1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Heatsink/Fan question?

By Hypochondriac ยท 24 replies
Aug 2, 2007
  1. My computer is about 3 years old, It idles around 48, and can get up to 60 degrees in temp when playing games, I generally leave the case off to help with airflow.

    How do you know what heatsink/fan to get? I have an intel 865gbf Motherboard.
    The fan/heatsink I have is the one that came with the CPU. It's an Intel P4. I tried google but don't understand the differences between the different types of heatsinks. What make on better then the other, and are there motherboard specific or does one size fit all?

    Edit: Oops I just noticed there is a cooling forum. Can someone please move the thread or should I repost there?
  2. DS_Flare

    DS_Flare TS Rookie Posts: 23

    is it the whole computer that gets up to that temp? or a certain sensor(HDD, cpu, video card)? well it seems that ur processor is a socket 478, which was common back in the day. Im using a 478 still >.<. Anyway, while your computer is off, check your processor's fan, is it piled with dust? if so, blast it with an air can to releive its cluster. If that isnt the problem, here is a link to some processor fans that will be compatible.


    zalman is one of the nice brands that will work well. dont be too cheap now, $20+ is fine
  3. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Well, generally, the bigger the heatsink, the better it is.

    Also, heatpipes are all the rage these days, having more of them makes a heatsink better, but make sure there are enough of them to start with (at least 3 I reckon).

    And yes, you'd have to take note of which socket motherboard you're using. Also, with some heatsinks, they can get extremely large, so large that some motherboards have configurations which just won't support them. This is especially true if you're going to use one of those new motherboards with heatpiped cooling solutions, or if you're going to be using one of those monstrous, yet underperforming, Gemin II heatsinks.

    Copper heatsinks were better than aluminum, but bear in mind, this is assuming they are of the same size. If you're comparing a huge aluminum cooler with heatpipes, with a dinky little copper heatsink, the aluminum will still win.

    The Zalman 7700CU seems like a good bet. Not the best performing one, mind you, but should be adequate.
  4. Hypochondriac

    Hypochondriac TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Thanks for the help. But it looks like all the problems I was having was do to the motherboard :( which I will have to replace. Looking into that ATM have an intel 865gbf so trying to find compatible boards so I can move everything over, including the AGP graphics card
  5. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    why do you think your motherboard is the problem?

    you say you "I generally leave the case off to help with airflow". I assume that by "case" you mean the case's side panel. just an FYI, leaving the side panel off does NOT help with airflow, it pretty much kills it. for your heatsink(s) to be effective, they have to be free of excessive dust buildup, have properly applied thermal compound inbetween the heatsink and the CPU/chipset.

    if the stock heatsink worked fine for the last 3 years, then it can work just as good again (unless the fan is bad). to get it back to new working order again you will need to remove it, clean it, apply thermal compound, and re-mount it... after that it should be good as new ;)

  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Your motherboard is NOT the problem. If anything, your CPU is the problem, since you'd run into the same problems choosing a heatsink to fit if you're using the same CPU.

    Like King Cody mentioned, lifting the side panel off kills your airflow, unless you're directing a table fan into the case.

    Getting a new motherboard shouldn't be a new problem if you really want to go that way. You're really just looking for a socket 478 motherboard with an AGP slot. They shouldn't be too difficult to find if you're willing to get a secondhand one. A firsthand one will cost you just about as much as a new, mid-ranged, socket 775 motherboard.
  7. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    You're all wrong. The problem has to do with the cooling scheme overall!

    I had this problem with my step-father's computer. When he initially bought it, it worked fine for 3 years. Then it started to crash. Turns out there were 3 reasons for the crashing, one of which was overheating. After doing some research, the solution was very simple: use a system fan.

