Trouble keeping PC cool while staying quiet

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insta
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Trouble keeping PC cool while staying quiet

Post by insta » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:00 am

:!: Newbie alert :!:

Specs:

Biostar TA790GX AM2 motherboard
Athlon X2 Black Edition @ 3.2GHz
Xigmatek S1284EE cooler w/ P12-1300 Noctua
2x2GB Kingston DDR2-800
VelociRaptor w/ "heatsink" removed
2x MSI 4850 video cards w/ Accelero S1 rev2 coolers
Seasonic S12 430W PSU
Antec Solo w/ 2x B9-1600 Noctua 92mm's up front and no rear 120mm

The GPUs have double-wide coolers, and I've opened almost all of the grille up on the rear of the cards (leaving, of course, the token MSI in the middle). The PCI slot cover below each card is also open.

All Noctuas in my system have the black (not blue) fanspeed reducer doohickey on them. The 2x92mm up front are too loud for me without it. The CPU cooler doesn't seem to need anything faster.

The problem is that the video cards run too hot. The temps will stay under control if I have the side off and a desk fan pointed at them (35/50C), but using just the two Noctuas the temps rise quickly to 50C then slowly climb up towards 85C where it looks like they'll level off. Unfortunately, the machine crashes at about 80C on the hotter card :(

It's definitely related to the video cards. The OC'ed CPU survived 10 rounds of Linpack on the cooling I've provided.

How best can I cool these cards? I originally tried ducting the system with foam, and ended up with a melty, goopy mess that smelled funny for a few days. Where do I go from here? I can post pics of the setup tonight if it'll help.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:04 am

you have a hot CPU and 2 hot video cards in a case which is not designed or intended for that kind of setup (Solo). fundamentally, i think you will have to go for a more gamer type of case, such as P900, to get better cooling.
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psiu
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Post by psiu » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:26 am

Err? No rear exhaust?

Also, do you have the fan modules on the S1's? Alternatively put a fan closer too them somehow than just the front ones.

And pics are good. Especially of molten heaps.
R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:42 am

Hi & welcome to SPCR,

I'm pretty sure that a quiet 120mm exhaust would make the difference! Did you try the stock Antec fan on low? If that is cool enough, but louder than you'd like, then we can come up with plenty of suggestions! :o
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

insta
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Post by insta » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:31 am

I was hoping I could use the PSU to exhaust my hot air :( My CPU cooler has the Noctua blowing up from the bottom into the bottom of the PSU -- it has to be that way thanks to Socket AM2.

I'll stuff a Tri-Cool in there. Most of them aren't quiet enough for me. I think the problem though is that I can't get the heat up from the bottom of the case fast enough to get it exhausted. I get the impression that there would be enough cooling if it wasn't being stagnant.

I will need to get pictures, it seems.

Are there higher-airflow fans for the same decibel rating as the front 92mm Noctuas? If so, those + a duct should maybe be enough. There should be plenty of ventilation towards the back of the case. I'm kind of curious as to why my 4850's are crashing at 82C though, I thought they'd safely run much hotter. Based on how my temperature graph rises, it looks like they'd top out at 90C or less.

JamieG
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Post by JamieG » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:51 pm

You could also try zip-tying a 92mm fan over the PCI slots at the rear of the case to function as an exhaust to pull some of the air over the Accelero coolers. Just put some foam between the fan and the PCI slots to dampen vibrations before you zip tie the fan in place.

A simple cardboard duct from the lower of the 92mm intake fans could be used to direct intake air over the Acceleros as well. Coupled with the ghetto rear 92mm fan I suggested above, this could work as well.

You definitely need a rear exhaust fan.

You might also want to look into getting a Scythe Kama Bay intake fan for 3 of the 5.25 bays to add some extra airflow to your case. You could take the included fan from this and use it as the rear exhaust while simply having the empty Kama Bay as an intake vent.

Hope this helps!
My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)

insta
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Post by insta » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:44 pm

Hope this helps some! Feel free to add MSPaint modifications to pictures to clarify things:

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JamieG
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Post by JamieG » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:47 pm

Image

Illustration of my idea above.

