First the system specs:
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 Northwood @ 2.8GHz (Stock Clock) with Stock Heatsink & Fan
Mobo: BIOSTAR P4M900M4
RAM: PNY Optima 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 667
Video Card: ATi Radeon HD 3650 512MB
Sound Card: Intergrated - Realtek Audio ALC861VD
TV Tuner: Leadtek Tuner Card TV2000XP
Hard Drives: Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200rpm SATA
PSU: MSI TurboStream 500W
OS: Windows XP Home SP2 32-bit
Now the problem: upon booting the system and logging in, it will crash usually within a few seconds of logging in. Though, sometimes it crashes after being logged in for a few minutes and sometimes it doesnít even get to the login screen but crashes right after POST. Most of the time it crashes and there is what seems to be a 5 second long BIOS beep code. There isnít a BIOS beep code all the time, sometimes it would just freeze and lock up. Sometimes it would even crash in safe mode. System restore works temporarily, as in, I do a system restore and it will work for 1 or 2 days then the problem would start again.
At first I ignored the beep code and assumed it was Windows, so I created a new partition on my hard drive and installed another instance of Win XP. I didnít want to reformat because I still need time to backup my data. At first it seemed like it worked but soon, the problem started again, so I realized it wasnít Windows or software related but probably hardware.
I then decided to open the case and clean the inside since I figured it might be an overheating issue. It wasnít very dirty inside as I had just cleaned it a few months ago. I cleaned it yesterday with a can of compressed air and I also checked the connections and RAM and it seemed okay. So far it hasnít been crashing, but I ainít holding my breath.
Also using a program called Hardware Monitor Iíve been monitoring the temperatures and volts. The temperatures seem to be okay. As for the volts, I donít know what to look for so Iíll post what it says:
ITE IT87 hardware monitor
Voltage sensor 0 1.52 Volts [0x5F] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage sensor 1 1.63 Volts [0x66] (VIN1)
Voltage sensor 2 3.26 Volts [0xCC] (+3.3V)
Voltage sensor 3 5.05 Volts [0xBC] (+5V)
Voltage sensor 4 12.10 Volts [0xBD] (+12V)
Voltage sensor 5 -7.68 Volts [0x78] (-12V)
Voltage sensor 6 -0.45 Volts [0x7] (-5V)
Voltage sensor 7 4.68 Volts [0xAE] (+5V VCCH)
Voltage sensor 8 3.30 Volts [0xCE] (VBAT)
Temperature sensor 2 26įC (78įF) [0x1A] (TMPIN2)
Fan sensor 0 5357 RPM [0x7E] (FANIN0)
Also just now I decided to look up the BIOS beeps and it seems it has something to do with the CPU or a process error. In the mobo manual it says itís a CPU overheating issue. It says to remove the power cord from the PSU and wait a few seconds then plug it back and in a reboot or clear CMOS and then boot up. There are instructions in the manual how to clear CMOS but Iíve never done that before and Iím a bit nervous that it might cause other problems.
Also it should be noted that this CPU is pretty old, itís from a Gateway system back in 2003. That computerís mobo failed so I decided to reuse the CPU and bought this cheap Biostar mobo and put this rig together last summer. Itís been working fine until now. The CPU has never been OCíed and Iíve always used the stock HSF. If more info is needed on the CPU I could post info from CPU-Z or something. As for airflow in the case, itís not very good. I do have a 80mm front intake fan but there are no ďgrillsĒ or openings in the front of the case to actually intake air. There is no rear exhaust fan. However the PSU has 2 80mm fans on it, the standard one facing the rear and one facing the CPU.
After typing all this I guess the problem maybe the CPU overheating but Iím sort of looking for a second opinion if Iím wrong. If it is indeed the CPU overheating Iím looking for advice on what to do, besides cleaning out the fan/heat sink and reapplying thermal paste. Iím not really sure if I should buy a new HSF for the CPU as this is a secondary rig and Iíd rather save my money spending more on an old Pen 4 CPU. Also does anyone have any advice on improving airflow in the rig?