quieting further with software? - now looking to cool system

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anabellita
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:33 am

quieting further with software? - now looking to cool system

Post by anabellita » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:06 am

My system is right now rather quiet, and goes pretty much unheard if the TV is on or there is some other ambient noise. In the lone nights when I'm working late hours, though, there is a rather annoying low and constant humming noise, which I believe is caused by the case fan ...but I may be wrong.

I would like to try and make the system quieter, but I'm not ready to fork in more money for hardware... just did that (just replaced the MoBo and CPU because I fried my previous MoBo.. long story...)

my system is:
Antec P150
Seasonic s12 v.II 430 w
ASRock AliveNF6P-VSTA/GeForce 6150 SE, nForce 430
AMD Athlon X2 Dual 4400+ (runing at stock speed)
Samsung Spinpoint T166 500GB
Maxtor Diamond 9 120GB
Samsung CD-DVDWriter DL TSST Corp SHS202J
Floppy drive (no-name make, just picked it up for few bucks)
Noctua NF 120mm
Scythe MiniNinja

I use my PC for surfing the web and office applications mostly, with the occasional video encoding (which might become more frequent what with the camcorder I got recently for my bday). As I write, with the system being used only for surfing theweb, SpeedFan indicates the following:

System: 30ºC
CPU: 36ºC
AUX: 36ºC
HD0: 44ºC
HD1: 42ºC
Core: 18ºC

...not that I know what all that means... :oops:

Do I have space to reduce fan speed or lower voltage, or something? Can you suggest anything I can do through software to help me reduce the noise?
Last edited by anabellita on Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Licaon
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Post by Licaon » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:16 am

the Noctua 120mm is the case fan? it's running at 12V ? you could try to lower that voltage to about 7V and check the temps, BTW your temps are great, you have plenty of room if you need it

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:27 am

yes, the noctua is the case fan. how do I go about lowering the voltage?

oh! forgot to add! there's a PCI card for firewire connected to the MoBO as well... not sure whether that changes anything, but just in case...

Fallsroad
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Post by Fallsroad » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:31 pm

First you need to determine if the fan is the source of the low pitched hum that is bothering you. With the case open,m gently touch the hub of the fan motor to slow or stop it, and see if the noise persists. If it goes away, Speedfan can potentially help if the Noctua is plugged into a motherboard header. Your Noctua also should have come with two adapters, used to slow the RPM of the fan. If the fan is the source, you could try one of those - the box will tell you which one slows the fan to which RPM. Start with the higher of the two, check temps and noise, work from there.

If the fan is not he source, check your CPU fan also in the same manner. Your motherboard may be able to control that fan if it is causing the noise you hear.

If neither are the cause, then check the fan on your graphics card, if you have one - didn't see one listed in your post, unless I am blind (a real possibility).

If it turns out none of the fans are the source of the humming then it is likely one or both of your hard drives. The Samsung is said to be rather quiet, but Maxtors are not known for that quality. You could unhook it, assuming it is not the OS drive, and see if that helps.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:58 pm

thanks!

I'm pretty sure it's the noctua... the noise was coming from the back end of the case. I don't have a graphics card (since I don't play games, onboard video is just fine for me) and I don't have a cpu fan (I'm cooling the PSU passively with the scythe mini ninja heatsink.

I'm afraid the box it came is long gone by now... :roll: If by having it plugged into a motherboard header you mean the plug where it draws the energy from, then yes, the noctua is plugged into the MoBo. What do I need to do with SpeedFan, then? any tutorial anywhere that I can use? Lately I've found myself in the terrible situation where I'm not totally in the dark, so I venture to fiddle around with settings and the sorts, and come up with terrible disasters! It would be better to know nothing at all, so as to avoid taking risks... hehe

Fallsroad
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Post by Fallsroad » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:19 pm

If the Noctua is the only fan plugged into the motherboard to draw power, it should be the only fan that shows up on Speedfan under "Fans".

You can then try to see if Speedfan will allow you to lower the RPM.

I don't use Speedfan in my current rig but it is somewhat intuitive once installed. Any specific questions you have post back here and I or someone better versed in Speedfan can try to assist.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:01 am

actually, speedfan shows 4 fans, but you're right: the noctua is the only fan plugged into the MoBo. The only other fan I've got in there is the PSU fan.

I can also confirm the noise is coming from the noctua, because I unplugged it for a minute and the noise immediately went away

here is what I have on SpeedFan... they are no longer the original values, because I tried playing around with them. If I recall correctly, the only one not showing 100% was fan number 2... but I could be wrong

Image

so what should I be clicking?

Fallsroad
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Location: Tulsa, OK

Post by Fallsroad » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:10 am

Click Configure, then go to the fan tab.

