HELP: Running 52 degree idle/Directional airflow with Noctua NH-L9a?

Mortis Angelus

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Hello,

as some of you have seen, I built a Ryzen 1500X system into a Xbox-chassi.

Now, when I finally have gotten around to properly test it, I get a ridiculous 50-52 degree idle temp on the CPU in BIOS.

What am I doing wrong?

I have the 1500X at stock speeds, no OC

I use the Noctua NH-L9a as cooler.

While I don't expect the best case scenario in this case due to a bit cramped airflow, I did expect better idle temps than 50 degrees. Tek Everything gets 33 degrees idle on an OCed 1700X. Granted, that is a more open chassi he uses, but I did expect my system to be around 40 - 45 degrees idle.

Also, in the image below, you see how I have placed 3x 60mm fans to blow fresh, cold air onto, and below, the motherboard. This should push the warm air into the chassi and out on the other side. But now I wonder if it is this that causes the issue; that the hot air stays inside the rig. Should I flip those fans around to just exhaust air? But since the top intake is right above those fans (can be seen in this video), I fear that the fans will just suck air down through the top vent, and not really sucking any air away from the mobo.



Final question: Tek Everything also mentions that there is a way to direct the airflow from the Noctua cooler away from the RAM; i.e. make the cooler blow only towards the back IO-plate. But as far as I can see, the cooler blows air both towards the RAM and the back IO-plate. How to determine the direction? Or is Tek Everything wrong?

All suggestions and comments and ideas are welcome at this point.
 
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Mortis Angelus

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NOTE: I shall test with no case-lid today (more of an open air test bench) and see if the idle temps are the same. Then I know it probably is an issue with the cooler. But in the meanwhile, your help would be much appreciated!
 
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BernardoZ

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Hi, nice job dude!
To determime the best config, i would try comparing temps on 6 possibilities:

1. Without the side panel (like test bench):
a) With fans turned off;
b) with fans pushing hot air out;
c) with fans pulling cold air in.

2. With the side panel:
a), b) and c).

This will probably determine what your problem really is (if its the panel, the cooler, or the fans).
Im actually pretty interested on those tests, as Im doing something similar with my recent project, that will also use 60mm fans above the motherboard. Give it a check on my thread if u want: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/z-case-p50-premium-console-sized-pc-case-7-9l.6643/

Cheers!
 

TheHig

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Definitely check the HSF mounting and the TIM application. Also my AsRock B350 itx Ran the cpu up to 50c in an early bios while in bios but once in windows was fine. Run the fantastic, AsRock s wording, tuning in bios to let the board see the fans min/ max rpms. Bios 3.4? Or so introduced this. Works great. I run a 1600 at 3.7 fixed on this board with the L9i all day. Outside air fed but still should be better for you I think.
 

Mortis Angelus

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I think, when idle temp is that high, it is more likely caused by improper install of the HSF than by bad airflow.

Definitely check the HSF mounting and the TIM application. Also my AsRock B350 itx Ran the cpu up to 50c in an early bios while in bios but once in windows was fine. Run the fantastic, AsRock s wording, tuning in bios to let the board see the fans min/ max rpms. Bios 3.4? Or so introduced this. Works great. I run a 1600 at 3.7 fixed on this board with the L9i all day. Outside air fed but still should be better for you I think.

Thanks for your replies.

I will redo the cooler mounting today. I might just have been a bit (too) careful about tightening the screws considering how the cooler-feet floats in the air around the socket. How tight can/should I tighten the screws?

Also, what about my question regarding cooler airflow direction? Does it blow to both sides or only one side?
 

tinyitx

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It is hard to describe how tight you should screw. Just tighten but 'without excessive force' (quoted from the official install manual). I suppose, use common sense.
Check this video to see if it helps. You will see once the screw stops, you just do not continue to apply force.

Regarding airflow direction, I watched that Tek Everything video but do not seem to get 'a way to direct airflow away from the RAM'. Anyway, I do not see a simple way to do this re-direction. Additionally, this airflow actually can help cooling the RAM. Not that the RAM really needs it but this airflow toward the RAM is not going to hurt anything.
 
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Mortis Angelus

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Wasn't X-series Ryzen have their reported thermal offsetted by 20 degrees C?

Edit: found a link https://community.amd.com/community/gaming/blog/2017/03/13/amd-ryzen-community-update

1) That list is for 1700 and upward.

