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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Too Darn Hot

I run a server at home, primarily for in-the-house usage - it runs slimserver to power my squeezebox, runs some batch jobs to re-publish files as podcasts, and to experiment with some half-baked web site ideas. It basically gets all the hand-me-down parts when I upgrade my main workstation. At the moment, it's running an Athlon XP 2100 on an MSI KT4V-L w/ 768MB of RAM and a collection of mismatched old IDE hard drives.

That part of the hardware is fine, but the case is the first ATX case I bought when building my first machine out of college in 99. It's gone through several power supplies in the mean time, but is basically the same since then.

Flash forward to this Summer. It's been a bit on the warm side in San Francisco lately, and my workstation was hanging a lot. "No problem," I think and install a simple case fan, which does the trick.

While working on video encoding scripts, I ran into some strange behavior w/ Windows builds of mencoder, MP4Box, etc., and decided to compile from source on my server. But then I started having bizarre program crashes and hangs on that server, presumably due to the heat. I don't have a good setup for closely monitoring temperature on the server, but my last check before the most recent crash was 41C on the motherboard and 75C on the CPU. AMD claims the Athlon XP 2100 should be good up to 90C, but that seems to be bogus. Can't find any data on maximum operating temperature for the motherboard.

"I know how to solve this problem," I thought, and picked up two more case fans. Unfortunately, when I went to install them, I discovered that my case was not designed with such extreme cooling needs in mind - no case fan mount points. I took the ghetto approach of zip tying a fan to the expansion card separators in back, but that clearly didn't help, as the 41C/75C reading was from tonight after that happened. Guess it's time to buy a new case.

If anyone actually reads this, and either has an Athlon XP 2100 and/or knows the correct operating temperatures, I'd love to hear from you.


At 7:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wheeee!!! My XP 2000+ can't go over 55C without corrupting the RAID HDD. But that was my mistake from not taking off the plastic film they put on the CPU when shipping before I first powered it on. I didn't smoke it, but got pretty close to it I imagine. Nothing like sitting in BIOS watching the temp rise to over 99C. *shudders*


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