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CPU cooling help

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April 10, 2013 3:40:18 AM

Hello,

I've recently built a budget gaming rig and as I get the money I'll be gradually upgrading it.

Summer is fast approaching and the temperatures down here in San Antonio get pretty hot. Usually mid to high 90s even over 100 if we're unlucky.

Should I invest in an aftermarket CPU heatsink?
I have an AMD A10-5800K with the stock fan and heatsink.
There's already two 120mm case fans mounted.
I have yet to purchase a video card. That is why I'm asking if I should get an aftermarket heatsink.

My APU temperature gets to around 62 degrees Celsius while gaming. Is there a certain temperature range I should worry about? I had an old laptop that would hit 200 Fahrenheit if I wasn't careful. Bought a laptop cooler for that and managed to lower it 30 degrees.

I haven't over clocked yet but I would like to in the future. Probably when I get my video card is when I'll over clock the APU.

If I were to get a heatsink I'm worried that it might not fit. A lot of the FM2 socket heatsinks on newegg are 120mm. I only have about 160mm of clearance from my motherboard to the inside of the side panel. I also heard that FM2 socket mounts are the same as the FM1. Shouldn't all of the heatsinks for AMD sockets work? Since they use that lever clip thing.

This is the first computer I've built so I'm still inexperienced.

Oh, I don't expect temperatures inside the house to get above 85 Fahrenheit.

I'm also interested in liquid cooling. I've read a little about it. I know the basics and some risks but that's about it.


So, should I get an aftermarket heatsink because of where I live?
If so should I invest in liquid cooling or save that for a future build when I'm more experienced?
If I do get a heatsink I will probably need the largest one that will fit in my case and that is FM2 socket compatible.
I do plan to over clock my APU when I get a video card (Radeon HD 7770).


Thanks in advance for any advice or opinions.

More about : cpu cooling

April 10, 2013 7:05:25 PM

cooler master 212 evo is the best CPU cooler for under $50 and you can get one on sale for under $25. You will need it if you OC. A well-known and well-proven CPU heatsink in the computer world is the Cooler Master Hyper 212+. For those looking for a budget cooler in the < $30 range, the Hyper 212+ is hands down the most recommended model for both price and performance. It's extremely popular across the the entire world and holds the trophy for best bang for the buck.
April 11, 2013 5:58:29 AM

Yes buy an aftermarket cooler - they are very important.

Liquid cooling has two options right now:

1. You can build a custom loop with separate components - this is expensive
2. You can buy a pre-built closed loop system like the Corsair H100i

You really don't need to go to the expense of a custom loop and the H100i is one of the best coolers out there right now.

If budget is an issue the Cooler Master 212 listed by rojodogg is a competent cooler and it is cheap. The Noctua NH-D14 is a superb air cooler but it is very large - the Noctua website gives you the exact dimensions so you can check if it fits your case. I own the D-14 and it really is an amazing cooler. None of my components go over 35 C degrees except the video card.

Your case is also important for cooling.

Tom's lists their video card (GPU) review here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Tom's review is a great place to start. The ATI 7950 is a great card for the buck.

Just one quick word on brand names. For RAM and many video cards the brand name is not as important (some brands of video cards are better). For all other components look at specific manufacturers because there is a significant difference in quality.

Good luck
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April 13, 2013 1:18:15 PM

Flong, I don't have a room for a double 120mm radiator.

I have 1 120mm at the front. the hard drive bays are in the way so there's only about 40mm of clearance. Of course there's a 120mm fan at the back. I have a mesh air intake on the side. A rectangular one for the add-on cards and a circular one with an extendable cone for the CPU fan. So the CPU can suck air directly from outside. If I get on of those giant heatsinks I'll have to remove that cone attached to the side panel.
April 14, 2013 1:53:43 AM

Without knowing what case you have it is difficult to know what cooler will best fit your needs. The Cooler Master 212 rojodogg mentioned is one of the smaller air coolers.

The Corsair H80i is an excellent closed loop water cooler that uses just one radiator. It takes less space.

I would recommend that you call Corsair and give them your case measurements to see if one of their coolers will work. Their customer service is excellent.

You should not rely on others to measure your case dimensions and choose a cooler - it leaves to much room for mistakes. Measure how much clearance you have from your motherboard to your case and look at coolers that will fit.

The Noctua NH-D14 is very large but Noctua makes low profile coolers that work very well. Go to Noctua's web site - the link is here:
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=produkte&lng=en

It sounds like you have already done some measuring because you know the Corsair H100i won't fit in your case.

One other option for you to consider. Some of the cheaper cases are just too small and do not cool well. I my opinion, having a case that cools your components well is very important. There are a lot of cases available right now that cost less than $100. The Corsair Carbide 300R is one of them. It is listed here for $69.00.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This case not only cools well, it it is big enough for you to install whatever cooler you want. If you have the funds, I would recommend the Corsair 650D case, but it is a more expensive case. The only down side of the 300R is that it can be somewhat noisy - but it is highly rated overall.

I hope that this helps you.
offroadguy56 said:
Flong, I don't have a room for a double 120mm radiator.

I have 1 120mm at the front. the hard drive bays are in the way so there's only about 40mm of clearance. Of course there's a 120mm fan at the back. I have a mesh air intake on the side. A rectangular one for the add-on cards and a circular one with an extendable cone for the CPU fan. So the CPU can suck air directly from outside. If I get on of those giant heatsinks I'll have to remove that cone attached to the side panel.


April 16, 2013 2:00:15 PM

Very sorry for not providing my case. I have a Coolermaster Elite 330. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And I know the H100i won't fit because I do not have any double 120mm fan mounts. I have 2 fan mounts, one at the back and one at the front.

