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Core i7-870 running too hot

Posted on 2010-09-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-10
I have a new PC that is running far too hot (measured with CoreTemp) and would be grateful for some advice.

Basic specs:
 - Gigabyte P55A-UD4 Rev 1.0 Motherboard
 - Intel Core i7 870 (LGA1156)
 - 4x4GB 1333MHz OCZ DDR3 Dual-Channel RAM
 - Sapphire ATI HD 5770 1GB
 - Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium
 - Corsair 650w PSU

At idle the cores run around the upper 40s degrees C!  If I play Left4Dead2, the temps go to upper 60s!  If I run OCCT Perestroika, it quits after less than 90secs of maxing the cores out as their temps touch 90!!!

The system is NOT overclocked and Turbo Mode is disabled, as is XMP.

Here's the case: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-002-XG&groupid=701&catid=7&subcat=1572
It contains one in-built 120mm fan sucking air in at front bottom and I have added two more 120mm fans - one venting out of the back below the PSU and one blowing in on the side.  They are this type: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FG-001-FD&groupid=701&catid=57&subcat=4
I was rather expecting a more powerful current of air from these fans than there is - they seem rather gentle.

Also of note is that I used the stock heatsink and just its own pre-applied thermal paste (presuming that it would be supplied as suitably coolable out of the box when not being overclocked).

I have no spare parts for testing and will have to buy whatever is required.  The question is where my problem lies.  I intend to buy some thermal compound and re-do that manually first off but I can't imagine it will make enough difference.
Then I'm wondering about fancy heatsinks+fans and fancy cases:
Noctua NH-U12P SE2: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS-010-NC&groupid=701&catid=57&subcat=1395 (this appears slightly too tall to fit in my current case.)
Antec 900: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-065-AN&groupid=701&catid=7&subcat=160

I don't want to splash out on one or the other or both unless I have to and unless it's definitely going to fix things.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
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Question by:cantoris
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TechnicallyMaybe earned 250 total points
ID: 33599606
You need to focus on getting the heat off the CPU as fast as possible and then getting the heat of the heatsink.  In order to do that, you need a good conductive heatsink with good fan.  I recommend this article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lord-kryo-puts-hands-17-coolers,270.html

Also, if you have a fan blowing air off the heatsink, you want to make sure the air blowing in from the side fan is not pushing the hot exhaust air back onto the heatsink.  Often, having the side fan blowing out will assist the heatsink-mounted fan in dissipating the heat.
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 250 total points
ID: 33600291
>> I intend to buy some thermal compound and re-do that manually first off but I can't imagine it will make enough difference.

That should be the first step.  The stock cooler should have been enough so redoing the thermal compound can let you check what is going on.  It is possible the heatsink isn't sitting properly on the CPU as one possible.

To check if the case isn't ventilated properly or the cooling is insufficient leave the case open and have a big desktop fan blowing into the guts.  If that keeps it cool then there is insufficient cooling going on.
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Author Closing Comment

by:cantoris
ID: 33607759
I bought some ArtiClean to clean off the CPU and then fitted an Arctic Freezer fan which vents towards my rear exhaust fan.  I also moved the side fan down to below the CPU (ie nearer the GFX  card and X-Fi) and set it to blow out of the case.

Temps when maxed out by OCCT reached an average of 65C between the cores.
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