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Tips needed for keeping my new rig fast & cool

Last response: in Systems
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December 10, 2008 1:49:32 PM

While doing the research on the hardware below I stumbled across this GREAT site and I thought this might be a good place to get a little feedback/help on my new system. (If you want you can skip to the questions below if you don't want the "fluff".)

RIG:

CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core
CPU Cooler - Thermaltake Blue Orb II (I already had it)
MOBO - EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI
MEMORY - G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel
GRAPHICS - PNY GeForce GTX 280 1GB PCIe
HD'S - 74 GIG Raptor for Boot & OS,
300 GIG WD Caviar for apps & storage
500 GIG WD My Book removable for backups/extra storage
POWER - PC Power & Cooling Silencer - S75QB 750W SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified
CASE - Antec Nine Hundred
SONY DVD/RW
Acer G-24 (24"LCD)
Vista 64 bit

My thoughts:

Basically, I built this rig for iRacing.com which is a new online racing/motorsport simulation, and for other games/sims. (If you are into sim racing you really should check iRacing out!) I also enjoy stuff like the Call of Duty titles as well. So I wanted to take my gear to the next level, as what I was running was being brought to its knees by iRacing. So far, (knock on wood) I have had no problems whatsoever since I got it all up and running. This was my 4th or 5th build so I felt fairly confident going into it. I chose the GTX 280 based on the info I found here, and basically built the rest around it, lol. I definitely wanted to be able to SLI another 280 down the road if I chose to and I may be picking up another 280 sooner than later, lol. So I hope I got enough power for 2 of them with the Silencer 750. I also wanted to be able to utilize as much memory as I could which is why I went 64-bit. I went with the E8500 Wolfdale based on its reputation for gaming - the primary purpose of the rig.


Fan Control/Cooling questions:

Anyway, I still have some questions and would also like your thoughts & some general feedback (good & bad) on the system itself. One thing I immediately noticed was it was LOUD!!! The 2 120mm drive bay fans, 120mm side & back fan's, 200mm top fan and CPU fan really keep it nice and cool, but it comes with a price I guess, lol.

Should I get a controller to regulate all the fans in this thing? My computer desk is in the living/entertainment/TV room and often I chill on the couch and if it is still running (which it mostly is) the noise is a little annoying. When I built it, I just set all the fans on HIGH, so if I get a controller I should leave them on high, right? I read the reviews on here of several controllers (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fighting-fan-noise-...) and I like the Akasa & the SilverStone. But I have never set one of these up so I am kind of lost, lol. I think with the number of fans in this system I would have to have 2 of each controller wouldn't I? One will run 4 fans, the other will only run 3 if I read it correctly. Any advice would be helpful, but my goals are to reduce noise while idle while keeping it nice and cool. I use headphones for gaming or if I use my sound system it is plenty loud enough to not notice the noise. :o  But right now all the fans are always at full speed.

Speed/OC'ing?:
It's already pretty fast at default settings, but I was wondering if I should venture into overclocking? Frankly, this scares the bejezuz outta me as I have never done it before. Hell, I am a little intimidated just tinkering around in the BIOS, and have only set stuff like the boot order and disabling onboard sound/video and such. Anything beyond that and I am just plain ignorant, lol. But, folks say it is "free" speed that you should take advantage of if available and my hardware should certainly support a little OC, right? Any thoughts?

Sorry for the length of my 1st post, but thanks for the help and for this great resource website! :D 
December 10, 2008 1:58:37 PM

I Dont think you can use fan controlers with the antec 900 case fans as they connect using 4 pin not 3, can any1 conferm this?
December 10, 2008 2:12:15 PM

What are your temps? Especially since you haven't OC'ed anything yet, you can probably switch all the fans to "Low" and still stay quite cool.
Related resources
December 10, 2008 2:39:03 PM

The only monitoring software I currently have is the temperature utility included in PC Wizard 2008. I believe it usually shows the CPU at 29deg C while just sitting on the desktop. Not sure about under any load though. I am at the office right now so that is on memory. Any recomendations on software I can use to check it under load or do some benchmarks or tests?
December 10, 2008 2:48:11 PM

Install speedfan to monitor your temperatures.

Turn the fans to low and see how you do. A little bit hot is OK, just so long as you don't exceed the limits. Try medium also.

For research on quiet computing, go to www.silentpcreview.com.

Your cooler looks nice, but I think a tower type, like the Xigmatek S1283 is more effective. It directs the hot cpu air directly towards the rear exit fans, instead of letting it recirculate.

I once tried the Zalman front panel fan controller, but I found it not worth the effort to use manual controllers to set fan speeds.
You can have speedfan control the speeds, based on temperatures. It is a bit tricky to implement. I found that the constantly changing fan speeds was more annoying than a constant, albeit higher one. If you want to fine tune constant fan speeds, use a Zalman fanmate to get a continuous adjustment for a particular fan. They are cheap.


It is probably not worth the change, but a Antec P182 case would be a bit quieter.
December 10, 2008 3:38:38 PM

My thoughts:

Heat rises. Why would anyone want to put a heater,(Power Supply) in the bottom of a case? To heat up every component above it?

Geofelt said, "Your cooler looks nice, but I think a tower type, like the Xigmatek S1283 is more effective. It directs the hot cpu air directly towards the rear exit fans, instead of letting it recirculate." 100% agree!

With a better CPU HSF and the temps you are getting you could probabaly turn off, (unplug) all but a couple of those case fans.
I would try running just the front lower fan (inlet) and the upper rear fan(exaust) and direct the Xig fan to flow directly in to it. Unplug all other fans and monitor the temps. If you hold 50C under load your good.

Who likes to sit next to a running vacuum cleaner anyway.
December 10, 2008 3:54:10 PM

Heat rises. Why would anyone want to put a heater,(Power Supply) in the bottom of a case? To heat up every component above it?
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A psu takes care of it's own cooling needs. A high mounted psu will get hotter because of the hot air inside of the case, coming from the cpu and vga card. That will make it less effective, and cause the psu fan to spin up, creating more noise.

When mounted in the bottom, the psu heat is directed out the back quickly. Because it gets cooler intake air, it also does not have to work as hard. Very little psu heat gets recirculated with this arrangement. Some cases, like the Antec P180 have a separate compartment to isolate the psu. Over time, that compartment was eliminated because it really did not make a difference.
December 10, 2008 4:32:02 PM

Use core temp to check out your temps in idle and while playing games. Then switch your fans to medium or even low. For the time that I had that case I found that the high speed only made 2-5c difference, with a good cpu cooler it wasn't worth the tremendous noise.

@Knotknut
There are 3 reasons I can gather for putting the psu on the bottom.
1. Many psu themselves generate a lot of heat and need to be cooled. So placing them on the bottom allows them to draw cooler air and avoid overheating.

2. PSUs are designed to draw air and push it outside the case, so the heat they generate doesn't effect the rest of the system.

3. With the PSU on the bottom fans can be placed at the top to further help with cooling. (I like to set these as intakes to keep fresh air on the PSU)
December 10, 2008 5:01:21 PM

Other than for balast I see no reason to put the PSU in the bottom of the case.

If anything should be at the bottom of the case it should be the CPU.



!