I recently built a new system based on the Intel Core i7 3820K. When I purchased the chip, the salesman informed me that the new intel chips no longer include a thermal solution of any kind. After telling him I was going to overclock my processor he recommended one of the ThermalTake Water 2.0 coolers, specifically the performer series (base model).

In order to get a baseline of how hot my processor runs at stock clock speed (3.6Ghz + 3.8Ghz Turbo Boost), I was looking for something to put my processor under high load for long time. A friend of mine recommended I use Stanford University's Folding@Home software.

I installed the software and let run for going on to 2 days now while using the computer for some light web research for school at the sametime. After being satisfied that the machine was stable, I decided to overclock the processor to 4.2Ghz via the motherboard tools. During this period of time the temperature rose about 5 degrees to 70 degrees celcius, the baseline was between 64 and 65. When I touched the radiator of my system last night it was very hot, maybe hot like a cup of fresh coffee.

My question is a bit of a multi parter.

First, is the amount of load being put on the system by Folding@Home equivilent to that which a high end game such as Skyrim may put on the system? Or would the amount of load be greater or lesser?

Second, Is Folding@Home considered a valid tool for testing a system against another system?

Third, I realize that the radiator is expelling heat from the CPU, but should the radiator be as hot as it is? With 2 fans blowing air through it shoudn't it be fairly cool?


First, depending on how you installed Folding@home, and what video card you have in the system, your GPU might have been used to carry the majority of the load... as opposed to your CPU. Games can tax a processor, yes... but games require good video chipsets, and are made to tax them as opposed to the CPU.

Second, there are much better CPU benching tools out there... tools that have been designed to make your processor work, and to benchmark your CPU. Prime95 (32bit version and 64bit version) is an example. It cranks up your CPU to calculate prime numbers, and it will make every core and thread of your processor work really hard. Now. Note where those files are being downloaded from. An Overclocking site. That means you can get OTHER tools to stress your CPU at the same site. Why? Because it is a site that is geared toward overclocking, and helping you do it right and learn what you need to know. There are MANY such sites out there, and the curtain can be pulled away to reveal them by simply searching Google for 'overclocking'.

Third, no. The radiator should not be cool. If you need evidence, go put your hand on your car's radiator while the engine is on.

As to your specific temperatures... check the watercooling block mount and make sure it is sitting on your processor correctly. You'd like to drop those temps down by about 20 degrees C.

EDIT I must have missed the part of your question where you wanted to rate your system for comparison purposes. You could use tools like 3DMark06 for that. It performs a series of different tests, and produces a number at the end that you can then use to compare against other systems (they have a big list) to know where you rate.

Sad to note that if I wanted votes, I should have ignored your actual questions and just addressed a single point.. and told you it was bad and not provided any solutions. I forgot that helping people doesn't rate well here at SU. Ah well... my loss is your gain sir.

  • Actually I did install with the option to use my GPU also. Mainly because aside from testing I still want to run Folding@Home. You make an excelent point about my computer radiator being like my car's. I also have checked the waterblock, it seems to be tightly against the CPU. Could it be that the system is inadequate for what I wish to do? I still have time to return it and get the bigger system. – ianc1215 Jul 25 '12 at 14:05
  • It might be inadequate, and then again, although it is sitting tightly on the processor it might not be sitting correctly on the processor. There is no reason why you shouldn't use Folding@home... it just wasn't made to be a diagnostic and benchmarking tool. – Bon Gart Jul 25 '12 at 14:07
  • I see, I will have to try prime95. Does prime95 actually "rate" your system? Or atleast give my stats to compare with? – ianc1215 Jul 25 '12 at 14:09
  • So you don't want to push your CPU to find a stable temp and overclock speed... you want to be able to compare it to other people's systems to know how good it is? Because no. Prime95 doesn't rate your system. It is a tool used to make your CPU work really hard so you can tell if your overclock is stable. If you want to rate your system, you could use something else like 3Dmark06. But since this "question" is actually turning into a discussion, you should consider joining one of the many Overclocking forums out there and starting a thread. – Bon Gart Jul 25 '12 at 14:13
  • No no I am giving the wrong idea by my last comment. What I am trying to do is find the highest stable overclock I can run. I just looking for some stats on how hard its working. – ianc1215 Jul 25 '12 at 14:26

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