New Heatsink, Same Problem...

Coolermaster New hyper n520 cpu cooler 9...
March 12, 2012 at 16:14:13
Specs: Windows Vista Ultimate x86 64-bit SP1, AMD Phenom II Black Edition quad-core 3.5 GHz
So recently I've been having problems with overheating, to the point where Just Cause 2 wouldn't run for more than five minutes without dropping to around 5-10 FPS. After establishing that overheating was, in fact, the problem (I took the side of my case off and it ran just fine), I decided to buy a new heatsink to replace the god-awful stock one that came with my CPU.

I went down to CompUSA and selected a CoolerMaster Hyper N520, which got pretty good reviews on Newegg. Getting home, I took apart my case, popped the motherboard out, and went to town with a can of compressed air. Having nice clean hardware, I reoriented a few of my case fans to better increase flow through the system.

Finally I installed the new heatsink, cleaning off the old thermal paste with a coffee filter and some rubbing alcohol, carefully spreading a thin, even layer of thermal paste on the contact point of the new heatsink (I used the stuff that came with it), and being very careful when screwing it in not to lift up at all for fear of messing up the paste.

I turned the computer on - clean components, better fan direction, new heatsink - and upon staring CoreTemp, discovered I was idling at anywhere from 40-55 Celsius, the same temperature I'd been getting before any of this. But now the real test - I stared up Just Cause 2, and after about five minutes, the FPS drop came back. I checked CoreTemp again, and was now running around 63-64 Celsius, or the same temperature I'd been getting FPS drops at before.

So two hours of work and $53 later, I've gotten absolutely nowhere. Surely I did something wrong, there is no reason it should be running as hot as it was before. Suggestions? I'm thinking it might have something to do with the thermal paste, perhaps I should buy some Arctic Silver 5 and use slightly more? Slightly less? HALPZ.


- K9N2 SLI Platinum motherboard
- AMD Phenom II Black Edition quad-core CPU @ 3.5 GHz (stock, not overclocked)
- Nvidia EVGA 9800GX2 dual-GPU
- 8GB RAM (four @ 800MHz, four @ 1066MHz)
- Apevia X-Cruiser mid-tower (five 80mm fans, two pulling air in from the front, one pulling in from the side, one pushing out the top, and another pushing out the back - yes, the heatsink is aligned correctly)

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March 12, 2012 at 17:33:05
"carefully spreading a thin, even layer of thermal paste on the contact point of the new heatsink"

That's NOT how it's supposed to be done. ALL modern AMD CPUs use the "middle dot" method:

"five 80mm fans"

Overkill, not to mention noisy. Take out the front fans & side panel fan (they're unnecessary) but keep the side air duct in place. Open up the holes where the rear exhaust fan mounts, they are WAY too small. Better yet, cut the hole out completely & mount a 120mm fan with grille like this:

I'm not sure what the top blow hole is like it in that case, but if it has pin-hole openings like the rear, open it up for better airflow like above.

"the heatsink is aligned correctly"

In other words, the CPU fan either blows toward the power supply or the rear exhaust fan, right?

"K9N2 SLI Platinum motherboard"


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March 12, 2012 at 20:33:06
Agreed. Reinstall heat sink correctly. purchase a GOOD quality 120mm fan for the rear. Look at the CFM's and make sure they are high, look at the noise level and make sure it is low and look for dual ball bearings. Get a quality fan for the top that fits. Typically I consider a front fan as optional, not really needed, but they cannot hurt, but in this case you have that lower rear grille that will allow the air from your lower front fan to blow right out the lower back and not flow up through your components so you are loosing that potential air flow. Therefore in addition to opening up the rear fan's grille, I would screw a piece of sheet metal over the lower rear grille to force the air through the case and over the components. Definitely loose the side fan(s) which will also disrupt the air flow through the case.
I have good results with Cool Master cases using a rear and front 120mm fans in one rig and a rear, top, and front 120mm fans in the other. Both are overclocked and using stock Intel heat sinks and both stay cool. On one build I kept one fan and added the other, on the other I purchased all three quality fans separately. Top fans are only needed if you are using a bottom mounted power supply to improve heat exhaust, otherwise the rear fan and the power supply's fan are enough.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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March 13, 2012 at 02:32:39
Alright, I disabled the side fan and covered the lower rear vent (with an index card for now, I'll cover it for real when I have time to take my rig apart), and for now it's still the same temperature. I'll let you know how it goes once I install a larger fan and re-apply the thermal paste ;)

Although it seems 90% of the noise was coming from my side fan, I'm running almost completely silent now :)

"In other words, the CPU fan either blows toward the power supply or the rear exhaust fan, right?"

Correct ;)

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March 13, 2012 at 06:07:40
I didn't say disable the side fan, I said to remove it. And I didn't say to block off anything in the rear of the case, why would you want to do that?

This should be what the rear of your case looks like (I think):

The rectangular area next to the card slots provides fresh air to the video card, do NOT block it off. And you certainly don't want to block off the area where the rear exhaust fan mounts, you need to open it up. Those holes are WAY too small to don't allow enough air to get out. This is the air flow you should be looking for:

My guess is the heatsink installation is your problem. I'm running an overclocked Phenom II X3 with no case cooling fans other than the 120mm in the power supply & my CPU idles in the mid to upper 30's. I'm running this HSF with just a tiny dab of Radio Shack paste in the center of the CPU:

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March 13, 2012 at 23:44:38
I took Finger's advice about covering the lower rear vent - when I put my fingers in front of it while my system was on, I could feel hot air blowing back into the case, so I covered it. I certainly didn't block the rear fan, in fact I cut out the vent so it's totally open now (still running the 80mm but I'm going to try to get a 120mm fan Thursday). As for the GPU, there's a vent on the side of the case that's pulling cold air right onto it ;)

Anyway, I re-applied the thermal paste with the drop method, and already I'm idling about 10 degrees C cooler. It appears that was the bulk of my problem.

The other thing I did was to reverse my top fan (I don't think my case gets very good draw from the front), so cold air is getting pulled in. I'll experiment with disabling it entirely and see what that does.

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March 14, 2012 at 05:13:12
Think of it as a flow of air through your case, in low in the front and out high in the back. The MOST important is the exhaust for the hot air, if it blows out enough from the rear and top then cooler air will be drawn in from everywhere else. Riider may be right to leave the lower rear vent open, but ONLY if you have enough outward pull from the upper rear and top since the heat will tend to rise (convection) and cooler air will be drawn in from wherever it can be (which is why he never uses a front fan as far as I can tell).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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March 14, 2012 at 11:30:16
AMD stock CPU fans are very good at keeping things cool. Your problem seems to be a crappy case. Buying after market coolers is a waste of cash IMO.

All you need is the PSU fan/s and one large rear discharge fan. Don't set the case on carpet as that will block some of the air inset at the low front of the case.

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March 14, 2012 at 14:26:22
Buying after market coolers is a waste of cash IMO

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.

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March 15, 2012 at 05:26:18

I should have qualified my statement to AMD products. I have stated here many times that I am not an Intel user so I have no working knowledge of their current hardware.

The OP is using an AMD CPU. I have read many threads here including this one wherre users have overclocked their AMD CPUs while using a stock AMD retail cooler with no adverse affects. I stand by by statement as far as AMD goes.

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March 15, 2012 at 14:24:11
I just wanted u to know there is a place for after market cooler.
Both AMD and INTEL chips can overclock & run well with stock cooler.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.

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