $10 (nobody sells them!), and in the meantime I tipped the case over on its side so that the heatsink could rest on the CPU. When the frame arrived I put it back together and it's been fine ever since.

Re:AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506434)

Not to prolong a rather meaningless thread (blush) but I was surprised by the box continuing to run this way as I was led to believe that were the HS-fan to become disconnected from the header, the box would shut itself down. I did *not* notice any throttling of speed, but I didn't obtain any data, just my feeling about the puter not having lost any responsiveness nor general slowness. (Running MEPIS-GNU-Linux 6.01)

The sides are always left off the case, but there is no other fan installed.

N.B. I had a Duron 800 which would shut itself down if the fan in the heatsink even accumulated *dust.* Of course, it had spent a year or more overclocked to ~1500 MHz before I got the Sempron and downclocked it back to stock. It died a natural death prematurely a little while later.

Re:AMDs don't need CPU fans, either (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506336)

The CPU was hot enough to scald my finger

Really? The CPU got so hot it went into a liquid or gaseous form? (You can't scald yourself on something solid.)

I really doubt (4, Insightful)

LM741N (258038) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505300)

that this is an experiment. They already know that the device will run indefinitely. No company would do a media event like this that would shed bad publicity on their product- except Microsoft, LOL.

Re:I really doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505832)

Of course - but still pretty effctive.

You know that Intel's latest/greatest wouldn't last more than a few sec.

"Heat Death" (4, Interesting)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505312)

Sorry to nitpick, but doesn't the term "heat death" usually mean death by maximum entropy (i.e. no heat), and not death by heat?

Re:"Heat Death" (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506472)

Well, if they're talking about that kind of heat death, I predict it will last at least 10^37 years.

Done, accidently, before (3, Interesting)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505328)

We had a headless linux server that one day started beeping constantly for no apparent reason. With every intention on fixing it, after a couple of weeks of it still running ok, we just assumed the speaker had died so just ignored it (the server room being sealed away as it was). Then one day we had to move the servers to another room, went to pick the machine up, and "Jesus! This thing is boiling!".

It was some ancient AMD chip that we literally couldn't buy new fans for any more, so we just snipped the speaker cable and let it carry on.

Naturally, the Linux guys claimed if it had been Windows, we'd be looking at a dead server at this point in time :)

Re:Done, accidently, before (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506006)

Why not just buy a similar sized fan, or even a completely different heatsink/fan arrangement of approximately the right size? :P Surely it would be better to bodge on some kind of cooling than just leave it..

Re:Done, accidently, before (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506090)

I've got an Athlon 900 server that's been running for around 8 years at a constant CPU temperature of 90-95 Celsius at idle. Still trucking away just fine. They were amazingly hot chips, but they seem to handle it okay.

FUD Ammo... (5, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505352)

How long before we see this up on www.microsoft.com/getthefacts/ with the headline:

"Linux will set your computer on fire."

You have been warned.

Re:FUD Ammo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506172)

If you remember the 1980s, you may know that Radio Shack had a policy that business class machines (e.g., the Tandy 5000, an early 80386), were not to be sold to residential customers. Customers would be told that the reason was due to FCC constraints. The real reason was that the primary cause of failure of those machines was *fire*. They worked fine without a heat sink fan... until they set your office on fire.

Being asked to lie to customers about this, and being asked to work more hours than were reported under federal withholding and social security, were the two reasons I quit my store manager job.

I don't get what the big deal is... (4, Funny)

ramon_omar (1292652) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505396)

I mean, I can run for several hours without a heat sink or a fan.

Re:I don't get what the big deal is... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505858)

Yeah, you've got water cooling. The smelly kind...

Re:I don't get what the big deal is... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506034)

WTF, someone has blocked off all your sweat ducts and you can still exercise for hours without dying? Wowee!

Not just slashvertisement, LAM3 Slashvertisement.. (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505446)

The Via is a VERY low power processor.

Since its one of the 1 GHz processors in the board, TDP is 5W.

