[Wolves] a strange hardware problem

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Fri Jun 1 15:31:36 BST 2007

Philip Harper wrote:
> hi
> I have a really bizzare hardware problem.
> I have an old TIME machine (TIME as in computer brand, not as in i'm a
> time lord with an outdated TARDIS!), with an AMD processor.
> Anyway, I have tried installing various operating systems on it
> (windoze, variuous flavours of linux) and it's find up until a certain
> point, and then for no apparent reason the machine seems to go into
> sleep mode (monitor sleeps, and machine has to be physically powered off).
> I've done the obvious and checked the power management settings in the
> BIOS, and even tried turning them off completely.
> I also thought maybe it was because of the extra hard drive I added,
> taking more power than was available, so I removed it, and also tidied
> up the cables in the case just in case the cluttered case was causing
> the system to overheat, still no luck.
> I've noticed that although the hard drive seems to be working, as I hear
> it seeming to function normally, the drive activity light on the front
> of the case is not flickering as it used to when I only had the one hard
> drive working.
> I'm lost on this one?

This sounds suspiciously like a problem I had recently. It may well be
heat releated. Clean the inside of your case of dust, clean the fans on
your processor and heatsink, northbridge and graphics card - dust build
up on fans causes heat not to dissipate properly and your BIOS will shut
the machine down at a certain limit to prevent burn out.

This was my problem  my CPU fan was clogged with dust both on itself and
between itself and the heatsink. My machine switched off under load
(playing games or encoding audio/video) due to the extra heat generated
by the CPU load, although the PC case itself was still on. As in your
case, I needed to physically power it off and start it again.

If that fails to solve your problem, boot from either an Ubuntu CD and
select the memtest option, or a memtest86 cd or floppy (from the memtest
website) and do a memory test. Alternatively, if you run Ubuntu, choose
memtest86 from the boot menu. Leave it for a good 24 hours or so to get
heat or uptime influenced problems.

I'd put somebody elses money on a heat issue caused by either dust on
your fans or insufficient airflow and extra heat caused by adding an
extra disk.




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