[Quieting] a D945gclf2?
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Author:  dakster [ Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:58 am ]
Post subject:  [Quieting] a D945gclf2?

Just got my new mini-itx gentoo server building with a D945GCLF2 yesterday, and I'm surprised that it's so loud. I'm running this in an In Win BM639 case, which is part of the problem. The power supply fan seems to only kick on occasionally, and seems quiet enough.

The top 80mm fan is rather loud, even when set to 50% in the bios, so I think I'm going to replace it with the well reviewed 80mm Nexus fan I keep reading about on this site. That should take care of half of my problem...

The chipset fan is very loud on the 945 chipset. I've been googling around trying to find replacements, but so far have only found a shorter heatsink. I'm fine on clearance, so I don't think that's going to help much. Being that the chipset gets pretty hot, and my case is pretty full (2 3.5" hard drives and a slim DVD drive), I don't really feel comfortable going fanless on the chipset, but was wondering if they make quieter fans in that size (still can't figure out how big it is), or if I should just throw on a zalman fanmate and slow the chipset fan down some.

Any tips from you silent gurus? This is my first small/low power system, so I've never concerned myself with noise levels before, but this little server will run 24/7, so I'd like to quiet it up as best I can without compromising the stability. Thanks in advance for any help.

Author:  wywywywy [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:34 am ]
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Yes the original chipset fan is very loud, even at 50%.

I replaced it with a Scythe Mini Kaze (40mm), but it doesn't spin up at 50%. So now I set it to a constant 90%, which is still much quieter than the original fan at 50%. With the case closed, it is pretty much silent. And the temp is very stable even under load.

If possible, the heatsink should definitely be replaced though. It is designed to comfortably fit into a 1U case, so the size isn't really big enough.


Author:  wywywywy [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:43 am ]
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If you are going to get a Mini Kaze and if your case allows, get the 20mm tall one rather than the 10mm tall one by the way, lots more cooling with the same noise level.

Author:  dakster [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:51 am ]
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Thanks for the tip. I order a 40x10mm kaze last week. Thanks for the heads up about it not starting up at 50%. I'll make sure I set it high enough with the zalman fan controller. Between that and the 80mm Nexus fan it should quite it down more than enough for my tastes.

I'll probably keep the original heatsink on the chipset because I've got both a slim DVD drive and a 3.5" HD right above the northbridge. Might have to get a flashlight and see if I can't see in from the back to see how much clearance I have right now.

Great little board. Seems plenty fast enough to run all the Samba server junk on my network, and still act as a small desktop.

Author:  wywywywy [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:36 am ]
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There is no need to use the Zalman fanmate. The speed can be controlled through the BIOS and/or Speedfan. So that might save you a bit of space.

But yea I agree, it is a fantastic board. I use it to run my Windows Home Server and it is simply brilliant.

Oh another thing, it might not be compatible with some newer SATA2+NCQ hard drivers. I had to set the SATA controller to Legacy mode in the BIOS to get my 1TB Samsung F1 to work.

By the way, I only have this Mini Kaze and a 80mm Akasa Amber fan, and the temperature is very stably low (although it is in a 4U rack case), so I don't think you have anything to worry about, temperature-wise. It is even cooler than my old VIA EPIA M10000.

Author:  dakster [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:43 am ]
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Right. I was going to use the fanmate for the chipset fan. The bios setting only controls one of the two fans, and I'm using it for the 80mm on top of the case. If the Kaze turns out to be quite enough, I may just let it run full-tilt at 100% and skip the fanmate all together, and throttle down the 80mm top fan through the bios some.

I haven't had any problems with my two SATA drives, a 750 gig for the gentoo install and my data parition, a terabyte drive for incremental backups. Only IDE device I have is the slim DVD drive. I had recalled seeing something about that on the web. If I run into problems that will be the first thing I try.

Author:  dakster [ Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:12 am ]
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Well, I've got the new fans in there, and it's still rather noisy. I think my main problem is the chipset heatsink rattling around a little bit. I've wrapped a bit of duct tape around the retaining clip where it would contact the heatsink, and still it's rather noisy.

I think I'm going to try to replace the northbridge heat sink all together. Any tips on a heatsink replacement?

Author:  mentawl [ Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:08 pm ]
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If you've got a bit of vertical space, your best bet would probably be a Thermalright HR-05 or the newer IFX version of it. They're great sinks =)

http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/ ... 05_ifx.htm

Author:  FartingBob [ Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:24 am ]
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mentawl wrote:
If you've got a bit of vertical space, your best bet would probably be a Thermalright HR-05 or the newer IFX version of it. They're great sinks =)

http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/ ... 05_ifx.htm

I would think he's not got much much room, and that heatsink is rediculous overkill.

