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Questions about CPU cooling.

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June 13, 2013 5:35:55 AM

Hello, long-time lurker on this site, finally decided to make an account.

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to installing new CPU's, and after searching far and wide for answers to questions I've had recently, I thought I might as well just ask directly.

My first question has to do with general heating. My PC is a Dell Inspiron 570 that came with an AMD Athlon II X2 250 processor, and I've since replaced this processor with an AMD Athlon II X4 640. I don't know what kind of temps I was getting with my X2(hadn't heard of Speedfan at the time), but I tend to pull around 45-55C with my X4 when browsing with Chrome or using regular programs, and hover in the low 60's when gaming, then around 44C when idle. Every so often, with certain games, I hit the low 70's. My question is this: Should I be worried about any of these temperatures, or is this something I need to nip in the bud? I should note that I live in Arizona, and this summer has already proven itself to be rather brutal. There's a lot of ambient heat going on, and I've seen my processor hitting the high 60's and low 70's when playing something as old as Half-Life 2. I'm just wondering if I made a mistake in swapping to a quad-core CPU. I should point out that I also recently bought a new PSU that had... let's say a few more wires than I was expecting. I've managed to bundle these wires and keep them out of the way inside the case for the most part, but would this abundance of wires(compared to my old PSU) make that much of a difference in terms of heat?

My second question has to do with heatsinks. The Athlon X4 came with a stock heatsink that was noticeably smaller(in terms of both the heatsink itself and its fan) than the stock heatsink that came with my PC, which was first affixed to the Athlon X2. On top of this, the new heatsink is a clip-on type, while the older stock sink seems to only have four screw-on posts. Is there some way of using the clip-on heatsink that I'm missing? Some part I can install? Or is it simply not compatible with my motherboard? Also, even though the older heatsink is larger, is it safe to use it with a quad-core, even thought it was originally installed atop a dual-core?

My apologies for the abundance of noob-ish questions, but I'm sort of at the end of my rope here. Any information or advice would be most appreciated.

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June 13, 2013 5:44:45 AM

Larger heatsink generally means more fins and bigger fans, hence better cooling capabilities. I think that your current heatsink does a pretty decent job at cooling your system, reaching 70 celsius under stress is not unheard of and still bellow the limit where the CPU would start throttling. Esp. given the climate where you live, it's a good cooling job. If you need to get a better cooling than that, you can always choose from a wide variety of aftermarket coolers out there, no shortage, just make sure they fit your system (mounting, size, etc.).
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June 13, 2013 5:48:29 AM

Look up the TjMax of your processor, and compare it to what your getting under gaming load in a program like CoreTemp. If your temperatures are staying ~20°C under the TjMax, then you should be fine.

If your concerned with your heatsink performance, you can always install an aftermarket one. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is common budget options and fits on just about any socket.
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June 13, 2013 2:51:16 PM

Athlon II X2 250 is 65 watt TGP and AMD Athlon II X4 640 is 95 watt TGP, you are using original 65 watt cooler, so yes you are overheating.
To make your life easier read my guide on upgrading Inspiron 570 http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3... go to Part 4 there you will see what you have and what 95 watt cooler is. You can choose Dell or Dynatron, not a big difference.

You can use only LGA775 socket coolers, your backplate has location for screws, no standard AMD attachment will work here and no Intel clips, only screws! Look through my guide, you will see.
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June 14, 2013 12:47:03 AM

house70 said:
Larger heatsink generally means more fins and bigger fans, hence better cooling capabilities. I think that your current heatsink does a pretty decent job at cooling your system, reaching 70 celsius under stress is not unheard of and still bellow the limit where the CPU would start throttling. Esp. given the climate where you live, it's a good cooling job. If you need to get a better cooling than that, you can always choose from a wide variety of aftermarket coolers out there, no shortage, just make sure they fit your system (mounting, size, etc.).


What concerned me is that my heat readings were suddenly higher, seemingly out of nowhere, and without me changing anything inside my PC. I decided to check out CoreTemp, and the temperatures it's showing me are more in line with what I saw for the first week or so of having installed my X4. On top of this, Speedfan wasn't reporting on all four cores, and had some other issues. I'm beginning to think Speedfan was just feeding me inaccurate readings, because as I said, the readings CoreTemp is giving me now are what I was seeing early on with the new processor installed.

Whatever the case, I thank you for your input, and I may just buy an aftermarket heatsink for the heck of it at some point.
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June 14, 2013 12:50:20 AM

manofchalk said:
Look up the TjMax of your processor, and compare it to what your getting under gaming load in a program like CoreTemp. If your temperatures are staying ~20°C under the TjMax, then you should be fine.

If your concerned with your heatsink performance, you can always install an aftermarket one. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is common budget options and fits on just about any socket.


From what I can gather, the TjMax of my X4 is around 70c-71c, which is why I was concerned when Speedfan was telling me I was hitting 75-77c while running Half-Life 2, of all games. As I noted in my reply to House70, these temperature "jumps" sort of came out of nowhere; I hadn't changed anything inside my PC in nearly a week, and we've had steady temperatures of 100F-102F where I live. All of a sudden, Speedfan is showing me readings 5-10 degrees higher than they were just a few days before? I tried CoreTemp, and the readings it's giving me are more in line with what I was getting used to with the new processor, and I'm not seeing any other signs of excessive heat, so I'm thinking the problem was with Speedfan.

Thanks for the input. :) 
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June 14, 2013 12:53:39 AM

Kisianik said:
Athlon II X2 250 is 65 watt TGP and AMD Athlon II X4 640 is 95 watt TGP, you are using original 65 watt cooler, so yes you are overheating.
To make your life easier read my guide on upgrading Inspiron 570 http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3... go to Part 4 there you will see what you have and what 95 watt cooler is. You can choose Dell or Dynatron, not a big difference.

You can use only LGA775 socket coolers, your backplate has location for screws, no standard AMD attachment will work here and no Intel clips, only screws! Look through my guide, you will see.


That's an excellent post you've made, and I think I'll keep it handy, should I feel the urge to add a few more bells and whistles to my own Inspiron in the future. As for the heating issue, though, I think I'm okay. As I mentioned in my other replies on this page, Speedfan was showing me readings that were 5-10 degrees higher than I had been getting after installing my X4, seemingly out of nowhere. CoreTemp is showing me readings more in-line with what I was originally seeing from Speedfan(30-35c while browsing, 28-30c when idle and 55-65c when gaming), so I think I'm okay.

If I'm still getting these temps in Autumn/Winter, however, then I think I'll be worried. Thanks for the input, though.
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June 14, 2013 8:49:08 AM

SpeedFan doesn't work on Inspiron 570, I tried.
If you still using original heatsink you are risking overheat, I would not believe in good numbers with original cooler!
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