When on the road, I use my P3-600 MHz laptop to capture, edit and burn a SVCD of some presentations. It seems just fine, but slower than my desktop.

If such burns up a machine, then the machine had some serious defect.

"What do you think of the idea of installing a cooling fan directly on top of the CPU?"

My P3's (only 2 left) have a CPU heatsink and fan. Yours doesn't?