Cooling has me confused!

So I just built a new computer last week. Here's my specs:

- AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W
- ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
- SAPPHIRE 100297L Radeon HD 5830 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16
- Corsair Obsidian Series 700D CC700D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case (3 stock case fans)

I got everything up and running, installed Windows 7 Ultimate. I noticed that any time I tried to play a 3D game it would freeze randomly (anywhere from 2-30 minutes in) and crash. Couldn't figure it out as all the drivers were up to date and everything else looked good. The game would run flawlessly on max settings before the crash.

So I start investigating things. My friend pointed me to SpeedFan.

Average no-load idle temp was 49-53C. Under load it would get all the way up around 58-60C, maybe even higher when I didn't notice, or if SpeedFans temperature isn't accurate. The max op-temp for the 965 is 62C. So I considered that maybe the crashing was a heat issue. Even if it wasn't, I now had something higher priority to solve.

So I decide to upgrade my stock CPU heat sink/fan to see if it helps. I upgraded to this:

Ultra ChillTec Thermo-electric cooler. Dismantle everything, clean off the old paste, put on the new heat sink, re-route all my cables to allow for more air flow, power it back on.

Looks great at first: 30C idle, 43-45C under load. I was amazed. Keep in mind that this is measured off of the 5.25" temp monitor that came with the heat sink. Now, two days later, idle is around 40C, and under load (prime95 and then I chekced while playing Dragon Age) it was up to about 55-56C.

So here is my question. I know that CPU heatsink/fans need a break in period. Arctic Silver 5 paste says it's 200 hours, and then you will see a slight DROP in temperature. Mine has increased a full 10C in two days. Does anyone have any suggestions? Greatly appreciated if so. I'm worried I may have applied the thermal paste incorrectly.

By the way, I am also ordering 3 120mm fans that will be on the top of my case to suck a ton of air out.
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  1. It doesnt sound to me like you are really looking at what I would call loaded. Try downloading PRIME95 and let it peg your CPU at 100% on all cores. Watch speed fan until the temperature stabilizes (5-10 minutes).

    As far as running fine then freezing during a game, that sounds more like you need to go into the bios and force the RAM timings and voltage. The dominators are probably 1.65V rated and your motherboard probably defaults the RAM voltage to 1.5V, which will lead to instability.

    My athlon II x3 OCed to 3.5 runs idle 30-35 load 40-45 (depends alot on room temp). The bios temps have always corresponded to two of the 4 speedfan temps, the other two temps speedfan reports seem to be bogus.
  2. First a few things download cpuz-id

    Second download AMD overdrive (I'm sure there is a direct link from AMD but this is a quick google).

    And run the "Stability Test" under performance control. It'll force all cores to 100%, monitor the temps while you are doing it. I really don't see why you're getting 50s c anything. Is the computer next to a pizza oven or something?

    What kinds of fans do you have on that Osidian case? On my Haf922 I have the one 120mm intake and a 200mm side intake. A 120mm exhaust on the back and one 200mm on top. And two 120mm fans for the HSF. I see on average 30c normal idle.

    Only thing I can suggest is check fan air directions, recheck the paste and touch the heatsink yourself and see if it's really that hot.

    Yes the paste needs a breakin period but it's not something that'll force a 10c increase in a matter of 2 days.
  3. Alright guys... here is what I've done. First off I really appreciate your responses.

    I'm attaching a image I cobbled together really quickly to give you an idea of the current airflow in my case.

    The light blue at the top is the 3 fans I will be installing when they come in the mail. Obviously the blue arrows are the air flow... but look on the left there. My 3D card faces down; obviously I can't flip it around, and the fan blows directly onto my sound card. I mean it has barely a half inch of clearance. I don't think it blows hard enough to really cause turbulence, and even so I don't know if there's much I can do... but what do you think? The case fans are mixed up, the one on the right is a 140mm Corsair, I don't know the stats. I replaced the other two stock Corsair fans with 2 Zaward ZG2-140B 140mm P.W.M. Case Fans. They are 74CFM. The fan on the CPU is 90mm, it normally runs about 3000rpm and moves a good bit of air.

    So I downloaded those programs you linked. Thank you, they are very useful. I ran the stability test for 1 hour on AMD Overdrive, and then it just stopped... I guess it doesn't give any results? I had every test selected, by the way. I watched the temperatures the whole time... never got above 50C. I think it mainly hovered at 49C, only got to 50C once or twice, and all 4 cores were maxed for the entire test.

    Also, yes I believe the RAM is supposed to be 1.65V, and my system has it at 1.5V. I will look into that, thanks for the tip.

    All these programs that monitor temperature are so erratic... the temperature monitor that is hard wired directly to the heat sink is ALWAYS lower than any program I look at... should I trust it, or them? It never got above 41 or 42C for the stability test while SpeedFan was showing around 50 the whole time. Take right now, for instance. SpeedFan shows 43C while the heat sink monitor shows 37C. Also, when I run Prime95, the temperatures definitely got a lot higher than AMD Overdrive, is that because it does more intense calculations?? It was definitely pushing the temps up 5 or so degrees higher.

    I'm just really confused about all this. Why is it doing a load test maxes all cores to 100% and the temperature only gets up around 53-55, but playing a game that barely uses 30-40% of the CPU will push the temperature up to 56-58? I guess it just raises all the ambient temperature in the case with both the CPU/GPU going...

    Ughh, I don't know. I feel like a noob right now. I really just want to get some more opinions before I tear everything apart again and re-do the thermal paste. I'd like to keep that as last resort.

    EDIT: I went into my BIOS and set the DRAM voltage to 1.65 and the DRAM Target speed to 1600... rebooted, everything seemed fine. Started playing some Dragon Age, probably played about 20 minutes and then boom, crashed. Earlier today I had both speed/voltage set to auto and I played it for like 2 hours with no crashes... hmmmm... time to Office Space this computer; who's with me? Actually, now that I think about it I think the motherboard only supports 1300 or whatever the next jump down is.
  4. You give up when crashing after only trying one setting?

    You may have to play with a few settings to get the RAM stable. I got OCZ RAM for my latest PC cause it was cheap, but found it was annoying to deal with. I finally found on OCZs forums someone with the same RAM and an older model of my motherboard and used the settings the tech recommended. I finally have been stable for a month. Before that I crashed either daily or weekly depending on where I had it set. One of the motherboard voltages needed increased in addition to the RAM voltage.

    Newegg doesnt have any good pictures of that case. Looks like everything is isolated in separate chambers. I would say you probably have an air pocket around the GPU. The top fans pulling hot air up will probably help that alot.
  5. First off did you finish the diagram or are there no intake fans? Is the one under the psu, showing the psu mounted upside down so the psu is pushing air in?

    Can you take pics?

    you obviously should install some intake fans in the right (front part of the case) and maybe something on the floor next to the psu. Maybe a side panel one if you can.
  6. I read some reviews of the case. Its designed for liquid cooling and putting the 120mmx3 radiator on the roof. The 140mm lower fan is the intake. No mention of that SSD fan in any of the reviews. Pointing down seems like the wrong way, hot air rises and the rest of the case is designed for bottom to top airflow.

    Currently if you have the CPU fan pointing up and the case fan going backward you are minimizing airflow (not good). Once you get the top fans, point the CPU fan up should work fine.

    Do you get different temps if you run with the case side panel off?
  7. Yeah the 700/800D was aimed directly at water cooling. Not a great airflow case. The cpu stress tests are showing the obvious, your cpu gets ample cooling via your hsf. What it isn't showing is what happens when your air starved gpu is under load. All of that heat is radiating upwards towards your cpu causing issues.

    I'm curious, what temps are catalyst control center showing for your gpu while gaming? In the overdrive section there is temp controls. You might try raising the default fan speed to 40-50pct. That dropped my 5870 temps by a good 7-10c over the stock 25pct. I typically idle in the low 40's while under load in the 60's.

    If you're showing temps that are substantially higher you might consider an alternative cooling solution like a spot fan or aftermarket cooler.
  8. I made some notes.
    A few things
    -I know the fan next to the hsf normally pushes out (left) but since you have 3..or will have 3 on top try that instead.
    -Add another below where I added in red text.
    -Switch ssd fan if you can.
    -Which hsf are you using? If nothing other then stock try this one. Buy an extra 120mm fan for it.

    -Flip psu so that the hot air will flow down and away from your comp. Case looks like it has large feet so this would be a better idea.

    And ofcourse you should just use baggie or zip ties to secure the fans for testing. I hate screwing in fans an scratching up the screws :).
  9. This review shows how the case airflow is designed to work.

    Really its a shame your GPU isnt one of those that expels hot air out the back.

    I would take the side panel off and see what that does. If it has a large impact then a side panel fan intake over the GPU area would help alot. <case-mod time> or
    Now, for those that want a side window Corsair is selling panels on their website and since the side panels for the 700D and 800D are the same dimensions ... 700D owners that want a window but are not too keen on taking a saw to the case.

    Another thing to do would be get rid of the sound card and use onboard sound. Is the addon sound card really necessary?

    @Fastx - he cant flip the PSU, it pulls air from a bottom grate and pushes it out the back. All PSUs expel air out the back panel where the on/off switch is. There is a solid panel above the PSU so pulling case air down isnt an option.

    My bet is the GPU has one of those egg shaped coolers that blows air from the fan up through the fins against the card, and that warm air then gets pushed all different directions out into the case. Hopefully top fans will help move that swirling warm air up an out.
  10. Whoa, hey... I thought the thread had died out guys. Sorry for not replying sooner.

    So I have apparently fixed the crashing issue. I believe it was due to the motherboard not supporting a full speed of 1600. So I have it set to auto, I think it's downclocking (correct term?) the RAM to 1333. I have been playing a variety of 3D games since I did that, no more crashing.

    So now the heat is my only issue.

    I read through your posts... I think I didn't do sufficient research on this case before I bought it. I was mainly reading newegg reviews and looking for something with plenty of space. I wasn't aware it wasn't really meant for air cooling.

    I did finish what I drew in the diagram. Today was the first run with the 3 fans on the top. I got the GELID 120mm fans, I think they are around 65 CFM each. Went through a 1.5 - 2 hour gaming session, and my 5.25" temp monitor displayed around 40 the whole time; typically it has been around 5C below the actual temp. So if I was really at mid 40s while gaming then I'm feeling better about that.

    Still, it feels like I should have lower temps. My friend actually told me that I should call AMD and try to get a replacement processor, he thinks it should definitely not be running as hot as it was.

    Yeah, the option for flipping the PSU over wouldn't work. The case is designed to pull from there, as it has a removable air filter in that area. I THINK though that I could still add a fan down there, another 120mm, and I have spares now so I'll definitely take a look.

    I haven't checked the 3D card during gaming, which I really should. Right now it's showing 42C idle, which I'm guessing isn't too bad. I will follow your recommendation and remove my sound card... it really isn't necessary; the motherboard came with one, but I wanted to try and be fancy. I don't even have surround sound yet anyway :P
    The card doesn't expel the air out the back, which I agree would be awesome. It has a fan that will face downward no matter what I do. But it's small, probably 60mm or so, so I hope it won't contribute to any turbulence.

    I will post results after I try a few more things. Oh, and no, I do not get a large change in temp when running the case with the side panel off.

    Thanks very much for the replies!
  11. Alright... So I swapped the sound card around, giving the fan on the 3D card unrestricted airflow.

    I also looked to see if I really could add another fan for intake on the bottom of the case; I can't... there are no mounting holes and I'm not mechanically savvy enough to attach my own, I suppose I could use zip ties or something? Any recommendations here?

    The 3D card hovers around the mid to high 50s during gaming. I'm not knowledgeable on that, but my friend told me that's pretty normal for 3D cards.

    As far as the processor... since I've put in the 3 fans on the top things seem to be a bit better. It usually idles around mid 30s, and during gaming gets no higher than 50.

    Does anyone think I should continue working on this to get those temps down more?

    Attached is what it looks like now:

  12. Those temps sound good.
  13. Nope, sounds like you've got it running where it should be, nice work getting it all figured out.
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