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Overheating CPU, Amber light, High speed CPU fan.


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#1 UndeadGeek

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 04:14 PM

Ok, so i was dinking around in my computer, a dell dimension 4700, when i decided to pull up the Processor. But now that I've reseated the processor the computer no longer boots to windows or even POST's for that matter, unless i apply pressure to the heat sink of the processor. When I do apply that pressure it boots up normally and everything's fine, but if i remove my hand from the heat sink it locks up and won't let me do anything. And if i keep my hand on the Heat sink within 3 minutes it's to hot to touch. Usually, though before i have to remove my hand because of heat, it gives me the BSOD.

The error is: STOP: C000021a [Fatal System error]
"insert something about windows explorer quitting with a status of 0xc0000005 here" the System has been shutdown to protect something rather.

Even after it BSOD's on me the heat from the processor keeps building up.

When I try to Start it with no pressure on the heat sink, as i mentioned earlier it fails to even POST, but it also gives me a solid amber light on the front power button and the cpu fan (the one mounted on the back connected to the green shroud) sounds like a plane is landing in my computer (feels like it to with all the air shooting out the back).

I do not have any thermal grease on it, and I probably won't be able to get any for a few days as all the local shops didn't have any on hand as of last night. I suspect my lack of thermal grease is part of the problem, but I also suspect that there's something else to it.

My processor is a Pentium 4 at 2.8ghz (NOT overclocked) my motherboard is a Dell with a model number of: 0m3918, the processor socket is an LGA775 socket with a processor to match. OS is windows XP if that even matters. I need to get this computer operational as it was the family computer.

And please don't say replace the computer as that is not possible at the moment no matter how much i want to do that. However if it's necessary I am able to replace the processor, just not anytime soon.

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#2 JonM33

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 06:28 PM

From my many years of working on Dells, an amber power LED is typically a bad motherboard. That's a Pentium 4 2.8E Prescott and that is why it is running so hot.

The LGA775 retention mechanism puts the required force on the CPU. You pushing down on the heatsink just ensures proper contact between the CPU and heatsink. There should be green plastic pieces that help hold the heatsink down. Are those there? There should also be a gray thermal compound on the CPU. Is that still there? You will need thermal compound.

#3 UndeadGeek

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 06:45 PM

OK, I noticed that I did have the green plastic things removed, I put them back on. I still need to apply pressure to the heat sink to get it to POST. I will get Thermal Grease as soon as possible and see if that helps anything. Oh and if it helps the diagnostic lights on the back, when I can get it to boot, flash between various combinations of green and amber lights before finally settling on all green lights.

#4 JonM33

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 06:51 PM

Helps? It's required to use thermal interface material (TIM) between a heatsink and CPU: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_grease

All green lights is a good thing for Dell diagnostic LEDs.

#5 UndeadGeek

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 07:05 PM

Ok, well then I guess I will be getting some good thermal grease for my processor, as soon as someone here gets it in stock. thank you for your time. I will report back here when I get some thermal grease.

#6 MrBruce1959

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 11:48 AM

You may also have other issues with this computer.

To name a few possibilities, your CPU's pins may not be making full contact with the connectors in the ZIF slot.

You may also have an issue where the motherboard was stressed and there is an intermittent connection between the ZIF processor slot and the motherboard.

Putting thermal grease between the heat sink and processor and putting those green plastic locking tabs in place will be very helpful. If however the problem still persists after you do this, then you will know you have a faulty circuit or connection that will need to be repaired.

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#7 Kalon Wiggins

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:14 PM

you may have also shorted out or unseated something else inadvertantly. Its easy to short out your RAM so you have to be careful getting inside your computer cause it doesn't take much. Try reseating your video and ram. Then try unplugging everything not neccesary. If it doesn't boot with just your motherboard cpu ram and video then you gotta start swapping stuff out to find the culprit.

You are right that it's most likely your cpu overheating, but there are other variables still which haven't been eliminated. Reseating stuff and applying the thermal compound is the best places to start.

#8 UndeadGeek

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:39 PM

Ok, as Kalon suggested I have reseated the RAM, tried booting with only one RAM DIMM in slot one (tried all four DIMMS), tried booting with and without the video card as I was doing the "one RAM dimm" thing and as I was doing this i had everything but the devices i mentioned and the CPU and main hard drive disconnected (no power, no connection to the motherboard). But, no matter what I did i was unable to get it to POST without pressure on the CPU's heat sink, I then tried disconnecting the CPU from the PSU and it did exactly what it was doing with no pressure applied. (Amber light, high speed fan). I should be able to get the Thermal grease either tomorrow or the day after.

and another quick, on topic, question if I have no thermal grease and that is the only problem, wouldn't it be able to start up normally but then quickly overheat and crash?

#9 JonM33

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:49 PM

The heat might have damaged the socket somehow. I wouldn't think it's a pin connection issue because it's the load plate that provides all the force onto the CPU and not the heatsink. This is by design.

If there is not good conductivity between the CPU and heatsink, it would cause that Prescott to heat up instantly. There should be thermal compound there anyway. I am just assuming that you removed it? It's the cheapest means to try to resolve the issue. It will be cheaper than trying to find a motherboard replacement - which can be had at Ebay for $59 or more.

#10 Kalon Wiggins

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:53 PM

yes you should get at least a couple seconds of something before it overheats.... Unless it has previously overheated to the point where it destroyed your motherboard....

Do you have a spare graphics card or power supply you can swap into there? Also do you have all power connections on the motherboard plugged in? Some models have 2 power inputs on the board. One has only 4 pins and its easy to forget about. Go over the motherboard really well with a flash light and just make sure. Otherwise its time to start swappin parts. Start with graphics cards, then ram, then power supply. Or whatever you have handy, hehe.

#11 UndeadGeek

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 03:11 PM

Unfortunately, I do not have any spare parts on hand. Although, I may be able to get a friend to loan me a PSU and maybe a Graphics card. But again, that will have to wait until tomorrow, he's out of town. So, for now all i have to work with is the stuff in the case.

I'm fairly sure everything is connected properly, I will go make sure now though.

#12 UndeadGeek

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 03:15 PM

OK, everything is connected properly. but I was thinking, if it takes pressure to get the CPU to do anything, could i bend the tab on the locking plate so that the lever applies a little bit more pressure to the CPU?

#13 JonM33

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 04:36 PM

If you want to ensure that it is broken you can do that. Don't try bending anything on the socket. It takes an exact number of pounds per square inch that the socket is designed for. Going over could damage pins or the processor.

#14 UndeadGeek

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:06 PM

Ok, somethings different, I haven't changed anything, but now when i turn the computer on with no pressure on the heat sink, there's an amber light, the HDD activity light is solid green, and the fan now slowly accelerates instead of going high speed immediately.

#15 Kalon Wiggins

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 11:13 AM

so is it booting up now?




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