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Please help me with my sister's computer!

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May 13, 2001
Well, I finally built my first computer. I have to say, much of what I learned about doing this sort of thing I got from this forum. So, when I look at the temps that I'm getting right now, this is the first place I think of to go for help.

My sister's computer (built for her for college), is as follows:
-1.4 GHz Athlon
-FIC AD11 Mobo
-256MB PC2100 Nanya CL2
-60GB Quantum Firebird AS
-Cheapest GeForce2 MX I could find (she doesn't game)
-Eagle case 100% aluminum w/ a fan on a middle rail blowing on the heatsink, a "blower" taking air from outside the case and blowing it on the heatsink, and a ThermoEngine with the included fan, connected with (what else) ASII

Now, I've been reading here that the built-in thermometer on some motherboards can be inaccurate, so I'm not sure what to make of this. I am getting 55 degrees Celsius IDLE. At first I was attributing this to my bedroom being 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's in the mid 70's today and I'm currently at 54 deg C.

I did not lap the heatsink due to time constraints and a plain lack of know-how. My questions are: Will lapping solve my problems? What is the quickest way to do it? What else could it be? How do you apply ASII? Is too much a bad thing? What is the proper way to seat a ThermoEngine (the how-to page here mentions the "back" and "front" sides of the heatsink, but I don't know which is which)? Should I reverse any of the fans?

I know this is a long post, but I wanted to get it all done at once, since I don't have a lot of time (I'm delivering the case on Tuesday). Thank you very much in advance.
my first thought would be, "how well is the sink seated?"

Did you use the thermal pad that came with the sink? What kind of sink is it?

Lapping in some extreme cases can improve temps by 10 degrees c..........you may want to consider it.
Hmm, are you sure this rig isn't going to distract your sister from her studies. Looks like a lot of firepower for typing .docs. Sure is lucky to have a bro like you...
Maybe you ought to compare the mobo temp. with the ambient (it should be just a few 'C about ambient temp. with a well-ventilated case) to make sure your mobo isn't over-reporting the CPU temperature. Heck, if it's stable at full load so leave it be -at 1.4GHz a lot of heat needs to be thrown out anyway.
Shadow ÒÓ (Jul 01, 2001 12:21 p.m.):
my first thought would be, "how well is the sink seated?"

Did you use the thermal pad that came with the sink? What kind of sink is it?

Lapping in some extreme cases can improve temps by 10 degrees c..........you may want to consider it.

Thanks for the quick responses. Looks like I'm going to have to learn some lapping. I think I understand the basic principle, so my only question is: How do I clean the ASII off the processor? Acetone? Rubbing Alcohol?

I scraped the thermal pad off the ThermoEngine and cleaned it with Acetone before mounting it, so I may have given the bottom more scratches than were already there (there were some noticable grooves).

The reason my sister wanted the fastest is because she does a lot of DV editing as a hobby, and after using my parent's 3 year old Dell, she was ready for something blazing. I have to admit, it killed me not to be able to slap a GeForce3 into this thing to really see what it could do, but since my sister is footing the bill, I can't exactly sneak it by her.

So, I guess the only question I have left is how to apply the ASII. Also, any tips on lapping would be greatly appreciated.

answer to your question "is too much a bad thing" (im guessing its about the ASII)

yes, too much is a bad thing when it comes to thermal stuff
you want the thinnest layer , and even spreading, just enough to fill in the tiny crevices and stuff on the die and heatsink
im not sure this will help your temps THAT much, but it could bring it down a couple degrees if you have alot of AS2 on there
if you have grooves in it that are that bad, I'd at least consider taking some 600 or 800 sandpaper (wet/dry) and smoothing it back down. 600 or 800 are not good stopping points, but are at least as good as the sink was from the mfg.

the idea is to get it perfectly flat of course....and what I do is wet the paper down and place it on my kitchen counter (yea my girlfriend hates it) and rub slowly back and forth. I'll also occasionally turn the sink 90 degrees and continue to rub. Once the surface of the sink looks very consistent I'll stop, but you should easily be able to tell when it's even.

Like the post above suggested, a very thin but even layer should do. I generally say paper thin or just thick enough that you can't see the die through the layer. If you're not doing any overclocking and don't have artic silver available, you may consider thermal compound from Radio Shack. It's not the best for extreme cooling.......but more than adequate for typical cooling.
Thank you to everyone for the help. My question about removing the old Arctic Silver remains: What's the best way?

Thanks again.
thought you said you had use acetone? Hmm.....my mind's slipping again.

In fact acetone or even carb cleaner work well, however carb cleaner is a bit extreme. I guess gasoline is too, but hey.....I just use what's available and within reach.

Seriously recommend you use caution if you try the latter.
Acetone, everytime. You might wanna try a different heatsink to. My mate had a generic Coolermaster on top of his Gig Athlon. Since he came and asked for advice, I talked him into a Tai-Sol and his temps have dropped by 5-10 Degs C.

Your sister's comp is a bit OTT for typing up assignments, tho, the one I built my sister last year, has a 500Mhz K6-2, 128Mb RAM (originally had 64), 2Mb grafixstar 600 PCI vid card, 3.2Gb Hard disk, cheap PCI sound, and a TV card. Some of which was donated from my spare parts drawer...

Does she play a lot of Counter-Strike? :¬)}
Hi all.
Well, I have disappointing news. Time constraints being what they were, I decided to remove the ThermoEngine that I had on my sister's computer, and replace it with a ThermoEngine that I bought for myself. Since I hadn't opened that one yet, I decided to leave the thermal pad on and try it that way. I can hear your moans.

The temps are now 51 deg C idle, 59 deg load (FlaskMPEG using Highest CPU priority for an hour). Although my sister will be doing a little DV work on the computer, I think that for the most part, temps will be near idle. Since I tested this in my 80 degree bedroom, I guess I can trust that her dorm won't be much worse. I will be switching the case fans around tonight to see if that helps, but other than that, I'm pretty much done.

The good news is, I bought some 400 and 800 grit sandpaper and a plate of glass, and lapped the scratched-up HS to a rather nice finish. While I won't be using it on my sister's computer, I will get to see the difference on my computer, which I am building in August. The desktop Palominos seems a long way off yet, so it looks like I'll be putting the same proc. in the same case with a different mobo.

Anyway, thanks for the help.
I would suggest taking that damn pad off, have the fan in the back blow out and the one in the front blow in. AS II probably won't cause any problems, because if it's too thick it will get squezzed out by the pressure of the HSF. Just make sure it's seated properly. My ThermoEngine has a 7K rpm fan on it. My idle temp. is 23-26, load has never broke 54, not even after three hours of UT!!!
Hi all.
This is my last reply to this one, I promise.

That was the problem. The "blower" fan was actually sucking air away from the HSF, which was trying to blow down on the proc. When I disconnected the blower, temps dropped 8 deg C within 3 minutes. I'm now going to reverse the blower fan to actually BLOW down, to see if I can go any lower. The thing is, the case is a heck of a lot quieter without the blower, so I may just leave it out.

Thanks again to everyone who posted. It's nice having this sort of support system.