Uncheck the boxes next to every fan that shows an RPM value of zero - those are not entries that correspond to an actual fan as you have only the one.

Then on the main screen again there should be just theCPU0 fan showing, and one Speed box below it. Try lowering the 100 to 70, and see if the RPM goes down.

Thing is, it appears you have the exhaust fan plugged into the CPYU fan header, which is usually set in the BIOS to run at a varying speed according to CPU temp. The fan attached to that header is usually on th CPU heat sink. You are running passive, so it may be a good idea to consider switching the physical connection to a different fan header - the ones for exhaust are usually labeled "sysfan" or something similar.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:17 am

wow! that was quick! (in fact, so were the other posts :shock:) thanks! :D

I've done as you said and will see what happens... I thought the fan may be improperly plugged when I first saw what speedfan was indicating, but I figured it was probably just good old arrogant me thinking I know better than the technicians who set up the system :oops:

I'm off for a little while now, but will turn off the system and replug the fan as soon as I get back. Will post results later today.

thanks! ;)

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:38 pm

update!

unplugged the fan and re-plugged it in the correct header (at least, I hope so, the manual for the MoBo calls it the "chassis fan" plug, and SpeedFan now reads it as "System Fan").

tinkered a lot with those % for the fan RPM in SpeedFan to no avail.. RPM still varies between 1148, 1156, 1164 and 1172, no matter what I do... :(

anything else I can try?

Cistron
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Post by Cistron » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:23 pm

anabellita wrote:anything else I can try?
Try this: Plug it back into the CPU header and switch off the BIOS function that would control fan-speed. Then you should be able to configure the fan with speedfan (so my theory).

suhbehgee
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Post by suhbehgee » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:38 pm

ana

A good tutorial for Speedfan usage can be found here

(OK, i need to make a post before i can use URLs so just do a google search for "unitstep speedfan")

Speedfan is a great app but the how-to that it comes with leaves a bit to be desired.

Two tips for it's usage:

1) Placing a tick in the "Automatic fan speed" box tells Speedfan to use the custom settings that you have set for temps and fan speeds. Initially i was confused as to whose version of "Automatic" was being applied. Leaving it unchecked allows you to freely vary the fan speeds via the up/down speed % buttons (and hence listen for fan noise changes).

2) If you find that after following the above tutorial you still can't manually control the fan speed then try the following. Click on Configure-Advanced tab. Under Chip select the one that gives the most number of options (specifically PWM x mode). Set these to "Manually controlled" (there's a box here that says "Remember it" but leave that unchecked for now), click OK, and then try to change your fan speed. If that works you can then go back and check the "Remember it" box so that Speedfan will keep the Manual setting every time you start Speedfan.

One caution: Speedfan (when running) will automatically set your fan speeds to 100% if the your WARNING temp is exceeded (a good thing), but if you CLOSE Speedfan with the PWM modes set to Manual the fans will STAY at the speed when Speedfan was closed regardless of system temps (if i'm wrong about this please let me know). So, for example, if you shut down Speedfan while your fans were running at a low (quiet) RPM and then run temperature demanding applications your fan speeds WILL NOT ADJUST to cool down your system. Bottom line, make sure you monitor your system temps if using the Manual mode.

Hope this helps.

Fallsroad
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Location: Tulsa, OK

Post by Fallsroad » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:54 pm

anabellita wrote:update!

unplugged the fan and re-plugged it in the correct header (at least, I hope so, the manual for the MoBo calls it the "chassis fan" plug, and SpeedFan now reads it as "System Fan").

tinkered a lot with those % for the fan RPM in SpeedFan to no avail.. RPM still varies between 1148, 1156, 1164 and 1172, no matter what I do... :(

anything else I can try?
Some very good tips have been posted - I am not profoundly versed in Speedfan, though I have used it on many rigs.

If the software route doesn't work out a simple remedy is the Zalman Fanmate 2, which doesn't cost a lot of money and plugs inline with the fan cable. It has a small knob to turn down the fan speed until a balance between cooling and noise is found.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835118217

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:00 am

excellent! :D

I'm reading from the office right now, but will try out that tutorial as soon as I get back home and then let you know how it goes ;)

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:44 pm

well, here we go... a full month later! :oops: sorry guys... been having a terrible time at work, and not time to tinker with the system

I think the speedfan thing eventually worked, because it now does say 70%... although the RPM is still 1172. That's no longer a problem at this time, though, because we're having such a terrible summer that I've got the human-colling fan on, and nothing is louder than that!

