1

I don't know if this is a Debian problem or a hardware problem but the information is in Linux.

I have Debian 6.7 installed on a Dell Inspiron 520 (AMD chip). I get the CPU info with

less /proc/cpuinfo

which results in

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 16
model           : 6
model name      : AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 250 Processor
stepping        : 3
microcode       : 0x10000b6
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 1024 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 0
cpu cores       : 2
apicid          : 0
initial apicid  : 0
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 5
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp lm 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good nopl nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt hw_pstate npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save
bogomips        : 6000.65
TLB size        : 1024 4K pages
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes   : 48 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management: ts ttp tm stc 100mhzsteps hwpstate

processor       : 1
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 16
model           : 6
model name      : AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 250 Processor
stepping        : 3
microcode       : 0x10000b6
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 1024 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 1
cpu cores       : 2
apicid          : 1
initial apicid  : 1
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 5
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp lm 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good nopl nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt hw_pstate npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save
bogomips        : 6000.02
TLB size        : 1024 4K pages
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes   : 48 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management: ts ttp tm stc 100mhzsteps hwpstate

I have installed psensor to monitor the temperature. It can go up to 100% usage with the CPU temperature remaining below 50C. However, with a long running, CPU intensive, application like

sudo maldet --scan-all /

the computer shuts down before the application is finished. One time the power light was still on and there was a high pitched whining from the desktop. I replaced the thermal paste on the CPU with Arctic Silver. Under normal operation, the temp goes up to about 46, even with 100% CPU usage. Taking the side off the computer did not cause a noticeable change in CPU temperature.

I ran

sudo dmidecode |grep -B 2 Stat

and got

Serial Number: DST5MS1
Asset Tag: 
Boot-up State: Safe
Power Supply State: Safe
Thermal State: Safe
Security Status: None
--
Max Speed: 3000 MHz
Current Speed: 3000 MHz
Status: Populated, Enabled
--
Handle 0x0017, DMI type 32, 20 bytes
System Boot Information
Status: No errors detected

When I entered

sensors

I got

k10temp-pci-00c3
Adapter: PCI adapter
temp1: +16.5°C (high = +70.0°C)

it8720-isa-0a10
Adapter: ISA adapter
in0: +1.07 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in1: +1.10 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in2: +3.02 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
+5V: +3.01 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in4: +3.33 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in5: +2.14 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in6: +2.14 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
5VSB: +2.96 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
Vbat: +3.25 V 
fan1: 816 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan2: 888 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
temp1: +23.0°C (low = -1.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = thermal diode
temp2: +33.0°C (low = -1.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = thermal diode
temp3: -128.0°C (low = -1.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = disabled
cpu0_vid: +0.375 V
intrusion0: ALARM

I replaced the PSU with this

I decided to give it s a stress test by running

sudo maldet --scan-all /

in a terminal window. This call runs for hours and is very CPU intensive. psensor had fan 1 suddenly fall from 830 to 770 and then start to slowly creep up. But the CPU temperature gradually crept up from the mid 30s C to the low 40s C. Maldet was about a quarter of the way through when I turned in for the night with the temp in the low 40s. The next morning the computer had stopped working. It wasn't just the cursor since I run a web site on the PC and was unable to access it.

To rule out the Gnome desktop, I restarted Debian and did ctrl-alt-F4 to drop to the basic command line. I then ran

sudo maldet --scan-all /

It ran for a few hours and the the PC started this fairly high pitched, loud whining and there was a lot of random text, on the screen, that kept changing. It was hard to tell where is was coming from. Unplugging the hard drive stopped the text but not the whining so I suspect it's the PSU.

I started running it again, this time with the PSU outside the PC so I could try to be sure it was the PSU. After about an hour, the following text appeared on the screen. (I may have missed the first few lines since the scrolled out of view.)

test_tsk_need_resched
check_preempt_cur
ttwu_do_wakeup
x86_pmu_config_addr
paravirt_write_msr
perf_ctx_adjust_freq
read_tsc
timekeeping_get_ns
ktime_get_update_offsets
hrtimer_interrupt
test_tsk_need_resched
resched_tsk
check_preempt_curr
ttwin_do_wakeups
smp+apic_timer
apic_timer_interrupt
copy_pte_range
copy_page_range
dup_mn
copy_process
do_fork
stub_clone
system_call_fastpath

At this point, the PC stopped responding to keyboard carriage returns.

