[Cialug] Slightly OT: Stupid computer problems

Major Stubble major.stubble at gmail.com
Fri Jun 3 19:00:52 CDT 2005

Dell brand mother boards have passive cooling on the north-bridge
chip.  It may be possible that this is the problem, but there is
nothing in the bios or on visual examination that will indicate an
overheating issue.

Optiplex GX systems have the worst CPU cooling design.  Please correct
me if this not the case for your system, but IIRC, the CPU is cooled
by a rear case fan that is 'piped' by a cardboard (?) cooling duct to
the large heat sink on the CPU.  Those advocating you to leave the
case side on are absolutely correct, as you will quickly damage the

If the ambient temperature in the room is below 75 degrees, then it is
more likely not an overheating issue.  This doesn't mean that the
chips aren't reporting that they are overheating.  If the chip has
been damaged, it will erroneously report that it has exceeded its
thermal threshold.

However, I would contend that it is not a temperature issue at all. 
Typically, the system will actually shut itself completely off.  This
means that if you hit the power button, it will turn on again and act
like everything is ok - before beeping at you for exceeding the
thermal threshold once more and powering off.

If it is not beeping at you prior to powering off, then it is
something else entirely: ESPECIALLY if you need to remove the power
cable before it will power back on.  I would contend that you have a
fault in the power management.  This can be caused by hardware failure
(such as a faulty north-bridge or even a damaged video card).

If you are running linux, make sure that you have disabled the
APM/ACPI client software and have unloaded the APM/ACPI kernel
modules.  If you have windows, make sure you have set the power
mangement to always on.  See if the system stays up.  If it does not,
then you are looking at convincing Dell you need a new CPU and
motherboard (don't worry, they will replace both; it's easier for

One other side thought.  I had systems years ago have problems
spinning down the hard drives when they went into standby.  If you
have an older hard disk drive in the system, I would remove the drive
and see if that resolves the issue.


On 6/3/05, Bailey, Jonathan C <bailj0 at bp.com> wrote:
> The PSU was swapped with a known-good one. I think I'll check CPU heat issues next.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cialug-bounces at cialug.org [mailto:cialug-bounces at cialug.org]On
> Behalf Of Kevin C. Smith
> Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 5:02 PM
> To: cialug at cialug.org
> Subject: RE: [Cialug] Slightly OT: Stupid computer problems
> > It doesn't seem to be linked to use of any one component, although it
> > seems to die quicker with the case open. I've disconnected the CD drive,
> > floppy, etc except for the HD  and it still does it. As far as a temp
> > issue, I can get it running for about 5min or so depending on if its used
> > heavily.
> >
> >
> > Jon
> Open the case and blow air on it with a fan (on high). Does it last longer?
> And/Or: Does it last longer after shutting it off for 15-20 minutes (time
> enough to cool)?
> If there is no notable effect: try a new power supply, maybe borrow one from
> another computer.
> If that doesn't work: Motherboard is likely going bad.
> --
> Kevin C. Smith
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