The short version
If a CPU gets so hot that the system turns itself off because of a thermal trip signal just a couple of times, is it likely that the CPU will be damaged? Or does the trip do its job, turning it off before the CPU gets damaged? (This is with all default settings in the BIOS; I haven't raised any temp thresholds or overclocked anything.)
The longer version
I just got this Intel Atom D510-based fanless system, installed a 2.5" mobile SATA drive and two 2GB PC2-6400s, closed it up, and having checked everything was recognized in the BIOS, set about installing Ubuntu. After a couple of false starts related, I think, to the external DVD drive I was using, I got the install happily running along.
About three-fourths or so of the way through the install, having been running less than an hour, the machine turned itself off. I was actually out of the room at the time, but when I came back and turned it back on, it said it had shut down due to a thermal event. I went into the BIOS and saw that (at that point, having just been turned back on after a couple of minutes off), it was running 87C.
As near as I can tell from Intel's docs (PDF here), the max "junction" temperature for the CPU is 100C and it will raise a THERMTRIP signal at 125C. Yowsa.
Presumably there will be some back-and-forth with the vendor on this, I'm just wondering whether letting it get that hot a couple of times is likely to end up damaging it.