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 Post subject: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:40 pm 
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Hi everyone :)

I have a Core2Quad 2.5GHz in my living room pc (HTPC & Gaming). Its a 95W CPU, overclocked to 3GHz but it runs at stock voltage so the heat increase is limited.

I'm using a scythe Big Shuriken (rev 1) which worked ok in winter, but as soon as summer temps started to rise, it simply can't cope, and I get constant reboots.

My options are to buy a new cooler, or if possible just upgrade the fan of the Big Shuriken. I was thinking of maybe putting in one of the higher powered noctuas that are good for static pressure like an NF-F12 2000 rpm or something similar.

Has anyone actually done anything like this with a Big Shuriken and did you see any big improvements? Or should I just spend the money get a new CPU cooler?

Any advice would be appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:20 pm 
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dkazaz wrote:
I'm using a scythe Big Shuriken (rev 1) which worked ok in winter, but as soon as summer temps started to rise, it simply can't cope, and I get constant reboots.

I guess it could not be the heatsink the culprit, as I've the same cooler on an AMD Phenom II X6 (so not such a cool CPU) and it doesn't reboot in summer: probably Italy isn't as hot as Greece, but today here I got 33°C ambient without any thermal issue on that rig.
Obviously any temps log (under Windows you may use several tools, like HWiNFO) may help to troubleshoot.


dkazaz wrote:
Has anyone actually done anything like this with a Big Shuriken and did you see any big improvements? Or should I just spend the money get a new CPU cooler?

I swapped two times, on both a Big Shuriken 1 and 2, the original slim fan with a regular 25mm one, and I never got any huge improvement, even if, to be fair, the slower Slipstream (1600rpm IIRC) of the BS 1 is noticeably less performing than the actual 2k one (I think the relevant cooling prowess is about equal to a 1200rpm regular Slipstream). I guess that raising the case fans speed may also turn out as a considerable help.

Whether case fans shouldn't help, and whether the temps log pointed out a CPU overheating, if I were you I would swap the Big Shuriken with a more performing cooler, rather than just its fan.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:42 pm 
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that cooler with the stock fan should not have issues... imo
might just be bad airflow cause its in a home theater rack, or due to a poor case design?

would be helpful to know more about your rig...and av rack setup as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:01 pm 
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You can improve the cooler temp moving from the slimline fan on the BS1 to a 25mm thick fan (SPCR saw 7-9C improvement with fan swap in the BS2)...but, it's better to understand the baseline conditions first.
- What case are you using, other components, fans, etc...
- what's the clearance between the cpu fan and the case?
- Is the case stuffed into a cabinet?
- what are your ambient/idle/and load temps?

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:54 pm 
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Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. Here's some more info as suggested to clarify my situation.

The case is a full ATX HTPC case (Origen s14v) with so-so airflow. One 92mm intake fan (I had swapped the original fan with a nexus which is actually a bit noisier but moves more air) and two 80mm exhaust fans (also both nexuses, for the same reason).

The pc is on a shelf under the TV. There is no "back" to the tv shelf, so clearance behind it is 60 cm open air and about 20cm on each side. The main problem is that the PC & TV are placed with their rear side facing eastern bay windows, so they're under the sun between 7am and 12 noon. Unfortunately this is the only arrangement that will work. There are curtains to block direct sunlight but still, that area gets very warm. Room ambient temp was about 34c they day it started. Motherboard temps were about 40c and CPU temp was about 41. Idle core temps were 49-59. Load temps were never reached since I was not gaming that day.

I have temporarily solved the problem by taking the CPU clock down to stock and swapping out the nexus fans for ys-tech high power fans. They get the job done but sound like twin jet engines :D

My hope is to put the nexus fans back in or if that doesn't work buy some higher powered noctua fans to manage case airflow.
But I need to get CPU temps down a bit. This system worked for years without problems in a case with excellent airflow but it's WAF was very low :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:47 am 
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dkazaz wrote:
The case is a full ATX HTPC case (Origen s14v) with so-so airflow.

If I can take the liberty, I would say rather poor.


dkazaz wrote:
Idle core temps were 49-59

Idle temps seem a bit on the high side, but at first glance still compatible with a 34°C ambient (the above quoted Phenom II X6 stay around 45-46°C with an averagely 20% load): which monitoring tool did you use? And broadly speaking, a full ten degrees difference among cores may also be suspicious: what about re-seating your heatsink? Removing the case top panel does any difference?


dkazaz wrote:
I have temporarily solved the problem by taking the CPU clock down to stock and swapping out the nexus fans for ys-tech high power fans. They get the job done but sound like twin jet engines :D

Can you undervolt your CPU? Usually at stock those quads undervolt nicely.


dkazaz wrote:
But I need to get CPU temps down a bit. This system worked for years without problems in a case with excellent airflow but it's WAF was very low :wink:

You have almost no (cool) airflow, it seems sort of a hot-box. You may surely improve using some massive heatsink (such as the Noctua NH-C14, in a 15cm enclosure it might fit, while you haven't room for any liquid AIO cooler radiators), but IMVHO you won't solve that issue with that case in that position, while a different case (like a Grandia with 120mm fans) should be a noticeable improvement over your Origen.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:56 am 
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Thanks Luca for all your advice.

You're right the s14V has poor airflow. It would work better with a new 65W CPU. Now as to your other points:

My core temps always had an 8-10 degrees between them, over several coolers, including watercooling. Just the way this chip is. It was never a problem, since it will overclock to 3GHz on stock voltage and be rock solid. On the other hand undervolting it has proven impossible...

I will definitely re-seat the cooler, I just want to do it all in one go, once I decide course of action.

I'm sure you're right that airflow is the problem here. The previous case had 2x 120mm mm intakes at low speed and 2 80mm exhausts at higher speed and temps were 5c lower and hardly rose at load.

One thing I can do to improve airflow is install some higher CFM fans in the box. Maybe 2 noctua NF-R8's will move enough air to make a difference from the nexuses (nexi?).

I could also plug in an old Intel fan from a Pentium 4 socket 775 CPU. These were very hot CPUs and it might be enough to lower temps, albeit at slightly higher noise levels.

Buying a new noctua CPU fan seems like an excessive solution for an old PC...

Any more thoughts will be appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:04 am 
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dkazaz wrote:
Maybe 2 noctua NF-R8's will move enough air to make a difference from the nexuses (nexi?).

Well, I don't think so: on a rpm-by-rpm basis the Noctuas should have just a slight airflow advantage (maybe around 10%) over the Nexuses, and where those R8s should be noticeably more effective (at top speed, as they spin 20% faster), they won't be quiet anymore. Does that worth?


dkazaz wrote:
Buying a new noctua CPU fan seems like an excessive solution for an old PC...

A de-luxe enclosure deserves a de-luxe heatsink, doesn't it? Not to mention that a premium cooler from Noctua can be recycled and re-utilized several times.

If you don't want to spend on that, it may worth to invest some money on more modern, low-end, cooler hardware (Celerons, Pentiums and the likes on a H97 board, for example: you may need a new mounting system, which can be ordered in Germany directly from Scythe itself, for a small amount of money).

Anyway, give a try without the top panel: whether it should go fine, you might better know what to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:33 am 
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I forgot to add that IME/IMO even a 59°C core temp shouldn't justify a spontaneous reboot: so, even if your system runs pretty hot, I don't see any evidence that those temperatures are the cause of your current problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:59 am 
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To expand on what Luca said: It's unlikely that it is your CPU overheating, it is probably something else. Overclocking your CPU might be the source of the heat, but not the affected component. Do you have any other temp sensors you can monitor? Might help pinpoint the issue.

That being said, my semi educated guess is that heat is not likely the main cause of your problems. I think your chipset is at fault. When overclocking you are changing your FSB from 333 to 400 MHz. While lots of MBs "support" this, the only chipset that officially supports a 400 MHz FSB is the x48, which is not common.

Also, when you overclock do you make sure your RAM is still running at an acceptable speed? You may have to change the FSB-RAM divider in your BIOS settings.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:53 pm 
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It could be the OC set up is stable to a certain point and then the summer temps are enough to kick it over as CMOS logic slows down with increased temp. Memory timing might be too tight, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:33 pm 
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Thanks guys but I don't really think the overclock is the culprit:
1) This overclock has been rock solid for 5 years now.
2) RAM is at stock speed (SPD anyway - DDR2 1066).
3) Pluging in high power fans or turning on the AC solves the problem - I even ran prime95 for 4 hours.

