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Ant pointed me to SpeedFan in this stackoverflow question.

I downloaded SpeedFan and it reports that my CPU temperature peaks at about 73C which seems to be normal according to this chart (although the little flame icons in SpeedFan worry me).

However, is a CPU fan speed of 3590 RPM normal? The CPU fan reaches this speed after I e.g. open thunderbird, tweetdeck and a youtube video in firefox. At this speed the fan spins so vigorously that I can feel a light vibration in the table above the computer, and it makes a high pitch drone/whine like an airplane taking off. Is my fan broken or is this speed much too high for a CPU fan?

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Here's a picture of the fan:

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

73 degrees is a little high if you ask me. The RPM of your fan is determined by a host of things but ~4000 is fine I tend to like slower fans that move more air because they are quieter. If the noise is bothering you buy a large fan/heatsink for $30-40 and replace it

EDIT: After seeing the pics... That looks like a stock CPU fan, I'd replace it with something quieter, it will bring the temp on your CPU down and be much quieter. When you pick something make sure it's going to fit. You don't have a whole lot of space between the CPU and the RAM

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From what I understand, it seems I already have a heat sink, see picture. This computer is the cheapest one I could buy about a year ago so I can't imagine this fan is of high quality but it seems fine up to about 3 months ago. What would you suggest buying to replace it? – Edward Tanguay Jul 15 '09 at 16:10
Anything by Arctic or Zalman should do the job nicely. There are a wealth of options depending on CPU type and how much space you have in the case (some heatsinks/fans are huge). You might find simply replacing the fan is enough which would save you $30 or so but if you ahve the cash I'd buy a new heatsink too – David Hayes Jul 15 '09 at 16:46
I've had great results with a Scythe Reeven direct heat-pipe style heat sink and fan. The Intel stock HSF I got with my Q9650 just sucked. – Chris W. Rea Jul 16 '09 at 2:48

Yes, 3500~4000 is normal (possibly even on the low side). By the look of the photo, though, you have a stock heatsink and fan assembly. I would recommend buying something like an Arctic or a Zalman cooler assembly.

Do check the internal dimensions of your case, though, as some of these more expensive coolers can be pretty sizeable.

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So does this mean that I can go to the computer store and buy a "Alpine 11 Pro", replace the one that I have by myself? Are CPU fans this plug and play? How would I know if I have a "Socket 775"? – Edward Tanguay Jul 15 '09 at 16:23
I found an "Alpine 11 Pro" here: – Edward Tanguay Jul 15 '09 at 16:25
Looks like you have an Asus p5B-MX motherboard ( from your photo. This is a Socket 775 motherboard – David Hayes Jul 15 '09 at 16:51

The speed of the fan is highly subjective to the controller regulating it, the type and model of the fan itself, or the load/temperature of the CPU.

From my experience, that speed is nothing out of the ordinary.

What kind of system is this running in? Is it an aftermarket CPU cooler or stock?

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It's a Windows Vista Home 32-Bit SP1, Intel Celeron CPU 3.06 GHz, 2 GB RAM, I posted some pictures of the fan above. This is the fan that came with the computer a year ago, I don't remember it being so loud before about 3 months ago. – Edward Tanguay Jul 15 '09 at 16:07
I'd recommend replacing it with a larger, more effective aftermarket cooler. It will keep it quiet and keep your CPU cooler if installed correctly. I know websites like and frequently do reviews on CPU coolers. I'm sure you can find some useful information there. – Russ Warren Jul 15 '09 at 16:10

The RPM is normal I would say. Temperature is a bit high. Would be wise to maybe change the Fan for a better one. Or more importantly make sure that you have some circulation through your computer case.

My computer was very unstable, although in my case it was the PSU that was getting too warm. Anyways, it was fixed by getting a new case that allowed for some fans to be put on the front, back and side. I had one in the front and on the side blowing in. And one on the back in addition to the PSU to suck air out. Helped a lot.

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Try to put some thermal grease on your processor and after that think about changing the fan.

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If you're going to fly it's good to have over 3500RPM at least.

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