Depending on what power-feedback is involved, the processor might actually just go "I'm overheating, throttle back" and drop down to say 500 MHz at 2.5W or so. The MPEG decoding shouldn't even take too much power, since the CN700 chipset includes hardware MPEG2 decoding.

As a bonus, the box is OPEN, which improves the cooling.

Re:Open != better cooling (2, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505558)

In open air, with no fans blowing air PAST a hot object, it will cool much slower than inside an enclosure where air is brought to the object and is actively exhausted.

This isn't readily apparent in most modern equipment because hot components have their own active cooling, and the ambient air is cooler outside the case.

However, if I turn up my 3-speed 120mm case fans to Max, as opposed to Min, my CPU temperature will drop below what I am able to achieve outside.

But that is only possible when the wiring has been carefully managed to avoid heat traps.

Re:Open != better cooling (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505960)

The case fan is on the heatsink. So closing THIS case would greatly reduce the cooling, as hot air would be trapped in the case.

Re:Open != better cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506138)

How do you bring air into an enclosure and actively exhaust it with no fans... And without antything that would violate "without any cooling whatsoever".

Re:Open != better cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506350)

Yes, but the point is that they will -not- actively cool this chip. By opening the box they have greatly increased the amount of heat that can be dissipated by convection. So in this case, yes, an open box does equal better cooling.

Re:Open != better cooling (1)

Lyrael (1196443) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506414)

Aye. My boyfriend once took the case off his xbox and left it like that. Overheated in less than fifteen minutes, I believe.

Re:Not just slashvertisement, LAM3 Slashvertisemen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505694)

not according to the A+ thing that I never bothered with...

according to them, even a slot missing at the back of the computer disrupts airflow and can cause a computer to overheat, let alone leaving the cover off...

My experience with no heat sink (5, Interesting)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505456)

A few years back, I was troubleshooting a problem on my desktop. It had a Duron 800 in it. I got tired of putting the heat sink and CPU fan back on every time I made a change, so I figured, what the hell, how hot can it get in the time it takes to try and boot. It made it through the boot fine. I mused "Works great! I bet it doessn't even get that hot. Wonder how hot it is?" With that thought, I reached in and touched the top of the CPU. It was so hot that it instantaneously branded the text and logo etched in the top of the chip onto my thumbtip, before I could react and yank my hand back. For a few weeks, until it sloughed off, it was readable in reverse on my thumb...taught me new respect for the current consumption & heat generation capabilities of CPUs.

Re:My experience with no heat sink (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506118)

And that is why if you are going to test the temperature of something, use the *back* of your finger/hand/whatever.. may hurt a little more as those areas are more sensetive, but at least if it is boiling your instinctive flinch will pull your hand/fingers away rather than pushing it down even more. For example if you need to test a metal door handle when exiting a burning building, do it with the back of your hand.. :s

Won't it just slow down? (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505462)

I was under the impression that at least some CPUs can detect temperature and adjust their clock frequency accordingly, thus meaning that they simply slow down if overheating. Is this insufficient to deal with the loss of the entire heatsink or am I missing something? I would have expected that there were mechanisms which kick in to prevent damage at elevated temperatures, even if it means simply shutting down. Maybe it is a consequence of studying nuclear physics but personally I would argue that a device should at least make an attempt to detect anomalous conditions and take measures to minimize damage. I guess it could make sense if the consequences of a chip going down due to lost cooling would exceed the cost of replacing it, but to be honest you probably want to alter your design if you have a plausible probability of such a situation.

Re:Won't it just slow down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505628)

All desktop CPUs these days have thermal diodes, and will simply stop outright if they go over temp. They may still fry (the heat isn't going away very quickly without a heatsink) but the chances of it are slim. I guess the VIA is an exception, but they're generally so anemic that you would have to do something deliberate like these guys did just to manage to get it hot.

Usually my motherboard sensor will kick in and shut down before the CPU sensor does though.

Yea but what's the cpu load? (1)

Sethra (55187) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505468)

This is essentially a low/no cpu load heat test. There is no indication as to how active the core is at all. An idle processor can last a long time with minimal air cooling.

