I love Grease, don’t you? There’s some log­ic in the title. It is sum­mer here in Aus­tralia, and as many may know Aus­tralian sum­mers are typ­i­cal­ly very hot and dry. A lot has hap­pened over the past few weeks and I’ve been too lazy to type it out here. I’ll split things into sev­er­al entries for the sake of readability.

Back in July, I bought myself a nice new Athlon 2100+ sys­tem. This machine is lightyears ahead of my old Pen­tium II 350, and now I can do many things that wern’t prac­ti­cal on the old sys­tem. When I got the machine, I put it through a rig­or­ous bar­rage of tests, includ­ing memtest86, heavy com­pil­ing and cpub­urn. It passed with fly­ing colours.

How­ev­er, in the past cou­ple of months, I’ve been hav­ing prob­lems with heat. When I ran the tests, it was the mid­dle of win­ter. Now it is sum­mer, and room tem­per­a­tures can eas­i­ly hit 35 degrees or more. Using lm_sensors, I found that my CPU was about 70 degrees or more on a hot day — and that’s just at idle. If I tried com­pil­ing some­thing or play­ing a game like Quake 3 or Unre­al Tour­na­ment, it would eas­i­ly go past 85 degrees. This trig­gers the over­heat pro­tec­tion sys­tem on my ASUS A7V333 moth­er­board to shut the com­put­er down (an Athlon can only take 90 degrees before fry­ing itself). I’ve been saved many times by that — had my moth­er­board not had that fea­ture (most boards don’t) I would’ve lost my CPU.

I had to use my sys­tem very care­ful­ly to pre­vent shut­down. This is obvi­ous­ly unac­cept­able, but I had to wait until mid-Decem­ber before I could do any­thing about it (I was busy with oth­er things). The heatsink on my CPU was stan­dard AMD-issue — noth­ing spe­cial. I decid­ed to pur­chase some­thing bet­ter, final­ly set­tling on the Ther­mal­take Vol­cano 9. I made an order on an online shop­ping site and much to my sur­prise it was deliv­ered only three hours lat­er! The own­er of the store lives only a block or two away from me, and he decid­ed to deliv­er it him­self on his way home. Now that’s what I call ser­vice!

I don’t trust myself with expen­sive equip­ment (I’ll mess around with older/cheaper stuff, though), so I decid­ed to get the heatsink installed by the guy I bought my com­put­er from. He’s a nice guy, and I’ve been deal­ing with him for a num­ber of years, so I know he’s good. I opened the heatsink box for the first time. This thing is a mon­ster! It was so big that we could­n’t install it with­out tak­ing the moth­er­board out. It sounds like a heli­copter, but over time I’ve got­ten used to the noise. What’s impor­tant is that I can use my sys­tem at full throt­tle with­out fear of burn­ing it out.