Overtemp killing a CPU?


Jun 25, 2003
How long does it take for a CPU running at high temps to fry?

I am asking this because I just fixed a computer for a friend who was having problems. When he booted, it came up with an error saying the CPU fan had stopped, press F2 to continue booting or the computer will shut down in 5 seconds. Well, after running the computer for about 5 minutes, I restarted into BIOS to check temps, and the CPU was 98C!!

I couldn't believe the thing was still running! So I took the case apart to see and there wasn't even a CPU fan installed, just a heatsink. On a P4 2.66GHz. Seems this computer has been running without a CPU fan for over a year.

Anyways, long story short I replaced the heatsink with a fan/heatsink combo, and it now runs in the 38-40C range.

Any guesses as to how much longer the CPU might live?


Hey long time no see. How you doing?
Was it a BTX case? Was it an OEM, like HP?
Some of the OEMs used to use a fan blowing at the hs, rather than a fan on the hs. This usually allowed them to last as long as the warranty.
The Intel chips are supposed to shut down way before 98c, so I wonder what happened. Maybe we should ask AMDmeltdown?
Your friend just got lucky. He got a mobile capable chip. It should have burned the first time it hit 98c, unlike the K6-2s witch were'nt so much bothered by it. It may have lasted a long time, but the errors would have been hard to deal with, above 75c is so.