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How can a Phenom 955 run so hot with a aftermarket cooler?

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February 18, 2011 5:44:50 AM

I recently completed building my new system, and went to overclock the CPU. Well while doing so, I noticed, it runs rather hot, I tested at stock and overclocked, and it runs much hotter then it should for the cooling my case has, and the aftermarket cooler I installed.

I'm using a Phenom II X4 955 BE C3 stepping (verified in CPU-z)
NZXT phantom case, with 2x 200mm and 1x 120mm exhaust, 2x 120mm and 1x 140mm intake
Arctic cooling Freezer 13 with Arctic silver ceramique thermal compound
Seasonic 750w X series PSU
ASrock 880G motherboard

I'm idling atm, at stock speed/voltage at 47C according to software readings. My max temp running Aion and borderlands was 64C.
Overclocked to 3.8Ghz (Upping the multiplier) @1.43v it ran benchmarks stable (Did not do so at 1.42v crashed on the 3run, maybe I overset that when I bumped up to 1.43? It was running around 68C maybe just overheat and not instability?) Anyway, at 3.8ghz it idled around 52C, and max at a bluescreen dump. Somewhere around 69C, but only bluescreened today.

I understand overclocking increases temperatures, but why am I at 64C under load with the above cooler and thermal paste? Reviews stated this cooler could run a 970 @3.8ghz at only 52C load with lesser case cooling, why is mine hovering around 64+?

I applied the thermal paste carefully, and according to directions on the Artic silver website.
I cleaned the HSF with 91% alcohol and wiped clean with a untouched microfiber cloth meant for electronics cleaning (maybe it left fiber on the Heatsink I couldn't see? would have burned by now tho, but was as close to a glasses cleaning cloth as I had.), let dry for almost 10mins while I reviewed the instructions, and applied a drop of paste no bigger then a grain of rice to the center of the CPU and spread in multiple directions with a prior cleaned credit card (using alcohol again), again, according to instructions covering most of the CPU, esp the center.. Or was that my error? lol. some of the outside edges did not get clearly covered though, but the real needed area is the center right?

I do not believe I have any defective parts, my HSF is running at 2250rpm's, my case fans are running at max speed, and blowing quite a bit of cold air, ambient temps in the case seem average, around 40C. It does get a little warm in here, esp today, that's when it bluescreened playing Aion, after running stable at 3.8 and 1.43v for 2 days. I do not fully believe the overclock is the issue itself, just the temps it makes.

I've read Phenoms don't like temps above 69C, is that true? Am I currently better at stock speeds? But again, why would it be running so hot with such good case cooling, and acceptable CPU cooling? Did I apply the thermal paste incorrectly?

To note, the CPU fan faces up, blowing the air directly into one of the 200mm fans mounted not even 2inchs from the HSF. I checked the HSF after I had help mounting it at a local shop I generally trust with computer work, it seemed centered. And cool and quiet was disabled manually.


Until this is figurd out, I'm keeping the system at stock. I don't need any damage done to the CPU.
But I would be very grateful for any help you guys could render^^
February 18, 2011 6:12:29 AM

i wanna know too, ill be checking in
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a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2011 8:45:01 AM

My only question is if you followed the AS website instructions why did you spread the paste?
http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...

Quote:
Attaching the Heatsink:
Use your manufacturer's heatsink instructions in combination with the following suggestions: Do NOT spread the dot of thermal compound out. When you place the heatsink on the top of the metal cap, the dot of thermal compound will spread out like the blue circular pattern on top of the metal cap shown in photo QP4. Allowing the mounted heatsink to spread the thermal compound insures proper coverage of the metal cap, minimizes air bubbles and allows an optimum bond


Small middle dot bout the size of a small grain of rice always works for me.

This is honestly how I do it-

Clean with a bit of toilet tissue and some Arcticlean
Stick a small dot in the middle
Whack the heatsink on and give it a little wiggle.

My unlocked 555 idles @28C and 56C under load @3.6ghz.

Have you got cool n quiet disabled so you fan runs full speed while OC ing?
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February 18, 2011 9:00:19 AM

I like a heat spreader that is 100% covered by TIM. Back in the old days when there was only one core in the middle leaving the edges might have been ok, but not now. I'd take it off and reply, but this time use a bit more and THINLY cover the entire IHS.

I'm also not familiar with that heatsink. If its one of those direct contact heatpipe type coolers make sure you work enough TIM into the cracks that naturally occur in such a heatsink. Air is a horrible conductor of heat, so make sure there is none.
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a c 108 à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2011 11:26:28 AM

4745454b said:
I like a heat spreader that is 100% covered by TIM. Back in the old days when there was only one core in the middle leaving the edges might have been ok, but not now. I'd take it off and reply, but this time use a bit more and THINLY cover the entire IHS.

I'm also not familiar with that heatsink. If its one of those direct contact heatpipe type coolers make sure you work enough TIM into the cracks that naturally occur in such a heatsink. Air is a horrible conductor of heat, so make sure there is none.


I prefer the sold copper bases over the heat pipes -- especially with AMD (but everyone has their own preferences, practices, and success).

I've found that with AMD the outer perimeter of the heat shield will actually 'bite' into the copper base as the latch is engaged, leaving an impression in the copper over time. It physically 'seats' the perimeter of the heat shield into the copper base and leaves a scar.

Otherwise ... never had any problems like this:



Idling at 47-52c is way too high. The OP may need to re-seat (or at a minimum work his voltage back to the 1.375v range).
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February 18, 2011 3:05:47 PM

Yes, I read that.
In my defense I had done so to my previous Intel core 2 duo which requires a line of paste, same with a C2Q, and they ran at low temps, though I think the C2Q does state to spread the paste. I was (Foolishly perhaps.) worried it wouldn't cover the whole CPU just by "squishing it" across when placing the sink, given my last experience "defying" instructions I felt it alright to do so. I did wiggle the sink when i "attached" it to ensure the paste spread out thinly and covered. Again, this may not have worked.

It would seem, that judgment may have been in error though. Either because it may not have applied to the whole CPU properly, or may have built up in the center despite scrapping with a flat edged card to even the paste out.


I'm going to pop it out this afternoon if I can get time, clean the paste off, and reapply according to instructions, and see if that drops the temps. I'm also going to ensure I had/have the HSF properly mounted. I'm also going to check all the case fans, and the CPU fan and be sure their still running and at the correct RPM. Just in case.

My worry is, what if it doesn't?

And yes, I manually disabled cool n quiet in the bios before overclocking.


beanoslim said:
My only question is if you followed the AS website instructions why did you spread the paste?
http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...

Quote:
Attaching the Heatsink:
Use your manufacturer's heatsink instructions in combination with the following suggestions: Do NOT spread the dot of thermal compound out. When you place the heatsink on the top of the metal cap, the dot of thermal compound will spread out like the blue circular pattern on top of the metal cap shown in photo QP4. Allowing the mounted heatsink to spread the thermal compound insures proper coverage of the metal cap, minimizes air bubbles and allows an optimum bond


Small middle dot bout the size of a small grain of rice always works for me.

This is honestly how I do it-

Clean with a bit of toilet tissue and some Arcticlean
Stick a small dot in the middle
Whack the heatsink on and give it a little wiggle.

My unlocked 555 idles @28C and 56C under load @3.6ghz.

Have you got cool n quiet disabled so you fan runs full speed while OC ing?




wisecracker,

My board defaulted the cpu voltage to 1.4v automatically, I haven't found any information to the contrary of that setting. Is that incorrect stock voltage? I haven't found the whitesheet for this cpu on AMD's website to find that out, or the thermal limit.

Keep in mind, once I get the temps back to where they should be, I do want to overclock it back to 3.8ghz, or hopefully, 4Ghz as was my goal... Assuming the chip allows it. And that usually requires a voltage bump from stock. I needed 1.43v to stabilize, or what I think was stable given the high temps and shut off. But once running cooler, I will start the overclock from step 1 though i know it will run at 3.5ghz without a bump, so I'll start there, measure heat and test stability.

thing that worries me though is ambient temps get high in this part of the room, in the summer ambient in the room is around 77F, I'm worried how that will effect the core temp while overclocked. but that's a matter for once I find the new temp range.

p.s. I'm not a he.
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a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2011 3:25:16 PM

There is no need to cover the whole cap the core and heat run through the middle of the heatsink.

Because of cool n quiet there is no set default voltage, best way to find out what your cpu needs to run at default speeds is to start at something like 1.2v and run 1hr OCCT then 4 hrs Prime 95.

Increase the voltage in small steps until stable if needed or decrease if it passes everything straight away.

Then as far as OC goes work your voltage up from the voltage you needed for stability at default speeds.

Pretty sure that chip won't need 1.4v to pass at defaults and a re-installation will also help with your heat.

BTW I use about half the paste as on the pic posted above.
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a c 83 à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2011 3:37:00 PM

I didn't say I prefer them btw. But they are popular and its a step that is often missed. If you don't put TIM in those cracks, you'll have air which != good heat transfer.
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February 18, 2011 3:57:31 PM

If I can get the temps down, wouldn't that be done with the same results by leaving the voltage at 1.4 and seeing how high the multiplier can go before it crashes? Like if I can hit 3.8-9ghz at 1.4v before it crashes, that would be the same result wouldn't it? I'm not trying to dismiss your point, just clarifying^^

I'll be more careful this time, I think the amount of paste I used previously was the right amount, about a grain of rice or so, but I admit, my application method maybe the fault of the high temperatures, which I will remedy this time. Hopefully.

beanoslim said:
There is no need to cover the whole cap the core and heat run through the middle of the heatsink.

Because of cool n quiet there is no set default voltage, best way to find out what your cpu needs to run at default speeds is to start at something like 1.2v and run 1hr OCCT then 4 hrs Prime 95.

Increase the voltage in small steps until stable if needed or decrease if it passes everything straight away.

Then as far as OC goes work your voltage up from the voltage you needed for stability at default speeds.

Pretty sure that chip won't need 1.4v to pass at defaults and a re-installation will also help with your heat.

BTW I use about half the paste as on the pic posted above.




PsychoSaysDie,

It wasn't meant to the best cooler on the market. It was meant to try to hit 4ghz, that's it. Or at least 3.8/9 what ever the chip could give me.
Reviews stated it could be done with a temperature under load of about 52C, I figured actual temperature was around 55C, using this cooler.

I bought it for that reason, and the fact it was cheaper, and smaller then the Coolermaster V6GT.... Which is reviewed to be around 46C (Or likely around 49C) at 3.8Ghz. I don't remember the voltage they used, or if they listed it even for either cooler.


And, maybe, because the Fan it uses matched my case fans >.>;
So, yes I sacrificed a little lower temperature for aesthetic beauty.
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February 18, 2011 4:49:06 PM

I suppose that would be a crude solution to OC ing.

I'm not getting all high and mighty but I would always like to know how low the voltage can be to run at default before increasing speed and temps. Gives you a good platform to work from and in many cases by increasing the voltage in small increments you may find that at say 1.3725v the cpu might go as well as at 1.4v but you won't know this unless you work your way up. Its surprising how much difference to heat a small voltage decrease can make.

Also a 4ghz goal is ambitious although not impossible but a struggle with that cooler. The last 955 I tried just wouldn't hit 4ghz, it managed just above 3.9ghz and was seriously warm.

I can highly recommend the Zalman 9900MAX for a serious 955 OC, it reduced the OC'ed 955 temps under load from 80+ with a stock cooler to around 56C, idled somewhere around 30C.
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February 18, 2011 8:28:10 PM

I re-applied the paste, and it's running now.
at stock speed/volt it's still idling around 46C, with max under load around 59C, but it only spiked to 59, it didn't stay there very long (a few seconds at most), usually stayed at 55C. Which I think the spike is due to the paste not being cured in, which according to AS's site will not occur for at least 25hrs after applying when shutting off the computer...

Does that really make a difference? I almost always leave my system on. But I can shut it off at night if need be. Just bending over is hard atm, I'm in my 3rd trimester now. It's no fun lol.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your method is bad, just not one I've seen done before is all. But it makes logical sense. Voltage increases temperatures much faster then just pure Mhz. But I'd rather not mess with dropping the voltage atm, come sunday afternoon, I'm going to work on overclocking it again, though I'm going to try and leave the voltage alone if possible. I've read where some 955's can goto 3.8ghz without a voltage increase at all, I'm hoping I have one of those chips^^

As for my goal, 4ghz is just what I'd like to hit. But we all know there's a dozen variables that may prevent that for one reason or more. I can live with the previously set 3.8Ghz, but if I can hit 4 stably without going over 65C, I want to do so. 65 maybe hot but still within acceptable thermal limits right?
If all else fails, I'll drop the speed and keep it at 3.8Ghz. That would be acceptable.

Honestly, the only reason I'd like as close to 4ghz as possible is for 2 games: Shogun 2 TW, and Tera. Their likely to need a lot of CPU power.


If i do decide or need to get a better cooler, Would that Zalman fit into my Phantom case without blocking the top/side exhaust fans? The black mirrior plating on it does look kinda slick, and match the cases interior coating. And would it do any better then a Coolermaster V6GT and it's push/pull 2x 120mms? I was going to spend money on an external HDD to swap data around between my PC and my husbands and store data in triplicate. But If I had to do it, I could use it on another cooler, save this Arctic freezer for my husbands PC.
(I don't think newegg takes parts back unless it's broken by default.)


beanoslim said:
I suppose that would be a crude solution to OC ing.

I'm not getting all high and mighty but I would always like to know how low the voltage can be to run at default before increasing speed and temps. Gives you a good platform to work from and in many cases by increasing the voltage in small increments you may find that at say 1.3725v the cpu might go as well as at 1.4v but you won't know this unless you work your way up. Its surprising how much difference to heat a small voltage decrease can make.

Also a 4ghz goal is ambitious although not impossible but a struggle with that cooler. The last 955 I tried just wouldn't hit 4ghz, it managed just above 3.9ghz and was seriously warm.

I can highly recommend the Zalman 9900MAX for a serious 955 OC, it reduced the OC'ed 955 temps under load from 80+ with a stock cooler to around 56C, idled somewhere around 30C.

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February 19, 2011 8:08:13 AM

Its just the way I always go but it does take forever, the advantage is you have all the different stages of an OC written down so you know your settings needed should you want to make a change, you may find that you can drop the voltage a bit for your previous 3.8 OC. I always go for a cooler slighty slower OC over max speed and heat.

I would just surmise that you have a warm running chip and your cooler isn't that great. :( 

The 9900MAX is quite large but not as big as some of the towers, it would eat a V6 for breakfast and be quieter.

Dimensions are 94mm(L)x131mm(W)x152mm(H) so you need to check you case restrictions if any.

Made top 10 on Frostytech http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
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February 20, 2011 11:17:28 PM

Temps are still too high, this cooler will not work acceptably.

Therefore I will have to buy a new one, and shelf this freezer 13 for use later. Very disappointed in it, it may not have been the best but it was spec'd and reviewed to be adequate for my purposes. It seems either that was lying, or my chip is the hottest 955 ever.


Well anyway, since I have to find a new cooler, and have to pay like 60$ for it, I want the best. My case is plenty big enough for that Zalman 9900 with some room to spare.

So what is the best? (Only air cooling tho, I don't do water.)
I saw this one on the site you listed: http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=2521 It's rated better then the Zalman 9900.
But after looking around I saw one that's slightly upgraded it appears: http://www.spirecoolers.com/main/product_detail.asp?ProdID=1090
This one has a few more sink fins, an extra heat pipe, looks like better mounting and fan screws, and a flat base for the CPU.

What do you guys say? What do you guys think my temps will be like? Will I get a good noticeable drop, or will I like be pushing a few less degrees, and generally be SoL either way?


And what is the best paste? Is it still Arctic silver 5? Or can I get something better? My Arctic ceramique seems like fine paste, but honestly, I don't want to take chances again.


beanoslim said:
Its just the way I always go but it does take forever, the advantage is you have all the different stages of an OC written down so you know your settings needed should you want to make a change, you may find that you can drop the voltage a bit for your previous 3.8 OC. I always go for a cooler slighty slower OC over max speed and heat.

I would just surmise that you have a warm running chip and your cooler isn't that great. :( 

The 9900MAX is quite large but not as big as some of the towers, it would eat a V6 for breakfast and be quieter.

Dimensions are 94mm(L)x131mm(W)x152mm(H) so you need to check you case restrictions if any.

Made top 10 on Frostytech http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
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February 21, 2011 11:23:14 PM

I'm not saying that the Zalman is bad, it's on my list of candidates.

but why should I pick the zalman over the spire I listed? The thermax is listed on the site you showed me to be superior, for only a little more in price. And the Gemini is just a touch better then the thermax, less CFM though, but more and separated fins and an extra heatpipe, that I'm not sure of, but the fan mounts for it are better then the thermax. Or even the thermaltake Frio you listed on the newegg site, which is cheaper, and almost as good as the spire thermax.

I was also thinking of buying a tube of Arctic MX-4, a little more price but a few degrees C less then my compound, and no cure time, so I should get accurate temperatures reasonably quick, and pushing 3.8/3.9Ghz, I'd like a few extra degrees of room since the phenoms shut-off at a lower temperature then the i7's. And given the problem now, I'd like them as low as they can go. (Not to mention, in the summer ambient temperatures where my PC is go up quite a bit. I'll need the room.)


beanoslim said:
For you budget one of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

I still say the Zalman, you will be amazed. :D 

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a b K Overclocking
February 22, 2011 6:08:22 AM

I've seen it in action so I know it works.

It cools a 1090T running @3.95ghz on lowest speed and you have to get within a few feet to hear it.

Plus IMO it just looks really stylish and smart.

The others you mention look great on reviews and paper but I doubt they are as quiet.

I don't think you will regret buying any of them but all I can tell you about the 9900 is from 1st hand experience.

The decision is always yours to make and when you have 3 quality choices sometimes it just comes down to what you like the look of.
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February 24, 2011 5:23:25 PM

I think I'm going to go with the Thermaltake Frio after considerable debate.
The main reason is I like the push/pull combo of the 2 120's on it, and unlike the spire coolers I can find more peer reviews on the Frio which makes me more comfortable with it.

I feel this will help pull in more cold air from the lower half of the case... minus the geforce 580's heat, and quickly push it out of the sink, being pulled with the warming air off the sink right out with the other fan and the 200mm it will face. I could be wrong in this, I'm not an aerodynamic engineer to understand this kind of stuff lol. If you think thats in error please, say so^^

I also decided to ditch the arctic compound I listed above, in favor of the MX-4 compound. I think the extra 2-3C drop will help give me abit of extra thermal room esp in the summer. And maybe keep it stable at 3.9ghz, seemed stable there at 1.45v until the temp spiked and shut it down. and I want to check the voltage on that too.


Anyway, thank you for the help in this problem^^
If you think of anything else to know, let me know^^


beanoslim said:
I've seen it in action so I know it works.

It cools a 1090T running @3.95ghz on lowest speed and you have to get within a few feet to hear it.

Plus IMO it just looks really stylish and smart.

The others you mention look great on reviews and paper but I doubt they are as quiet.

I don't think you will regret buying any of them but all I can tell you about the 9900 is from 1st hand experience.

The decision is always yours to make and when you have 3 quality choices sometimes it just comes down to what you like the look of.

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a b K Overclocking
March 4, 2011 8:12:03 AM

Never used a Frio but I hear they are good.

I always try and fire my cpu cooler towards the rear case exhaust fan.

Hope it works well for ya.
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March 4, 2011 9:28:31 AM

Simple answer, it's an AMD chip ;P
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