What did I break now?
February 15, 2009 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Do I need to replace my CPU or is it something more?

I use an old eMachines T2605 as a media center PC and was wondering today how easy it would be to replace the CPU. I opened up the case, took out the CPU, replaced it and when I tried to turn on the computer, it would turn on for one second (all the fans would turn on too) and then turn off again. I faintly smelled something burning. I tried the power button again to no avail. I can only get the machine to turn on for that one second when I unplug the computer and the red LED on the motherboard goes out then plug it back in again. Upon closer inspection it seems the CPU is the one emitting the burning smell.

Do I only need to replace the CPU? Or do I need to replace the motherboard and PSU? In an unrelated note, if I can just replace the CPU, is it possible to upgrade?
posted by ThirstyEar2 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
EDIT: It would be helpful if I stated that I don't know what kind of mobo is inside. But it is an AMD AthlonXP 2600+ processor.
posted by ThirstyEar2 at 6:52 PM on February 15, 2009

When you replaced the CPU, did you use a thermal compound (like Arctic Silver) between the CPU and the heatsink? If not, then that's your problem, most likely. And yes, you might've damaged the replacement CPU.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:57 PM on February 15, 2009

A solution ... it is possible that only the replacement CPU suffered and you can go at this again with another replacement CPU, provided you are very careful about your heat issue. I'm not pitching for Arctic Silver, mind you, but they're the first name that comes to my mind and they have PDF'd instructions on how to properly apply compound on your AMD CPU.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:03 PM on February 15, 2009

Its impossible to say whether its the cpu or motherboard or both. I dont understand how it burnt out. Did you forget to put the heatsink back on? Or did you not put it on well enough?

Id just order another CPU and try it. I suggest the same processor. You have a socket A socket. That fastest chip for that is a Athlon XP 3200. Chips that are the fastest for the socket have a premium on them and frankly another 600 mhz isnt going to make any difference for typical use.

Your PC is pretty ancient. On second thought, I wouldnt fix it. You can probably get a new budget motherboard and budget dual core chip that has 4x the performance of the part you are replacing for only 100 dollars more. Pair a cheap Athlon 64 X2 5000 with a new AM2 socket motherboard and you practically have a new computer. Oh your old ram wont work, but RAM is dirt cheap nowadays.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:47 PM on February 15, 2009

It highly unlikely that this is from overheating, as the shutdown is happening much too quickly. Anyway, it's not entirely true that thermal compound is necessary for everyday use -- the thermal pad found on every new heat sink is sufficient, unless you expect to over clock. (ThirstyEar2, you did put the heat sink back on, right?)

Try turning on the system without a CPU. The fans & LEDs should turn on, and stay on. If not, the mobo or PSU is dead.

If the system runs OK without the CPU, but is dead with, then yeah, CPU is fried.

As far as upgrades, you need to figure out what mobo you have. Just because a CPU fits int he slot, doesn't mean the BIOS on the mobo can actually support it. A quick Google of "eMachines T2605 mobo" shows some options for upgrades, but you may have to replace both the Mobo & the CPU.
posted by FfejL at 7:59 PM on February 15, 2009

It dosn't sound like there is a replacement CPU, I think when ThirstyEar2 says "took out the CPU, replaced it", he simply means he removed the CPU and then put it back in.

But yeah, "legacy" CPUs can be pretty expensive, but you can get CPU/MOBO combos on newegg pretty cheap. This AM2+ board w/cpu has built in video and goes for $72.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2009

If you put a heatsink fan over the processor, did you connect the fan to the header on the motherboard again? The motherboard may be detecting that there is no CPU fan and will not allow itself to start.

If it is really burned out, then delmoi's suggestion to get a new Mobo, CPU and possibly RAM should allow you to keep the same case and such.
posted by ijoyner at 3:25 PM on February 16, 2009

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