If possible, re-orient your CPU cooler in the way shown (some AMD boards don't allow this, however)

Move your hard drive to the top of the three suspension slots so it is out of the cardboard duct area, which should run from the edge of the top card to the top of the lower 92mm fan and between the top graphics card and the edge of the case.

You could also try sealing off the grill above the graphics cards on the rear of the case so the only way for air to go out is through the PCI slot area (i.e. over the Accelero's), and you could zip-tie a 92mm fan outside the rear of the case over these PCI areas as well.

If you are happy to mod your case, you should cut out the grills on all the fan mounting areas as well.

If you went with the empty Scythe Kama Bay as an intake area for the CPU and PSU (with the included fan as a rear exhaust), you *may* be able to remove the top intake 92mm and move it to the rear ghetto PCI area exhaust, to save you having to buy another fan. That way, you only have to buy the Scythe Kama Bay, some method for undervolting the fan included with the Kama Bay and then re-use some cardboard for the duct I have suggested.

Hope this makes sense (and should be reasonably cheap as well!).
My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)

Plekto
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Post by Plekto » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:59 pm

Snip or Dremel out the three fan grilles. My case had identical ones in it and it made a huge difference - at least half the fan noise was gone and the airflow literally went up my 50%+.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:10 pm

Also, just because the *cores* are only 82C, doesn't mean everything else is staying cool enough--even if they have supplemental heatsinks those are far smaller than the S1's are.
R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma

frenchie
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Post by frenchie » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:34 pm

Hi,
First, get rid of the front fans, I don't think you need those if you add a back exhaust. I tried ths noctuas's in the front in the Solo, and they make a weird sound while not really helping the cooling of your GPU(only of HDs).

I've played around with GPU ducts in the Solo (with one video card) and if were you, I'd start with Plekto's and JamieG's idea, just to get an idea. However, I'm not sure how well the bottom card would do, but the top one would surely stay cooler.
As an alternative, keep Plekto's and JamieG's design, extend the duct all the way to the back of the case and put a 120mm fan right behind the HD area, blowing towards the back. Also, plug those random holes next to the PCI slots with tape. Those little mods should give you even better and quieter cooling.

I'm really interested in seeing the results you get !!!! I have to go for now but I'll post more this week end to try to help you if you need.
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

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NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:57 pm

Hi,

The rear 120mm fan can move as much or more air than the front two fans combined. And, it is farther away from you, so it will probably be cooler and quieter.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

insta
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Post by insta » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:06 pm

Rear tri-cool *almost* did it. Survived Furmark a lot longer than it had previously. Temperature on the GPU cores had levelled out at 71C -- perhaps it's not the GPU cores after all ...

Without actually purchasing turbo modules, any way to tell if they'd help? I'm thinking it might be the RAM or Vregs overheating at this point ...


edit:
When I don't do "Xtreme burn mode" or whatever it is in Furmark, the GPUs stay running. I'm up to almost an hour of Furmark now, which is about 40 minutes longer than any other test. Temps are 62C. "Xtreme burn" heats them up another 10C which crashes.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:15 am

Hello,

Did you have the Antec fan on low, or what speed? What is the CPU temperature? If you move one of the front fans inside to blow on the video cards, does that help? Maybe a duct from the rear fan to the Xigmatek?
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

Modo
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Post by Modo » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:05 am

insta wrote:Rear tri-cool *almost* did it. Survived Furmark a lot longer than it had previously. Temperature on the GPU cores had levelled out at 71C -- perhaps it's not the GPU cores after all ...
It might be the memory, or some other components on the graphics cards. Yes, the GPU itself is well cooled, but other parts of the graphics card are designed with high airflow in mind, so they might overheat.

Have you tried removing the front fans, and just using the rear one? This might force more air in through the back of the case, and directly on the Acceleros.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

Current rig
Old PC

frenchie
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Post by frenchie » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:15 am

Have you had a chance to play with any of the ducts that were suggested in the topics above ?