I do however buy the notion that CPU temps are not as important as Chipset temps.
It may also be that the two affect each other - heat is additive.

What I'm trying to do is figure out a way to reduce the noise level and the temps so I can stop worrying about this. Just to be clear, I'm looking to reduce the noise, I don't need perfect silence. I sit 3 meters away from the PC and my hearing is not 100% either. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:45 pm 
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The point being your OC isn't rock solid if it crashes in the summer heat. :D...and if it's not stressing the CPU, then it's most likely some other component that can't go fast enough with these summer temps.

Otherwise, buy a $10 Nexus Real Silent fan (or something else) and replace the slimline Slipstream on the Big Shuriken. That may get you a few degrees on the CPU (sorta depends on how fast the Slipstream was running) as well as the VRM circuitry...and maybe the DRAM. Beyond that, your case is probably starved for air and there's not much you can do with your existing set up other than reduce the power draw, increase the case fan CFM, or remove/adapt the top of the case.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:57 am 
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dkazaz wrote:
What I'm trying to do is figure out a way to reduce the noise level and the temps so I can stop worrying about this. Just to be clear, I'm looking to reduce the noise, I don't need perfect silence. I sit 3 meters away from the PC and my hearing is not 100% either. :wink:

To somehow expand what washu said: if we grant that there is an overheating problem, more probably that not you should find the temperature sensor somehow indicative of the imminent problem (reboot, crash, BSOD).
In other words, you have to understand which sensor (different from the "core" ones) may show you better that, when the relevant temp goes high, you're likely going into troubles.
If you'll find such a sensor, then using a fan you should blow onto different motherboard areas in order to see if and when that temp goes down. Whether you'll be successful in this trial and error process, you have just to leave an additional fan blowing there at a conveniently low speed, maybe just leaning it on those chips, or even secured with some zip-ties.
Done that, you should regulate all fan speeds to have a low, comfortable noise level, and fire up a stress test: if all goes well, that's all (or so I guess).

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:42 am 
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im gonna toss this in to the ring.... it could be the psu overheating, due to age and/or dust. thats something that wont show up in logs/sensors.

people often forget there's more than just the 2 or 3 main components to cool/keep clean in a PC.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:17 am 
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dkazaz wrote:
The case is a full ATX HTPC case (Origen s14v) with so-so airflow. One 92mm intake fan (I had swapped the original fan with a nexus which is actually a bit noisier but moves more air) and two 80mm exhaust fans (also both nexuses, for the same reason).

Nice looking HTPC case, but ventilation seems to be horrific. Not 80mm but 60mm exhaust according to specifications. Would it be possible to take a dremel to the side of the case and fit a proper 120mm fan?

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:42 am 
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Thanks everyone for all your suggestions.

My case is actually an s16V, so the airflow is not all the bad.

I'll run through the various tests over the weekend to see where the problem lies, chipset, CPU etc. It has to be heat related, or it wouldn't be cured with faster exhaust fans. I also suspect that my CPU cooler might not be very well seated on the chip, so I'll re-seat that.

I probably will need to improve the flow of air by installing some fast but hopefully not too noisy fans. My main area of uncertainty is what to do about CPU cooling, especially since CPU temps are likely to be indirectly, if not directly linked to the problem. The Big Shuriken is almost certainly not enough to manage this chip especially when overclocked, so I either upgrade its fan, or go backwards and install a powerful but noisy intel cooler, or go forwards and buy a new cooler, maybe a noctua NH-L12.

Since I don't want to buy a new cooler needlessly, I'm going to try the shuriken with a more powerful fan (I have a Scythe GT in another PC that I can move for this test) and see if that makes a difference.

TBH I'm not expecting much but you never know...


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:46 am 
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dkazaz wrote:
especially since CPU temps are likely to be indirectly, if not directly linked to the problem.

It might be that heating, but also the relevant power draw: as someone else already said, it could be related to the CPU power circuitry.


dkazaz wrote:
TBH I'm not expecting much but you never know...

