Running Hot

Published on June 18, 2006

My current graphics card, an eVGA GeForce 6800GT, has been running very hot recently. Spending time in Half-Life 2 or Oblivion causes temperatures in excess of 75 degrees Celsius, scorchingly hot by most standards. As a result of these high temperatures, video output routinely becomes corrupted, requiring a power-off of the machine to set things right. This occurrence seems fairly recent, and I’m not entirely certain why. My computer has always done a good job of controlling its temperature, thanks to my Cooler Master aluminum case. I’ve inspected all of my system’s fans: three of my four chassis fans (I’ve disconnected the one on top for being too noisy), the power supply fan, the CPU fan, and the fan on the graphics card. Each one seems to be spinning, and airflow doesn’t appear to be blocked.

I’ve been looking at building an entirely new system for some time now, and this problem is only pushing me closer to actually going through with it. Switching to a more energy-efficient AMD processor should help somewhat, and I plan on adding an after-market cooler to my new graphics card (I’m currently looking at a GeForce 7900 GT). Hopefully these steps will bring my system’s temperatures down considerably.

4 Comments

Depending on your video card maker I’d double check the fan on that card. I have a Nvidia 6600GT from XFX and I too was running hot after a couple months of use. While doing some research online I found man complaints about the system fan on the graphics card. So I purchased a Zalman and I’ve been running cool ever since.

I’ve had my eye on the Zalman VF900 for a while now, and have only read good things about Zalman coolers. I’m still holding out to build a new system though … and I’m now mulling over waiting until late July to upgrade, since AMD processors will be falling in price rather drastically. I could get an X2 4600+ (and potentially even a 4800+) for cheaper than the 4400+ currently. That just might be enough for me to hold out…

Keep in mind that the X2 series is dual core and a lot of games (3 or 4 plus years) don’t support dual core. You’ll have to change the affinity to single for games and dual for everything else. Now all I have to do is convince my wife that my computer needs to be upgraded 🙂

Potential problems with older games has been a minor concern, but I can’t see it causing me any real grief. In fact, I don’t even understand why a dual core processor should cause problems. If an application is single threaded (as most games are), only one core will be used as the work horse, while the other remains idle. How exactly can that cause problems?

I have seen reports of instability problems with dual core setups, but part of me thinks that people are incorrectly blaming the processor when the problem really lies elsewhere.

Update: It appears that the stuttering problems people see in games has to do with the power management feature embedded in dual core CPUs. The power management module in Windows is apparently not multi-threaded, but Microsoft has a hot fix that supposedly corrects the issue. Sounds like a win to me!

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