My desktop PC runs an AMD AthlonXP 3200+ CPU, but ever since I put the machine together, it has had problems with overheating.
I have an almost identical machine with more hard drives in it (which get really hot!) but with a AMD AthlonXP 3000+ CPU, which shouldn’t make that much difference, but has never had a problem with heat.
With my problem machine – even just doing a virus scan which increases the CPU utilisation (not even to 100%), will be enough for the over temperature alarms to go off after a short while. After bootup with nothing else running, the CPU temperature quickly increases to about 68 degrees celcius – that’s at idle ! It typically hits 80 degrees celcius or more when the CPU is run at or near 100% utilisation for any length of time … something I’ve had to manage carefully.
I always suspected the heatsink / fan supplied with the CPU wasn’t quite up to the task, and I finally got around to doing something about it.
I bought a Zalman CNPS 7000B AlCu Copper / Aluminium CPU Cooler to replace the heatsink/fan combo. A little bit of work to fit the new cooler (had to remove the motherboard to screw in the supports), but it went in easily enough. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t fit under the power supply in my machine (it’s big – nearly 11cm in diameter, and over 6cm high !!), but it turned out to not be a problem.
The difference was quite noticable – the CPU temperature at idle after bootup stablised at around 50 degrees celcius, and during a virus scan, only got up to around 58 degrees … significantly less than before!
For less than $50, it was a worthwhile investment I think.