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Why aftermarket northbridge cooling solutions are a waste on new AMD platforms

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been seeing a lot of users here investing (or considering investing in) aftermarket northbridge cooling. This is my post on why this, on the AM3/etc. platform, is completely unnecessary.

Put simply:
Since 2003 AMD's memory controller has been integrated on board the CPU. The actual "Northbridge" (memory controller), the once active portion of northbridge chipsets, is now on the CPU. For the purpose of this right up, I will refer to the northbridge on the motherboard as the "northbridge/chipset" or the "NB/chipset".

The motherboard northbridge/chipset on AMD platforms just houses PCIe lanes, the HyperTransport clock generator, the bus clock [FSB] generator, and (if supported) an integrated graphics processor - something that may not be even used. Basically.... it doesn't do much anymore - which means it doesn't consume much power or put out much heat. Even on the models with the integrated graphics processor, AMD 700 series and 800 series northbridge chipsets are among the most power efficient in the world. Which means for those of you wanting to buy aftermarket northbridge cooling on AMD, it is a totally useless waste of time and money; whatever's on the motherboard will probably more than likely do the job. For those of you who find that the "NB sensor" is running hot, you are probably reading the wrong sensor and it is not the NB/chipset. (VRMs?)

To prove that there is not much heat output, here is my story. I have a PC with a 785G chipset Biostar motherboard (A785GE - google the image if you want to see it), using this IGP. It has a much smaller aluminum NB/chipset heatsink than what you'd find on most motherboards you buy (look up the pics yourself!), and it loads at a safe 58C with GPU load being placed (at least back here in Canada, when I was using this PC in the Philippines with 40C ambient temps this ran at some 68-70C - still a safe value). This is with the IGP overclocked from 500Mhz to 750Mhz also.

On LGA775 when the memory controller was on the NB and the actual FSB (Front-side bus) was used, aftermarket northbridge/chipset cooling may have been nice to have, but nowadays it'd be a waste of time and money. Just letting you guys know this before $20 or so goes down the drain and you find this out and end up you have just a paperweight

Of course if you plan on some extreme OC-ing of the iGP (and it is actually overheating on default heatsink - perhaps even if you have modded a fan on), then one should consider investing in aftermarket northbridge cooling. Running a higher base clock (i.e. 300Mhz vs 200Mhz) can also increase the NB temperature but only by a few degrees, this is likely not nearly enough to breach the limit. Raising the HyperTransport clock could also raise these temps, however it has always been recommended that this clock not be raised. On the new 900 series chipsets with FX-Series processors where a 2600Mhz HTT clock will be used, the improved TDP of the 900-series chipsets will make up for the extra heat output.
Edited by xd_1771 - 9/9/11 at 7:40pm
post #2 of 14
It's all about cooling the VRMs and MOSFETS right?
     
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
That is where you want to stick your aftermarket motherboard cooling on. This will put out significantly more heat than a northbridge because it is directly connected to powering the CPU. Many of the CPUs you use are high TDP being rated 125W or so at stock. Many VRM systems also go completely uncooled due to the nature of aftermarket tower cooling on the CPU. A lot of failures happen due to that.
post #4 of 14
Never put that much thought into it.
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post #5 of 14
Acknowledging that they don't really get very hot, you don't think that there is any value to separating the heat load from the mosfets and the NB/IO (whatever you want to call it) when dealing with high FSB OC's?
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post #6 of 14
It should also be noted that increasing your base clock (or reference clock, HTT, etc) will also increase the heat output by your NB chip. Not enough to justify extra cooling, but it will affect it.

Going from 200 to 300 added roughly 8c on load for me, still well within limitations of the chip.
    
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave12 View Post
Acknowledging that they don't really get very hot, you don't think that there is any value to separating the heat load from the mosfets and the NB/IO (whatever you want to call it) when dealing with high FSB OC's?
That might apply to solutions where the motherboard heatsinks are connected by heatpipe... but with the NB putting out so little heat, and being able to tolerate a lot of heat, I don't see how it's a huge problem; better to spread out the cooling of the VRMs over the larger area anyway.
post #8 of 14
lets not forget that a shiny nickel full cover MB block can just add the extra something to a serious water cooled system...I bet thats why most people buy them anyway...
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post #9 of 14
So even though my northbridge was getting several degrees hotter than my cpu (before my wc loop), I didn't need my Koolance block? I'm not sure that I can agree with you. With my northbridge incorporated into my loops, it stays a good 5 degrees cooler than my cpu at idle, more so under load.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wel the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula is known for NB heatsink mounting issues (in a way that impacts cooling), a remount fixes it
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