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Building my new XP 1900+ system, concerns on cooling

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Mar 12, 2002
I've got several questions and this is pretty lengthy, but I'll greatly appreciate any help I can get, I want to do this thing once, and be done with it :)

I read much of the stuff on the front page, but since everyone here knows what they're doing, I figured I'd find out what you guys think.

I'm going to build my new system pretty soon, and here's what I'm looking at (for the basics of it):

AMD XP 1900+
256MB PC2100 DDR
GeForce 4 TI 4600
Mobo: K7AMA Ali® Magic 1645 & Magic 1535D+ 200 to 266 FSB

I'm not 'in the loop' with the new motherboards and processors. It's my understanding that for real OC performance, you have do unlock the new XPs. But you can get a decent boost by playing around with the FSB and memory timings, right?

For cooling, I'm still not sure what to go with. It would be cool to go with water cooling, but I don't have the will (or money) to deal with something that complicated. So, air power is the goal for me.

I've investigated many air power HSF, but it seems like most of them still keep the processor in the upper 40C range. That's a concern for me, because I live in Hawaii, ambient temps in my room are commonly 90F+ (usually around upper 80's). Or am I too concerned with that? What's a good temp for this processor to be running at (both OC and not)?

I don't plan to unlock the AMD, and not even sure if I plan to OC it through regular means, but if I did, I'd be happy with the performance of a 2000/2100+ processor, if that's even possible. But as my concern before, I'm not experienced enough yet to know if an air-cooled setup is adequate for this system, even when not OC'ed. I'd like to try to OC this thing, but only if I can keep the temp to 45C or less (unreasonable goal with air-cooling?)

In addition, a quieter solution would be preferrable. I don't want my PC to sound like it's going to launch off an aircraft carrier when I turn it on. I don't mind a LITTLE noise, after listening to the linked samples from the home page, something around 40 or less seems good to me, the Delta 88mm was UNACCEPTABLE to me. So the simple question for that is, what is a good combo that will keep my AMD at a happy temp and is pretty quiet?

Also, what about GeForce 4 cooling? I know those suckers run hot enough to burn you if you touch them. It the stock cooling good enough? What about stock cooling and just putting on ramsinks? I'm not going to OC the card though, so is that heat still a concern? If it is, would pointing another fan on it be good enough?

Oh, and this might sound like a stupid idea, but before my old K6-233 bailed on me, I noticed it got really hot inside the case, so I just took the side off and blew a strong fan right into it. It cooled pretty nicely, and there wasn't much dust buildup (and the old room was pretty dusty, my new one is better about dust). I know, that's ghetto, but what do you guys think? Or maybe leaving the case intact and pointing an outside fan at it?

Much thanks to anyone who read all that, and more thanks to those who can provide some nice solutions for me!
To answer your first question, yes you can get a decent boost in performance by tweaking the memory timings, but if you are going to increase your FSB, make sure that you have quality RAM and components are they are better at putting up with speeds above what they are supposed to operate at. For your RAM, you may want to buy some Crucial memory.

For your second question, you should try to keep your XP under 50C. With that in mind, your ambient is pretty high so you may want to get some heavy duty cooling on that CPU, like a Thermalright AX7 or a Swiftech MCX-462. The Swiftech has a bit of a noise issue, but you can get other fan for it or learn how to do a volt mod on it so that you run less power through it making it quieter sacrificing some performance. People who have reduced the fan speeds on their Swifty have usually seen slight performance hits. However, the Swifty will set you back a few dollars since it does cost a pretty penny, $60 or more + shipping. As for the Thermalright AX7, its still pretty new and not too many people have it, but recent reviews have said that it performs just as good as a Swifty if not better, and for a lot less. You may want to check out this thread on the Thermalright AX7:


and check out this review of the Thermalright AX7:


Hope those links give you some answers. You may want to look for a program called "Radiate" and this will help you see what your temps will be under certain conditions (Ambient Temp) with certain heatsinks based on their C/W. The lower the C/W, the more efficient it is. Heres a link once again to a chart with a listing of the C/W of most top performing heatsinks:


Based on the info that you have given about your ambient temps and such, aircooling may have a hard time cooling the CPU if OCed, but at stock, aircooling is capable, but you may have to put up with some noise. Oh yeah, make sure you use quality thermal grease such as Arctic Silver3 which can be found here for cheap:


As far as cooling the GeForce4, the stock cooling seems more than adequate for stock speeds and a little bit of OCing, but different brands have better thermal solutions than others. Or you can take off the stock HSF for the GeForce4 and replace it with something better like a 1U HSF like this one here:


Using the CoolJag however will take up a PCI slot just due to its size, but I am not too sure if it will fit on a GeForce4, but it should since it seems to have more room around the GPU than the GeForce3.

