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Advice on a narrow cooler

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Old 05-07-12, 03:03 PM Thread Starter   #1
MakoShark
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Question Advice on a narrow cooler


I have recently acquired an old custom built pc. It has a MSI P6N SLI V2 motherboard, core 2 duo e6600 2.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, Geforce 6800 GS graphics card.

It's old but I'm a student on a very limited budget and it will perform a lot better than my 2009 13" Macbook Pro for gaming with a new graphics card. I'm thinking of getting a GeForce 550Ti.

Anyway, onto what I wanted to ask. I'm intending to overclock the CPU as much as I can but the current cooler really isn't up to the job. I've got it to a seemingly stable overclock at 2.6Ghz but the cores reach about 65-70C when running Prime95. The current cooler is an Arctic Alpine 7 GT.

It's an ATX motherboard and has quite a bit of height space above the CPU for a better cooler but the problem is that the CPU is really close to the PSU so I don't think it can fit most coolers. I was looking at a Freezer 7 PRO Rev. 2 but I've fairly sure it is too wide.

Can anyone suggest a cooler that would fit and do the job for reasonable overclocking?

Have a look at the attached photo to see the amount of space available.

Thanks in advance for any ideas
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Old 05-07-12, 03:18 PM   #2
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You might be able to get a Cooler master Hyper 212+ or Thermalright True Spirit 120 in there. If they don't fit in normal fashion, you could set them in to where the fan blows through the heatsink towards the psu. That's not an optimal airflow, but would be better than the heatsink you presently have. You can commonly get the 212+ for around $30 shipped and the TS120 around $40 shipped in the USA.
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Old 05-07-12, 03:23 PM Thread Starter   #3
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I was thinking I could fit one blowing towards the PSU but wasn't sure if this may cause the PSU to overheat?

I assume those two would both be up to job? I'm hoping to get it to about 3GHz if it stays stable.
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Old 05-07-12, 03:28 PM   #4
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No, it won't cause your psu to overheat. If anything, it will help keep it cool. And either of those heatsinks can handle a 200 watt heatload, so your little old mildly overclocked 65 watt processor won't give them any problem. And they both come complete with fan and have multiple socket mounting systems, so they can follow along to the next upgrade too.
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Old 05-07-12, 04:25 PM Thread Starter   #5
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Thanks for the help. I think I'm going to get a Cooler master Hyper 212 EVO as they are actually cheaper than the other two in the UK.
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Old 05-07-12, 04:30 PM   #6
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Good deal then, the EVO is a better cooler than the 212+ (not sure if it's better than the TS120). It should do you well. One other thing, that I can't positively tell from your pic is if your ram has tall heatspreaders. It doesn't look like it in the pic (looks like no heatspreader at all) but if you have ram that has tall heatspreaders and you set the heatsink pointing towards the psu, you might have interference. And if not, then make sure you have the ram installed before mounting the heatsink as you might not have enough room to install them if the heatsink is mounted. It might overhang the first couple of ram slots mounted that way.
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Old 05-08-12, 01:25 AM Thread Starter   #7
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My current RAM doesn't have any heat spreaders at all. I think there is just enough room for the heatsink to be mounted that way without overhanging the RAM but I can't measure it at the moment so I'll have to check later.

Are heat spreaders actually necessary on modern RAM? I wasn't intending to over clock the RAM, just the CPU and keep the RAM at 800Mhz. My motherboard bios doesn't have the same clock controls as I've seen in most tutorials. I can adjust the FSB (quad pumped) clock, and the memory clock separately or set them to 'linked' where I only adjust the FSB. I have got a stable over clock at 2.6Ghz by setting the FSB to 1160 and the memory to 800. I don't have an option for setting the RAM to 1:1 as I have seen recommended in most places.

