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Finally, a review of AMD stock coolers!

Last response: in CPUs
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April 4, 2003 5:39:55 PM

It looks like they listened to us.

Looking at the review, it seems to be as many here have said. The boxed AMD HSF is fine as long as you're not going to do any OCing, or even just minor OCing is fine.

I have an XP 2400 OCed to 2.13 GHz, and my temps are fine with the AMD HSF. Plus, it's very quiet.

"I'm a man armed with a fork in a land of soup."
April 5, 2003 8:53:03 AM

Like I always said, AMD aren't going to skimp on their HSF since a bad HSF would give their CPU's a bad name by letting them overheat.
April 5, 2003 5:25:48 PM

You said you have good temps. I am putting my XP 2400+ today. What kind of temps are you getting. Thanks
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April 5, 2003 6:48:20 PM

my 2400 with stock cooling, in an antec case with only 1 120mm case fan for exhaust runs 41 celcius under normal use
April 5, 2003 8:26:05 PM

Actually AMD has the worst heat handling of any electonics manufacturer I've ever worked with.

There are numerous problems...
1) the top of their CPU dies (the heat island) are seldom completely flat.
2) I've found a gritty substance on top of many of their chips.
3) I've frequently seen the bonding glue lapped over top their heat islands.
4) The 4 rubber feet are simply inadequate to keep the heatsink stable.
5) The actual contact area is way too small to effectively transfer the heat away from the cpu.
6) Their stock thermal pads are lousy at transferring heat, but they do glue it down pretty well.

As I've been saying all along... if you have a machine that doesn't get moved around their stock heat sink is <i>adequate</i>... not good, just adequate.

Every extra degree takes you one step closer to the maximum, reducing your safety margins and risking heat related problems in adjacent components. In an environment like that "adequate" just doesn't cut it.

To overcome the problems you need plastic shims, thermal grease and more effective heatsinks... or maybe AMD will smarten up and start putting proper heatspreaders on top of their chips... just like everyone else does.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 5, 2003 10:35:13 PM

How do you refute the claim by AMD that thermal paste will void the warranty & should only be used with CPU's that are frequently changed?

I can't get over that myself. I never use thermal grease because of this.

Do you always buy OEM & take your chances with no warranty so to speak on a 3rd party cooler or what? I've always bought boxed CPU's for the warranty / cooler & 3 year warranty & never had a over heating problem.

If not, what do you do? Put on the stock cooler to melt the wax a bit & then change to a 3rd party cooler? You know the stock CPU's are keyed to their coolers & if you don't send it back with the CPU, warranty is void.

I'm not dumping on you, but these are questions that I ask myself every time I see in the forum to disregard the stock cooler & warranty & are never answered in my opinion (for what ever that's worth). Just hang it out & balls to the wind & hope for the best? I like to be more exact than that, but maybe I'm wrong.

I've had several machines that came back to me form customers with burnt chips. & when I inspected them they had the pad removed & grease applied with bad results. Warranty voided, sorry. Most have read somewhere that grease is better & end up burning up the CPU trying to change. I know there's a lot of idiots out there, but how do you deal with these questions & ethics?

If it ain't broke, take it apart & see why not!
April 5, 2003 10:49:09 PM

Please go back and re-read what I wrote.

I already said... time and again... that the stock coolers are ok...

There are very real deficiencies in the way AMD handles the heat from their processors. This could be totally eliminated if they would solder a heat spreader on the top of their chips the way Intel and Via do.

AND... when you buy OEM processors in Canada, it does not void the warrantee. I've returned AMD chips up to 6 months later and gotten exchanges without so much as a raised eyebrow. It may be different where you are... but I've never had any problem.


As for what I do... I use third party coolers with thermal grease... the way any sensible technician would.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 5, 2003 11:08:56 PM

Well that explains some things to me then, Thank You. I just feel that to many are lead astray on this issue. Here in the US it is different.

I call myself a technician but I have never used thermal grease & a 3rd party cooler. So maybe I'm not up to your standards. I'm definitely thinking about it some.

I think there's difference a technician & an enthusiast. A technician makes computers for a living & an enthusiast does if for a hobby. You must do it for a complete living, I do it to make money & not get burnt, so to speak.

If it ain't broke, take it apart & see why not!
April 6, 2003 12:44:30 AM

All OEM AMD CPU's I've seen come with a 15 or 30 day return and replace only warranty.

Also Teq, you're starting to sound like a broken record - jumping in and criticizing AMD CPU's and HSF's with glee everytime someone posts.

I've put numerous AMD systems together and always use the retail HSF unless the machine is going to be OC'd or the user wants a really quiet machine. That said, the retail HSF's are fairly quiet anyway.

I've had two machines I built with the stock HSF shipped over from the UK to the US without a problem, and I've never come across a problem with the systems I have built. If a machine is going to get a bang hard enough to unseat or break the HSF clips then the memory and cards, especially any AGP card, are going to unseat first.

