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Before I overclock, have I cooling setup properly?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have been reading through some guides online and I still have a few questions.

Here are some pictures so you can get an idea of the airflow:











This is the CPU with stock settings at idle:



In a RealTemp I left running with a blend test which started 10 minutes prior I can see the max is already 68c!



The CPU cooler is a Noctua L-12, as the larger more recommended Noctua would not have fit this HTPC case. The manual for the Fractal Design Node 605 node case recommends, if putting in an extra 120mm fan at the back (top left of first image), it usually works best as an outtake. It made no recommendation for the two extra 80mm fans I put at the back (left of first image) but considering all but one 120mm was intake I made both 80mm outtake. I have all of the 120mms hooked up to the case's fan controller which has a switch with low, medium, and what I assume is full speed. The two 80mm fans are connected to two SYS_FAN ports on the motherboard, leaving a third free. I leave the 120mms set to full using the physical switch, and although not loud enough to put me off gaming, I was hoping they would have been quieter. I have tried to manage the cables and attach them to the bottom of the case as best I could but there is a lot of surplus cable, mainly cable tied between the PSU and GPU, although not directly obstructing the GPU fans. There is also a lot of cable at the front of the case, which is right in the first image. I was thinking I may be able to measure with a piece of twine what length would be perfect for each of the PSU cables and order them individually. Ideally I would like the system to automatically increase and decrease the speed of all fans as needed, although I am not sure this is possible with the fans all being three-pin and there only being three ports. The options for the fans, at least in the basic bios (there is also a smart bios) are for normal, full, manual, and disabled.
  1. Is the fan intake outtake configuration correct? Would it make any sense to configure the upper-left 120mm fan as instake instead of outtake, leaving just the two 80mms as outtake?
  2. Would there be any reason to connect different fans to the three port switch controller and different fans directly to the three motherboard SYS_FAN ports?
  3. Could I automate fan control somehow, if connecting to the motherboard maybe with some Y-cables to connect 5 fans to the three ports?
  4. Should I set my CPU_FAN and OPT_FAN (second CPU cooler fan) to full in the BIOS instead of normal? Maybe these already increase speed automatically when the CPU temperature rises?
  5. Would it be worth investing in PSU cables to size? Is there any reason not to take out the motherboard and put some cables between the motherboard and the bottom of the case in the space the standoffs take up?
  6. One guide I read mentions making sure no core exceeds 75C although 60 is more comfortable. Other guides list different temperatures and one quotes intel advising one should not exceed 72C. 60 seems low enough, I saw Far Cry 4 yesterday generate a max of 62C and Assassins Creed Unity at a max of 68c in RealTemp. What maximum should I be aiming for? And do I need to make sure the CPU at stock settings is not getting to 68c while gaming/stress testing first before attempting to overclock?

post #2 of 9
If you haven't already, you might find links in my sig helpful

Suggestions to try
The 2x 120mm fans one in / one out are circling their own air.
Removing the PCIe slot covers often helps case airflow.
Turning the CPU cooler fan over often lowers CPU temps.
fan pushing into cooler >cpu>mobo>RAM/GPU>up and back into fan
fan pull out of cooler is airflow across mobo>through cooler>fan> out of case
Much of getting the best cooling is like tuning an engine. It takes practice, patience and trial-
&-error testing to find out what works best.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

If you haven't already, you might find links in my sig helpful

Suggestions to try
The 2x 120mm fans one in / one out are circling their own air.
Removing the PCIe slot covers often helps case airflow.
Turning the CPU cooler fan over often lowers CPU temps.
fan pushing into cooler >cpu>mobo>RAM/GPU>up and back into fan
fan pull out of cooler is airflow across mobo>through cooler>fan> out of case
Much of getting the best cooling is like tuning an engine. It takes practice, patience and trial-
&-error testing to find out what works best.

Thanks, I discovered one of the rear 80mms, although was functioning in the past, had stopped functioning and I had to remove the CMOS battery for 60s to restore it. I then found inside the metal mesh for the outtake 120mms (top left in first picture) there was a dust filter so I remove that - all of this only lowered temperatures around 3C, if even. What you are saying makes sense about the 120mms intake just taking in air to be removed by the 120mm outtake beside it - all three 120mms are intake now with only the two 80mms outtaking. I could remove the spare PCIe slots once covered properly with something for dust.

