Can ONE core go bad?

June 28, 2009 at 22:29:40
Specs: N/A, X2 6000/4 GB
Here's the scoop. Built a PC tonight with an EVGA nForce 730a Motherboard for a customer.

I HAD an x4 9550 cpu for it but busted some pins trying to get it out of the package. Oops.

Anyways, the only other AM2 cpu I had laying around was a x2 6000 which I figured I'd pop in just to get the system up and running.

However, upon trying to install Vista Ultimate (I tried 32 bit and 64 bit) it would hang in random spots, sometimes the screen would go black, sometimes white.

I ran diagnostics from Hiren BootCD 9.8 and used PC Check. Everything passed except under "stress test" it would fail when hitting "CPU 2 of 2".

Soooo my question is, can one core on a dual core CPU go bad? I tried googling it but can't really find anything, but I think it would explain this issue if it was possible.

**As a side note, the x2 6000 cpu was a pull from another system that was having random crashes, but I never investigated them.


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#1
June 29, 2009 at 04:43:35
I don't know how you break pins simply by opening a package?

Test your RAM.


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#2
June 29, 2009 at 06:18:48
Yes, a core can infact go bad. Remember the Intel Core Solo? They were duo's where one core failed during testing, so intel didn't need to have seperate production lines.

Another note, AMD 64's have an on-die memory controller and I have seen those fail too, giving false memory errors when infact it was a failed CPU.

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#3
June 29, 2009 at 13:00:56
Thanks for the confirmation, I'd just never seen it before.

@ jam -

The pins broke because the cpu was in one of those indestructible plastic packages that everything comes in these days, and when it finally "popped" open the cpu flew out and hit the floor.

Memory is fine.


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#4
June 30, 2009 at 10:19:23
As for the question can a core go bad for a user? No. If the core is bad it would have been disabled by the cpu company before it reaches retail. Cores just don't randomly go bad while they are in use by the consumer.

Iron Sharpens Iron.


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#5
June 30, 2009 at 13:16:16
Yes they very well can. Heat is one that can fry it. It could have gotten hot enough where one core was affect but not the other.

If a CPU can go bad, there's no reason at all why one core in a dual core CPU wouldn't.

I worked for HP (Compaq), Dell, etc, and have replaced faulty dual/quad core CPU's due to one core failing.

I once had a situation where a quad core worked, but core 3 (actually 4, they begin with 0), had a faulty SSE2 unit and that was it. It caused random hangs in Windows.

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#6
June 30, 2009 at 18:56:59
His cpu is an 6000+ X2 which has thermal heat protection built in. All Modern day CPU’s have thermal heat protection built in on the processor. If it gets to its heat thresh hold the processor will shut itself down before it becomes overheated and damage the CPU itself. All modern single cores, all dual cores, tri cores and quad cores have this technology built into them to prevent damage to the CPU. So it can't just go bad due to it being overheated, because the thermal heat protection on the CPU will shut it down first before it gets overheated. Cores just don't randomly fail for any reason. AMD and Intel use a thresh hold test on the cpu's they produce to prevent faulty cores from getting released and if those cores don't pass the thresh hold standards then the cpu vendor will disable the core and sell it as either a x3 x2 or x1 core. But with that said that doesn’t mean that those cores are faulty as in glitch the vast majority of those cores that fail the test just can't reach a certain maximum speed in which AMD and Intel use these thresh hold test to factor in. Over-voltage to a CPU can damage the core rather it's manual, via overclocking, by sudden spikes in electricity, an electrical glitch within the motherboard/psu or by nature via lighting strike, those are what can cause a modern CPU core to just go bad suddenly. Under nomal conditions CPU's have a lifespan of roughly 50 years.

So how do you know for sure it was the cpu instruction set that was causing it and not windows, compability issues with another hardware device or the motherboard mis-calculatating the cpu correctly the first time it was installed that didn't properly initiate the correct settings from within the bios operations? Did you send it back to AMD or Intel and have them run a instruction set based lab test on it to determine that it was a faulty code instruction set from within the core logic itself. They would know for sure considering they are the only ones that have the capbilities of writing those instruction sets onto their chips to determine if it's a binary glitch from within the instruction set on core logic itself or not.

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#7
June 30, 2009 at 20:06:50
Here's what I can tell you. I bought the x2 6000 about a year and a half ago as a sort of software testing computer. It was a vista home premium machine that I used simply for checking software compatibility for customers. After about a year, it randomly began crashing. I'm not talking windows crashes.... weird crashes like multicolored or striped screens, or bunches of pure goobly gock.

