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#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2005, 03:30:54 pm »
Very interesting, Tracey!

But how can one practically tell whether it's the RAM independent of any power input or "dirty" power?

#### Javora

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2005, 04:38:02 pm »
Very interesting, Tracey!

But how can one practically tell whether it's the RAM independent of any power input or "dirty" power?

Process of elimination, start with a battery backup, then have your power supply tested and/or replaced.  If you still have problems with your system try something like Memtest and go from there.  Hope this helps.

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2005, 12:42:05 pm »
I decided not to TEST the power supply.  If you say you've never heard of MGE (local NY area stores and some on line places seem to have them popping up lately) its good enough for me... AND when I hold the bugger in my hands, it's LIGHT!  The best things about it were the shiny chrome finish and the 120 mm extra blue LED fan on it.

So, I replaced it with a Thermaltake Purepower 420 W (dual fan) unit (and cut my palm on the corner of a PCB pulling out one last recalcitrant power connector).  No fancy schmancy LED lit fans, but it's got two QUIET fans, and in reality, that counts more.

And, so far, no crashes or lock ups, except for the time I tried to move some of that rat's nest mass of wiring around to more convenient spots in the case... stupidly... with the power on and my kid playing something on it.  Outside of that, it seems stable now.  Of course, the real test is the weekend, when they go ape playing whatever online, offline, inline, outline, outright awful... on the PC.  I'll post again after then to report on the acid test results for the Thermaltake's effect on stability.

Now, mind you, my other kid's comp, an older machine, has exactly the same PSU and his system has NEVER given him any trouble.  So, if the system still hangs, I'm going to have to... sigh... investigate RAM prices further...

*EDIT* - I like the this particular Thermaltake unit because it is stable, trouble free, made by a KNOWN reputable manufacturer of such parts, and CHEAP!!  From Newegg, it's only a tad over $40 (USD) after shipping. #### Javora • America for Americans first. • Commander • Posts: 2969 • Gender: ##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming? « Reply #43 on: November 02, 2005, 01:43:22 pm » So, I replaced it with a Thermaltake Purepower 420 W (dual fan) unit (and cut my palm on the corner of a PCB pulling out one last recalcitrant power connector). No fancy schmancy LED lit fans, but it's got two QUIET fans, and in reality, that counts more. *EDIT* - I like the this particular Thermaltake unit because it is stable, trouble free, made by a KNOWN reputable manufacturer of such parts, and CHEAP!! From Newegg, it's only a tad over$40 (USD) after shipping.

I use a Thermaltake power supply in my system and I have never had a problem with it.  IMHO 420 watts is on the light side, I would have went with at least 480~500 watt power supply.  But the important thing is that the power supply works and is stable, by what you said so far seems to be doing just fine.

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2005, 09:50:28 pm »
Well here's a partial update:

First, you're right about the capacity of the PSU, but I figured that for the kids, I put in what... one floppy drive, one DVD drive (CDR in the older one), either a 30 or 80 Gb HD, and a Zip drive, either a Radeon 9500 or 9600 XT, and a wireless card... that it wouldn't require more than 400 W.

Now, we gave the system a quick couple of tests, running their favorite online game, opening a whole bunch of windows in the background at the same time, and it froze once in about an hour.

Yes, that was a short time, but again, this weekend will be the real test.

But it did freeze that one time, in the middle of their online game... though there was a lot of lag due to a high number of users... I wonder if that made a difference...

... so I guess I should start checking out RAM prices?  I'll run MEMTEST again now that I've got in a PSU I know to put out a clean signal.  So, next week, I'll post again on this!

Thanks, Jav, and all you others.  It IS much appreciated.

#### Javora

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2005, 12:01:47 am »
Well here's a partial update:

First, you're right about the capacity of the PSU, but I figured that for the kids, I put in what... one floppy drive, one DVD drive (CDR in the older one), either a 30 or 80 Gb HD, and a Zip drive, either a Radeon 9500 or 9600 XT, and a wireless card... that it wouldn't require more than 400 W.

Now, we gave the system a quick couple of tests, running their favorite online game, opening a whole bunch of windows in the background at the same time, and it froze once in about an hour.

Yes, that was a short time, but again, this weekend will be the real test.

But it did freeze that one time, in the middle of their online game... though there was a lot of lag due to a high number of users... I wonder if that made a difference...

... so I guess I should start checking out RAM prices?  I'll run MEMTEST again now that I've got in a PSU I know to put out a clean signal.  So, next week, I'll post again on this!

