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CPU overclocks itself. Can't enter BIOS. Mostly black screens.


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#1
taru

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Hi!

First of all, here are some of the system specs my computer has:
Pentium 4 2.66 (133x20.0) [Thanks to stettybet0 for clarification]
1GB DDR
Nvidia FX5200 128Mb
(I don't know what mobo this is, but the chip says INTEL. Dad was the one who built this unit. He's not around now.)

As of now PC Health says:
Current System Temp 52C/125F
Current CPU Temp 73C/161F (too hot?)


I've been having an issue lately with my computer. I think it was a month ago when the cpu decided to overclock itself. Usually, the computer freezes at the WinXP loading screen and I have to reset. For some reason, the clock speed returns to normal and afterwards everything runs smoothly. But every boot says "CPU settings changed...etc" even if I didn't touch anything. Never even tried to overclock ever.

Today, however, no matter how many times the computer freezes or is reset by me, the clock speed doesn't return to normal. It stays at 200Mhz, which in turn makes the boot-up (POST?) say my cpu is 4.00Ghz (not cool). Most of the time, when I turn it on, nothing happens. Just blackness. And it doesn't return to 1.33.

When it did start booting up, I tried going into CMOS to manually force it to 133, but it says that the minimum is 200. I tried loading defaults, but apparently, 200 is the default now. What gives?

So I just keep going on with the cycle of turning on and off... now it does proceed to the WinXP loading screen. But just as soon as I think it completes the boot, a blue screen flashes too quickly for the details to register in my brain and then everything goes blank. I tried going into safe mode, but the same thing happens right after I log on to admin.

I have three things in mind right now:
1. My psu is shot. Replace psu.
2. My cpu is shot. Re-seat/replace sink+fan and/or buy a new computer. This would officially be the third time I've re-seated the sink+fan
3. My current os is shot. Reinstall.

But I don't think the os is the problem because the issue occurs even before XP starts loading.

I'm really desperate now as I don't have the resources to build a new computer from the ground up (or buy a pre-built one)... and I can't be using mom's laptop forever. I'll be heading to bestbuy tomorrow to buy either a new psu or thermal compound or both, unless there is another way around setting clock speeds.

Hope you guys could help me with this. I don't want to blow away bucks for nothing.

Thanks.

PS. Just tried another time, now it won't even let me enter CMOS. Just a blinking insert cursor.
PS2. Tried yet another time, blank screen... nothing at all. No POST, no memory check, no nothing.
PS3. It alternates between "PS" and "PS2"
PS4. Swapped psu's with the spare one lying around here. 500W. Same thing. So it's not the psu?

Sorry about all the PS's...

Edited by taru, 27 July 2008 - 01:39 AM.

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#2
stettybet0

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Hey there taru, and welcome to GeeksToGo. Unfortunately, it sounds like your motherboard may be faulty. However, this is not definite, and I have a little something you could try.

But first, I think you are a little confused about some terminology here. CMOS is the circuitry which holds the BIOS information. The BIOS is the system which allows you to configure your computer. When you say CMOS, what you mean is BIOS. Not to lecture you, but that was just to avoid confusion as my directions reference both of these terms.

First, unplug the computer from the electrical outlet. You should then remove the CMOS battery, which is a small battery located on the motherboard which allows the CMOS to retain the BIOS information even when the computer is not connected to an electrical outlet. It looks similar to a watch battery. You need to leave it out for at least 15 minutes. Then put it back in, plug in your computer, and boot up and tell us how your settings are doing.
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#3
taru

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thanks for the heads up, stettybet0 =)

anyway... i don't see any way i could remove the cmos battery without probably destroying the thing that holds it in place. it's firmly secured in place. if you mean clearing the cmos, there's a jumper right beside the battery that says exactly that "clear cmos (1 2)... is that it?
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#4
stettybet0

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Ah yes, some older motherboards use jumpers. The clear CMOS jumper should be on pins 1 and 2. Move it to pins 2 and 3, and boot the PC. You should see some verification that the CMOS was cleared. (Usually a checksum error.) Then, turn off the computer and move the jumper back to pins 1 and 2. Power back on and tell us how things are looking.
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#5
taru

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the jumper was at 2-3 before i switched it. as long as it's at 1-2, it won't boot to BIOS (did i get that right?) at 2-3 it gets to the part where it says CMOS checksum error - defaults loaded. The CPU speed now shows 3.32GHz (166x20.0) could it be that by default that's what it really is?

However, I can't proceed any further because my operating system is on a SATA drive and I have to manually enable the On-Chip Serial ATA setting from CMOS Setup. While I'm in CMOS setup, I looked at Frequency Control once more and saw that CPU clock minimum is back to 200MHz. Meaning, once I enable SATA and save settings, it returns to 4.0GHz... which it did.

