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Exactly how important is proper thermal paste application?

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June 17, 2011 10:11:14 PM

I have an old Q6700 and just realized that the recommended paste method is using a straight line across the cores and letting it naturally flatten. Up to now, I've just been spreading across the cap.

My temps have certainly been disappointing (at stock). But it's been stable so I haven't given it too much thought. I actually recently realized that my fan setup was a bit poor as well, so I redid the entire cooling setup (no idea how I never realized that some were turned the wrong direction). But still I'm hitting 45-50c idle and 60-65 at 100% load (case is supposedly 43). My heatsink is a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and I feel that it should be performing much better regardless of paste application method.

Besides the paste application problem, another issue I see is that it's always a huge pain to install the heatsink. I'm not using a mounting base and it usually takes a bit of a struggle to get all the pins in properly. And then I have to re-attach the fan to the heatsink after that, which is also no easy task. Could this fighting with the heatsink be causing issues with the paste layer as well?

Any suggestions or thoughts would be most welcome, as I'd really like to get this cooler at some point as I'm sure I'll be looking to overclock in the near future to avoid the temptation of getting new parts so soon. I can clarify anything if need be, kinda writing this in a hurry right now.
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June 17, 2011 10:42:54 PM

That's definitely not "the" recommended application method. There is no consensus on the best way to spread TC. I use this as a guide:
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
What do you mean by "not using a mounting base"? How, then, is the sink attached to the motherboard?
You need a fair amount of pressure between the CPU and heatsink for good thermal transfer. Maybe you should just get a new sink.
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June 17, 2011 10:50:26 PM

It's very important. I've applied the paste incorrectly and had my temps 10-15C higher than normal.
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June 17, 2011 10:59:16 PM

The reason it is important to apply it correctly is that if it does not make proper contact to both surfaces it does not conduct the heat as quickly as it should. The purpose of thermal paste is to eliminate the air gap between the CPU and heat sink which can insulate the chip from the heatsink.
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June 17, 2011 11:27:36 PM

The best transfer of heat occurs between bare metal to metal contact between the cpu heatsink and cooler heatsink. Thermal compound's only purpose to is to fill in the air gaps and only the air gaps as air is an insulator, just like tokencode said. However, if you have too much thermal paste and there is no bare metal to metal contact, then your temps can be a tad higher then also as thermal paste can't conduct heat as efficiently has bare metal contact, but still much better than air of course.

Most people will put a tiny amount on the cpu and let the pressure between the cpu and cooler spread that tiny amount over the rest of the surface area of the cpu. However, you have a heatpipe cooler and a good one at that, so that method is altered somewhat and best illustratred in the guide posted by kajabla. Apply thermal paste incorrectly and you'll have a situation where you have too much paste, too little paste, or paste not in the right places and you'll have higher temps as livebriand mentioned.

Also, do you have Intel's SpeedStep enabled? That lowers voltage and frequency when your computer is idle. If SpeedStep is enabled and your CPU voltage and frequency are being lowered by a good amount at idle, then those idle temps are much higher than they should be. However, if SpeedStep isn't enabled or isn't working, then those idle temps might be correct.
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June 17, 2011 11:53:29 PM

Well, I'm basing my new recommended method on what the arctic silver page says for my chip. I mean that I haven't taken my motherboard out and installed a mounting plate. This heatsink also works with the push-pins alone.

That link seems helpful too. This last time, I actually noticed that the gaps could be a problem and tried to fill them in, but I'm not sure exactly how well it worked (it never looks very good). But then is it generally accepted these days to just apply a blob of paste and let it naturally spread upon contact? I've always done the opposite and spread first.

It's somewhat encouraging if you've seen a 10-15 difference in temps on paste method alone. That would be almost what I'm looking for.

It's possible that I've almost been using too little as well, cause I've always heard that you don't want to use too much. When spreading, it hardly spreads across the processor and I may even get some spots where I can't see any paste at all, so perhaps it's too thin in parts. Is this likely?

