I've been saving up cpu questions...

By sjps220 ยท 12 replies
Mar 6, 2006
  1. I have a few questions to ask. I do not currently overclock but I wouldn't be surprised if I decided to in the future so I want my cooling to be decent.

    First quesiton. When I was installing my cpu, the stock thermal paste was touched leaving a fingerprint and a small corner scraped off. My temperatures are about 35 idle and 42 load and this seems decent for my processor (3500+). I have some arctic silver just lying around. Is it worth applying it? Or should I take Howard's advice that if it aint broke dont fix it?

    What about heat sinks? How much better would one of the cheaper heatsinks from thermaltake or zalman be over my stock cooling? A few of the sites mention a maximum recommended weight that the cpu manufacturers suggest for the heatsink. A lot of the coolers are over this weight. how much of a problem is this? Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Only one more, I swear. My motherboard is the A8N-SLI basic. I read a post somewhere where someone said that they had to flash the bios version from 1012 to 1013 to take full advantage of the speed of the processor. My bios version is currently 1009. Is there any benefit to updating the bios or should I go with Howard again?

    Thanks a lot for your help!
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Your temperatores are GREAT right now. No need to re-seat and do the artic silver until you will start overclocking. When/if you do decide to overclock, then you will need a third party heatsink/cooling solution (at least it is recommended). Zalman's are great not only because they keep you much cooler than stock heating but also because they do it QUIETLY. My last OCd system was so loud it wasn't worth it for me.

    As for your bios it depends on what model your 3500+cpu is. Take a look here:

    As you can see, some models are fine with the bios you are currently using, but if your CPU is a more recent revision then it may be worth your while to do the bios upgrade to take advantage of all your CPU has to offer.
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Your temperatures are absolutely fine. In fact, they are very good.

    With temps like those, I see no point in changing the thermal paste, or the heatsink, as it`s already doing a good job of keeping your cpu cool.

    If everything on your system is recognised and running correctly. I don`t recommend you to flash the bios, just for the sake of it. You should only flash a bios if there is some deffinite reason to do so.

    Regards Howard :)
  4. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Okay, great! Thanks for your quick replies! I think I'll leave the cooling stuff for now but consider a zalman if I decide to OC.

    My cpuz says this:

    Name AMD Athlon 64 3500+
    Code name Venice
    Specification AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+
    Family/Model/Stepping FF2
    Extended Family/Model F/2F
    Brand ID 4
    Package Socket 939
    Core Stepping DH-E6

    Does this mean that I have the E6 revision? If so it the asus link says that you should have version 1010 or newer.
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Yes, it looks like you have the E6 revision, and I think it is also safe to assume that your system is not currently taking advantage of everything that your CPU has to offer (as Asus' site says you must have bios 1010 to use that CPU).

    Personally? I'd update. Yes, there are risks to updating the bios.

    I have the A8N-SLI deluxe board. Here is how I update mine. Download the latest bios from Asus (not the beta, but the latest version BEFORE the beta) to your hard drive. Open up the asus liveupdate software and tell it to update your bios from a file (not from the internet or any of the other options). Point the program to the bios you downloaded, and let it do it's thing.

    Do this after a fresh reboot of your computer, and don't have anything running in the background.

    IMPORTANT: you should update your chipset drivers BEFORE the bios upgrade.
  6. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    what are the risks with updating the bios?
  7. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    If the BIOS flash goes bad. You can end up with a non-working system. You would either have to replace the CMOS chip or get a new motherboard.

    Regards Howard :)
  8. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    when I update my motherboard chipset drivers, do I have to get the drivers from asus or can I get them anywhere? The asus site is going extremely slow right now for me.

    edit: I downloaded the 6.70 version from nvidia, and I'm assuming this will be the same if not better than the asus ones?
  9. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    So for future reference, how much should I be concerned with the weight of a cpu cooler when shopping for one? Zalman warns that the maximum weight according to AMD is 450g but some of fans are about twice that.
  10. Exscind

    Exscind TS Rookie Posts: 26

    I think your temps are normal, and definitely don't need any extra push if you don't feel like messing around. But since you already have some AS, you can always try to experiment with that and most likely will see a better result in temperature. As for after-market solutions, it depends on how much you want to spend. Zalmans are nice, but usually pretty expensive (do come with a fan though). If you are on a budget, I recommend Thermalright XP-90. Fits nearly all known motherboards and cools excellent. I am using the XP-90 right now and can tell you it cools much, much better than the stock cooler you get with AMD. You can get the XP-90 for $25 right now at SVC, plus a decent fan, probably looking at $35 total (not including shipping and tax).

    For the weight recommendation, it really depends. If you're not very experienced (most likely, and I don't mean this as an offense), I'd go with the XP-90 because it's one of the few after-market heatsinks that IS under the AMD recommended weight of 450g. Zalmans are usually 600 to 900g, most of the Thermaltakes are also over the limit. But if you can secure the heatsink tightly onto the motherboard, you shouldn't have troubles. Again, it's up to you whether you want to take up on that task or not. Good luck.
  11. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Thanks for the reply Exscind,

    I did some research and I liked the xp-90 a lot. I think I'd like to have the control of choosing the fan on top, as it would be easy and cheap to replace.
    The price though would have worked out quite close to the zalman after I covert it to Canadian dollars and add shipping, and I can't seem to find the heatsink around here.

    Right now I'm looking at the zalman 7000b (or 7700b if I decide weight doesnt matter too much) both al-cu versions. They will cost me around $50 Canadian.
    I have not decided at all though. I wont be buying anytime soon, I just enjoy researching it to get an idea, so keep the suggestions coming!

    The 7000b al-cu from zalman is below the 450g mark with a 92mm fan, while the 7700b al-cu is above (600g) but it has a larger 12cm fan. What do you think?
  12. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    You can also use the drivers directly from nvidia as you thought. I actually had some problems with the drivers provided by asus with this board (IDE drivers weren't working for me), and the drivers directly from the nvidia site fixed me up.

    As for the dangers of updating your bios, one other good thing about your motherboard (and with most newer motherboards on the market today) is they have a dual bios as a backup in case your update goes wrong. In the case of Asus, they call it "crashfree" bios (I believe). If you screw up your bios update, there is a way to restore to the secondary backup bios. Still not 100% safe, but not as dangerous as bios updates used to be.
  13. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Thanks donnagual yet again for your help!

    I updated the bios this afternoon as you described and it went perfectly! I don't really notice a difference, but I'm still glad I did it so that I know how it's done. yeah the reason I decided to do it was that I read about that bios backup that's on the motherboard.
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