My computer is playing some strange joke at me, and I'm at a loss.
Everybody knows that hot temperatures causes many components to become unstable and even cause damage. When I built this machine, I was careful to do a bunch of experiments with different airflow configurations, with CPU-and-GPU intensive benchmarks running, and measuring the temperature at different points to find the best configuration.
Generally, the internal temperature of this machine is very close to ambient temperature (with 2 exceptions: the GPU always runs ~10°C above ambient, and the CPU goes to at most ~12°C above ambient when running CPU-intensive applications).
Now comes the problem: at really cold mornings. At cold mornings (~10°C (50°F) or below), the system shows really strange general instability. Beeps from the BIOS, the operating system displays strange messages about memory corruption and PCI devices that failed to initialize, and then, everything hangs. The computer hangs to the point that all USB devices turn of. Hitting the Reset button blanks the screen but the mainboard fails to proceed to the boot.
I never thought that low temperatures could cause computer instability. And 10°C is not that cold, it is still within operating temperatures of all components as far as I checked.
I'm quite sure it is related with the temperature. There were too many cold and warm mornings that demonstrated that the problem only showed in the cold ones. I'm working around this problem by letting the computer sit at the GRUB menu for some 5-10 minutes before letting the OS start, or blowing hot air inside the case if I'm in a hurry.
I don't know what should I approach next to find the source of this problem. Since it is difficult to reproduce (I need a cold morning, and the computer must be cooled down (powered off for many hours)), I need to plan ahead the experiment, since it stabilizes after a few minutes on.
Machine is an ASUS P5VDC-X equipped with Intel P4 64-bit 3GHz, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 500W PSU and an nVidia GeForce 9600GT. Everything else was already disconnected/removed before and the problem persisted, so the problem should be in one of these remaining parts.
Any help is appreciated!