Weird system problem with shooters

Thanks for the info. I think I’m going to do the following:

Get the shop to order me a new CPU, (A), RMA’ing the old one for exchange. This means down time but, meh, I’ll use the laptop (a 2.4GHz P4 Toshiba), which ain’t too shabby.

Order me a high-end heatsink/fan setup, (B)

Have the shop install (B) on (A) when (A) arrives.

I’m thinking that for my wife’s computer, it may already be too late to save the existing CPU, but as long as it fails in the warranty period (until next Jan) I guess it’ll be worth waiting.

It may not be heat, it might be voltage. I had a similar problem when OC’ing my old mobo, it would run until I opened a game, then down it went.



There is a plethora of CPU cooling gear, ranging from a few bucks to hundreds of dollars for externally-powered cooling monsters. I’m thinking something in the $25-30 range, a fan/heat sink combo that would A) be easy to install, relatively, and B) deliver significantly better cooling. Any ideas?


I used a Swiftech heatsink because it was my first cpu/fan instillation, and i can say from experience then they are extreme easy to install. They use tension springs instead of a clip, making the whole procedure pretty much zero force. That is, unless you get the high end jobs which require you to take out the mobo from the case…anyway, i get around 32-37c with my case off. And they’re an American company too ^^.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I checked the voltage with two separate programs and it seems to be pretty solid and on track, but that’s a good thing to check I agree.

It sounds like the CPU might not have gotten enough thermal grease, or evenly-applied thermal grease–maybe no grease at all. Also, the box might have gotten jostled a bit too roughly and created a gap between the heatsink and the chip. I second the vote for the SLK-800. A 92mm can fit on top, IIRC, and will run quieter than an 80mm for the same performance. Zalman makes some inexpensive but relatively quiet fans. Make sure to get ball bearing, preferably dual, and not sleeve bearing. Let us know how it works out.

AMD CPUs with approved heat sinks are not supposed to need thermal grease. They use the thermal pad on the approved heatsink. Using grease can void the warranty.

I know this is contrary to hardcore advice, but my machine ran just fine with CPU using a thermal pad only. I think my CPU temp is being reported as high because its from the motherboard sensor, not the CPU, but I’ve never had a crash related to heat.

Took my box in and had them take the CPU/fan off to send back for exchange. Unfortunately that’s through their distributor not AMD directly so God knows how long I’ll be working on my laptop. They had used thermal grease, Arctic Silver I believe, and it seemed to be put on ok, but the default heatsink/fan was incredibly flimsy and light.

I have orderd the SLK-800 and a nice 70mm fan (in between the 60 and 80), and I’m going to use this setup on the replacement CPU. I understand that doing so will void the warranty, but hell, the only way to not void the waranty seems to be to use the sink/fan that comes with the chip, and I already went that route.

I’m sure individual experiences will vary, but in my case six months of running the machine 14-16 hours a day, about half of that in CPU-intensive 3D game situations, seemed to overstress the cooling solution. I haven’t heard of too many gamers using stock AMD cooling and maybe this is why.

The SLK-800 is far better than any stock AMD heat sink. Just don’t drop this monster on your foot (it’s heavy).