Author:  mentawl [ Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:22 pm ]
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Well that's why I said "if", it's not entirely clear how much space is present from the pictures of the case I could find.

And it wouldn't be overkill in a passive implementation without directed airflow - it'd be fairly darn capable. =)

Author:  carlmaeleon [ Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:05 pm ]
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Had the same problem with the noisy chipset fan! My original one is a T&T 4010H12S.
I found a japanese page with the data for this one: 0.18 A, 8.5 cfm, 6000 rpm and 28 dBA.

My choice now is a SilenX iXtrema Pro 40/40/10 with: 0.02 A, 5 cfm, 3000 rpm and 14 dBA
Bios says it turns with up to 4000 rpm and temperature is perfect even under load!
Because it has exactly the same size attaching is no problem at all!

Now I think I've got my dream board for a nice, cost- and energy-saving 24/7 server so far!

Author:  gaga [ Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:06 pm ]
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I've just built a box using the D945GCLF2 (iStarUSA S3 case). That chipset fan is loud! Just to test, I disconnected both the chipset fan and the case fan. Speedfan reports the following:

ambient 35c, remote1 55c, remote 2 46c, hd0 31c, for core0 thru core3, they range from 16c to 19c.

I'd assume that the 55c is the northbridge. Would that be an acceptable temperature? If no, I'll just leave that. If not, what's a good temp to shoot for? I tried looking for the slienX, but can't find any place that sells the 40mm version. Would the mini kaze fit in the stock heatsink?

Thanks to y'all!

Author:  mainman71 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:55 pm ]
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I used the Zalman NBF47K. I've had it running with SETI/BOINC CPU(4 core+threads) 100% for a few hours and hasn't frozen yet.

I did have to bend the heatsink holders on the motherboard a bit but I was able to attach it so that it seemed to hold pretty steady.

Click here for giant picture

Author:  gaga [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:04 pm ]
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Wow, that's cool! I was considering those Zalman sinks as well, but decided to skip when I read that they are for northbridge chips with no builtin graphics. What temperature are you getting with that sink?

Author:  mainman71 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:18 pm ]
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gaga wrote:
Wow, that's cool! I was considering those Zalman sinks as well, but decided to skip when I read that they are for northbridge chips with no builtin graphics. What temperature are you getting with that sink?

I'm running Knoppix-Linux at the moment and I don't know how to check the temperatures on the fly. I ran BOINC at 100% load, pressed reset and then took these values from the BIOS hardware monitor

Processor : 79-80C
Internal : 48C
Remote : 61-62C

My room temperature is high, about 25C+ because I have multiple computers running 24/7. I thought about buying the NC-U6 but since this Zalman was priced at under 9euros and the NC-U6 was close to 25euros, I figured it was too much to spend on a budget PC.

To be truthful I had it freeze once while browsing, so it might be less than what's needed if everything is running at capacity. Might be less than perfect compatibility with the software also. Zalman does recommend using a powerful CPU cooler along this cooler (and like you said, only chipsets without built-in graphics) so there might be need for additional airflow (I only have the Zalman ZM360B.APS PSU to provide airflow).

I usually disconnect the VGA monitor cable and move it to another computer. Strangely enough, when I re-insert it, it seems to mess up the D945GCLF2 computer (ethernet lights go off and then on again) and no display before reboot. No such problem on my other Intel motherboard.

UPDATE: I've had it running SETI/BOINC 100% load at all the threads (4) for 15 days straight without crashing. I don't have a monitor connected to it (I use remote access to check on the processes).

