Not a techie - advice please!

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by D4RKH0RSE, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. D4RKH0RSE

    D4RKH0RSE Geek Trainee

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    Right... I'm not into overclocking or extreme cooling, but I reckon the kind people that ARE might be able to give me some advice regarding my CPU temperature.

    I'm running a P4(e) 2.8GHz, on a Gigabyte Mobo, in a Thermaltake Lanfire case. The case has four fans (two in, two out), the PSU has a further three, a standard Intel HSF on the processor and another on the grahpics card. (9800XT)
    The case fans are all controlled by dials on the front of the case, which also gives a CPU temperature readout and an alarm goes off when it reaches a pre-set temperature.

    When idle, (desktop, no apps running) I get a readout of 41.5*c. Whenever I run a resource hungry program, eg. Far Cry, Doom 3, Thief 3 - the temp goes up to around 63*c. When I got the case, the pre-set temperature to sound the alarm was 60*c, and I haven't changed it. Also, turning the case fans from minimum speed to maximum speed gives me approximately 0.05*c difference in the temperature. Hardly worth the extra noise!

    Please please please can someone wiser than me answer a few questions?

    Is 41.5*c an acceptable CPU temperature for an idling PC?
    Is 63.0*c an acceptable temperature for a PC running high-end 3D games?
    Would it be risky to increase the alarm threshold to 65*c?

    If the answer to any of these is 'no', then perhaps some advice on how to solve it? I don't overclock any of my components, and surely the standard components running at standard speeds, in a big fan-filled case designed specifically for cooling don't need any expensive water-cooling system to run modern games?

    All advice appreciated...
     
  2. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    41 C is pretty good actually. 63 under load is a little warm, but nothing too bad. The 2.8E is based on the Prescott core, which means it runs a bit warmer than the Northwood predecessor. Now, here's a few things you can do to help give yourself the edge, and possibly get it down to under 60*C.

    Easiest way to solve this would be to grab some Arctic Silver 5 of Arctic Ceramique. A tube of the stuff will run right around $10, but it's worthwhile.

    For the next bit, you want your system off. Probably isn't a bad move to unplug the system from the wall, as starting up the system without a heatsink installed isn't necessarily healthy.

    Now, you'll want to use some isopropyl alcohol to clean off the bottom of the CPU heatsink and the CPU itself. If there's a pad on the heatsink, scrape it off with a razor blade before cleaning the heatsink. Once both the heatsink and CPU are cleaned off, apply a thin layer of Arctic Silver/Ceramique---having a glob of the stuff will actually work against you, so don't use all that much. You just need a paper-thin layer to do the job.

    I don't know how long you've had this rig, but it might not be a bad idea to grab a can of compressed air and blow out any dust that's accumulated, particularly on the fans. This is best done with the system off, as the fans aren't spinning to work against you.

    For getting the CPU really hot, I've yet to find anything that gets it as warm as [email protected] </plug> The next best thing is Prime 95, which stresses the CPU.
     
  3. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek

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    Are those temps your CPU temps or chassis temps?
     
  4. D4RKH0RSE

    D4RKH0RSE Geek Trainee

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    They're CPU temps, although I've read that they can be a little inaccurate due to the positioning of the heat sensor.

    Big B - thanks for your reply. My mind is at rest now!

    I'll leave the rig as it is for now - I'm planning to upgrade the CPU soon, so I'll try the rest of your advice when I come to fit the new one.

    Cheers!

    Darkhorse
     
  5. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    To be really honest, I'd sit tight with what you have and wait for the major industry hardware changes to be done with. There's always something bigger and better around the corner, but right now there's a whole plethora of new standards coming out which you might want to wait for instead of upgrading the CPU. The CPU is important, but it's not the definitive end-all, be-all component it once was. I think you'll be disappointed in what the CPU upgrade would do for you.

    While the 9800 is no slouch, if you're gaming, you'll find a newer graphics card (like the GeForce 6800GT or Radeon X800) would be a much better upgrade choice than a new CPU. Another thing you might want to consider if you don't have it, is upgrading your RAM amount to 1GB. I think you'll find either or both these upgrades to do more for a smooth gaming experience than a faster CPU. It's your money, but I'd strongly advise against a CPU upgrade if you want to upgrade something.
     

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