Heatsinks: Common Issues (Please read before posting!)

Cooling Processors quietly

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Heatsinks: Common Issues (Please read before posting!)

Post by MikeC » Fri Nov 29, 2002 10:03 am

A summary, a starting point, and directions to other info sources on the many aspects of heatsinks/cooling. This is NOT comprehensive, but helps answer common questions to avoid the repetition common to forums like this one. You're welcome to suggest additions.

1. CPU HS: check the Recommended HS and Cooling sections on the main site. In general, a powerful, top-of-line HS with a low noise/airflow fan, maybe with a fan speed controller, provides best results. You may have to be careful about installation details with socket-A/370 boards: Some big HS will be a very tight fit on some boards. Remember that undervolting can save you degrees (C), noise, and money (by allowing the CPU to be cooled with a cheaper HS).

2. Video cards with noisy fans can be replaced with various fanless HS from Zalman, who seems to have this market sewn up. But fanless doesn't always work, and the HS replacement is not always necessary. If there's room above the PCI/AGP slots, a low noise 80-92mm fan on a Zalman 123 or 165 fan bracket (or facsimile) will bathe both sides of the VGA card with enough airflow to replace tiny fans, usually w/o any mod of the HS. Often good with a 5-7V Panaflo (80mm, L). This is the simplest, cheapest effective quiet VGA cooling - if you have room. The 123 is an excellent solution for CPU fan mounting as well.

3. Motherboard chips that have a tiny HS and matching screaming fan can usually be replaced with a larger fanless HS, especially in combination with the "overhead" VGA card fan mentioned above. Actually, just pulling the tiny fan off is usually safe if you have some airflow from the CPU HS fan or a VGA overhead fan. Zalman, as usual, makes a few HS specifically for the NB chip, but it is not hard to adapt other HS for this purpose. You may need to apply thermal epoxy. Check Arctic Silver for info on this.

4. Hard drives don't usually need cooling, but when suspended or placed in some kind of silencing case, can get hot. Check all the hard drive related articles in Storage. Aluminum sandwiches and side heatsinks, combined with judicious placement in airflow path or 5V Panaflo fan will usually do the trick. You can also adapt commercially available HDD coolers -- many use loud fans but some have excellent heatsinks.

5. PSU: Swapping or modding HS in a PSU is complex, potentially dangerous custom work. You're probably on your own. Fan swapping or minor adjustments in fan/thermal controllers are a different matter. Check the Power Supplies section& PSU forums.