PC Hardware forum

General discussion

Computer overheating constantly

by Varren / July 30, 2006 6:53 AM PDT

Lately, my computer has been freezing every time I start playing a game forcing me to shut it down and restart it. One time I felt the top of the case and it was very hot. I am almost certain that overheating is the cause of my problems. I also know that my case has horrible airflow and my video card probably has lots of dust in it too. The temperature in the room is 80-85 degrees.

So what I am asking is, what should I do to solve this problem? Buy a new cooler for my video card? Some more fans...or maybe a new case alltogether? If you need to know any more details about my comp feel free to ask, I really want to know what's the very best for my situation.


AMD Athlon XP 2400+
EVGA 6800GT in AGP
Antec Mini-tower case

Here are some pics of the outside of my case, showing all the fans.

The Front (There's a fan in the front middle bottom)

The Back (Exhaust fan and Power Supply)

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Computer overheating constantly
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Computer overheating constantly
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Try leaving the cover off till you can hack holes in case...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 30, 2006 7:35 AM PDT
Collapse -
by krmilkman / August 11, 2006 11:42 AM PDT

Leaving the cover OFF does NOT help with the internal airflow of the computer. The systems fans are located in certain spots on the computer to help increase the airflow inside the pc. That airflow is directed over the system board, especially the Processor!

Taking the cover off will cut off the airflow path and cause your computer to overheat MORE.

You can check your fans by simply taking the side off momentarily and see if the are spinning and feel for air, then putting the side back on.

Again, DON'T leave the side panel off this messes up the airflow within the unit!

Collapse -

Sunday I went to the beach and left my computer on all day.
When I came back and turned it off.The next day the computer, a laptop Dell D600,started shutting off but in stand by.In other words the screen would go off and the computer would do a strange shutting off.
What I did is, I would press the stand by button and press it again then the computer would start normally again.After a few minutes or longer the screen shuts off again.
How I fixed the problem so far:
I opened up the computer and cleaned up the fan and the cooling radiator with a vacuum cleaner.
I also removed the cooling pipe off and as I thought there was not enough heat sink compound.I put more on the processor an Intel mobile 1.8GB.I put everything back together.
Also as a precaution,I reinstalled the graphic card drivers.
It may take the processor some time to change protocol so it may shut down a few more times before it stops that routine. Today Tuesday its two days later, so far so good no more shutting down....

Collapse -
Unplug PCf, blow out the dust on the CPU, power supply
by VAPCMD / July 30, 2006 8:55 AM PDT

and the video card. There's dust visible in the PC power supply from the 2nd PIC. Plug it back in and see how it runs.


Collapse -
PSU too
by linkit / July 30, 2006 9:02 AM PDT

In addition to the good recommendations you already have received, make sure that you have a beefy PSU from a good manufacturer. You don't want to overtax your PSU with that hungry video card.

Collapse -
by Varren / July 30, 2006 12:40 PM PDT
In reply to: PSU too

I'm very sure my psu has sufficient wattage to support my card. It's a 430W Antec PSU.

Oh and opening up the side might not be such a bad idea, it'd greatly allow for more air to get into the case, but I don't plan on drilling any holes in my case at any time.

Collapse -
Thermal Grease on Proc
by jdliquidfire / August 7, 2006 7:02 AM PDT
In reply to: ok

I have seen the thermal grease on processors dry up, and cause thermal events, it might be worth checking that if you're comfortable digging around inside.


Collapse -
On a path to disaster
by mike818181 / July 30, 2006 2:31 PM PDT

Processors usually run at 40+ degrees than the room temperature. So if your room is 80 degrees, you need to try and keep it in the 70's.

That being said, do the following:

1. Install some form of windows AC unit.
2. Clean all the dust, use a static free brush and a portable vaccum cleaner / blower.
3. Check connections for processor fan, HDD fan, GPU fan, etc...

If problem persists,

4. You can get a portbale fan and blow it onto the computer (keep the case open).
5. Get a new case with lots of fan's or a liquid cool system.

Collapse -
by Varren / July 30, 2006 3:20 PM PDT
In reply to: On a path to disaster

I do not know what a windows AC unit is and I'm kind of nervous about messing around in my case because I've never done it before and my parents will get angry at me.

I do have a fairly large fan that I can set so it blows into the case, but I really don't have the money right now for a nice, new case. Maybe sometime later though.

Collapse -
Act now
by Willy / July 30, 2006 9:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Well....

Since, you mentioned parents, well do what you can. If you don't at least open case soon and clean out the innards and place a household fan to blow on system you wouldn't have a working system in the future.

Understand also that as system heat goes up, the psu becomes less stable. Less stable means it loses wattage output and/or more prone to outright failure, so act quickly. I suggest also, you elivate the system off the floor to reduce sucking up dust too readily.

enuf said -----Willy Happy

Collapse -
I'll get right on it
by Varren / July 31, 2006 3:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Act now

I plan on getting my portable fan up to the computer room today so I don't plan on dawdling. As for elevating the case, there isn't really any space on my desk or anything but I guess I could find some things to prop up under it.

As for applying thermal compound, if I knew how to do it then I would. Again, I have never gone into my case and tinkered around with the hardware before. If I got desperate enough maybe, but I'm hoping this open case, fan cooling method will work for now.

Collapse -
Not rocket science
by Willy / July 31, 2006 7:53 AM PDT
In reply to: I'll get right on it

There's a first time for everything. Just use common sense and don't rush any attempts. Placing something under the case isn't a brain twister(books, 2x4's, some bricks). Further, opening the case and doing direct dust control isn't that hard either, I suggest a small paint brush, ground yourself on the metal portion of the system case before any cleaning. Getting that fan pointed at the system case, well you get the picture. Happy

tada -----Willy Wink

Collapse -
(NT) (NT) And sometimes it feels more like voodoo !
by VAPCMD / July 31, 2006 1:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Not rocket science
Collapse -
Good advice, but
by cldaniel / August 4, 2006 12:17 AM PDT
In reply to: On a path to disaster

Check your air flow. If you installed the fans in the case yourself, you may have installed a fan that is drawing air in the opposite direction of the other fans. example: rear fans may be pulling the air to the rear of the case and the front fan is pulling air towards the front of the case.
Make sure the air is flowing in one direction.

Collapse -
Apply Some Thermal Compound on the Processor..!!
by leojoe / July 30, 2006 9:45 PM PDT

I had a similar problem with my machine too. I applied some thermal compound, which usually comes along with the processor, in between the Heat Sink and the Processor. My Processor temperature has not gone up since then.

Collapse -
Why does a line keep moving up and down my monitor?
by Samuels.A / May 25, 2008 1:51 AM PDT

It happened when I turned my computer on. It sometimes "shakes", vibrates, the programs I have running.

Collapse -
Could be the Thermal Compound !!!
by tjdenmark / July 31, 2006 7:38 AM PDT

I had the same problem with the pc overheating for 1-2 months ago. My pc has been running for years without any problem with overheating and then one day it overheated. I splitted my pc into pieces to find out the problem. I found out that the thermal compound on the video card was getting old and hard. It couldnt lead the heat from the chips anymore. I fixed it with replacing the old thermal compound.

Collapse -
overheating computer
by rick5446 / August 4, 2006 9:36 PM PDT

Had the same problem..But U half answered your own question working fine for years..Change the power supply,this should be adequate.Provided U have not incured any other damage due to power loss.This will definetly create heat problems..But I would definetely think that the power supply is the culprit

Collapse -
Thermal Overheating
by jithin009 / October 11, 2007 8:53 PM PDT
In reply to: overheating computer

Hi!!! I can understand that the heatsink over the video chips may have got old & thus not working properly. Replacing the same may correct the thing. But I want to ask u that how does changing the power supply solve the problem & what do u actualy say by changing the power supply does it men for AC to DC ?

Collapse -
So far....
by Varren / July 31, 2006 5:54 PM PDT

I have a large house fan blowing into the computer now and it's also propped up on a plank of wood. I have had no problems so far! I just hope it'll stay like that.

