Someplace to stash my stuff
Sometings not right.
Published on March 2, 2006 By starkers In PC Hardware
At start up recently I've been hearing a whirring sound like something is having trouble getting started, and though the noise eventually goes away and startup completes, although not as quickly as before, my system performance seems to have dramatically slowed, particularly when mutli tasking or working with large or compressed files.
I've updated the BIOS, chipset and Cpu drivers because several new components have been added since it was built, but alas, this has not resolved the whirring, slow startups and lagging during operation, I'm thinking it's a hardware problem and possibly related to my Cpu, chipset, motherboard as all HD's are and all other components with moving parts are relatively new.
My CPU is a P4 2.8F/ 1mb Cache and I think dual core as 2 monitoring graphs appear in task manager and do not always correspond with eachother....with the right graph quite often peaking much higher than the left CPU usage can fluctuate considerably between 2-3% up to as high as 75-80%, even when I'm not actually working with any programs and just the background processes are running
I also have 1.5 gig of DDR400 essentially I should have enough processing power and memory to multi task and work with large/compressed files with ease. However, running something like an Adaware scan and Winamp will not allow me to play Spider Solitaire at normal speed at the same time.
I've cut all but the essentials at startup and ended all non-essential processes to improve performance but this has also failed to resolve the I'm thinking perhaps a CPU problem and that maybe its on its way out....possibly a chipset, Mobo problem also.
A thorough cleaning with compressed air and vaccuuming the excess dust, etc, has also failed to resolve the issue, tho I've been unable to detatch the heatsink and fan to properly access the CPU for a more direct/efficient cleaning.
Advise/technique as to how would be helpful....the clips holding it in place are released but it still won't budge.
If anyone can explain and/or advise to assist in resolving this I'd be eternally grateful...yrag, anyone?

If it comes down to a CPU/Mobo replacement, Im looking at a P4631/ 3.0GHZ/2mb cache/800FSB/LGA775.....and a GA-8IPE 775 Gigabyte Mobo for about AU$450....if anyone can advise of another, better, more economical alternative to this, that would also be most appreciated as I'm not exactly rolling in it at present.

Sh!tty luck seems to be my run at present....yesterday I was told surgery may be required to remove a plate inserted after a skull fracture and now 'apparently' causing severe headaches; today we were informed that our 15 yo Tanka is pregnant, afraid to come home as a result of it and receiveng little or no assistance elsewhere...and now seems big bucks may be required to keep my PC up and running BTW, it's 3.45am here in OZ and well past my bedtime, so please be patient if my replies to your responses are delayed some....I will return after some necessary zzzzzzzzz's

Comments (Page 1)
2 Pages1 2 
on Mar 02, 2006
the clips holding it in place are released but it still won't budge

Hope you didn't leave it that way....if it's 'stuck' that tight to the CPU do not pull it off (you'll pull the chip right out of the socket). Heat up the heat sink (hair dryer works) and twist slightly side to side to break the seal. Having said that, if you're hearing a noise, then that part of the problem(s) is not the processor. It's either the CPU or the Northbridge fan failing. Boot into the bios and see what the fan readings and the temperatures are for both. My money is on the CPU fan....the processor is throttling down (that would account for the strange core readings) as it hits it's heat threshhold.
on Mar 02, 2006
yrag.....just booted into Bios to get readings....

CPU temp fluctuates between 50c to 55c.....a tad high?
Cpu fan speed fluctuates between 48000 to 5000+ rpm....again, too high?
Power fan speed 0....but I don't think a power fan is installed...if not would one be advisable?
System fan speed 900 rpm +

Also the CPU and fan speed warning setting were disabled.....I enabled them before rebooting and now I have a high pitched whining sound/alarm, suggesting a CPU/fan issue.
Will try removing fan/heatsink as suggested to clean more thoroughly and get back to you when done with the outcome.....providing I don't eff it up completely.
on Mar 03, 2006
Well I opened up the case and tries to remove the CPU heatsink and fan....but t'was like getting a hooker out of a whorehouse (LOL) no way would she come out. Tried warming with the hairdryer and wriggling as suggested, but it seems like its well and truly welded in there, meaning I cannot access the CPU to clean, etc. Tried for a good half hour and gave up before brute force and ignorance took over....the tantrum that effed it up entirely

However, I did the best clean up I could with compressed air/vaccuum clean again, and it seems to be running better, tho not at its optimum or to my complete satisfaction. The whirring/groaning sound at startup is much improved but has not entirely disappeared

CPU temp has come down to 40-42c
Cpu fanspeed down to 2800-3000 rpm
Power fan speed still 0...but always has been since build
System fan speed 800-900rpm.

