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Cooling Article #1

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Cooling Article #1

Postby aviationwiz on Wed Mar 05, 2003 6:54 pm

Hello, and welcome to this guide on how to keep your PC running cool and therefore running at optimum performance. In this guide we will mostly talk about Heatsinks and Fans, often called HSFs. The most important areas on your PC to cool are:

CPU
RAM
North Bridge
Video Card

First we will start with cooling your CPU. The best HSF that can be used on both AMD and Intel CPUs would be the Thermaltake Volcano 7+. It comes with a powerful heatsink and a fan with adjustable speeds. The fan is a 70 mm fan; it has a top speed of 6,000 RPM, and displaces 49 CFM of air. The Volcano 7+ costs 29 USD, which is 44 CAD. The Thermaltake Volcano 7+ can be purchased here. The Volcano 7+ will run in just about any motherboard including Socket A, Socket 370, and Socket 478. If you don’t have enough money for the Volcano 7+, there is a cheaper alternative. It is the Volcano 9 and offers slightly less cooling. It costs 21 USD, which is 31 CAD. The Volcano 9 can be purchased here. The Volcano 9 sports an 80 mm fan which runs at a top speed of 4,800 RPM, displacing 75.8 CFM of air at top speed. Both of the HSFs come with Thermal Paste, I highly recommend using Arctic Silver 3 instead. Arctic Silver 3 costs 6 USD which is 9.12 CAD.

Next we’re onto memory cooling. With memory there are two different types of coolers: an Active Memory Cooler and a RAM Cooler. The difference between them is that the Active Memory Coolers use a small fan that can be used to cool the heatsink. I prefer the RAM Coolers; they will last just about forever because there is no fan. For RAM Cooling I recommend either the Thermaltake Copper RAM Cooler or the Cooler Master Copper RAM Heatsinks. If you want to get an Active Memory Cooler I recommend the Thermaltake Active RAM Cooler.

Now on to which one you want, if you want to have a fan then you should go with the Active Memory Cooler. The harder decision is which copper heatsink to go with. The Cooler Master Copper RAM Heatsink is quite large so you need to skip a DIMM. Example, if you have 3 DIMM slots on your motherboard and you have 2 sticks of memory, they would have to go into DIMM slots 0 and 2. Slot 1 would be taken up with the heatsinks. If you want to be able to use all of your DIMM slots, you should go with the Thermaltake Copper RAM Cooler. The products can be bought below:

Thermaltake Copper RAM Cooler 12.95 USD=19.73 CAD

Cooler Master Copper RAM Heatsink 10.95 USD=16.68 CAD

Thermaltake Active RAM Cooler 11.95 USD=18.20 CAD


Next, we go to GPU cooling (Video Card Cooling). Some video cards already come with fans, such as the GeForce 4’s, and GeForce FX’s. A video card cooler will help your video card run at a higher performance level. After looking for quite a while for a good video card cooler, the best ones I can find are:

Thermaltake GeForce 4 Copper Cooler
Thermaltake Crystal Orb
Vantec IceBerQ Copper VGA and Chipset Cooler

If you have a GeForce 4 video card, then you should go with the GeForce 4 Copper Cooler. It comes with thermal grease and thermal tape, to attach the heatsinks to the video card.

The Thermaltake Crystal Orb is great if all you’re looking for is a fan. It is a 12.4 CFM fan. Overall this cooler provides the least of the three coolers.

The next one is the IceBerQ Copper VGA and Chipset Cooler. It comes with a small 3.5 CFM fan and 2 chipset heatsinks. Like the Thermaltake GeForce 4 Copper Cooler, it also comes with thermal tape and thermal paste. Once again, for thermal paste I recommend Artic Silver 3.

The GeForce 4 Cooler should only be used with GeForce 4 Video Cards and is the best one for the GeForce 4. The Crystal Orb is great if you already have a different heatsink, otherwise it is pretty useless. The winner for any video card is the IceBerQ Copper VGA and Chipset Cooler, mainly because it will fit on pretty much any GPU chipset or on your motherboard’s chipset. These products can be purchased here:


Thermaltake GeForce 4 Copper Cooler 14.95 USD=22.73 CAD

Thermaltake Crystal Orb 10.00 USD=15.21 CAD

Vantec IceBerQ Copper VGA and Chipset Cooler 12.95 USD=19.73 CAD

Arctic Silver 3 06.00 USD=09.12 CAD

Next is something very important to have which is a North Bridge cooler. Most motherboards come with a North Bridge heatsink but a few do not. If you don’t have a North Bridge cooler on your motherboard you should definitely go out and buy the Zalman Gold Northbridge Heatsink. . The Heatsink is only 6.95 USD which is only 10.57 CAD. You can go buy this heatsink here.

Last but certainly not least comes cooling your entire case using case fans. I highly recommend the use of the Thermaltake Smart Case Fan 2. The Smart Case Fan 2 is a variable speed fan with top speed of 4,800 RPM, displacing 75.7 CFM of air. I have 2 of these fans running in my system and I love them! These fans are pretty loud, but they do a great job of cooling everything in your system.