Thanks, Jav, and all you others.  It IS much appreciated.

I'm not sure that is a accurate way to test the power supply.  If anything you just tested the Processor, Ram, Hard drive, the system bus, and the bandwith of your Internet connection.  You said that the system crashed after an hour, given what you had running that's not bad.  Question though if I may, what video game were they playing when it crashed?  If it was Battlefield 2 then you may want to consider 2GB of Ram as that game is a serious memory hog, for that matter I would suggest a new Video card as well.  Otherwise 1GB of Ram seems to be the sweet spot now a days.  Keep in mind though if you upgrade the Video card to say an ATI X800~850, that will put a serious load on the Power supply.  Which brings me back to your new 400 Watt Power supply, given what you have now it should be ok, buying a new Video card however may put more load than it can handle.

As for what you put into your kids system that will put a load on the power supply, what really matters is the Motherboard/Processor, Video Card, Sound Card (if any) and Ram.  The Floppy and Zip drives shouldn't draw power unless it is actually being used.  The Hard drive, Wireless network card, and DVD drive won't draw that much power compaired to the major components.  The other thing to keep an eye on is how many unpowered USB devices you have connected, if you have more than three or four than you may want to look into a powered USB hub.  As always, hope this helps.

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #46 on: November 03, 2005, 11:08:25 pm »
Hmmm... I see.

Anyway, the game is some Korean server-based online thing a lot of kids apparently are playing these days- MapleStory.

Yes, an up to date video card will tax the power supply, but I've got a Radeon 9600 XT in that box right now and that *SHOULD* not load up the PSU too much at all.

In the other machine that runs without any crashing, there's only a Radeon 9500 with the identical Thermaltake PSU and it runs Call of Duty fairly well; only loading is slow.

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2005, 01:13:52 pm »
Okay, Jav, and anyone else interested,

It seems that his computer freezes much, much less with the Thermaltake PSU than originally with the MGE one... but it still crashes, just much less often.

So then, I think I've only solved the problem partially.  It probably is a combination of "ripply" power signal (cheapo PSU [again, even if very pretty to look at]) and mismatched RAM.

As I've indicated much earlier, one stick is 512 Mb of Kingston and the other is 512 Mb of Kingmax.

I'll try to run MEMTEST again later tonight with only one or the other, but before I even begin, which brand is more reliable in quality?  I've heard that Kingmax might be better than KIngston.

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2005, 01:34:29 pm »
Okay, Jav, and anyone else interested,

It seems that his computer freezes much, much less with the Thermaltake PSU than originally with the MGE one... but it still crashes, just much less often.

So then, I think I've only solved the problem partially.  It probably is a combination of "ripply" power signal (cheapo PSU [again, even if very pretty to look at]) and mismatched RAM.

As I've indicated much earlier, one stick is 512 Mb of Kingston and the other is 512 Mb of Kingmax.

I'll try to run MEMTEST again later tonight with only one or the other, but before I even begin, which brand is more reliable in quality?  I've heard that Kingmax might be better than KIngston.

when i replaced my fancy led power supply i took the led fans out of the old one and put them in the new one. or you could use them as a case fan.

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2005, 01:37:26 pm »
Neat idea.  But I won't tell my kid yet.  I don't want to hear clamoring over it for the next umpteen years...

#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #50 on: November 06, 2005, 11:18:55 pm »
Okay, Javora, Stormbringer, Maxillus, Tus, CayneG, and any others interested,

I ran MEMTEST with BOTH sticks of RAM still in (one 512 Mb Kingmax, one 512 Mb Kingston) with the new Thermaltake PSU...

... and there were NO ERRORS!!

Now what the heck does THIS mean??

Could it be that all the signal irregularities to the RAM chips were from "dirty" power from a cheapo power supply?

But the system still locks up, though not nearly as much.  His brother's machine, almost identical now, except the mobo is a slightly newer equivalent DFI NF2 AL 400 based board, as the earlier version was no longer available at the time I built this second machine, NEVER locks up.

I don't get it.

#### Javora

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2005, 04:31:53 pm »
Okay, Javora, Stormbringer, Maxillus, Tus, CayneG, and any others interested,

I ran MEMTEST with BOTH sticks of RAM still in (one 512 Mb Kingmax, one 512 Mb Kingston) with the new Thermaltake PSU...

... and there were NO ERRORS!!

Now what the heck does THIS mean??