Stats are better, but system is not as fast as before and my concern is still the CPU and not being able to access it properly....problem will keep recurring and eventually it'll burn out?
Perhaps a techie could resolve it, but in my neck of the woods, techies charge AU$70-80 an hour, so with labour plus parts I could be up for $200-$ the question is techie/parts or a new CPU/Mobo for an extra $100 or so?

Given that equation I'm still thinking about...... P4631/ 3.0GHZ/2mb cache/800FSB/LGA775.....and a GA-8IPE 775 Gigabyte Mobo
I'm not geeky enough to know what's out there that may be as good as or better for an equivelant/lower price, so any thoughts there would be appreciated
on Mar 03, 2006
it seems like its well and truly welded in there

Could be......did you (or have a local) build this?

CPU temp has come down to 40-42c
Cpu fanspeed down to 2800-3000 rpm
Power fan speed still 0...but always has been since build
System fan speed 800-900rpm.

Everything looks good unless that 'System' fan reading is the northbridge. Is there a small fan on the motherboard covering the northbridge chip?

problem will keep recurring and eventually it'll burn out?

If it's actually the CPU overheating it will just shut will not burn up.

P4631/ 3.0GHZ/2mb cache/800FSB/LGA775.....and a GA-8IPE 775 Gigabyte

Just my opinion with cost as a determining factor with performance being equal: AMD64 3800 x2, MSI K8N Neo4 (only if you have a pci-express graphics card). If you feel comfortable with Gigabyte, then by all means go with them. They make quality boards and cost about the same. Keep in mind, opinions are like asses......everybody's got one
on Mar 03, 2006
Could be......did you (or have a local) build this?

Me build a PC? Nope...wish I had that much nouse (knowledge Oz) I had it built by a Techie at my old fav store in Queensland about 18 months ago. Trouble is, I'm in another State now, Tasmania, and cannot get it into him to remedy: and my new store can't/won't do it under warranty, as in not their sale. Seems the only answer to keep my PC running without interruption is to replace CPU/mobo and post originals back to the techie who built the system....he's okay with fixing it and sending back, whereupon I have a buyer to recoup some of my expenses.

Everything looks good unless that 'System' fan reading is the northbridge. Is there a small fan on the motherboard covering the northbridge chip?

To be honest, I didn't notice one while the case was opened....was in there for the CPU and can't concentrate on 2 things at once I can't see one on the mobo diagram, just the socket. Why, is 800-900rpm a problem?

AMD64 3800 x2, MSI K8N Neo4 (only if you have a pci-express graphics card).

I rang my techie today to set up it up for next Wednesday....but they no longer carry the Gigabyte board and has suggested an Asrock 775V88 - VIA PT880, FSB 800mhz Dual instead, at less than half the Gigabyte price (AU$86)
Never heard of this brand before so any info/ an opinion on its quality/ability would be welcomed.
I have an ATI Radeon 256mb AGP video card, so I don't think the AMD would suffice.
Also, I need a minimum of 4-5 PCI slots as I have 4 cards installed and would like a spare for upgrades/addons. Also would like to retain dual RAM in order to optimize 1.5 gig....the Asrock provides all this and may suit my needs if its any good performance/quality wise and has stability?
I have been checking out Mobo's on the net, but many are either out of my price range or do not meet my requirements....and being relatively new to geekdom I'm not too sure what I'm looking at/for with much of the the techspeak and specs frequently going over my head.
on Mar 03, 2006
Just had to do a reboot....went into BIOS to check temps/speeds, etc

CPU temp up to 51c - 53c again.
CPU fan speed sits around 5113 - 5115
System fan sits between 1010 - 1015
CPU usage fluctuates from around 2% - 4% up to 20 -30% sometimes, with just normal processes and Firefox open....mouse/cursor movement seems to make it peak: Microsoft Standard Optical with software installed....uninstalling additional software seems to reduce peaks.

System had been running continuously for 9 - 10 hours prior to reboot...if that has any bearing on anything? It is running quieter and the CPU doesn't sound like its racing as much as before, but bootup/load times are much slower...a minute plus.
Seems I might be up for the new gear, like it or not.
on Mar 03, 2006
That system fan has got to be the case fan plugged into the MB header. The RPM's on that fan are too low. Your CPU fan 'appears' to be working's speed increases with the CPU temp. Leave the side of the case off and see if it helps......of course if the room temp is 32c then it's not going to make much difference.......
on Mar 03, 2006
That system fan has got to be the case fan plugged into the MB header.

I'm not too sure what you mean by that....does it mean my system fan is not plugged in correctly, as in the right socket....or that my case fan is plugged into the system fan socket and thus reading as a sys fan?
And if my system fan is not functioning correctly, would that have a bearing on the CPU fluctuations in speed/heat?