I am very interested in what you are saying about swapping over the CPU fan, or in my case both CPU fans. I expect the current test to result in a temperature drop much greater than 3C, and when it does I would like to first double check that due to space restrictions I am not able to turn my heatsink 90 degrees to see if changing the direction of the grill on it improves cooling. After that I will turn both CPU fans upside down and see what difference it makes. I appreciate trial and error but if it is obvious to others something would be a waste of time I am happy to benefit from their experience, for example, after I turn the CPU fans upside and test am I safe to assume the lower 120mm fan in the first picture needs to remain intake as it is providing air to the side of the GPU the fans are? That way I would only have to test to see if things are better with the top two 120mms outake and the 80mms intake and vice versa, with the CPU coolers as is and upside down.

Looking through the posts in your sig now, thank you.
post #4 of 9
After reading the case airflow guide you will understand better. thumb.gif
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I have read the the guides and I am trying different fan intake outtake configurations. I like the PWM guide but I have noticed Gigabyte have a program that displays a graph controlling the CPU_FAN, CPU_OPT, and the three SYS_FAN fans. The graph is adjustable, it calibrates the fans and allows me to set different fan power percentages for different speeds. As the fans are only three pins rather than four I am not sure if this is exactly PWM but it seems to accomplish the same thing. I am going to connect the three 120mm to the three SYS_FAN ports to control them this way as intakes and connect the two 80mm fans as outtakes to the case fan controller and leave them running on full. I still need to see if this is the best configuration with both CPU fans drawing air into the CPU versus drawing it away. For my tests before I overclock should I leave all fans running at 100% or am I good to have the motherboard increase fan power from say 30C @ 30% up to 100% at 65C or even 60C? I do not want to exceed 72C on this chip. Further, is there a way I can make the system shut down automatically, no matter what I am doing, if the CPU reaches 70C? Is lapping the CPU and heatsink with sandpaper still valid for the 4690K with a Noctua CPU cooler?

Please advise.
Edited by dusf - 1/6/15 at 2:55am
post #6 of 9
Sounds like you are making progress.

Yes, you can hook up all fans to mobo and control their speeds with software. 30c@30% and 65c@100% are a good starting point. You can run up to 1 amp / 12 watt on a single fan header using splitters. I keep total load below 10 watt just to be extra safe. You can adjust the temp to percent curve to get what sounds and cools best .. and could easily end up with 20c@15% or 30c@10% with 60c@95% or 75c @100% to get the fan speed / noise levels optimized for your ears and normal loads. I set my temp @ percent as low as I can while keeping everything cool. For me this is generally 20-30c@20-30% to keep fans moving enough air through case to keep motherboard chips and drives cool. For example the x58 systems need more airflow to keep the Northbridge cool ..sometimes running hotter at idle than at full load (48-50c idle and 47-49c full load) because as CPU demands more airflow it cools better even though it is working harder. wink.gif

I would reverse the CPU cooler fans sooner rather than later. Reason is their flow dictates how we want the case airflow to bring in cool / remove hot air.

Experiment with PCIe slot covers off and on to see which gives best cooling. Smoke, light paper strips or flame can be used to check which way air is flowing. I often use incense sticks.

I would use both top fans as intake. An intake along side an exhaust fan creates an airflow loop between the two.


The 4690k is safe running at 80c. I would keep it below 70 as a maximum constant load temp. My OC'ed 920 only hits 70 when encoding at full overclock. Normal use stays below 50c. I don't know if you can lower the shutdown of system, but there should be a maximum temp warning alarm you can set.

A remote temp sensor like described in case cooling is very helpful in figuring out airflow temps.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
doyll, firstly, thanks for the further in depth reply, and apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I have had a lot going on recently.

You mention keeping two (of three) 120mm fans as intake and go on to refer to one on the top and also a fan on top of the case. The thing is my HTPC is horizontal so no fan is above another and there is no case can on the top of the case. Does what you said still apply, considering hot air rises etc.? And does reversing both CPU cooler fans also still apply?

In other news there is some fault with this system which I think (and hope, as it may be easily solved) only occurred after the last rebuild. Randomly and very intermittently, the system will become gradually more unresponsive until the cursor hardly moves and finally will stop responding completely. Before it does, if I try to load task manager to see if anything is bottlenecking resources, it will give some error or try to. Seems to mainly happen if I leave it downloading a very large file and later come back. Often it will have shut itself down or well still be running as I can hear the fans although it will not load anything on display, like it cannot bring the monitor out of sleep.

Anyway, I have had many troubleshooting techniques and software packages recommended already, everything from doublechecking drivers, to memtests, to running without graphics card, bootable USBs for testing hardware etc., so I am not asking about that here just yet although I will in the relevant sub forum if I cannot sort it.

