Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

My CPU is 60C at idle - what do I do?

Last response: in Overclocking
Share
July 12, 2008 6:13:05 PM

My Dell Precision 390 has a QX6700. According to Core Temp and other utils it runs right around 60C at idle. After about 5 minutes of stress testing with Prime 95 it went as high as 90C even with the fans at full speed. Is this normal, or do I have a problem here? Ambient temp in the room is about 23C.

I'm just a noob when it comes to this stuff, but I figured you guys are the experts so what better place to ask. One thing to note is that I did have the CPU replaced awhile back, and I watched the tech put the grease between the CPU and heatsink, although I have no idea how good of a job he did.

I just had a custom desk built and this is with the computer in a special compartment. It's completely open in back, but there is a door on the front so you don't see the computer. The door to the compartment doesn't fully seal so there is a 1/4" or so gap all around the edges for fresh air to get in.

I thought this might be a problem but there seems to be plenty of airflow as evidenced by the fact that the temps literally drop just 1-2 C at the most if I completely open up the door where the computer is.

If I leave the door open and force both fans to high speed it will drop to about 50C at idle.

A few details on the computer if it matters - I'm running an nVidia Quadro NVS 400 which gets pretty darn hot, I've got a few hard drives in there running a RAID setup, etc. I imagine the video card is adding some extra heat overall as compared to running a "normal" video card...

Is this something to worry about? If so, what would be the best course of action? Thanks!

More about : cpu 60c idle

July 12, 2008 6:21:09 PM

That is to hot, sounds like your heatsink is not making good contact with the surface of your CPU. Have your tried reseating, making sure all retainers are properly set and giving equal pressure. If you pull off the heatsink, make sure to reapply a smoother layer of thermal paste and reseat carefully.

July 12, 2008 6:30:00 PM

I've added RAM, changed a few power supplies, etc. but I'm not sure I'm comfortable messing with the CPU and heatsink. I notice you're in Texas. You're not in the DFW area by any chance are you? If so, any idea where I could take it to have someone who knows what they are doing do it?
Related resources
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2008 6:41:26 PM

does the geek squad do that kind of thing?
July 12, 2008 6:42:15 PM

limitup said:
I've added RAM, changed a few power supplies, etc. but I'm not sure I'm comfortable messing with the CPU and heatsink. I notice you're in Texas. You're not in the DFW area by any chance are you? If so, any idea where I could take it to have someone who knows what they are doing do it?


Sorry, I'm not anywhere near DFW area. If your brave you could at least try and apply some pressure to the top of the heatsink just to make sure its making contact, may be just enought to seat it correctly if that the problem.
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2008 6:48:16 PM

I can testify that Intel's TIM (in my experience) is horrible, and could need replacing.
July 12, 2008 7:49:03 PM

You guys think it would be smart to trust my computer to someone like the Geek Squad/BestBuy type people, or do I need to find a real "pro" ?
July 12, 2008 8:14:34 PM

limitup said:
You guys think it would be smart to trust my computer to someone like the Geek Squad/BestBuy type people, or do I need to find a real "pro" ?

Pros are hard to find, and those who claim to be pros are only after your money. Geek Squad/Best Buy people know nothing, because they're just trying to earn a living on the low salary and has no interest in hardware to begin with.

You're better off reading online guides and become a pro yourself. :p 

It looks like a combination of bad installation and bad hardware. A decent cooler can get much better than that temperature even without thermal compound applied. Consider getting a new cooler:
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
July 12, 2008 8:46:11 PM

yeah be a pro yourself...

my friend hired a "pro" to assemble all the parts for him.... I did mine myself...

he had much better parts...

but in the end mine ended up performing much better than his just because he didn't know anything about it...

so do it yourself.... plus... once you do... you'll never buy from dell again
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
July 12, 2008 8:51:56 PM

One. Intel's stock push-pin HSF is lousy. You could perform a quick check by applying a little rotational pressure on the heatsink, if it shifts, it is not making good contact.