Also I do have speedstep and the c1e (or whatever) enabled. In bios, assumedly at full speed, it claims the chip is at 50-52c. I could test more properly in windows what it would be at full speed idle but that probably isn't too relevant :p 

So I'm guessing it would be best to completely clean all the paste again and try either the 2nd or 3rd of those methods in the link? And not put any directly on the chip at all? Oh, all the things you don't think about when you get a new heatsink >_<
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June 18, 2011 2:40:25 AM

Well the push pins are known to not provide as much pressure compared to having the heatsink clipped in via a retention clip on each side or screwed in via a backplate. Backplates I'd rather not have to use because you have to unscrew it from the back of the motherboard if you ever want to take it off and that usualy means taking the motherboard out with most computer cases.

Also, I have a heatpipe cooler too. I have the OCZ Vendetta 2 and spread the thermal paste using a razor blade on both the cooler heatsink and the cpu heatsink. With AMD's Cool N' Quiet enabled, my Phenom II X4 940 BE usually idles at 26-30C (800Mhz and 1.0v). Stress testing using Prime95 my CPU max's out at about 50C or so (3Ghz at 1.5v). My setup is in an Antec 900 v1 case too.

This brings up another point though. Your CPU cooler can't do sh*t if your case doesn't have good airflow. I know you've said you've redone the fan setup, but what case are you using?
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a c 103 à CPUs
June 18, 2011 11:27:32 AM

One of the first things that comes to mind when a new heatsinks on the cards is thermal paste, or at least it should be,
Application of thermal material is as you've already seen, a hotly debated subject and there are various 'correct' ways to apply it,
personally, I'd clean off the chip and H.s you have, put a tiny spot the size of a tiny grain of rice III < about that much and use a creditcard to spread that all over the chip, you will see through it by the time your done
you can tell you've covered a spot by looking at it on an angle, any part of the chip not covered will shine
Moto
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June 18, 2011 2:45:04 PM

arson94 said:
Well the push pins are known to not provide as much pressure compared to having the heatsink clipped in via a retention clip on each side or screwed in via a backplate. Backplates I'd rather not have to use because you have to unscrew it from the back of the motherboard if you ever want to take it off and that usualy means taking the motherboard out with most computer cases.

Also, I have a heatpipe cooler too. I have the OCZ Vendetta 2 and spread the thermal paste using a razor blade on both the cooler heatsink and the cpu heatsink. With AMD's Cool N' Quiet enabled, my Phenom II X4 940 BE usually idles at 26-30C (800Mhz and 1.0v). Stress testing using Prime95 my CPU max's out at about 50C or so (3Ghz at 1.5v). My setup is in an Antec 900 v1 case too.

This brings up another point though. Your CPU cooler can't do sh*t if your case doesn't have good airflow. I know you've said you've redone the fan setup, but what case are you using?


I'm using a Cooler Master Centurion; front and side intake, rear and power supply exhaust.

Previously I seemingly had rear intake, reversed heatsink airflow and side exhaust. No idea why, lol.
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June 18, 2011 4:32:03 PM

You have a simpler case and your fans are correct now. It's not the absolute worst case for airflow, but it's not exactly great either. It's not easy to do good cable management in that case either so that it doesn't impede airflow.

Also, you can check to see how much pressure the push pins are providing and see if the cooler is losing any pressure on the cpu when the computer is standing up. The push pins might be more to blame than the air flow in your case.
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June 19, 2011 2:04:20 PM

That's a good point. Well, it looks like I have some testing to do. I'll get back here when I get a good chance to rip it apart again. Thanks for the comments so far.
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June 19, 2011 6:49:26 PM

No problem. I've had your case before. Things can run warmer than usual in that case, but I still think your idle temps are a bit high even for that case since you've corrected the fan setup. Good luck.
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June 21, 2011 3:38:51 PM

Well wait, another question before ripping things apart... I remember reading that the computer tries to keep the cpu 5 degrees over ambient, and that certainly does seem to be the case here looking at my system vs cpu temps. Is this generally true? And then would my overall case temps be causing the problem? 2-3 (don't remember which) of the fans in there came with the case, so they may not be particularly strong. Also I could possibly move the harddrives from the little bay in the bottom to the 3 1/2 slots so they don't impede airflow as much, although I think my video card may be sticking into that area so I'd have to look at it.

