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How cool should my CPU/GPU/motherboard be running

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February 26, 2011 6:03:54 AM

Hey all, I just finished building my first desktop PC (thanks to everyone on Tomshardware.com who helped me!), and upon installing windows 7 I fired up the ASUS PC probe and checked my temperatures:

CPU: 33-34 degrees (C) idle
MB: 25-26 degrees idle
GPU: 48 degrees idle
CPU fan: 2280 RPM

I have the following hardware:

ASUS P5P55D-E LX motherboard
i5 760 processor
8gb corsair vengence 1600mhz DDR3
radeon 6950 2gb GPU
Zalman 110mm heatsink (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

and last but certainly not least an HAF 932 case

Ok 2 things, first I only have my CPU heatsink fan linked into the mobo. The 4 large case fans are hooked up straight up into the power supply. Is this going to drastically limit the amount of cooling I can do or will their RPMs be sufficient? I will apparently need to OC my cpu a little in order to run my RAM at 1600mhz instead of 1333 (according to my bios flash) because it automatically clocked my CPU at 2.6ghz, and in my MB manual it said I need to be >2.6ghz to run memory at 1600MHz. If I should hook up my fans to the mobo, where on my motherboard would I connect them and would this make any noticeable difference in cooling? There were places denoted CHA_fan and PWR_fan but I was not sure how those worked. One other thing, I have my CPU heatsink fan controlled with knob controller that came with the heatsink. Should I link this fan directly to the mobo without using the manual control? If not, what is a good range of RPM for idle/high low so that I do not overheat my CPU but also do not overwork my fan?

Lastly, should my cpu be idling any cooler? My house is a balmy 62 degrees Fahrenheit right now and I used Arctic Silver thermal paste between my heatsink and CPU. I've read that you have to 'burn-in' your CPU. How would I go about doing that and is it necessary?

I applied my thermal paste to the contact area of my heatsink and placed it on top of the CPU instead of coating the CPU. I do not think I put too much on, but I also made sure to cover the entire contact area of the heatsink plate. I read somewhere to put the paste on the heatsink, some say put it on the CPU, and my manual said put it on both, but I was forewarned about putting too much thermal paste on.

I'm still very new at this whole built PC management and any input someone could offer me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again to the great tomshardware.com community for all of their advice so far!
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
February 26, 2011 12:10:36 PM

whatistaters said:
Hey all, I just finished building my first desktop PC (thanks to everyone on Tomshardware.com who helped me!), and upon installing windows 7 I fired up the ASUS PC probe and checked my temperatures:

CPU: 33-34 degrees (C) idle
MB: 25-26 degrees idle
GPU: 48 degrees idle
CPU fan: 2280 RPM

I have the following hardware:

ASUS P5P55D-E LX motherboard
i5 760 processor
8gb corsair vengence 1600mhz DDR3
radeon 6950 2gb GPU
Zalman 110mm heatsink (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

and last but certainly not least an HAF 932 case

Ok 2 things, first I only have my CPU heatsink fan linked into the mobo. The 4 large case fans are hooked up straight up into the power supply. Is this going to drastically limit the amount of cooling I can do or will their RPMs be sufficient? I will apparently need to OC my cpu a little in order to run my RAM at 1600mhz instead of 1333 (according to my bios flash) because it automatically clocked my CPU at 2.6ghz, and in my MB manual it said I need to be >2.6ghz to run memory at 1600MHz. If I should hook up my fans to the mobo, where on my motherboard would I connect them and would this make any noticeable difference in cooling? There were places denoted CHA_fan and PWR_fan but I was not sure how those worked. One other thing, I have my CPU heatsink fan controlled with knob controller that came with the heatsink. Should I link this fan directly to the mobo without using the manual control? If not, what is a good range of RPM for idle/high low so that I do not overheat my CPU but also do not overwork my fan?

Lastly, should my cpu be idling any cooler? My house is a balmy 62 degrees Fahrenheit right now and I used Arctic Silver thermal paste between my heatsink and CPU. I've read that you have to 'burn-in' your CPU. How would I go about doing that and is it necessary?

I applied my thermal paste to the contact area of my heatsink and placed it on top of the CPU instead of coating the CPU. I do not think I put too much on, but I also made sure to cover the entire contact area of the heatsink plate. I read somewhere to put the paste on the heatsink, some say put it on the CPU, and my manual said put it on both, but I was forewarned about putting too much thermal paste on.

