My cooling quiz

Hi all,

I am back from the (japanese) shop!
Thanks to the good advices I got on this forum, I added a case fan ($15), and I slowed down my CPU fan (to make it more silent) using a cable with speed variation ($5).
Now I have my Athlon 2500+ XP idling at 53 degrees when the room is not too hot (23 degrees).

But I have new questions: (pick the ones you like! ;))

  • My case is “laying” (on the side) instead of “standing”. Do you think it will affect the cooling a lot?
  • Currently, my CPU fan is blowing toward the heat sink. I guess this is the normal way, but how about reversing it? (since my case is laying, the cold air has more chances to be close to the motherboard, so reversing the fan could suck that air up through the heatsink, no? I am aware I might make no sense)
  • Do you think that changing my CPU fan (fan only, not heatsink) which is an old CoolerMaster CM12V of 55mm would improve a lot my cooling?
  • Is reducing the VCORE a solution to get a cooler CPU? (my current vcore is 1.66V) Is it harmless to check a lower vcore? (except for the possible crashes of the system)

PS: BTW, I was unable to find any of the models that were recommended to me earlier… “this is Japan”… But I appreciate the suggestions anyway since I can read the specs on the Web and then compare with the models I find here.

Thanks a lot! :bow:

Its okay if it lay flat, just watch to make sur eno cables (particularly from the Power Supply) hover and get in the way of the CPU fan. But if this does happen you will hear an annoying ticking sound.

CPU is suposed to blow to cool off the Heatsink. Heat dissapates off the CPU, into the Heatsink, which is cooled by a fan, for new dissapated heat to come, and thus repeating the cycle keeping the CPU cool. Reversing it can have devastating effects, and can fry and damage the CPU, and even possibly the mainboard. (Anyone see that experiemnt on TomsHardware with the video where removing the heatsink off an AMD melted the AMD into the mainboard)???

Depends on the fan you get, make sure to have same or higher CFM than what the current fan supplies now.

VCORE won’t effect it too much and I think voltage is sometimes added when people overclock, leave that setting alone unless you really know what you are doing.

I don’t know what models and options you ahve in Japan, why dont you check out for reference and and see what you can get relative in specs to whatever you may find you like from those two websites.

laying the case on its side could disrupt the natural airflow inside the case if you have case fans, which normally take in air from the bottom front and exhaust it out the back. you can simply try standing the case up to see if you get lower temperatures than with it on its side.

having a fan suck air off a heatsink instead of blowing onto it isn’t as catastrophic as xtacydima described. the worst that can happen is that the temperature rises a few degrees. some specific heatsinks, like some of the Alphas, were designed to have the air sucked away, but most heatsinks perform better with air being blown onto them. you might want to try both ways to see which gives you lower temps.

reducing vcore is harmless except for possible instability (which you’ve noted). just reduce it until your system becomes unstable (you can use the standard stress tests that overclockers use), and then bump it back up a bit. i’ve seen many people reduce their vcores to lower their temps.

That’s a classic. Although by providing the link I hope I didn’t scare kubicle too much! :stuck_out_tongue:

Seems there arew too many circumstantial possibilities here.

Maybe we would be of more help if we knew what case you had, and what heatsink.

Never forget that heat goes up. If you have a good airflow in your case, it doesn’t really matter if the case is standing or not. Just remember that most ATX cases are made to be standing. As the heat goes up, there’s plenty of room to fit it in when standing (between the board and the PSU or between the PSU and the top of the case). By adding one (or multiple) exhaust fans in your case (especially one somewhere around the CPU) can decrease your CPU temperature dramatically).

Another nice thing you may want to do, is to fit a bigger fan on your CPU. As these big fans can move more air at a lower speed, your system can be cooled equal or better with lower noise production. There are convertors available to fit 80 and even 120mm fans on a 60mm heatsink. I changed the 60mm for a 80mm fan on my Athlon 2100@2700 back then and it cooled better at a much lower noise level. Quite nice, and that for a very little amount of money (15 euro’s).

A good thing is that it’s kind of hard to really harm your hardware with these kind of things. In the regular worst case scenario, all an overheated system does is crashing. Frying a CPU isn’t done that easily…

Thanks a lot, all of you! :slight_smile:
I have to go through all this and check it out…

Remarks / answers to you:

  • my question about the CPU fan sucking the air off was also because a friend has his “old” machine this way, and I had doubts… I gave up trying on mine since I thought that the air close to the bottom of the heatsink is also close to many little heatsinks on the motherboard, so I guess it’s not that cold either.
  • I like the idea of a bigger fan with a convertor; I will see if I can find this. Specially because, since I don’t know the specs of my current fan (the CoolerMaster CM12V, 55mm), I would be in trouble to try to compare it to a candidate for replacement…
  • I am also waiting for a bit warmer days to see how it goes inside my case. Weather got colder again recently so I can’t tell yet (we have a typhoon coming from Okinawa today; there must be nice images on the web; check this one for an idea :slight_smile: though it was one day ago.
  • For my case standing or laying, I did the test you mentioned: leave it like that for a while and then check the temperatures. I was wondering about other components too, like the hard disk. I guess CD is OK anyway since vertical CD players are quite common.
  • I have a few doubts about the “hot air goes up” rule, since inside a case with 3 fans there must be quite a lot of turbulences, no?
  • My case is a “stupid” ATX middle tower; very cheap. Must be one of the worst one can think of… :bigsmile:

2 new questions (thanks!) :

1- I saw the movie of the frying Athlon and got scared, of course ;). But this is only when the heatsink FALLS, right? I was wondering what would happen if my CPU fan dies suddenly… Since I put the BIOS setup on “auto shutdown” if the CPU temp goes higher than 70 degrees, am I right to think that I am safe??? :confused:

2- How can I change the Vcore? I looked in the BIOS but didn’t find. Do I need a special software?