Collapse -
Check the Requirements for the Games you're playing.........
by Trance_Zac / July 31, 2006 11:25 PM PDT

Besides probably needing a PSU, your video card may not be up to snuff

Collapse -
I'm pretty sure I meet the requirements for them
by Varren / August 1, 2006 3:33 AM PDT

The only two games I really play these days are Counter-Strike: Source and Starcraft: Brood War. Starcraft's requirements are easily met and Counter-Strike: Source's I meet as well (I can play it at max settings with little problems). Again my video card is a 6800gt and my cpu a XP 2400+.

My 430W psu is sufficient for this, right?

Collapse -
This is way beyond the point or logic

basically if your pc does not meet the requirements of a certain software or usually game, it's not like a living thing that you can push into breaking point (exerting more than 100% is impossible in a cpu, aside from overclocking).

Simply if your system is overheating the typical first suspect is the cpu fan and heatsink. Video cards come later as if a video card gives out, you'll either be able to boot without video or it'll give that beeping sound for "video card not detected" (consult your motheboard's user's manual). Or if the video card is overheating, usually you'll only get a heavy maybe 1 minute lag, not a full shutdown.

Usually the easiest way is to apply new thermal grease and clean the fan. Then test with torture test programs such as Prime95. If the thing still gives out then try buying a better cpu and heatsink (which is the usual case with AthlonXP's).

Collapse -
by waytron / August 3, 2006 8:28 PM PDT

Based on the fact that you now say that blowing a house fan into the open case solved your problems could mean several things:

I assume that you cleaned and blew out all fans, heat sinks and vents.

1. Double check every fan inside your computer to make sure all of them are actually running. You could have a bad fan on the processor or video card.

2. You may want to evaluate the overall ventilation layout and change the direction of one of the fans. If all of the fans are blowing in the same direction, such as out of the case, you may not have enough openings in the case to balance the air flow. Try turning the lower fan around to blow into the case. So you now have some fans blowing out and 1 blowing in.

3. Depending on your layout inside of your case, if you have any PCI cards, such as a modem or NIC card, you could try moving it to another slot away from your video card.

4. Cables, especially any wide ribbon cables can block airflow, try changing the placement of some of these cables.

5. You may have a poor thermal connection between one of your heatsinks and your processor or video chipset. You could remove and reapply heatsink compound to these areas and make sure they are seated properly.

6. You may need to purchase a better heatsink and fan for your processor or video card.

7. You could cut holes in the case and install more fans or purchase a new case, but I would only do this after you have exhausted all other issues.

Good Luck!

Dana H.

Collapse -
by gizmops / August 3, 2006 9:29 PM PDT

I have recently also had an overheating problem experienced when I was burning DVD?s.
After much head scratching and thoughts on new hardware, I found the solution.
The inside of my case showed some dust, dead insects etc. The cpu fan looked slightly grubby until removed when it was apparent how grubby it was, equally, the heatsink on top of the cpu was virtually completely clogged. Unbelievable. I cleaned everything with a small paintbrush and vacuum cleaner. No more problems.
Hope this works for you.
Ralph, Valencia, Spain

Collapse -
overheating computer
by jktz122 / August 3, 2006 10:19 PM PDT

when you boot up go into the bios .. every motherboard is different but get to the part that shows you the fan speed .. if the fan speed is too low on boot up then your cpu will over heat .. same thing happened to me at boot up time the fan speed (r.p.m.)is supposed to be high say around 2000+ rpm and then as it idles it slows down .. but if its slow at boot up time it may mean something wrong with your fan and you should buy a new one

Collapse -
Power supply to small
by larryt2 / August 3, 2006 10:22 PM PDT

I would also check the wattage rating on your powersupply.I run a EVGA 6600GT with a An athalon 2800+ processor . The stock powersupply was rated a 300 watts . and the recomended powersupply is a minimum 350 watt powersupply for the 6600gt . I beleve that nvidia recomends a minimum of a 400 watt power supply for the 6800. Judging from your case and the fact that you are running a 2400+ processor you may only have a 200-250 watt power supply . Also check to see if you have the power plug connected to the video card and that it is not shared with your harddrive. New power supplies are cheap these days and you should be able to pu a 500 watt one for the 100 dollar range or less.