You could try putting a piece of cardboard like the drawing below between the top of the PCB of the bottom card and the Accelero of the top card, to force the air to go trhough the Accelero before exiting the case. If that looks like a good idea to you, I'll try to explain more. (the red rectangle is an exhaust fan, like in the previous post by JamieG ; you don't need any other ducts)

Image
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

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InfyMcGirk
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Post by InfyMcGirk » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:42 am

Maybe I'm missing the point, but isn't the Furmark torture test an unfair benchmark for a cool/quiet system? I mean, if your system is stable and quiet under all *realistic* load conditions, then maybe that's enough?

Just a suggestion... I know it would be nice to get it stable for hours of torture testing, but I'm just not sure it's necessary. ;)

Modo
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Post by Modo » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:46 am

InfyMcGirk wrote: Just a suggestion... I know it would be nice to get it stable for hours of torture testing, but I'm just not sure it's necessary. ;)
Try playing Civ4, then. Seriously.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

Current rig
Old PC

insta
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Post by insta » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:19 am

frenchie wrote:Have you had a chance to play with any of the ducts that were suggested in the topics above ?

You could try putting a piece of cardboard like the drawing below between the top of the PCB of the bottom card and the Accelero of the top card, to force the air to go trhough the Accelero before exiting the case. If that looks like a good idea to you, I'll try to explain more. (the red rectangle is an exhaust fan, like in the previous post by JamieG ; you don't need any other ducts)
I actually think I'm happy with it now. Furmark by itself is a very stressful benchmarking utility, and it only crashes in "Xtreme mode" -- not in normal mode. I might underclock the video cards 25mhz each and see if they survive the extreme mode, but if not, meh. I did move the Raptor up and get all the cabling and bands out of the way, that extra airflow in the front plus the fan in the rear seems to have done it.
InfyMcGirk wrote:I mean, if your system is stable and quiet under all *realistic* load conditions, then maybe that's enough?
My system is tolerable under OEM cooling. I'm an engineer (both at heart and as a profession). My passion for computers revolves mostly around making them do things most people don't expect -- like be silent and still run CF 4850's. Of course, it's all moot because the Seasonic PSU gets all loud when I'm under load, but whatever. That's not as impressive of a speech ;)
NeilBlanchard wrote:Did you have the Antec fan on low, or what speed? What is the CPU temperature? If you move one of the front fans inside to blow on the video cards, does that help? Maybe a duct from the rear fan to the Xigmatek?
Yes, the rear TriCool is running on Low. The CPU stays < 50C. I haven't tried moving any of the front fans -- they seem to do well enough on 7v kinda gently loping air through the case. I'll try the ducting from the rear fan to the Xigmatek -- that'll let me use my Noctua again :)

Modo
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Post by Modo » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:58 am

insta wrote:[ I haven't tried moving any of the front fans -- they seem to do well enough on 7v kinda gently loping air through the case.
The idea behind removing the front fans is reducing airflow from the front of the case, to try and force more cool air directly from behind the case onto the heatsinks. Gigabyte has a fanless design that uses this idea, and it sometimes works worse with front intake fans than without them.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

Current rig
Old PC

insta
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Post by insta » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:58 pm

frenchie wrote:Have you had a chance to play with any of the ducts that were suggested in the topics above ?

You could try putting a piece of cardboard like the drawing below between the top of the PCB of the bottom card and the Accelero of the top card, to force the air to go trhough the Accelero before exiting the case. If that looks like a good idea to you, I'll try to explain more. (the red rectangle is an exhaust fan, like in the previous post by JamieG ; you don't need any other ducts)

Image
I used an old envelope I had, wedged into the drive bays (fits perfectly!) to duct the bottom fan down towards the bottom GPU. Now their temperatures are within 1 degree of each other (vs. 30C difference!), and it's surviving the "Extreme" burn at ~ 75C. I also underclocked the core to 600MHz (instead of 625). RAM is overclocked to 1100.

Performance is still nice though ... under normal FurMark mode, it pulls 70fps average at 1920x1200 @ 2x AA :shock:

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