I'm still very new at this whole built PC management and any input someone could offer me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again to the great tomshardware.com community for all of their advice so far!

Hooking fans into the PSU is fine, lots of people do, it just means that if the fans are 4 pin fans, then the 4th pin which allows the MB to control the fan speed, is non-functional and your fans will always run at full speed. If the fans are 3 pin fans AND your MB does not control it's fans by way of voltage (yours does not) then you get the same speed no matter where you connect them. The only thing you miss by hooking directly to PSU is, if you had a hardware monitoring system installed, like, say, HWmonitor, Speedfan, whatever, then there is no way for that program to display RPMs since they get their sensor reading through the MB. PWR_fan is for the power fan (any fan really) and the CHS_1 is for your case fan, again, if you want to. In your case you will get the same result no matter what you do.

Don't worry about overworking the fan, they are designed to run full speed their entire lives.

Depending on how your fans are arranging your airflow through the case, then I would guesstimate that your CPU temps are maybe about 5 degrees high based upon the 62 ambient temp you have given. Definitely nothing to sweat though - you're good. Your knob controller will function the same no matter where you attach the wires.
Yes there is a settling period for the thermal paste. If you are not happy with the temps in a week or so, you can pull the cooler and reapply the paste just for the heck of it but, again, you are nowhere near the danger zone so....

2.6GHz??? Your i5-760 should have clocked itself automatically at 2.8. Are your sure about this?
You can clock your memory at 1600MHz in BIOS without bringing up the CPU baseclock if you want, however considering that you will get more benefit out of tighter timings, I suggest that you leave it alone until you are more experienced at this stuff. You can really mess up your boot if you get this wrong.

Gosh, what did I miss answering?
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February 26, 2011 3:59:02 PM

Noworldorder said:
Hooking fans into the PSU is fine, lots of people do, it just means that if the fans are 4 pin fans, then the 4th pin which allows the MB to control the fan speed, is non-functional and your fans will always run at full speed. If the fans are 3 pin fans AND your MB does not control it's fans by way of voltage (yours does not) then you get the same speed no matter where you connect them. The only thing you miss by hooking directly to PSU is, if you had a hardware monitoring system installed, like, say, HWmonitor, Speedfan, whatever, then there is no way for that program to display RPMs since they get their sensor reading through the MB. PWR_fan is for the power fan (any fan really) and the CHS_1 is for your case fan, again, if you want to. In your case you will get the same result no matter what you do.

Don't worry about overworking the fan, they are designed to run full speed their entire lives.

Depending on how your fans are arranging your airflow through the case, then I would guesstimate that your CPU temps are maybe about 5 degrees high based upon the 62 ambient temp you have given. Definitely nothing to sweat though - you're good. Your knob controller will function the same no matter where you attach the wires.
Yes there is a settling period for the thermal paste. If you are not happy with the temps in a week or so, you can pull the cooler and reapply the paste just for the heck of it but, again, you are nowhere near the danger zone so....

2.6GHz??? Your i5-760 should have clocked itself automatically at 2.8. Are your sure about this?
You can clock your memory at 1600MHz in BIOS without bringing up the CPU baseclock if you want, however considering that you will get more benefit out of tighter timings, I suggest that you leave it alone until you are more experienced at this stuff. You can really mess up your boot if you get this wrong.

Gosh, what did I miss answering?


Haha you didn't miss anything I don't think.

5 degrees high sounds about right, I wasn't sure if when I put my heatsink in I somehow rubbed off some of the thermal paste when I was getting it situated on the CPU (since you have to fine tune its position and what not when you screw it in) and so it wasn't getting good heat exchange. I think my fans are positioned pretty well. I have the HAF 932 so there are huge 220mm fans on the front lower, the side, and on top, with an exhaust fan on back. I was hoping my Zalman heatsink would pull off more heat but the air coming OUT of the exhaust port is very cool. My brother said that was all that mattered but I figured if there was an issue with the heat exchange it would not show up in ambient temperature.

About the settling in period for the thermal paste, do I need to do one of those 'stress tests' in order to get it to function correctly? I definitely do not want to punish my CPU just for the sake of it but I want the paste to get in the places it needs to be in order to work the most effectively.

