[ubuntu-uk] possible to install ubuntu like gentoo?

Andrew Oakley andrew at aoakley.com
Thu Apr 17 16:27:01 BST 2008

Farran wrote:
> I did actually run a memtest for almost a whole day, passing 8 times 
> with no errors

Therefore I would strongly suspect your CPU is overheating. When most 
modern CPUs overheat, they automatically slow themselves down to avoid 
permanent damage.

When the PC crashes, immediately reboot into BIOS and check the CPU 
temperature. A typical temperature would be in the 45-55c range. 
Anything over 55c may or may not mean you have a problem. Anything 
approaching 70c is very suspicious. Over 70c may cause permanent damage 
in the long run.

Try booting up with the case open and check that the CPU fan is rotating 
and is not obstructed. Also check the airflow through the case (eg. dust 
lumps accumulating in the front or back grilles), and check the airflow 
through the PSU (many machines rely on the PSU fan to suck air through 
the case).

If your BIOS supports overclocking, check that it is using 
non-overclocked settings. Again, if your BIOS supports CPU fan speed 
settings, check that the BIOS CPU fan setting isn't on super-slow. Or, 
just reset your BIOS to factory defaults - the "take off and nuke the 
site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" option.

If you replace/re-fit your CPU fan, ensure you use some silicone grease 
to get a good heat transfer contact between the CPU and the heatsink 
(but don't coat everything with grease, that'll prevent airflow - only 
the bit where the CPU touches the heatsink). Most CPU fans come with a 
sticky pad of grease already fitted, but if yours has worn thin, buy a 
tiny tube of silicone grease from Maplins or similar for about 2 quid. 
If the fan or heatsink is gunked up, use a screwdriver to unscrew the 
fan from the heatsink before cleaning. If the fan is gunked up, consider 
replacing the whole CPU+heatsink anyway, no matter how well you clean it 
(since the fan blades will most likely be unbalanced now).

As Matt said, it's most likely either overheating, or the hard drive is 
knackered. It's difficult to check the hard drive without wiping the 
data already on it, so the best thing to do is to eliminate RAM and 
overheating first. Clattering noises or excessive whine sounds are 
symptoms of knackered hard drives, but not always.

To test the drive without wiping it, find a spare second-hand drive, 
disconnect your original drive, and install Ubuntu on the spare drive. 
If the spare drive works much better than the original, your original is 

Next I'd consider your graphics card. If you have a non-onboard graphics 
card, try replacing it with a known-good spare. Also consider 
overheating on the graphics card.

Finally, if everything else is fine, then your motherboard is probably 
b0rked, sorry (rare, but I have seen it happen twice in 20 years).

Andrew Oakley

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