But if the temps are really linked, that should probably be my first starting point to look at.
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June 21, 2011 4:18:59 PM

Well somebody can chime in if I'm wrong, but I've never heard that before and I can't believe that. My CPU stays about 5-7 degrees cooler than my system temp (at idle) and that's always been the case for me, with previous systems as well. This is also using SpeedStep or Cool N' Quiet as well. If not using those technologies, then I'm not really sure since your CPU would always be running at stock speed and voltage. Your ambient or system temp does affect your CPU temp though. The warmer your system is, the warmer the air the CPU cooler will be blowing over the CPU heatsink to cool it and vice versa. Again though, I've never heard nor read anything about a board, OS or anyother component of a system trying to keep a CPU 5 degrees above ambient temp.

You could try moving the drives around and see if they're really blocking air flow that much. You normally don't have to worry too much about keeping your drives cool, they can take the heat like champs.
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June 21, 2011 4:35:05 PM

The difference between bad and good is huge, the difference between good and great is small.

As for the cooler keeping the CPU 5 deg over ambient, well it doesn't work like that. It would depend on the system but usually they have baseline temps. For example on my P55 board I can go into the BIOS and manually set the CPU's speeds and temp limits. So for example I can say minimum fan speed is 20%, max is 70%, and the temp limit is 65C. Therefore when it's at 65C, the fan will hit 70% of it's max speed. It has a gradual slope down from there, I think 40C being the min temp/speed.

Also, ambient temps vary greatly. I think if there's any relation to being 5C over ambient it's more to do with the performance of the cooler than any attempt by the system to keep it there. That, and it's nearly impossible to keep it only 5C over ambient. For a real 5C delta you need some serious water cooling, typical is 10-15C with basic WC loops and air is generally higher than that, like 20-25C or more. Consider that ambient is usually around 22C, whereas most CPUs idle at 35-40C so already you're 13-18C over ambient.
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June 21, 2011 5:33:58 PM

Sorry, not ambient but case temp. I'm sure you're right though.

And the more I look at it, the more I think I may be screwed by the case and my components. Even if I somehow fit the harddrives in the 3 1/2 slots instead of the drive bay (which would likely help intake quite a bit though after removing the cage), the 5870 takes up so much space that it's almost blocking cool air from getting to the cpu. Especially if I make things even tighter in that area by moving the harddrives. Maybe that's why my old fan setup worked almost as well, lol.

I'm also tentative about moving harddrives because one of them has developed a 'plink' noise since I've started playing around with this.

I still do want to try a better paste application though. I think that should help a bit regardless of terrible air movement.
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June 21, 2011 5:43:31 PM

Oh case temp? Nah. My case temp is usually only around 28C until I start gaming, then my exhaust temp is around 35C or so (my fan controller has temp probes). My CPU still idles higher than that at around 38-40C and when gaming it's usually in the 50s.

BTW, if you could just list your full system specs and maybe even provide a few pics of your case and the internals, perhaps we can advise on how to get the best cooling out of it.
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June 21, 2011 6:28:33 PM

dstln, are you using your motherboard's utility to read your temps or a 3rd party utility? That can make a difference as a 3rd party utility might be reading your board's temp sensors incorrectly. And my response to you I was referring to system/case temp as that what I assumed your were talking about when you said ambient.

Wolfram, I think your idle temps are a few degrees high also. I do run Cool N' Quiet, but I also have an Antec 900 v1 case. Maybe that's why my sh*t idles lower than yours, about 30C? But my case temps idle around 37C. The Sapphire Toxic 4870 right below my CPU never drops below it's idle temp of about 62C either so maybe that also has something to do with my case temps being higher.
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June 21, 2011 7:04:18 PM

Well, we have very difference CPUs. And mine's also overclocked to 4ghz, so naturally the temps are going to be different.