    Although the CPU or MoBo temp readings are rising, it doesn't mean the heatsink/fan combos are not working. They may in fact be doing the job. It's that the overall cooling system for your comp is inadequate because the heat being removed from the CPU & MoBos is not being vented out the chassis! Yes, the heatsink is pulling heat off the CPU and the fan sucks the heat from the sink, but it's just being blown inside the chassis. Adding a second fan (called a "system" fan) at the upper rear vent, evacuates the hot air out the chassis and allows cooler room air to be drawn in the lower rear vent. What happens when you don't use a system fan is that the hot air builds up in the chassis and it becomes a sauna. Adding a bigger heatsink and faster fan won't change that. You need a system fan to evacuate the hot air out the chassis. It's the cooling scheme that's inadequate. All MoBos come with an extra outlet for a second "system" fan. It's trivial to install. I did that on my step-father computer and *PRESTO*, the overheating stopped and, consequently, the crashing. The temp does initially rise when running something processor intensive (i.e. anti-virus scan) but it reaches a certain temperature within tolerance and stay there.

    In my father's case, over time the programs were getting bigger (i.e. anti-virus), the size of his hard drive got bigger so anti-malware scans took longer, as well he got into some video gaming, all of which lead to more heat and consquently craashing. Added a system fan and it all disappeared.
  8. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Lol, you don't even know if he's already got a fan back there. I'm hedging bets its clogged with dust, but either way, a new CPU cooler wouldn't hurt.

    And yeah, if you don't have a fan back there, the guy who built you this computer didn't know what he was doing.
  9. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    CMH, first, all off the shelf PCs do not come with a system fan. It's optional. Also, he didn't mention he had a system fan, only that he's concerned that his current heatsink/fan combo is inadequate. Altogether I presumed he's not using a system fan.

    In my experience and from reading on this board, a lot of persons don't know about system fans and incorrectly assume their heatsink/fan is the problem when it's not.
  10. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Hrmm... by off the shelf, I'm assuming non-branded comp, built in computer shops?

    I know most cases come with rear fans (or at least the cheapo ones my dad ends up buying). The branded OEMs I've ever owned (a 286, and a 133mhz Pentium) had rear fans....

    I've not seen a comp without a rear fan ever, really, and this includes comps from non-tech friends and family. So I just assumed that his should come with one....

    Either way, if he doesn't have one, he should know that he needs to install one immediately.
  11. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    By "off the shelf", I meant non-custom PCs. Basically, what you buy at BestBuy, Staples, ... My experience has been the opposite of yours, that all branded PCs I've seen have come without a system fan. I'll check this the next time I go to BestBuy or Staples, but I'm pretty sure they don't.
  12. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Well, the branded PCs I've ever owned were from the 80s and early 90s. CPU heatsinks didn't come with fans then, so you really needed a rear fan.

    But some family member bought a Dell about 3 years ago, and that had a rear fan too....

    Unfortunately, I've never heard of BestBuy or Staples.
  13. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Excuse me, I presumed you were american. BestBuy and Staples are american big box stores. I'm canadian and we have them also.
  14. Hypochondriac

    Hypochondriac TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Sorry I wasn't specific enough.

    It's a custom built computer (unbranded), If you included the PSU it has 3 fans. The PSU, The Heatsink fan, and what I assumed to be a system fan in the back that sucks hot air out.

    The reason I suspected a heating problem first was because it would randomly shutdown when playing games or other programs that put a load on the processor and opening the case and having a fan blow on it seemed to help.

    Later as the problems got worse the computer wouldn't even post on the first try and it would take 2-3 to post then randomly freeze. From google and other posts on the forum. I learned that those problems could be do to heating/ram problems/board problems/ or the PSU.

    I changed the PSU that didn't help, for ram I tried one stick at a time that didn't help and memtest 86 showed no errors. So that just leaves the board. Which I found is know to have cap problems.

    Hope I didn't leave anything out. Thanks for the link dsflair. Does anyone have suggestions on a reliable place to get a second hand board?
  15. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    Most of the branded computers I've worked on don't have system fans. The sole exception being Dell's. Dell's usually have a passive CPU heatsink in combination with a system fan that has an extender tube that pulls air over the heatsink. Some Dell's might have a rather large turbine type fan that gets really noisy at higher voltages.
  16. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    If the custom builder used a thermal grease like Artic Silver then it would have dried out by now and that would cause high temps and crashing. You can try reapplying the thermal grease and see if that helps. You will have to have the grease anyways if you end up buying a new board.