If you take a look at the case you will notice the cone like thing attached to the side panel. That sits directly above the CPU fan/heatsink. Well it's suppose to anyway. It seems that the cone is off by about an inch so it doesn't completely cover the fan. But it still helps with pulling fresh air directly from outside the case.

I've provided some of my own pictures as well. http://imgur.com/a/L8uip
April 17, 2013 12:47:57 AM

Wow great pictures - kudos :-)

That plastic cone is a pain in the ass - it is right in the way of a larger air cooler.

I could be wrong but it looks like you have three possible choices:

1. Remove the cone and install a Noctua NH-D14. It will easily cool your system and any future system you may buy - though depends on the mounts your current system uses (there are basically two NH-D14s available one for Sandy Bridge and one for Ivy Bridge). I have read dozens of reviews and it is the highest rated air cooler in most reviews. It also is not overly expensive. You can get it for around $75 on Newegg depending on sales. I own this cooler and it is a beast - it will cool just about anything you can possibly throw at it.

2. Your second choice would be to use a Corsair H80i as the cooler. It also is not overly expensive and it does a superb job of cooling. But and this is a big but - check to see if you have the mounts for it on your case

3. You can get the Cooler Master 212. It can be found dirt cheap on Newegg and rojodogg is right, you can't beat it as far as bang for the buck. It won't cool as well as the D-14 or the H80i but it is a competent cooler and it is cheap.

The Coolermaster 212 may be your best choice if your budget is tight. A lot of people swear by it on Toms. Later if you go to a more expensive computer, you can upgrade your case and add a high-end cpu cooler. Rojodogg gave you some good advice.

Let us know how it goes.
April 18, 2013 1:50:06 PM

Thank you both.

Newegg has a pretty good return policy right? If it doesn't fit I can at least send it back.
I'll go with the Noctua heatsink and if that doesn't fit I'll go try the Corsair water cooler.
April 19, 2013 1:26:32 AM

offroadguy56 said:
Thank you both.

Newegg has a pretty good return policy right? If it doesn't fit I can at least send it back.
I'll go with the Noctua heatsink and if that doesn't fit I'll go try the Corsair water cooler.


Go to the Noctua website and they will give you the exact dimensions of the cooler. Also check to make sure that your RAM will clear the bottom of the heat sink. Also make sure that your CPU mount is compatible with the NH-D14 that you buy. Again the Noctua website provides exact dimensions of the D-14. You may able to call Noctua also and talk to them - I am not sure how good their customer service is though.

If the heat sink doesn't fit Newegg will probably take it back but they might charge you shipping. Make sure you return it within 30 days.

The D-14 is a great heat sink if you can fit it in your case - you won't be disappointed. Depending on how much you are going to stress you computer, the Cooler Master 212 may be all that you need and it is smaller.

The NH-D14 is a top quality cooler for sure, it is one of the most highly rated coolers ever and is one of the top three air coolers available. Make sure you mount it so that it is blowing hot air out of the case through a side vent or a back vent in the case.

Good luck with your build.
April 22, 2013 8:09:40 PM

I went to the Noctua website. The motherboard checks out on compatability, but I do believe my RAM heat spreaders are to tall. Theres about 40mm to clear the RAM. Guess I'll have to go with a single fin array setup like the 212.

Thanks flong and rojo. I'm going to do more research about that liquid cooler. For stressing, I'm going to try and OC the integrated gpu. Wish me luck and I promise to be careful. I know OC is dangerous and I don't plan on going in blind.

Well, I'll take a look at the other Noctua products too. I have to say, their website is amazing at listing the dimensions of the cooler and I really like the motherboard compatibility section.
April 23, 2013 5:51:46 AM

offroadguy56 said:
I went to the Noctua website. The motherboard checks out on compatability, but I do believe my RAM heat spreaders are to tall. Theres about 40mm to clear the RAM. Guess I'll have to go with a single fin array setup like the 212.

Thanks flong and rojo. I'm going to do more research about that liquid cooler. For stressing, I'm going to try and OC the integrated gpu. Wish me luck and I promise to be careful. I know OC is dangerous and I don't plan on going in blind.

Well, I'll take a look at the other Noctua products too. I have to say, their website is amazing at listing the dimensions of the cooler and I really like the motherboard compatibility section.


A lot of people on this website have and recommend the Cooler Master 212 or Evo and so it must be a pretty decent cooler. If you wait for sale you can get it dirt cheap and so you don't lose much when you upgrade.

If your are going to overclock, try to fit the NH-D14 in or the Corsair H80i. If not try the CM 212, like I said, it is very cheap cost wise. You also might be able to switch your RAM location on your motherboard to fit the NH-D14 in - check on that.
April 23, 2013 2:11:59 PM

I could take the heat spreaders off, if that's even possible.
April 24, 2013 1:23:42 AM

offroadguy56 said:
I could take the heat spreaders off, if that's even possible.


I think that you will only have to deal with one RAM module. I know that some people have taken a Dremel and have used a cutting wheel to cut off part of the heat spreader. On my build, I could rearrange the RAM so it was not an issue - I just put the RAM in different slots. If you don't have a Dremel tool a hacksaw or even a sharp edged file would work. You probably would only have to cut off a couple of inches of the heat spreader. It won't affect the RAM, just be careful to not damage the circuitry.

I definitely think if you are going to overclock that the Corsair H80i (if your case has the mounts for it) or the Noctua NH-D14 is your best choice. Both of these coolers are monster coolers and will keep your CPU cool even if you OC it. The D-14 also helps cool your other components because it creates an airflow of hot air out of the computer.

One other option is available to you. On Noctua's website there are several coolers with several profiles - one of these profiles might fit your computer without modification. Just keep in mind that NH-D14 is Noctua's most effective cooler, but the others are good also, just not as good.

Let us know what works best for you and how your build turns out.
!