Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Installing Additional fans
Installing additional fans do decrease the case temperature and the GPU temperature.
The area where heat gathers but can't escape properly, is the bottom part of the case where you see PCI slots below the graphic card.
Indeed, the graphic board is interfering the air from the front and the GPU is dissipating a lot of heat. Usually in this case, the hard disk temperature also rise too.
If you have to use Noctua heatsink because of the graphic card you have, the heat spreads everywhere in the case making everything hot including the PSU. It seems like the front fan is not capable to push all heat in the case.
So that's why we need to install more fans in the system. After five hours of game play, you will touch the case and will notice that it is hot.
First of all, you need to see your component temperatures.
I use HD TUNE (free version) to measure each hard drive temperature. You can not measure the temperature of the external hard drive with this software though.
I also use GPUz to see the GPU temperature. The sensor tab is handy.
As for the CPU temperature, you can use Core Temp , the simple and fast software to open.
You don't need to find out the motherboard temperature as BTX motherboard is designed in such a way that doesn't require you to change the motherboard heatsink unlike the ATX motherboard.
You also don't need to find out your RAM temperature unless you are overclocking your CPU. If you have bought the ones I suggested or the ones that is designed for games, you don't need to worry about the temperature certainly because gaming RAM is designed to survive in hot temperatures. The manufacturer do think about the overclockers too. Though generally, Rams can handle hot temperatures so it is a total waste to buy ram heatsink on E521.
So, CPU , GPU and the Hard disk are the ones you should keep an eye on.
After the fan installations, it is best to use CPU stress test of GPU stress test (or both) to see the performance and how well the temperautre lowered.
Furmark is quite well known for it's density of giving a full heat to GPU. If you get a safe side temperature by using this software, you can confidently play any games without and heat concerns.
Prime95 is the stable CPU stress software. You can give a full heat test to see how your heatsink is working on. If you keep can keep the load temperature of 55C-60C constantly, then you don't need to worry about your heatsink. For some people, this software won't work properly.
I only gave two examples of stress test softwares but you can use all other software you can find. so far, I have noticed that the Ati Tool is not stable on XPs. Have a look at Nvidia tool as well.
FOR Optiplex heatsink:
1. If you have installed the Optiplex fan, there is an effective way to reduce both CPU and the GPU temperature.
Any 80mm fan is ok but you need to buy the thick ones (25mm) such as Noctua 80mm fan. You don't need to use any material at ALL. Simply, SLOT IN the fan into the back of the heatsink shroud. You will notice that the width of the heatsink itself is more or less the same as 80mm fans. The shroud and the thickness of the 80mm fan will hold the fan from falling on to the graphic card.
The idea is to help front fan suck the air into the case more and push at the back. So, you shouldn't put the fan in a way that the air comes in from the front and back. The air should always go back.
This single fan can also drop the GPU temperature for up to 5C.
If you put two more additional THIN 80mm fan such as Hiper 80mm, at the back of the case (screw the drivers using the holes at the back. Two 80mm Fans fits exactly), it is more effective!!
Open the PCI slot cover for better ventilation. (Open all of them)
For Noctua heatsink:
2. The second method is applied when you have installed Noctua heatsink into the system.
The problem with Noctua heatsink is that the heat spreads in the case because it doesn't have the shroud to isolate the airflaw from the front fan.
The first thing you will notice is that the right hand side of the case where you open the lid will get really hot after an hour or so. This greatly increase the Hard drive temperture too.
I have noticed that the hot air spreads toward the lid. The hot air is trying to escape from the PCI slot.
Here (Example), using whatever the material you have, ( such as drill) cut the lid, make two square holes. The size of the hole should be the same size of your additional fans. Have a look at the pic below which was taken by Mick and you will get some idea.
You don't need to nail down the fans. you can use tapes too.
The air should go out.
However, if you are intending to make the same holes on the system where you installed Optiplex heatsink , the fan should face in the opposite direction. The air then can GO IN rather than go out. The reason is because there are two airflow systems in E521, top and bottom. Unlike the Noctua heatsink, the Optiplex heatsink is installed with the shroud to isolate the airflow. But, the airflow only applies to the top above the graphic card. There should be another airflow system BELOW the graphic card too. If the air comes in from outside to the bottom of the case, and the hot air escape from the PCI slot cover, then you have just made the second airflow system below the graphic card.
3. The alternative and ultimate method is to make 9 holes on the lid and buy mini fan controller and nine 80mm thin(15mm) fans
The mini fan controller can be placed perfectly on the floppy drive area.
Although 9 holes on the side sounds really ugly, this is the alternative method I found.
I haven't tried this method but I am 100% sure that this is the ultimate method.
The idea is to operate all fans at lower RPM but keeps the case cool as much as possible all the time. High RPM do make noise if you install nine fans even they are quiet so you definitely need mini fan controller.
The air should come in constantly with low noise. This can be only achieved by installing as much fan as possible with low RPM controlled by fan controller.
This is a side part but if you install all the front fans, heatink fans backwards ( air from back, pushed to the front) it is also effective for lowering GPU temperature. Why not install two Noctua 80 mm fans attached to the Noctua heatsink ? maybe?
Also, additional fans do tend to get dusty quickly compared to the heatsink and it's fan so it is best to buy rather small painting brush to wipe off the dust and regulary use the vacuum cleaner.
Otherwise, (I will not show what's going to happen but..), the greasy dust can not be cleaned off easily.
Caution: Using WD-40 is entirely up to you. Though, it doesn't do any improvements on modern ball-bearing fans. Using WD-40 for cleaning is absolutely fine. Sometimes, the humidity do call a lot of dust so you need to have some cleaner for fan blades anyway. Motherboard do not need chemical cleaning not that I know of.
(I will update this part if necessary. )