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Repairing and Upgrading Your PC by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Troubleshooting Processors

In one sense, there's not much troubleshooting to be done for a processor. A properly installed processor simply works. If it stops working, it's dead and needs to be replaced. That seldom happens—we're tempted to say "never"—unless the processor incurs lightning damage, is the victim of a catastrophic motherboard failure, or overheats severely (usually from misguided attempts at overclocking, or running the processor faster than its design speed). A processor in a system with a high-quality motherboard and power supply that is protected by a UPS or a good surge protector is likely to outlast the useful life of the system.

In recognition of the primary danger, modern processors incorporate thermal protection, which slows down the processor or stops it completely if the temperature rises too high. Even if the processor isn't throttling throughput, operating it at a high temperature can reduce its life. Accordingly, it's important to monitor processor temperature, at least periodically, and if necessary, to take steps to improve processor cooling. If your system slows down for no apparent reason or hangs completely, particularly in a warm environment or when the processor ...

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