started with overheating possibly ending in a short circuit

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My computer (which I have been building over the last year) has had no
issues with any hardware problems until two nights ago...

I have a P4 3.E processor (appr. 3.01 to .02 GHz) w/ HT.  Abit IC7-G
motherboard.  ATI AGP Radeon 9550XL 256mb video card.  600w Ultra power

I was playing AGE III with one of my flat mates.  About an hour and
half into the game my computer's alarm started going off.  After waking
everyone in the room I turned off the game and the computer stopped
beeping.  I immediately thought that it was overheating because I can't
think of another reason why it would beep like that.  I was surprised
thought because I have a total of 9 fans in my computer.  Also, my
thermal reader said that my CPU was only about 122 deg. F.  The thermal
reader at that time was only loosely connected to the heat sink
(actually barely hanging on with the thermal tape).  So I figure that
the CPU would be about 20 deg. more or so.  My alarm goes off at 185
deg. and shuts down at 195 and I didn't think there could be anyway it
could be that warm.  When the game was off the thermal reader dropped
to fluctuating temps, between 113 and 119.  I grabbed a fan and open up
the side panel and the fan dropped the temp another 10 deg.  We tried
starting the game over again.  This time the alarm went off around 132
deg. and it only took about 45 min to get that warm.  After that we
just quit playing AGE.  I turned off my computer this time.  When my
computer came back on the CPU was only running at about 85 deg (with my
fan is still blowing into the machine) with minimal applications.  I
then changed games and played Diablo II by myself since I didn't think
that it would get as hot with that game.  I played for a few hours with
no problem.  The temp was between 119 and 127 with no alarm.  Then
yesterday I played AGE by myself and I was able to play a larger game
for longer but then the alarm eventually came on.  When I went to save
the game the alarm stopped.  I played so more and eventually it went
off again.  This time I save and quit.  My flat mate wanted to play AGE
again but we decided to play Diablo instead.  I had no problems once
again except for a couple of time he had a phone call or had to take a
smoke break I would tab out of the game and do something else and
eventually the alarm would come on again.  I would save the game and
close out and the alarm would stop.  My flat mate eventually wanted to
play AGE again so I decided to open the box and see if I can figure out
what is wrong.  I noticed the heat sink has dust caked on it.  I take
it off and grab a can of air.  I clean that and blow out the rest of my
computer too.  I also fixed all of my thermal readers so that they were
better attached to the things that they were reading (3 of 4 had become
loose or fallen off). When I went to put the heat sink back on I
realized I just broke the glue seal that was mounting the heat sink to
the processor chip.  Now there is only tried glue smeared on both the
heat sink and the processor.  I didn't think that would make much of a
difference (someone can confirm if I am wrong) so I put it back on.
When I turned the computer back on there was an error when searching
for the CPU and said it had been changed.  I then went into the BIOS to
see if maybe a setting was messed up.  Everything looked fine.  I did
change the temp for the alarm from 185 to 175.  I saved and exited and
when it restarted it restarted just fine.  However, when windows began
to load the alarm went off again.  When I got to the welcome screen
instead of logging into my user I just turned off the computer again.
This time when I opened it up I took out the processor chip to make
sure there was nothing wrong looking with it and it looked fine.  Here
is the kicker.  After that I have never been able to boot my computer
back up.  It powers up just fine.  All of the lights work on the mother
board, for the wireless card, in the power supply, the optical drives
open and close, the thermal reader reads, however no single is sent to
the monitor.  The light on the monitor stays orange.  I thought maybe I
screwed up my VGA card when I was doing all the messing around so I put
in my old one and still the same thing.

Do you think that I killed my processor and if so wouldn't I still be
able to at least get to the first screen of the BIOS for it to tell me
my CPU is unreadable?

Re: started with overheating possibly ending in a short circuit

I'm not sure if I am helping...
 I have killed a pc similarly, it turned out to be both mb ("north bridge")
and cpu and psu zapped with dust in it.
 It targeted one hot game at first, then self-destructed to no run at all,
starting w/ overheat alarm at strange time (not all that hot).
 I would assume a demise of chip starts someplace, then either moves on, or
takes more with it.Like an electrical anomaly that didnt null in slow
motion(took mine two days to die completely).
 Test cpu and peripherals someplace else to narrow it down.
 If power supply had alot of dust, that is very common killer.
 I dont like guessing when this stuff happens! Good Luck!
A *sniff* of mb can tell you something....

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Re: started with overheating possibly ending in a short circuit

yeah that sounds kind of like the problem.  However, I have clear
panels on my PSU and it wasn't all that dusty on the side with the fans
and it had no dust on the other side.  I took a can of air to it and
some loose dust came out.  It seems to be working ok but who can tell.

I will need to see if I can find some spair parts and start exchanging
them to see what happens.  So far I have unplugged everything and still
it powered on like normal except that no signal was sent to the
monitor.  I also tried taking the CPU completely out to see if the
mother board would beep but it didn't.

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