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The Joys Of Losing Your Cooling Device

Hemos posted about 13 years ago | from the burn-baby-burn dept.

Hardware 388

nitecreep wrote to us about Tom's latest article: What happens to procs when the heatsinks fall off?. Having just had my brand new fan stop working on my computer, I can sympathize. I've found that it takes my 1.2 Ghz Athlon to reach 80 degrees Celsius in about 6 minutes, from time of starting machine. The results of running without a heatsink at all are....interesting.

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Hello (-1, Flamebait)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2310246)

I have rooted Slashdot, bow to me!

.. []
... dF' `8
.o8888888o .8
o88888888888. .8
o8888888888888. P
8888888' `888888:
.88'8888 8888888
.8888888. .oooooo
88888888o 888888"
:8" 88888888888888'
:8 888888888888'(R)
:8 `88888888'
-8 _dF""""

Re:Hello (0, Offtopic)

bloggins02 (468782) | about 13 years ago | (#2310267)

Well, at least he's somewhat talented with ASCII-art. Oh wait, that's probably not original either :-\

crap, no trolls on this article? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310339)

Rabid Linux Geek: 'Evening, squire!
Squire: (stiffly) Good evening.
Rabid Linux Geek: Is, uh,...Is your wife a goer, eh? Know whatahmean, know whatahmean, nudge nudge, know whatahmean, say no more?
Squire: I, uh, I beg your pardon?
Rabid Linux Geek: Your, uh, your wife, does she go, eh, does she go, eh?
Squire: (flustered) Well, she sometimes "goes", yes.
Rabid Linux Geek: Aaaaaaaah bet she does, I bet she does, say no more, say no more, knowwhatahmean, nudge nudge?
Squire: (confused) I'm afraid I don't quite follow you.
Rabid Linux Geek: Follow me. Follow me. That's good, that's good! A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat!
Squire: Are you, uh,...are you selling something?
Rabid Linux Geek: SELLING! Very good, very good! Ay? Ay? Ay? (pause) Oooh! Ya wicked Ay! Wicked Ay! Oooh hooh! Say No MORE!
Squire: Well, I, uh....
Rabid Linux Geek: Is, your uh, is your wife a sport, ay?
Squire: Um, she likes sport, yes!
Rabid Linux Geek: I bet she does, I bet she does!
Squire: As a matter of fact she's very fond of cricket.
Rabid Linux Geek: 'Oo isn't? Likes games, eh? Knew she would. Likes games, eh? She's been around a bit, been around?
Squire: She has traveled, yes. She's from Scarsdale. (pause)
Rabid Linux Geek: SAY NO MORE!!
Rabid Linux Geek: Scarsdale, saynomore, saynomore, saynomore, squire!
Squire: I wasn't going to!
Rabid Linux Geek: Oh! Well, never mind. Dib dib? Is your uh, is your wife interested, ay? "Photographs, ay", he asked him knowlingly?
Squire: Photography?
Rabid Linux Geek: Snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more?
Squire: Holiday snaps, eh?
Rabid Linux Geek: They could be, they could be taken on holiday. Candid, you know, CANDID photography?
Squire: No, no I'm afraid we don't have a camera.
Rabid Linux Geek: Oh. (leeringly) Still, mooooooh, ay? Mwoohohohohoo, ay? Hohohohohoho, ay?
Squire: Look... are you insinuating something?
Rabid Linux Geek: Oh, no, no, no...yes.
Squire: Well?
Rabid Linux Geek: Well, you're a man of the world, squire.
Squire: Yes...
Rabid Linux Geek: I mean, you've been around a bit, you know, like, you've, uh.... You've "done it"....
Squire: What do you mean?
Rabid Linux Geek: Well, I mean like,'ve SLEPT, with a lady....
Squire: Yes....
Rabid Linux Geek: Do they run Linux?

Re:crap, no trolls on this article? (-1)

wurk (450820) | about 13 years ago | (#2310382)

The trolls have gone home.

Re:Hello (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Wanker (522299) | about 13 years ago | (#2310340)

Hello j03! Congrats on the FP!

Lost a heat sink once... (1, Funny)

vought (160908) | about 13 years ago | (#2310250)

Fried my Athlon. Doesn't work right anymore. Once a crash-proof macine, now a bomb factory.

Bomb Factory? (2)

wiredog (43288) | about 13 years ago | (#2310313)

This isn't a particularly good time to be putting that phrase in your communications... []

Re:Bomb Factory? (1)

egburr (141740) | about 13 years ago | (#2310386)

We have to censor ourselves now? Let the FBI read the statement; there's nothing even slightly suggestive in it. In fact, that phrase is fairly common. If they read that and still go after you, sue them for harassment.

Re:Bomb Factory? (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | about 13 years ago | (#2310434)

Dead men can sue, CIA has the ability to make you um disappear permanently...and they just decided to unhook their leash.

