AMD Phenom II X4 965 runs at extremely low speed, and hot

Oct 27, 2018
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I purchased an AMD Phenom II X4 965 for my computer earlier this year, and upon arriving, I had a mysterious problem. The processor ran incredibly slowly, to the point where it was an extreme downgrade from the similar Athlon II models. After restarting my computer, the problem went away, and it ran normally again, though the issue reappeared periodically as time went on. It was always fixed by restarting the computer.

Recently, however, I have been cursed with this stupid processor's bug again. Recently, I accidentally moved my computer while it was running - I sort of tripped on a cord - producing a "Memory Error" bluescreen. The computer restarted normally, except for the fact that the processor has become slow again. It has also gotten quite hot, and idles at 56 C, now that I'm browsing the internet, it's hit 61 C. The graphics card also seems to be struggling, as while not idle, thought not under any particularly strenuous load (basically typing this post) it's running at a steady 65 C.

Restarting has not helped. Examining all computer components, including the Hard Drive, GPU, RAM sticks, and the CPU itself have revealed no damage. Applying new thermal paste has lowered the temperature slightly, but shows no improvement to performance.

Performance is measurable using PassMark's Performance test, and by playing games, which lag substantially when the CPU is in this state of running slowly. Generally, a game like Terraria runs at a constant 70 FPS. While in this abnormal state, the game refuses to run at more than about 15. Additionally, PassMark usually reports a CPU score of around 4200, but while in this state, reports a score of only about 1000.

After running all PassMark tests, another surprise emerged: The 2D Graphics and Memory scores were extremely bad, while the 3D graphics and Disk scores were perfectly acceptable for the models. Perhaps this is indicative of a bigger trend?

Coretemp:


PassMark's Ratings:



Windows 7 Home Edition x64
AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3.40Ghz
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 745
8 GB installed RAM: 1 x 4GB stick, 1 x 2GB stick, 2 x 1GB sticks
WD Blue 1TB Hard Drive, AKA. the WD10EZEX @ 7200 RPM

Please help. I need to use this computer properly, and I have no money to use on replacing any components.
 
The bad news ... this is a 10 year old CPU with 140W TDP (C2 version ... 125W with the C3). Unless you have a monster cooler it has always run on the warm side. The hotter integrated circuits get, the sooner they die (read about electromigration for more info).

The good news ... you might be able to underclock/undervolt this CPU and get a stable running system. It won't be as fast as it was new, but it should be better than what you have now. I would try 1.3 V and 13x for starters.
 
Oct 27, 2018
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I will restart the computer one more time. If this doesn't work, then I'll try to underclock the processor according to your settings and get back to you with the results.

EDIT: BIOS has no options for adjusting CPU voltage or multiplier. This is a conundrum. Recommendations, anyone?
Also, upon additional research, I think I understand what's going on now. Is the CPU throttling due to heat issues?
 
I assume this is a pre-built computer (HP, Dell, etc). Theses systems tend to limit the BIOS options, but also provide a power supply that is very close to the power limits of the system at the time of build. Any degradation in the PSU can lead to instability. I don't know what to suggest .. it seems you are in a rough spot.
 

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