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Do I need more power and/or cooling?  Reducing noise would be nice too but mainly concerned about system health.

Posted on 2006-06-27
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My new computer runs a lot louder and hotter than the one I replaced.  I upgraded everything for the primary purpose of home video editing.  I'm concerned now that it's running to hot and may need more power.  Another reason I'm concerned with the heat is that it is enclosed in a desk cabinet.  I can't take it out because of 5 kids 2 of which are very curious 1 yo twins.  I do have space for one of those "Boxes" for lack a better term that have ventilation and keep the system off the ground.  Speedfan shows my HDs at 55 degrees C and that is just after I booted up about 20 minutes ago.  When playing games or editing video it gets into mid to high 60s C.  It just makes me sweat while using this pc because of the heat coming out of the cabinet.  It is open in back but pushed close to a wall.

I am considering changing PSU to PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 850 SSI but for that amount $$$$.  Is there a better option?

 Here is my basic system:

Operating System               System Model
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (build 2600)               MSI MS-7220 100
(MY INSERT) Motherborad is MSI K8N Diamond Plus
(MY INSERT) PSU  Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply 115/230 V TUV, UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC
Enclosure Type: Desktop
Processor a               Main Circuit Board b
2.40 gigahertz AMD Pentium 4
256 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache               Board: MSI MS-7220 100
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 080012 12/14/2005
Drives               Memory Modules c,d
620.10 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
444.84 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

LITE-ON DVDRW SHM-165H6S [CD-ROM drive]
PLEXTOR DVDR PX-716AL [CD-ROM drive]
3.5" format removeable media [Floppy drive]

ST3120023A [Hard drive] (120.03 GB) -- drive 0, s/n 3KA11DVW, rev 3.33, SMART Status: Healthy
ST325082 3A USB Device [Hard drive] (250.06 GB) -- drive 2
WDC WD2500KS-00MJB0 [Hard drive] (250.06 GB) -- drive 1, s/n WD-WCANK3228075, rev 02.01C03, SMART Status: Healthy               3072 Megabytes Installed Memory

Slot 'DIMM0' has 1024 MB (serial number SerNum0)
Slot 'DIMM1' has 1024 MB
Slot 'DIMM2' has 1024 MB
Slot 'DIMM3' has 1024 MB
        Local Drive Volumes
        
            
c: (NTFS on drive 1)       250.05 GB       211.90 GB free
d: (NTFS on drive 0)       119.99 GB       49.83 GB free
h: (NTFS on drive 2)       250.06 GB       183.11 GB free
 

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Lexmark C510 PS3       on USB001
Controllers               Display
Standard floppy disk controller
NVIDIA nForce4 Parallel ATA Controller
NVIDIA nForce4 Serial ATA Controller (2x)               NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT [Display adapter] (2x)
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DELL 2007FP [Monitor] (20.2"vis, s/n C9536659249S, May 2006)
Bus Adapters               Multimedia
Silicon Image SiI 3132 SATALink Controller
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Communications               Other Devices
            
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Question by:abpowell
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by:Watzman
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Well, "more power" means hotter, not cooler.  Power=heat.

I think that you have enough power; normally, if the power supply can't cut it, the symptom will be lockups and freezing and rebooting (spontaneously), and you didn't mention those.  And, in fact 500 watts (TRUE 500 watts, many cheap power supplies are over-rated and can't really deliver their nominal power rating) is a lot of power and adequate for almost all PCs.  And you have a decent quality power supply.

Cooling, however, is another matter.  Having PC's in a "compartment" can be catastrophic to adequte cooling.  You mention your drive temps, but not your CPU temp, which is normally more critical.  The drive temps seem high but not necessarily alarming, but I'd like to see them lower.  The key here is airflow, normally you want to draw air in at the front (and side CPU vent if there is one), and out at the back (both power supply and supplemental rear case fan, if there is one, should normally blow air out of the case).  Airflow depends on unobstructed flow both in and out, and that's where I'd be very concerned about having the PC in a "compartment".  Another concern is the disk drives, which are often in "dead zones" in terms of air circulation, and you might want to add a "drive cooler".  Note, however, that unless you get the circulated (hot) air out of the case, you may make the temperatures inside the PC more uniform, but not any cooler (and, perhaps, in fact, hotter).

