View Full Version : Haunted PC!

26th October 2007, 01:42
Have you ever owned a computer that has never worked perfectly? Well I have one that always seems to have an issue regardless of what I do with it.

It was originally my main PC, but even then it had problems. The CPU temperature was always too high (often 55 deg + some days, and hitting 60 in the summer), regardless of the case cooling and CPU coolers I tried. It is an Athlon XP 3000+ though and those do run hotter then other CPUs, although not normally this hot. It did run nicely though and games were stable, but sometimes for no reason and with out warning it sometimes just froze at the desktop while you were working. Even the mouse pointer stopped moving. I always thought this might be over heating, but never managed to fix the issue and it was completely random, with the system running for weeks before it froze again and I never got an over heating warning from the bios or errors in the system logs. And due to the hot CPU, and the inside of the system in general I had resorted to 6 80mm case fans (2 at the front and 4 at the rear), so you can imagine it was quite noisy.

Then there was the thunderstorm that blew this PC up in spectacular fashion. I had been playing Rodland on MAME when the power suddenly went off and stayed off all night. So the next day I tried to start the PC up and it wouldn't do anything. This often happens after a power cut because the PSU protects itself from power surge. So I removed the power cord and plugged it all back in to reset the PSU, switched on and BANG! A huge flash of light came out of the back of the PSU and the lovely smell of electrical burning followed. :( Dead PSU then!

So I bought a new PSU, connected it all up and nothing. Seems the PSU had taken something else with it. After much testing it was the motherboard that was fried. But as I had two SATA HDs stripped together using the motherboard's built in SATA raid controller the only way to access the data on them was using this board's controller.

At this point I decided I had had enough of this jinxed PC so built a new one (the one I currently have as my main PC).

But I also wanted to access the SATA HDs from the old system, so I hunted around and found an identical motherboard on ebay. Connected it up and everything worked. But I also wanted to fix the loud case and improve the cooling, so I threw the existing case away and got a Thermaltake case instead. So after setting everything back up and installing Windows on a spare HD (was using the original system HD in the new PC I built) it was all working and the inside of the case was now cooler, although the CPU still runs too hot, but it now has a very big and noisy jet heatsink with a manual speed control, so with that turned right up it's noisy but the CPU stays below 40 deg.

But... since building the new PC I've only used this old rebuilt one occasionally for testing, or when repairing PCs (to back up HDs or test components). But every time I go to use it something else seems to be wrong with it! And it continued the other week. I switched it on and it wouldn't boot. After testing for ages I discovered the CMOS battery was dead. Then it took ages to get the system to finally boot up.

Then yesterday I needed to use the system again to back up an HD from a dead PC I'm repairing for someone. I connected the HD to the system, switched on and received a single long beep from the PC speaker and the diagnostic lights showed a bas memory error. :( So I reseated the memory, removed the extra HD and the system started up, but the main HD was not detected. I checked the cable was plugged in at both ends but still nothing. After more testing I tried a different IDE cable and it worked. So now it seems the IDE cable somehow suddenly broke.

So with the system now working again I copied the data from the other HD, then disconnected that HD and put it back in the repaired PC ready to install a new OS. I rebooted the PC to backup the data from that HD to DVD and the system crashed with a BSOD!!! Hmm... And the error was an odd one. BAD_POOL_CALLER. Never had that one before and not much info on it online.

So I rebooted, and it seemed to load OK, so I began to burn the first DVD, but then just before the system wrote to the disk another BSOD popped up saying NTFS.sys had caused a system error and it needed to close down. :blink:

Could be bad memory I suppose, but I ran memtest though this ram and it didn't report any errors.

So I finally got the system to burn the DVD backups, until the last DVD completed, whereby the verification reported it had failed because "the files on the disc did not match the source files". What?

I give up. I want to bin this machine now!!! :owned:

OK rant over. You didn't have to read all that. I just needed to post it to get the annoyance out of my system.