As for case temps, my two 5850s idle at around 35C so they don't add much heat until I start to game, and then they heat up to around 60C. Seems that your 4870 is definitely hot. Also, my radiator is outside my case so inside there's a lot of open room for airflow. I have an Antec 900 II case :) 
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June 21, 2011 7:55:09 PM

Oh yea, if I had known all that I wouldn't have asked in the first place lol... Ya know, I didn't even notice your entire list of system specs in your signature haha. My bad. Yea Sapphire has their 4870's on the lazy side for cooling. The fan will ramp up when it needs too, and you'll know it when it does. I can't complain though, it's a fantastic GPU. How do you like your Antec 900 II? I'm wondering if it's worth upgrading to, or the antec 900 v3, from my v1 900 when I build a new system.

Back on topic though, dstln is using a Cooler Master Centurion 534 case and it just doesn't have the best airflow. I have a Centurion 5 at work actually and I know with 3 HDD's it gets warm and hinders airflow from the 1 front intake fan. You also can't cable manage worth a sh*t in that case. Even so, I think his temps are too high at idle especially if he has SpeedStep enabled. However, the pictures you've asked for would help alot in troubleshooting this. If like he has his CPU cooler pointed any way other than toward the rear exhaust fan, that could contribute as well. And the push pin retention system used for the coolers, there were notorious for for not being very secure as I think they were right?
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June 21, 2011 8:26:00 PM

For your first question, the 900 II is fine but neither it nor the V3 are going to be much improvement over a first gen.

As for the rest, yeah push pins suck. They're not all that reliable. I agree that his temps should be lower. A cheap cooler with screws and a backplate would probably help a lot right off the bat, as would a new $50 case.
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June 21, 2011 8:48:00 PM

Well his cooler, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, came with a retention bracket. He should definitely use that if he still has it. Sorry dstln to keep talking about you in 3rd person lol. But yea, if you still have the retention bracket that came with your cooler then definitely use it when you reapply the thermal compound.
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June 22, 2011 3:52:59 AM

I would love to take pictures, except that my camera's battery apparently died AGAIN and it isn't even worth bothering on my phone. But if I get a chance, I will.

The heatsink doesn't come with the backplate for intel systems, I'd have to get that separate. Looks like http://www.amazon.com/Xigmatek-ACK-I7361-Crossbow-Heats... would do the trick.

But then again, if I'm going to start spending more money on this, you wonder if the money can get better spent.

And my hs fan is definitely pointed through the heatsink and to the exhaust fan (it was all reverse before...). But if I do get pictures it'll at least describe better my thoughts on why the case really isn't helping my airflow.
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June 22, 2011 4:00:57 AM

And I've moved my setup a bit and it's going to be flat for the time being, so I'll see if it makes a difference once I get a chance to reapply the paste.
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June 22, 2011 4:29:43 AM

I'd say if you were to spend money on more than just the backplate, it would only need to be a better case. Wolfram confirmed the push pins are not reliable but you have a good heatsink, so the backplate would be a definite worthy investment. If you do end up getting another case, you'd definitely want one that has better cable management options as well as the better airflow. The backplate and ability to manage cables will provide a great improvement.
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June 22, 2011 8:05:31 PM

But I'm only buying quality items at this point, and good cases will probably run around $150. So if I would do that, I almost may as well instead just get a water cooler block to ensure low cpu temps that way. Then the rest of my fans could all worry about the graphics card :p  The other thing is that it's not like I can just easily resell a case like I could a heatsink or other parts

I may have to think about it more, but it does certainly seem like my secondary harddrive is dying, so then I would be able to clear the front and get rid of that cage also. I'm guessing that'll help too. At least a harddrive warned me for once and I was able to copy over the little information I wanted off it.

