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Some questions about my new cooling system

593 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  xd_1771
I'm getting a new Xigmatek Dark Knight today along with some other cooling fans/upgrades [including Antec Spot Cools for my RAM & NB]. I have a few questsions to ask you about this... if none of you mind. Some of them may seem pretty dumb, but I haven't had any opportunity to play with CPU coolers and such before. [Note: system specs in sig]

* What method should I use to apply thermal paste onto my CPU? I'll be using Arctic Cooling MX-3 which I know is somewhat hard to apply sometimes... I've heard of the "business card" method as well as other methods and I plan on using that one but I'm not sure if it will work.

* Will I need to spread thermal paste on the cooler as well as the CPU? (i.e. fill in gaps)

* When removing the [stock] CPU cooler, is there a chance I could accidentally remove the CPU as well? [i.e. attached with thermal paste]; I know pulling it straight out is a way to avoid damaging the CPU if that happens.

* I have two system fan connectors (one 3-pin and one 4-pin) on my motherboard, and I'll also be purchasing a Sunbeam 5.25" fan controller (so I can connect up to 6-fans to controllers... 12 with splitters I plan to purchase from Newegg rather than NCIX soon). Will the 4-pin fan connector on my motherboard also work with 3-pin fans? Do I have to figure out the wire setup such as which wire is ground, etc. Some of the fans come with a 4-pin adapter so I imagine I'll probably be able to use that. OR...

* Should I just plug in my fans to the power supply? (Which has 12 4-pin peripheral connectors) As far as I'm aware, all of my 5 case fans are plugged into the power supply, leading me to think that they're likely performing slower than they should be... or does that actually mean they are spinning full speed? [Noise isn't a concern for me]

* I'll be using Top fans as exhaust; everything else [rear fan, side fan, front fan] will be intake. Is this fine? [I have to mount the Dark Knight vertically anyways so it blows up, but it should create the most efficient cooling].

* I'm aiming for a high overclock (221*19, 4.2ghz) on my CPU and NB (221*12 for 2.65ghz) and as far as I know this will generate a lot of heat (not to mention it might not even be stable unless I REALLY up the voltages). The ambient temps in my house lately have been quite cold. With my new cooling system upgrade, will temperatures be stable enough? Or should I consider other cooling methods like water cooling if I want to hit over 4ghz.

Thanks for helping the total n00b

Once I'm done I'm hoping to hit 4ghz on my overclocks

- X D / Delta Productions
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I just installed a xiggy dark knight on my wifes gigabyte 790x ud4p a couple hours ago and how i did it was running thin lines of mx-3 down the bases heatpipe dividers and just slight dabs on the outside edges.
After booting up i noticed temps dropped considerably on idle my zalman 9700 idle was 27c and the xiggy was 19c idle all at stock settings.
* use a razor blade and be careful not to scratch the heat spreader... if you are worried use a gift card/credit card -- on my 1284ee i applied it to the heatsink first, filled in those grooves next to the heatpipes so there was just a trace on the heatpipe's contact area then a fine coat on the cpu with a razor blade until i could still read through the paste and make out the model number etc... you want as little TIM as needed. this is why the thin compounds work so well. Also, be sure to mount the cooler with the fan down and not back, you can expect to get a little better performance with the heatpipes level. get the backplate with the screws, don't bother with the clip

* when you release the heatsink's retention gently wiggle the cooler clockwise and counter-clockwise -- use naphtha/lighter fluid (NOT BUTANE) to break down the old compound and remove it

* 3 pin splitters need to have the tach lead cut or not installed, if you combine the tach lead from 2 or more fans your motherboard/controller will not read the fan speed. the 4 pin header on the board will work with 3 pin fans. the 4 pin connector is keyed just like the three, but has an extra pin on the side.

* direct connection to the psu will run the fan at full speed. the 4-pin PWM fans have the ability to be slowed.

* fan placement and orientation depends on the fan. on the 690, with all fans installed, i would have the front and side as intake, psu/rear and top as exhaust.
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Originally Posted by xd_1771
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* What method should I use to apply thermal past
Directions are on Arctic's website

*..I know pulling it straight out is a way to avoid damaging the CPU if that happens.
No, if the TIM sticks, you'll rip the pins out of the CPU.
Get the CPU hot, shut down, and then quickly release the hold down mechanism and GENTLY twist and lift the cooler.

*...I'll also be purchasing a Sunbeam 5.25" fan controller ..Do I have to figure out the wire setup such as which wire is ground, etc.
4 Pin Molex Connector:
Yellow = 12v
Black = ground
Red = 5v

* Should I just plug in my fans to the power supply?
Sure, but I thought you were using a fan controller?
If you want the motheboard to control the cooler fan, then plug that one into the controlled motherboard connector.

* I'll be using Top fans as exhaust; everything else [rear fan, side fan, front fan] will be intake. Is this fine?
YIKES! No. Total CFM (Cubic Feet per Munute) intake should be about equal to total CFM exhaust. Most computer cases work best with exhaust at the rear and intake at the front.