It depends mainly on rotational speed: with a 1200-1300rpm regular 25mm fan the gain shouldn't be that much for the very same core temp, but maybe it could be some more appreciable for the surrounding area: with a faster spinning fan, your mileage may vary and let you to achieve noticeable better results for those CPU temps also (but on the other hand, I would hardly call "quiet" a 120mm fan past about 1000rpm).

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:09 am 
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gogleing that case i see two exhaust fans, plus the PSU (or not if youre running it isolated), for a total of 2-3 exhaust fans. I see one intake fan and one small intake vent. -Or am i missing something...?

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:31 am 
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xan_user wrote:
gogleing that case i see two exhaust fans, plus the PSU (or not if youre running it isolated), for a total of 2-3 exhaust fans. I see one intake fan and one small intake vent. -Or am i missing something...?


There's a 92mm intake fan on the left side of the case, and two 80mm exhausts at the back, plus the PSU which blows air from the case and outward.

This makes managing the airflow essential.

As Luca said above, it may simply be better to get a new CPU/mobo/ram bundle and sell the old one. A core i5 4690s at 65w will be a lot less cooler and up to 30-40% faster, which of course makes no difference in HTPC use but does in gaming. It occurs to me that selling the old kit, actually makes the cost of upgrading comparable to the cost of buying a ton of expensive fans and coolers. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:16 pm 
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ah, its a 92mm. i should have caught that. agree with the new parts, way easier to cool (and quietly). :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:33 pm 
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dkazaz wrote:
A core i5 4690s at 65w will be a lot less cooler and up to 30-40% faster, which of course makes no difference in HTPC use but does in gaming.

Actually, a 54W Haswell i3 has more processing power than a Core 2 Quad.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:42 pm 
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dkazaz wrote:
As Luca said above, it may simply be better to get a new CPU/mobo/ram bundle and sell the old one. A core i5 4690s at 65w will be a lot less cooler and up to 30-40% faster, which of course makes no difference in HTPC use but does in gaming. It occurs to me that selling the old kit, actually makes the cost of upgrading comparable to the cost of buying a ton of expensive fans and coolers. :lol:

To be fair, as you suggested that a Noctua NH-C14 was excessive for your task, I said that a low end contemporary Intel platform could have offer cooler temps and less power draw, for a tad higher but still comparable amount of money to that specific heatsink, while still providing "enough" computing power (where "enough" actually means a tad higher computing power than your current setup).

Now a Core i5 cannot be said a low end platform (and the relevant cost is far higher than the Noctua NH-C14 one), as an Haswell-based Pentium or Celeron is more properly low end (talking about italian prices, about 80-90 euros for just the cooler vs 120-150 euros for a Celeron-Pentium/B85-H97/4Gb DDR3 combo, while maybe a 54w Core i3 might still be considered, if you mind).

Another aspect to take into account is your gaming requirements: while a Core i3/Core i5 surely offer a more performing GPU than any Pentium/Celeron (but those latter are more performing than any Core 2 Quad IGP, however), so having a clear advantage over a true low-end Haswell platform, whether you were using a discrete graphic card inside your Origen, there would be no need for a more expensive Core i3/Core i5, as their major selling point for your tasks (a more capable GPU) would be pointless.

Summarizing, to talk about a possible system upgrade, I think you should point out more clearly your current requirements and setup.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Shuriken fan upgrade - is it worth it?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:02 am 
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Hi Luca,

I'm using this PC as an HTPC and for gaming on the TV. I need a discrete GPU for both (I use MadVR for watching videos and of course games always need more power on the 3D front).

What I've usually done, is that whenever I'm upgrading my desktop, the old desktop becomes an HTPC/gaming box in the living room and the old HTPC gets sold.

Right now however my desktop CPU is powerful enough and has enough OC headroom that I won't feel the need to upgrade it for a few years.

I was hoping that the C2Quad would be sufficient until then and to be fair it is, except sometimes when gaming on high where the whole platform (chipset, RAM, bus etc) becomes a bottleneck for the GPU.

So if I upgraded I'd go for something decent though not high end by today's standards. An i5 4570s should fit the bill. Total cost with a new z97 mobo and 8GB RAM is €380 minus selling the old one for about 200. If I have to upgrade all the fans etc, I'm looking at over €100 so this might be a good idea.


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