Two Concur with dagger, recommend replacing the Intel HSF with an after markert brand (Aprox $30 -> $40). Would not lump all Geek squad as inept, but it is pot luck. But then this is more a mechanical process than electronics knowlege. Unless you are the "Two Thumbs" type of individual I would say You can do as good as avg tech. Just read up on it - Don't put to much thermal compound on and make sure the "Block" make good, solid contact with the CPU. Don't forget if you pull the HSF you need to clean the old compound off - use 90% alcohol.
July 12, 2008 10:02:48 PM

As far as figuring out what will work, is it just a matter of making sure there is enough space for a new 3rd-party cooler to fit properly?

To keep things simple I started looking for a Dell replacement part that I know will work in my Precision 390, and a few people seem to have good luck with upgrading to this one:

http://www.centrix-intl.com/details.asp?productid=5028

It's a direct replacement so no fitment issues. I'm thinking I'll just give it a try ... it's got to be better than this crappy aluminum heatsink that's on here now.

Thanks for the replies! One guy with the same Precision 390 was about 65C under load, and with this new P8016 he is at around 45C. I'm at 60C at idle so I think I also have a bad contact issue as well, so hopefully I can kill 2 birds with one stone by upgrading.

Thanks for all the replies!
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2008 2:37:18 AM

Based on the picture of the system I found:
http://videoediting.digitalmedianet.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=53163

The cooler is not stock, and needs a special housing. The replacement part you found looks like what is probably already there, and so would likely fit well.

Have you verified that the CPU cooler fan is turning?

Also from the pic, it looks like your vid card feeds hot air right into the CPU cooler.

Also, I think your Quaddro has no fan... if such is the case, you might benefit from a slot cooler next to it, provided there is room:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835888602
July 13, 2008 3:10:49 AM

Is your Dell still under warranty? It might be worth a call to them with your findings to see what they have to say about the high temps. I would not trust it to a Geek Squad, that's for sure. I doub't they have staff, knowledge, or even supplies to deal with the issue at all...but they'd likely be glad to pop the case open so they can take your $$.

I'd call Dell to see if its running within their specs.
July 13, 2008 7:44:27 AM

I may give Dell a call although I have a feeling they will say that it is within Intel's specs so they probably won't want to do anything.

The fans are working fine. I opened it up to verify which heatsink I have in here now, and it is indeed the crappy one that looks like this. Not sure why they would use this on a quad core QX6700...



I took it off just for "practice" and the gease was a mess. All clumpy and uneven, etc. It didn't look like it was doing much good so I removed all the grease from both the CPU and heatsink and put it all back together.

Unfortunately now the thing is at 78C at idle LOL so I guess that was a bad idea. I'll run up to Radio Shack tomorrow to pick up some Artic Silver. I guess this crappy heatsink won't even seat up properly without grease. I re-did it 3 times and it feels solid (can't move it at all etc) but who knows.

So I'm going to replace it with this heatsink which is a direct replacement:



I'm also adding a slot cooler above the video card so hopefully that will help too.

Thanks to all for the replies - much appreciated. Wish me luck!
July 13, 2008 1:39:46 PM

We've got your back. You can get better goo than Artic Silver 5, even though that's still good stuff. If you can pick up some Artic Cooling MX-2 or OCZ Freeze you'll have as good or superior TIM without the curing time of AS-5.
July 13, 2008 2:27:44 PM

That heatsink looks strange. How big is it? :p 
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2008 2:28:14 PM

You also need to make sure your CPU is real clean before placing the new cooler, and you shouldn't be operating your comp at all at that idle temp.
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2008 2:30:23 PM

dagger said:
That heatsink looks strange. How big is it? :p 


It's a replacement part for the one he has. Scroll up to my post from the other day where I linked a pic of his layout.
July 13, 2008 2:34:46 PM

Proximon said:
It's a replacement part for the one he has. Scroll up to my post from the other day where I linked a pic of his layout.

You should really have gotten a standardized heatsink from a third source. The contact area looks like it doesn't cover the whole cpu surface area, and there's also the thin, semi-detached contact plate. Design doesn't look promising. It's just not ideal. I'm sure it should still work fine though if you don't overclock.
July 13, 2008 2:44:55 PM

Well, dagger, if its the manufacturer's direct replacement it should be fine...but TBH, were I going through all this trouble I might try a known 3rd party heatsink as well. The now popular Xigmatek S-1283 might do the trick.

