Fun With Overheating (Not Really)

I've had a recurring problem recently that apparently is all about my PC overheating, oddly, only when i'm using a certain combination of games and other software (iTunes has become a surprisingly frequent offender).

Anyway, I need to know if anyone knows of a good PC Temperature monitoring program, something that will keep me updated on how hot my CPU and motherboard are running, so I can keep my PC from overheating like it has been recently.

Mind you, we're on a college student budget here, so the freer, the better.

Ditto. I have been overheating too. Although, I did just order a nifty Arctic Freezer heatsink+fan for my CPU with the Arctic Freezer goo, but I would like to monitor before and after temps. I am not on a college student budget, but I like free things.

Take the case off and have a fan blowing on the guts. You can't beat the price!

Motherboard Monitor is the de facto standard, but it's dead now as far as I know. Still supports plenty of motherboards though. SmartFan seems to be the new player.

Both freeware. I'm too lazy to link right now.

LiquidMantis wrote:

Both freeware. I'm too lazy to link right now.

There's a can of Raid with your name on it lazyboy.

EDIT: Well, I just grabbed SpeedFan, and I have one question.

What's generally a "safe" temperature for your Motehrboard and CPU to be running at? Because according to SpeedFan mine seems to be cranking at either 126F or 158F from a clean start. Considering the ambient temperature in my room is only at 75F, I believe that's about the norm for me.

(Note: Oddly, i've only had problems with overheating when playing iTunes with a very processor-heavy game. Must be connected.)

It depends on your CPU really. I wouldn't want the CPU to get much over 170º.

I use Motherboard Monitor and with my AMD Athlon64 4000+ sitting idle, my CPU temperature is 88º and inside my case 77º. I've never monitored it with a game running so I'm not sure how hot it goes. I'll try to remember to alt-tab out of Oblivion tonight and check it after I've been playing for a while.

This is with giant ass heatsink/fan on the CPU and I think I have 3 or 4 case fans running. Runs pretty quiet surprisingly. The PC before this one (I bought this case/cpu/motherboard back in January) I used bagga's method. Just had the side cover off and had a 12-inch fan sitting on the floor constantly blowing inside the case. That was the coolest running PC I've ever had...

I'm actually running the same processor as Vega, and also rarely have my CPU hit more than 120 F. This is in a house with no air conditioning. It was 85ish outside yesterday afternoon and my PC managed to be only marginally higher than that on the temperature scale.

But I have 4 case fans, plus a Zalman heatsink/cpu cooler, so I always have a ton of air moving through my case.

Well, after about 3 hours of playing of Oblivion I checked and my CPU temperature only rose to 98.6º F (35º C) and the case temperature didn't change at all. I also double checked because I had thought I had bought a separate 3rd party CPU heatsink/fan but I'm actually just using the stock one that came with the CPU. I did apply a dab of Arctic Silver thermal compound when I built the system though. I've read that these temperature sensors, especially the ones with a diode underneath the CPU, are not very accurate and typically read lower than the actual temperature.

Pred, it really comes down to the type of the CPU you're running. Some of the older CPU's run a lot hotter (but can better handle these higher temperatures) than the newer chips. I'm assuming you've got an AMD chip, so below is a chart I found showing the maximum temperature for common AMD CPU's.

AMD Athlon, Athlon 64, Opteron, Duron and Sempron
  • All Slot A CPUs (Athlon classic, Athlon Thunderbird) 70°C
  • Athlon Socket A up to 1 GHz, Duron up to 1.3GHz 90°C
  • Athlon "Thunderbird" Socket A 1.1GHz or more 95°C
  • Athlon MP 1.33GHz or more 95°C
  • Athlon XP up to 2100+ 90°C
  • Athlon XP 2200+ and faster 85°C
  • Duron "Applebred" 1.4G and faster 85°C
  • AMD Opteron 69 or 70°C depending on model
  • Athlon 64, 64FX, Sempron Most models 70°C; 65°C for some Socket 939 Athlon 64 models
  • Athlon 64 X2 (dual core) 65°C

AMD K6 series

  • All K6 CPUs (166-300MHz) and most K6-2/K6-III CPUs 70°C
  • K6-2/K6-III CPUs, model name ending with X (e.g. K6-2-450AFX) 65°C
  • K6-2-400AFQ (uncommon) 60°C (!)
  • K6-2+, K6-III+, most mobile K6/K6-2 CPUs 85°C
  • mobile K6/K6-2 model name ending with K (e.g. mobile K6-2-P-400AFK) 80°C

If you're CPU is coming anywhere close to the maximum temperatures listed here, you're in extreme danger of damaging or melting the CPU.

Ah christ, well then, apparently, the fan on my CPU, or alternatively, the heatsink is in severe danger of giving up the ghost very soon. A recent check this weekend saw temperatures jacking well over the 90C mark, almost to 100, which A.) Shouldn't happen. B.) Hasn't happened before. and C.) Is, of course, bad.

I've got an AMD Athlon XP 3000+ that previous to now, hadn't given me a lick of trouble. I could leave the PC running for literally, days on end and have no trouble with it. Now, after about the fourth hour running in a room with an ambient temperature of 74 degrees, it'll overheat. I actually watched a 12 degree jump in processor temperature just from me turning on WinAmp. Thank god the PC itself has had the common sense to kill things before it gets worse.

