Sunday, February 23, 2003

Tech Tip: Back up and running

Here’s a word of advice for anyone looking to upgrade their computer. Don’t go cheap on the CPU Fan.

I got the parts on Wednesday. That night I installed them into a new case. While mounting the CPU heatsink and fan, I noticed that the fan was called, and I kid you not, “Budget fan.” I figured it should be fine, after all I got it from the dealer, and Krazy Kenny wouldn’t screw me, would he?

After getting all the parts together, I plugged it in, and started to reload the hard drive. All the while, I was haunted by thoughts of the budget fan. After getting a utility called MBM5 from, I was able to monitor my CPU, motherboard, and internal temperatures. After only two hours of uptime the CPU had hit 65 Celsius, and was still climbing. So, out came all the innards again, this time attaching an Antec cooling system.

This kept the CPU cooler, but without an exhaust fan in the case, the system temperature was too warm. This meant that the new CPU Fan was blowing hot air onto the CPU, and not cooling it effectively. So the fun begins.

I mounted a case fan directly above the CPU by cutting a hole in the side of the case. This fan will blow outside air directly onto the CPU Fan, which in turn will blow that cool air right onto the heatsink, cooling the CPU. In order to vent the hot air in the case, I added a turbine fan in a spare PCI slot towards the back.

Now I had a line of airflow. Fresh air will be pulled in, blown across the CPU, and out the back. This setup has granted me a nice stable motherboard temperature of 28 degrees, and the CPU stays at 32-35.

It’s important to remember that with today’s chips measured in GHz, heat control is as an important factor as the RAM size or hard drive capacity. One must factor in a cooling system in your budget. If you are not planning on overclocking, this can still be rather inexpensive.

The Meat locker cooling system:
Antec Deference CPU Fan and heatsink $14
Antec 80mm case fan (with blue LED for a little style) $8
Antec turbine blower $14
Total Cost: $36

Much cheaper than having to replace a CPU in a couple of days because of burnout.

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