Let me answer your questions briefly.

  1. I see that you have an Athlon 2500+ CPU. Most likely you have quite a modern mainboard. About all these modern mainboards come with some kind of overheating protection, so don’t worry too much about it. I don’t know what happens to a Barton when the heatsink falls off (quite a ridicolous scenario IMHO) but when the fan fails, the chances on damage are minimal.

  2. Normally you can do this in the BIOS. What kind of BIOS have you got (Award, Ami, Phoenix)? Some systems don’t allow the Vcore to be set btw.

1- Thanks, I feel better. ;). I did a test a few days ago, by setting in the BIOS the temperature for auto-shutdown very low (the minimum I could set), then I ran my CPU 100% until it reached this temp. Shutdown was instantaneous. I suppose that if the CPU fan stops, the temperature will raise faster than during my test, but I hope the instant shutdown will be fast enough.

BTW, I also tried a software called PC Alert 4. The “autoshutdown” feature takes more than a few seconds to shutdown (since it first displays a confirmation dialog box, then performs a regular shutdown of Windows - which takes many seconds already). So in the case of a CPU fan failure, I guess that this software won’t save the CPU from damage… :frowning:

2- I added my specs in my signature (I am trying to learn the usages, here ;))
So, you mean that if my BIOS cannot do it, then I cannot do it, right? I will look again through the BIOS settings.

Arigatoo! :smiley:

  1. CPU fan failure won’t really damage your CPU. It will overheat in time, but most likely it will shutdown just fine and if not, the system hangs but that’s all. No baked CPU!

  2. I see you have a MSI mainboard… that one should be able to set the VCore. In most MSI BIOS’ it can be found under the menu “Frequency/Voltage control”.

  1. thanks :slight_smile:
  2. Unfortunately, in the “Frequency/voltage control” menu, I have only 2 options:
    -Auto detect DIMM/PCI clk (enabled/disabled; currently set on “enabled”)
    -Speed spectrum (+/- 0.25% to 0.75% or disabled; currently set on 0.25%)
    I could not find any other…

What BIOS version are you using? Sometimes very old/early BIOS versions lack these options. Updating might resolve this issue.

Mmm… BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG…
Do you need something else than this to know which version it is?

Sorry, I meant the version of the software in the BIOS. Usually this is displayed as well on the POST screen. It could look like “BIOS 1.3” or “MSI KM400 BIOS 1.3” etc. This info should also be displayed when entering the BIOS.

Tomorrow I can look up exactly how it’s called!

Nope. I found the MSI utility (called “Live Update”) and it tells me that I have the last BIOS available (“MS-6734 (KM4M-L) Current Ver. 1.40 ; Online Ver. 1.40”).

Thanks for your help anyway. I think I will forget about changing Vcode for now; ambient temperature is now around 29 and my CPU gets 61 when used at 100%. If this is all sort of linear (I suppose it is), then I will be still OK with 35 inside the room (67 for CPU). Since I put a new case fan as you advised me, my HD does not get warmer than the room temperature, so this one is OK too.
(and if the room temperature gets over 35, I will put on the air conditioner or shut down the computer and go to a beach somewhere :wink: eh eh)
Thanks a lot! :slight_smile:

Hmm strange that you can’t change the VCore (as your chipset supports that) but if you’re fine with it, so am I :slight_smile:

Anyhow, have much fun at the beach and send me some nice pics once :smiley:

I am trying to update the following Bios to support the Vcore feature I keep hearing about. I have nearly the same chipset as member, “kubicle” had.

MSI Live BIOS (BIOS for Mainboard)
MS-6734 (KM4M-L) Current Ver. 1.70 Online Ver. 1.70 Award BIOS release.
Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
AMD Athlon™ XP 2500+

Thanks any information is welcomed and appreciated :slight_smile:

Hello, (long time no post :slight_smile: )

Yes, please let me know if you find something about VCORE, I would be still interested.

On the other hand, but still in the topic, this new summer brought me new heat and a new question:

It seems that my CPU is “generally warmer than last year” (by about 5 degrees, while nothing changed in my case and for similar room/HD/board temperature).
Anybody can see why ?

I thought about 1 reason: some dust accumulated in the heat sink (solution= clean it somehow?)

I also thought my thermal compound got older and less effective, but I just read on that this is not supposed to happen.

Since I am still below 70 degrees (with an Athlon XP 2500+ =>85 degrees max), I suppose I am not taking risks, but I’d prefer to understand what could cause the change I noticed.

Thanks as always

Could be a case of dust gradually building up in the case.

Oh? I suppose I should just try and give a little cleanup in there to see if temperatures improve…
Thank you :slight_smile: