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Motherboard Northbridge Fan Problems?

I am researching motherboards to build a new PC, and a lot of the forums I am reading indicate that many of the newer boards have problems with the Northbridge fan going out.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Is there something I can do to decrease the odds of this happening to me (without replacing the fan)?  Is there an easy way to replace the stock fan with another part that would be more reliable?  

While I am wondering about this in general, someone may be able to give me advice specific to the motherboard I am looking at.  Here is the link to it on NewEgg (MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16813130484
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tallguy22
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tallguy22
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3 Solutions
 
dbruntonCommented:
Generally a better fan helps and a better heatsink and careful use of heatsink material.

You could always plug it into the Molex connectors for the hard disk or floppy drive if you are unsure of the power supply from the motherboard.

Remember, manufacturers build to a price and for fans this includes the use of cheap sleeve bearing fans designed to last the warranty.
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garycaseCommented:
If it was me, I'd try and select a motherboard that didn't have that as a known problem.

However, for the motherboard you're considering, you can apparently replace the stock Northbridge fan with this unit, which is marketed for VGA cards:
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=370812

... that's NOT based on my personal experience, but on the 2nd comment in this thread:
http://secure.ncix.com/forumpost/displaythread.php?threadid=1084305
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CallandorCommented:
I have the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, and if the noise of the Northbridge fan is too loud for you or if you don't think it's reliable, you can just position a case fan to blow over the heatsink.
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tallguy22Author Commented:
Callandor,

If the Northbridge fan goes out, would a case fan pointed at it prevent the thing from frying?  How can I monitor the temp of the thing?
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CallandorCommented:
In reality, the Northbridge chip does not get anywhere as hot as the cpu, so blowing air over the heatsink is sufficient.  I've had a few motherboards where the fan was just too loud for my tastes, so I disconnected it and used a case fan.  There's no way to monitor the temperature, apart from a dedicated temperature probe such as is found on an AeroCool control panel.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
The northbridge chip at 133 and above needs a coolingfan - a heatsink alone is generally not adequate.   But the GPU fan is nothing special, it is used for most GPU (graphics) on-board processors.  It is just a standard 40 MM on-board graphics processor fan, it is held on by plastic clips, it can be removed and replaced, even relubed.  It is no big deal.  When you change the CPU fan because it is grinding, then replace this one too.  Any major supplier including EBay can be used to find these on-board fans.
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willcompCommented:
There are nVidia and Intel chipset motherboards that have heat sinks only for northbridge cooling.  Possibly some VIA and others as well.

Northbridge cooling fans are not new.  They have been in use for at least 5 or 6 years.  The small fans used are noisy and prone to failure, nothing new here.  They are replaceable.  Directron.com has fans that fit most northbridge heat sinks.

I purchase mobos without northbridge (or any other fans) whenever feasible.  Same for video cards.
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willcompCommented:
Addendum:  All the nForce4 mobos I've seen have heat sinks and fans on northbridge.  Don't know of any that don't.

Ditto for higher end video cards.  You just have to live with cooling fans for high performance unless you want to water cool.
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x86fixCommented:
I simply installed a passive heatsink that is big enough to cool the northbridge.  since it has no fan it makes no noise.  I got the Zalman seen here
http://www.xpcgear.com/zalmanzmnb32j.html
http://www.atruereview.com/NB32J/index.php
There are otehr models as well.  Here is another.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118214

I would expect any of these to be fine if you have decent ventilation in your case.  I have used these with no problems.  I install them on day 1 rather than waiting for the original to fail and then remounting th MB.

Keep in mind the selection of these crummy NorthBridge coolers tells you a bit about the engineering decisions at the companies that make these boards.  I prefer the Intel Brand boards because I believe they are better engineered and have better parts.

If you want to replace a fan cooler the Zalman coolers will do a great job.

You may want to consider an Nforce board with built in passive or a heatpipe like the A8N-SLI Premium
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tallguy22Author Commented:
Before I award points, I wanted to post what I did for completeness sake.  Calandor, after reading what was written here and some other forums, I think that is probably would have been OK to just pull the fan off and run with the stock heatsink.  My case even had a fan already positioned directly over the NB.  

However, I was too nervous to run without a fan.  I have had a previous bad experience with stuff overheating and malfunctioning, so I wanted to play it safe this time around.  So, I took garycase's advice and purchased the Vantec IceBerq Chipset Cooler for $15.  It fits perfectly on my motherboard (MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum).  I am splitting the points between the two of you.

I have not reviewed any of the other solutions posted, so I cannot vouch for them.  I am sure there are 20 ways to do it that would work just as good.  But, I know the Vantec cooler works and fits.
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