A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Brother Oni's Avatar

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    Default Have I killed my computer? [Solved]

    This may be a bit long and convoluted:

    Got some upgrades for my wife's computer (motherboard, processor, RAM) and plug everything in. Computer refuses to even POST, so I start testing things individually.

    Since the new processor is the same socket as mine (AM3), I take my processor out and try the new one. It hits POST just fine, so the new motherboard's faulty, RMA and that should be the end of it, right?

    However when I put my processor back into my computer, I reapply some thermal paste I had sitting around, but I'm not aware that this stuff has a sell-by date of 2 years from manufacture (I estimate it's from 2001) and is more of a thick dry paste.
    So my computer overheats and crashes. I buy some new thermal paste (which is when I discover what it should actually look like), try to take the heatsink off and pull the processor right out of the socket.

    No pins are bent, so I scrape off the old paste, reapply the new stuff, but the computer is still unstable. Speedfan doesn't show the core temperature being especially high (~35C at idle).

    I reseat all the components in case I accidentally knocked something loose, scrape off and reapply new paste, but it's still unstable. By this time, it's locked and crashed so often that I need to do a repair installation with my Windows 7 CD.
    Again, no untoward heat spikes, but the computer is unstable to the degree that it occasionally crashes during windows bootup. I haven't changed any RAM/CPU voltage settings, nor am I overclocking. Memory checks are fine and scan disk shows no bad sectors, although it's occasionally asking for drivers for certain pieces of hardware now.

    The only thing I originally did was swap the processors around.

    So my question is - is my processor dead and/or do I need a new primary hard drive? Or have missed some setting that I can tweak to make work?
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2013-09-19 at 02:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    This may be a bit long and convoluted:

    Got some upgrades for my wife's computer (motherboard, processor, RAM) and plug everything in. Computer refuses to even POST, so I start testing things individually.

    Since the new processor is the same socket as mine (AM3), I take my processor out and try the new one. It hits POST just fine, so the new motherboard's faulty, RMA and that should be the end of it, right?

    However when I put my processor back into my computer, I reapply some thermal paste I had sitting around, but I'm not aware that this stuff has a sell-by date of 2 years from manufacture (I estimate it's from 2001) and is more of a thick dry paste.
    So my computer overheats and crashes. I buy some new thermal paste (which is when I discover what it should actually look like), try to take the heatsink off and pull the processor right out of the socket.

    No pins are bent, so I scrape off the old paste, reapply the new stuff, but the computer is still unstable. Speedfan doesn't show the core temperature being especially high (~35C at idle).

    I reseat all the components in case I accidentally knocked something loose, scrape off and reapply new paste, but it's still unstable. By this time, it's locked and crashed so often that I need to do a repair installation with my Windows 7 CD.
    Again, no untoward heat spikes, but the computer is unstable to the degree that it occasionally crashes during windows bootup. I haven't changed any RAM/CPU voltage settings, nor am I overclocking. Memory checks are fine and scan disk shows no bad sectors, although it's occasionally asking for drivers for certain pieces of hardware now.

    The only thing I originally did was swap the processors around.

    So my question is - is my processor dead and/or do I need a new primary hard drive? Or have missed some setting that I can tweak to make work?
    I usually don't handle my hardware directly unless I need to set up a new PC but... random guess: Something got fried. Even if there is no visible damage it's possible some circuits got melted and as we all know a processor is a pretty fragile piece of technology. I could be entirely wrong here but my pessimistic outlook: You'll need a new CPU. But again, I could be totally wrong and that's just my first guess. Maybe, though I think it's unlikely, you need to try cleaning the CPU from the old thermal paste again... maybe if there are any leftovers of that it might cause the problems.
    "What's done is done."

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    It could also be that the CPU just hasn't seated itself properly. Local overheating could cause instability as the CPU tries to protect itself. Modern CPUs have built in protection against overheating. I'd try re-seating it again, it might still be OK. If that doesn't work try the new CPU you got again to see if that's any better (though I understand if you're nervous about damaging that too).

    That said, it is entirely possible that permanent damage has been caused, in which case it'll be a new CPU you're needing. I can't think of a reason your hard drive would be affected.

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Ah the joys. I know this pain.

    It could be a "Haarriss"(german term, too lazy going to dict.leo for translating) basically a scratch as fine as a hair... totally annoying but you can throw that broken piece of garbage to the ground.

    Things that could've gone wrong:
    MB in your wifes PC is faulty and fried your CPU too.
    CPU in your wifes PC is faulty and fried the MB which then gave this back to your CPU.
    Old paste made your CPU too hot and it fried.
    Chtulu.
    Your CPU has come to his life's natural end.
    Your PC can't uphold the airstream anymore.
    Something else got fried.
    You looked at it wrong.

    EDIT:
    About the Harddrive: It could be that he fried his MB somewhere which in correlation to that fried the drivers to recognize his HDD. I know for sure that I would need to install a driver and jumper my mainboard if I would like to use the 500 GB HDD I have lying around but can't find a "secure" source for this driver.
    Last edited by Krazzman; 2013-09-19 at 10:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    I could be entirely wrong here but my pessimistic outlook: You'll need a new CPU.
    That's what I'm afraid of. Unfortunately they don't make my processor anymore (Phenom II X4 965), so getting another quad core processor will require a new motherboard, either a socket AM3+ or a switch over to Intel.

