MB/CPU heat issue

Posted on 2003-02-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I've got a cheap bare bones box:

Case = 4 bay ATX midi tower
CPU = AMD Duron 1200
FSB = set to 100
Motherboard = Elite K7S5A
Memory = 256 RAM (1 * pc100 & 1 *pc133)
PSU = 300w
HD = WD 20 gb 7200rpm
ROM = HP 8200s

Ambient room temp = avg 26C (Summer)

In idle the BIOS shows the system running at 36C
& the CPU at 49C.

1. I have confirmed AMD chips run hot in comparison to Intel and this particular one has a burnout temperature approx 90C.
2. I intend to use this box as a test server (cross cable connection between a single client and itself), for short periods (less than 8 hours) on any given day... workload would be relatively light as I intend to use it to learn Oracle only.

The motherboard sink is attached by a thermal pad... is there likely to be much benefit in heat dissipation if I remove the pad and reattach the sink with "thermal epoxy"?

Will the current spec operate safely heat wise with or without modification? Please support conclusions (case fans or CPU sink/fan or left as is) with analysis.

Alternatively (as this CPU/MB components are cheap), I'd like your opinion on whether the better option would be to toss the current mb & cpu & install a Celeron (1.7ghz) and a reasonable mb to support it. Advise reasoning supporting this (including whether 300 watt PSU is sufficient), and provide suggestion on what reliable basic mb's supporting Celeron 1.7ghz are worth looking at.
Question by:hazzard_2000
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Expert Comment

ID: 8030945
That Motherboard has a problem with crashing using SD Ram in the slot closest to the CPU.  This crash normally occurs while playing games so it may not trouble you, but it may also occur when the computer is working hard.  The motherboard also has some cold boot problems (Loses Cmos).

I have been using an AMD Chip 1700 XP chip and don't have any problems with heat.  I actually removed the heatsink at one time and put it back on without adding any extra compound and there are still no heat problems.

As for my opinion on your set up.  If you can afford it get a different motherboard  On the other hand yours may be alright as most people that have the crash are using 133 SD Ram, because you are using 100 you may never see the problem.  Basically if you already own this motherboard then see how it goes.  but if you can take it back and get a different board with little cost do that.

As for whether you should buy Intel or AMD.  I would recommend AMD, as they are cheaper and there upgrade path is usually longer.  I used to only buy intel and every time I wanted a faster CPU I had to upgrade my motherboard.  My current board supports as little as a  Duron 600 to as high as an Athlon 2600+ Now I've never seen intel have a board with that type of range.

Good luck


Accepted Solution

JosipKulundzic earned 1380 total points
ID: 8031005
The system specs seem fine, there is nothing that warrants new/different hardware.  AMD CPU's are renowned for their high heat output and as such will always run hotter than Intel CPU's.  50 degrees is not too bad, but in my personal opinion I would probably try to reduce it to about 30 - 40 degrees.

If you are concerned about heat and would like to enhance heat dissipation, there are several things you can do to ensure a lower operating temperature.

As you suggested, replacing the thermal pad with thermal paste is a smart option.  It can reduce CPU temperature anywhere between 4 - 8 degrees.  I would highly recommend Arctic Silver III - it consistently outperforms any other thermal paste and for about $12AUD it pretty cheap and very a worthwile purchase.

The next most important thing is the heatsink.  These vary in perfomance and price - I have a Thermalright SLK-800 heatsink (fully copper), and again has the highest performance (but costs a fair bit).  There are less expensive heatsinks on the market.  Also a nice big CPU fan (80mm as opposed to a 60mm) that blows about 40 cubic feet of air will help keep it fairly cool.  Noise is also an option you may want to consider so keep an eye on the dba level.

Next come chasis fans.  Increasing airflow in the case helps reduce the overall system temperature, which in turn lowers CPU operating temperature.  I would recommend at least one intake fan at the front of the case and one exhaust fan at the rear.  I have two of each in my case.

The thermal paste and chasis fans are a cheapest options and will descrease the temperature considerably - an this is probably all you will need to keep the temperature within safe operating limits.  If you're extra keen or seriously concerned about heat dissipation, then a new copper heatsink and big fan in addition with thermal paste and chasis fans will absolutely decrease the operating temperature.

Expert Comment

ID: 8031452
I replaced a mobo on my father-in-laws compaq AMD Duron 750 recently and scrapped off the thermal pad (paraffin wax) and applied Arctic Solver paste and it runs much cooler, 32c -37c at load.  Thermal pads are just a way for mass computer maufacturers to save dough.  Be careful not to gouge the heat sink when removing pad.  Stock heatsink and fan should be fine.