In a related exploration.... (1)

bloggins02 (468782) | about 13 years ago | (#2310251)

What does condensation do to a proc when you... say... don't know how to correctly install a Peltier cooler?

Re:In a related exploration.... (0)

Flakeloaf (321975) | about 13 years ago | (#2310400)

It's not the CPU you need to worry about, it's the other cards sitting beneath the cooler that would react poorly to a cold shower. Remember what you spent on your GEForce 2 card? Wanna spend it again?

Buy 2 get 1 free? (1)

wolfen (12255) | about 13 years ago | (#2310253)

Yeah, the results of the test are quite interesting. Of course, you could buy 2 or 3 Athlons for the price of one P4 and have them
waiting around for when your heatsink/fan fails...

Re:Buy 2 get 1 free? (0)

SuperLiquidSex (233263) | about 13 years ago | (#2310373)

But if you read the article, you see that the p4 never keeps going and going and going. One more reason why I use intel for my important stuff.

fire? (2, Interesting)

donabal (116308) | about 13 years ago | (#2310254)

gives a new meaning to firewire...

yea. i had a quantum fireball burst into flames before...
lost a mere 20 gigs of data.


Re:fire? (1)

kilgore_47 (262118) | about 13 years ago | (#2310375)

yea. i had a quantum fireball burst into flames before...

I've got my doubts on that story... Did you take pictures? ;-)

I had an old 603e mac clone (power computing rocked!) that had the fan go out, and it led to very frequent crashes. I don't think there was lasting damage as a new fan brought things back to normal.

Re:fire? (2)

frknfrk (127417) | about 13 years ago | (#2310458)

i wish i had taken pictures, similar story here. i had an external SUN drive enclosure with 4 scsi drives in it. one of the drive's power cables got caught in the enclosure's fan... not too long before explosion and CHAR marks all along the back of the enclosure. luckily only lost 2 drives...

He he he (3, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | about 13 years ago | (#2310260)

I remember I could tell if the 386 was on or not by how often the Centralized Air conditioning came on. My Celeron 433 runs so cool now I keep it under a blanket for noise protection. Ah....Peltier devices are so cool. (no pun intended). My question is: When are they going to come up with a heat sinking device that runs like the engine block on a car (I.E. the water/freon/liquid nitrogen/liquid helium/butane actually flows in channels built for it within a heatsink block)


Re:He he he (1)

kc0dby (522118) | about 13 years ago | (#2310281)

Well... Quite a few people are already doing it in a homebrew fashion: check out this site [] for details on one of the common configurations.. Also, some high-end machines come liquid cooled right out of the box, er.. truck.

Re:He he he (4, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 13 years ago | (#2310329)

> When are they going to come up with a heat
> sinking device that runs like the engine block
> on a car (I.E. the water/freon/liquid
> nitrogen/liquid helium/butane actually flows in
> channels built for it within a heatsink block)

Talk to yer granddad or someone your granddad's
age if your granddad didn't work with computers
about the IBM 360, or just about any other main-
frame of that era. From the 50's to the 80's
just about *all* the big iron was cooled in just
that manner. Mostly water--I can still remmeber
having to monitor the chilled water flow through
an IBM 3033--although I believe that the Crays
used some funky proprietary coolant (it was

Chris Mattern

Re:He he he (2, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | about 13 years ago | (#2310348)

>an IBM 3033--although I believe that the Crays
>used some funky proprietary coolant (it was

The cray-1 didn't even bother with heatsinks... the liquid flowed right over the chips!

Re:He he he (1)

raynet (51803) | about 13 years ago | (#2310394)

That pink liquid is called fluorinert, it is electrically non-conductive so you can even submerge you whole mobo in it, but it's really expensive.

now all you need.... (2, Funny)

Scrybe (95209) | about 13 years ago | (#2310263)

are Marshmallows, Grahm Crackers, and Chocolate. Be sure to invite all the slashcrew to share your s'mores!

Use this cooling device (-1)

Holy Mackarel (451501) | about 13 years ago | (#2310265)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a| | \ | | a
t| `. | | : t
s` | | \| | s
e \ | / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~--| \ | x
* \ \-~ ~-\ | *
g \ \ .--------.__\| | g
o \ \_// ((> \ | o
a \ . C ) _ ((> | / a
t /\ | C )/ \ (> |/ t
s / /\| C) | (> / \ s
e | ( C__)\__/ // / / \ e
x | \ | \\__// (/ | x
* | \ \) `---- --' | *
g | \ \ / / | g
o | / | | \ | o
a | | / \ \ | a
t | / / | | \ |t
s | / / \/\/ | |s
e | / / | | | |e
x | | | | | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Doesn't everyone smoke at least 1 TBird? (3, Funny)

mmmbeer (9963) | about 13 years ago | (#2310273)

I can sympathize too. I cracked a corner off my Athlon 1.2 (266) over a hundred bucks ago (back when they were $250). When it didn't boot I decided to see how hot it would get without the heatsink. I turned it off as soon as it started to smoke, but like any idiot I just had to see what temperature silicon starts to smoke at. Luckilly I had a calibrated measurement device, my finger. That T-Bird burned the heck out of me, and you could almost make out the "A" branded into my finger!

