Shrubsole, it is also true that AMD processors are less tolerant of overheating. Intel processors self protect in case of overheating, whereas Athlons often just burn out, sometimes quite dramatically.
My AMD Athlon has been running at about 55 degrees for about a year and a half now, and it has never burnt out. As long as you have a good quality cpu fan and case fan you should not run into any problems. Try click here
As CPU Magnet says, Athlons are quite reliable, and with correct installation an Athlon or a Pentium will last for many years. For a given speed an Athlon will dissipate more heat than a Pentium, but with correct fitting and a suitable heatsink this will not be a problem. My point above was that if the heatsink is not fitted correctly, or if the fan fails, the Athlon will be less tolerant of the resultant overheating, which is why many Athlon motherboards have the overheat protection built in. A good cooling fan should not be unduly noisy, and many now have variable speed so that they will only run at full speed under adverse ambient temperature conditions.
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