Thanks again!
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February 26, 2011 5:59:45 PM

I would leave stress testing until you want to oc if I were you. On the temp fronts I have the same CPU as you and would agree with yours being about 5C above, but also your GPU temp is a chunk higher than mine (mine idles at 26C) tho we have different cards (I have a GTX-460). How do you have your fans setup? Generally exhausting air will have a greater benefit than intakes. I reckon the best setup is air in T the front and from underneath, then exhaust at the top, back and side panel (over the GPU).

Back on the CPU temp it may be that you still put too much paste on. I'm far from an expert at the stuff but I was told to put a pea sized blob on.

As for fans, I found that when I plugged them all into my MB the max RPM of my CPU fan dropped by 10% for some reason! Run them off the PSU apart from the CPU fan or if it's too noisy get a fan controller - the NXZT Sentry is great and cost £26 here in the uk.

Hopefully that was helpful!

Andy
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February 27, 2011 3:32:00 AM

ABud said:
I would leave stress testing until you want to oc if I were you. On the temp fronts I have the same CPU as you and would agree with yours being about 5C above, but also your GPU temp is a chunk higher than mine (mine idles at 26C) tho we have different cards (I have a GTX-460). How do you have your fans setup? Generally exhausting air will have a greater benefit than intakes. I reckon the best setup is air in T the front and from underneath, then exhaust at the top, back and side panel (over the GPU).

Back on the CPU temp it may be that you still put too much paste on. I'm far from an expert at the stuff but I was told to put a pea sized blob on.

As for fans, I found that when I plugged them all into my MB the max RPM of my CPU fan dropped by 10% for some reason! Run them off the PSU apart from the CPU fan or if it's too noisy get a fan controller - the NXZT Sentry is great and cost £26 here in the uk.

Hopefully that was helpful!

Andy


As for the fans I have the set up from the HAF 932, so there is a 220mm on the left side, front by HDD, and top. There is also an exhaust fan on the back.

I am wondering if I put too much thermal paste on. Basically what I did was put a thin line down the middle of the heatsink plate and spread as needed with a small amount of pressure using a razor blade. This allowed me to remove the extra pretty easily, but when I saw there wasn't an area that was covered evenly (could see copper) i used some paste to cover and then spread it again.

I did not apply the paste directly to the CPU. It looked pretty even from when I spread it but I had never applied thermal paste before. I would try to reapply but I am nervous to as it was difficult to put the heat sink into place after applying the paste and I thought for sure I was going to break something haha. As of now when I run WoW on full settings in a BG i'll get up to 41-42 but usually stay around 40 degrees C. I don't plan on overclocking right now but wouldn't mind at some point when FPSs in Crysis 2 become harder to come by.

If I did choose to reapply the thermal paste how would I get it off of the CPU/heatsink without scratching and ruining something?

One last thing, I've been reading online that you need to apply thermal paste to your graphics card? I was not aware of that do I need to do it to mine?
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February 27, 2011 3:53:19 AM

AS5's web site it takes 200 hours to cure in which time it must go thru a specific amount of full thermal cycling. Some reviewers estimate that it may take up to a year to complete that cycling under "normal use".

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Quote:
After this article was first published, there was an immediate backlash from some of the manufacturers listed in this review. The primary argument was the lack of cure time. Here is the Arctic Silver 5 recommended cure time instruction from the manufacturers web site:

Due to the unique shape and sizes of the particles in Arctic Silver 5's conductive matrix, it will take a up to 200 hours and several thermal cycles to achieve maximum particle to particle thermal conduction and for the heatsink to CPU interface to reach maximum conductivity. (This period will be longer in a system without a fan on the heatsink or with a low speed fan on the heatsink.) On systems measuring actual internal core temperatures via the CPU's internal diode, the measured temperature will often drop 2C to 5C over this "break-in" period. This break-in will occur during the normal use of the computer as long as the computer is turned off from time to time and the interface is allowed to cool to room temperature. Once the break-in is complete, the computer can be left on if desired.

So by my estimation of this statement it would take almost a year of normal use to properly cure the AC5 compound, or almost nine days of continuous power cycles to meet their recommendation.