    I'm not too familiar with the current situation (when I built this thing, AMD had the edge in price and just still had the edge in performance) so which would you suggest, AMD or Intel?

    Edit: The AMD/Intel question is open to everybody.

    Quote Originally Posted by RCgothic View Post
    It could also be that the CPU just hasn't seated itself properly.
    I've already reseated it twice with fresh paste, so while the third time's the charm, I'm somewhat nervous about pushing my luck and frying something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by RCgothic View Post
    I can't think of a reason your hard drive would be affected.
    Would not multiple crashes requiring a hard reboot affect the platter integrity of a SATA drive? I was under the impression that repeatedly not parking the drive heads properly when the power is cut and restored, can cause damage over time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krazzman View Post
    Old paste made your CPU too hot and it fried.
    You looked at it wrong.
    I think these two are the most likely answers.

    I keep telling my wife that I know what I'm doing with computers, but this isn't helping my credibility...
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2013-09-19 at 10:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    These days? Intel all the way for performance, especially if you have a half-decent discrete video card already. AMD's current value comes from their acquisition of ..the company that made Radeon cards. Completely blanking on their acronym.. - the on-board/on-chip GPUs in AMD-based systems are worlds ahead of those on Intel systems, but still don't get anywhere near the performance of a mid-line discrete card (if you're not hassled about high-end performance, tho, AMD still provides excellent value options for CPUs.)
    Last edited by tyckspoon; 2013-09-19 at 01:44 PM.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    It's not possible you got some crumbs of the old heat paste stuck under the CPU when you re-inserted it, is it? That stuff is often conductive, and even without that, would change the capacitance between the pins it's gooing up and cause potential crosstalk issues.

    As for power cycling causing damage to a hard drive--I've never seen that cause issues. Modern hard drives will automatically park the heads when the power goes specifically in order to avoid issues like that.

    (Oh, little tip for future reference: white spirit is *really good* for removing traces of heat paste and pads--used it when I replaced my CPU heatsink a few weeks ago and you could practically see your reflection in the top of the CPU after I'd cleaned it!).

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Found the issue - when I switched the processors, my motherboard recognised that there was a new processor inserted and reset all the BIOS options, including the increased voltage I had to stop my performance RAM chips from spazzing out and crashing (I knew that crash pattern was strangely familiar!).

    Currently tooling around with the voltage and seeing what's stable, but it seems to be behaving - thanks for the help everybody!

    Edit: And if in karmic response to my sudden flash of competence, I've only just noticed my wife's new motherboard is so new, it doesn't have an IDE port, so I need to buy a SATA optical drive to reinstall the OS.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2013-09-19 at 02:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krazzman View Post
    Things that could've gone wrong:
    MB in your wifes PC is faulty and fried your CPU too.
    CPU in your wifes PC is faulty and fried the MB which then gave this back to your CPU.
    Old paste made your CPU too hot and it fried.
    Chtulu.
    Your CPU has come to his life's natural end.
    Your PC can't uphold the airstream anymore.
    Something else got fried.
    You looked at it wrong.
    I actually have a Phenom II X4 965 in my computer. (Over clocked the 3.4GHz to 3.8) 35C is what I idle at normally. It seems like voltage issues, but given that it's been moved around a bit, I'd say it's been damaged. I'd agree with Krazzman, it could be any of that. (or all of it)

    Also: "try to take the heatsink off and pull the processor right out of the socket." I've done this, and it's really not good for either the CPU or Motherboard. It's possible that the CPU won't seat right because of damage to the lock or mount, hard to tell with out seeing it.

    Lastly, AMD vs Intel. It's all about the money. If money isn't an issue, Intel, otherwise go AMD. You can get an AM3+ 4GHz 8 core for $200, which intel can't touch at that price, BUT that's top of the line. If you want to spend $300-500 on intel you can get something that can blow that out of the water. Also motherboards for intel generally cost a bit more as well, but that's normally a $40-60 difference. I like AMD because of it's raw power for number crunching, but intel is better at your general multi-window/multi-tasking environment. Also I've seen intels take abuse better, but I have no facts to back that up.
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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I think these two are the most likely answers.

    I keep telling my wife that I know what I'm doing with computers, but this isn't helping my credibility...
    Luckily it wasn't Chtulu...

    About that knowing stuff... I had 3 years of apprenticeship in Computer Science or what do I know how it is translated... and I am currently in my second year of working as a Programmer/Programmsupportcheckguy stuff thingie.

    And I will soon ask some really dumb questions since I have no clue about graphiccards, component-reactions to each other and ability to work next to each other and so on.

    Good luck in getting this done!
    Have a nice Day,
    Krazzman

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krazzman View Post
    About that knowing stuff... I had 3 years of apprenticeship in Computer Science or what do I know how it is translated... and I am currently in my second year of working as a Programmer/Programmsupportcheckguy stuff thingie.
    Sounds better than me - like most people of my age, I'm entirely self taught and hence tend to (and have) made stupid mistakes.

    I remember my first computer and I forgot to put the heatsink on - thankfully it was an AMD K6 and it didn't have a greater thermal output per cm2 than a nuclear reactor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krazzman View Post
    Good luck in getting this done!
    Only one crash last night and none since I upped the RAM voltage some more.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Have I killed my computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I remember my first computer and I forgot to put the heatsink on
    My first computer was a 40MHz 386SX--it didn't need one! I remember wondering why I had to fit this unwieldy lump of metal on top when I upgraded to a 33MHz 486SX...

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