Also, I've seen it recommended to set all the RAM timings manually, rather than having them on auto. The problem is, I can't find the timings for my RAM. Mine is http://www.crucial.com/store/partspe...E=CT12864AA800
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Old 05-08-12, 04:56 AM   #8
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another cheap investment to consider, is a new chassis bro.

some are very cheap, like $30-$40 USD. and will fix up all your problems elegantly.

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Old 05-08-12, 08:50 AM   #9
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No, heatspreaders aren't needed for most DDR2 and DDR3 ram; they are there primarily for looks. So you should be good to go then.

As for the timings to set, you can see what is programmed into the SPD under the SPD tab in CPU-Z. Or fire off an email to crucial asking them the timings for your ram.

Also, it sounds like your motherboard has an Nvidia chipset, if you can run the ram in asynchronous mode. So you shouldn't have any problems with ream speeds getting in the way of overclocking. After you get the new cooler installed, go to a 1333 fsb speed and leave vcore at stock for now and see how it goes. That will give you your 3 GHz and every Conroe processor I messed with could do that on the stock vcore in the 1.20-1.35 v range.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:31 AM Thread Starter   #10
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Assuming that the centre of my current fan is directly over the CPU, the EVO won't overhang the RAM so that shouldn't be a problem.

The chipset is a NVIDIA® nForce 650i SLI (C55).

Thanks for the tip on the RAM timings, I'll have a look.

The other thing I was wondering is what is the best graphics card that I should use that wouldn't be held back by the CPU if I got it to 3Ghz? I obviously don't want to spend a lot on something that wouldn't be able to perform to it's potential because of the CPU. I was thinking that a GeForce 550Ti would be a good choice as it's not too expensive but has reasonable performance. I would go for an EVGA as they look good and I've heard they're quite reliable. EVGA precision is also a great tool for overclocking and fan control (I know it works with any Nvidia card).

I actually saw a Geforce 570 mislabelled as a 9600 for £40 earlier so I may go back and see if I can get it for that price if they don't bother to check, which they most likely will. If they didn't, that would be one hell of a deal. I believe it was this Gainward. Annoyingly, my PSU only has 1 6pin PCIe connector on it and should have an adapter for another one but I haven't got it. It's 580W so it's powerful enough if I could get hold of the adapter.

I would have thought a better CPU cooler would have more effect than a better case. This one only has an 80mm exhaust fan, but has an almost full height vent on the side above the motherboard, and the PSU should help a bit with pulling hot air out of the case.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:41 AM Thread Starter   #11
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Just did a search for molex to 6 pin converters and they are cheap and widely available so I think I'll go and see if I can get it.
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Old 05-08-12, 12:25 PM Thread Starter   #12
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I got it for £48. Looks fine but I can't test it until I get a molex to 6 pin adapter for it's second power supply. The shop is a part exchange store so it isn't new but it has a 12 month warranty. The only issue is that the serial number on the receipt has the last two numbers from the EAN rather than from the S/N and I failed to notice this until I got home. I'll go back tomorrow to have it changed or my warranty probably wouldn't be valid.

This could explain why it was labelled as a 9800 GTX rather than a 570 if they just looked up the serial number, although I doubt the serial number of a 570 would be so similar to a 9800 GTX. Hopefully they will change the receipt without any arguments.
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Old 05-08-12, 03:21 PM Thread Starter   #13
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Thanks for all the help so far. As you can tell, I'm a bit of a noob so I really appreciate it.

Back to the topic of cooling. I was just about to order the EVO and thought I had better just double check the height. The EVO is 160mm tall and I have 166mm clearance above the motherboard. This means if the top of the CPU is more than 6mm above the motherboard it won't fit. I'm not sure how high a CPU would normally be so I'd have to take the existing cooler off if I wanted to be sure. Do you know approximately how high it is likely to be?

The other cooler I was looking at is a Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 which is also rated at 200w but isn't as good as the hyper 212 plus or EVO. It is a more reasonable 130mm high so it should fit no problem. Should this still be enough cooling? I would have thought it should be.
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