Collapse -
Buy an air conditioner!
by kristaylor / August 3, 2006 11:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Power supply to small

No matter how good a computer's case airflow and cooling are, if the room is too hot, the computer will be too. As the ambient (room) temperature rises, it becomes more and more difficult to cool the computer. The reason? Cooling happens by moving heat, in this case away from the chips, drives and other items which produce it in the computer and into the room. The heat is replaced by the air in the room. As that replacement air gets hotter and hotter, less and less cooling occurs. Once the temperature in your room approaches that inside your computer, no cooling is actually taking place. The only solution is to lower the temperature in the room. Other partial solutions such as getting a better power supply might help as well. 3D games draw more power from the power supply, and cause the power supply and video card to produce more heat. Some power supplys cut off if the temperature gets too high. A good power supply will produce power more efficiently, producing less heat, and also generally be able to withstand higher thermal conditions (they're also more likely to have better cooling built into them).

Collapse -
Man, it's HOT in here... (:
by drwho / August 4, 2006 5:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Power supply to small

As many others have suggested, make sure your AIRFLOW is sufficent. I did not notice a SIDE mount fan in the pics. ONE rear case fan is not going to cut it on a gaming `puter. ya need a side intake fan to bring air INTO the case as well as the rear fan sending the hot air OUT of the case.

Additional CPU / GPU cooling would be a good idea too. Rather than getting fancy with Liquid Nitrogen or DiHydrogen Oxide cooling systems, try using a simple supercooler plate between the CPU and heatsink. Utilizing the Peltier Effect, one side will get ''freezing cold'' as the other gets blazing hot.

As long as you wire it correctly so that the HOT side is against the Heatsink, not the CPU, your system should remain quite stable even while sitting in a 90

Collapse -
PC Overheating
by Compdoc46 / August 4, 2006 12:14 AM PDT

I went through this myself previously before with an older P3 system. Although the case didn't get as hot as yours did, my system would constantly freeze up. Sometimes during regular activity such as reading e-mail etc... It got to the point where it would freeze up running idle with a screen saver running. I started making phone calls and inquiries and first thing I was told was that it was the power supply so I replaced the power supply.....no luck with that. I then started replacing obvious items such as the Graphics card sound card. It still persisted. I then called the MB Manufacturer who suggested that I try using a different thermal transfer grease between the CPU and the cooling element. I did that, as well as install a colder, faster cooling fan. Seemed like for about 3 days it worked but then was right back a it. I contacted the MB Manufacturer and they were great. They sent me a brand new MB replacement because they thought it was possible that there was possibly a defect with the CPU Chip port on the board. Then after installing the new board etc... It continued, there was only one possibility left. The CPU itself, I had previously called Intel about this issue and they had a case number on me for the chip so they replaced it. That was the problem the entire time, mind you I called them prior to that. They always insisted that there was no way it could be the chip, which it was an unsusual incident as it did not completely stop working. But after that no more Freeze ups!

The most recent system I built this year also had an overheating issue. It was solved by a buying a much better cooler case. An Antec P180, See my profile about my system. This case is much better, it has 3 cooling fans and it separates the HD compartment from the MB and it is extremely quiet. It's amazing, the design is all about cooler air flow inside the case. My CPU would keep overheating when I first built this system and now it never heats up. Well I hope this information helps you out. On the system freeze up.... I would be inclined to think (based on my experiences) that it is the CPU. If it's fairly new then AMD should honor the warranty on it and replace it. Of course, if you have available parts and peripherals to swap in and out of the system to test it, that's a good way to do a process of elimination as to what the specific problem is. Unfortunately it is not a simple one. Good luck with it.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Your favorite shows are back!

Don’t miss your dramas, sitcoms and reality shows. Find out when and where they’re airing!