I nearly fried a computer this weekend. My homemade Athlon XP 1800 box overheated when the case fan died. This is a desktop case sitting under my main monitor. I noticed the problem when I reached for something sitting on the case. It was extremely hot to the touch, so I knew something was seriously wrong. I immediately powered down and opened it up.
It was amazing to feel just how hot things were. I touched various components–the hard drive, the inside metal frame of the case, the CD-ROM drives–all of them were so hot to the touch that they burned me. I let it cool down for awhile and then powered it up with the cover off to find the problem. Sure enough, the case fan was froze and wouldn’t budge. I picked up a new fan today and replaced it, and now it’s running very cool.
I rechecked the BIOS settings for Temperature Shutdown and found out it was disabled! Whoops! I thought I had enabled it when I originally installed the motherboard a year ago. Hmmm. Well, it’s on now, so it should shut down before it gets too hot next time. Hopefully nothing was weakened due to heat stress this time though, or I may be rebuilding this thing again real soon.