Message:
Subject: Power Supply (fan) Problem
By: Bill (IP: 24.211.14.*)
Written on: 15-06-2005 20:02

Hello all!

I'm sure glad I came upon your site! From what I've read so far here, you are all talking about what I think is my problem.

I have a Pentium III 866 with 256RAM. The computer is about 4 or 5 years old. It has (of course) a power supply, but also a heat sink on the processor.

I am a web designer and use my computer constantly with a broadband connection. The problem has been occuring for the last few weeks.

Here's what it's been doing:

First; the power supply fan started to make a constant noise. Each time this happened, I used canned air to blow out the dust, and the problem would correct itself for a few more days.

Second; I got a couple of blue screens about two weeks ago. I didn't know why??? Plus, my machine has been slowing down considerably over the last month or so.

Third; twice in the last week, my machine just rebooted by itself with no warning!

Finally today, I started to smell a faint odor that didn't seem right. I put my hand by the fan in back, and it was not running! I immediately shut down!

After reading everything here, I am assuming that I need to make some radical changes to my box. Starting with a new power supply (not sure what to buy there), next... a new heat sink (again, in the dark), and lastly, either a better case (with more ventilation) or more internal case fans. I am also going to remove the unit from underneath my desk, to the top of my desk.

Based on my situation, is there a chance that something burned up inside (i.e. processor, MB, etc.)? If not, can I save my machine before it gets worse? Lastly, can someone tell me how to check the BIOS to find out the make of my MB, processor, etc.?

Thank you in advance for your help! It is appreciated!

Bill

Replies:
By: brush-head (IP: 195.92.250.*)
Written on: 16-06-2005 11:19

From what you've said, it sounds as if the PSU has begun to fail. PSU's will still work without the fan but as you've discovered things have got hot around that area. Yes you need to replace it and it's straightforward to the extent that you need to take note of where the connectors are etc. Go for something more powerful than the one you've got especially if you have multiple disk drives and CD burners etc. Look at the existing rating on the back of the PSU. Without knowing your setup a 400W PSU should do the trick & you may be able to get away with 350W. Only thing constraining this is where you buy from and the cost. Run of the mill PSU should cost between 10-20.
As regards your processor, it sounds as if you need a new fan to mount on the heatsink. Fortunately they're fairly cheap but generally only come with a complete heatsink. As you don't seem to be overclocking then a basic Cooler Master or similar for your processor type should do the trick for less than 15. It'll cost you more if you don't use the thermal pad that comes with the heatsink and use Arctic Silver thermal grease - much better for getting temperatures down but slightly more costly and fiddly to instal but not difficult.
One last thing, before you do anything give it all a thorough clean (using a non-metallic nozzle and a lightweight vacuum cleaner, including taking cards out before putting them back.

Non of the above is difficult just tedious - set aside an afternoon or morning and if you get the job done faster think how much more pleased you'll be!
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