i7 Slow Due To Overheating [SOLVED]

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Joined Jun 26, 2012
My i7 Win7 desktop has been getting progressively slower over the past few months. I attributed it to Windows code-rot consuming excessive CPU power but checking the performance monitors, all 8 cores were loafing along, with no cycle-hogs reported. But as I tried various things, it eventually would quit even before booting Windows.

Poking around on the motherboard I discovered the CPU cooler fan was a tiny bit loose. I removed it and found the thermal silver compound dried and cracked. Cleaned and replaced the grease and it's running like new.

What was happening was the i7 was thermal throttling, slowing the system. As the contact with the CPU cooler grew progressively worse, the CPU ran slower to keep its cool. The BACKUP power profile was set to max the CPU power and eventually, it just couldn't handle it. Thermal issues were confirmed when my frequent restarts didn't give the marginal cooling time to recover before I launched it again. Looking back, it should have been obvious.

I do keep the various fans and fins clean and know that closely packed laptops will slow when things get dirty but this was unexpected. SO, if yours starts bogging down, check that CPU cooling, including the thermal paste. Maybe like mine, it's gone.

Now to find a thermal monitor utility for Gigabyte motherboards like Intel has. Maybe it's in the box.
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