We have an old white box desktop computer (age unknown) that I was looking to virtualized on this last Friday. It is not a mission critical application so I thought that it would be ok to play with after hours on Friday. Well I couldn't get the VM to work yet and it was getting late so I decided to fire up the old machine and just go with that until I get VM working.
When I tried to power up the machine I just heard the noisy processor fan spin, two beeps, and then the computer powering down. I thought that It might be an issue with the ram (I took one DIM out) so I added a DIM. Same thing. I then remembered that the last time the fan went (1 ½ years ago) I set the BIOS to shut down so that it wouldn't damage the processor.
So, on Saturday I went out and got the same exact heat sink and fan that I got before and replaced the bad one. It worked! Now I have some more motivation to get this machine virtualized. The hard drives are also noisy (I thought they were SCSI but were ATA!) so yet another reason.
Moral of the story, don’t use a desktop for an always-on server.