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Running hot with zalman and arctic silver?!

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February 12, 2005 9:59:35 PM

I've built a system using a DFI LanParty UT nf3 250gb mobo, 64 3200+ newcastle CPU, and a Zalman 7000A (all copper) fan with Arctic Silver 5.

The CPU is running 54 C idle, 63+ under load!! I just talked to a guy today who is running the same CPU with stock cooler and thermal pad at 27 C idle.

I've tried reapplying the silver. They tell you to put a small bb sized bit on the center of the heat spreader and put the heat sink on top to squish it out. I've used various "bb" sizes of silver on the cpu and nothing seems to make a difference.

I was able to get it up to 60 C (idle!) when covering the entire head spreader on the cpu with arctic silver instead of using the BB approach.

Any time I clean off the arctic silver I use isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%)

Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong? I figure since this is the first time I've used a non-stock heat sink that I'm doing something blatantly wrong. What I don't get is how consistent the idle temperature is no matter what size bb of arctic silver I use. I cannot break 54 C.

Thanks
February 13, 2005 1:26:11 AM

Are you sure the heatsink is firmly attached? You shouldn't be able to tweak/twist it back and forth much once it is attached (I would try to a few times just to spread out the thermal paste).
Are you using the fanmate thing that came with it? Try not using it or making sure it is turned up all the way.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>
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February 13, 2005 3:17:45 AM

The heat sync is as tight as a I can make it. I mean it wiggles a liiiitle bit but I think what you'd expect after tightening the screws as much as possible.

I just removed the arctic silver and tried the grease that came with the Zalman cooler. Right now it's running one degree less! (53 C). That's odd isn't it?

Also, I tried removing the Fan Mate. Still no go on the low temperature-o.

I think the next step is to try the stock cooler that came with the AMD chip itself. If THAT doesn't work, then I guess I have a hot CPU.

What do you guys think?
February 13, 2005 8:06:15 AM

When I built my system I(Intel P4 2.4c) I found some motherboards reported the tempreture higher on some and lower on others. It could vary by upto 10c.

Just out of intrest, did you find the Zalman a pig to fit or was it easy?
February 13, 2005 8:31:08 AM

Ah the Zalman was so easy to install. Actually every single aftermarket cooler I've installed, including the nv5 for the 6800GT was a breeze.

Check this out:
http://www.zalmanusa.com/upload/product/7000A.swf

Thanks for the mobo tip.

A curiosity: I installed the CPU on a soltek board that eventually ate it. Now it's in this DFI. Both boards were reporting the same temperature. I know it's not the arctic silver now because I'm using the Zalman grease. So it's either the CPU or the Zalman that's the heat problem.

But it's probably Option C: I-DEN-10-T error, but what the hell can I do.
February 13, 2005 1:32:06 PM

Discharge yourself by first touching the inside of your case. A metal part of course. Now while the CPU is under load and the temps are hot touch the heatsink and see how long you can leave your hand on it if at all. Report back on how hot to the touch it was.

Better than that, if you have a thermometer that you use to take your temperature when you are sick"It really needs to be a digital thermometer' you can place one of these towards the base of the heatsink and see what temps it reports. Check more than one spot on the heatsink. The temps will be a few degrees lower than they actually are at the CPU but this is a very close indicator. Those digital ones can be bought in any dollar store for less than $6.00.

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February 13, 2005 10:24:11 PM

I'm going to go buy a thermometer to try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

The case has been open for a while and still reads a high temperature. 54 C and holding!

That stuff confuses me. NOTHING seems to matter. I've changed thermal compound, have had the case open. Even with the fan plugged directly into the board (i.e. running at top speed, or at least as high as the cool n quiet allows) it's at 54C.

I'm off to return a DVI/VGA converter to compusa. They sell em for only 30 bucks there! (i got a replacement from newegg for 5 bucks). See if I can get a thermometer while I'm out.

Thanks for all the help so far. It really is encouraging when this is so confusing and frustrating!!!
February 14, 2005 2:11:22 AM

Post the temp readings that you get when at idle and then get a couple of readings when the system is under load. Post both. I will see what the difference is between using a digital and my infrared temp gauge. Knowing that along with the rise and fall of the temps should tell us if your getting accurate readings or not.

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February 15, 2005 6:14:43 PM

There is a lot of fake artic silver going around.

In fact there is a lot of "silver" heatsink compound out there with "zero" silver content. They just take the cheapest thermal paste they can find and add silver coloring.

Some big name companies have even shipped fake artic silver compound with the products only to issue a recall when they discoverd they had been conned.

BTW 70% isn't "high-purity isopropyl alcohol", you are better off using nail polish remover which is often nearly 100% acetone (read the label).

PS don't explain why you need nail polish remover to the chashier, apparently freaks still rate higher than geeks :( <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Codesmith on 02/15/05 03:23 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 16, 2005 1:12:19 AM

I came across some stuff called "goof off" that works extremely well when cleaning up thermal paste. I had to clean up a proc once that had the white cheapo thermal paste on it and it had hardened completely. Nail polish, and other alcohols didn't dent it at all. I put on a couple drops of this goof off stuff and it took the thermal paste right off.