You may need to move the PC out of the desk compartment, or ventilate it.

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by:willcomp
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Is cabinet open in front?  If not, you have a disaster waiting to happen.  A PC with those specs needs cool air flow from front and plenty of exhaust in rear.  I would prefer to have rear of PC at least 8 or 10 inches from wall assuming that area behind desk is open.

Believe you actually have an Athlon 64 which should run at 40 degrees C or less in a normal case with good ventilation.  Check your CPU temps to see how ambient temperature is affecting CPU.  Max temp for CPU is around 70 degrees C, but no sense in abnormally stressing it.

I essentially agree with Watzman.  Power supply is not your concern, cooling is.  One point of departure though; heat generated by a PSU is dependent on wattage actually used not rated capacity of power supply.  So an 850 watt PSU will generate no more heat than a 500 watt PSU with a load of 400 watts (which is probably about what you have).  That assumes both PSUs are high quality with roughly the same power factors (efficiency).
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by:abpowell
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Note here I'm asking a few more questions but I believe they all relate to the original.  Let me know if you disagree.  I'm not trying to piggyback here.  I'm a premium member so points are freely given.  If I need a new post let me know.  I number the questions below to hopefully make things easer to reference.


<<<if the power supply can't cut it, the symptom will be lockups and freezing and rebooting (spontaneously), and you didn't mention those.>>>

Posts like this are what had me wondering about more power and cooling.....Like I was taxing my PSU so much that it was causing the heat and a bigger one wouldn't have to work as hard so it produce so much heat.  Also, I did see the stability issue on the post:

 I was running FX55, abit fatat1ly sli, XFX7800GTX, some cheap ram, and 2 SATA HDD on a 420w powersupply. I was having alot of trouble with it. Videocard would Overheat all the time+any high end games with alot of shaders like FEAR, would artert(SP?) like crazy, now no problem run cooler then when turned off ;p. Also HDD randomly turned off and crashed my comp. I would have weekly random crash for who knows why, but I think its was the power. Ether way it's one of the best ideas I have had since I started building computers 3 years ago

Anyway, back to the issue, never paid attention to CPU portion of the Belarc reading.  You are correct it is an Athon AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo 2000MHz HT 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor

The Antec PSU has a "5 egg rating" on newegg with over 200 posts.  So I don't think this one of those cheap PSUs you reffered to that can't handle what they are rated for.  Some posts say this one is more like 550........................So back to the cooling.

I obviously need to ventilate better
CPU temp while my system has been idling is 43 C.

#1
(just what DM and NB are and any comments on current temps or fan RPMs)
DM (don't know what this is) temp?? is 59 C
CPU fan is running 4000 RPM
NB (again don't know what it is) Fan at 6250 RPM

#2
Should I use speed fan to change anything?  I don't understand all the clocking and overclocking but I do want to squeeze the most I can out of what I have.

#3
What about replacing CPU Fan with the Artic Cooler 64 Pro?  If I need to replace fans/heatsinks, which it sounds like I should, I defintely want quiet too?

#4
I don't know a thing about liquid cooling but in my situation, would an external cooler not be the best answer?

