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Some comments on temps

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Feb 7, 2005
Kenosha, WI.
I was chatting with some online gaming guildmates last night. The subject turned to our rigs, as a couple guys had recently done some work on theirs. Invariably the topic of temps came up, and a massive peeing contest insued.

I also see this on the forums quite a bit, where people post their temps, and either think they are great, or awful, want to brag about them, or cry about them. The fact is, the vast majority of the time, the temps you are reading, are probably inacurate at best, and in general pretty meaningless when you compare them to someone elses rig.

As most on the forums know, motherboard sensors are for the most part, very unreliable at giving acurate measurements. Most of us who are looking to get a "more accurate" measurement opt to place temp sensors on or near the components we wish to monitor.

Even still, these probes are more accurate but still carry some inacuracy. I myself have two probes, on for my cpu, one for my gpu. Each one is mounted directly next to the cores with contact on both the core and the waterblocks. Even as close as these probes are, I still add 2-3 degrees to the temps they show to get closer to what the actual tempurature is. This is still inacurate, but more accurate than what my motherboard or graphics card report.

And while I may be abel to say that my temps are such and such, that in no way is accuratly comparable to someone elses system. Saying that at load I reach 34-35c and so should you, is not plausible remark to make. Unless of course the systems are completely identical in the exact same enviornment, then it woudl be possible to say, your temps should be like mine.

I also see the ocasional post of "Hey if I do this and that, what will my temps be?". Any answers given on a question liek that would be extremely futile. While it's possible to say that a certain Heatsink, or water block has a delta of X, that doesn't mean we can accurately predict what your temps will be. There are just too many other factors at work. Things like case airflow, coolant pressure and flow, ambient temps, proximity to other heat producing components, and a whoel boat load of other variables will go into what your temps will come out to be.

If you want to guage more accurate temps you will need to do some experiments and get your hands dirty. First of all, don't trust your motherboard's sensors or your vid cards on board sensors. As an example, My motherboard gets whack with temps below 41c. At those temps, the sensor will report 37 once second, and then 41c the next, conastantly flipping back and forth. I've even had the computer on idle, with a below freezing breeze hitting the front intake on my radiator. (middle of winter). Ambiet air temp at the intake measured just 5c, probes reported 14c and 12c for cpu and gpu, mother board still read 37, and then 41, then back to 37. My vid card's sensor just holds at 40c and never drops.

So, do some tests, record your ambient air temp, and case temp using thermometers not related to temp probes or on board sensors. Leave your temp probes in the open, see what temps they report next to your thermometers. Hopefully they will be dead on or close to it. If they are dead on, mount those as close to the heat source as you possible can, and still realize that its going to be off a bit.

Most importanly, don't for a minute assume your temps are what others should or even can be getting. Our systems are all different, as are their enviornments. And don't compare apples to oranges, even with the same cooling systems, different chips, motherboards, etc can create different temps.