PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/overheating chip?

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Question
Hi,
  I have a Compaq desktop with Vista.  It has always had a problem with crashing saying it has recovered from a video problem.  I decided to go inside and clean it.  I took the cpu fan and cooler off the chip and blew it out and put it back on.  Now I notice the two fans always seem to be running and they are very noisy.  The air coming out is not hot so I don't know why they are running.  Did I do wrong taking off that aluminum thing with the fan on top the chip?  What can I do now?

Answer
Hello Don. The problem sounds like the heatsink is failing to draw the heat from the chips, resulting in fatal high temperatures. Whenever you pull the heatsink off of any component, you must clean and put new thermal compound on the chip before putting the heatsink back on.

I suggest not running the computer normally until you do the below.

Take the computer back apart to access the chips. Thoroughly clean the old compound off both the chip and off the heatsink. Acquire this thermal compound: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Arctic-Silver-5-High-Density-Polysynthetic-Silver-Ther . Do not get the cheaper compounds as getting cheaper will result in "not so good results" results. It should be available pretty much anywhere in the country at Walmart.com (linked to you already) or Radio Shack.

Apply the thermal compound in very small amounts and spread it around very thin (about 1 or 2 sheets of paper thin) all over the chip. If you want, you could look up video tutorials on doing this procedure properly just to be sure my description is not very clear. After completing the spreading of the compound, attach the heatsink back in place and put the computer back together.

If your computer still runs the same, check the temperatures of your computer while in your operating system using a temperature program such as Speedfan available here: http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php .

If the temperatures are over 60 degrees Celsius while just idling, you are running too hot. If the temperatures are not above 60 degrees Celsius, but the fans still sound like jets, restart your computer and go into the BIOS. Look around for options somewhere in the BIOS of your machine for "Smart Fan Control" or something that reads very close. If the option is off, switch it on, save changes to the BIOS and restart. If the temperatures are actually Okay and you have the setting switched on, you should hear the fans not be so loud anymore.

If you want, you can run the computer with the side cover off and while it is running stick your hand and rest it on a part of the heatsink you can easily touch without hitting the fan and coming into contact of the components. Use the sense of touch to feel how warm the heatsink gets and if it gets really uncomfortable to touch for a few seconds, it is too hot. The heatsink should warm up to such a temperature should something be wrong in a minute or two. If it is running OK, you probably won't have much of a problem touching the heatsink at all.



As for Vista giving you the video problem errors, you might have a driver problem. Vista was very bad about killing the drivers that made the system work properly. I know a few people that have a very similar video problem and the computer itself is fine, but the operating system Windows Vista is what causes the issues. Check your device manager for the status of your video hardware/driver.

Hope this helps out.

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Expertise

I can answer most No POST problems, compatibility between parts, upgrade options, troubleshooting, etc. Before you ask me a question, please do some research. I do not give PC speed reviews for video games.

Experience

Many, many years of experience working with the hardware components of many types of computers including desktops, laptops, kiosk computers, and even running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on the PSP (Sony PlayStation Portable). I've replaced capacitors on desktop motherboards making them working like new again with a high success rate. This is my hobby/job every day.

Education/Credentials
Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology

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