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Core i7 920/Zalman 9700 runs at 50 degrees idle *too hot*

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June 29, 2010 2:21:34 AM

I am at wits end with my new build.

When I first built this computer I was running at 46 degrees idle. I figured I put too much thermal paste on so I reapplied the thermal paste using AS5 and the line method. My temps went up 2 degrees to 48 during idle. So I just now went into it again and tried the pea method and then spreading it on with a plastic bag. I am now running at 50 degrees.

Here is my setup:

Core i7 920 running at 2.66 (no OC)
Antec 900 case
ASUS P6t Deluxe 2
Zalman 9700 fan

On Newegg everyone with the Zalman fan claims to get 33-35 degrees idle with a Core i7. I've never been able to see those numbers.

I'm about ready to sell this computer and build a new one that doesn't include the Core i7. It's been nothing but problems.

If someone out there has any suggestions for me I would greatly appreciate it. Attached are screenshots of Real Temp and CPUID.

Thank you for your time.

June 29, 2010 2:48:57 AM

hi im also having some issues with my 920. my idle temps are actually a little higher than yours, in the mid-high 50's. most games push low 80's, but Global Agenda which is super CPU intensive jacks the temps up to the high 90's.

the company that put my comp together claims some sort of OC was done, but im not so sure...when i received the comp it was such a mess, components werent hooked up properly, and the CPU cooling system wasnt attached well either. it took me over 12 hours to get it working. CPU is at 2.67Ghz.

the CPU cooling resembles a large grill/radiator over the chip. Cooler Master V8 it's called i think. i had to take it on and off numerous times. could my problem be that the thermal paste wore off? or is this cooling gadget crap?
a c 117 à CPUs
June 29, 2010 2:53:28 AM

I know you're having issues but i can't help but point out that Zalman has a new line of tower coolers that are much better CNPS10X.The Quiet is the best of them.
That cooler line is old tech and outdated.
Can you return it perhaps and get one of the new ones?
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June 29, 2010 3:05:53 AM

I'm debating on putting the stock cooler in to see how well it does.
a b à CPUs
June 29, 2010 3:20:14 AM

I7 920s run hot without real good cooling. Some hotter then others, they are a hot CPU.
June 29, 2010 3:21:54 AM

so is 90 degrees something the 920 can handle sporadically?
a b à CPUs
June 29, 2010 3:26:01 AM

The i7 930's max temp before it throttles down is 100°C, but anything higher than 75°C isn't healthy, full load mind you.
June 29, 2010 4:17:06 AM

interesting. my load is never full, maybe goes up to 30%. but temp is high

Best solution

June 29, 2010 5:53:25 AM
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One thing I noticed that is giving you somewhat higher idle temps is that your cpu is not idling down and dropping your vcore down as well.

Here are a couple shots of mine that show how I have mine setup. I do have a better cooler and probably cooler ambient temps (about 20°c) but with all the power saving features enabled it does make a difference. Also even if they are enabled in bios you will probably need them enabled in your OS as well.

Idle


Load
June 29, 2010 5:57:26 AM

oomie said:
hi im also having some issues with my 920. my idle temps are actually a little higher than yours, in the mid-high 50's. most games push low 80's, but Global Agenda which is super CPU intensive jacks the temps up to the high 90's.

the company that put my comp together claims some sort of OC was done, but im not so sure...when i received the comp it was such a mess, components werent hooked up properly, and the CPU cooling system wasnt attached well either. it took me over 12 hours to get it working. CPU is at 2.67Ghz.

the CPU cooling resembles a large grill/radiator over the chip. Cooler Master V8 it's called i think. i had to take it on and off numerous times. could my problem be that the thermal paste wore off? or is this cooling gadget crap?

You need to clean both the cpu and heat sink and apply new TIM every time you remove the heat sink.
June 29, 2010 7:44:56 AM

Next time buy a Scythe or a Noctua cooler....
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June 29, 2010 1:08:43 PM

Echoing the above...

you are removing the AS5 every time you try again aren't you? Otherwise you're gonna gunk everything up and increase temps.

Also, that Zalman is just not up to the job of cooling a Core i7 - even the Intel stock cooler will do a better job. New cooler I'm afraid, but unless you're doing high levels of overclocking you'd be just fine with the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ - nice and cheap but very good.
June 29, 2010 3:59:59 PM

thank you, glad it's just a thermal paste problem!
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June 29, 2010 4:38:44 PM

Well, potentially not - the thermal paste won't help if you've messed it up a bit, but it doesn't detract from the fact that the Zalman 9700 wasn't really intended for Nehalem chips.

In a perfect world you should be OK at stock speeds and reasonable load, but you can't push it much past that. Even the Zalman 9900 which was designed for Core i7 isn't much cop.

You're still probably looking at a new cooler, but clean up the thermal paste and check secure heatsink mounting first and take it from there.
June 29, 2010 4:54:58 PM

Thank you everyone for the help. I had Windows 7 running on High Performance which meant 100% CPU. I turned it back onto Balanced and my temperatures have been much better.

I am going to get rid of the Zalman and choose another cooling solution that's better suited for Core i7.

Thanks again!
June 29, 2010 5:08:55 PM

LePhuronn said:
Well, potentially not - the thermal paste won't help if you've messed it up a bit, but it doesn't detract from the fact that the Zalman 9700 wasn't really intended for Nehalem chips.

In a perfect world you should be OK at stock speeds and reasonable load, but you can't push it much past that. Even the Zalman 9900 which was designed for Core i7 isn't much cop.

You're still probably looking at a new cooler, but clean up the thermal paste and check secure heatsink mounting first and take it from there.



in my case i believe it's the thermal paste, cuz i kept taking my heatsink on and off trying to put it in place.
June 29, 2010 11:10:47 PM

LePhuronn said:
Echoing the above...

you are removing the AS5 every time you try again aren't you? Otherwise you're gonna gunk everything up and increase temps.

Also, that Zalman is just not up to the job of cooling a Core i7 - even the Intel stock cooler will do a better job. New cooler I'm afraid, but unless you're doing high levels of overclocking you'd be just fine with the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ - nice and cheap but very good.


What would you suggest as the best cooler (non water) if I do want to overclock to 4GHz?
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June 29, 2010 11:33:15 PM

Prolimatech Megahalems with 2 120mm fans in push/pull
Thermalright Venomous-X with 2 120mm fans in push/pull
Noctua NH-14

They're the big three for extreme air cooling.
June 30, 2010 2:28:06 AM

skull, u mind posting your results after u install the new air cooler?
July 10, 2010 2:18:47 AM

Best answer selected by Skullpuck.
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