I reset CMOS once more and plugged in Puppy Linux. It booted from the flash disk. But upon loading (right when the desktop popped in) the system froze. The lights on the keyboard are blinking. I turned the computer off again it's back to 4.0.

It seems that I won't take no for an answer. I also tried WinXP Live. Given the relatively small amount of RAM I have, it took a long time to load. But load it did. And that's what's open on my computer right now. It's not frozen or anything... but I can hardly do anything with this with the knowledge I have.
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#6
taru

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I enabled SATA and allowed it to load. At the first run, the computer restarted itself during WinXP loading. At the second run, I noticed this at that black [page] after POST where a lot of stuff is listed down:

80GB DDR at Bank(s): 0 1 ... that can't be right, can it? Silly me, the 80GB was meant for the hard disk xD

And then again, it started loading WinXP... after which this appeared:

http://img180.images...p1130480fm0.jpg

I'll remove all USB devices first, and then I'll try to reinsert the DDR sticks and see what happens. Hope you're still interested in my case. =)


UPDATE: So it reached the logon screen... but after logging on my account the computer restarted itself again. I allowed it to continue with the restart and it's now loading Safe Mode... and then it restarts again. Now it's completely black. *sigh*

Edited by taru, 27 July 2008 - 12:42 AM.

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#7
stettybet0

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3.32ghz sounds better, but not exactly right. You originally stated your P4 ran at 1.33ghz. There was only one P4 that ever ran below 1.4ghz, and that P4 supported SDRAM (not DDR SDRAM), and it ran at 1.3ghz, not 1.33ghz. Also, there is no way that chip could handle anything over 2ghz, much less 4ghz. However, 3.32ghz can't be right either. No P4 was ever spec'd to run at 3.32ghz. What's more, your P4 has a 20x multiplier. The highest stock clock speed achieved by a P4 with a 20x multiplier was 2.667ghz. Also, a 664mhz FSB (166mhz quad-pumped) is not possible for a P4 at stock settings. This suggests that even at 3.32ghz, your CPU is still "overclocking itself". My guess would be that your P4 is actually supposed to be at 133x20... or 2.667ghz. This would also give a 533mhz (133mhz quad-pumped) FSB, which did exist for such chips.

Unfortunately, this leads me to believe that something is broken. It could be the motherboard, but it may just be the BIOS. The BIOS program is actually stored on a small piece of memory on the motherboard. If it has gone bad (could be from static electricity, power surges, etc.), these problems could occur. You may be able to flash the BIOS to overwrite the current BIOS and therefore hopefully fix the problem. However, I'd need to know more about your motherboard before I could tell you what BIOS you'd need. Is there any other information you can find about it? I could give you a program to run that could tell us this information if you can manage to get into XP (not XP Live... that's illegal and we can't help you while you use it).

EDIT: That BSOD of DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL is a common symptom of an unstable overclock. :) In this case, the driver it references typically isn't relevant.

Edited by stettybet0, 27 July 2008 - 12:53 AM.

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#8
taru

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O_O now that you mention it... I got carried away. It wasn't 1.33GHz... It was (133x20.0). Your assumption is correct. It falls back to (200x20.0) again after restarting from (166x20.0). I'm sorry about that. :)

I see a BIOS chip. PheonixBIOS™ D686... and a lot of other words printed on the motherboard. I can't see a brand mark anywhere.

Prescott CPU Support
HyperThreading Technology
FSB 800
848P-A7 (this is by a PCI slot)
Made in China (lol!)

Maybe you can figure it out just by looking at it?
The part overexposed by the flash has Dual DDR 400 and a logo that looks like ECS. That's the BIOS chip on the upper left.
http://img511.images...p1130484ro9.jpg

I don't think entering XP is possible at this point. Hopefully it will suddenly revert to (133x20.0) and I'll be able to logon and download that thing you're mentioning.

EDIT: I googled a bit and came across the BIOS string (?). Mine's 02/03/2005-848P-ICH5-6A79AE19C-00
EDIT2: It got through loading XP... and even logon. Fails while loading desktop.
EDIT3: Looks like my motherboard... has a name like what's printed on my motherboard... this must be it! http://www.ecs.com.t.../...=44&LanID=0
EDIT4: You mentioned something about a multiplier. I found a manual for my motherboard online. It references to a CPU clock ratio in the BIOS Setup. However, I don't have it in mine (and a whole slew of options are missing as well). I was thinking if I could set the multiplier so that it would be 2.66 (200x13.3) if that's possible. Do you think flashing a BIOS update would help?

Edited by taru, 27 July 2008 - 03:25 AM.