Now I just have to think about the way I want to go about this.
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June 22, 2011 8:12:50 PM

A good case can range from $50 to $800+ lol. In many ways it depends on size. For example Antec builds great cases, they have the small 300 at near $50 and it is great for the price. Then there's the 600, 900, and 1200 all increasing in size and price. They also have their Dark Fleet series now, similar sizes and prices but a different look.

I'm using an Antec 900 II myself, it was just over $100 at the time and it's one of the best cases for an air cooled system. Not too big, but great features and performance. Basically unless you plan on doing a fully internal watercooling system, it's around the size of case you want for great cooling performance.
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June 22, 2011 9:25:56 PM

I am surprised at how good that 300 looks. Infinitely better than my case setup at least :p  In the past it seems to have been 100-200 for premium cases. But I'd really want the best possible for heat and noise within reason for my next. I'm guessing more expensive ones have better noise reduction at least.
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June 22, 2011 9:27:53 PM

And off topic, but do you actually get physx working correctly without problems on your system? I know it can be done but it seems like it would also break with each software change, especially since you already have crossfire.
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June 22, 2011 9:35:23 PM

Yeah, PhysX works great :)  lol. Super easy to do, just run a patch anytime you need to update the Nvidia drivers. Never had an issue with it.
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June 22, 2011 9:35:44 PM

Yea, you can definitely get a good air cooled case for $50-$75 these days and especially so if you get in on a good newegg sale or promo code.

About the PhysX with Crossfire setup though, I'd like to know if the PhysX is actually worth buying an extra Nvidia card.

EDIT: Damn it, ya'll keep replying while I typing lol
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June 22, 2011 9:47:11 PM

Well, it's actually not really worth it. I mean, it is cool but there's just not many games that take advantage of it. I bought the GT 240 for $65 so it's not bad to get that feature. But worth it? Probably not, in the end. I think I played through only 3 games with it, and tested out several others so the extra cost per game is pretty high. Overall only around 21 games even use accelerated PhysX anyway.
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June 22, 2011 10:01:37 PM

Hmm I see. Could you tell the difference PhysX made in those games you did play? Is it something you wish were in other games or that made you feel it's something other games are missing?

Back on topic though. Are we going to talk dstln into joining the cool (no pun intended) 'Hundred Club? Haha :D 
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June 23, 2011 1:25:06 AM

I have a spare 8800 gts I could throw in a new comp to play with it (only one pcie gpu slot on this motherboard though...). The only game I've played that would show a real difference has been Mirror's Edge. The effect did look nice, but it's not a huge thing. And not worth having an inefficient card like that in your comp when you aren't playing with it either. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0xRJt8rcmY

And I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, but those cases certainly are impressive compared to mine when it comes to cooling. For some reason I thought mine was good >_< Maybe when I got it, lol. First though I really need to get the most out of what I have. Are those cases also pretty quiet then since they wouldn't need to work much to get a lot of proper airflow moving?
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June 23, 2011 1:48:16 AM

Well, My antec 900 is pretty damn quiet when I have the fans on low. But I put them all on high and it's just a little background noise really. Any game, movie, sh*tty youtube video or sound basically will overpower noise you hear from the case fans. Now if I ramp up my Toxic 4870 that's a different story. I'm also not the kind of guy that complains that my video card fan gets "too loud" while I'm gaming. I don't game like a p****, I like to hear it when I kill people. With teh fans on low or even medium, the case it pretty quiet. On high, it's just little background noise really. I can't speak for the other antec hundred cases though as I've never been around one. But I wouldn't think they're any louder.

And you were probably attracted to the cheaper price of the Centurion case I would figure. I was lucky to find my antec 900 two years ago on sale at Fry's for $60 I think and pricematched it at Best Buy. Best purchase I ever made at Best Buy.
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June 23, 2011 2:33:26 PM

I spent some money to quiet my computer down. The 900 at stock is fairly quiet if you leave fans at low/medium speeds. But I replaced all my case fans with CoolMaster R8s which are like $8 each with great airflow and they're much quieter. Although, being so cheap, 1 of them has a very, very slight "tick" sound. I found it goes away if the fan is horizontal, but when vertical (in the case) it makes the sound. *shrug* I rarely can hear it though. I've also replaced my gpu coolers and went with liquid cooling on the CPU so overall my system is very quiet now.

