I'm planning on
- AMD Sempron 64 3100+ Palermo, which provides significant processing power at 67W high load, throttled back to 20W at low load using AMD cool n quiet.
- Motherboard will probably be ASUS K8N
- Passively cooled GeForce FX 5200 for graphics (which I will be using for the hardware MPEG-2 support).
- PCHDTV HD-3000 tuner card.
- Currently have a Maxtor 200GB hard drive. May add other large drives on sale
My question is about cooling: should I go with the stock cooler from AMD, or should I try a quieter cooler such as the Zalman 7000AlCu? I want to use AMD's 'cool n quiet' feature to lower power consumption at low CPU loads. It appears from the motherboard manual (page 2-16) that
The Zalman documentation suggests that I use the accompanying Fan Mate to set the CPU cooler's fan speed by hand once and for all.This feature requires the AMD CPU heatsink and fan assembly with monitor chip. If you purchased a separate heatsink and fan package, use the ASUS Q-Fan Technology feature to automatically adjust the CPU fan speed according to your system loading.
So I guess I have these questions:
- Can it possibly be true that Cool N Quiet won't throttle down the CPU unless I have the stock cooler?
- Is there a way to let the motherboard control the speed of the fan on the Zalman cooler? (The BIOS can set 'Fan Start Voltage', 'Fan Start Temp', and 'Fan Full Speed Temp')
- Is it worth fooling with the Zalman cooler?
- If I go with the stock cooler at first, it is easy to change coolers later? (Other systems I have built had sticky use-once goo on the CPU for thermal coupling.)
P.S. If it matters, I'm considering either an Antec Sonata case with bundled PSU or else an Antec SLK3000B with Seasonic S12-330 PSU. Comments on this choice also welcome.