Author:  Ray_GTI-R [ Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:58 pm ]
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OK, my D945GCLF2 board came with the (latest low-profile Northbridge heatsink fitted with a 40mm x 40mm x 10mm fan made by T&T, ref 4010H12S NF1 0.16A 12VDC.
Worked fine for almost two weeks @ 30 - 60 minutes a day ... then went noisy.
A slight tap quietened it (I have it fitted to a heavily modified HSPC Tech Station like the Top Mount design only much better, so playing about is easy).
Then it took two taps ... eventually it just stayed noisy.
I took the fan off (removed the Intel-intentionally-wobbly Northbridge heatsink [see documentation on Intels website] as that's safer than trying to fix a fan in situ onto a bare silicon chip).
I tested the original fan independently and ... it's horrible. The plastic fan chassis is incredibly thin at 3 points. It does not benefit from structurally inbuilt webbing at all, so any deformation e.g., by heat etc is directly transferred to the weakest areas.
I replaced this cheap, nasty Intel / T&T item with a top-of-the-range Papst drop-in replacement see Ebay item id 360105094024, using ShinEtsu Microsi paste.
Any such "modification" invalidates the Intel 3-year warranty. I read elsewhere that Intel requires such trivial fixes to undergoe a RMA process FOR THE BOARD NOT SIMPLY FOR THE FAN that can take weeks ... if eventually approved by Intel. Given the 3 year warranty, I anticipate Intel is swamped and will continue to be until they replace the truly awful T&T fan with something better.
Replacing the Northbridge heatsink with a passive alternative is dangerous. The Northbridge fan also cools the (again, awful both in shape, efficiency and position) CPU heatsink. It also sends air over the exposed Southbridge chip to cool it (YUK!). My Southbridge chip was always pretty warm so I have fitted BGA ramsinks to the Southbridge and they do the job very nicely, cooled by the new fan.
I have been running this setup for over 3 weeks almost non-stop for testing other stuff like a PCI graphics card that runs under VISTA Ultimate DX10 etc etc and ... it works. Quiet, cool & a cheap fix.
I'm posting this here because I honestly believe this simple solution will help other owners of the noisy D945GCLF2 board to get the best out of a superb CPU and without full knowledge they may waste lots of time, effort & money.
FWIW BIOS temps @ ambient 21C:-
CPU ............... 37
Internal .......... 28
Remote ........... 32
After 10 minutes
CPU ............... 38
Internal .......... 28
Remote ........... 33
As most people know, BIOS temperatures are true, reliable (no O/S effect) and represent good working data for CPU usage at moderately high CPU usage.

Author:  ilovejedd [ Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:49 am ]
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The northbridge fan on my board is near death and bugging me with its loudness. I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to noise but this is like 5 times louder than 2 Antec TriCools (1x120mm, 1x140mm) on high - at least that's what it sounds like to me. Temps are also much higher than I'm comfortable with.

I have a really tiny case (Apex MW-100) which is pretty much filled to capacity (1x2.5" HDD, 1x5.25" slim optical). It doesn't have room for a case fan so the only cooling it's getting is from the northbridge fan.

I'm planning on replacing the stock hsf with the following:
northbridge heatsink: Enzotech SLF-1
northbridge fan: Scythe Mini Kaze Ultra
cpu heatsink: Enzotech CNB-S1

Do you guys think this set-up will work or is cooling gonna be worse than stock? Also, since the heatsink comes with push pins, will I be able to recycle the clips on the D945GCLF2 board and use it on this? Thanks!

Author:  Lawrence Lee [ Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:36 am ]
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The Enzotech heatsinks only have push-pin mounting, so you'll need to figure out a way to keep them on.

This guy managed to put a Zalman NBF47 on the D945GCLF2:

Author:  ilovejedd [ Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:32 pm ]
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Just fired up the mini-itx build. Northbridge fan is dead so need a replacement now. Amazingly enough, it didn't shut down right away. I only knew it was dead when I opened Speedfan and saw both fans were at 0 and some really high temps (processor was at 82C).

I don't have enough vertical clearance for the Zalman cooler and I need a fan on the northbridge cooler since that's pretty much the only source of airflow in the case. Oh well, guess I'm buying the Enzotech heatsink and some Scythe fans (Mini Kaze & Mini Kaze Ultra). Here's to hoping it will work.

Author:  davewsmith [ Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:11 pm ]
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The blog post Lawrence cites above doesn't mention that the case I'm using (a no-name case from Central Computer in Sunnyvale) has a power supply with a quiet fan that provides air movement over the CPU heat sink and the Zalman NBF47. Reading through the thread above, swapping in a Zalman if you don't have good airflow might be a risky (hot) move.

I've been running in a warranty-voided configuration for just over a month, and haven't noticed any problems.

Author:  ilovejedd [ Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:39 pm ]
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Thanks for the reply.

I sent an email to Enzotech and made some inquiries regarding the SLF-1 and CNB-S1. I'm impressed with their quick response. Apparently, it's hard to replace the fan included with the SLF-1 and fin spacing is 1.18mm so the stock retention clip is unlikely to fit. The CNB-S1 seems like it would work for the CPU, though. I'll be getting the CNB-R1 for the northbridge that I'll just sand down if necessary.

Author:  keropi [ Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:24 am ]
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hiya!!! I too have this awesome little mobo and plagued with it lame northbridge cooling solution...
I removed the stock hs/fan and put this 159gr copper one :




eBay link

and all is placed inside a Morex 3833 case which is small (65(H) x 210(W) x 295(D)) and nice...

noise level went down LOTS for about a month with the new hs/fan but now seems the fan is on it's end so I will replace it with a 40x40x10 mini-kaze one...

what troubles me is that the northbridge temperature is always 48-51 degrees, even with the copper heatsink... is this OK? I know the case is tiny but it has a side 60x60x10 fan... cpu temp is 20-30max always depending on load, whereas the northbridge just reaches 50 and stays there forever... am I safe? I tend to leave this on 24/7 with small brakes...

