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Computer cooling/airflow

KurnDerakKurnDerak Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
This is one of those aspects about computers that I never got around to learning about. As my computer is having heat issues I figure it is time I learn more about it. After it shut down several times after about 5-6 hours of SWTOR (first time I thought it crashed), I checked out CPUID Hardware Monitor to check temperatures since I knew at least one of the fans in there was starting to go bad. Here is a list of temperatures after the computer has been running idle for about 30 min. I assume the first part are motherboard/case temps, though not sure which ones are associated with what.

The computer case is Apevia X-Cruiser-BK

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+
-Core #0 54C (hovers 53-55C)
-Core #2 59C (hovers abour 57-60C)
- HDD1 38C
- HDD2 40C
- HDD3 34C
Radeon HD 4870

Last night when I checked maybe 20 minutes after it shut off the second time the core temps on the processor were 65-68C. I'm going to be changing the heatsink/fan on it for a Cool Master Hyper 212 Plus, as a friend recommended that. Though what I also want to know is how I should set up the fans in my case. The computer has a bottom from fan, a mid back fan, a side fan just out from the CPU, and a top fan just over where the CPU is. There are venting holes on the bottom left of the side panel (just out from the GPU) and on the bottom right of the back panel. Originally I had the back, top and front fans venting in while just the side fan exhausted. Was that at all a good plan? It tended to run pretty warm, but I've had this for 3 1/2 years and never had heat problems like this before. After looking on-line I turned the back and top fans to exhaust, as everything I saw showed front fans in, the rest of the fans exhaust.. I didn't think to let it sit awhile and check idling temps with the fans the other way so not sure if that has made any difference. I also didn't clean the fans, which I am off to do after I post this. The back fan is only an 80mm, which I plan to change for a 120mm. I'll update this if cleaning fans makes any difference.

KurnDerak on


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    schattenjaegerschattenjaeger Registered User regular
    No matter how you slice it, that's a LOT of cooling for a non-overclocked system. Even if only two or three fans were working, and even if they aren't "optimally" arranged, I'd expect it to be fine. The traditional way is the latter way you described, top and back exhausting, side and front sucking. Can you start the game with HWMonitor running, run it for a bit, then exit out and see what the max temps were?

    This is where I would normally say idle temps don't really tell you much, except that I think your processor is running way too hot at idle, which would indicate the cooler is failing. Have you actually checked to make sure the CPU fan is turning? If it's a sudden problem after working for years, that sounds possible. I think the video card's idle is pretty normal (newer cards and processors will downclock themselves when not in use and run way colder at idle, but I don't think yours do)

    Now back to the internal fans...that hard drive temp is really hot for idling too. That's more likely a symptom of screwed up/dying internal fans, since those are what cool the hard drives. I'd keep an eye on that. You really don't want those getting much hotter.

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    BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    My first suggestion is try another temp program, just to confirm the results. CPUID gave me a bunch of (one, actually) bullshit numbers than didn't match RealTemp

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    KurnDerakKurnDerak Registered User regular
    After being in game for 5-10 minutes, the temps were at CORE #0 63 (63 max) and Core#1 69 (69 max). After exiting the game they both dropped about 3-4C in a minute, back to what they seemed to be idling at before. Yes, they are idling at about 59-60C and 64-65C. 20 minutes later the cores are idling at 56C and 60C.

    Eh, the fans either came with the system or I got them really really cheap when I built it, i don't remember. All the fans in the system; case fans, power supply fan, gpu fan and cpu fan are all running. I think it is that either the fan or heat sink on the cpu has been slowly wearing down and TOR was just intensive enough to push it over its limits. And to comment on me saying my computer ran warm before, I'm not familiar with how warm a computer itself is supposed to be, IE how much it heats up the room it is in.

    HDD 1 and 2 are idling right now at 41C and 44C respectively, while HDD3 is staying at 37C. HDD1 and 2 are also old, somewhere around 4-6 years old, while HDD3 is maybe a year or so I think old. Replacing all of them for a 1 or 2 TB HDD is tempting. Though i wonder if part of the problem at all is that the front of the system seems meh for air flow over the HDDs. There is a lot of plastic over the mesh area for air to flow in, and if the front panel is closed that limits how much air can flow in as well, I would think.

    I know the video card is within acceptable limits. It was at 67C max while I had SWTOR going, and pretty sure that is still far below top acceptable temp.

    Burtletoy, I used SpeedFan first, and most of the temps match up. The only differences were that Temp (THRM in CPUID) was showing at 4C, and only showed one of the Core temps, and one of the GPU temps. Everything else is the same or about 1C off. RealTemp at least doesn't seem to work with AMD processors.

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    Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    It looks like you would benefit from a better fan on your CPU....

    however, athlon 64X2 is like a 4-6 year old chip. you should be looking to upgrade sometime soon so if you do get a new fan, make sure that it has adapters for the newer socket chips like LGA 1155 and 1156. that way you don't have to change fans to upgrade in the future.

    also, my 4870s idle at 70C so you're fine where you are on your single one.

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    GriswoldGriswold that's rough, buddyRegistered User regular
    i cleaned my pc after about ten months and there was already a SHITLOAD of dust on all fans, so i would definitely start there. those temps are pretty hot though. how hot is the room the pc lives in? are the air intakes obstructed (computer sitting directly on carpet or anything like that?

    also try popping off the side panel and see if it makes a sustained difference in temps. if it does, there's an airflow issue contributing to the problem as well.

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    DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    Removing the side panel in a well designed case hurts airflow. As most of the air your intake fans will be pushing in will escape through the new found opening. And most of the exhaust fans will just cycle air from the room instead of the case. Sure your proc. will now eject its exhaust right into the room but everything else is going to suffer.

    Clean it, keep the side panel on. Unless you have a case with no intake/exhaust fans.

    Also what is on your northbridge/southbridge? Heatsink? Fan?

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    KurnDerakKurnDerak Registered User regular
    The Northbridge/Southbridge are AMD790FX and AMD SB600. The heastsink and fan are what came with the processor.

    I cleaned off the heatsink/fan as there was a damn lot of dust and such collected on there, but the flaw was that I didn't notice that the fan part came off separately so without any thermal goo stuff I'm leaving my computer off until I get the new heatsink. It should be here tomorrow afternoon.

    I have "wood" tiling on my floor which my computer sits on, so it isn't blocked at all. I can't really get in to fully clean off the fans and such as the front panel is a bitch to get off. The room itself usually stays between 65-70F (18-21C).

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