What a difference a fan makes!

In putting my production machine back together, I noticed that my disk drives and my passively cooled graphics card were running a bit warmer than I might like. So as I took the machine apart to replace the drives I also popped the front cover off and installed a ThermalTake 120mm TurboFan in front of the drive cage at the bottom of the case.

The 120mm fan pulls cool air in at the bottom front of the case, and blows it across the drives and out the back of the case, where the air path passes over the radiator fins for my Gigabyte SilentPipe III 8600 GTS graphics card. To help keep noise levels down, while moving more air, I also used a Zalman Fan Mate 2 Fan controller and cranked the voltage about halfway up. I also installed an Antec 80 mm single-speed fan above the graphics card, blowing directly down onto its cooling fins. There’s a 120 mm exhaust fan on the back of the case (it’s a ThermalTake, just like the case it came in), and my Zalman CNPS 9500 CPU cooler blows directly at it as well. The PC is a little bit noisier now: I can just barely hear it now at the edge of my hearing, whereas before I added those two fans it was dead silent (to my 56-year-old ears, anyway).

But the good news is the temperatures, which I report in degrees Celsius (° C): they are down across the board, as shown in this table (I don’t report CPU temps here because they didn’t change noticeably as a result of these new fans):

Item B4 Fans After Fans
GPU core 60-64 47-49
160GB HD 35-39 30-34
320GB HD 36-40 33-37
Case temp 33-44 26-41

These numbers come from Franck Delattre’s HWMonitor, a nifty little freeware tool you can download from CPUID.com. Plus, as an added bonus, if you have a “smart PSU” (like a Gigabyte ODIN) this utility reports on that device’s many readouts in a much more readable format than Gigabyte’s own power monitoring utility.


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