My CPU is running at 44C right now, it's been on for about a week and is over 12 months old. It rarely goes over 50C.

Perhaps, Teq, the problems you are having is because the cooling solutions you used 2 years ago weren't adequate. I don't know. Or maybe you used cheap motherboards that are shorting and don't supply the fan with enough power - alot of older VIA ones in particular are prone to this over time. Or maybe it's down to the power-supply degrading over time - alot of old AMD motherboards are very particular about having a good power-supply. I can say for sure, and THG's article backs me up, the AMD CPU and HSF in their retail packs are more than adequate for the task. In fact they are better than many of the expensive third party coolers and certainly quieter than most. Also, if there was as serious a flaw with the AMD CPU and HSF design, as you are trying to maintain, then wouldn't a few sites have picked up on this and demanded AMD do something about it, like they did about AMD CPU's having no built in thermal cut-off protection?

A big problem people have who build systems and aren't very experienced is not making sure the HSF is on properly - it's possible to get the clip on and it's seated incorrectly. In numerous cases I've seen people freaking about the heat their newly built AMD machine is running at, I open it up and the HSF isn't sitting properly even though the clip is on tightly. Anyway I rarely have seen a machine hitting 80C on the core, and it's almost always down to the HSF not being seated right when it was put on. An AMD CPU can run at 80C quite stably usually anyway.

AMD aren't going to ship crappy cooling solutions with their CPU's - they just aren't. Maybe they did 2 years ago, but not today and not in the last 12 months - it's not worth putting the reputation of their CPU's on the line to save a few pennies on the HSF.
April 6, 2003 6:43:43 AM

There are other threads here where I've explained both my experience and qualifications for what I do. I've been working with electronics more than 30 years at this point in time... 25 of those professionally. So lets not be playing the "if you don't do this for a living" card.

The problems I've run into are very real and in one case, disastrous as an overheating CPU went nuts and wiped out the entire client database of one of my customers.

As I've explained the problem is mechanical... AMD does not put chip-top heat spreaders on their CPUs and using those silly rubber pads to compensate for a too-small heat island does not give the heatsink/cpu assembly sufficient mechanical stability to make it trustworthy. I've already had to put one free system in a customer's office because of it and it's looking like I will have to do it again...

I have no problem with anyone who prefers AMD over Intel... but for those of less technical minds (i.e. the vast majority) the things we do as a matter of course... re-seating heatsinks and applying thermal grease might as well be brain surgery... they need highly reliable systems that will remain stable over long periods of time. AMD just doesn't do that.

Were it not for this heat problem I'd prefer to sell AMD, they are good performers and I can make a good buck on them. In fact, my personal use machine is an AMD 1800+ and I'm not even thinking of getting rid of it right now. (Although I could have one kick ass P4 system up and running in an hour or so, if I wanted to raid my stock bins...)

My point is that there are problems... to not recognize them and find ways of dealing with them would be financially disastrous for both me and my customers.

Until AMD can produce a CPU with a decent heat handling system, I won't be selling any more AMD systems... I simply can't afford it.




--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 6, 2003 8:37:21 AM

Well that's good. If I didn't sell AMD, I wouldn't have a business. I guess the economics are different in the US & Canada. I build high end gaming machines & AMD is where it's at for me & my customers.

All I tried to do was interject some questions that I think are relevant for discussion. I guess I wasted my time is all.

If it ain't broke, take it apart & see why not!
April 6, 2003 12:12:18 PM

Over-heating CPU's don't magically wipe databases - they just cause the system to become unstable. Guess it might corrupt a database if it crashed while the database was locked open, if it was a crappy file-based database like say MS Access. Having worked in delivering Enterprise level servers and systems for a few years I know this.

As for your maintaining that the HSF + CPU design for AMD is inadequate - tell that to the people that SHIP AMD PC's everyday. That's right, they actually get pretty much thrown around by a courier as they are transported miles across the country. I think the people selling these systems would have stopped doing so by now if the HSF unseated or broke off easily, don't you? Honestly, like I said, PCI/AGP cards and memory are way more likely to unseat before anything happens to the CPU/HSF so why, when your clients nock their machines around, does the CPU suffer and not the memory/cards become unseated? Seems strange to me.

Sounds to me like you would be better off just using the stock HSF + pad rather than grease because it seems like you don't know how to apply a HSF to an AMD CPU using grease. That's the only explanation I can think of to explain your "bad luck" with AMD CPU's. Pads are a no-brainer.
April 9, 2003 5:37:09 PM

Speaking of boxed coolers, the boxed cooler of the Athlon XP 3000+ CPU is awesome! Runs quiet and keeps the CPU pretty cool too, with a fine amount of headroom for overclocking. 2.3 Ghz, 177 FSB with default voltage has been running stably here for days.
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