I'd be more impressed if that mp4 video were being software rendered rather than the decoding being offloaded to the graphics chip while that cpu sat virtually idle.

If they really wanted to burn it... (1)

Osurak (1013927) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505738)

...just put a webserver on it and then link to it on the front page of Slashdot, like that guy's master's project that was incinerated by the Slashdot effect a few months back

/var/log/messages: (3, Interesting)

dannycim (442761) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505744)

I've made my home machine almost totally silent by using some really large heatsinks. Up 24/24 7/7. One 12V fan running super slowly at 5 volts.

If I re-encode a movie I get:

May 21 07:48:00 ganymede kernel: CPU0: Temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 4742833)
May 21 07:48:00 ganymede kernel: CPU1: Temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 4742833)
May 21 07:53:00 ganymede kernel: CPU1: Temperature/speed normal
May 21 07:53:00 ganymede kernel: CPU0: Temperature/speed normal
Do I care? Not really. Been like that for 3 years now. When it dies I'll swap it for a less powerful CPU and go totally silent. :)

Even with a heat sink (2, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | more than 5 years ago | (#23505864)

and no fan I had an Athlon 1000 about four years ago almost catch on fire if I just didn't happen to come home for lunch. The fan failed for whatever reason and the CPU got smoking hot and started to burn all the dust around the MB. The only reason I notice is that the whole house smelt like burnt dust/hair. After unplugging the power I touched the fan about 5 min later and burnt the hell out my finger as it accidentally touched the heat sink. I had a red burn mark on my finger. I can imagine who hot it really was when it was still powered up.

duped slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23505946)

Not only has it been done before, VIA has done it before. They had an ad video comparing a heatsink-less VIA processor, which kept running, to an Intel processor that froze when the fan was disconnected. That the demo has changed from playing a Quake demo to hardware-assisted video decoding only makes the demonstration easier.

Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23506156)

We put a px10000 on a quadrotor (http://www.et.byu.edu/groups/quad08topgun/), and physically crashed it hard into the ground several times. After some hard impacts and improper mounting the heatsink came loose.

We were running ubuntu 7.10 on ours, and it would die after about 2-5 minutes until we cranked down the heatsink and got it securely attached.

We were using the px10000 and not the px5000, so don't expect to do this with the 1GHz via...

I really doubt VIA did this blindly. (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506222)

I am sure they tested this before doing it. If you notice they also put a 2 week limit on how long they let it run. At the end of 2 weeks they will mess with it by adding heat till it dies. If I had known early this would have been a pretty safe bet.

hardhack? why? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506270)

I don't know why this is tagged "hardhack". If anything, it probably deserves to be tagged "easyhack". The only thing they did was remove the heat sink, right?

Not a challenge... (2, Interesting)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506286)

Since when was running a 1 Watt CPU without a heatsink regarded as a challenge?

http://www.genesi-usa.com/efika.php [genesi-usa.com] - plug plug

That system runs at 1W@400MHz, although has no video-accelerating northbridge to add to the heat, it can play that MPEG4 video just fine (I am playing something similar now). We've designed it so the 2.5" hard disk actually sits about 5mm from the top of the CPU - if anything we're making cooling harder, and there is NO heatsink. The CPU does NOT power manage into SpeedStep style states - it just runs at 400MHz or "standby" (where it cannot run code until an external interrupt).

It runs fine. Mine's been on 24/7 for nearly a year, barring moving it around and connecting it up to things like new hard disks, changing power strips or measuring the power it uses. It never overheats.

What's the challenge meant to be? Just how crappy Via's chip needs to be that it CAN'T run at 500MHz on a 90nm process, and do without a heatsink of some kind?

Hardware MPEG decoding (1)

slim (1652) | more than 5 years ago | (#23506484)

Assuming they compiled mplayer right (and why wouldn't they, since this is basically an ad), the MPEG4 decoding will be happening in the graphics hardware. So the CPU is hardly being taxed. Have it run 'primes'; then I'll be happy.

Still an extremely attractive piece of hardware. When my TiVo Series One finally gives up, I'll be shopping for a quiet VIA box.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account