In the meantime, the system is randomly shutting off when working (e.g. capturing, converting or burning video, creating disc images with Acronis, or simply uploading pictures with flickr uploadr...*roll*)

I'm checking the temps, and they have gotten terrible! :shock:

This is the current reading, and the only thing running are Firefox, Subelt Personal Firewall, Antivir. We've just plugged the MP3 in the USB to charge it, but the temps were not very different before either.

Image

HD0 (the Maxtor HDD) is constantly hot.

I'm scared... don't want my brand new mobo to burn down... :(
Last edited by anabellita on Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:45 pm

oops! double post :oops:

josh-j
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Post by josh-j » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:24 am

The difference in temperatures between your first and last screenshot is rather alarming considering they're both at idle - has your ambient temperature increased by 20c? :?

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:18 pm

don't know about 20ºC, but easily 10-15... in this incredible Roman heat, when I get up at 8.30, there are 29.5ªC in my living room... the study, which is smaller and stuffier, is somewhat warmer and stuffier, and the a/c has trouble reaching that room... could that be it?

I don't recall any special overheating problems last summer with my last system. I've changed CPU, MoBo and fan since, and also gone passive for the CPU.

I tried putting in a fan on the heatsink (the HS is mini-ninja, and the fan I'm trying to put in is the one that came with the HS), but it doesn't seem to start. the fan has 3-pins and the header on the MoBo for the CPU fan has 4 pins... I think I need a new 4-pin fan....

Am I right in thinking the situation is dangerous for the system? What else can I try doing?

anabellita
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:33 am

Post by anabellita » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:17 pm

OK, so I've been playing and looking around a little bit. Here is what I learned:

1. the cpu is an brisbane core. for A64 X2 4400+ Brisbane, AMD recommends max temps of 55ºC-68ºC, so although the system at idle is hot and at the limit, I should still have a few degrees of leeway.

2. There is nothing wrong with the CPUFAN header in the MoBo. The problem is the layout. I can't fit the HS fan that came with the mini ninja (80mm), because I've got the case fan on one side, the PSU fan on the other side, the RAM on the third side, and much too tall clip mounters on the last side. Until they come up with 4-sided squares, it seems like no can do.
Image
3. There are lots of other programs out there which are just as widely used as SpeedFan. I've tried CPUCool and Core Temp. Their readings are less alarming than those of SpeedFan, but not always great. In any case, I'm starting to wonder which software to believe. (these three pics were taken at the same time)

4. The temps are running slightly lower... haven't changed many things, though... still running the PC with the side panel off and a human-bieng-cooling-fan which is close, but not pointed directly at the case. I have also taken out the little rug that I had under the case, to absorb the vibrations (but perhaps it was in fact heating the case? after all, the P150 does have its rubber feet...)
Image
Image
Image

5. The Maxotr HDD is running very hot and might be heating up the rest of the rig. After all, core CPU temps seem to read well. Is this a plausible theory? It's probably time to change the drive anyhow. I've had it for 3 and a half years, and it was second-hand, so it may very well have had its 4-5 years. Can't afford to do that right now, I'm afraid.

Conclusion: yes, learning new things is fun, but I really don't know where to take it from here. I'm now wondering whether it is at all possible to cool an A64 X2 passively

josh-j
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Post by josh-j » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:02 pm

Well if AMD say 55-68c max temp, and you have 50c at idle, I'd say that running passively cooled, you're likely to go over that limit under sustained load. But I dont know if that cpu will throttle back automatically if that happens.

Remember that you could potentially have stability problems arising from other components on the motherboard overheating, not just the CPU. If that CPU doesn't automatically throttle back when its too hot though, then thats probably the reason for the instability.

btw, Core Temp shows 19 and 22 degrees. Thats below your ambient temperature, so I'd say you shouldn't believe it :)

jhhoffma
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Post by jhhoffma » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:35 am

I would recommend cleaning up your wiring. It looks a little too cumbersome for adequate airflow. Rounded IDE cables and sleeved PSU cables make this much harder as they are large, stiff and do not bent flat or easily.

Basically you do not want cables in the way of the bottom-front to upper-rear airflow that the ATX case is designed for. Keep cables from crossing in front and across heatsinks and fans. (An example would be to route the ATX cable around the top of the CPU HSF and then down to the connector.)

If you google Cablegami or browse the "General Gallery" you'll see examples of how to properly route cables to provide the best airflow.

If you clean up the airflow and the HDDs are still to hot, you need to consider adding a slow moving fan to cool them off. HDDs don't need a lot of airflow to stay cool, at 92mm fan running @ 5v is plenty.

I'd also close up some of those empty PCI slots that are more than likely acting as intakes, short-circuiting your front intake. That's another reason your HDDs are running warm.

Hope that helps.

casebuyer
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Post by casebuyer » Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:41 am


bing
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Post by bing » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:55 am

Agree on cleaning up the cabling, zip-ties are your friend. Plus make sure everything is dust free.

