Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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Keeping (the CPU) cool

On Yakko's recommendation or suggestion I ordered a XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 CPU cooler (heat sink & fan). I also ordered additional case fan and some Noctua thermal interface material (AKA heat sink grease) as the stuff that comes with the SD1283 is the one thing that gets consistently dinged as a 'con' about it. It all arrived this past Thursday.

Friday morning I installed the heat sink and the fan that came with it. And had troubles. The CPU fan warning buzzed and the fan didn't start. Since there wasn't enough clearance to use the additional case fan as intended, I put that into service on the heat sink and disabled the alarm as the fan connects directly to the power supply rather than the motherboard.

The stock fan that came with the CPU is small and loud. And, when I removed the stock heat sink I found a couple things I really didn't like. The thermal compound was laid on rather thick and the bottom of the heat sink that should be smooth had a couple very noticeable bumps or spikes. That thing was not doing the job (as well) as it was intended. Idle, the CPU ran about 45 C and when pushed was in mid-low 50s C.

With the new heat sink and fan, the idle temperature in the high 30s C and I can start the machine and watch the CPU temperature drop. When I push things, the temperature rises... to the mid-40s C. That's right, it now is as hot under load as it was before when idling - but see next paragraph for how I have things running now.

I went back and read the customer reviews about the SD1283 and found I was not alone in having a "dead" fan - except it wasn't really dead. Supposedly the heat sink does well enough that when just starting or idling a non-overclocked processor it might not need to be on, so isn't.[1] And the monitoring system for the alarm doesn't distinguish between "not on because of a lack of need" and "not on because something is wrong." So Saturday morning I re-connected the fan... and it spun right up! (What the?) So I put it into service as the 'push' fan and have the other as the 'pull' fan on the new heat sink. The fan intended for the case has a speed control, which I've set at minimum though the sound level isn't really distinguishable.[2]

I had thought that fan was making noise, and while it does make some sound, it's not enough to be noticeable. During the fan swapping to check on things, I had it unplugged for a bit and the sound I thought it made didn't stop. Turns out the loudest thing in the computer now is the video card.

[1] While the "Black Edition" means, supposedly, that it can be overclocked without increasing the supply voltage(s) I see no point in overclocking six cores of 3.3 GHz for myself. I suspect that to get a noticeable performance improvement I'd be far better off going with a newer video card.

[2] Which means I'm not going to hesitate turning it back up if I think things need to be a bit cooler someday.

Tags: computers, fans, heat sink, noctua, xigmatek
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