THE CAUSE AND SOLUTION TO ALL MY MSI KT4V-L
I barebones'ed my PC because I thought I had a hardware/driver problem. You
may have noticed that I don't have any PCI devices installed. I removed my
PCI modem, soundcard, CD-rom drive (just the IDE and power cables), and
was a result of my intense troubleshooting to find the source of the
My PC was stable when going on the internet, using email, and word
processing programs, etc. I could surf the net all day long without
a problem. However, whenever I tried to run a game my PC would
crash....usually in about two or three minutes....BSOD.... I'm not
really a big gamer but I do like to play Starfleet Command, MechWarrior
Vengeance, Civilization II, and Axis & Allies. The first two obviously tax the
CPU a bit. My MSI KT4V-L just didn't like these games.....or
so I thought.
One of the more common error codes I received was
"IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL". I thought this was a WIN XP
problem so I called Microsoft. A Microsoft Tech Rep told me this
"common" error was "hardware" related. Hardware Yes! The most important
piece of hardware in my PC....
I also thought my Bios settings were incorrect.
I discovered the cause of my problems. My CPU was
How my CPU overheating problem came to be
This is the second MSI mainboard system I've built. The first
being a MSI KT3 Ultra2....which I had for only a very short period. I had major problems with this
mainboard so I brought it back for an exchange and I was given a MSI
KT4V-L on 19 December 2002 as a replacement. I knew at this time I needed some
"thermal grease" and I asked the salesperson for some "Arctic
gave me "Arctic
Alumina Thermal Adhesive". I asked, "...is this the
same as Arctic Silver...".
He said, "Yes". Silly me. I brought the MSI
home and put all the components back together. When installing the
CPU and heatsink I followed the directions
for the "Arctic Alumina Thermal
Adhesive"; I only put a small amount on top of the CPU core. The
directions said, "...about the size of a half-grain of rice will
suffice....". I probably put a little more than
My new MSI KT4V-L booted up fine and I was on my
way. I had a little difficulty loading WIN XP Home. Took me
four attempts. Once the OS was installed everything else loaded fine.... My MSIE 6.0
worked fine....my Outlook Express 6.0 worked fine....but when it came to
Starfleet Command, MechWarrior Vengeance, and my scanner....I got the
I spent a good solid week trying to figure out why my
games were crashing my PC. I called tech support and surfed the
internet forums for answers. I finally narrowed it down to a CPU heat
problem. It's the only cause I hadn't looked into. I loaded
MSI's PCAlert4 and monitored my CPU and system temperatures. My CPU
Idle temp was 61c. System was 33c. Way too high!
During my excessive heat investigation I discovered that
I put the wrong type of thermal grease on top of my
CPU. I wasn't very happy. The Arctic Alumina
website said "Arctic
Alumina Thermal Adhesive" was "permanent". With my temps too high I figured I
had nothing to lose so I attempted to take the heatsink off the CPU.
It came right off with no difficulty. It turns out that the Arctic
Alumina Thermal Adhesive did not bond to the aluminum heatsink.
However, it did bond to the top of my AMD XP 2000+ CPU core. I also
discovered a second problem. The fan on top of my
heatsink was loose on one side. It was not making direct contact
with the top of the heatsink.
I put everything back together temporarily and tested
the system using just the non-adhesive compound of the Arctic Alumina. My
CPU temp dropped significantly.....to about 55c.
The computer store that sold me the Arctic
Alumina Thermal Adhesive replaced my CPU....they actually gave me a XP
2100+ for $10 and a tube of Cooler Master Premium Thermal Compound.
I tested the Cooler Master Premium Thermal Compound but got better results
from Antec Reference Silver Thermal Compound.
It appears that after my heatsink was reseated for a few days the
temperature actually dropped one more degree....
BEFORE AND AFTER
(Cooler Master DP5 6J31C)
LOWEST TEMPS RUNNING MSI COOLER XP
(Cooler Master DP5 6J31C)
I've achieved the temps above with my original heatsink....a Cooler Master DP5 6J31C.
Do not purchase a cheap heatsink....an extra $10-$15 will
get you a much better product. Turns out my heatsink was only rated
for an XP 2000+ and lower....so my product was at the top of its range
performance-wise. I recommend when you select your heatsink that you
find one that is in the middle range rated for your CPU, i.e., If you have
a XP 2100+....find a heatsink that is rated for a XP2400+ or greater....not one
that tops out at XP 2100+. Here are the specs on my old heatsink:
Cooler Master DP5 6J31C
L80 W60 x H41 (mm)
X 60 X 13 mm
I reseated my Cooler Master DP5 6J31C about 6 times.....trying 3
different thermal compounds and combinations.
As of 23 January 2003 I have received and installed my new heatsink.
Highest Performance SMART & SILENT VOLCANO 9 Cooler
Here are the specs on the Volcano 9:
Thermaltake VOLCANO 9
Max. Air Flow
20.55 CFM at 1300 rpm
dB at 1300 rpm
CFM at 4800 rpm
dB at 4800 rpm
These are the current temps I got. I'll update these as I go.... I'm also playing with
my fans right now.
LOWEST TEMPS ACHIEVED
(Thermaltake Volcano 9)
Be aware that my heatsink alone is NOT responsible for my
lower temperatures. I made significant modifications to my case as shown
in these photos.
Bios v1.9 lowered my temps at least 4-5c.
All those games that would not run....and
my scanner....are now running fine....rock solid.
I spent an enormous amount of time tweaking my Bios
before I discovered my CPU heat problem. I'm now starting to believe that
Bios settings just
aren't all that important....just keep them in the ballpark....
How System temperature affects CPU
I live on the edge of a desert in Southern
California. The temperature here is always nearly 100F/37C in the
summer. In the winter it is just the opposite, especially in the
evening/night when the temp outdoors are in the 40F/4C range. Here is how
affect my CPU temp....