Cool my system down!

Teach me to go for the big enchilada.

My system is showing that my main board temp is running about 59-62c. It’s also showing that my “on die” cpu temp is around 55c. I think the biggest problem might be just cooling the main system area down, so for that, I’m asking for help.

First the specs:
CPU: Athlon XP 3000 Barton
MoBo: Soyo Dragon KT400 Ultra
Video card: 9700 Pro
Sound: TB Santa Cruz
Just a regular dialup modem (still no broadband here in the Dulles Tech Corridor, go figure…)
Power supply is an Antec 400w with the dual fans
1 Gig of DDR 333 on two 512 mb sticks

Now then, I’m using an ancient old ATX case frame (none of the original parts, in fact). I say "frame, because it’s a tower-style, and the side panels are long since gone. I figured that the improved airflow of not having side panels would make my system that much cooler…but no such luck.

I am not overclocking at all.

So what do I do to cool this sucka down? Buy a real case? Sure, no biggie, but which one? Then buy case fans? Cool…again though, pretend I skipped that day in upgrade class and point me in the right direction.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

Yeah, basically get a modern case with intake and exhaust fans. If you’ve got the dosh get a nice aluminum case, they’re pretty, light and have better cooling properties than steel cases turning the whole thing basically into a heatsink. I’ve got an AMS G-Tower which I got a good deal on. The only thng it doesn’t have is a good way to put filters in for the intake fans so I get more dust inside than I’d like…

Cool…(gaah! pun police!) that’s kinda what I thought.

Like I said in the first post, I’m still using the ATX frame from a PII 400 I built in '99. Having not bought a case in forever, is there a recommended brand? Intake and exhaust fans make sense (airflow, what a great idea) as does the aluminum vs. steel for the heat absorption properties…but are their any other features I should be considering?

As I’m using a beat-to-hell case right now, I really don’t give a hoot about looks or bells and whistles–unless those bells and whistles cool my system down or serve some other useful purpose besides “looking cool”. But yeah, I’m willing to pay the bucks to solve this, so tell me what to look out for.

Thanks again for any and all advice.

Depends on your noise tolerance. A thousand-db fan will reduce it to ambient, but will be pretty insufferable volume-wise.

I wouldn’t worry about a 55C on die temp; Athlons are rated to 90C or something.

A cheap Antec case would do fine as long as you can put at lease t2 or 3 case fans in it. Fans in the front suck air in, and fans in the back blow air out.

Artic Silver 3 thermal paste would help as well.

You could always go all out and build a behemoth of a water cooler or condenser.

Actually, my dad is nuts and to keep his computer cooling put a 200mm fan (that he plugs into a wall socket) on the side of his case. Then again, he is nuts; he build a printer rack out of an old toolbox and used an Atari ST until 5 years ago when I gave him my old PC.

My athlon under load runs at 62C or so - and is stable up to around 80C (well 80C according to the on die temp gauge :P)

Nope, the heat’s a problem, actually. Maybe it isn’t the CPU (which I estimate gets into the 70C range at times) but it sure could be the MoBo. One or the other, but someone is shutting down in the middle of games and suchlike and the main culprit seems to be temperature.

If I start a game right away when I first boot up, I can play for a while before the sucker will lock up and hang on me…but if I surf the net for an hour or two and then play something, I’ll lock up inside of 10 minutes. I think the processor load from surfing the net or working on a spreadsheet or document isn’t too taxing–but running Mafia or WC3 brings the heat issue front and center.

Sounds like a new case will help quite a bit.

Wasn’t trying to say it wasn’t - the fact that your Mobo is reporting higher then your CPU is a major problem, but that was already covered in this thread decently well so I was more or less responding to Señor McCullough about on die temps :P

I’d track down what’s shutting it off before spending money. Try disabling the auto-shutdown option in the bios, and then having motherboard monitor throw an alarm at whatever temp (60C mb?) instead.

Your temps are fine, man. You need to look at other culprits:

a) the fan on your video card has died.
b) your CPU is being starved of power when your video card kicks in, thereby locking up.

(a) is easy enough to check.

For (b), go into your BIOS and increase your 1.5V to 1.7V. Then run your games again. If this fixes the problem, you motherboard is defective and you should replace it with another model.

Well if your Athlon XP is idling at 60C like mine was, that is definitely bad. It ran fine for six months then it (a 2700+ with stock cooling) started failing FPU-intensive tests like Prime95 and, um, any 3D game I ran. Lockups, freezes, temps spiking to mid 70s and up.

Swapped in a 2800+ Barton and a Thermalright SLK800 with a 70mm fan and temps dropped 20C or more at idle even before the break in period on the Arctic Silver thermal paste is done. So far so good, fingers crossed.

If you have the stock cheesy fan and heatsink on your 3000, run don’t walk to get a better cooling system for it. Just my opinion, but the stock AMD cooling setups bite.

A little note about keeping the sides off of the case:

This might not be applicable for your case, but many modern cases are designed so that they run cooler with the sides on than they do with them off. With your sides off, you actually get less air flowing over your mobo and CPU then you will if you keep the sides on. This is due to airflow patterns or whatnot.

Good point about cases and the side panels. It does seem to depend on the make.

Then again, taking a huge ass house fan and pointing it at the open side of a case probably still works :D

As long as you don’t flood the box with dust and dog hair I guess…

Just an update:

Bought a seksi as hell Lian Li aluminum case today with five fans. Brilliantly easy to set up (keep in mind, my old case was from the Dark Ages) and as of now, my ambient temps are down 18 degrees, and my CPU temp, according to SANDRA, is 40.

I’m still going to upgrade the heatsink/fan assembly on the CPU though, probably later this week. Thanks for the Thermalright suggestion, as well as all tips in the thread. I’ve been online for about an hour; in another 45 minutes or so, I’m going to try some MoHAA or Mafia, and see how she holds up.

All right, triggercut!

I bought an ATCS Cooler Master aluminum case with fans in the front, top and back about 2 1/2 years ago or so, and it brought my CPU temp down 10 degrees Celcius right off the bat! And you’ve gotta love lightweight aluminum if you’re a tinkerer… Does the whole side of your case slide out so you can change motherboards without ripping apart whatever’s installed in all the drive bays? Mine does, and it rocks. 8) I also went to rounded cables to improve airflow even more recently…