I didn't think much of it, figured the motherboard or memory was taking a crap, but it wasn't a primary computer so I wasn't overly concerned. I disconnected it and left it laying around, snagging parts out of it every so often.

Pretty much the last thing left in it at this point was the CPU and mobo.

I pulled the CPU to use in the aforemention EVGA mobo, and it's displaying not identical, but similar behavior. It's quite obvious to me that the CPU is bad. The diagnostics failed on cpu "2 of 2".

I've never seen one core of a processor act up while the other was ok, nor had I heard of such a thing. I would think, if one wouldn't work than the entire cpu wouldn't work - period.

That's essentially what I came here for, just confirmation that one core could indeed go bad, while the other would be fine.


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#8
June 30, 2009 at 20:17:41
The CPU can still have a flaw where it can still be in the threshold and still fail after testing.

I have seen a few like this and know it to be true. Anything is possible and that is a fact everyone knows.

Also, AMDs have poor heat prevention techniques vs the Intels. You can take a heatsink off an AMD and it'll fry. If the prevention circuitry worked, that wouldn't happen. Intels do survive this kind of "attack".

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#9
June 30, 2009 at 20:50:39
Yes and that thresh hold testing normally deals with its speed in which determines rather or not the core is faulty or not. Why do you think AMD disables cores? It's not the fact they don't work, which has been proven that they do because you can unlock a Phenom X2 and turn it into a Phenom X4 through the Bios. It's the fact that they become unstable at some point during it’s thresh hold speed testing. If that one core doesn't meet the top thresh hold speed of the testing then it's considered faulty. If the max speed of that processors thresh hold within that core logics range is 3.4ghz for say and all cores meet that thresh hold except for one which can only reach 3.2ghz then that chip is considered faulty by their standards even though it will run fine anything below 3.2ghz. so they disable that core and market it as something diff.

You can take a heatsink off an AMD and it will fry? Not since the Athlon XP's. All AMD 64bit processors dating back to the socket 754 all have thermal heat sensors built onto the cpu to prevent the processor from overheating. Their thermal heat sensors work great in stopping the core from getting overheated and damaged when the temps are too high. As for Intel doing a much better job with heat prevention, does Prescott come to mind? The Prescott core was a horrible core when it came to dispersing heat properly, which sparked Intel to come up with the now debunked BTX standard to help cool those cores down during that time.


mrtncc55

What type of cooling are you using and how are you applying the thermal grease?

Also where you using the same power supply when you were testing the processor?

Did you try to overclock that processor at any point in time?

Iron Sharpens Iron.


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#10
July 1, 2009 at 12:36:26
mrtncc55

What type of cooling are you using and how are you applying the thermal grease?

Originally in was cooled by an OEM Gateway CPU fan. The problems started in that PC, as I mention above. Upon transfer to the new PC, I cleaned the thermal grease off the CPU as the new cooler had a thermal pad on it.

Also where you using the same power supply when you were testing the processor?

No. The power supply was brand new.

Did you try to overclock that processor at any point in time?

Never.


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#11
July 1, 2009 at 13:57:01
Which X2 6000+ do you have? The Windsor was an absolute power hog & was rated at 125W. You mentioned that the power supply you used was brand new, but you didn't supply the make/model/wattage or amperage specs. Is it a $15-20 generic model or a quality name brand unit costing between $75-100? Actually, you never mentioned any of the hardware other than the board & even that you didn't list by model #. My guess is you have a 113-M2-E113-TR?

http://www.evga.com/products/moreIn...

As for the "multicolored or striped screens, or bunches of pure goobly gock"...they indicate a graphics problem, not a CPU problem.

How long have you been in the computer business?


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#12
July 1, 2009 at 17:11:44
I have been in the computer business for approx 12 years.

I didn't mention the other information because in this case it's irrelevant. The PSU is not a generic brand, I always use quality parts in the machines I build, dependent upon the customers budget. The video card is perfectly fine, it is not a graphics issue.

The CPU has now displayed adverse behavior in 3 separate boards (I've tested in on a 3rd since my last post). What more obvious answer is there?

I wasn't here to find out if the CPU as a whole was bad, I already knew it had issues. My question pertained to one functional and one non-functional core, as that was an issue I've yet to come across.


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