I think the root of your problem may be running it w/ the case side cover off. The exhaust fan won't pull flow properly without the cover on ( I saw this-first hand a few days back when I was juggling disks w/ Acronis.)

Also, do you have an intake fan in the front of the case? Might be necessary. I use two Noctua's: NF-P12 exhaust @ 1400rpm, NF-S12 intake @ ~800rpm. Works well and although it's probably not quiet enough for some, I'm happy.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:03 am

thanks to everyone! :D

I've put some order in the case. Unfortunately, I cannot avoid some obstruction of the front-bottom to back-top diagonal, but I've kept it down to a minimum. I can't do anything about the sleeves... seasonic produced my PSU like that, and I'm reluctant to take steps I can't reverse at this point. I'll post pictures later, but trust me, it looks much neater now, with all the cables out of the way (either packed in the cable-wrapping sector or scotch-taped to the sides of the case)

I checked out the galleries, particularly Ralf Hutter's P150 build (impressive! :shock:). A question jumped me, could it be that I have thecase fan mounted backwards? It has the "noctua" logo looking inwards to the CPU. Could it be that the logo should be looking outwards so that it can be seen by all when the case is closed?

I noticed how most people have cut out the grills in front of the fans. How important is this? Like I said, I would prefer not tampering physically wioth the hardware...

I have tried running the system with the side panel on and off, and found it most certainly runs cooler with the panel off. So that's how I'm going to run until I figure out what the problem is. I never ran it with an open side panel until now.

The PC is randomly freezing, and forcing me to press the reset button. This has happened while I was browsing the web or checking pictures. At restart, more than once I got an "NTLDR missing" message. In both cases, simply unplugging my main HDD and re-plugging it back in has solved the problem.

I've fiddled with speedfan some more, and will continue to do so. I think I will try plugging the Case fan back intothe CPU fan header. It's 3-pin, not-pin, so I don't know whether cool and quiet will run, but perhaps if I use speedfan to switch from PWM to one of the automatic options it will work? (if so, which function?)

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:03 am

double post

this is another thing the PC does... hardly any page loads on the first try, I always need to refresh or hit "back" and then try again.. hence the double post

D Luke
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Post by D Luke » Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:44 pm

Yes your case fan IS backwards, thus it is not exhausting hot air from the case.

Most, if not all, fans all have the sticker on the output side of the fan.

And cutting the fan grills out can be of great benefit, depending on how restrictive they are to begin with.

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:16 pm

thanks! I did turn it around, and thought I noticed some improvement, but my CPU is still at 45-50ºC at startup, though the system is at 35ºC and the core at 24ºC.

the PC still freezes randomly, though. I left it turned on in idel overnight, just to try, and found the screensaver frozen when I woke up :(

Licaon
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Post by Licaon » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:34 pm

anabellita wrote:thanks! I did turn it around, and thought I noticed some improvement, but my CPU is still at 45-50ºC at startup, though the system is at 35ºC and the core at 24ºC.

the PC still freezes randomly, though. I left it turned on in idel overnight, just to try, and found the screensaver frozen when I woke up :(
memtest?

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:55 pm

yes, I thought about that, but only last night unfortunately... I've started backing up all my data now. However, I can't get to the newer drive (brought it in to the office today, hoping to get an external case that will let me do the backup).

It's been crazy hot lately:
  • The system will freeze and/or shut down in the middle of a spybot or antivir scan... yesterday I saw antivir ramp up the [Core or CPU-can't remember] to 90ºC!!!

    The main HDD will randomly not be recognized, and I will get the "NTDLR" message (gets fixed by unpluggin and plugging back in) and last night I also got a "KERNEL_DATA_SOMETHING-OR-OTHER" message.. so I started backing up....

    It's booting at 50ºC, and can go over 60º while simply in the BIOS.
now I need to find out which of the HDDs is causing the trouble and instability. There's an old Maxtor which is a better candidate, but truth is I feel the brand new Samsung Spinpoint is the one that is having the hardest time being recognized... I just spent a small fortune on that one, so I sure hope it's not it.

But what I'm wondering is... can an HDD problem cause the CPU to fire up like that? wouldn't it be a problem with just the HDD?

anabellita
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Post by anabellita » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:14 pm

please excuse my bumping this :oops: :oops:
It's that I'm really going x :x and getting overly frustrated! :cry: :cry: the system simply cannot complete a viruscan with antivirus without shutting down somewhere around 24-30% of the scan. :cry: Temperatures are ramping up like crazy, and the CPU is at 90% load if viruscannin and loading a website on firefox all at once.

I'm guessing if there's a software issue, the CPU would go to full load, but it wouldn't overheat, or would it?

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