I'll have to catch a few ZZZZZZZ's before pulling it out again, but I'll try running without the side cover (temps about mid 20'sc) and look into this fan situation a little more when I've awoken enough for anything to register (insomnia problems).
Anyway, I do have a mobo diagram and the users manual, so maybe I can determine if the system fan is configured correctly or not and get back to you then.
on Mar 04, 2006
yrag.....I opened the case, located the system fan socket on the Mobo and traced the leads up to the system power unit, which has a large fan opening on its underside. I'm assuming this is the system fan? (approximately 2.5 - 3 inches in diameter), as the only fan attached to the Mobo is the CPU fan. Anyway, I reseated the plug and rebooted into BIOS without replacing the side cover, and the system stats are as follows....

CPU temp.....43c - 48c
CPU fan speed.....3750 up to 4000 rpm's
System fan.....850 - 900 rpm's, but then it is a large fan by PC standards and may not need higher rpm's??????
CPU usage averaging 2% - 5%....peaking up to 40% + when opening programs but returning to average soon after. However, with only background processes and task manager doing nothing, CPU use will sometimes peak between 30% to 40% in short bursts for no apparent reason?
Admittedly my PC is running faster and quieter....the CPU/fan racing and groaning sound at startup have also improved with the side panel removed, but it's not an ideal work-around and obviously not the solution for what's causing these issues.

Given that the CPU fan/heatsink is practically welded to the unit and cannot be removed to properly access processor issues should they arise, I'm still looking at replacing/upgrading to the P4631/ 3.0GHZ/2mb cache/800FSB/LGA775.....but some feedback on the Asrock 775V88 - VIA PT880, FSB 800mhz Dual would be most helpful and appreciated prior to committing myself to it.
on Mar 04, 2006
Cooling is a bitch. The air is supposed to circulate in a zen-like way, from CPU
out the back through any number of points uninterrupted by cables, and the fans are
there to make the air follow the right paths. So yes, one fan going could affect how
another works. It's rare to see a system built from components of different
manufacture have perfect cooling, though; only utter cooling geeks manage that well

Even a big fan should measure in the thousands when it comes to speed, but I have
had quite a few fans that simply don't show up in the BIOS. They work, testing shows
it's nice and cool, but the BIOS thinks the fan isn't moving, sometimes that it
isn't even there.

About the upgrade:
That CPU will give very little extra speed compared to your current, I think, that
it's a waste of money. The 3GHz you're looking at is only a 10% speed upgrade, which
isn't worth putting money into. It's the sort of result you get from a bigger fan
and some effective overclocking (much cheaper, if you dare!)

If the current CPU already is a socket 775, the ASrock V88
board will do nicely. I have an ASRock V88+ (socket 478) myself and am happy with
it. This is exactly the same board with a different CPU socket. 6 USB slots right at
the back, integrated VIA 100Mbit network card, and the usual integrated sound.
(Note: ASRock is the cheapest there is right now; keep that receipt handy.)

If your CPU happens to be a different sort of socket (you can tell if you manage to
wrestle the fan and cooler loose; this usually involves some levers on top), I'd
agree that an AMD is a better upgrade. Much better. First, recent Intel CPUs are a
lot hotter. Second, you get more performance for the money. Intel is just number two
in performance for gaming, number one only in video compression (which I presume
you don't do a whole lot of?).

As for motherboards, that's something you might like to put a little money into.
Anything Asus or MSI is usually good in my experience (most recent ones being able
to recover from disastrous BIOS upgrades, too).

The suggested board and CPU above would be a huge upgrade, and also require a new
graphics card. Other suggestions, keeping it cheap:

CPU: The cheapest Athlon 64 you can get (Sempron would be a downgrade in some cases!)
These still cost a bit, but keep you happy in the oomph!-department for a long time.
(3000+ to 3500+ is usually OK price, 4000+ is a big step up in price, at least here)

Motherboards (Make sure it's AGP):
Abit UL8 or MSI K8N Neo2-FX (AGP 'sibling' of yrag's suggestion). There should be
a lot of NForce2/NForce3 chipset motherboards from MSI, Abit or Asus, but they make
new editions absurdly fast these days, and AGP is on the way out, sadly.

Most shops near me will only carry one or two AGP motherboards nowadays, so when
something other than the graphics breaks, it's last chance to fix :/
on Mar 04, 2006
Thanks very much for the input, EvilIdler....particularly with regards to the Asrock Mobo. Before Thursday I had never heard of the brand and wasn't too sure about it, given its exceptionally low price, as compared to Gigabyte, etc.

