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How hot is too hot for a northbridge

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February 11, 2008 3:36:55 AM

I hope this isn't a stupid question but I happened to come across a monitor which measures the temperature of various components of my computer and I was startled to see that the temperature of the northbridge in my dual core Intel ranges normally between 135 and 150 degrees F. Can that much heat be a normal occurrence? Anyone know?

Thanks a bunch.

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February 11, 2008 3:37:59 AM

What northbridge are you using?

Try touching the heatsink (active or passive). If it is too hot to touch for a while, it is too hot.
February 11, 2008 3:51:12 AM

Well, I have read the "too hot to touch" descriptions somewhere before. But it strikes me as quite subjective. 150 degrees sounds like it is too hot to touch for very long. But maybe not.

As for active or passive, I don't know the difference, quite frankly. There is a fan for the CPU, another for exhaust, one for the power supply and finally one for the hard drives. It's a 2.66 Ghz Dual Core Intel Xeon. Does that tell you anything?
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February 11, 2008 4:04:36 AM

What I meant by active / passive is how your Northbridge is cooled: either by fan / water (active), or simply a heatsink (passive). Sounds like you have a passive heatsink.

If that's the case, there are two options for you.

1. Obtain a same-size fan to be mounted on the heatsink. Usually the heatsink can mount a 80mm fan between the fins. You need to make sure it does support that.

2. Obtain an aftermarket active heatsink. This means, heatsink with fans, or a waterblock for watercooling system. You also need to make sure the aftermarket heatsink is compatible with your motherboard.

If additional information are provided (i.e. Chipset, Motherboard name), it'll be a lot easier to give you specific suggestions on cooling solutions.

EDIT: Also you can provide the make and model of your computer (if you bought it from OEMs like Dell), or a picture of the board (close up pictures).
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February 11, 2008 10:50:20 AM

Most of the 1066 and higher FSB systems run pretty hot Northbridges - obviously the speed of the memory and how much you overclock it also increases the thermal effect.

1. Good case cooling - front and rear fans will help pull air over the heatsink on the bridge and lower the temps..

2. The type of heatsink (passive vs active fan) will effect it. There are some superior quality coolers out there you could upgrade if you were interested ... even watercooling blocks.

3. Some heatsinks are poorly factory fitted with thermal paste - Iv'e found a few with none fitted. It is worthwhile reseating one which is getting very hot. A luttle tip here ... the guts of a biro can help remove those plastic split pin bridge retainers ... push it over the pins forcing them together from the bottom of the mobo.

4. Obstruction to the airflow over the heatsink for the bridge ... some are fitted in a bad spot depending on the layout of the rest of the case and what types of cards you put in it ... so check and loom up the wiring to maximise the airflow in the area for a start.

I'd have concerns if my Northbridge was pushing in excess of 50 C and I couldn't get it down, though Iv'e worked on a couple of boards with higher temps and they still ran like clockwork.

Addressing the majority of thermal issues from the main culprits - cpu, gpu, chipset (Northbridge) and HDD will likely mean a more stable and longer lasting PC.

Since I cane the guts out of my machines I ignore my own advice and pay the consequence of a short hard life ...

I suggest you do the opposite as I spend way too much replacing fried bits.

:) 


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