If you try this and nothing works, either think about water cooling or putting that good old fan next to your case again.

Good Luck! :)
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How well did the strong fan work for you? I am thinking about doing just that instead of resorting to H20 for my current rig. H20 will have to wait for my next rig.
I see. Those soundfiles they give linked on the first page (the ones on the Sidewinder website), are those sounds measured from OUTSIDE the case, or 8 inches from the fan? If it's the 8 inch thing, then the noise will come down a bit when the case is sealed up right?

What about using a bigger fan? Like the YS Tech 120mm. I like that one, it has a very high CFM and is MUCH quieter than a Delta whiner. Would it be possible to use a fan like that for CPU cooling with a nice heatsink?

I could probably live with the Delta that comes on the AX-7, but, I would rather have the quieter, and much more powerful YS Tech 120x38mm.


Cut a hole in your side panel above the cpu hsf in order to mount that 120mm you're interseted in... but you may have to flip any other fans you have to exhaust air from your case in order to balance the air pressure.

Run the AC to keep your ambient temps below 80F!
Hehe, my room doesn't have A/C :(

And Hawaii is EXTREMELY humid which is why watercooling is out.
Oh, and if I put one fan on the side of the case to blow on the HSF will I need to put another one on the other side to suck air out? Is it a bad thing to put too much positive pressure inside the case? I thought the high pressure would ciculate the air better and the rest would spill out the vent slots.

If you mount a fan on the side, you want the cooler air it draws in to go directly to the CPU heatsink (or gpu heatsink). This can be accomplished by making a duct.... It won't help much though, if the air temp is high anyway.

You'd cut a circular hole that matches the size of the fan, then drill holes to bolt the fan and a fanguard in place. The fan would sit just inside the case with the fanguard on the outside.

If you have a front and rear case fan (highly recommended) and the side panel fan is a big 120mm, you'd want the front and rear fans blowing out of the case. The idea is to exchange air in/out as fast as possible so heat doesn't build up inside. As for pressure, with more intake air volume, the intake fans work harder and move less air. There's less build-up of dust with positive case pressure, and its good to run with just a slight positive pressure for that reason. But you still have to get rid of the hot air. With more exhaust air volume, the intake fans are going to work better, but dusting out your case may become a routine chore. Aim for balanced or slightly positive air pressure.

Vents slots will help reduce pressure either positive or negative, but probably not enough to keep up with a 120mm fan. You'd want at least 2 exhaust fans (probably 80mm, but it depends on what you can fit and where, and how willing you are to cut up your case), one in the rear by the PSU and one in the front either down low or in one of the big bays. Or maybe you could cut a hole in the top of the case and put a fan up there. Hot air rises after all..

There are other fan options besides cutting holes or just using the front and rear mounts that many cases come with... there are PCI blowers and HDD bay coolers that can add 3-20 cfm's of either intake or exhaust. Just figure out the cfm's of all your fans(except the ones completely inside the case like the CPU and GPU fans), then subtract the exhaust fans' cfm rating from the intake fans' cfm rating and aim for zero or a low positive number. Guestimate where necessary.
Okay, good tips. It looks like I may have to just go with a whole bunch of fans and mutilate my case :p

Anyone else living in Hawaii that can tell me what kind of experiences they have with air cooling?

I may just take the side of the case off again and just put a really strong Vornado in front of it to get some REALLY extreme CFMs in the case. It runs all the time in my room, so I'm used to the noise (it's reasonably quiet anyway), and I can worry about dust later (or just put one of those fan covers on it).

Also I noticed the post about the 50C thing. Is it really bad for a CPU to run that hot, or is it only hype? Is there hard data to support it? I know AMD designs these things to withstand pretty high temps, because if they didn't all the novice users with new XP systems would be complaining that their computers are constantly failing. And just think, all they are using is stock cooling.
If your just going to be running at stock speeds I don't think it will be neccessary to mod your case. As long as you have a decent hsf and 2 case fans you should be fine. Remember if you plan on overclocking your going to have to do a little more.
water cooling

You said something about the humidity in Hawaii... Humid air will only cause condensation problems with water cooling if your water is below ambient temp. You'd have to be using peltiers in addition to water for that to be a problem. Or that's my understanding anyway...
Yeah, the reason that is a problem here is that ambient temps routinely reach 33C which means a watercooling system has serious condensation problems. Maybe not if your room is air-conditioned or de-humidified, but mine is neither.

