Improving Power Supply Voltages Without Upgrading or Mods

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Adding heatsinks gives a voltage boost – Greg Zenger

Have you ever noticed your voltages are low, but don’t have the cash for a new PSU?

I was looking at my MBM5 voltage readings and figured mine could be better. I suspected that the semiconductors that are located near the power input on my motherboard might be suspect. So I stuck my finger in to see if they were hot. OUCH! They were! 45-50ÂșC as reported by my Digital Doc 5.

Before

Looking around my desk I found a heat sink from an old Pentium 133 CPU. This would be the solution – but first it had to be cut to size.

HS

I used a bandsaw with a standard 1/4″ wood blade to cut the heat sink. Normally I would use a blade designed to cut metal, but I was too lazy to change the blades. Besides, Aluminum is really soft and easy to cut (though I’m sure this practice will quickly dull the blade).

After cutting, I lightly lapped the bottoms of the heat sinks to remove any burrs that might have occurred from the cutting process.

Cut

I mixed the proper ratio of Arctic Alumina (which is 1:1 for those of you who can’t read the label), spread it onto the heat sinks and then held them in place for them to firm up. I let half an hour pass before powering on the system.

After

Well, the MBM5 snapshots should speak for themselves. All of my voltages improved to some extent, which makes me happy, and definitely was worth the effort.

Idle

Load
PS Rail

Before Idle

After Idle

Change

Before Load

After Load

Change

+3.3

3.20

3.25

+0.05

3.17

3.22

+0.05

+5.0

4.73

4.81

+0.08

4.68

4.78

+0.10

+12.0

12.04

12.10

+0.06

12.10

12.16

+0.06

VCore

1.81

1.82

+0.01

1.81

1.81

0

System Specs @ time of testing:

  • XP 1900+ @1668 MHz
  • Epox 8KHA+
  • TTGI TT-300SS 320W Power supply
  • Windows XP
  • Mother Board Monitor 5.2

If you try this as well, I would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Update 09/08/02: It seems that there are additional MOSFETs on the reverse side of some motherboards. Due to the fact that my watercooling setup would make it difficult to remove the motherboard to gain access, I have not done anything to cool these. I would expect to see an even further increase in voltages as well as increase in stability to the computer if these chips are cooled as well.

A few people that have allready tried this mod have contacted me and they all reported obtaining similar results to what I observed. It seems that most of the increase is in the +3.3 and +5.0 lines. Changes to core voltage show minimal to no effect.

Greg Zenger

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