Hope that helps.
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That sounds great! I know this is an especially good cooler for AMD so I'm pretty much hoping it will work well.
* I think I'll default to a business card or at least something that isn't as sharp... I'm not sure if we have any naphtha/lighter fluid in my house though.
* Some have suggested cleaning the CPU with microfibre cloths and 99% isopropyl alcohol [which I have/can get], but I'm not sure if it's the same as what you said.
* As for the 3-pin splitters, I'll be using them with the same type of fans (i.e. two of the same fan combined to one connector by splitter), so I don't think I have to do that lead cutting thing (which I don't even understand, lol)
* Ah, thanks, but my fans seem to be running a bit slow or maybe they're just like that. I don't mind the noise of my current setup that's plugged into my PSU though so I guess I'll keep everything at this speed. *Wipes the Sunbeam fan controller off his shopping cart*
* If I have my rear and top fans as exhaust then there's really no way to push fresh air into the CPU area unless I blow a desk fan thru the top side fan port [which I can't even use due to the size of the cooler] so I have a feeling that top exhaust only is best. (Hot air naturally rises anyway so it should work quite well; the video card and PSU [I think] should also count as exhaust).
@ billbartuska:
* That second answer seems to solve my worries. I'll run a test Sony Vegas render to heat up the CPU [maybe even with overclocked settings] before shutting down.
* My intake at the front is on the bottom and I don't think my front fan is really that strong so I worry that air won't even get to the motherboard. My two top fans eject 65CFM each so I'm pretty sure I will need a closer rear intake in order to keep things even. The side bottom intake [which I'll add a 140mm to] can't go up to the CPU area because the GPU acts as a block and most of that air will be going into and out of the GPU anyway. The bottom fan will be active and I can imagine most of that air running thru the Spot cools onto my RAM & northbridge before going out the top fans.
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xd, I would advise against using a credit card or the finger method as those may cause air pockets. Just apply it to the base straight from the tube and let the pressure do its job as it will force the tim into the cracks and to the outer edges. Do not pick the cooler up to see how it spreed as that will also cause air pockets if you set the cooler back on.
Make sure the surfaces are throughly cleaned with alcohol and dried before you apply tim..
Alright, so I just apply the thermal paste onto the cooler & CPU surface and not use anything to spread it on, correct?
90% Isopropyl alcohol, and Coffee filters are lint free.

And don't use naptha, lighter fluid, or finger nail polish remover, they all leave a residue.

Acetone is the best though.

Have you looked into lapping?

You can always add a fan inside the case to direct air at dead spots.

Cut a hole in the mobo mounting tray and put a fan blowing on the bottom of the motherboard. There's no air circulation there and Its just as hot under there as above.

And not to dissuade you, but an overclocked CPU doesn't care what temperature it's at.
It just has to be below it's max temp to be stable.
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I've heard of lapping. It seems risky in the part that I could ruin the entire cooler just doing it, but I'm quite interested [my dad is in construction so he might have some sandpaper lying around... >.>] I'm just waiting for him to come home with some of that 90% Isopropyl alcohol [not to mention I'm phoning him about whatever Acetone is right now]. I have an Antec Spot Cool that I'll be pointing towards the RAM, and might get a second one [possibly for that area behind the mobo tray? Hmm...]
There is a fan slot in an area behind the mobo tray for me [near the top, behind the CPU slot], and I was going to purchase a fan for there however NCIX didn't have any in stock.

EDIT: I have Acetone & sandpaper, and my dad's out to get some of that isopropyl alcohol.
SOO... um... how do you lap?

I was looking at the other thread about lapping HDT's lately and have decided against Lapping unless the surface really isn't that smooth.
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Originally Posted by xd_1771
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EDIT: I have Acetone & sandpaper, and my dad's out to get some of that isopropyl alcohol.
SOO... um... how do you lap?

I was looking at the other thread about lapping HDT's lately and have decided against Lapping unless the surface really isn't that smooth.

Lappig (both the CU and the heatsink) can get you as much as 10°c, but ususlly 3-5°c.

LOL you don't need both acetone and IPA.

And smooth surfaces isn't the issue. Flatness is. Put a straight edge across both the CPU and the Heatsink with a strong light behind and see how much light leaks through between the straight egde and the surface. Metal to metal contact between the CPU and heat sink gives the best heat transfer. Any areas where there isn't metal to metal contact have to be filled in with thermal paste, and thermal paste, while a lot better that air, isn't anywhere near as good as metal to metal contact.

And don't be attacking those surfaces with just any old sandpaper. See Easy Pc Kits for lapping parts and directions. There is a proper technique.
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I had to re-apply the MX-3 once because the RAM was in the way, so I had to lift the cooler again and reapply the paste on the CPU. On the other hand, the paste on the cooler had quite flattened so I decided to thin it out with a business card; it's an effective way of filling the cracks. I just put a pea-sized amount of thermal paste on the CPU and used the pressure trick you said. I didn't bother to Lap because by the time you posted that I was already beginning to assemble the parts, and so I heard lapping is a bit more risky for these coolers due to the nickel plating.

Idle temp: Fan speed below 650RPM, Cool'N'Quiet on:
26 degrees

Unfortunately, I have to say goodbye to DIMM 1 and DIMM 2.... so no 8GB for me

However, it seems my rear fan is blowing out... I wonder what's the deal here, I turned it around... or does that not work? Oh well... I have the combination of front, rear side & spot cool to bring air to the cooler.
And my front fan seems to be spinning at just 500RPM.... or maybe it's supposed to be like that.
And the top left of my panel isn't going in properly, sadly... oh well, it's only a ~4mm gap

Tomorrow: Overclocking like there's no tomorrow!!!!
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Nice work!
Full temps at 4.033ghz: ~47 degrees
I'm completely stoked with this result

Too bad I can't get this chip stable if I try to make it run faster... BSOD every time... and I have lots of potential headroom when it comes to temperatures
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