Zalman has slipped a bit from its king of the hill days, but it's still a very good cooler. This roundup is a bit dated now (3rd quarter 2010) but only big additions are the Thermalright Slver Arrow and Kuhler 620

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Follow this to OC your 760

http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/intel_core...
http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/638380-i5-overclock...

If you set ya BCLK to 160 , memory multiplier of 10 will give ya 1600 MHz
If you set ya BCLK to 200 , memory multiplier of 8 will give ya 1600 MHz


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February 27, 2011 7:23:29 AM

Maybe it would be worth downloading Prime95 and running a quick stress test just to put your mind at rest. If you do, open up your temp monitor (or dl speedfan) and watch the CPU temp as Prime95 runs the Large in place FFTs program. It will get up to full heat in about 10mins. Idealy you want temps under 50C to give you space for OC later. Stop it straight away if you hit 70C (i5-760 max temp us 72C).

If you do decide to redo the thermal paste the old stuff comes off easily. Buy something like Akasa TIM clean and it just wipes off with a cloth. To help get the paste soft first by running the PC for a few mins then be sure to get all the paste off the CPU and cooler.

I would think if your GPU came with a cooler on it it would already have thermal paste applied? You can always redo it if you don't like the temps.

It may also be worth playing with the air direction of your case fans. The thing about blowing lots of air into your case is that it needs somewhere to go. If the air is hitting similar points the turbulence caused will create dead zones where very low airflow occurs; it's better to have that outside the case by exhausting more than blowing in. When I set my fans up as I said above the temps across all my components (CPU, GPU, SYS etc.) dropped by ~10% so it's worth experimenting.

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February 27, 2011 9:59:09 AM

ABud said:
Idealy you want temps under 50C to give you space for OC later.
Actually, The OP's idle temps should be at least 15° below this, even on a warm day! The CPU temps stated in his starter post are fine. Properly, the above temperature would be the maximum under load.

ABud said:
Stop it straight away if you hit 70C (i5-760 max temp us 72C).
I am not trying to start an argument, but with everything working properly, no novice, such as our OP here, should ever be anywhere even near tCase_max.

ABud said:
To help get the paste soft first by running the PC for a few mins then be sure to get all the paste off the CPU and cooler.
This will solve nothing.
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February 27, 2011 11:30:11 AM

I meant under 50C at full load not idle, obviously >50C at idle would not be great!

The point of the comment about getting near 70C at full load is precisely that it would show up a problem with some part of the setup.

I take your opinion on cleaning the paste, like I it's just some advise I had off a friend.

Any thoughts on the OP's stats, the numbers are slightly high. As comparison my i5-760 OC to 3.6GHz idles CPU @ 26C and GPU @ 28C. Im well aware that GPUs can run much hotter than CPUs but at highert temps resistance to electrical flow increases and performance decreases plus wear rates increase.

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February 27, 2011 11:38:32 AM

On second thoughts im probably over egging the performance loss due to temps but wear will certainly occur at faster rates (not from idling but under load obv.)
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February 27, 2011 6:47:34 PM

I'm not sure if I can modify the fans in my case that much. I have the set up from how coolermaster set them up (stock fans). Whenever I feel air blowing out though it is very cool. Last night I ran some games and got up to 63 degrees C on my graphics card but that was about it. It's variable but when I haven't been running anything the temperatures are in the mid 30s now.

On the top of the HIS 6950 there is this sequin/diamond looking thing (opposite the side of the fan), do any of you know what that is? When I was installing it I accidentally touched it with my thumb and for as sensitive as these parts are I hope I did not get oil from my fingers on an important heat sink. Surely they cannot be that fragile...

Also, I reapplied my thermal paste last night. Idling temperatures are down to 32 degrees now (yay) and probably will decrease more with use. I followed Arctic Silver's guide for applying thermal paste and that will probably help a lot. When I turned my comp back on from stand by this morning it was at 29 degrees C briefly.
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February 27, 2011 7:25:20 PM

Sounds like you are all set, GREAT!
No, there is nothing on your graphics card that touching will harm - unless you are loaded with static electricity - which you were not as it is working fine.
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February 27, 2011 9:37:04 PM

All sounds good, now enjoy your PC :D 
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February 28, 2011 3:28:41 AM

Best answer selected by whatistaters.
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