I've also just cracked the core on my current 1.33 T-Bird, and I've just picked up a 1.4 at lunch today. Is this some sort of marketing scheme by AMD?!!? I figure they're sticking it to me hard enough with the way their stock is plummeting, every point making my Tahitian retirement much more distant.

Cap'n Bry

Re:Doesn't everyone smoke at least 1 TBird? (2)

Rackemup (160230) | about 13 years ago | (#2310407)

Wish I had that much cash to be spending on replacement CPUs, it would go a long way towards paying the bills =)

Re:Doesn't everyone smoke at least 1 TBird? (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 13 years ago | (#2310451)

I've also just cracked the core on my current 1.33 T-Bird, and I've just picked up a 1.4 at lunch today. Is this some sort of marketing scheme by AMD?!!?
What are you doing that's caused you to break so many processors? I had to remove/reinstall the heatsinks on three Duron systems recently because they had been put in backwards. I started into the job with some trepidation because of everyone else's comments, but all it takes is a moderate amount of care (and a couple of flat-bladed to press down on the retaining clip and another to flex it out so it'll clear the tab on the socket). They're all running fine, with no cracked cores.

Re:Doesn't everyone smoke at least 1 TBird? (1)

AssFace (118098) | about 13 years ago | (#2310466)

duh - when your code fails with a nullPointerException - EVERYONE knows that you are supposed to smash things on your desk and kick the pcs.

or at least I thought everyone knew... get with it

Heat sinks on video cards (2, Informative)

iplayfast (166447) | about 13 years ago | (#2310274)

are also interesting. Any games which used 3d graphics would freeze totaly after some random period of time. this went on for months. Finally a tech guy suggested I check the heat sinks, there might be a gap between the heat sink an the card or cpu.

Well there was a gap alright. The heat sink had fallen off and was lying on the card beneath it.

After applying heat transfer goop and bolting it back on, things have been running well.

Re:Heat sinks on video cards (1)

Erasei (315737) | about 13 years ago | (#2310315)

Or you could just try to OC your voodoo2 3000 to 140mhz and fry your primary IDE channel and loose half your ide sockets AND your AGP socket in your brand new 1.33G athlon system... happened to "a friend of mine". yeah, that's it.

screw the video cards (2)

Pope (17780) | about 13 years ago | (#2310459)

I want that Fairlane! :)

Re:Heat sinks on video cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310483)

i remember some of the older voodoos didnt come with a fan on the heatsink, although they certainly couldve used one. i fixed many of them by putting old 486 fan on the voodoo's heatsink

how to SLOW down the CPU (2)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#2310275)

Obviously with today's super-hot processors, lack of cooling, even for a short period of time can be a disaster.

I've got kind of the opposite situtation - a laptop that runs really hot. I'd like to slow down the CPU (300 mhz would be plenty) to allow it to run cooler, which might hopefully also make the battery last longer.

Does anyone know of any utilities? I don't think the BIOS will allow me to set the CPU speed and multiplier. It does support SpeedStep - is there a way to force speedstep on always?

Re:how to SLOW down the CPU (1)

pmcneill (146350) | about 13 years ago | (#2310318)

I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that the BIOS on my Inspiron 4000 lets me specify when speedstep takes affect (ie always slow, always fast, depends). At worst, boot it unplugged, then plug it in later.

Re:how to SLOW down the CPU (2)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#2310497)

Even if I boot unplugged, mine appears to switch back to the higher speed as soon as I plug back in. It also toggles down if I boot plugged in and then unplug.

Re:how to SLOW down the CPU (1)

Weh (219305) | about 13 years ago | (#2310347)

as far as my experience goes the heat output of the cpu varies with it's load. At the office we've got a machine with a thermal sensor on it's cpu. The temperature definitely goes up when doing cpu intensive stuff like solving large systems of equations etc.

Re:how to SLOW down the CPU (1)

n8ur (230546) | about 13 years ago | (#2310355)

Is there a "standard" speedstep utility, or is it machine/OS dependent? My Sony Vaio laptop originally came with Windows ME and had a utility to control CPU speed.

When I installed generic Win2k to reduce the pain, I found that Sony didn't have a Win2k version of the speedstep utility (and the restore process makes it damn difficult, if not impossible, to reinstall just one component from the Windows ME restore CDs).

If there's a generic utility I can download to allow speedstep speed control, I haven't been able to find it. If it exists, I'd love to get a pointer to it.

