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SpeedFan is our application of choice for customizable control. If properly
supported, it can be configured to raise/lower multiple fan speeds to designated
limits when any specified temperature threshold is breached.
As Intel does not provide any official hardware monitoring software for the
board, it is hard to determine whether any of the temperatures SpeedFan reports
are accurate. When the system was put under load, we observed that the "Core
0" and "Core 1" temperatures did not budge. "Ambient,"
"Remote 1" and "Remote 2" rose in varying degrees, 6°C,
18°C and 9°C respectively compared to idle. When we placed a fan on
the northbridge heatsink however, "Remote 1" continued to gradually
rise, while the other two temperatures lowered, indicating that "Remote
1" is the CPU temperature. Unfortunately we were unable to isolate the
other two readings.
The SYS_FAN header can be controlled using the Speed01 control tab, but for
some reason the number entered results in the exact opposite reaction. 0% results
in the fan running at maximum speed. The fan speed is equivalent to 9V at approximately
65%, 7V at 80% and 5V at 90%. Setting it to 100% results in the fan turning
off, however the board seems to jump-start it back on after a few seconds unless
fan control in the BIOS is disabled. It can also be set to a static 50-100%
in the BIOS but aside from that there is no fan control to speak of neither
header changes fan speed automatically based on CPU load, temperature, or otherwise.
To test the cooling on the board, we lowered the CPU cooling fan's voltage
to 7V to reduce the amount of top-down airflow the nearby components received.
We then stressed the system with Prime95 and ATITool and whipped our our handy
IR thermometer to check the results. After about 15 minutes of load, the southbridge,
northbridge, and CPU heatsinks registered 52°C, 40°C and 43°C respectively.
All three heatsinks were warm to the touch, but nothing more. The voltage regulation
circuitry was not notably hot either. It seems that cooling is not really an
issue for this particular board.
As the board comes with a fan on the northbridge heatsink, we conducted a brief
analysis of its properties.
The chipset fan is a typical ball-bearing 40mm fan with poor noise characteristics
(i.e. whiney!). At 12V it is simply unacceptable, registering 29 [email protected] in our
11 dBA hemi-anechoic chamber. Luckily, it undervolts fairly well and can be
done so in the BIOS or with SpeedFan if it is connected to the SYS_FAN header.
It is effectively silent in most working environments at 7V, and at that speed,
cooling does not seem to be compromised, at least not on our open test bench
with ambient temperature around 23°C. Airflow when mounted inside a case
will determine the minimum speeds you can set for the northbridge heatsink fan.
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