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"System temperature too high" warning

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Old September 3rd 03, 03:03 PM
Dave Ulrick
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Default "System temperature too high" warning


A month or so ago, I built a PC with these components:

- Antec Sontata case w/380 watt PS
- SuperMicro P4SGA+ motherboard
- Pentium 4 2.66 GHz 533 kHz FSB CPU
- Zalman CPNS7000-AlCu CPU cooler
- 1.5 GB of DDR266 memory
- Two Maxtor 40 GB hard drives
- Sony CD-RW, DVD-ROM, and floppy drives

I've installed Windows XP SP 1 and Red Hat Linux 7.3, each on its own
hard drive.

All in all, the system works very, very well. It's both fast and quiet,
and has also been extremely stable. I've not experienced any random
lockups or crashes, even though I've sometimes left it running for
several days at a time.

My monitoring software reports reasonable temperatures for the CPU and
motherboard: 32 degrees C for the motherboard, 32 to 46 degrees C for
the CPU. When the system is idle or lightly loaded, both temps are
around 32 degrees. I've seen the CPU temp rise to the 46 degree level
when doing stuff like compiling a Linux kernel, but it seems to top out
up there and not go any higher. In addition to the Zalman cooler, I
have two 120 mm case fans mounted in the Sonata case. The rear fan
exhausts out the back, whereas the front fan blows air from the front
to the back.

However, sometimes the system BIOS plays a voice message over the PC
speaker: "System temperature too high". When this first happened I
was quite concerned, and have made sure to keep an eye on the temps
since then. As far as I can tell, I don't have ANY problem with my
system temperature whatsoever. As I mentioned earlier, my system temp
is pretty much constant at 32 degrees C, with my room temp being
around 24.5 degrees C. Although my CPU temp rises and falls with the
CPU load, I've never seen it come close to the CPU's thermal rated temp
of 74 degrees C. I've received this voice message when the CPU temp
has been as low as 34 degrees C. I can bring down the system temp a
bit by speeding up my case fans, but at the cost of turning my quiet
system into a fairly noisy system. I've set the CPU warning threshold
temp to 85 degrees C in the BIOS.

Do you have any ideas as to what might be causing the BIOS to issue
this warning message? I'm not 100% certain, but it may be that this
message is issued only when my monitoring software (lm_sensors on
Linux, SuperO Doctor III on Windows XP) is running. Is it possible
that that software is somehow overriding the warning threshold for the
system temperature, thus causing the BIOS to issue its warning?
Since my system and CPU temps look good, I'm strongly inclined to
disable the BIOS voice warning feature, but before I do so, I thought
I'd see if there was anything else I could do.

Dave Ulrick

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