2) Didn't AMD release a BIOS-fix that solved this issue? I have a vague memory of that. The shop I purchased the mobo from, should have updated the BIOS to the lastest version in mid December (I paid extra and got a certificate for that). But I have to double check that as well, I guess.
 

Mortis Angelus

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Hello guys!

So I have conducting lots of tests now, after applying new thermal paste and actually tightening the screws on the heatsink properly this time around.XD

But I am still unsure, which values for the CPU should I look at? HWmonitor gives off 2 different temps for CPU. If it is the top one, it is great, but if it is the lower one, it is quite... mediocre (Note: Screenshot taken with top-panel taken off, thus the low temp)


I'll put some excel-tables up here later today (hopefully). But first I need to know which temps I should even look at for judging.
 

Mortis Angelus

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Here's a pic of the xbox without its top shroud:


The only parameter I change are those three fans left of the motherboard. They can either be used as EXHAUST fans or INTAKE fans. Beneath the mobo is a holder for 2x 2.5" drives.

When fans are used as INTAKES they pump in fresh air, but also moves hot air from CPU right into GPU. But it cools the HDD better.

Here you can also see how the GPU is hidden below a riser cable and Blu-Ray drive:




In this spread sheet you can find the results (all temps in Celsius):


Link to spreadsheet-file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7vyfy44gxxe6xeh/Temps.ods?dl=0

While I also measured the temps with the top shroud removed, I won't discuss those results here, as I will use the cover.

The basic conclusion is: Having the 3x 60mm fans as EXHAUST fans will be better for CPU and GPU, giving them lower temps. But the mechanical 2TB HDD will be uncomfortably hot (52 degrees Celsius when burning both furmark and prime95). But GPU maxes out on 89 degrees

Changing the fans to work as INTAKES lowers the HDD-temp with 11 degres to an acceptable 41 degrees when running both furmark and prime95. But GPU will then go up to 92 degrees.

CPU always hits its max thermal at 95 degrees and starts throttling (but no lower than to 3.4 ghz).

This trend is also evident when only running Prime95. With fans as either EXHAUSTS or INTAKES, CPU maxes out at 93. The difference is found in GPU and HDD-temps; Fans as EXHAUST yields a lower GPU temp of 45 degrees opposed to 53 degrees when using fans as INTAKES (blowing warm air from CPU towards GPU, but HDD is only 37 degrees with intake fans opposed to 45 degrees with exhaust fans.


So the main question here is; Since close to no real life application will ever push either GPU or CPU towards this kind of stress, should I prioritize HDD-temps or CPU+GPU temps? Please note: I will also install a 2.5" SSD

I am also considering removing the rear IO-shield. Will look ugly, but open up for significantly more airflow.


Opinions and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 
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BernardoZ

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Here's a pic of the xbox without its top shroud:


The only parameter I change are those three fans left of the motherboard. They can either be used as EXHAUST fans or INTAKE fans. Beneath the mobo is a holder for 2x 2.5" drives.

When fans are used as INTAKES they pump in fresh air, but also moves hot air from CPU right into GPU. But it cools the HDD better.

Here you can also see how the GPU is hidden below a riser cable and Blu-Ray drive:




In this spread sheet you can find the results (all temps in Celsius):


Link to spreadsheet-file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7vyfy44gxxe6xeh/Temps.ods?dl=0

While I also measured the temps with the top shroud removed, I won't discuss those results here, as I will use the cover.

The basic conclusion is: Having the 3x 60mm fans as EXHAUST fans will be better for CPU and GPU, giving them lower temps. But the mechanical 2TB HDD will be uncomfortably hot (52 degrees Celsius when burning both furmark and prime95). But GPU maxes out on 89 degrees

Changing the fans to work as INTAKES lowers the HDD-temp with 11 degres to an acceptable 41 degrees when running both furmark and prime95. But GPU will then go up to 92 degrees.

CPU always hits its max thermal at 95 degrees and starts throttling (but no lower than to 3.4 ghz).

This trend is also evident when only running Prime95. With fans as either EXHAUSTS or INTAKES, CPU maxes out at 93. The difference is found in GPU and HDD-temps; Fans as EXHAUST yields a lower GPU temp of 45 degrees opposed to 53 degrees when using fans as INTAKES (blowing warm air from CPU towards GPU, but HDD is only 37 degrees with intake fans opposed to 45 degrees with exhaust fans.


