Hardware Topic
   >  Introduction to Hardware Problems
   >  Troubleshooting Memory Problems
   >  Troubleshooting Drive Problems
   >  Troubleshooting CPU Problems
   >  Troubleshooting PSU Problems
   >  Troubleshooting Card Problems
   >  Troubleshooting Intermittent Problems
   >  Diagnosing Hardware Failures

 

Diagnosing Problems with the Processor (CPU)

Confirming a CPU Problem

Firstly, the good news: assuming there are no manufacturing defects - and correct installation procedure was followed - CPU problems are rare. The effects of a CPU failure normally falls into one of two categories:

  • Catastrophic failure: this is fairly simple to diagnose -as the PC will usually not even boot up
  • Random failures: intermittent problems that occur every so often

Catastrophic CPU Failures

Normally, the motherboard will emit a number of "beeps" when the PC powers up: note the number/frequency of beeps and compare this against the list given in your motherboard manual to see if this indicates the problem ..

If your PC is not booting at all - and you suspect the CPU - you have two options:

  1. Normally, the motherboard will emit a number of "beeps" when the PC powers up: note the number/frequency of beeps and compare this against the list given in your motherboard manual to see if this indicates the problem component

  2. Purchase one of the available tools for aiding hardware problem diagnosis


Intermittent CPU Problems

Most of the symptoms of a CPU misbehaving tend to be intermittent and unpredictable, so a good Problem Log is essential to identifying the CPU as the culprit. Follow the instructions in the section on Intermittent problems until you are sure that it is the CPU at fault.

Having traced the problem to the CPU, the most common reasons for it to suddenly start misbehaving are:

  • Heat problems: the processor is getting too hot and overheating
  • Power problems: the PSU is supplying too little or too much power, or cannot maintain a constant supply
  • Motherboard problems: a motherboard component (-e.g. Northbridge / MCH) that communicates with the processor is damaged or misbehaving

Again, see the chapter on intermittent problems as to how to effectively address each of these.


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