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Expert Comment

ID: 8031862
Are you actually having any heat problems? 49C is a perfectly acceptable temperature for a CPU to run at. Incidentally, a Celeron is likely to be just as bad, because they're based on the old 0.18-micron P4 core and therefore use quite a bit of power.

One other thing: remember that the temperature sensed by the BIOS or a hardware monitor utility is measured by a sensor which is underneath the CPU, whereas the CPU core is on top. You should therefore generally add around 20-30C to the recorded BIOS temperature to get an estimate of how hot the CPU core is.

Expert Comment

ID: 8032170
Your system temps are not bad at all.

13 degrees difference between chassis and cpu is a little high for this processor, but I suspect that the best option for this may be to improve the airflow through the case.

Basically this sounds like a fairly stable setup, and not really worth changing.


Expert Comment

ID: 8032921
Hazzard is referring to the bronze SiS chipset heatsink, which was found to have cold boot problems, and some research found that it worked better if:

* The chipset was cooled using a better active, or passive heasink with better thermal contact.
* A resistor was wired across the board! -can't find this link but I remember laughing @ it!

Some also found that it worked better if it was warmer than normal.

Common errors due to chipset temp on booting were:
- windows protection fault you need to restart
- configmg errors

A few links: http://www.geocities.com/mrathlon2000/FAQ_configmg_10.html



There are more, but you'll need to hunt them down.

A configmg error is related to memory, so maybe test your setup with www.memtest86.com

As suggested, use banks 2 &3.

Then run Prime95 on torture test for a day.  That usually weeds out any stability issues.

The K7S5A was found overall to be a more stable board on windows '98 than XP or Linux.

Your CPU temp is fine, but bear in mind that the thermistor on the duron isn't in the chip itself, so add 10 to 15 degrees to give a rough idea of actual core temp.  Yes it's well within operating parameters.

As for case fans / PSU and the like, just read the AMD system builders guide from AMD.com.


There has been no proof that a front fan has any significant benefit, but you must have cool air access from the front of the case.

Note the 12V amp requirement.

There has been some discussion about the ecs being fussy about PSU's.  I havn't had any experience of this and mine ran  from a generic 300W PSU.

Expert Comment

ID: 8032990
Sorry pjk, didnt see youd already posted about thermistor variations.  Im not sure on the EXACT varience on this board so I guessed 10 to 15 C.


Author Comment

ID: 8034738
Thanks to all who responded so far.

JosipKulundzic - Covered a fair bit of ground & confirmed some of my own research.

pjknibbs - Good point on the Celeron, not really being a better alternative at 0.18 micron.

Kingsize - I've stumbled across the data, boot & heat related postings in forums for this board (a little scary!)... but it's running fine at 100 bus, so the cold boot problem is not an issue... I just considered that the motherboard could possibly run cooler with better thermal transfer material.

I'm edging towards throwing an exhaust fan on the back of the case to assist ventilation (Do all cases allow for 80mm fans? As I measured from the centre of each screw hole and I came up with 70mm). If theres plenty of space in the box, is there any real reason to get an intake fan as well?

Besides getting a 700RPM CPU fan, case fans appear to provide better benefit than thermal compound http://www.dansdata.com/goop.htm


Expert Comment

ID: 8035170
Yes, the 80mm exhaust fan is practically standard.  Hole to hole it's 70mm (you measured well!).

Author Comment

ID: 8041883
Covered available options with fair explanations. Providing comments on expected level of benefits obtained through different methods.

Nicely laid out.

Expert Comment

ID: 8061241
You say that you will put an exhaust fan at the back and ask if there is any reason why you should put an intake fan...  In my experience an intake fan is MORE efficient than an exhaust fan.  The reason for this is that an intake fan will suck in fresh/cooler air and immediately lower the system temperature - the warm air that is lready in there will be removed (somewhat) by the power supply fans and gaps in the case.  But the exhaust fan by itself will only suck out some of the warm air, with not much fresh air to take its place and as a result will only be partially effective - and will not lower the system temperature as much as a fresh air intake fan.

So my comment is that if you had to choose between an intake or exhaust fan, the INTAKE fan will be more efficient.  I would recommend however that BOTH be installed for maximum efficiency - the intake fan can be more powerfull that exhaust fan for the same reason given above.

Hope this helps and good luck cooling your system :)
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 8070690
I disagree with JosipKulundzic on that point. Provided there are adequate ventilation holes in the case, there's no reason why an extra exhaust fan would be any less efficient than an intake fan--they're both shifting the same amount of air, after all. Mind you, I cover both bases by having an intake fan and two exhaust fans anyway :-).

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