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Passive Cooling & Gaming

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March 11, 2010 4:24:25 AM

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on passive cooling with regards to, for example, LGA1366 quad core CPUs, and the demands of gaming. (NO OVERCLOCKING INVOLVED)

Can passive heatsink (fanless) cooling be enough for these CPUs?

More about : passive cooling gaming

a b à CPUs
March 11, 2010 5:52:42 AM

I doubt it, they run pretty hot as it is... would need to be one massive passive cooler with very nice case ventilation to get close to working... most passive cooling well ever see is on low end video cards i would think...
Also think about it... if a 15w laptop CPU cant go passive, we have no chance with the 95w+ 1366 CPUs
a c 172 à CPUs
March 11, 2010 6:00:45 AM

"passive cooling" and "gaming" in the same sentence equals "oxymoron".

About the only place where you can get away with passive cooling is an underclocked HTPC where all you need is a CPU just fast enough to send video on its merry way to the monitor.
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March 11, 2010 7:03:53 AM

Passive cooling and gaming are not necessarily an oxymoron, with a massive watercooling radiator and some slow spinning fans, you can get as close to damn it passive, and silent.

Ive been running an antec P183 with an intel 975xbx (passive) and E6600 (stock) with a scythe orochi (cooled by the case fans) and originally a pair of xfx 7950GT (passive) and have recently upgraded to a sapphire 4670 (passive). I used a NorthQ fanless powersupply.

All in all I have two tricool case fans on lowest speed setting, which is basically inaudiable unless you put your ear against the case. The max temp on my proc. is about 58oC after a few hours of divx encoding.....

So it can be done, it just takes a bit of thought and planning (and some cash)
a b à CPUs
March 11, 2010 7:17:41 AM

you may want to look up the word 'passive'

watercooling and silent fans does not even come close to passive. its about as far from passive as you could possible get actually.
March 11, 2010 1:11:43 PM

what about a self contained pressurised LN2 (liquid nitrogen)? If it's pressurised it'll stay cold regardless. No fans or power needed, just an expensive chamber to keep it in
March 11, 2010 1:53:04 PM

Some good adice here. I'm getting the picture that passive cooling (fanless CPU heat sink) isn't the way to go if your gunna do anything high end like gaming.

The only reason I was asking was that I know the new DUO and QUAD core CPUs are supposed to run far cooler than the older single core CPUs. The passive coolers I was looking at are giant but now i think I'll go with a fanned cooler.

Anyone else wanna chime in here?
March 11, 2010 2:32:49 PM

welshmousepk said:
you may want to look up the word 'passive'

watercooling and silent fans does not even come close to passive. its about as far from passive as you could possible get actually.



No need for the snarky remarks, I *do* know what passive means.

the points I were trying to make were that it is possible to build a system that is virtually passive for the vast majority of its component parts - no mb fan, no psu fan, no graphics card fan and no CPU fan - this accounts for the vast majority of the usually actively cooled components, and still have a system that can run games respectably.

The reason I mentioned water-cooling is that many systems with a big radiator can cool high end components with very little noise - and for most people noise is the main factor in deciding go down a passively cooled route, so much so that I almost think of passive and silent as interchangeable terms.

If it makes you happy, I can take the side of my PC and turn off the two tricool fans and voilà, passively cooled gaming pc, if i had the money i could put in two 4850s retrofitted with accelero s2 coolers and its suddenly a very decent gaming rig......

March 11, 2010 2:37:31 PM

Collie147 said:
what about a self contained pressurised LN2 (liquid nitrogen)? If it's pressurised it'll stay cold regardless. No fans or power needed, just an expensive chamber to keep it in


A pressurised container wont stay cool - it'll heat up till it explodes, on open LN2 chamber works by the evaporating LN2 taking away energy from the system - once you make it a closed system their is nowhere for the energy to go.

The only way to make a closed circuit system work is to have an evaporator to take the heat from the source and a condensor / compressor to reliquify the N2, this needs a radiator for the heat generated in the condensor to be removed (the same way a fridge works). The problem with this is that you need pumps, radiators and fans, and what seems like a good idea becomes expensive, noisy and high maintainance.
March 11, 2010 2:44:24 PM

Back to the original question however:

1)As I described above I believe it *is* possible to build a respectable gaming rig that is passively cooled.

2)I dont believe this is possible with any current LGA1366 CPUs as the TDP is too high (130W) the best intel processor i could find for the job is the penryn c2d T9900 (35W), amd athlon II X4 605 (45W) is the best AMD offer in terms of pure clockspeed. Note some of these are laptop processors and are usually actively cooled *in a laptop* but you could get away with a massive heatsink on things less than 65W depending on your case specification.
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