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Is My CPU Running Too Hot?

Last response: in CPUs
June 5, 2003 11:16:36 PM

I recently built a new system - Mobo: MSI 875P NEO-FIS2R, CPU: P4 2.8 GHz 800FSB boxed. According to the utilities that come with the motherboard, the CPU temp is peaking above 70 degrees C (maybe 73 degrees). This is after running a 3D game for awhile. When less stressed, the CPU runs about 60-65 degrees. The case has a total of 4 fans (2 blowing in, two blowing out), plus the power supply has two fans (one blowing into the PS from insde the case, the other blowing out). It seems like I should have plenty of ventilation. But the CPU temp sounds too hot. I am not overclocking.

I used the stock fan/heatsink that came with the boxed P4. I am wondering if there is something wrong with the way I installed it. The heatsink had a large square panel that was where it contacted the CPU. This was a dull dark brown color. I presumed that this was a heat transfer pad and I did not use and thermal paste, but I'm wondering if this was wise. The instructions that come with the P4 did not show anything in the way of applying thermal paste.

Is my CPU temperature too high? Any suggestions for correcting? Should I replace the stock heatsink/fan (suggestions on brand/model?) or should I try to strip off all material and apply paste?

Thanks for your help.


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June 6, 2003 12:04:13 AM

That is too hot.
It should average 35C idle and 45C loaded.
If you followed the instructions included with the boxed P4 then you have most likely installed the heatsink fan correctly.
It is possible that the utility you are using to view the cpu temperature is malfunctioning. Check your cpu temperature in the BIOS. IIRC the MSI BIOS has the option to view cpu core temperature.

Click <A HREF="" target="_new">here</A> to view thermal integration details. There are step by step instructions to remove and install P4 heatsinks on the lower half of the page.

<font color=red><i>Doctor Hooter</i></font color=red> <A HREF="" target="_new"><b>(·Y·)</b></A>
June 6, 2003 8:14:41 PM

Thanks. The BIOS confirms the same temp reading.

The material you linked is helpful. I don't think that I installed the CPU/fan/heatsink improperly since with the current P4 unit, it's completely a click and lever affair.

Someone told me that I should have peeled something off on the thermal substrate and maybe this is causing the issue. I did not see anything to peel off when I installed the CPU. It appeared to me that the square of brown material was fixed to the heatsink with no layer to peel off. Neither the pamphlet that came with the CPU nor your linked info indicate that anything needs to be peeled. Does anyone know whether current boxed P4 units require something to be peeled off?

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June 6, 2003 8:46:07 PM

I haven't used the new 800MHz FSB P4's.
All of the P4's and Celeron's I have used have had the thermal pad preapplied to the heatsink. Except for the 3.06GHz P4. It came with a syringe filled with thermal paste.
I don't know what you mean by the brown pad. The heatsinks with the preapplied thermal pad had a black soft thermal material on top of a soft aluminum tape. Kind of like auto-body tape.
If I were you I would get some new silver thermal paste, pull the heatsink off and clean off the old thermal material from the heatsink and heatspreader on the cpu with rubbing alcohol. If there is the soft aluminum tape under the brown thermal material leave it there. Just clean off the brown thermal material from the heatsink and heatspreader. It takes a bit of effort but it does come clean with rubbing alcohol.
Take the new silver grease and spread a very thin layer on top of the cpu heat spreader. Then take the heatsink and set it on the cpu so that it locks into place on the heatsink retention mechanisim on the motherboard. Before closing the locking levers on the the heatsink gently press down on the heatsink and twist it back and forth a couple times so the silver paste gets worked in evenly. Lock the levers. With the levers locked the heatsink should be firmly pressed against the cpu. Although with force you may still be able to twist the heatsink from side to side.
This has happened with some I have installed. Others I have installed would take so much force to move they would break the motherboard.
However all the P4 and celeron cpu's I have installed have all run at 35C Idle and 45C Loaded.

One thing. Before you do this make sure you have all your motherboard jumpers and BIOS settings correct. Is there any possiblity that you are overclocking your cpu?
Have you used WCPUID to check your CPU clock settings?
You can download WCPUID <A HREF="" target="_new">here</A>.

<font color=red><i>Doctor Hooter</i></font color=red> <A HREF="" target="_new"><b>(·Y·)</b></A>
June 7, 2003 7:32:06 AM


Thanks for the feedback. The CPU/heatsink is exactly as you describe. A soft pad coated on top of a piece of shiny aluminum foil underneath. It looked very dark brown to me, but I could see how someone could call it black. So that's good since that doesn't seem to be the issue. I was getting paranoid that I neglected to peel something off.