Simple, it means your Ram is doing ok...
Unless something radically changes for the worse then I wouldn't worry about the Ram or Power supply anymore, it looks like those potential problems has been eliminated from the equation.

Could it be that all the signal irregularities to the RAM chips were from "dirty" power from a cheapo power supply?

But the system still locks up, though not nearly as much.  His brother's machine, almost identical now, except the mobo is a slightly newer equivalent DFI NF2 AL 400 based board, as the earlier version was no longer available at the time I built this second machine, NEVER locks up.

I don't get it.

That could have been a problem with dirty power feeding the Ram type of thing, but you are still experiencing lockups so something is still going on.  Is there anything else besides the motherboard that is different on these two systems?  If not then (if and only if you are confortable with it) I would suggest swapping the processors if you can.  This way if the system with the newer motherboard stops having problems but the system with older motherboard starts locking up then you could have a bad processor on your hands.  Likewise if you change processors and the system with the new motherboard still has problems then it could be a issue with the newer motherboard.

Then again before doing all of that why don't you check and see if there is a Bios update for the newer motherboard that is locking up on you.  If there is a newer Bios out, it might solve the problems you are having.  Hope this helps.

#### KBF MalaK

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2005, 05:31:35 pm »
i am using a very old, big(160mm, i think) fan that used to cool some industrial equipment where my dad works. It is connected to my PS by paper clips jamed into the power connector and is being run at 7v(best sound/air flow ratio) but can handle 24v. I have to have the case off all the time as the fan sits on top aiming down onto the CPU and RAM. Keeps system below 40c almost all the time. I have a Athlon XP 3200 CPU and Radeon 9800 pumping out the heat.

I was gonna do something like that, but run a duct from the cover opposite the CPU and fan blows into the CPU fan. I'm running 4 case fans now with a second power supply just for the fans, and speedfan, and dropped the CPU core voltage down to .05 volts less than the CPU requires. I can keep in the low 50's with this setup running autocad, and 3dsmax.

I had the greatest temp drop when I reversed the flow of the rear case fan to blow out instead of blowing onto the CPU heatsink. I think before I was just recycling the case air instead of evacuating it like it is now. So now all the front fans pull air into the case, and all rear ones blow out.

I've got a Gigabyte GA-7dxr, dual WDC40gig on the raid, and an ATI radion 7200, cd and dvd burners on the secondary controller, and a Maxtor diamondmax 80gig on the primary.
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#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2005, 10:39:01 pm »
... Now what the heck does THIS mean??

Simple, it means your Ram is doing ok...
Quote

Ha ha.  But seriously, you're right, it's a relief on that account

... But the system still locks up, though not nearly as much.  His brother's machine, almost identical now, except the mobo is a slightly newer equivalent DFI NF2 AL 400 based board, as the earlier version was no longer available at the time I built this second machine, NEVER locks up.

I don't get it.

That could have been a problem with dirty power feeding the Ram type of thing, but you are still experiencing lockups so something is still going on.  Is there anything else besides the motherboard that is different on these two systems?  If not then (if and only if you are confortable with it) I would suggest swapping the processors if you can.  This way if the system with the newer motherboard stops having problems but the system with older motherboard starts locking up then you could have a bad processor on your hands.  Likewise if you change processors and the system with the new motherboard still has problems then it could be a issue with the newer motherboard...

Ah, I don't want to do any CPU swapping... yet.  Both chips are still under warranty, as I bought the retail kits that came with the manufacturer (AMD) provided heat sinks, and I don't want to invalidate it.

... Then again before doing all of that why don't you check and see if there is a Bios update for the newer motherboard that is locking up on you.  If there is a newer Bios out, it might solve the problems you are having.  Hope this helps.

Yeah, I think I will look for the latest BIOS available for the mobo; I *MIGHT* have forgotten to check that after assembling the system...

#### Javora

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2005, 06:59:29 am »
No problem Ed, I'm here for you and anyone else that asks for help.  Everyone seems to contribute here in one way or another and this seems to be the best way for me to do that.

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2005, 08:56:44 pm »
Yeah, I think I will look for the latest BIOS available for the mobo; I *MIGHT* have forgotten to check that after assembling the system...

One suggestion.  Before flashing a BIOS reset to defaults.  I have known of cases where flashing a BIOS that had non default settings resulting in a failed flash and non bootable computer.

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#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #56 on: November 09, 2005, 10:03:47 am »
Hokey schmoke!  There's another old nugget of wisdom I have completely forgotten in my doting old age!

