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Gtx 260 sli Heat problem

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June 24, 2009 5:41:05 PM

Hello to all:

I posted this in the "case mods" forum and didn't get much help.

My Build:

i7 920
2 GTX260's in SLI
Cooler Master CM 690 Nvidia Edition (With all 7 case fan slots filled with stock & Best Buy quality 6x120mm and 1x80mmx15mm)
6 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
Corsair TX850 PSU
Asus P6T MOBO
Vista 64
Noctua 1366SE CPU Heatsink

My Problem:

With GPU (and all other fans) at 100%, after about 15 minutes of Furmark stability test GPU's hit 90c or so and crashes system. It also happens when gaming for about 45 minutes.

My Question:

How can I lower my GPU temps?

I'm looking for suggestions from other people who have had success lowering their GPU temps. I know I'm having an airflow path problem due to the massive graphic cards and extra cables from the PSU. The intake fans are at the bottom, front, and sides of the case. The exhaust is the 2 120mm on top and the 120 in the rear. Would swapping all the fans out with higher CFM fans work to overcome the 10.5" graphic cards and extra PSU cables that are blocking the airflow?

I'm open to cutting some holes in my case to add a fan or 2 (the system is loud as h*** already), but the perfect place to mount the fan would require me to cut into the plexiglass or plastic or whatever it's made out of window on the side on the case.

FYI I had CPU heat problems as well. The Noctua CPU cooler cured them by dropping the 100% load temps from 100c to 60c (3.8 Ghz OC) in the Prime95 Torture Test.

Thank you in advance for your replies.
June 24, 2009 6:03:41 PM

Do you have a side panel fan? How about having a good side panel fan that will push air out from the case faster? Or just generally have a negatively pressure'd case so that you push out hot out of the case.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:13:46 PM

Are your GTX 260's OC'd?

Also, this is extremely simple and probably dumb... but, do your GTX cards have enough space between them that their fans can actually pull enough air through them? They are good sized cards, and I think on some boards you'll find pretty minimal airflow between them.
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June 24, 2009 6:50:18 PM

My fan setup is :

front, side panel & rear: 120mm stock cooler masters (guessing abou 60 cfm each)
top: 2 dynex 70 cfm 120 mm
bottom: thermaltake 78 cfm 120 mm

intake: front bottom side
exhaust: top back

all fans run at full speed on 12 volts.

On the asus p6t X58 mobo the 2 pcix16 2.0 slots put the cards RIGHT next to each other. Like the top 2 cards of a 3 way sli setup. I'd guess it's about .5 cm or 1/8" space between the cards. I KNOW this isn't helping the heat.

Will swaping all the fans out (I can mount 140mm in 3 of the slots) with the higher cfm fans fix the problem or do I need to look into watercooling, case modding?

I know no one can give me an exact answer, but has anyone faced a similar issue and overcame it?

I had a CPU heat problem till I bought a Noctua 1366se heatsink. But this gpu heat problem has been there since the start of the build ( about a month ago )


June 24, 2009 7:15:22 PM

And this is with stock clock for a bfg maxcore oc. The clock is at 590 MHz stock. Though when they are overclocked to 704/1496/1152 they are hella fast but HOT!
June 24, 2009 7:38:14 PM

You should try underclocking and see if that does it. You need stability before performance.

You need to get those PSU cables out of the way to. tape them to the bottom or up the side of the case to get them out of the way. Just do anything for better airflow. It'll make a huge difference on noise levels and cooling.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 7:49:34 PM

You could also just play with the side panel out and blow a desk fan into the motherboard. It's not pretty but it works wonders to dissipate heat.

Or, like abover poster stated, lower the overclock settings or leave them on stock. After all, those are the factory specs and they only guarantee stability at their specs, not yours.

June 24, 2009 8:08:08 PM

Stability over performance is true. I looped 3dmark vantage for 4 hours and was fine. I played Lost Planet DX10 all settings on the highest available at 1920x1200 with 4xaa for 3 hours and was fine. But an hour of crysis on ultra high heats up the gpu past 90c and crashes. Furmark will crash too.

So I feel I am close to being stable.

I have the wires out of the way the best I can (I should of went modular).

Good idea about the open case with an external fan, but I can't rely on that as my cooling system for a number of reasons. But to test it, I have a very strong fan I can blow into the side of the case with the panel off. If furmark overheats with that, then no air cooling solution will work. I have to wait till Saturday to try it though.
June 24, 2009 8:49:24 PM

jerreece said:
Are your GTX 260's OC'd?

Also, this is extremely simple and probably dumb... but, do your GTX cards have enough space between them that their fans can actually pull enough air through them? They are good sized cards, and I think on some boards you'll find pretty minimal airflow between them.

What do you do THAN ?
a c 164 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 9:31:43 PM

The first thing I'd do is remove one of your graphics cards then benchmark it heavily to confirm it is stable.

Then do the same for the second card just to confirm it's not one of your graphics cards that's having heat issues.

PSU:
Is your fan outside the case?
If you have the fan inside the case you'll pull in hot air. This can also cause your computer to crash.

Also, try leaving the side of the case OFF and even blowing a large room fan across your graphics cards just to confirm it's entirely a heat issue or at least a heat issue that can be solved by fans.
a c 164 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 9:33:30 PM

I should add, that normally if a system "crashes" due to a graphics card problem you get warning video artifacts on the screen first. If it just dies with no warning it probably isn't your graphics card.
June 24, 2009 11:50:54 PM

Before this i7 system I was running a phenom system with 1 gtx260. I used Card for about 6 months. I got firmiliar with it's temps and general behavior.

When I built the i7 system I built it and ran it with one card. I benched the system with stock clocks it ran fine. The gpu temps were the same as in the phenom system but I got better frames per second due to the CPU upgrade.

Two days later I added the second brand new card and enabled sli.

And yes I do get artifacts before a crash. While playing crysis trees won't render properly, water looks odd, and other textures are missing.

Today I played for a half hour, but with the case open. Logging gpuz in the backround. The temps maxed out at 87c with no crashes.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2009 6:58:04 AM

Now during summer, when I play Crysis on my SLI rig w/ dual 9800 GTs, I have no choice but to leave out the side panel and if the room is on the warm side I have to use a desk fan. Prior to that, I put extra fans in the mid tower case for extra ventilation and it just didn't work as the heat crashes continued.

In the winter, there's no problem playing Crysis. So it seems, my rig is like yours, but your temprature threshold is much higher than mine. My SLI rig crashes when the GPUs gets to around 79 - 80.

June 25, 2009 6:34:17 PM

I had a SLI 9800GTX+ in exat case as you, but my old P5N32e SLI PLUS had the 2 16x slot very far noe from the other. So the bottom fan was blowing to the lowest card and the side fan in the mid of the top one. My 2 BFG 9800GTX+ OC (770core) was awesome and ran very cooool. maxing in the mid 60c.

PSU was breathing from the bottom to the outside so the PSU wasnt eating the case. Room was in the low 20c.


Wich card get HOT ? bottom or top one.
ROOM TEMP ?
!