Stephen Coates
26th October 2007, 08:59
There are some things that always tend to develop some kind of problem. My Dell PC and my Amiga 500+ seem good at that (but doesn't seem to be as bad as your PC).

The latest problem I had with my PC is that the Maxtor HD would not show up at all in the BIOS, or in Windows 98/DOS, but showed up in Explorer in Windows 2000/XP. There was also some kind of memory problem. (The WD drive, which is the boot drive, was fine) I fixed the memory problem (I had put some PC66 memory in it for some reason, so I replaced it with PC100), but this had no effect on the HDs. Master and Slave were set correctly so I wasn't sure what the problem was. So, I swapped the HDs round so they were in different positions on the cable, and all worked perfectly! I had had the problem since about February.

I did actually write a topic on here about it, but then decided to have one last fiddle with it before I posted it, and that was when it worked, so I didn't bother posting.

And now my Amiga 500+ likes displaying a yellow screen when switching on (with the HD is attached), and the CTRL, SHIFT etc keys on the keyboard don't work, but I might make a seperate topic about this.

26th October 2007, 11:12
My A1200 has been doing this sorta thing since fitting the 030. I am trying to track a small heatsink to fit on the cpu, as it gets too hot too touch.

My PC has never run cool, with the cpu norm at 65+ I sent it back for repair and they replaced the HDD??? :blink: Going to get a DC4200 or sim and see if thats better.

At the mo, just burning a disc sets the fan screaming!

26th October 2007, 11:36
Running Temps for CPU's vary with each type (I had a Celeron D that ran quite happily at 70+) and if i remember rightly the temperature reading on older Athlons has never been accurate. A good thermal paste can work wonders though. Whenever i'va had any problems i've always found http://www.techguy.org/ forum very helpfull. So good they've inspired me to train up to be a technician. As for an 030 needing a heatsink i'm not so sure as usually just a but of fresh air did the trick with mine.

26th October 2007, 14:04
There was a time when one of my old PCs (it was a P3 1 GHz, I think) would slow down to a crawl frequently while playing a game. Back then, I wasn't that PC-savvy, and thought nothing of it. Basically, I continued using the PC for weeks, suffering the same slowdown problem frequently. Reinstalling drivers, reinstalling Windows and so forth didn't help. Finally, I decided to take a look in the BIOS and what did I see?

CPU temperature: 107 degrees Celcius! WTF!

Opening up the case, it became kind of obvious what the culprit was: the CPU cooling fan had gotten stuck.

I had been playing intensive 3D games for weeks without CPU cooling ... the slowdown that occured was due to the P3 throttling back its clock speed to prevent damage :thumbs:

Amazingly, the chip still worked perfectly, and would continue to do so for quite along time afterward.

26th October 2007, 14:51
Modern CPUs are quite hard to actually fry because both the CPU and good motherboards have thermal protection built in that either shut the system down or throttle back the CPU speed to protect them.

But that Althon XP chip for some reason never liked to run cool. I've got 3 system with identical Athlon XP 3000+ Barton's in them and the other two idle at around 42 Degrees. This third one idles at 46-50, which while well within it's thermal range isn't good when it's only idling as it is going to get even hotter once under load, although these CPUs are safe up to 85 degrees.

I had a Celeron D that ran quite happily at 70+I would have been a bit worried about that temp. Intel chips tend to have lower maximum safe temperatures than AMD chips. Some are in the 80's, but others, especially some Celeron chips, are in the high 60's!

Worst though is the P4 Extreme edition 3.2GHz which has a max of 64C.

The best though is the Pentium M which is happy at up to 100C!!! This allows it to run with reduces cooling, so quieter running, without worry that it is getting too hot.

27th October 2007, 13:16
Maybe we should have a competition seeing who can run their CPU to the highest temp without a) screwing the chip b) screwing the PC c) having to call the fire brigade and d) having reached a suitable temperature seeing if they could fry an egg on the chip. Hmmm, egg and chips.

31st October 2007, 19:28
Hmmm, egg and chips.

BA BOOM! :thumbs: