I just rebuilt my main XP machine (the one in my profile is a Windows 7 machine I built last year). I had an Intel Q6600 in the same case, same fans and ran Prime95 default test for a day and a half with no heat problems. 2.4 Ghz (not OC'd). Now with the Phenom II x4 965 on an MSI 870A-G55 board and 4GB GSkill RAM. I'm running it at 3.4 Ghz (not OC'd either) I'm having heat issues maybe. I ran the stock cooler for a few minutes to see what it would do but it was definitely not cooling it well.
So I put back my Zalman 9500 and installed it twice. The first time I think I used a little too much thermal compound so I took it out and did it again nice and thin but enough and very even. Both times with Arctic Silver 5. The base of the cooler is quite flat too. I checked that. That hit 62C in about 5 minutes so I shut off Prime cuz it just shouldn't get that hot. The 2nd time I added an extra 80mm fan to the top of the case (there are 2 in the back along with the PSU fan) and a 120mm that's pushing a ton of air in the front of the case. It is loud. Like sitting in a server room almost.
So after 6 hours running Prime95 default test (on windows XP 32 bit by the way) with the extra fans I've got perfectly even temps across all 4 cores. The max was 57 and the current temp is 55. It's been pretty steady there from what I can tell. But like I said, this is loud and I can't keep it that way. I write software and would no way be able to stand the noise all day long every day.
A new cooler with a bigger fan might help a bit (like the 120mm Zalman) but it's not going to be enough to get this down to a reasonable temperature I think. Not after I slow down the 120mm. And in fact the 120mm in the front is going to be blowing over 3 HDD's after I put those back in. So there will be a little more heat in the case after that.
I read something in a thread on this CPU about lowering the vcore. I'm not skilled at messing with those BIOS settings. But I went in and found that I couldn't even change it. Those settings are all set to auto and they are uneditable. I looked for a setting that would unlock them but nothing worked. Right now my vcore is at 1.44. Will lowering that help? I don't plan to OC this.
I'll do some screenshots later on but I want to keep running tests right now and I don't have a way to get the screeshots off the machine in question right now. Just figured I'd get this going to see if there's anything I can do.
Yes --- lowering the vcore will help drop temps and 'Auto' settings do tend to over-volt.
It has been a while since I've built with an MSI motherboard. Within the Cell Menu there should be a setting but my recollection from the past is it was a rather confusing choice (maybe set auto over-clocking to 'Captain'?) before your CPU volts could be adjusted.
Otherwise, give AMD OverDrive a try to drop your volts and determine if it will 'stick' in the BIOS using that method.
One of the things that stinks about this setup is that the CPU cooler now has to either blow toward the PSU or the Graphics card. In my Intel setup, I could aim the airflow out toward the back. I'm wondering if I need a new cooler that will at least allow me to direct the air out of the case. That eliminates the style I have I guess. Right now it's blowing on the PSU but the PSU exhaust is hotter than normal. I think at least I need to point it the other way. I thought it would be worse having the cooler suck warm air down from the PSU but the PSU runs pretty cool most of the time and the graphics card is quite a ways away from the CPU so I think that's the better way to go.
Actually, as I look at other coolers it appears that any of the ones that blow sideways (as opposed to the stock coolers that blow up or down on the CPU) they all seem to have to mount so that I can't aim out toward the back of the box. Maybe if I fashion some cardboard into some sort of ducting...