#5
Which fans are most import to replace?
>>>Rank in order
CPU
PSU (if that is even possible)
Graphic cards (again possible??
Possible another one I missed

Okay Last question
#6 (optional.....okay I they are all optional but especially this one.  Only needed if you feel strongly that a new case it needed)
I may need to change case because that was the one place I totally went cheap.  Has side vent and rear fan vent from PSU.  Main concern is moving Mobo and HDs.  I have very good mechanical skills so I'm not worried about the actual intall.  It's the configuration that worries me a bit.  I DON'T want a total system failure becuase I didn't wear a static braclet/glove.  Can I do it if it is determined I need to.
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by:mwhbh
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Just a thought on the subject being discussed,

If you are concerned about noise + cooling, and you can't get enough ventilation for the PC like excellently pointed out in the above comments, you might want to look at a water cooling solution. A good water cooler is about half the price of the PC P&C PSU that you intended to buy ($229.99 vs $449.99 at newegg). Though this solution still requires some air cooling for the the other parts of the machine (notably Hard drives), it can improve the situation with the hotter components (CPU, Northbridge, and VGA) while taking away most of the noise.

For the Hard drives, you can either use cooling enclosures or an enclosure fan that blows air on the drives, both depend on what your case can support. You also need some space around to keep the water cooler components (like the radiator and water pump).
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by:dconnolly
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If there is a lot of heat PC comming out of the PC, that can be a good thing. That simply means that your PC is dispersing the heat properly. I can see though that the main cause of heat is the high ammount of RAM and two large HDD's. All i can recommend is additional ventilation (front, rear and/or side case fans), using HDD coolers (probably a smart idea for a home theatre PC), and using silver-based thermal compound between your HSF and CPU. I recommend using RIFLE BEARING FANS if possible. THey are nearly as fast and efficient as ball-bearing fans, but as quiet as sleeve bearing fans. If you really want to get complicated, perhaps liquid cooling would be a good idea, although it wouldnt necissary (unless you require complete silence). Maybe try a larger case (for more ventilation) too. Also, fast/zip-tie your cables to promote further ventilation. Thats my two cents, sorry if i repeated anything someone else has said.
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by:frank_rfinance
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Ever considered a water cooled system, the technology has improved dramatically since it was first released and seems to work fine one that i have found to be recomeded by other comp techs is http://www.titan-cd.com/eng/watercooler/nikita.htm#
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by:nobus
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i would start with a better air flow through the cabinet.
To do this, i would use 1 or 2 12 cm fans, which run very quiet.
if you use 1 in front and 1 in the back, be sure to mount them in the same airflow direction (1 intake, 1 blowing out)
If you use them both in the back, assure that ther are enough open spaces in front to feed the air in .
Once this is done, you can still use a Zalman cooler instead of the cpu cooler :  http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/zalman-cpu.html
they have  a much better heat transfer, and run very quiet
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Watzman earned 400 total points
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The power supply is not the SOURCE of your heat, the heat comes from the CPU, disk drives, Motherboard, etc..  The power supply produces power (nominally, up to 500 watts but probably actually using more like 350).  That power goes into the motherboard, CPU, disk drives, etc. where it becomes HEAT.  Power = Heat; it's virtually a 1:1 relationship (a very tiny percentage of the power produced gets converted into some other form of energy, but that amount is probably only a low single-digit percentage).  You have a 500 watt supply.  Your system is therefore (if it''s really using all 500 watts) going to create as much heat as a 500 watt space heater (I was going to say 500 watts worth of light bulbs, but the light bulb does better:  SOME of the light bulbs power is converted into light).  Your problem is getting rid of that heat.

Your CPU temp of 43, by the way, is fine and does not suggest over heating at all.  I would not change anything there.  I would not change the heat sink (and that includes going to water cooling).  43C is just fine, you won't do that much better, and even if you did there would be no benefit (keep in mind that 37C is in the upper 90's F ... how much cooler can the CPU run?).

If anything, I'm more concerned about your disk drives, and about overall case ventilation.  Be certain that the disk drives have some air space around (above and below) them, and preferably some movement to that air (e.g. a fan somewhere).

