First time buying non-stock cooler

Hi there,

I successfully built my first PC a few months back and everything has been running fine until recently. After a few pokes here 'n' there I realised that the CPU temp was getting stupidly high on a regular basis.

I mainly use my PC for graphics related work, but I guess it also doubles as my 'media-centre'... basically it's generally running a few apps at once. I never use it for gaming though.

I'm looking to get a new CPU fan/heatsink or possibly an all in one liquid cooling system, but as it's my first time I'm not too sure what to go for.

It doesn't have to be super quiet, but as I use my machine on a very frequent basis, I'd like it to be relatively unobtrusive - however I occasionally have to render 3D and video for sustained periods and so I can put up with a small turbine when absolutely necessary. I'd consider buying either a manual fan-speed adjuster or letting it sort itself out - whatever is deemed most effective.

And price-wise, I'll pay for whatever gets the job done. Unless we're talking hundreds.

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  1. Frosty Tech is widely regarded as the best place for HSF reviews and benchmarks and would be a good place to start comparing.

    What socket are you running?
  2. It's a Q9550 processor, so a 775 I believe?

    I've had a look on a couple of review sites - although admittedly not Frostytech - but not managed to find something that closely fits my requirements. Maybe I'm being too specific.
  3. A few pokes here and there? define pokes please.

    Have you attempted overclocking your cpu?

    What temps is it running at idle? Full load?

    What is the average room temperature where your pc is running.

    If you have not overclocked your system you have no real need for an aftermarket cpu cooler.

    With a stock cooler you should idle around 20-30 degrees and between 40-60 degrees full load is normal.

    Need more information to help you with your problem.
  4. Check out the Titan Fenrir. Massive but effective.

    Water cooling is expensive, and if you go for something cheap (ie corsair h20) it has no real improvement over air
  5. @ tonkatuffmofo

    By 'pokes' I meant sttempts to figure out why it was shutting down randomly.

    The CPU isn't overclocked and I have no intention of doing so - I can't remember exact temperatures, but it was idling at around 35-40 and under loads was hitting 80-90 before I stopped it from doing whatever it was doing to reach that kind of heat.

    Maybe it's because I didn't install it correctly, but I never had these issues until recently - with no increase in workload.

    As for room temperature - it's never a particularly warm room. I'd say about 20 degrees, but that's just an estimate.

    Perhaps going for an after market CPU is a little overprecautious, bearing in mind I'm not overclocking - but I want a stable system, which I'm more than prepeared to pay for, simply because I use it so regularly and I rely on it for income.

    @ mi1ez

    That looks like it ought to fit the bill - but there was one thing :

    "The PWM fan can drop down to 800RPM if quieter operation is desired, a resistor is also supplied to reduce fan speed in non-PWM equipped motherboards."

    My mobo is a Gigabytle EP45-UD3P if that makes any difference. I'm assuming the resistor it mentions is accessible externally..?
  6. Sorry dont have time to wait for response.

    If you havnt overclocked your stock hsf is fine.

    2 points.

    1. Make sure you plugged the hsf fan into the correct header on the mobo to control fan speed, this is clearly represented in the book that came with your mobo.

    2. The 775 heatsinks tended to come with pre applied thermal paste which in my opinion was inadequate, 3 straight strips from memory that only really covered 50 percent of the cpu surface, if you havnt rectified this already remove your hsf and clean off all traces of thermal paste from the underside of the hsf and the cpu. Dont cheat remove the cpu to do this. Baby wipes work great.

    Reapply a good quality thermal paste to the underside of the hsf only. Apply a drop about the size of an earbud and use the back edge of a knife or razor blade to spread it evenly and VERY thinly, more is not better, more is generally bad. It should be so thin that its almost showing the metal of the hsf, once your happy with this appy your hsf to the cpu in one fluid motion without breaking contact and lock the cooler down evenly.

    If you have overclocked then first of all make sure you have removed your cpu voltage control from auto to manual in the bios and set it to the lowest stable voltage you can attain. I f your still having heat trouble due to excessive voltage you will need your aftermarket cooler. Stay away from watercooling, it is for serious oc'ing which you are obviously not doing, its generally more trouble than its worth.

    Aftermarket coolers come in two flavours generally, 90mm and 120mm units. 120mm units are obviously more efficient but at the same time wont fit all cases and are generally a pain in the ass to fit. Stick to a 90mm unit unless your really pushing voltages. Brand wise I recommend noctua's for quietness or sunbeam core contact freezer units are great for the price. Either way nearly all aftermarket coolers will outperform the stock hsf regardless.

    Hope this helps you.
  7. Oh you replied while I was writing!

    Point 2 Ive written above mate will be your dilemma, your system is randomly shutting down due to your processor hitting its thermal limit and shutting down to protect itself. Reapply thermal paste as i mentioned above and make sure all 4 locking pins lock home securely, its easy for one of these pins to not correctly lock in and leave inadequate pressue on top of your cpu.

    Once you have done this, boot up and download prime 95 and monitor your temps for 15 minutes or so at full load. As I said earlier with a stock HSF you should be idling between 20 and 30 degrees and 40-60 at full load, any more than 60 at full load and somethings gone wrong. For your info anything over 68-70 degrees is really bad!
  8. Sounds like good advice to me - cheaper too.

    I'll grab some thermal paste and give it a go - failing that I could well be back.

  9. no worries good luck
  10. Oh dear...

    Well I bought some new thermal grease, cleaned the CPU and Heatsink, applied as instructed and all seemed to be fine - idling at between 30 and 40.

    Then, whenever I ran Prime 95 the temperature soon rised up to a dangerous level. 80 was the highest it got before I closed the program.

    So, I guess I'm back looking for an alternative...

    Apart from the Titan Fenrir, Noctua seems to perform well too - are there any other suggestions that would suit my needs?
  11. Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer

    Xigmatek HDT-S1283

    Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus

    3Rsystem Iceage 120 Boss II

    scythe mugen 2

    vigor monsoon

    thermalright ultra

    Akasa Nero AK967

    Coolermaster Hyper Z60
  12. Thanks for the list of suggestions obsidian86 - however I reached panic point and went and bought a Zalman CNPS9700 NT for about £45. The reason being, it had decent reviews on other sites I'd looked at and was available to buy immediately from my local Microdirect.

    I suspect the main problem with the stock HSF was that it only actually came into contact with about 50-60% of the CPU surface - a 'round peg into a square hole' type scenario. But now with the Zalman my temperatures for each core haven't yet risen above 58*C and the speed of the fan takes care of itself.

    Thanks for the advice from all, but I'm glad to say that I'm more than happy so far with this purchase.

    One other thing though... the temperatures at the moment are 27 31 38 38 for each of the cores - seems like quite a difference for 4 such closely proximate areas.
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