I am pretty sure the CPU is not overclocked - both via the BIOS and confirmed with a Windows utility that came with the mobo. I will try the utility you indicate to triple check.

I called Intel today and the technician said that the CPU fan is probably defective. The system shows that it is rotating at 2100-2400 rpm. The technician said it should be rotating closer to ~5000 rpm (he said it maxes at 5500 rpm). I will exchange the CPU for a new unit and see how it goes.

Thanks again.

June 7, 2003 10:09:09 AM

Before you RMA it make sure there is nothing on that mobo limiting your CPU fan speed. I can't remember its exact name but on most Canterwood/Springdale mobos theres a whole BIOS menu devoted to controlling the different fan speeds. Make sure you dont have your CPU fan at 50% or something.

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June 8, 2003 6:30:47 AM

When you attached the fan did you close the clamps? You should have had to apply a fair amount of pressure to lock the fan down. If it were not fully engaged your temperature would be high.

Given you are running at the stock clock speed, and fan speed is about right, your CPU temperature should be less than 45 C under load depending on your case ventilation.

My stock fan runs 2200 RPM and my 2.4c clocked up to 2.88 GHz is less than 40 deg C under load.

Look in the Power section of your BIOS for system power management configuration items (e.g. Throttle Clock Ratio, & System Thermal), also in hardware monitor there should be a fan speed control. Still my guess is your clamp is not down as tight as it should. Your CPU is running much too hot.

a b à CPUs
June 8, 2003 3:40:53 PM

Check your cpu volt as well, could be too high.
June 8, 2003 8:23:37 PM

I got a p4c 3ghz 800fsb.

Thing rnus at 38-40 idle and 45 Active, my boxed HSF only runs at 2400 RPM aswell though, the only difference between teh way i installed mine and the way you asid to have installed yours was the inclusion of the thermal paste.

Lemme tell ya that stuff helps ALOT. The way i did it was i put the thermal paste on the copper (brown circle) portion of the heatsink, and used a credit card to spread it out to an even thin layer. Then placed the HSF on.

Im wondering about my fan now though, only running at 2400 RPM, gonna check the bios to see if its set to run at 50% or something, but either way im hving no heat issues.

When i OC'ed it to 3.6ghz it ran stalbe and fine, 42ish Idle, never tried a heavy load though.
June 8, 2003 9:00:08 PM

If you figure out how to get your fan speed up let me know. I poked all around my BIOS and I'm stuck at 2200 RPM. For 2.88 GHz operation it's good enough(<40 deg C) under load, but cooler is always better.

June 10, 2003 8:07:24 AM

i had the same problem using the same board "875p neo) anyway after investigating , i found out that i needed a bios update ( the bios that came with the board is unstable and makes the cpu temp too high) after u install the new bios all will work fine. go to msi website and istall the new bios and you are off to go
June 10, 2003 5:43:15 PM

Hmm, i thought maybe i had missed peeling something off too but it ended up being i hadn't supplied sufficient preasure to the clamps to lock down the fan. My CPU runs really cool. 30-34 degrees. Of coarse my room is around 17 degrees all the time. OCing doesn't seem to affect teh temp much either. I have mine at 3GHz and it still runs really kool.
June 11, 2003 2:15:54 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I have a few updates.

First, the CPU is definitely clamped firmly in with both clamps.

Second, I flashed the BIOS with the latest update (v 1.4) as suggested and this definitely helped. The max temp dropped notably. It now idles at ~42 degrees C; at max load (3D game running for an extended period) it will peak at maybe 60-63 degrees C. With an intermediate load, but not much, the temp is in the low to mid fifties. This still seems high compared to what others are reporting.

My ambient temp is probably 75 degrees Farenheit.

I went ahead and swapped out the CPU with a replacement unit. This had a slight effect, and may have dropped the temp by a a degree or two. Also, the fan is now running at 3000-3300 rpm.

My BIOS has no capability to change the speed of the fan, although it does report the speed.

All voltages as reported by the BIOS and by a utility in Windows appear to be close to the spec'ed values, slightly lower if anything (e.g., 3.3V is running between 3.21 and 3.25 volts). The first listed voltage is called "Vcore" in my BIOS and it fluctuates between 1.49 and 1.50. Is this the CPU voltage?

I'm tempted to stop at this point and be satisfied, but I'm not sure if the 50-60 degrees range is acceptable since others are reporting lower temps. I guess I'll give Intel a call and see what they say.

June 11, 2003 6:04:54 AM

Thats fine, it seems that your mobo is just showing you a higher temp than it really is(many mobo's do this by the way). If you have no stability problems then don't sweat it, to many people make a big deal about CPU temperature aound here. It looks like the new BIOS did the trick, and what it is showing now is fine.

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