One more thing, as you can see on the heatsink pic, it comes with a square "pad" thing that has a hole on the middle and it is supposed to go between the chipset and the heatsink. Did I do good by putting it? Could it be the cause of the constant 50 degrees temperature?

thanks for any info! :D

Author:  ilovejedd [ Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:23 am ]
Post subject: 

keropi wrote:
what troubles me is that the northbridge temperature is always 48-51 degrees, even with the copper heatsink... is this OK? I know the case is tiny but it has a side 60x60x10 fan... cpu temp is 20-30max always depending on load, whereas the northbridge just reaches 50 and stays there forever... am I safe? I tend to leave this on 24/7 with small brakes...

Heck, I'm hoping those temps are fine since mine are much much higher (one of the reasons I'll be changing heatsinks) and I'm leaving it on 24/7. I've got an even tinier case (2.8" x 8.7" x 7.3") and no other fan aside from the one blowing down on the chipset. Northbridge reaches more than 80C and CPU 70C (with stock cooling) at room temp of around 27~29C. And that was with the fan working. It hasn't shut itself down yet so I'd count that as a good thing.

I did find this little tidbit:
Tom's Hardware wrote:
According to the Intel specification, the Atom 230 processor is capable of handling a core temperature of up to 99 °C. However, should the unit reach the maximum temperature, due to bad housing ventilation for example, it is still able to protect itself using Thermal Monitor 2.

The ICH7 southbridge is capable of handling temperatures up to 108 °C and the system doesn’t even come close to achieving this. The 22 watt 945GC northbridge can, according to specification, handle a core temperature of 99 °C.

Also, just a thought, if you've got sufficient vertical clearance, the Scythe Mini Kaze Ultra (40x40x20) should lower your temps by a little bit.

Author:  keropi [ Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:14 pm ]
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thanks ilovejedd, I will try for now the 40x40x10mm fan... the one that came with the heatsink has a 40x40x20mm one btw... I wonder if I see a temperature increase...
So the 945GC is indeed a HOT chip... damn
intel on their previous model with the 1.2Ghz celeron cpu used a SIS chipset... and no fans at all! I also have it, it never gave me any temperature trouble! I wish they used a cooler chipset on this mobo too...

Author:  Ray_GTI-R [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:35 pm ]
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I posted a detailed reply here but it got lost and as it's 4:40am I can't re-do it all.
In brief, the 50C plus temps are just bad.

Author:  SergeySatskiy [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:16 pm ]
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Hi all,
Here is what I did with my D945GCLF2:
satsky . spb . ru /articles/LinuxOnMiniITX/LinuxOnMiniITXEng.php

(I'm not able to post links as soon as this is my first post so I put unnecessary spaces)

Author:  Smith_X [ Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:21 am ]
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Let me share my nightmare experience with D945GCLF2 and iCute iBox Chasis.

I purchase chasis from iCute, iBox [URL removed but you can google for it]

it look adorable and sweet however it is not good as I think. First of all harddisk rack is very very fit. It scratch my harddisk very long way at the first time I try to insert my harddisk into this harddisk rack. There is no hdd enclosure/protective at all. This is a hugh mistake and may cause my harddisk out of warranty. The harddisk rack seems have two slot but it barely insert only 1 3.5" harddisk!! I do not understand why iCute badly design harddisk rack.

Second, PSU space is very small. It will not compatible with the most of modular PSU. I tried iCute Titanium Pro and it won't compatible with its own product!. Titanium, non modular version is barely unusable with iBox. I still want to know are there any Good PSU compatible with iCute iBox. I do not want to use low profile PSU.

Third, the back area for PCI branket is very non-standard size. I mean I want to use eSATA branket with iBox but the iBox have very strange size and eSATA branket from Thermaltake Max4, Coolermaster Xcraft are not long enough for iBox chasis. very poor chasis.

Fourth, front panel have two DVD Bay but the push button is loose and I need to press it hard in order to eject the dvd drive tray. Bad Design again.

Finally, no support!! I send email to inquire support are there thing I can do to fix / solve my problem but staff reply me only "BEFORE I PURCHASE iCute product" but once I purchased and I need support, they disregard my email. Only 1 email I received is "currently we develop new chasis model for taiwan computex" it's 1 week ago and no email at all. T_T

To sum up, if you have any chasis for D945CLF2 please do not take a look at iCute iBox. It is the worst nightmare chasis I'm very seen in my life.

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