As for replacing the CPU, it's not so much of an power upgrade, but rather that it moans/groans like a bitch at startup, thus slowing down the whole process....1 minute plus for everything to load, as opposed to about 25 - 30 seconds before. There's obviously a problem with the CPU itself as it fluctuates for no apparent reason when only standard background processes are running and just XP Pro, no WB, etc.

It's ridiculous...I can buy the same 2.8 processor as I already have for AU$180, but not the Mobo with a 478 socket to go with it....but then I need a new Mobo as the CPU/heatsink and fan cannot be removed from this one without causing major damage. It seems the techie who built my machine did not use the recommended tape sealant when attaching the CPU heatsink/fan etc...but instead a paste (not recommended by the manufacturer) which has turned to an Araldite-like glue. The store owner has agreed to fix it for me under warranty, but it could take several weeks as I am now in another State and he has to order in the new parts from the U.S.

Thing is, I'd rather not have to spend 'this' money at all, but I cannot be without my PC for that long (extremely important email correspondence) so must replace the CPU/Mobo ASAP to maintain these contacts.

Even a big fan should measure in the thousands when it comes to speed, but I have had quite a few fans that simply don't show up in the BIOS. They work, testing shows it's nice and cool, but the BIOS thinks the fan isn't moving, sometimes that it isn't even there.

Funny thing you should mention case fan does not appear in the BIOS, yet I can see it there and functioning okay. As for my system fan showing very low rpm's in the BIOS readings....I have the case open and just watched it running, it seems to be going considerably faster than just 800 - 900 rpm's. Before updating the BIOS recently, I seem to recall the system fan running faster anyhow. However, I have mentioned this to the techie I'm now going and he will look into it. He not long ago replaced my old power unit for a more powerful one (where the sys fan appears to be) and will replace it under warranty, should it be necessary.

Furthermore, would 2 'ghost' Operating Systems have a bearing on the BIOS, how it reads/runs things, etc? I had XP Home as a dual boot on another drive, but moved it and reformatted when I bought a larger HD. However, the previous version remains on the OS selection page at startup. The second version was also uninstalled and the HD reformatted, but it still remains on the OS selection page, also.
Being a relative newbie, I don't know if these 'ghosts' affect overall sytstem performance or not, but it would be very much appreciated if someone could advise as to how I delete them. There is an option in BIOS Xpress Recovery to delete the backup image and restore to factory default, but it advises that all information on the disk will be lost. Does this mean just in the BIOS settings and/or the drive formatted with my I'd rather not have to rewrite Windows all over again?

Any assistance here would be greatly may not resolve my CPU problem, but it may just improve performance until I can get it into the shop.


on Mar 05, 2006
Just been doing some research into AMD Athlon and am wondering how the: CPUA 3200V-939 Venice on an Asrock Dual Sata2 Mobo would compare in performance/stability to the afore mentioned 3.0ghz Intel/Asrock option?????
There again, for an extra $70 - $80, if I can Find it, I could go to the 3.2 BX80547PG 32000F, or the 3.2 BX80552641 P4 models on an Asrock 775i 65PE Mobo

This is really big money for anyone with more geekdom knowledge than I, please provide some much needed input/advice., before I commit myself to something I'm not entirely satisfied with performance wise, etc. Trusting my techie is one thing, but the sales guy out front, well........
on Mar 05, 2006
on Mar 05, 2006

C'mon....somebody, please....I really need some input with regards to the Asrock mobo's and the Intel - AMD comparisons.
I've got a couple of days before taking the beast into the shop, and they may need to order from parent store if they do not have my 'selection' in stock

Pretty Please With sugar on top.
on Mar 05, 2006
I like your choice in CPU...the 939 socket is where AMD will be focusing their attention in development for a while, so upgrading the CPU will be easy. However, the Asrock mobo doesn't appeal to me much. I recently bought an Asus K8N board, 754 socket as I have already got a Sempron 3100 that overclocks nicely to 2200+mhz. The Asus board was $94 US. This is a local purchase and I was thrilled to get the price without going online for the purchase.

If you have not frequently cleaned the fuzzballs out of the board and heatsink, your cooling is not going to be so effective and the fan will go broke sooner than later. before going all out on new components, try a new cpu fan. This seems to me to be the problem, without being there for an eyeballing on the subject.

My Cpu is cooled by 2 fans in front panel, 3000-5000rpm, and 3 fans in rear panel, also moving at a 3000-5000 range. The Probe2 monitor tells me I am running my CPU at a cool 89-92 degrees fahrenheit. That's nice and cool. You might not see temps like that with a P4.

I would look into the board options more. Evil is right in the nvidia chipsets. Go with Asus and you will be quite happy. And I will always use AMD over pentium because of the stable overclocking that is possible, with cheap memory. My 2 cents for ya, starkers.
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