Re:how to SLOW down the CPU (1)

mmmbeer (9963) | about 13 years ago | (#2310370)

I also have an Inspiron 4000 which lets me choose if I want to be SpeedStepped or not. You can select it in the BIOS, but the machine also came Pre-installed with an Intel utility that let me change it on the fly. It definately ran cooler at 700MHz vs. 1GHz. Unfortunately I wiped out WindowsMe so I don't have it any more. Check


Saftey / BIOS / == no fan, no boot??? (1)

veddermatic (143964) | about 13 years ago | (#2310283)

I thought most (if not all) "modern" type Mobo's and BIOSes worked together to keep you from powering a system up without a processor fan running.

Obviously you could disable this / defeat it easily, but why? I know processors are cheap, but gosh, the 25 mins of downtime to run to the store can't be THAT expensive to rsik melting your machine.

Though it did take my roomate 2 days of tinkering to figure out why his amchine suddenly wouldn't boot anymore... =)

Yet another reason that AMD sucks (0)

robvasquez (411139) | about 13 years ago | (#2310295)

I've got a Duron at home, and it won't run for shit if the fans not on.

My Celeron and Pentium III will heat my ravioli for me and run like a champ.

Re:Yet another reason that AMD sucks (1)

veddermatic (143964) | about 13 years ago | (#2310324)

Well, I tend to want my computer to run for along time as a computer... tho I do have an old Celery machine I could turn into a hotplate.. thx for the idea!

Re:Saftey / BIOS / == no fan, no boot??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310390)

The problem here isn't the fan not running, it's the fan not being attached to the the socket. Like if the little fingers on the socket break, the fan could sort of spring off and lose a good contact with the top of the core. So the fan is still running, it's just not in contact...

Get it?

Heatsinks... (1)

7608 (515533) | about 13 years ago | (#2310284)

Well, look at it this way --

You needed an excuse to upgrade, right?

Since I started building my own boxes ... (1)

Murphy Bitter (216703) | about 13 years ago | (#2310285)

I have used a temp. gauge that will automatically shutdown the box. Some BIOS revisions also have a processor fan failsafe.

compiling a kernel (2, Interesting)

Steev (5372) | about 13 years ago | (#2310287)

I had just put together a new box, and was attempting to compile a brand new kernel on it (2.0.36 at the time). About 5 minutes into the compilation, I started getting reams of segfaults and I could not, for the life of me, find out why. Later, I discovered that when putting everything together, I had forgotten to plug in the power cord for my CPU fan. Nasty shiat, that is.

PIII (1)

Drakula (222725) | about 13 years ago | (#2310289)

When I bought my first proc that required a heatsink (PIII), the tool at the show sold me the wrong type of heatsink. My fault really, for not being more informed, but the heatsink was for a PII and had this thermal pad on it that was in contact with the core. It took me a little while to figure out that that was in the way of proper heat removal.

Even at 80C I was able to play quake II, etc. without any trouble. Those pentiums can take some serious heat.

Alternate Solution (0)

INicheI (513673) | about 13 years ago | (#2310290)

I always like leaving my case open, and having a large fan cooling it. There is also the water cooling technique, but that is a huge risk.

alarm (3, Interesting)

CrazyBrett (233858) | about 13 years ago | (#2310292)

Not a good way [] of reporting the problem :)

Re:alarm (1)

Weh (219305) | about 13 years ago | (#2310366)

that's pretty funny...

Mod parent up!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310445)

That's some seriously funny shit!

Hitting the limits of heatsink size/weight? (1, Interesting)

weslocke (240386) | about 13 years ago | (#2310293)

Here lately I've been having a small problem. Our local computer dealer has been getting in new 'cheapie' (ie. standard) heatsink/fan combos for Athlons. These things are huge... a normal sized fan stride a large slotted brick of metal. Well, this is what these new processors require I would imagine, unless of course you want to plop down $50 or so for an Alpha solution.

Well the whole problem I'm talking about is this. The heatsinks hook onto the normal tabs built onto the Socket-A, but due to the weight they can very easily shear off the smaller tab with even a moderately forceful impact.

I wonder if we aren't going to be forced to develop more active cooling for baseline heatsink/fan combos, or just find newer and better ways to mount the increasingly large blocks we have. (Hooking onto the other two tabs on the socket, or attaching directly to the motherboard via the 4 holes around the socket are two methods I've seen)

And what do we do in the post-2ghz world? Have heatpipes coming out of our cases like a Chevy hotrod?

Re:Hitting the limits of heatsink size/weight? (2)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | about 13 years ago | (#2310356)

I recently bought an Agilent Arcticooler for 1.4 GHz Athlon. It is small, light, and quiet. It also cools the CPU better than the Taisol heatsink AMD ships in their retail package. I paid $44.

geforce fan (2)

deathcow (455995) | about 13 years ago | (#2310296)

My GeForce fan stopped working. It destroyed the GeForce card, worked intermittently while I troubleshot things, and then took the motherboard out with it.

