My Pentium 4 3.4 GHz is running hot even with a new fan on my case's heatsink (80mm rated at ~ 40 CFM). If I stress the CPU, it goes over Intel's maximum temperature rating. I'm contemplating putting in a "PCI cooler" (i.e. a fan that fits into an empty PCI slot) to see if I could get better airflow in the case. The slot isn't far from the processor and heatpipes that lead from the processor to the fan, so I'm hopeful this would help, but not entirely certain. Thoughts?

  • Make sure there is enough airflow in the case so the hot air has somewhere to go. Else you end up cooling the CPU (or more precisely, cooling the heat sink) with hot air. More airflow is not a bad thing, but cool air coming in and hot air leaving from the other side of the case might help more. – Hennes Oct 8 '12 at 2:47
  • The heatsink has a built in "heat pipe," so that the fan blows the hot air out of the case. I have been wondering if I can think of a good way to get more air into the case, though... – Timothy R. Butler Oct 8 '12 at 3:13

Well, sure, that would increase airflow. But you could try liquid cooling or myriad other options for additional cooling. Cheapest would be to ensure the cleanliness of the heatsink, and apply a fresh coating of performance thermal paste to the processor after wiping clean the current paste with a clean, non-static-building, cloth that leaves no fibers. Most important is cleanliness. You can remove the heatsink, and dust it separate from the rest of the components with some canned air.

Your idea should work fine, but probably won't knock your socks off with results. Look into alternative fans for the CPU itself, and make sure nothing is wrong with the current fan/heatsink/grease/CPU stack. Overheating shouldn't be occurring in the first place, so it doesn't hurt to check.

  • It could be that I didn't get the surface clean enough when I took off the heatsink to install the P4 3.4 GHz. I sort of wonder if the heatsink and CPU are adequate for that processor though: while the system was designed to take any Northwood Pentium 4 or Celeron, I went from the more modest 2.6 HT to the most powerful CPU in the supported family -- one that hadn't been released when the system was produced. Perhaps that is the issue? I do find if I use Speedfan to rev up the fan sooner (before it hits 50C), I seem to have a better chance of managing the temps, but it still seems warm... – Timothy R. Butler Oct 8 '12 at 2:43
  • heatsink and CPU are adequate for that processor though -> Heatsink and FAN ? – Hennes Oct 8 '12 at 2:45
  • 1. You shouldn't need to ramp up the fan manually 2. I assumed you'd been running this system for years prior without this issue. Is this not the case? Is it a fresh build? That changes things slightly because it makes it more likely to be a misapplication of heatsink or thermal paste. I once didn't clamp down the heatsink enough and got a screaming "EEEEEEEET" from an angry, hot CPU undergoing thermal shutdown. Don't do this. – Alex Nye Oct 8 '12 at 6:00
  • +1 for the thermal paste. That is almost certainly the problem. – terdon Oct 8 '12 at 9:22

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