Thanks, Nem.  I haven't seriously tried to troubleshoot systems for a long time until recently and I truly appreciate, and I'm fairly sure others reading this thread appreciate, all this truly good advice.

#### Javora

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #57 on: November 09, 2005, 04:19:22 pm »

Ah, I don't want to do any CPU swapping... yet.  Both chips are still under warranty, as I bought the retail kits that came with the manufacturer (AMD) provided heat sinks, and I don't want to invalidate it.

Removing the CPU from the motherboard shouldn't void the CPU warranty.  CPU companies have to allow for the possibility of the motherboard going bad.  Unless CPU companies are going to cover the motherboard as well.  One thing though when you installed your CPU did you use thermal paste or did you use the thermal pad?  If you used the thermal pad then you may not want to remove the CPU as the thermal pad turns into glue and can harm your CPU if you try to remove the heat sink.  So if you did use the thermal pad and have to remove the CPU for some reason be very careful.

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #58 on: November 09, 2005, 08:23:36 pm »
Hokey schmoke!  There's another old nugget of wisdom I have completely forgotten in my doting old age!

Thanks, Nem.  I haven't seriously tried to troubleshoot systems for a long time until recently and I truly appreciate, and I'm fairly sure others reading this thread appreciate, all this truly good advice.

I have had a couple of other "anomalies" when working with machines whose BIOS settings had been tweaked for performance.  (My own machines so they were self inflicted  ).   The non booting after failed flash has not happened to me.  These days I am a little paranoid and won't even flash the BIOS unless the system is on a UPS as a failed flash due to power outage can leave your machine down until  you can get a new BIOS chip.  At least one manufacturer (gigabyte I think) puts 2 copies on your system, a master copy that you can't change and a flashable version.  That allows you to boot off the master copy even if you totally foul up the flash or use a "unauthorized" BIOS from a 3rd party.

One had originally had a Pentium 90 (overclocked to 100MHz) which according to Norton was running like a Pentium 177MHz.  Later I swapped the CPU for a K6-2 400MHz (no overclock) ultimately I went to install Linux.  Part way through the install crashed repeatedly.  So I tried to reinstall Windows (98SE) and the same thing happened.  Eventually I reset to defaults and was able to easily run either install no problem.  I never did find out exactly what setting (or combination) caused the problem.

Later with a my 1st Dual CPU machine I was reinstalling Win2k Pro and needed to install a driver off the floppy for the HD controller.  The floppy could be accessed but not read.  Since I had been able to write the floppy before beginning the reinstall I knew it worked.  Finally I did the reset to defaults and it worked once again.

The moral of the story of course is if your machine is acting "funky" consider resetting the BIOS to defaults.  Even if you think there is nothing odd in your configuration to cause the trouble you may be in for a surprise.  So you may wish to try that with your machine. Nothing to lose but a little time zero cash outlay and no real risk.
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#### E_Look

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##### Re: What do you do to keep your computer cool when gaming?
« Reply #59 on: November 16, 2005, 10:20:08 pm »
Hey Jav & Nem & Kid Carrson & Tus & all else!

I just flashed my son's BIOS.  I'm typing from that rig right now.  I did as suggested, resetting the original BIOS to defaults... one interesting hiccup, though: it disabled the 3.5" floppy A: drive!  I had to reboot, reaccess the BIOS and reactivate the A: drive (what a pain!).  Apparently, after that however, it went off without a hitch and haven't had any lockups yet.  Funny though, when I first booted it up tonight and opened the browser to go to the mobo mfg's website for the new BIOS, guess what... IT CRASHED!

So far, it's been at least a half hour if not more since flashing the BIOS and no trouble yet.  The real acid test will be when he logs onto his usual online game in a couple of days.

But I guess the combination of a high quality power supply and an updated BIOS firmware is doing the trick!

Thanks again, all of you, including all unnamed ones!

EDIT:

Oh well.  Five minutes ago, about an hour into the new BIOS, the system froze.  It IS much less crashy than it was before the PSU change, however.

Maybe I *should* seriously consider matching the RAM (i.e., all from the same manufacturer), although MEMTEST said all was okay with the RAM.  *sigh*

But... as I said, the real test is this weekend when he gets to play for a more extended time than my light testing here.

Okay, another edit:

I just realized that maybe ATI might still have a bit of those bad old days in them, so I just d/l'd their latest drivers and fluff from their website and installed them.  Let's hope this one nails the bogeyman in the machine.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2005, 11:24:13 pm by E_Look NCC-9091 »