Saturday, February 17, 2007

Running cooler

Last night before I went to bed, I loaded the BIOS default settings on Blackbird before shutting it down and powering off the PSU.

This morning, I started disassembling Blackbird around 8AM. The photo on the right shows the Intel stock HSF mounted on the Core 2 Duo E6700 before I removed it.

The processor was then removed from the ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard.

The bottom of the stock HSF is circular which can be discerned from the circular pattern of the leftover stock thermal paste left on top of the processor.

I wiped off the leftover thermal paste from the processor, then used cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean off the remnants.

The next step was to remove the motherboard from the case to install the mount and its back plate for the Zalman CNPS9700 LED HSF.

The photo on the right shows the Zalman cooler mount installed on the motherboard.

Except for the fact that the Zalman cooler mount has to be installed before the motherboard is installed inside the case, I prefer the way the Zalman HSF is installed compared to the stock Intel HSF.

If you are thinking about using the Zalman CNPS9700 LED HSF, I recommend installing it when you initially build your computer instead of waiting later to upgrade. This will save you a lot of work.

The photo on the left is another view of the Zalman cooler mount with the processor installed.

The final step before the actual installation of the Zalman HSF is the application of the supplied "Super Thermal Grease" (ZM-STG1) on top of the processor.

A brush applicator attached to the cap of the "Super Thermal Grease" bottle makes it easy to apply a uniform layer of thermal grease on the processor.

Finally, the Zalman CNPS9700 LED HSF is installed in the mount with a clip (S-Type) fastened with 2 screws. You have clear access to the screws, even the one on the fan side. The HSF will slide as you are installing it. Make sure you have it aligned straight and centered on the processor before tightening the screws.

I installed the BFG 7950GT graphics card and booted into BIOS before installing and connecting the other devices. It took several power on/off before Blackbird successfully POSTed. However, I did not have to clear RTC (Real Time Clock) in CMOS RAM as I had to with Nighthawk.

Approximately four hours later around noon, Blackbird was back together running cooler at its stable overclocked speed of 3.4 GHz.

How much cooler? The temperature for the CPU at idle is now 31C/87.5F or 8C cooler than with the stock HSF. I am very pleased about this result.

I also rearranged the devices installed at the front of the case to leave room for a longer graphics card in the future, and this resulted in a 1C drop in the motherboard temperature to 34C/93F.

I am still perplexed why the motherboard temperature is this high compared to Nighthawk. The overclocked processor is running cooler than the motherboard by 3C on Blackbird!

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