@arson94 as for PhysX, I think in some games it does add a lot. Batman AA is a great example, as well as Cryostasis. Mirror's Edge and Metro 2033 didn't get much added to them, but what it did add is neat enough. I do think PhysX (or just hardware accelerated physics in general) has a lot of promise and it's too bad other physics SDKs don't take advantage of it. I know Bullet physics added acceleration but I've never heard of a game using it yet.
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June 23, 2011 6:03:48 PM

The heatsink and CPU rely on the thermal compound heavily for thermal transfer. So it is important.

Just make sure you do not have any air bubbles, make sure it is a thin layer, and remember that the entire CPU does not have to be covered. Try to keep the thermal compound out of the CPU edges.
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June 23, 2011 9:41:28 PM

Well, I moved the hard drive, removed the harddrive cage and redid the heatsink application (this time meticulously cleaning old remnants off the heatsink/processor and using the technique on that hdt guide page).

So far now I'm getting 40-45 idle and 50-55 load, which seems somewhat better. It's also a relatively cool day for the summer, so I'm hoping it stays at least around those temps and not higher.

Other things I'm going to try is reversing the side fan and seeing if I can ramp up the speeds on my front intake for more consistent cpu cooling. But it is a priority to take away hot air from the gpu, since that seems to be a major issue when it's going strong. Having the gpu work currently impacts my idle cpu temps almost equal to 100% cpu. Either way, I'm seemingly no longer able to max out my cpu fan (except perhaps with a combined 100% load, but I couldn't even see a real world situation where that would be the case).
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June 23, 2011 10:26:33 PM

Well, you have a 10C decrease in temps on load and that's good. But like you said, it's a somewhat cooler day too. But it's also the case that Q6700's run kind of warm apparently from searching google for a few min just now. I think with better airflow in the case though you'll be happy with the results. I think I'm just out of ideas now lol. Maybe your temps are that bad now, sicne they're a little lower. Just looked it up and max operating temp is 71C according to cpu-world.com so that's something to remember there.
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June 23, 2011 11:38:27 PM

Yep, I can still look into case or just better fans in general. If I figure out something to do with this case I'd be more willing to make the switch. But yeah, some of the problems are probably in regards to the limited space/cooling in the case. If it stays somewhere around these levels after the really long AS5 burn-in, I'll be happy for now.

But either way, I'm probably mostly finished playing around with it for the time being.
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June 29, 2011 1:05:38 AM

So I've been playing around a little with case fans and it looks like my current two that came with the case are pretty weak (only run at ~1100 rpm all the time and probably don't push too much air). I currently have those as my side and rear with a variable antec fan that goes up to 1500 rpm in the front.

And surprisingly, reversing my side fan direction makes a huge difference in cpu temps. I tried it out to see if it would help or stabilize gpu and it does to a small extent (and keeps the cpu cool while gpu has load), but my cpu temps skyrocket when it's reversed. This leads me to think that I'm relying on that intake a bit too much.

I'm thinking about getting a Nexus pwm fan and sticking it in the back or the front. Any other notable suggestions for fans I should be looking at?
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June 29, 2011 5:20:26 PM

Well, I'll say the optimal fan configuration from my experience is always front and side fans as intake and top and rear as exhaust (psu exhaust as well). I would base recommendations from the fans that came with my antec 900 case. It's their TriCool fans with Low, Medium, High settings. High = 2000rpms, 79cfm, 30dbA. I think they're great and I would image they would work out for your as well or one with similar high setting stats. You should be able to fit 3 120mm fans right? Front, side, rear? I'm not really fond of thermally-controlled fans as I like to run my fans on max 24/7. I even turn down cpu smart fan so that my cpu fan runs at max rpms 24/7. Just how I like to roll I guess.
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June 29, 2011 5:40:07 PM

Yep, three main case fans.