I guess I shouldn't worry too much. I can get by without overclocking until I can easily get a solution to do so. AMD rates their XP's at running up to 90C, I'm pretty sure with the cooling I'm already planning, I won't be anywhere near that. I think it will be okay, I'm pretty sure AMD knows what it's talking about :)

Out of curiosity though, what kind of temps should I expect with that setup (AMD XP 1900+, 50 CFM hsf, maybe an extra case fan or two, lets say average ambient temp is about 29C)?
Normally water systems dont get below ambient unless you use a chiller or TEC to get the temps below ambient. So unless you are going to use some type of other cooler, a normal water system shouldnt condensate.

rivercom9 said:
Normally water systems dont get below ambient unless you use a chiller or TEC to get the temps below ambient. So unless you are going to use some type of other cooler, a normal water system shouldnt condensate.

That's just what I was trying to say. That's the reason watercooling is a good solution here in Texas where ambient temps get quite high in the Summer.
Well, after some more searching, I found something (CrazyPC.com) it's called a Dr. Thermal Extreme, with a Delta 80mm fan on it.

I figure that Delta whiner is going to annoy me, so I'll go for the regular Dr. Thermal heatsink which seems to perform very well, and get a quieter fan at the expense of a few CFM's (The Sankyo Denki 92mm looks nice, 55 CFM, very quiet)

You can stick a 92mm fan onto an Athlon, right?

One of the reviews ran the thing on an Athlon 1.4G with room temps of 30C and got temps of 39.5C under load. I should be able to expect temps in the comfortable 40's. Things are lookin good so far :)
Cupe|ix, I see a potential problem for overclocking. I checked the manual for your board, and I don't see any option for increasing the front side bus. This is the easiest way to overclock your processor, and usually, you can get most of what you can get using this method.
I do see an option for adjusting the multiplier, but you would have to unlock your processor, which could be a pain.
Uness someone comes here and says, "Yes, you can adjust the bus with this board!" I'd suggest something else. Look for something that says stepless fsb adjustment or something like that.
The thermalright AX7 sounds like a good heatsink. The SK6, also by thermalright, is a good old standard. For super-quiet good performance, go with a Millennium Glaciator II.
Water cooling would be best, and it will NOT cause condensation unless you use a peltier. But it might be too expensive or too much of a task to build.
Good air cooling should keep you under 45C. I have mediocre air cooling, and mine only goes up to 43C, and it's overclocked.

I can't tell you much about GeForce cooling, but keep in mind, if you overclock the front side bus, you will be overclocking everything, including the video card.
Yeah, I saw that when I looked at the motherboard specs again. I guess I'll have to do without overclocking this thing :( Unless I try unlocking the XP, which I don't think I want to try.

Even if I did OC, I would only up the FSB, which probably wouldn't do much anyway, and if I wanted to do that, I'd have to worry about paying more for a mobo that can do it, AND more money for better cooling. Bah.

But by the end of May, I should have scrounged the cash I need to pay for this thing, and by then, the price on both the AMD and the GF4 should have come down some more (GF4 mostly, being a big price hit at $275 right now), and I could put the saved money into a better mobo and cooling.

I don't understand how using water without a pelt will not cause condensation. If it's cooler than room temp, it's going to condense, right? Or I guess if you only used water, you could seal in the processor (like a vapochill) but I don't know how to do that. :confused:
The thing is, water will not be cooler than room temperature. With luck, it will be close to room temperature, though. Water cooling works because water is good at carrying a lot of heat, and a radiator, which the water flows through, is a lot better at getting rid of heat than a heatsink is. (It's much bigger and has more surface area.) In a sense, a watercooling setup is nothing more than a massive, liquid-filled heatsink with lots of surface area.

If you wait to buy your stuff, that will be good for you. The thoroughbreds are coming out in the next couple months. These should offer some excellent overclocking opportunities. Additionally, you will be able to get pc2700 DDR when it becomes the standard. Prices will drop on everything. You'll also have more time to research all your options. This is a wonderful place to do just that.

Good luck!