The system runs very well for day-to-day things, but for intense gaming and long-run numerical algorithms (the latter I do more often than the former) it gets very hot with the stock setup. I was running Sins of a Solar Empire on it and it shut-down after about 1.5 hours because the system temperatures were too high, probably because of the additional GPU heat. The case it adequate for cooling; however, the front fan is a covered by the internal 5.25 drive ports so it's current effectiveness is questionable.
A picture of the current CPU setup:
I've modified the BIOS to run both case fans and the CPU fan at maximum always (not very loud still) and I've bench-marked my system temperatures using a Monte Carlo simulation mpi'd on all 4 cores to 100%.
System-Start: 41 C 45 C
Idle for 10min: 43 C 54 C
CPU 100% (no GPU) for 20min: 60 C 54 C
The case fans run at 1100 & 1300 RPM while the CPU fan is at 3100 RPM. My thoughts were getting higher CFM case fans and an aftermarket CPU cooler. I also thought it might be useful to modify the side vent on my case to mount an inward blowing 80mm fan (right above the CPU). Ideally, I'd like to get the temperatures down 8-10C on the CPU.
I'm limited in CPU heat-sink space by the RAM so my dimensions for expansion are 100mm X 100mm X 150mm for the heat sink, and any heatsink larger than 120mm would not allow me to mount a side 80mm fan.
Does anyone have any useful experience/suggestions on how to reduce the temperatures? Or any product ideas that would help?
Get a Noctua NH-C12P (I have the vertical version the NH-U12P), it keeps my P II 940 nice and cool (quiet too). BTW drop the 80mm side fan. (you will have better/unbroken airflow, from the front of the case, to the rear) Also if you are that worried, get an Antec 900, or 902 case (those will fit the NH-U12P). Also get rivatuner, that way you can adjust the fan speed on the video card too. Another tip, get a PCI slot cooler and mount it 2 slots below your video card.
P.S. the (Noctua) NH-C12P is $60 on newegg, and the Antec 900 is $110.
I know, it's likely the GPU that's the culprit for the shutdown temp limit having been reached. I'm probably paranoid about these temperatures, but I would like this system to last for awhile, so the additional cost to cool it is fine, plus I would like to overclock it with a proper aftermarket heat-sink one day. I think that I'm going to go with a fan-only solution for the time being because I don't have the necessary tools or workspace here at school to work with a heat-sink plus it's really hot and dusty in my room.
I'm thinking about getting a PCI slot cooler for an exhaust port, and getting a bigger CFM fan for the 120mm exhaust. However, this creates a quandary to maintain a steady intake and exhaust mass flow rate. I would need to get a MASSIVE fan for the front intake fan, but the flow is rather obstructed. My thinking is getting a higher CFM for the front intake as well and mounting a side intake 80mm fan where the side port is. This is the likely route that I will take, however, I'm concerned about my computer registering on the Rickter scale when it starts up and the police being called for unlicensed rocket launching activity at my house!
Thanks, for the frosty-tech link with the low-profile heat-sinks, I will keep that for future reference when I do decide to overclock.