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#9
stettybet0

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Good morning. Sorry for the delay, but even geeks have to sleep every now and then. :)

So, when you select Frequency/Voltage Control from the BIOS, you don't see CPU Clock Ratio as the second option? And the CPU Clock option at the bottom of the same page says that 200mhz is the minimum? What happens when you press F6 (to get to fail-safe values)?
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#10
The Skeptic

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If I may add: You mentioned at the beginning that cpu temp was 73 C. That's very high. The question is whether the high temperature is the result of incorrect heatsink + fan installation, the self made "overclocking" (by the way, I have never seen anything like that), incorrect system voltage (too high) or something else in the motherboard or BIOS chip which, for all practical purposes, is part of the motherboard. Please do the following:

1: Take off the heatsink/fan assembly. Take the cpu carefully out. Clean the bottom of the heatsink and the top of the cpu. They must be perfectly clean of old thermal pad/paste remains. Reseat the cpu in place making sure it sits in the correct positions, all pins in their place. Do not force it in. Apply a very thin layer of thermal paste to both surfaces and lock the heatsink in place. Double check that the heatsink sits all the way down, flush with the cpu. Connect the fan to the motherboard.

2: Reset the CMOS again like you did before (power cable must be disconnected). Move the jumper for a minute or two to enable discharge of all circuits. Move the jumper back and reboot. When you see the checksome error just set time and date in the BIOS. Don't change anything else. Reboot into BIOS.

3: let the computer run in this state for 5 minutes or so. go to Health Monitor (or whatever it's called) and report cpu temperature and voltages.
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#11
taru

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@stettybet0

Good evening... even I have to sleep too. :) Fail-safe values were still the same... it's like this:

CPU Min = 200
CPU Max = 501

CPU = [ ]
(Insert decimal value)

But I think I got it now. I'll just have to wait a little longer to see if The Skeptic's suggestion will keep this computer running.



@The Skeptic

Hey, it worked! :)

The computer has been running now for about 30 minutes. I downloaded SpeedFan off the internet and as of now, the core temperature isn't going over 57ºC. I think playing games will test this solution. But I'm not about to play any processor hogging games for now.

But, just to let you know here's what it says (as of 7/27/2008 8:36PM):
(check mark) Temp1: 39C
(flame) Temp 2: 54C
(arrow up) Temp 3: 41C
(arrow up) HD0: 48C
(arrow up) HD1: 48C
(flame) Temp1: 57C


;) Thank you so much stettybet0 and The Skeptic, both of you have been very helpful. :) Saved me from paying a certain squad of geeks to fix it... :)

I'll be monitoring the temperature for the next few days.

Edited by taru, 27 July 2008 - 08:39 PM.

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#12
stettybet0

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That's great taru! Has the CPU stopped overclocking itself as well? Like The Skeptic, I've seen tons of overheating, but I've never seen this as a symptom of overheating.
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#13
taru

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@stettybet0



Yes, the symptom disappeared after reapplying thermal compound and properly sitting the heatsink. Thanks to you guys (and this site) I was able to repair my computer. I've posted my problem in several other forums and all of them never heard of a processor overclocking itself. ^^,


PS. Now that it's fixed, could I go ahead and try formally overclocking it? And with that, will I need a bigger cpu fan/sink?

Edited by taru, 27 July 2008 - 09:16 PM.

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#14
The Skeptic

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Thanks for letting us know. AS for oveclocking, I never do that so I can't give any valuable advice. However, looking at Speedfan temp results I think that your computer would enjoy better air circulation even in it's present state. Some temperatures are over 50C which is somewhat too high for an idling computer. I assume that the heatsink is clean of dust but check PSU inlets (inside the computer, not the fan side) and the front-bottom inlet. If you can mount a 12 centimeter fan on the side cover, pulling cool air from the outside and blowing it directly on the cpu, that could be great.

It is also important where your computer is located. Summer's high temperature or placing the computer in a tight place where air circulation is limited can also affect temps.
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#15
stettybet0

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I agree with The Skeptic in that you will probably want to ensure cooler temperatures before trying to overclock. While The Skeptic's advice about the fan isn't bad, the main concern with CPU cooling is getting the hot air away from the CPU, not cool air to it. (Also, not all cases will have side ventilation.) For this reason, most serious overclockers will buy an aftermarket CPU heatsink and fan, which are specifically designed to do just that. I personally use the HDT-S1283. It is consistently rated as one of the best air cooling solutions available for a CPU. With a $10 mail-in rebate at the link I provided, it's really a steal. Also important is thermal compound. Not all thermal compound is created equal. From research and personal use, I've found OCZ Freeze to be the best thermal compound. Arctic Cooling MX-2 is also a very good choice. I'd try to find these in a local store rather than ordering from Newegg, as the shipping costs from Newegg double the price!
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