I also came across some extremely good thermal paste. My friend gave me some of this <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductdesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">GeIL thermal paste</A> and it is WAY better than arctic silver. It dropped my temps dramatically.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>
February 16, 2005 6:01:42 AM

Is your CPU and recently bought P4 by any chance(prescott core)?
February 16, 2005 10:15:38 AM

The Zalman heat sync was not too hot to the touch anywhere, and the thing is shaped as such that it's really difficult to get a place to put the thermometer. Here's what I could come up with:

95F at load
Couldn't get a reading at idle, manual says it's lower than 90F when that happens.

I finally said 'screw it' and pulled out the mobo and mounted the stock fan. These are the temperatures I'm getting with the thermometer:

104F at Load
Couldn't get a reading at idle

The temperature is wavering between 72 and 74C according to the windows readout.

So with the Zalman fan I'm getting around 68C at load, and 54C at idle. With the stock fan, 74C at load, 54C at idle.

BTW my PWMIC got up to 45C during the test with the stock cooler... What is that?

Well I'm stumped. It looks like the Zalman IS doing better at the higher temperatures (although 6C is nothing to write home about) but the elusive 54 barrier remains unbroken.
February 16, 2005 10:16:12 AM

Oh, and it's a 64 3200+ CPU.

And check this out. I put the Zalman back in. Again. And while I was messing around with the fan settings via the motherboard Smart Guardian software, I decided to turn the fan off unless it got over 55C.

With the fan _off_ it is not going over 55C.

Actually it's had a few minutes to heat up some more, and what it's doing is pulsing the fan. The fan kicks in for a second, and then cuts out once it gets back to 55C.

So now I just put it at 60C for the fan to kick in, and it's not rising above 56C.

What I'm wondering is this. Is it possible I have a bad temperature gauge? Because I'm guessing if the CPU was REALLY running at 55C, and the fan was off, it would start running even hotter very quickly.

I.e. why would the temperature of the CPU with the fan on be about the same as the temperature with the fan off, even with some time for it to heat up the sync? Maybe the floor temperature of that gauge is 54? And it wont report a temp lower than that? If that's the case, that would explain why having the fan off doesn't change the temperature unless it's had some time to heat up past the floor reading...

Well I'm not sure what else I can do. I think if I had another CPU i'd put it in and test the Zalman. So far the sync, paste, and motherboard have all been changed. The one variable I can think of is the CPU now...

OK I'm rambling. Thanks for all your help so far.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by pwrstick on 02/16/05 08:36 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 16, 2005 9:16:03 PM

95F is only like 35C. That is not bad at all.
If the heatsink is not getting extremely hot to the touch and those readings from the thermometer are correct you have a faulty mobo reading. If it isn't crashing from heat when it says 74C you definatly have a faulty temp reading on the mobo.
Is there a bios update avaliable? Sometimes those fix temp problems.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>
February 16, 2005 9:48:57 PM

I'm pretty much convinced it's faulty too. The heat sync was very cool to the touch, and when it was at 74C the system was as stable as can be. I was playing iTunes, prime95 (torture test for heat), and counter strike!

Counter strike ran extremely well, I guess the GPU really does take most of the load.

Anyway, I did some searching and I found a forum with people talking about a lot of temperature readings on Newcastle cores being incorrect. DFI does not provide an update right now.

These peeps said it could be off by 10 to 15 degrees C. Right now the temperature is 51C (I broke 54 finally!) so worst case scenario its running at 41C.

Just wish I knew this before I spent maybe a total of 15 hours dealing with this crap. Sheesh.

Thanks again for everyone's help!
February 16, 2005 10:12:40 PM

That is one of many reasons I invested in a fan controller w/ temp sensors :) 

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>
February 16, 2005 11:03:22 PM

One of some good reasons to buy one indeed :) 

And updating the bios... well, i tried to update my MSI K8N Neo2 and well I rebooted and my PC wouldn't get back to windows :p  So I resetted my bios (with the jumpers) and it works again now, maybe my SatanI-hdd's didn't like the update.

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February 17, 2005 12:24:14 AM

what type of fan controller with sensor do you have?
February 17, 2005 1:11:46 AM

I have a Fan-O-Matic fan controller. It is a higher end fan controller though, you may not need some of its extra featers (it is about $150). A much cheaper solution is the CoolerMaster Aerogate II. It is only like $40 and it is very good.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>
February 18, 2005 12:46:13 AM

I checked a digital themometer against my infrared on three different setups. The digital is going to be around 3-4 Degrees C. In other words add 3-4 degrees C and you will be very close. Also, if you can try to get readings on more than one side of the heatsink. The hottest reading is going to be the one you want because that is where the temp sensor is going to be.

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June 7, 2005 10:22:08 PM

I hate to but in but I have the exact same temps at idle with my Thermalright SK 7 and thermaltake smart fan. My temps were at 40/25C originaly and now there up to 56/33C idle. Reseated heatsink,updated bios,cleaned,everythind same as original except I cahanged MB about 6 mons.ago. Everything was fine until about 3 days ago. Now my sys reboots hwen it heats up enough. Something went haywire!!!

Original Mb was Epox 8RDA+ now I have a Abit NF7-S.Thats the only Difference and I didn't get reboots for the last 6 mons.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by djkovach on 06/07/05 06:24 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 7, 2005 11:19:19 PM

Sent my 8RDA+ back for leaky capacitors and now am running high temps with an ABIT NF7-S.
!