Tom is getting lazy.. (1)

eodmightier (208901) | about 13 years ago | (#2310297)

Come on now folks. A real test would be to stop the fan, how often does the actual heatsink fall off? Why make a video where someone struggles to remove the heatsink, those things clip down hard for a reason. Fan failure would of been a far more logical test video.

Re:Tom is getting lazy.. (1)

yomahz (35486) | about 13 years ago | (#2310380)

Read the article...

The fact that the vast majority of heat sinks is only fixed to the little notches of SocketA doesn't help. We have seen several occasions when those notches finally broke under the weight of the heat sink.

I've actually seen this happen as well.

Re:Tom is getting lazy.. (1)

eodmightier (208901) | about 13 years ago | (#2310480)

Bah! =) I've never seen this happen, of all the hardware reviews I've done, never once have I had a heatsink fall off. I've seen plenty of fans fail, but never seen the heatsink itself fall off and I seriously doubt heatsinks falling off is as much of a concern as fans dying for the everyday user. Even in the video you see the trouble they have removing the heatsink.

Re:Tom is getting lazy.. (1)

someone247356 (255644) | about 13 years ago | (#2310488)

You said:
"... how often does the actual heatsink fall off?"

Well, I opened up my box to install a new stick of RAM and behold, the heatsink of the TNT2 card I had installed a couple of months ago had simply dropped off. It was laying on the back of my sound card. My case is a tower, and the PCI cards rest horizontally. In the case of the vid card, the heatsink, if it was attached, actually hangs from the bottom of the card.

So, heatsinks do "just fall off"

Just my $0.02 (Canadian, before taxes)

Wasted 2 min of my life! (1)

miltpooperdink (213778) | about 13 years ago | (#2310298)

This article belongs on News for Newborns, not nerds. Talk about non-usefull completely obvious information. Let me sum up this post in the imortal words of Frankenstein..."Fire Bad".

I want the 2 min of my life back I took to read this garbage! I demand 2 min back!

Screw it. I would have just wasted it downloading porn anyway.

woah! (1)

Durandel1020 (230673) | about 13 years ago | (#2310299)

...And i thought putting my cdr's in the microwave for 5 seconds was fun! Where do i sign up for this job??

Motherboard monitor (or equivalent) (1)

cronio (13526) | about 13 years ago | (#2310300)

That's why I have Motherboard monitor running on my computer, along with Shutdown...if my CPU gets too hot (set at 131 degrees F right now), it'll shutdown my computer (my comp doesn't usually get above 110, so 130 is plenty of warning time).

I don't know of there are any equivalents for Linux, but I'm sure they exist.

Re:Motherboard monitor - No Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310469)

That's why I have Motherboard monitor running on my computer, along with Shutdown...if my CPU gets too hot (set at 131 degrees F right now), it'll shutdown my computer (my comp doesn't usually get above 110, so 130 is plenty of warning time).

Unfortunately, that's not going to save you. The point the article was making is that the Athlon processors will meltdown within a few seconds of losing the heatsink!

Their test AMD reach 370 degress celcius (for non metric people, 100 degrees will boil water) in a matter of moments. No matter what you have the monitor set to, you cannot shutdown fast enough to save the Athlon. Period. Very sad indeed (glances over at his Athlon box, looking for smoke).

GeForce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310301)

My GeForce 256 is a unique one, with my cooling mods, I can o/c it to the point where it is faster than a Geforce 2 GTS. I've halted my 3D gaming so I had no need to o/c it. The ghetto contraption that I used to hold the massive heatsink onto the GPU is string. One night while I was sleeping, the sting broke and it made a rather loud noise when the heatsink crashed into my nic. I thought it was the heatsink of the computer next to my main box, since I recently krazy-glued the heatsink on (yes, I did, it was an old 166 =). After taking that computer apart, I relased it wasn't that,. Immidetely I turned off my main box, and opened the side. interestingly enough, the heatsink wasn't connected. The next day, I purchased some thermal expoxy, and proceeded to re-afix it, not knowing if it would work again. It did !. at least 5 minutes without a heatsink, and my GPU still lives =)...

watch out for fans too (2)

ruebarb (114845) | about 13 years ago | (#2310302)

I woke up one night at 3am thinking my pager had beeped and gone off...when it hadn't I was confused...10 minutes later...I think the same thing..but it's in the living room.

turns out that was a heat warning on my motherboard. The fan for the cpu had gotten wore out and was dying...I killed the box and bought a new fan the next day...but I could have fried my processor if the box hadn't started beeping and woken me up.

