Below you will find pictures of damaged AMD processors due to overheating.

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The following message was sent to AMD resellers about cooling on the Duron and Thunderbird processors. In summary it says never attempt to switch on these processors for even a second without a cooler, and always use a cooler with thermal paste.

The full text is:

"...Did you know that the new PGA (Pin Grid Array) AMD Athlon (tm) and AMD Duron (tm) processors have very different thermal specifications than any preceding AMD processor? Due to these differences, the AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors should NEVER be run without a heat sink, not even for a few seconds. Doing so will cause the processor to overheat and fail immediately, resulting in permanent damage. While testing a processor by booting it up for several seconds without a heat sink installed may be common industry practice, it should never be attempted with the new PGA AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors...

"Additionally, the new exposed flip-chip design of the PGA AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors requires a clip load between 12 and 24 pounds (typically 16 pounds), a load that may not be met by most older heat sink designs. A thermal compound, such a thermal grease or phase-change material, must always be applied between the processor and heat sink as well. Typically, AMD recommended heat sinks will include the thermal compound."

A customer brought an AMD based system into our office to be evaluated for boot issues. The processor was in a system that was started and run for less than 5 seconds without a fan attached to the processor. The pictures to the left is what we found after opening the case!

Many people have asked us why we don't sell AMD based systems. The reason is simple, when a $20 fan/heatsink is the most critical component in a system, we don't feel comfortable in putting our name on it. 

Most of the current motherboards that support AMD processors have a fan failure indicator, but did you know that with the fan/heatsink off an AMD Palomino runs at 568F and an AMD Athlon 1400 it run at 698F! If the fan fails that leaves only the heatsink to dissipate all that heat. That also means you have to be in front of your computer to turn it off before any damage is done.

In comparison, the Intel Pentium 4 2Ghz runs at 84F and the Intel Pentium III 1Ghz runs at 100F with the fan/heatsink off.

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