"CPU temperatures are the enemy of speed-- all other things being equal,
the higher the CPU temperature, the less likely it is your system will
be stable. (This is also why extreme overclockers use water cooling and
liquid nitrogen.) That's one reason why we have a fancy aftermarket CPU
cooler." - Jeff Atwood
As you can see from the pictures, my CPU is dusty. I decided to get a baseline temperature before goign to town cleaning using PC Alert (note that CoreTemp, as recommended Jeff didn't work in my AMD). Here's the baseline:
CPU Temperature - 45-53 degrees
System Temperature - 41 degrees
Next, I ran the Prime95 torture test on my PC for about 10 minutes. I watched the temperatures rise to the following:
CPU Temperature - 60-64 degreesSystem Temperature - 45-46 degreesObservations - much hotter CPU and system temperatures.
I wanted to see what the effect of a house fan blowing directly onto the case would be. I placed a small house fan directly blowing on the motherboard and ran the torture test again, this time for only 5 minutes. I only ran the test for 5 minutes because the impact of the fan was obvious nearly immediately. The results were:CPU Temperature - 51-55 degreesSystem Temperature - 30 degreesObservations - The CPU still remains warmer than baseline by a significant margin. What amazed me though was the system temperature dropping to 30 degrees.
I mentioned in my last post that I leave the case open to facilitate air movement and cooling. I thought I would test to see how hot the system gets. To establish a temperature to compare with the original, I let the computer sit idle and cool down before putting the case back together. I was astonished by what I saw. When I closed up the case entirely in the still dusty system I saw the following:CPU Temperature - 50-53 degreesSystem Temperature - 36 degreesObservations
- The CPU temp is nearly the same, however the system temp dropped by 13%. This was shocking to me. In the years that I've left my case open "helping" my system, I was actually putting more stress on the system in terms of heat. If you take nothing else away from this article, please get this point; That closing your case actually helps airflow and thus keeps your PC cooler.
Again running Prime95 for 10 minutes, I wasn't surprised to see the last tests lower numbers show up again here. Under load with a fully closed case the numbers were:CPU Temperature - 60-62 degreesSystem Temperature - 39 degreesObservations
- The CPU temp is nearly the same as when we load tested earlier in test #2 above, however we again see the system temperature much lower this time with a 16% reduction in temperature.
The dust in the system was bad. I remove dust from components. I remove parts/components where necessary to facilitate better cleaning. I even cleaned the heatsink.
Gamers swear by this but I often wonder how much it helps. I thought while I'm in the system, it wouldn't hurt to clean up some cables. Routed longer cables along the edge of the case and secured with electrical tape. Used 8" cable ties to cinch up the the main strands of cables that were hovering above the CPU. Removed unneccesary cables/wires such as my Audigy Remote control cable which I never use.
To facilitate cooling I reapplied a silicone thermal compound the heatsink.
Again, I let my PC cool and get back to a normal temperature. With my desktop up and minimal programs running I watched the temperature. Not surprisingly I saw a huge drop.CPU Temperature - 39 degreeSystem Temperature - 31 degreesObservations
- Simply by cleaning the dust, routing some cables and reapplying thermal paste I saw roughly a 22% drop in CPU temperature and a 21% drop in system temperature over the original, open-case dusty numbers.
The final test, where the rubber meets the road. Here I ran Prime95 for lengthy period just to make sure the system didn't revert back to higher temperatures. After the reductions in temperature, there was no surprise here:CPU Temperature - 47-49 degreeSystem Temperature - 35-36 degreesObservations
- The CPU is now operating cooler under the "torture test" than it previously was in test #1 when it was simply idling. The CPU temperature is 23% lower and the system temp is 24% lower the than the same test performed in test #2. This test was the greatest increase in cooling among any of the tests.
This blog contains the thoughts and discoveries of Tim Barcz, a technologist with a interests in computer programming technologies.
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in anyway.
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