Celeron 300A will take a beating... (1)

RogrWilco (522139) | about 13 years ago | (#2310306)

I have it clocked at 450, and at least twice this summer it's overheated. Simply shut it down, let it cool, and fire it back up. Three years running like this hasn't hurt it one bit.

--I think I'm going to drop it next and see how it holds up

Rube Goldberg device (1)

Cato the Elder (520133) | about 13 years ago | (#2310325)

I can see a great Rube Goldberg device being made out of this... The bird pecks at the seed, lightening a balance that releases a catch, allowing a blade to swing down and remove the heatsink from an Athalon. The Athalon reaches several hundred degress within a second, lighting a fuse which --you get the picture.

You've got the Burning Feeling... (4, Funny)

Whyte Wolf (149388) | about 13 years ago | (#2310327)

While working as a network admin once, I had a processor burn out without its heatsink. Smoke started rising from the open case, so one of my comrads in arms decided to 'put out the fire' with his bottle of Coke.

I've never seen a machine burn so brightly. We were lucky (or maybe not) that the building's sprinklers were on the blink.

And I live to tell the tale....

Software protection? (0)

mnordstr (472213) | about 13 years ago | (#2310328)

Is there any software out there that would monitor the heat of the processor and shut it down (the computer) if it rises above a certain limit? That would be a great way to protect computers/processors from overheating.

It just happened to me! (1)

lowlymortal (172801) | about 13 years ago | (#2310331)

Wow, it just happened to me. Got it's own power-supply wires stuck between the fins (sp?). It was a radial fan.

I ordered a new one from [] . Let's see how that one works. I'm not sure if my CPU got fried or not. Sigh.

Play it safe (2, Informative)

fobbman (131816) | about 13 years ago | (#2310332)

There are freeware programs available for Windows (probably Linux as well) that monitor the temperatures reported by your motherboard. Some like Motherboard Monitor will actually shut down your computer if one of your sensors report a temperature greater than a threshhold that you can set.

I'd link to them, but I believe that linking from Slashdot to websites hosting small free projects like this is cruel and inhumane. Go do a search and download it from one of the mirrors.

Re:Play it safe (2, Insightful)

Phork (74706) | about 13 years ago | (#2310392)

There is a package for linux called lm_sensors. It consists of drivers(kernel modules) for various smbus controllers and sensors. it includes a command line utility(sensors) that reads data from the sensors. There are several daemons out that monitor this and when it gets over the alarm temp, shutsdown, or does som eother specified action, like maybe killing dnetc.

Re:Play it safe (1)

hal200 (181875) | about 13 years ago | (#2310417)

Uhm. I hate to sound like I'm flaming ya here, but did you read the article? The AMD procs jumped to 300+ deg Celcius in a fraction of a second...lm_sensors just isn't going to help you with that... =(

It's pretty obvious that Intel is WAY ahead of AMD in terms of thermal protection...

Re:Play it safe (1)

mmmbeer (9963) | about 13 years ago | (#2310437)

Major problem with that solution is that it takes too long. Typical monitor programs poll every N seconds, and then will take S seconds to shutdown. Unless N+S is less than a second, your processor is going to be fried. This will help if your fan dies, but not if the heatsink comes off completely. My PC turned itself off completely when it burned out the processor. I wonder if there's something built into the bios of my Abit K7A-RAID which turns off the machine at a certain temperature. That would work.

BUT, What is a safe threshold? (1)

kevlar (13509) | about 13 years ago | (#2310439)

I've been wondering this for a long time. Every so often my motherboard will report that its exceeded the temperature threshold as defined by the software (60 degrees ferenheit or something). When exactly does it become too dangerous?

Re:BUT, What is a safe threshold? (1)

kevlar (13509) | about 13 years ago | (#2310452)

err s/ferenheit/celcius

Re:BUT, What is a safe threshold? (2)

jandrese (485) | about 13 years ago | (#2310479)

60 degrees Fahrenheit? That's below room temperature, which seems a little excessive for a PC. 60 degrees Celsius would make sense however. My Mobo will automatically shut itself off if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold (I use 40 degrees C) to avoid damaging the components, but I'm pretty sure the Bios is just polling every few seconds or so for that data, in the example in the article it wouldn't be fast enough.

Re:Play it safe (2, Informative)

pointym5 (128908) | about 13 years ago | (#2310481)

Problem is they can't respond quickly enough to prevent CPU burnout. The probes are polled at most once per second, and the probe itself doesn't detect the temperature rise very fast.

The Athlons apparently take only a small number of seconds to burn out, so a software solution is inadequate - indeed, that's the point of the article. The PIII and PIV have internal coolant failure handling.

My Tiger MP 1.2Ghz runs at 79/80. Is this alot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310341)

My Tiger MP 1.2Ghz runs at 79/80 celcius. Is this too hot?

software timing dependencies!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310351)

If the CPU clocks back then all the software
timings will be messed up. Specifically in Linux
the jiffies value is just calculated @ startup. I
guess ACPI could be used to dynamically update the
value, but there would be races.