I also have an 80 mm 4 Bright Blue LED Crystal Clear Case Fan which I have by my window in my Antec PlusView 1000AMG case. This makes it so that I have air literally splitting down the middle of my video card. Running at 2,500 RPM and displacing 32.5 CFM of air, this fan is a lot less powerful than the Smart Case Fan 2.

Those are great case fans that I highly recommend you use. If you don’t have a window in your case, then don’t go with the LED Fan. That is only if you want your computer to look cool. You can get these products here:

Thermaltake Smart Case Fan 2 11.00 USD=16.73 CAD

80 mm 4 Bright Blue LED Crystal Clear Case Fan 07.95 USD=12.09 CAD


Those are my recommendations on cooling for a PC. Other people may have different opinions but that is what works for me and many others I know.

As you can see all of the links to purchase a product link you up to Case Cooler. I have bought from them before and I have received excellent service from them. Unfortunately, Case Cooler will only ship to the United States. If you are in Canada you can go looking for those products by yourself.

Note: Prices are in USD and prices are subject to change. Conversions are from the XE Universal Currency Converter.
Last edited by aviationwiz on Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BuddhaTB on Wed Mar 05, 2003 7:54 pm

aviationwiz, did you write this awesome article? If so, Thank You! :D

I agree with most of the stuff stated in that article. I'm also very happy with my Thermaltake Volcano 7+ HSF as well as the Thermaltake fan too.

Maybe I should get some cooling for my RAM, even though its only PC2100.
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Postby aviationwiz on Wed Mar 05, 2003 8:21 pm

I wrote all of it. I got a little help from Ian.

I have 2100 RAM also, I don't think I need RAM Cooling because I have High Quality RAM. It's better to buy High Quality RAM and no sink then to get Lower Quality RAM and a sink.

I've actually recently (few minutes ago) looked beetween the Aluminum and Copper versions of the RAM Spreaders and it looks like the Aluminim is actually better at disipating heat.

Looks like I never talked about the Aluminum one. Well, here it is:
http://www.casecooler.com/ramheatcool.html
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Postby BuddhaTB on Wed Mar 05, 2003 9:45 pm

Both of my 256MB sticks of PC2100 are from Kingston with Nanya and Infineon chips on them. I think Kingston is a good enough company that I don't need to worry about cheap quality RAM.
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Postby aviationwiz on Wed Mar 05, 2003 9:56 pm

Kingston is great RAM!

In your case, I would only recomend getting a RAM Heatspreader only if you expirience any lag during games, or any time at all.
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Postby BuddhaTB on Wed Mar 05, 2003 10:24 pm

Check out the cooling on my Leadtek GeForce 4 Ti4200 128MB VIVO card.

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Postby aviationwiz on Wed Mar 05, 2003 10:32 pm

Not bad, not bad at all.
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Postby TheWizard on Thu Mar 06, 2003 4:54 am

Take a look at the Leadtek GeForce4 Ti4600, in addition to looking like the frontside of the Ti4200, most of the back is also a heatsink. It's a beast!
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Postby BuddhaTB on Thu Mar 06, 2003 12:26 pm

TheWizard wrote:Take a look at the Leadtek GeForce4 Ti4600, in addition to looking like the frontside of the Ti4200, most of the back is also a heatsink. It's a beast!

Yeah. I wanted that Ti4600, but it was too much last summer when I was looking for a new graphics card.
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Postby hoxlund on Sun Mar 09, 2003 11:50 am

that 4600 card is only $245 with free shipping now

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Postby blakerwry on Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:31 pm

while I think your guide definately gives some good advice, I think you're missing a few points.

1) Case cooling: good and proper directional air flow is most important here... having air come in at a specific location and having it exit at a specific location are very important.. That way you're getting an in-flow of cool air and exhausting the hot air... not just blowing hot air around.

Typically you will want to get a PSU that blows outwards(located at top rear), and have a case fan located at either the bottom front of the case or next to the PSU at the top rear. Air should exit at the top of the case and air should enter at the bottom.

Gimmic coolers such as PCI slot coolers or 5 1/2" drive slot coolers typically wont provide much benefit if you alraedy have proper case cooling.


2) Case cooling(continued): using rounded or "chopped" ribbon IDE/Floppy cables will prevent the flow of air from being blocked. You can also try to lay flat ribbon cables along the bottom or sides of the case so that they wont impede the flow of air.



3) While your guide shows how to cool a computer, it doesn't make much mention of how to cool while being quiet. I think a second guide might focus on that aspect more... like using larger, slower fans... temperature monitoring using motherboard monitor (http://mbm.livewiredev.com)... and when to use cooling and when not to use cooling (ie: what is the proper amount of cooling? what temp should my CPU be whithin? what temp should my HDD be within? Do I really need to cool my RAM? etc. etc...)


4) For a future guide you might want to talk about what types of cases and PSU's are going to be conducive to effective cooling... some cases have piss poor cooling while others (that may be of similar price) have excellent cooling... same goes with PSU's.. cheaply made PSUs are often louder and produce more heat than a quality unit.


Overall I liked your guide, but I think you could make it better if you included some of the things I mentioned.


