I'd been having some stability problems with my computer for the past few days and I finally found the cause. Summer's officially here, and the ambient temperature of my home computer lab has risen enough that my new Athlon 3000+ CPU was overheating. What to do?
Well my buddy Cypren (who also set me up on this new server!) recommened that I head to Fry's and get some Arctic Silver high-performance thermally conductive compound to replace the thermal grease than came packaged with my heat sink and cooling fan. I was skeptical that changing the compound would drastically affect the temperature of my CPU, but I was wrong.
I'm running a lot of simulations for my PhD and they really push the processors of my computers to their limit. According to the internal temperature diode of my Athlon the core temp was up to 146F during full CPU utilization, and I think that was an underestimate. This afternoon I removed the CPU, wiped off the old thermal grease, and applied some Arctic Silver 5 ($20 at Fry's, ouch).
What a difference! I've been running for eight hours now with no instability, and my core temp is holding steady at 120F! I can't believe what a huge difference Arctic Silver made. 26F is a huge drop. The Blue Screens of Death are gone!