Alternatively the CPU could just sleep for a while
but then you have much the same problem and it
will really impact realtime systems.


A little hard to believe (1)

yomahz (35486) | about 13 years ago | (#2310352)

The removal of the heat sink proves to be fatal. In less than a second Athlon 1400 dies the heat death. It doesn't take long and the core reaches a temperature of extremely hefty 370 degrees Celsius / 698 degrees Fahrenheit. If the user of the Athlon system doesn't turn off his box immediately, the motherboard will be destroyed too. There's even the risk of a fire.

If this weren't coming from, I'd be pretty sure that this was some sort of Intel ADVERTisement. I seriously doub that the CPU blows up the second you remove the fan.

Re:A little hard to believe (1)

yomahz (35486) | about 13 years ago | (#2310419)

errr... heatsink.. not fan.. sorry

Quality of heathsinks... (1)

gwolf (26339) | about 13 years ago | (#2310358)

I can comment on this... Once I worked at a school, and I had a recurring problem in my computers: Heathsinks falling off the CPU. This is quite serious - This not only leads to CPU overheating, but a metal heathsink hanging loose inside a PC's case can be VERY dangerous to the system! Fortunately none of my machines fried, but I was expecting it anytime...

This was when the hottest (no pun...) chips were still Pentium MMX 200 or similar... Fortunately now most heathsinks clamp to the socket (and real tight), not just to the sides of the CPU...

Re:Quality of heathsinks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310502)

yea ive got one of those 200 mmx's here that i pulled out of a machine (still working, somewhat). the underside of it was all charred & disfigured. i tapped it on the desk & all that charred silicon fell off & now you can plainly see the microchip itself inside there.

it STILL works (kinda)

Certainly food for thought (1)

tsetem (59788) | about 13 years ago | (#2310361)

I'm certainly reconsidering a purchase of an AMD System now. I was planning on building my next one from scratch.

Now it seems that Intel might get some more of my cash. Just a little too nervous to watch $150 go up in smoke because of a freak accident.

Re:Certainly food for thought (1)

Cheeze (12756) | about 13 years ago | (#2310431)

but then you're going to spend an extra $500-$750 on intel hardware, including CPU, motherboard, and ram. you'd save yourself money just buying a whole extra Athlon computer.

Athlon 1.4Ghz, Thermalright SK6 and Delta 38cfm (1)

dvicci (22294) | about 13 years ago | (#2310378)

I'd just put together a new machine based on the Gigabyte [] GA7DXR [] (great board!). Everything was fine for about 2 hours, and then the Delta [] just stopped. Now, for those that don't know, this particular fan is LOUD. It has a high pitched whine that's unmistakable. I can hear it down the hall and into the livingroom. I knew immediately when it quit, and hit the power button faster than I'd ever hit it before... and STILL had to wait the 4 seconds for it to finally shut down. ;)

Don't know how hot the processor got, but that heat sink [] saved it. Turns out the Delta just blew the motherboard CPU fan header - as several sites that I found later said it would. I was VERY happy to find that plugging the Delta into the PS via a 3-4 pin adapter worked, and the machine hums right along to this day.

If you fry your CPU ... (1)

halftrack (454203) | about 13 years ago | (#2310381)

... I hear they pay good money for pure silicium.

Losing Your Cooling Device? (1)

bobalu (1921) | about 13 years ago | (#2310391)

What, and let the beer get warm!?

I don't THINK so...

FIRE JON KATZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2310418)

Fire Jon Katz TODAY!

Fire Jon Katz NOW!

Jon Katz is single-handedly responsible for terrorist activity in New York. He MUST be stopped!

Tel me abot it (4, Funny)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | about 13 years ago | (#2310423)

"I've found that it takes my 1.2 Ghz Athlon to reach 80 degrees Celsius in about 6 minutes, from time of starting machine. The results of running without a heatsink at all are....interesting."

One time my stopped working heatsink and the to go first thing was spell/grammar check my.

Cheap Fans (2)

sfe_software (220870) | about 13 years ago | (#2310436)

I've noticed that any stock fan will fail anywhere between 2 and 12 months. I'm listening right now to a socket-370 fan making all sorts of noise. I have about 15 similarly-dead fans lying around, from CPU to power supply to case fans...

The only fan I've had for more than a year that still functions is the Antec PIII dual-fan cooler in my desktop system. Unfortunately I'm too lazy to buy quality fans for the other boxen.

I wish higher quality fans were included in things like power supplies (which are a pain to replace, not to mention dangerous), and especially ones bundled with CPUs. I also don't find many fans actually connected to the motherboard (for monitoring etc); usually they connect inline with a drive power lead...