However, I do wonder what toying with this will do to the OP's warranty. One of the reasons to go with a pre-made machine is for the warranty, I'd hate to see that get messed up. OP, can you verify that your warranty is not going to be affected by you replacing the CPU's HSF?
July 13, 2008 7:06:31 PM

Just another update. I ran out and got some Arctic Silver Ceramique grease and boy what a difference. Just putting that inbetween the CPU my crappy stock aluminum heatsink has me back down to 55C at idle whereas it was 60C before. And this is 5 minutes after turning it back on. Woohoo, at least I'm heading in the right direction now.

I've found a 6 tube Dell heatsink that I'm going to try next just to keep things simple since I know it's a perfect fit.



I've looked at the "top 5 heatsinks" page including the Xigmatek S-1283. It looks like it might work, but I'm not sure it will mount easily. Rather than the 4 standard holes around the CPU, Dell's mobo has threaded holes that you actually screw the stock shroud down into. Maybe these holes would work fine with any other heatsink, but maybe not??

Anyway, thanks for all the replies and help. This board rocks.

Oh and as far as the warranty, I think it's ended by now. Either way I don't really care. The last tech Dell sent out did a crappy job so I'd rather just learn a few things and fix this problem myself.
July 13, 2008 7:13:39 PM

Very cool. ...just wanted you to make sure.
July 14, 2008 8:42:53 PM

Just wanted to post a follow-up and say thanks again to everyone. With the new heatsink it runs 48C at idle, and it hit 72C max after 15 mins at 100% load. The slot cooler didn't make a difference either way, and it's pretty loud, so I ended up taking that back out. Thanks again to all for the input. I think I'm good now!
July 14, 2008 11:50:48 PM

limitup said:
Just wanted to post a follow-up and say thanks again to everyone. With the new heatsink it runs 48C at idle, and it hit 72C max after 15 mins at 100% load. The slot cooler didn't make a difference either way, and it's pretty loud, so I ended up taking that back out. Thanks again to all for the input. I think I'm good now!

That's pretty bad. The thermal threshold is 71C, you don't want it to hit that mark no matter what, to aviod throttling. At 72C, it should already be throttling back to 6x, which reduces heat, thus not going much further than that.

Either you didn't install that heatsink properly or it's just not doing the job. You may have to replace it with a proper standardized cooler.
July 15, 2008 12:10:07 AM

Given that he's seeing a 12C drop in idle temps and an 18C drop in load temps I'd be more inclined to believe something else is amiss. I don't think its realistic that he's going to go from 60C idle to 34C idle or from 90C load to 46C...that's not realistic.

I believe something else is wrong. Its more likely that the software he's using to measure temps is inaccurate or that Dell's done something in their bios that's keeping the software from getting accurate measurements.
July 15, 2008 12:43:46 AM

Hmm. I've been mainly using Core Temp to monitor the temps, so I did some Googling. I read that in some situations Core Temp reports temps that are up to 10 degrees higher than they really are, so I started looking at some other utils.

A lot of people seem to like SpeedFan and some call it the most accurate, so I tried that next. It reports the exact same temps for all 4 cores.

(My computer does NOT like SpeedFan. It basically locked up my computer for about 60+ seconds when I first loaded it, to the point where I was ready to force a shutdown. Then all of a sudden it started working. Or maybe this is normal ... ?)

Fan Control, which is a program made specifically for Dells, also reports the exact same temps.

Everest also reports the exact same temps.

Finally I tried Real Temp 2.60 and now we have a real discrepancy. Real Temp shows temps that are roughly 15C less than all the other utils.

I get no throttling when my temps are over 71C (according to all the utils aside from Real Temp), so do I assume that Real Temp is correct and all the others are wrong?

I ran another stress test at 100% load for about 15 mins and the highest it got according to Real Temp was 60C while the others all show 75C as you can see in this screenshot. At this point the fans were not even on high either.

I did the "Test Sensors" function in Real Temp and it indicates they are all good, and according to Real Temp my idle temp is about 34C.

July 15, 2008 2:05:20 AM

Ok well upon further investigation I found out that Real Temp is using a TJ Max of 85 for my CPU, and the others are all apparentely using a TJ Max of 100, which explains the 15 degree difference.