On a side note, I would like to recomend Speeze/Spire CPU coolers. The WhisperRock III and falconRock I and II are better than the thermaltake's and cost much less... In the US www.newegg.com sells speeze/spire products...

whisperRock III from newegg just $8
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Postby cfitz on Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:37 pm

blakerwry wrote:On a side note, I would like to recomend Speeze/Spire CPU coolers. The WhisperRock III and falconRock I and II are better than the thermaltake's and cost much less... In the US www.newegg.com sells speeze/spire products...

whisperRock III from newegg just $8

Thanks for the tip, blakewry. It even looks nicer than the Thermaltake, in my opinion.

And more importantly, thanks for your comments. Could we convince you to flesh out some of the points you made beyond what you just posted, and thus improve the guide even more?

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Postby hoxlund on Sun Mar 09, 2003 9:15 pm

nahh for the best cooling all you have to do is plop a 120mm fan on top of any cpu heatsink, like i did

i have 2 120mm fans inside my case, 1 on the case window, 1 on cpu heatsink which is the MCX-4000
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Postby BuddhaTB on Sun Mar 09, 2003 10:01 pm

blakerwry wrote: (ie: what is the proper amount of cooling? what temp should my CPU be whithin? what temp should my HDD be within? Do I really need to cool my RAM? etc. etc...)

On a side note, I would like to recomend Speeze/Spire CPU coolers. The WhisperRock III and falconRock I and II are better than the thermaltake's and cost much less... In the US www.newegg.com sells speeze/spire products...

Very good points. I agree with you that there should be a section explaining when cooling is and isn't needed.

I just realized that I had an extra Speeze SuperRock 5T208B1H3 Ball bearing HSF sitting with all my extra computer stuff. Maybe I should have used that instead of the Thermaltake Volcano 7+. The only thing I really like about my Volcano 7+ is the amount of air it pushes, but its a bit noisy compared to other HSF. It's probably not worth the hassle to change the HSF. But if I ever decide to upgrade my my CPU, I guess I could switch to the Speeze HSF I already have.
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Postby hoxlund on Mon Mar 10, 2003 12:02 am

my advice, go with a http://www.swiftnets.com/products/mcx462plus.asp

then add a 120mm fan on it, it will blow a maximum of 131.5CFM, versus 90+CFM for a noisy Tornado 92mm fan

my 131.5CFM 120mm fan is only 45dBA loud, my old tornado 80mm fan was 55dBA only blew 88CFM
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Postby aviationwiz on Mon Mar 10, 2003 12:11 am

I think I will make another article tomorrow or so.
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Postby cfitz on Mon Mar 10, 2003 12:13 am

aviationwiz wrote:I think I will make another article tomorrow or so.

Super! Remember, you can always edit your existing post, which would be particularly advantageous in this case since it is already sticky.

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Postby aviationwiz on Mon Mar 10, 2003 12:17 am

No,

I'll make something called: Cooling Article 2. Then one of the mods will "sticky" that as well. Then people can see what I have changed my views on, what I have added, etc.
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Postby CowboySlim on Mon Mar 10, 2003 12:23 pm

aviationwiz,

FYI, those devices that are termed "heatsinks" in PCs are not heatsinks in the context of traditional thermodynamics. They are devices that combine the effects of a thermal capacitor and a heat transfer device that aids in transferring heat via conductive and convective modes.

However, I don't mean that you should change your terminology as everybody in the PC world expects and understands the misnomer.

:lol:
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Mar 10, 2003 6:57 pm

Thermodynamics!
now there's a word i haven't heard in a long time.

it is my personal opinion that Thermodynamics is a field of study which is quite impossible to understand and master, no matter how hard you try... :o
this should be stated as one of the Laws of Thermodynamics...just after the Entropy one (the Second Law of Thermodynamics) :o :wink:

i can truely say that Thermodynamics was the only course i hated in my undergrad studies...
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Postby BuddhaTB on Mon Mar 10, 2003 7:23 pm

dodecahedron wrote:i can truely say that Thermodynamics was the only course i hated in my undergrad studies...

Just great. :-? I will be taking thermodynamics next year. I've already heard that dynamics is pretty tough too.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Mar 10, 2003 7:42 pm

what can i say ?
i feel for you :wink:
good luck.
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Postby CowboySlim on Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:52 am

BuddhaTB wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:i can truely say that Thermodynamics was the only course i hated in my undergrad studies...

Just great. :-? I will be taking thermodynamics next year. I've already heard that dynamics is pretty tough too.


Don't worry BuddhaTB,

Ask them to open a new forum for your homework and I'll help with it!

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Postby BuddhaTB on Tue Mar 11, 2003 1:25 am

CowboySlim wrote:Don't worry BuddhaTB,

Ask them to open a new forum for your homework and I'll help with it!

Slim
B. S. Chemical Engineering

Thanks Slim and maybe I just will post a new topic on it. I'm a civil engineering major, but have to take mechanical engineering courses like a fluids series and a thermodynamics series. Couple that with a structure's series and my next two years will be challenging.

Slim, where did you get your degree from?
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Postby CowboySlim on Tue Mar 11, 2003 11:28 am

Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.
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