Sunday, February 11, 2007

Running cool

It took another 2-3 hours to disassemble, install the Zalman CNPS9700LED HSF, and reassemble Nighthawk after I revived it earlier yesterday morning. After checking all connections, I turned the power on the PSU. The blue ASUS LED light on the P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard came on.

I pushed the power switch on the case, and the red ASUS LED light on the motherboard came on. All the devices and fans in Nighthawk were running but there was no video signal.

POST failed.

I turned Nighthawk off by keeping the case power switch depressed until all the devices and fans stopped. I then turned off the PSU and waited 5 minutes to trigger the ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall) feature.

I turned the PSU switch on and pressed on the case power switch once more. This time Nighthawk booted successfully to BIOS. I made all the BIOS changes to return it to the overclocked settings for Nighthawk.

One of the things I worried about was Nighthawk's RAID settings for the Intel ICH8R Controller. There was no need to worry. Nighthawk's RAID array and volumes remained intact.

Did the new Zalman HSF make a difference in Nighthawk's processor temperature?

Without a doubt.

Nighthawk's temperature readings at idle without overclocking and with the stock HSF were:

Motherboard: 28C/82F
CPU: 37C/99F

When overclocked to 3.2 GHz, the temperature readings at idle with the stock HSF were:

Motherboard: 30C/86F
CPU: 49C/120F

With the Zalman CNPS9700LED HSF, overclocked idle temperature readings are:

Motherboard: 28C/82F
CPU: 38C/100F

This idle CPU temperature is only 1C higher than the temperature at stock speed of 2.67 GHz and it is 11C cooler at overclocked speed of 3.2 GHz with the stock HSF!

What about temperature performance under load?

I ran 2 instances of SuperPi Mod1.5 XS and the temperature readings at the end of the 20th loop were:

Motherboard: 32C/90F
CPU: 44C/111F

... compared to temperature readings at the same point with the stock HSF:

Motherboard: 33C/91F
CPU: 56C/133F

That's an improvement in the CPU temperature of 12C!

The results from running the System Stability Test in Everest Ultimate were even more dramatic.

The CPU temperature readings with the Zalman HSF were:

CPU (Peak): 53C/127F
CPU (Low): 41C/116F

... compared to temperature readings with the stock HSF:

CPU (Peak): 72C/162F
CPU (Low): 57C/135F

That's an improvement of 19C at peak load and 16C at the lowest point!

Whereas I was unwilling to run the Everest Ultimate System Stability Test longer than 10 minutes with the stock HSF, I would now have no problem running it for an extended period.

The CPU temperature while running Johnny Lee's SP2004 ORTHOS never exceeded 51C/124F.

I am now pleased with the temperature performance of Nighthawk. I believe that my purchase of the Zalman CNPS9700LED HSF has been a good investment.

Blackbird will be getting the same HSF this coming weekend!

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