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I doubt fridge magnets would have anything to do with problems in a PC, they would need to be about 100x stronger than that to have any sort of impact

Sounds like it was somehow causing a fan to stick, hence the rattling and subsequent instability.

It's possible they were blocking all the vents and causing airflow issues?

It was the beginning 00 years with, so old school magnetic hard drives and other old school hardware.

Most of all it was reproduceable. With magnets ... slower, slower, rattling, slower ... 1, 2, 3 days later crash.

Without: gone.

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