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Is it possible to damage a CPU so that it works, but only at high temperatures?

My Phenom 2 1090T is idling at 50°C and I have tried everything to get it down. I can play Deus Ex HR, Arkham City, or Dirt 3 and it hovers around 60.

I have cleaned out all my fans: 2 intake (front and side), 1 exhaust (Arctic Freezer). My machine is a brand new Antec 520 high current gamer. Also:

  • Extreme3 770
  • 8 GB Kingston DDR3 (2x4 GB)
  • 750 GB Seagate Barracuda
  • ASUS Xonar DG
  • Radeon HD 5670
  • New Arctic Freezer Pro Rev 2 (days old and mounted properly with Arctic Silver 5).

I also dropped an Athlon 250 dual core into my rig and that ran at under 30. Is the CPU dying? I know that 50°C idle for an AMD is not normal.

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no - with 0 or next to no load this thing rockets to 50 and wont go down even with a desk fan pointed at it, and my room is already cold – liam Apr 10 '12 at 19:41
@TomWijsman: He means if it is possible to damage a CPU so it overheats. – Dennis Apr 10 '12 at 19:43
i am only asking as i dont want to try any other cooling solutions if my processor is going to kick it – liam Apr 10 '12 at 19:49
there is a bios update for the board but its already at 1.8, and the cpu support list says this cpu works since bios 1.3 – liam Apr 10 '12 at 19:52
Remove the heater from the computer! Kidding... :) Have you enabled any "smart" overclocking? – user127350 Apr 10 '12 at 19:52

I have recently been having that problem and i found a solution that only works on desktop computers though. There is an application you can download called "speed fan" that lets you increase the speed of your cpu fan. I have an AMD Phenom II X6 1045T processor. I used to be running at 60c and now I am at a steady 35c while playing games. My cpu fan was originally set at 30% with around 1700 rpm and at 100% the fan goes 4400 rpm. I will give you a link to the application below.

P.s. don't click the big blue button that says download, at the middle of the page there is a sentence that has "SpeedFan 4.47" highlighted in blue, click that and the download should start. I hope this helped!

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Ok. You need to back up in your testing. First, you need to see if Cool & Quiet is doing it's job. Why? Because there is idling... and there is idling. That might not seem to make sense, but it will.

At an Idle, your processor should be sitting there running at around 750-900mhz. Yes, I know the 1090t is a 6 core 3.2ghz (with turbo to go even faster). I know because I have an 1100t 3.3ghz. But providing the motherboard and AMD software are doing their jobs properly, at idle, the processor will clock way down.

Now... I'm not running the best system. I'm using a Tuniq Tower 120 on top of the 1100t. At idle, turbo off, I'm running 803mhz, and between 30-32C. If I start up Furmark and run it in a small window, I'll also see my CPU jump up to full speed for the duration of the benchmark, but only see CPU temps go up to about 35-36c.

From what you say, and the 10 degree difference you describe between idle and load, I believe that the AMD software and the motherboard are doing their job, both in underclocking the processor as well as slowing down the fans at idle. However, are you running with the Overdrive on all the time?

I would re-check the mounting of the Freezer 7 Pro, and make sure it is sitting flush on the processor. I know you have removed it and put it in place multiple times (in order to repaste it, and swap out the processor, etc), but it is more likely that the cooler isn't sitting on the processor as it should. Your 65 watt Athlon 250 tests out at temps close to my 140 watt 1100T. The Athlon 250 should run VERY cool. Depending on how the Freezer 7 Pro mounts, the weight of the cooler could be causing it to pull away from the processor slightly.

If you could, I'd say drop a stock cooler on that setup, just to give you a benchmark point of reference.

In short, no. There isn't anything to make a processor run hotter, but otherwise normally. You could bench the processor to see if it is really running normally albeit hotter.

EDIT: and yes, I know Furmark is GPU bench software, but it can be used to push a CPU as well.

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i was using the coolermaster stock cooler when i noticed the temps they were about 55 at the time . my 5670 is running in the 50s as well - dont know what the norm for that is. i also think my case (xblade) may be a contributing factor. will try AF resit again but fast running out of thermal paste! – liam Apr 10 '12 at 20:42
remember... it only takes a teeny tiny bit of paste. The paste is only to fill in the small micro grooves and scratches to facilitate conductivity. Too much paste will cause it to run hot and actually interfere with conductivity. Think of how a lapped processor and cooler block don't require paste at all. – Bon Gart Apr 10 '12 at 20:45
also how do i check if cool and quiet is doing its job? its at level 9 and shows my lowest target cpu temperature value as 45 (highest 65) – liam Apr 10 '12 at 20:59
Download CPU-Z and observe how fast your processor is running at idle. That is the easiest way to see if Cool & Quiet is running like it should. If it is doing it's job, when you aren't putting a demand on it, it should underclock to well below 1ghz. – Bon Gart Apr 11 '12 at 1:42
it does underclock to 801.6 (200.40 x 4)to be exact but still at 51 – liam Apr 11 '12 at 9:04

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