Edit:

I tested the memory with

sudo /usr/bin/memtester 5 1

and got

memtester version 4.2.2 (64-bit)
Copyright (C) 2010 Charles Cazabon.
Licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (only).

pagesize is 4096
pagesizemask is 0xfffffffffffff000
want 5MB (5242880 bytes)
got  5MB (5242880 bytes), trying mlock ...locked.
Loop 1/1:
  Stuck Address       : ok         
  Random Value        : ok
  Compare XOR         : ok
  Compare SUB         : ok
  Compare MUL         : ok
  Compare DIV         : ok
  Compare OR          : ok
  Compare AND         : ok
  Sequential Increment: ok
  Solid Bits          : ok         
  Block Sequential    : ok         
  Checkerboard        : ok         
  Bit Spread          : ok         
  Bit Flip            : ok         
  Walking Ones        : ok         
  Walking Zeroes      : ok         
  8-bit Writes        : ok
  16-bit Writes       : ok

Done.
2

Check the cpu heatsink not fastened well (check for compound or lack there of) check the fan and I have seen the memory be culprits on these machines, also the PSU would not be a bad idea to test it with a new one. All your indicators point to possible hardware problems.

  • Thank you for your reply. I added Arctic Silver to the CPU heat sink and cleaning the CPU and the sink. The fans are all running. I replaced the PSU with this . amazon.com/dp/B003CO04CU/?tag=stackoverfl08-20. The problem persists. I edited the original question to give the results of a memory test. Thanks, – OtagoHarbour Oct 13 '15 at 0:10
2

I don't see how this could be a software problem. You need to track down that noise. If your PSU is brand new and was used as a replacement because of this issue, then it is also not likely the cause.

Not quite related, but have you tried something that only stresses the CPU and not the disk? You can use:

pyrit benchmark_long

Check the kernel log on the system from just before it crashed. Perhaps there is something useful.

If you want to be totally sure it is not software related, get a Linux boot CD and run some stress tests. If it crashes, then it is very likely a hardware problem. Or better yet, try a different OS.

While stress testing, keep on watching the temperature and keep an eye out with dmesg or the kernel log for error messages.

EDIT

Memory errors can cause problems like that also. Try memtest86, it's worked for me in the past. It's a boot CD, independant of the OS. It seems to catch everything.

http://www.memtest86.com/

  • The PSU appeared to be coming from the PSU which I replaced. I have not heard it since the PSU was replaced. I'm running pyrit now. Thanks, – OtagoHarbour Oct 13 '15 at 0:12
  • Pyrit brought temp 1 and temp 2 (on psensor) up to 57C and 55C respectively. Then the fans revved up and brought the temps down to around 54C until pyrit ended. These are the highest temps I have seen on this PC bet they did not cause the system to freeze. There were no new messages in dmesg. Thanks, – OtagoHarbour Oct 13 '15 at 0:29
  • @OtagoHarbour Check out my edit to the answer – Ryan Babchishin Oct 13 '15 at 1:08
  • Sorry about my slow reply. I had installed memtest86 using "sudo apt-get install memtest86+" but could not find an executable after the installation ran. I was about to try your link but found the PC had shut down. I pressed the on button and got a continuous stream of rapid beeps, pitched the B above middle C or 494 Hz. The boot only got as far as where it showed the option for the F12 key and stopped there. It must be a hardware problem. I looked at the Del Inspiron beep codes but they do not appear to have anything for continuous beeps. Thanks, – OtagoHarbour Oct 15 '15 at 4:19
  • 1
    @OtagoHarbour I'm sorry to hear that. I believe the memtest86 package sets up memtest to work from the grub menu. You should see it on boot. If not, download the ISO and burn it. It's not actually a Linux application. – Ryan Babchishin Oct 15 '15 at 4:22

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