disk spinning continuously + cpu possibly overheating = sudden death

Manish Jain invalid.pointer at gmail.com
Sat Jul 9 16:22:33 UTC 2011

   Hi Chuck,
   What do I make of it when the system runs flawlessly both on Win XP
   and FreeBSD-8.0-amd64 ? BTW, 8.2 does NOT - for reasons unfathomable
   to me - install /usr/sbin/apmd. I don't know how significant that is,
   but I have had to insert into rc.conf :
   Thanks for any help.
   Manish Jain
   [1]invalid.pointer at gmail.com
   On 09-Jul-11 19:59, Chuck Swiger wrote:

On Jul 9, 2011, at 3:53 AM, Manish Jain wrote:

I am running FreeBSD-8.2-amd64 on a Western Digital 320 GD disk and a
  quad-core AMD Phenom processor. After booting, the disk keeps
  continuously (meaning continuous I/O) and after a couple of hours (on
  the console with the X server not running), suddenly the whole system
  dies, powering off in a flash. I suspect the continuous I/O is causing
  is a CPU overheat which results in this behaviour.

While you probably do have flaky hardware causing problems, even under the wors
t case situation, a modern hard drive doesn't use more than about 10W even unde
r full load (ie, continuous writes).  Compare that with the 125W thermal design
 rating of a 4-core Phenom.  If your system is overheating, it's not because of
 what a hard drive is doing.

It should be easy to tell if thermals are an issue-- is the CPU heat sink getti
ng too hot to touch just before this shutdown?  If so, it's likely to be a prob
lem with a cooling fan or heatsink attachment.

Also, what is it that makes you think your disk is doing continuous I/O?
What does "iostat 5" or similar show?



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