Hot Southern Night

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Hot Southern Night

Ask the Doctor LogoI recently had a number of issues with my PC. It seemed that my keyboard was sluggish, if not unresponsive. I also experienced some unusually slow hard drive response times now and then, and there have been times when my computer wouldn’t even boot (the BIOS doesn’t even recognize that my RAID 0 stripe is set up when I reboot). However, if I shut down the PC for a few minutes and then reboot, everything works fine.

I decided to give the insides a thorough dusting, and I discovered there was quite a large dust bunny lodged in my south-bridge chip fan, most likely preventing it from spinning. Since I’ve removed that dust bunny, I haven’t noticed any of the previously described issues with my computer. Could my problems really have been caused by the south-bridge fan not spinning? Could an overheated south-bridge chip cause issues like that, and eventually cripple a computer? I want to believe the answer is yes, but am I getting my hopes up? The system is an EVGA 680i LT board with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, and 64-bit Windows 7.

—McKenna Spaeth

There was a time when the Doctor would have said no, because it was pretty hard to overheat a south-bridge chipset. But modern chipsets are a lot hotter. And Nvidia chipsets in particular are known for pushing the thermal envelope, so it’s entirely possible your dust-clogged south bridge caused the problems, especially given that your problems concerned RAID and the keyboard—both of which run through the south bridge. Other common sources of chipset overheating are dried-up thermal paste, a heatsink that’s not making full contact with the chip, and exhaust from a hot GPU.

 

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

 

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