I need to upgrade some of my PC parts. I need some help

My current PC specs:
Windows XP Home Edition
512 mb PC2700 RAM
Asus A7V8X-X Motherboard
Inno 3D Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 128 mb. (I know this is a shitty mistake but I’m a noob, so I’m sorry)
Athlon XP 2500 (2 gigs)

I’m having problems with my processor. It overheats ridiculously. What’s more irritating is, it needs to run at an underclocked 1.8 gigs to be more stable, otherwise my PC will auto shutdown after a few seconds.

Now, I’m not familiar with processor overheating, but is this already expected from my processor who’s 3 years old at least and is barely beyond the 2 gig mark?

I’ve done preventive measures such as putting some fans (now, I have 2 exhaust fans at the back, 1 that’s mounted on top of the processor, blowing it directly, and another one at the left side of the ATX case, blowing air towards the processor).

It’s now more stable but it still shuts down when I do processor extensive routines such as video encoding.

Somebody told me to put a thermal paste (which I’m barely aware of) to the processor. But since I’m so pissed off with the Athlon XP alerady, I’m planning to overhaul almost my entire PC specs:

Anyway, I just replaced my old combo drive with a new DVD writer since its DVD reader can no longer read newer DVD-R formats. It works fine but I noticed that my PC shuts down more often after its replacement. I dunno if the DVD writer demands more power or processing load from the CPU. Anyway, I’ve already replaced my 350W power supply with a 500W power supply so the new power supply couldn’t be the culprit.

It’s probably the CPU and it needs major overhauling. Yeah sure, it doesn’t have a thermal paste and my room is not air-conditioned but the number of shutdowns I’m experiencing is a bit brutal for a CPU that’s underclocked to 1.8 gigs.

Anyway, my plan for replacements.
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 gigs
MSI P4M900M-L Motherboard
Palit Nvidia Geforce 7300GT 256 MB 128 bit PCIE

Some questions:

  1. How’s Intel Core 2 Duo’s heat generation compared to Athlon XP 2500?
  2. Is the use of a thermal paste mandatory for this one?
  3. My motherboard choice is a random one. What are your thoughts on this?

Some notes:
Anyway, I live in the Philippines so pardon me if you’re not familiar with some of the things that I listed, e.g., INNO3D.

Being unstable can also have to do with faulty memory.

Depending on which AMD Athlon XP 2500+ you have,
the speed is correct or normal and not over clocked,
1867 MHz (AXDA2500DKV4C) or 1833 MHz (AXDA2500DKV4D).

You have to make sure you have a good airflow going on.
Some setups seems so good but they actually make a vacuum over time.

One of the factors of heat production is the cooler that is used.
I recommend Zalman for their coolers.

You should always put thermal ooze on it.
Apply three little drops or so on it and stretch it out with a card.
Like in this movie:

Just not overdo the thermal paste part.
It is there to cover up the microscopic gaps of the surface
so it does make better contact.

P4M900M2-F / L
Are all the things you want on it?
Personally I would skip a VIA chipset for an Intel system.
VIA chipsets do not like me.
They work fine on my AMD based system.

For an Intel Core 2 Duo based system I would recommend
Something in the Asus P5B series.
Do you really want a MSI? If so I will look into it more.

Not really… Unless AMD cpus don’t require any thermal paste/layering unlike intels from the same generation, that could we be your problem. I had similar problems once. I too didn’t think I had thermal paste. In fact, the CPU fan came pre-installed with a thin, crappy layer of it that had just worn out after three years.

If you are going to buy a new system, for the love of god get at least–at least–a gig of ram. 512 megs just doesn’t cut it anymore. In comparison, I’ll be overhauling my PC to a core 2 duo after the price drops in late July. I’m going with 2gigs.