I recently found that random shutdowns of a Hewlett-Packard desktop PC were caused by a CPU heat sink that had broken and was losing thermal contact with the CPU. Close inspection revealed that the heat sink was poorly designed so that its molded plastic carrier was placed under tension when it was fastened by four screws to the motherboard. The plastic broke apart at 3 of the four corners, breaking the thermal bond between CPU and heat sink.
With inadequate heat sinking, the CPU’s internal temperature soared, which triggered shutdowns.
I replaced the broken heat sink with an all-metal design ($20 retail).
H-P probably saved a few cents by buying cheap heatsinks, and the computer user paid for H-P’s poor product design review and quality control procedures. It’s just one more reason to stay away from H-P’s recent home computers.
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