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Mini-ITX computer: Problems with cooling?

Last response: in Systems
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December 10, 2011 1:39:07 PM

Hello everyone :) 

I recently had a mini-ITX computer pre-built by a small company in California, called mitxpc.com . It is a very small machine! Here are the components:

CPU: Core i5-2500s (65 W)
case: universal m350
ram: 2 gb ddr3
hdd: an old old 100 gig drive which gives off as much heat as the big bang possibly did when it happened.
Power supply: pico SU
fan: Includes a case fan at the front, also a CPU heatsink. The hard drive is suspended above tnhe processor.

My concern lies with the temperature of this thing. At idle, the CPU is in the low-mid 50s, and when pushed with prime 95 this goes into the 80s.

I really don't know what to do. It is one small case for sure, so I doubt air circulation could much improve. Also, because the heatsink is also small (30 mm fans), getting an aftermarket cooler would also be a challenge. Any suggestions? I'm not sure what paste/other things they used..

All the best,
Tomi
December 10, 2011 5:29:54 PM

There's a few things to try. You could replace the HDD with a cooler/faster SSD for one. With a 62mm tall case, you're very limited on heatsinks. For a CPU heatsink replacement that might outperform the Intel stock, here are some ideas:

#1 Scythe Kozuti SCKZT-1000 (40mm tall) Review


#2 Evercool HPL-815 (45mm tall) Review


#3 Prolimatech Samuel 17 (57mm tall with a 12mm fan) Review*This still might be too tall with a fan installed.


You could shave off a few °C by using some good quality thermal paste too. I personally like Arctic Cooling MX-4 and Arctic Silver 5. You need to carefully measure how much room you have available.
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December 10, 2011 6:29:19 PM

1) See if you can't replace the 100gb hard drive with a SSD. It will greatly improve your performance. It will generate no important heat and will be silent.
Any "old" 100gb drive will likely be a poor performet.

2) Do not be overly worried about cpu heat. It tales about 95c before throttling will occur.

3) The Intel stock cooler is decent, and should generate some air circulation. Is that what you are using?
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December 10, 2011 9:36:00 PM

wow! :)  Thanks everyone for the quick responses, I truly appreciate them.

I would get an SSD, used to actually have one before (OCZ Vertex 2) but the thing kept failing upon boot and was terrible! Sadly I couldn't even return it, because I don't have the boxing of it anymore. That certainly scared me away from ssds for sure! lol :D 

For anyone interested, here is the cooler they are using:
http://www.mitxpc.com/proddetail.asp?prod=LPCT459

and below is the actual PC:
http://www.mitxpc.com/proddetail.asp?prod=EKIH61M350

Would be curious to see what people think of both.

I did check out those coolers, thanks @rwpritchett for the list. I suppose my only concern is that the hard drive is right above the cooler as it is right now, and looking at the product details pages, if it's barely touching the fans now with a 30 MM cooler, I think the hd would be directly touching the blades with a 40 MM one. Sigh. :) 


@geofelt what do you mean by the 95 degree limit? I thought your processor starts to "degrade" after 75 or so (and thus pushing it to mid-80s causes slow and painful death to it) lol. :o 
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December 11, 2011 12:28:15 AM

You should be able to shift the hard drive caddy around to make room over the CPU:



... unless you have two of the hard drive brackets installed.
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December 11, 2011 1:24:28 AM

You can safely use an Intel ssd.
http://www.behardware.com/articles/831-7/components-ret...

I wonder if the cooler is any more efficient than the stock Intel cooler.

With realtemp, you get a display of the current and max temperatures of each core. You also get the distance to TJMAX which I interpret as the upper acceptable limit. On my 2600K it is 98c.

An off the wall ugly idea:
Get a 120mm usb powered fan and put it on top of your pc.
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!