A new fan for the processor

First written on April 25, 2017
Last updated on September 13, 2021

Hello again,

Some time ago I upgraded the CPU fan because I noticed that the stock one was broken.

Here’s the whole story.

A couple of years ago I put in a cheap case fan retrieved from a 2003 computer just to keep things cooler. The problem of this small fan was the tremendous noise which I couldn’t bare anymore.

So, some months ago I decided to open the computer and I was surprised in discovering that the CPU fan wasn’t working. Now I had two problems: the noise and one broken fan. I took drastic measures: I pulled out the noisy fan and the broken fan. Then I tested the CPU temperatures using $ sensors from the lm_sensors package. I found out that the temperatures got up to about 80 °C which is unacceptable for a CPU. I needed to try something else.

I then went into the BIOS options and I heavily undercloked the CPU to obtain temperatures like these (however I don’t remember the exact clock values):

[parabola@ppc ~]$ sensors
temp2:        +50.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, hyst = +75.0°C)
temp3:        +46.5°C  (high = +80.0°C, hyst = +75.0°C)
Core 0:       +69.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 1:       +63.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 2:       +66.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 3:       +66.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)

I went on like this for months but, as you can imagine, the computer was a bit slow and laggy especially using Iceweasel.

It was time to buy a new fan and heat sink. So I bought a Cooler Master Hyper 212X for about 30 euros (which seems to be a very reasonable price). This choice was made because of various factors (in decreasing order of importance):

Once I got the fan the hard part arrived: I had to remove the motherboard from the case to work comfy. This was the first time for me but it well better than I expected, except for a minor irritation at the end.

box 0
The fan box
box 1
Technical information reported on the box
box 2
The back of the box
unboxing 0
unboxing 1
unboxing 2
unboxing 3
test 0
Test and comparison with old heatsink before assembly. You may already see a problem here :)
test 1
test 2
test 3

I took some pictures to rember how the cabling should be.

cabling 0
cabling 1
cabling 2
cabling 3
cabling 4
cabling 5
cabling 6
motherboard 0
Mother board with the heatsink mounted
motherboard 1
Everything back in place. Ready to test
case 0
Case mods or it won't fit
case 1

I didn’t take exact measurements so I knew there was that risk. Since it’s an old PC I don’t really care about the case. If you have a new PC i suggest you take measurements to see if a potential new internal component fits before you buy it.

At this stage I powered up the computer. The new fan seemed to work fine so I removed the undercloking BIOS settings.

Use of fancontrol #

Finally I configured fancontrol to control automatic throttling of the fan based on the CPU temperature. I used the CLI tool called pwmconfig in manual mode otherwise it wouldn’t detect the fan. Once the tool finished it generated a configuration file and the gnuplot chart below. This chart is not really useful to us because it correlates RPMs with PWMs instead of RPMs and temperature. It just shows how the computer will handle the fan to get it to a certain speed.

Fan report

Here is the new sensors information

Adapter: ISA adapter
fan2:        1506 RPM  (min = 33750 RPM, div = 8)
temp1:        +32.0°C  (high = +25.0°C, hyst = +31.0°C)
temp2:        +34.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, hyst = +75.0°C)
temp3:        +44.5°C  (high = +80.0°C, hyst = +75.0°C)
Core 0:       +55.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 1:       +50.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 2:       +52.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
Core 3:       +52.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)

Much better!

The final thing to do was to add fancontrol as a system service.

Overclocking? #

Is it a good idea to overclock now that temperature is not a problem anymore? In my case the answer is no.

bios setings 0
((2650 / 2333 MHz) * 100) - 100 = + 13.59% clocking
bios settings 1
380 * 7 MHz = 2660 MHz. Maybe too much?
bios settings 2
If I don't increase the CPU voltage the BIOS screen won't even come up and the BIOS settings need to be cleared manually
kernel panic
Here's what happens

Even at 10% (+10% means 110% of overall clock) I had kernel panics sooner or later, although I could see it was faster. This is probably due to the power supply which is not able to stand more electric consumption the comination of processor and motherboard. According to some websites neither the processor nor the motherboard were made for this. So I gave up overclocking. Too bad…

Till next time.

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