So I still own my cheiftec dragon. Currently, I'm jealous of Ralph's machine he recently posted. I might have a take a trip to LA and "borrow" his computers. (Don't tell him.)
Sorry dude, you're busted. Feel free to bring your box over here and we'll work on it though. Ambient temps here are probably 10°F cooler than where you are, but of course you have the "dry heat" advantage.
Cpu (full load): 60
HD : 45
Current Ambient: 32
I consider these all too high and would like to lower them. They are, however, within the safety margin so I can contemplate my next move.
I'd say they're on the hot side too. The "Gaming Rig" in my sig lives in an Antec SX10x0 (physically identical to your Dragon) type of case. All my temps (except the ambient) are almost exactly 10°C cooler
than yours even though we're running very similar setups. I'm running a P4 2.66B OC'ed to 3.0GHz and am using an 8942 on it. I'm using an L1A though, as compared to your NMB. The NMBs are nice and quiet but they don't work well on an 8942 (I tried). First thing I'd do would be put an L1A on your 8942 ans see what happens. You can always put it on a Fanmate and play with the speed.
The other issue is your case ventilation/airflow. You really should have a couple of case fans in there, you're just not ventilating the hot air with your current setup. These cases have excellent airflow so it doesn't take too much fannage to keep things cool. I'd throw at least 3 18cfm NMBs in there, two on the back as exhausts and one in front of where your HDD is mounted as an intake. The intake will mostly serve to cool your HDD. You should notice a nice difference in your temps by doing this, and hardly any increase in air noise.
I am not aware of a way to check the video card's temperatures, and would be happy to know of a program that would query the radeon's little diode (assuming it has one), as I'm guessing it is also running hot (the heatsink is toasty). The side of my case is currently off. I have no case fans working.
There is no internal sensor on the vidcard. You'd need to get an external temp probe (like the Digidoc thingies) and place one of it's sensors as close to the GPU as possible.
The cooling I do have in place is the ZM80a with a fan bolted beneath the heatsink (i.e. between the sound card and video card). From what I can tell this is doing me virtually no good, and I am, therefore, running the Radeon 9700 virtually passive. If anyone has any sneaky ways of bolting the 80mm fan in a different spot (I'd prefer not to do the flying Zalman-Bracket wannabe trick), I'm all ears.
I'd bet that by increasing your case airflow (as I outlined above) you'd increase the performance of the ZM-80 as well. Currently the hot air has nowhere to go so the cooler isn't working too well. Why are you resistant to adding a Zalman fan bracket above your vidcard? These work well and with a 5V L1A you'd certainly never hear the fan.
The CPU has the Alpha heatsink on it and an NMB fan. I haven't tried switching the orientation on the fan to see if it works better pushing air into the sink as opposed to pulling air out (the orientation the directions claim you should use it in and which I've left it as for now). Again, any suggestions here would be welcome.
As I said above, swap out the NMB for an L1A + Fanmate. The NMBs don't flow enough air to work well with the 8942s.
Finally, I'm jealous of Ralf's 120mm fans. The dragon, as many of you know, comes with spots for dual 80s on the front and back of the case. However, since banging out the grills for the fans, I've become disenchanted with the plastic mounts and stopped using fans in those slots. Removing the plastic mounts has left me with irregular holes that don't seem to match up well with anything. My question here is: Is cutting into this area to set up a 120mm fan (at least on the back) a realistic option? I can get measurements on various place if necessary, but trying to get a general sense of things before I start making more detailed plans (and try and find a good 120mm fan).
120mm fans will not
fit on that case. 92mms will, and I even have a set of templates
to locate them in the best possible configuration.
If you want to stick with 80mm fans, do what the others have suggested and throw away those awful plastic brackets, drill a set of mounting holes and mount them to the case with elastomer grommets.
/Ralf wanders off down the hall, muttering under his breath......"OK, now I'm going to install some deadbolts on my doors and make sure my guns are loaded. Gotta protect my PCs..., gotta protect my PCs..."