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I am experiencing a really annoying problem right now. I am experiencing times when my PC just shuts down, then when I turn it on, I am greeted with 3 continuous beeps over and over. When I press the restart button immediately, the beeps still occurs on booting. However, when I turn off the power and wait for a while, the booting proceeds with no problems. Here are what I noticed:

  1. when I am encoding video, there are times when my pc terminates to a blue screen or just shuts down, then I get the beeps during a bootup
  2. there are times when even if I turn off the power, the beeps are still there.
  3. sometimes, switching the ram card to the other empty slot would solve it
  4. sometimes, when I play long hours, the pc just shuts down, and then there goes the beeps again during bootup
  5. it always happens when I am encoding video
  6. tried upgrading video driver, didnt help, tried reverting to previous driver, didnt help

What could be wrong here?

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I'm not so sure about it, but perhaps your PC might be overheating/CPU is over the safe operating temperature so it forced shutdown. – JFW Aug 23 '10 at 3:17
Check your motherboard's manual or online docs and see what three beeps means. Try plugging in and turning on speakers, some have verbal error messages too. – ssube Aug 23 '10 at 4:59
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As JFW said in a comment, it sounds like an overheating problem. Encoding video and playing video games tend to be processor-intensive tasks. I'd say that swapping the RAM between slots sometimes fixes it because the time it takes you to do that is enough time for the CPU to cool down.

A tool like SpeedFan can show CPU temperature (unless you have a very unusual or old motherboard).

Make sure none of the computer vents are blocked by dust and that all the fans are working. If that doesn't help, you may want remove the heatsink and replace the thermal grease.

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It absolutely sounds like a problem with overheating. You cannot solve this with software drivers, or by moving the RAM to a different slot.

Overheating is always caused by some hardware failure: somewhere, heat is not being moved away fast enough. This is why you see it after a while, and you see it immediately after reboot because the machine is still hot.

This problem can be on your grahipcs card, on the motherboard, or in the power supply.

It's often caused by a fan that has stopped working. Perhaps dust has built up and keeps it from turning (yes, that happens). If you know your way around the hardware, check if all fans are spinning when the computer is on. They may turn fast or slow, that's fine, but they must turn. Replace any fan(s) that don't turn.

Another cause can be fanless cooling: a heatsink isn't doing a good enough job. Perhaps a heatsink has fallen off (I've seen that too!), or the transition between the chip and the heatsink isn't moving heat away very well anymore. In this case it will help to remove the heatsink and apply new cooling paste, then replace the heatsink, or replace it with a bigger heatsink while you're at it.

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