The reason I bring it up is to update where I am but also explain the first thing I will be trying before any of the above, other than the memtest it passed, is a complete tear down and rebuild. I think the rebuild is a good time to upgrade the five system fans to PWM, which my board supports although with only three system fan ports in addition to the CPU_FAN and CPU_OPT. I would like to have the PWM fans ordered and delivered before doing so. Noise level is a priority but the ability to overclock as much as I can in this case with air cooling is even more important. I was persuaded not to spend the extra €100 on an i7 as the 4690K fully overclocked performs almost as well and that the difference is barely noticeable! If I get this all working I will feel good I opted for the i5, more so because I learned about overclocking and cooling rather than any money saved smile.gif

Current fans:

2 x Fractal Design Silent Series 80mm Case Fan, FD-FAN-SSR2-80, 1400 RPM, 19.5 CFM, 14.3 dbA
3 x Fractal Design Silent Series 120mm Case Fan, FD-FAN-SSR2-120, 1200 RPM, 40.6 CFM, 15.0 dbA

Proposed upgrade:

2 x Noctua NF-A8 PWM 80mm Premium Quality Fan, 325 - 1800 RPM, 31.4 CFM, 17.1 dbA
3 x Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-3000 PWM, 750 - 3000 RPM, 109.9 CFM, 43.5 dbA

I basically looked at the tables on these two links and ordered the fans by CFM:

http://www.quietpc.com/80mmfans
http://www.quietpc.com/120mmfans

If we compare the 120mms, the Fractal at 1200 RPM outputting 15.0 dbA and the Noctua at 3000 RPM outputting 43.5 dBa, can we deduce the the Noctua running at 1200 would output 17.4 dBa, which is louder but of course with the added bonus of the ability to increase RPM by a further 60%? It is nice to know I would have the extra power there for any performance or safety needs, unless they really would be over-overkill?

I have also read through your guide on PWM but I am afraid I am still confused. Can you please advise what exactly I need to order to setup all of my 5 system fans in the best PWM configuration for my board which only has 3 SYS_FAN ports?
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

Experiment with PCIe slot covers off and on to see which gives best cooling.

And if better with them off, which I assume would be the case, would you then cover them with something like tights, or is there something better fitting? Just I have seen that mentioned for covering a gap, not sure if it was PCI slots, but I imagined they would be very messily attached to the case?
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

A remote temp sensor like described in case cooling is very helpful in figuring out airflow temps.

I will look into this and order one with the fans.

I will consider any other upgrades you might recommend I order a long with the fans - within reasonable budget of course smile.gif
Edited by dusf - 1/28/15 at 11:39pm
post #8 of 9
So case is like an open box on a shelf? That changes everything.

Could you take a picture of system setting in as it normally does with you standing in front of it. This will let us see what intake and exhaust flow will be like around it as well as inside.

With no top I would try using most fans as intakes and everything exhaust out the top .. assuming there is nothing above the top to stop the upward movement of the air coming out.

Heat doesn't rise, heating air causes it to expand and become lighter the the cooler are and that lighter air rises .. which is great if there are on other forces involved. But when fans are used the "hot air rises" becomes a myth. The fans vastly over-power any effect the expansion has on airflow.

Problem sounds like a memory leak. I like Process Explorer better than Task Manager. It shows much more of what is happening .. most of which is not available in Task Manager. Have you checked system Event Viewer?

Using their chart is only as accurate as manufacturers' specification .. which are often not even close. The CFM and dBA specs are what fan flows in open space with absolutely no resistance .. way more than in real world use with filters, grills, etc. Static pressure is the highest level of pressure the fan can push .. the level at which the fan stops flowing air. Again, not something we do in real world use .. at least not intentionally. biggrin.gif I really wish manufacturers would publish P/Q curves so we could see how fans will perform in actual work environments.

Are you sure your SYS_FAN headers are really PWM controlled? I ask because I've seen many cases where even though manufacturer said they 4-pin header were PWM, they in fact had no PWM signal to the 4th pin. Plugging a PWM fan into one of them and getting variable fan speed does not mean it is PWM, as it could just be variable voltage. Without monitoring the actual voltage going to fan or using a splitter from fan header for PWM & RPM and a molex / sata connector to PSU for 12v & Grd it is rather hard to know for sure.


Covering the openings with anything lowers airflow .. and if it is exhaust air, there is no reason to filter it.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
We have had builders in the last few months so my gaming PC has had to rest dormant. I will be bringing it back to life next weekend in a new room so then, when I can take pictures of its new location, I will update this.
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