And I've seen those along with others. The tricool seem pretty good but too noisy for what they push. And temp control is more of a preference than anything. But I suppose max rpms at all time would indeed ramp down idle temps if that's your thing :p  Maybe that's a difference too. So far the ones I've seen are Nexus (seems best so far), Noctua (too expensive), Scythe (don't see the one I want in stock anywhere), Antec (bit noisy). Also the ones I'd be looking at aren't just thermally controlled but controlled by the motherboard, so that probably helps a bit. But the switch or whatever on the antec is a great idea, I must say, cause you won't always be able to properly manipulate a ton of fans at the same time otherwise. Is it just a switch on the fan itself?

And yeah, the case is meant to be front and side intake I believe (with front optional?). It came with some wind funnel for the cpu but that's long gone with this big heatsink. But I was just trying things out, and I'm surprisingly so reliant on that intake.

I might actually get a great deal on an antec 900 though, so I'm going to see if that happens before I pull the trigger on any fans. But seeing how reliant I am on some of them, I have a feeling that even just one powerful fan could make a big difference in this case. Both the side intake and exhaust are pretty weak. And I'm not sure how effective the front and side intakes can be with only mesh to the sides of it and ridged openings, respectively.

I'm still a bit envious of that case and its wide and heavy airflow. That deal just fell onto me, so here's hoping, lol.
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June 29, 2011 9:39:15 PM

Yea the switch at the end of about a 3" wire hanging off the fan and all of them are 4-pin molex connectors.

I agree though, Noctua is way too expensive for a damn fan for me. Scythe fans can be a little on the high side as well but they usually are quality fans. And I prefer the fans max 24/7 because I overclock sometimes. Just habit/preference now.

I personally don't think the fans are loud at all but I also spent 4-5 years with a volcano 12 as a CPU fan. Look that up... 5500rpm, 73cfm, 48dba lol in a 80mm fan with only 3 blades. That was loud. So the antec tricools in the antec 900 case seem like gentle background noise to me now haha.

The case is great though. You'll love it if you get it. Great options for cable management too which will help do wonders for airflow in the case. There's places for 2 hdd bay fans up front, 1 side fan, 1 rear fan, and the 200mm top exhaust fan. All fans are 120mm and it should come with 2 fans for the front and 1 fan for the rear I believe with the 200mm top fan already installed.

However, you won't be able to install the side case fan with your cooler. I have the OCZ Vendetta II and I'd have to buy a 12mm thin fan to fit. Normal 120mm fans are 25mm thick. But definitely wait until you know about the 900 case for sure. Let me know!
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June 30, 2011 4:13:33 PM

lol. I had/maybe still have a volcano 9, so that may be similar. Those things are crazy at max rpm. I think it also had direct fan control too though. Hmm I wonder if I have screws for that in this case. I should check and see if I still have that fan, lol.
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June 30, 2011 5:05:21 PM

yea it had a direct controle knob that screws into an expansion slot in the back of the case and a themal sensor control wire that went under your cpu/heatsink. I just used the control knob. I don't know if you really want to use that fan though lol. I mean it'll definitely add some extra air, but damn they're loud.
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June 30, 2011 8:18:20 PM

So I found it and installed it as rear exhaust and... wow... nothing like 5k rpms and 45dba to wake you up. And to think it pushes the same amount of air as a good 120mm fan at 25dba (which is 100 times softer, lol). It was helping with temps though, although not quite as much once the case was already warm from gpu heat (insinuating a bottleneck with intake). But that's crazy, and some people actually use computers like that @_@
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June 30, 2011 10:06:44 PM

try it as a side intake fan, cool down that gpu :D 
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July 1, 2011 8:41:23 AM

no 80mm holes on the side sadly. maybe in the front but it's not worth trying to install it there just to test
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July 1, 2011 10:25:22 PM

haha i hear ya. any word on that antec 900 yet?
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