I cracked the case open, just to see if that might help in any way, shape or form, but quite frankly, it's ridiculous that i'm pulling these temperatures. I have four case fans, I have a well-ventilated PC, most of the heat inside the case was previously created by the 9800XT sitting in there. Suddenly, over the past month or so, this has bloomed into a full-fledged problem. I'm not sure what the fix, if there might be one, would be, so i'm looking at the next options that I really have no desire (or ability) to take currently.

Replacing the CPU fan (cheap) or replacing both the CPU and the Motherboard (which i'd been planning anyway).

I can't think of how to fix the situation without at least replacing some parts.

I'd wanted to put off these some $6-800 worth of purchases until the summer, but fate may have forced my hand.

Pred, I got this about a week ago. I was running at around 41C before and I am now down to about 26C. A huge difference and well worth the money. I highly recommend getting a new heatsink/fan combo for your CPU and you should see some cooler temps. I suspect that either your heatsink isn't making full contact with the CPU or you fan is crapping out. Either way, a new cooling rig should help. Also, most are under $30 so you wont have to break the bank.

Bad News. Now something in my system overheating, but I can't figure out what it is. I downloaded speed fan which gives me the information below:

IMAGE(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i217/duttyride/computerproblem.jpg)

However, I can't seem to figure out what Temp 3 is. Anyone have any suggestions?

Frankly, I don't care. I just wish all Windows error messages came in the form of MSPaint net-isms.

There's usually a "system health" screen somewhere in the BIOS that you should be able to check. They normally give more detailed descriptions of what area of your PC each temperature sensor is at/on.

Yeah, I checked my BIOS. It only has two temps: CPU and System which both stay below 30C. I have also done the finger test and nothing seems very hot inside. The more I think about it, I think that my reboots may be software related; they only happen when I run Azerus. When I am running Oblivion it's not a problem. Oh well.

Duttybrew wrote:

Yeah, I checked my BIOS. It only has two temps: CPU and System which both stay below 30C. I have also done the finger test and nothing seems very hot inside. The more I think about it, I think that my reboots may be software related; they only happen when I run Azerus. When I am running Oblivion it's not a problem. Oh well.

What video card are you using? I can't think of anything else that would reach those types of temps -- and even then, that's in the range of "OMGWTFBBQ" and probably would force your PC to reboot the moment you fired up a 3D enabled app/game.

I have an x850xt 256. However, I used ATItool to adjust the fan and watch the temps. The fan on that thing is so loud that I can actually tell about how hot it just listening! It usually runs in the 30's while idling and in the 40's while Oblivioning. I get my reboots while it is in the 30's.

This ATI Tools that you speak of...where might I find it?

Ask and you shall receive. Install it, use it, love it.

I am assuming with all the overheating problems you have given your case a good cleaning, such as making sure your heatsinks and or fans are not clogged with dust, because that can drastically increase the heat in a system. The other thing I learned is that fan configuration is really important. You want to make sure that you have cool air coming through the front of your system and exiting out the back if you have too many fans at the front of your system and not enough in the back you end up just recycling hot air inside your case. I actually had that problem and when I removed one of the fans I had sitting in the front of the case I saw about a 5 degree drop in temprature and it helped with fan noise too yay! Another common problem is having your case too close to a wall so the exhaust vents are not able to push air out properly which again will end up recycling hot air back into the case. Good luck with the search for the heat source.

Right, better to go heavy on the fans in the back, as you can always pull more air in than push.

And thanks, Dutty.

So I got two cans of compressed air today, and went postal on the interior of my PC.

The Good: Looks like Garrard was right. After dusting the living hell out of the CPU fan and the motherboard (including the case fans), CPU temperature at startup went from 62C to 41C. Everything's running much cooler after the dusting. RPMs went up by about 800, and when pressed, the CPU barely cracked 70C. Topped out at about 75C, simming a full season of Out Of The Park Baseball (which generally pumped CPU usage into the high 90's). This as opposed to skyrocketing into the high 80's before. It's not perfect, and i'd love it lower, but i'll take it.

The Bad: Now, glory of glories, the fan on my graphics card seems to have a "spin-up" time when I start the PC. It will give off an audible sound (a kind of buzz) as it starts up, and, as the PC kicks into Windows XP, it'll catch up and run as quietly as the rest of the fans. Guh. Just what I wanted.

So, either way, it looks like i've at least found a stopgap for my problems. However, I think i'll still replace the Mobo and Processor this summer, perhaps even a new HD.

Prederick wrote:

The Bad: Now, glory of glories, the fan on my graphics card seems to have a "spin-up" time when I start the PC. It will give off an audible sound (a kind of buzz) as it starts up, and, as the PC kicks into Windows XP, it'll catch up and run as quietly as the rest of the fans. Guh. Just what I wanted.

It is probably just a bit loose. Check the screw that holds it in, and make sure the whole card is secure. If that doesn't work check how the fan is held on.. sometimes they have springs that looses over time. You can replace the springs with screws though if you want to take video card repair 102.

And Gaald is 100% right.. good airflow solves many overheating issues.

Duttybrew wrote:

Bad News. Now something in my system overheating, but I can't figure out what it is. I downloaded speed fan which gives me the information below:

IMAGE(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i217/duttyride/computerproblem.jpg)

However, I can't seem to figure out what Temp 3 is. Anyone have any suggestions?

If your motherboard does not have all the sensors that speedfan monitors it will give you wacky readings instead of telling you there is no sensor. I would post in the speedfan forums (If there is any) but it is most likely a false alarm.

As for your reboots have you checked your RAM lately? Memtest86+ running overnight is the best way to do so.