As a noob I obviously have no idea which is correct, but from the quick research I've done my QX6700 B3 stepping CPU should have a TJ Max of 100, not 85.

To confuse things even more, Dagger said I should see throttling at 72C. But from what I know throttling happens 5 degrees before TJ Max, so whether my TJ Max is 85 or 100 that still doesn't make sense to me...

On the plus side, with my old heatsink the fans would go nuts after a few minutes at full load. Now even after 30 mins of 100% load they still don't go into high ... so I assume the CPU isn't getting TOO hot and I should be safe.
July 15, 2008 2:17:48 AM

I rather doubt that 100C is the accurate TjMax. 85C is much more believable to me.
July 15, 2008 2:25:24 AM

halcyon said:
I rather doubt that 100C is the accurate TjMax. 85C is much more believable to me.

That's wishful thinking. It should be more like 90 or even 95. Besides, it's better to overestimate, just to be on the safe side. Coretemp is what I always use for q6600, and it registers 58C full load prime95 small ffts. You want it cool... :p 
July 15, 2008 2:35:33 AM

Well, the newer 45nm chips are thought to have a TjMax of 95...so I'd think the older processor would have a lower TjMax as that seems consistent with older processor. In fact his QX6700 shouldn't have a TjMax too different from yours Dagger...just seems more logical that it'd be 80...85C. What's Core Temp estimate your TjMax at Dagger? Isn't the QX6700 in the same generation as the Q6600?
July 15, 2008 2:43:47 AM

halcyon said:
Well, the newer 45nm chips are thought to have a TjMax of 95...so I'd think the older processor would have a lower TjMax as that seems consistent with older processor. In fact his QX6700 shouldn't have a TjMax too different from yours Dagger...just seems more logical that it'd be 80...85C. What's Core Temp estimate your TjMax at Dagger? Isn't the QX6700 in the same generation as the Q6600?

It's using 100C. :p 

Strange, it's reading 38-40 on idle across the cores now, compared to 35-37 idle I got 3 month back, when I stressed it. Maybe somehow it's using a lower TjMax then? Oh well. Doesn't matter. :sarcastic: 
July 15, 2008 3:25:50 AM

Well now I'm pretty confused lol. At the very least, is the fact that I don't see any throttling even when at 100% load for 15+ mins a good sign that I'm not running too hot?
July 15, 2008 3:29:08 AM

limitup said:
Well I'm totally confused now lol. At the very least, is the fact that I don't see any throttling even when at 100% load for 15+ mins a good sign that I'm not running too hot?

Most people run it for 12hrs without errors to ensure stability. :p 
July 15, 2008 4:20:44 AM

What makes no sense is that I'm now running what is basically Dell's most efficient/best heatsink (based on my research). They shipped it with a crappy all aluminum one which I think was a mistake as that heatsink is not made for quad core setups I don't think, so what I have now is how I imagine it should have came from Dell. Yeah my graphics card puts off some heat but the heatsink sitting on top of it is right in the path of the air from the fans and should flow right out the back so that shouldn't make much difference. Maybe Dell's just run hot I dunno. But installing a non-Dell heatsink is a total hack job that not many people attempt, so I have to think my setup should be OK otherwise Dell would figure out a better system, no? I dunno, maybe I can look into a better fan ...
July 15, 2008 11:36:18 AM

dagger said:
It's using 100C. :p 

Strange, it's reading 38-40 on idle across the cores now, compared to 35-37 idle I got 3 month back, when I stressed it. Maybe somehow it's using a lower TjMax then? Oh well. Doesn't matter. :sarcastic: 


Dagger, check that out, I think 100C TjMax for a Q6600 sounds a little fishy. Do you have Everest, can you confirm?
July 16, 2008 2:48:11 AM

What do you all consider to be the most accurate util for determining temps? And do you all actually know your accurate TJ Max value etc and set this in the software you use? Or do you just assume whatever util you're using is correct? Maybe all my worrying is for nothing at this point. At least I'm running 10-15C cooler than I was before...
July 16, 2008 10:11:09 AM

I tend to use 3 utilities, and they're all consistent for me. I use RealTemp, CoreTemp, and Everest Ultimate. Intel does not release TjMax values for its processors to the programmers of the utilities estimate what they believe it to be.
!