    As far as a used board goes I'd buy locally if I could. That way you can always go back to the vendor if you need to. Do you just want to replace the motherboard you currently have with a carbon copy or do you want to try something different?

  17. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    well... 3 years old is barely the end of a pc's life expectancy...

    So I suppose we can rule out RAM failures. Unless its been happening once in awhile since you bought it, it shouldn't be RAM problems.

    For motherboard problems, capacitors on the motherboards don't have that much of a life expectancy, but should still last 3 years. May be the cause of your problems though.

    Heat doesn't sound like the problem if you say you're getting the problems just surfing the web, unless its in such a terrible shape that it'll overheat just by being on. This can happen if your comp is just massively clogged with dust. Take it outdoors, and use an aircan to clean it. DO NOT VACUUM, since this can cause static in the air, which may fry your components.

    If your board is well known to run into cap problems, I'd stay well clear from a carbon copy of it, since its going to develop the same problems later. Post the type of processor, be as specific as possible, and we can try to help you find a new board (or at least give you some parameters to look for).

    Arctic silver isn't supposed to dry out no matter how long you put it in. Its usually the water based thermal compounds which dry out, AS and other premium pastes are made of synthetic oils.

    And you'll have to buy some grease or something if you're going to get a new board, since you can't reuse the old grease on the processor right now. Might as well be AS5, since its gonna cost you only 10 bux, and you should have a lifetime supply (I'm assuming you're not like the rest of us, and change CPUs/heatsinks every second day...). AS5 doesn't go bad, according to the manufacturer (doesn't dry up, doesn't split, doesn't start to grow fungus, etc). Some reports that it might split though, but apparently some good shaking helps...
  18. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    I know I've had AS go bad. If it went bad because it dried out or because an air bubble expanded in the mix until it forced the heatsink and processor apart makes little difference; the fix is the same. Take off and clean the heatsink. Reapply thermal grease and reseat the heatsink, and check the temps. My socket 478 3.2GHz Pentium IV doesn't usually run at 60C at 100% load. It usually see temps around 48-55 or so. NOW where's my vaccum, I gotta go clean my puter. :D
  19. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    LOL :D

    I think I've gone through a tube and half in the last year alone, hehe :haha: :haha: :haha:
  20. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I go through my fair share as well....
  21. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I have had a couple of tubes for a few years now. After building/repairing 300 or so systems, I still have a fair amount left
  22. Hypochondriac

    Hypochondriac TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    It's a P4 2.4 Gigahertz, 478 socket. I was thinking of trying a biostar as a cheap replacement. http://www.directron.com/p4m80m4.html it will let me transfer everything from 865gbf other boards I found didn't have a AGP or used ddr2 memory.

    I have AS 5 but can't be sure if it's real because I got it off Ebay. I used it once before when the computer was overheating.
  23. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    AFAIK, nobody manufactures socket-478 motherboards anymore, so any place you can find that sells them simply has leftover stock. I wouldn't spend $50 from a store, just find an old board off ebay to hold you over until you're ready to upgrade your system.

    you're probably satisfied with your current system (and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that), but I wouldn't recommend spending any more money than you have to on parts for it.

    oh and BTW, whether from eBay or anywhere else, if it says AS5 then it probably is. even in computer stores it only costs about $5/tube so I doubt anybody would bother to sell a fraudulent tube of AS5 ;)

  24. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Actually, you can still get brand new Asrock Socket 478 mobos, but like KingCody said, I wouldn't spend too much on it, and its just to hold me off till I get a new comp
  25. Hypochondriac

    Hypochondriac TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Thanks for the advicd

    I checked ebay there mostly $30-40 used, with no warranty. So I'd rather spend 10-15 dollars more and at least get a warrenty
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...