I have an older PC with an Phenom II processor that we use as a kids' computer. It's been running fine until about a week ago when it randomly shut down and would not get past the Windows load screen before powering off again. The kids tried several times to boot it, and finally I got involved and tried a couple times before deciding that it must be the power supply. However, when I opened the case I found that the power supply was fine, but the CPU cooling fan mounting bracket had cracked and the heat sink was completely off of the processor.

I know that the processor is still functioning, because it is able to boot briefly (from our previous tests). I have a new bracket on order, and the fan still works. Now my question is this: How do I tell if the processor has been damaged? Once it's all back together, it may be obvious (serious errors, Windows crashing quickly, etc). But what if it's not? What if it's only one particular module, like an FPU, that may be used less frequently? Is there a way for me to test all the functions of the CPU to ensure that none are malfunctioning?

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    In general modern processors (well 'modern' as in anything newer than a PIV with intels, and most AMDs in the last decade) ought to have some form of thermal protection. Chances are it should be fine.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Aug 20, 2013 at 5:22
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    After burning holes in the motherboard while consuming the socket and processor, it seems that processor manufacturers got the idea that avoiding fire damage lawsuits would quickly pay for thermal runaway protection. Aug 20, 2013 at 5:40
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    Start by testing the easy stuff. Download a CPU test, find one that will test what you want, there are many. Test memory using memtest (boot into it and run over night) also run chkdsk or fsck with the repair and surface test options. (back up your data if it finds and repairs errors that make your computer unbootable)
    – Damon
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:52

2 Answers 2


CPU Test

Download Prime95 for verifying the CPU functionality. You can easily detect CPU errors using these Softwares. It will stress out your complete CPU.

Memory Test

Use memTest86+ to verify your memory. You can also use Windows Memory Diagnostic but it is inferior compared to memtest86+. Also, use a stable version of memtest86+.

Hard Disk Test

Run chkdsk in Windows or fsck in Linux to find out hard disk errors.

  • I know Prime95 can be used to stress test a processor, but will it test all the functions in the processor? Your Orthos link doesn't work for me, but when I googled it the link I found said it was for dual-core processors (mine is 3 cores). I found a diagnostic tool for Intel, but haven't found one that is meant for AMD or is brand agnostic.
    – techturtle
    Aug 21, 2013 at 14:58
  • I ended up testing it with benchmark software from cpubenchmark.net and it came out pretty much in the middle of the pack compared to other computers with the same processor. Then just to double check, I ran Prime95 for a few minutes and it successfully completed several tests with no errors. I think we're safe!
    – techturtle
    Aug 23, 2013 at 3:20

Try a passmark benchmark just for the cpu over and over again. Check and compare to other same model cpus and look for test inconsistencies such as scoring high/normal one test and poor after another benchmark.

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