The most common configuration for a case is an inlet at the front (possibly with fan), power supply AND case fan exhausting at the rear.  Sometimes a side vent over the CPU (if there is a fan there, it should bring air into the case).  If you don't have the rear fase exhaust fan, I'd add one.  The latest trend in the side vent is a "chimney" right directly over the CPU, but usually not with a fan ) although the CPU fan effectively is a fan).

My feeling overall is that you may need more air space and circulation around your disk drives, and that overall case ventilation may be an issue, but beyind that I don't really see a problem.



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by:shpark82
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your power supply is more than adequate (antec 500W)

but more cooling is definitely what you're looking for.

if space is a problem you'll have to go for water cooling (costs about $100-$200 for basic kit which covers cpu, ram, video, ram)

this will mean the only fan that'll be running is your kit fan and the ps fan

adding fans will not be any help since the rear is blocked and that's where the hot air is supposed to escape.  

you can also just place the computer in a more open space

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Assisted Solution

by:mwhbh
mwhbh earned 50 total points
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OK, let me throw in one more option for you,

Since you want to keep the curiousity of the kids away from your PC, would a lockable case do the job ? If so, buy one, keep it in the open and just keep it locked when they are around. That should do for the ventilation part.

NB is the Motherboard's NorthBridge, which is the in Nvidia chip in your K8N diamond Plus.

I think the RPMs that you mentioned are somewhat high because of the ventilation problem, while keeping good temps, they are adding to the noise.

and also, there is a hard drive water cooling block if still want to go that way, keeping in mind that you "might" need a bigger case to have enough room for the water pipe. But I think the lockable case may solve most of your problems.


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by:willcomp
willcomp earned 50 total points
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CPU temp is OK.

As someone mentioned above, 12 cm fans are quieter (lower RPM) and generally move more air.  A better case with a rear 12 cm exhaust fan, a front intake fan (at least 8 cm with 9 or 12 cm preferable) and an air guide or side fan for CPU/video would probably be a significant improvement in both cooling and quietness.

Stock AMD CPU cooler are good and usually quiet.  You can change if desired, but don't expect a lot of improvement unless water cooling is used.

Here's a nice, reasonably priced case.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119075  CoolerMaster Cavalier

There are many to choose from and most have their favorites.  Other good choices are the Antec Sonata or this Antec case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129173   Performance P-160



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by:ISoul
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Just get more fans installed in the case... and if at all possible, mount the hard drives where they will be blown at directly from a front intake fan.

Your CPU temperatures are fine... but your hard drive temperatures are much too high for my liking.
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by:frank_rfinance
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Would it be wise to mount the hard drives in removable hard racks with internal cooling?

What's everyones thoughts, i can across a system today with that setup and that seem to run fine,

I was looking at something like this http://www.xoxide.com/vavohadrcosy.html

theses are cheap setups and i found to really work
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by:mwhbh
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Looks like you have decided on a new case. Yes, these are the cooling enclosures I mentioned in my first post, and I think are what Mr. Watzman was referring to as drive coolers in his first post, he can correct me if I am wrong.

You'll need three 5.25" empty bays if you want to buy one of these for the three drives that you have.

Many thanks for the points.
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by:nobus
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well, you can accept the answer you like, but i think all the fans in the world will not make a difference if the cabinet is not capable of removing the heat; it just accumulates in there, and is fanned around
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by:abpowell
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Stayed with same cheap cabinet.  Installed a front fan, HDD fan for my master HDD and a rear GPU exhaust fan.  CPU still at 43 C which is fine but HDD went down to 39 C and 38 C plus fan speeds were cut in half so it's a lot more quiet.  Just FYI Nobus, the fans worked.  And it was a very inexpensive fix.  I actually owe you points.  My apologies for missing your post when awarding the points.  I'll make it up to you.  I'm still working on this system and will have more questions to come.
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by:nobus
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No problem, i'm glad your system is running as you like it.
if you want to reassign points, you can always ask a moderator to reopen the Q
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