I once overheated a K6-233 because a drive cable was resting on the CPU fan. Worked for weeks until I was compiling a kernel...

Unfortunately, PCs these days are made as cheaply as possible, with cheap fans, flimsy cases, etc.

How to burn Athlon on TechTV (3, Interesting)

lowdozage (319641) | about 13 years ago | (#2310440)

I remember when Patrick Norton [] who co-host the "The ScreenSavers [] " on TechTV [] forgot to install the heatsink for UGAM 3.0 [] .

Article link below

The Dish: The UGM Incident []

"Windows - A thirty-two bit extension and GUI shell to a sixteen bit patch
to an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor
and sold by a two-bit company that can't stand one bit of competition." (Anonymous USEnet post)

./ed (1)

siliconeyes (154170) | about 13 years ago | (#2310441)


Christ, the /. effect just sucks.

Clock-Throttling (1)

thelinuxkid (218341) | about 13 years ago | (#2310447)

New AMD motherboards have clock-throttling and an all out shutdown of the computer in the BIOS for when the processor gets too hot. I didn't see where he tested that in this article. Did he even test that or does it not work?

SMP DOA (2, Interesting) (450073) | about 13 years ago | (#2310453)

I had an older SMP box (dual MMX-233's). The procs I found shipped with super cheap-o fans. They both went dead in a few weeks after ordering (only the CPU's themselves were covered by the warrenty...). I hadn't noticed at first. I started wondering why KDE (really, the OS in general) was starting to run VERY slow.
I hit every newsboard I could find looking for suggestions. Every suggestion was a flop. One day, I cracked open the case (I forget why exactly) and had a found esentially a microwave oven inside the box. WTF?!? I thought. I quick scan of everything showed me the 2 fans just sitting there jittering (not spinning). DOH!

(No, I don't don't work for these guys) [] has a great selection of cooling things for just about anything. I've since ordered a ton of stuff from them. Fast and reliable, they are. I ordered a couple of the super-duty fans for the older slot-CPUs and the thing ran great! A bit loud but...

The SMP box is now collecting dust (but I know it's 100% ready for mnore when I need it)since I found a Super-Worth box for real damn cheap at an EggHead Auction [] .

I think... (2)

RainbowSix (105550) | about 13 years ago | (#2310454)

that should say 6 seconds, not 6 minutes. I believe AMD's spec is that a K7 will die in six seconds without any cooling.

On the two AMD DDR boards that I've played with, there is a new BIOS setting that allows the motherboard to power down the machine after a specific temperature. I have mine set to kill when the motherboard's thermal probe measures over 65c.

This is a great feature, and thankfully I've never had the pleasure of testing it out. Hopefully it responds better than the on-die thermal diode of the Palominos.

Letting the smoke out... (2)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 13 years ago | (#2310457)

You cannot let the smoke out of the CPU, because it it the magic that makes it run....

Well, anyhow, last week I mounted a cheap heatsink to my brand new AMD 1.3G CPU and it burned up before I really got to the post screen. Ish. A few days later my new copper heat sink showed up, but I was more afraid of chipping the CPU than having it burn up... done that too.. They ( have long since commented about the few seconds it takes to make an AMD processor keychain by running it without a heatsink, but man... don't even mess with something that may be marginal.

Only If... (1)

chizzad (35279) | about 13 years ago | (#2310475)

I wish my Pentium processor was big enough to cook bacon on, Then I'd never have to use my stove.

Heat Sinks falling off- a simple solution? (1)

Paul Dirac (110526) | about 13 years ago | (#2310478)

It seems to me that one simple solution to preventing a heat sink falling off is to have the motherboard situated parallel with the ground, as opposed to the now popular motherboard-perpindicular-to-ground configuration in most tower cases.

Hence, the load bearing the weight of the heat sink is underneath it, not to its right or left!


how about the power supply fan?! (1)

edrugtrader (442064) | about 13 years ago | (#2310489)

last night actually i see some smoke over by one of my servers... 'oh shit' i quietly think. i go to take the cover off and the aluminum case is too hot to touch. waiting about 10 minutes, i can finally open the thing up and plug it in again and everything seems fine inside, then i notice the power supply fan wasn't working, so i took it apart and soldered on the 2nd case fan. everything still works perfectlly.

aren't there any warnings when power supply fans go out?!! that very well would have burned my house down if i wasn't in the room.

Athlon fan failure OK (2, Interesting)

Beckman (136138) | about 13 years ago | (#2310496)

I had the fan fail several times on a 1.2 GHz Athlon, but didn't suffer any damage. Apparently AMD design engieers considere the heatsink, but not the fan, as an integrated part of the CPU.

HCF (1)

allanc (25681) | about 13 years ago | (#2310500)

AMD has just moved us that little bit closer to having a Halt and Catch Fire instruction.

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