So the main question here is; Since close to no real life application will ever push either GPU or CPU towards this kind of stress, should I prioritize HDD-temps or CPU+GPU temps? Please note: I will also install a 2.5" SSD

I am also considering removing the rear IO-shield. Will look ugly, but open up for significantly more airflow.


Opinions and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Mortis!
That's awesome you did those tests. Good to know that the exaust option is better, as it's the first option I was going to do on my project. I will do some similar tests in my prototype anyway, just to confirm it.
I still find strange that the fans orientation didn't make a difference on CPU temps, as they are so close to the heatsink. I wonder why XD
Anyway, answering your question, I think you should absolutely priorityze CPU+GPU temps (mainly CPU, since its the one throtlling). I might be wrong, but I've never heard of anyone who had problems with their HDD (data lost for example) because of the temperature. Also, 45 degrees is not that much hot. That's just my opinion, would like to see other people's reply too.
Cheers bro ;)
 

Mortis Angelus

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Hi Mortis!
That's awesome you did those tests. Good to know that the exaust option is better, as it's the first option I was going to do on my project. I will do some similar tests in my prototype anyway, just to confirm it.
I still find strange that the fans orientation didn't make a difference on CPU temps, as they are so close to the heatsink. I wonder why XD
Anyway, answering your question, I think you should absolutely priorityze CPU+GPU temps (mainly CPU, since its the one throtlling). I might be wrong, but I've never heard of anyone who had problems with their HDD (data lost for example) because of the temperature. Also, 45 degrees is not that much hot. That's just my opinion, would like to see other people's reply too.
Cheers bro ;)

Thanks for youf feedback. Regarding HDD temps, the main short term killer of HDDs is temps. This is according to both the Internet and the main IT technician at my University. Recommended HDD temps is between 25-35 degrees. Up to 45 degrees is acceptable. Below 20 and above 50 is considerd damaging. This is why case manufacturers really emphasize on good designed HDD bays which allows for proper airflow around the drives.

SSDs can withstand temps up to 70 degrees.
 

BernardoZ

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Thanks for youf feedback. Regarding HDD temps, the main short term killer of HDDs is temps. This is according to both the Internet and the main IT technician at my University. Recommended HDD temps is between 25-35 degrees. Up to 45 degrees is acceptable. Below 20 and above 50 is considerd damaging. This is why case manufacturers really emphasize on good designed HDD bays which allows for proper airflow around the drives.

SSDs can withstand temps up to 70 degrees.

Sure, makes sense. I know these temps can be "dangerous" for the hdd, its just that i never heard of anyone who lost it because of that.
Anyway, since you don't plan to sell this project, you should do some "real world" tests on it. For example, if you are going to mainly game on it, maybe you should use the fans as exaust, because most games use more the GPU, and your gpu would be cooler. But if you gonna use it for webbrowsing and light games, or some intensive cpu task, maybe use them as intake, to cool your hdds.
Based on your tests, you probably won't find the perfect layout to cool all the hardware, so you will need to find the right spot, where you compromise the hardware that you will stress less when using it normally.
EDIT: have you considered using some hdd cooling solution? There are tons of options, with and without fans, that takes almost no extra volume. If they fit, you will probably get an acceptable temp on cpu/gpu + hdd, when using the fans as exaust. Google "hdd cooler", you may find something. Or they simply woudnt fit?
Cheers
 
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tinyitx

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Several thoughts:-
1) For HWMonitor, I would say use the Package temp for your CPU temp. Is that idling at 26C? If so, this is quite good. If idling temp is 54C, something is not right. If reinstall of HSF does not help, then perhaps you can go into BIOS and see if there is a problem with XFR (which auto-overclocks for you). Maybe it is not working properly at idle. See if disabling it would help or not? In the very old days when AMD had Cool N' Quiet technology to 'downclock' when idling, see if a similar feature is available.
If none of these helps, then it is probably mainly due to the bad airflow inside the case.

2) Regarding the 3 side 60mm fans as intake or exhaust, it seems max CPU load temp reaches 95C throttling temp regardless of intake or exhaust.
If I have to choose between a slightly cooler GPU (89C vs 92C) and a much cooler HDD (41C vs 52C), I would give the preference to the HDD. But then, all these temp arise when you are doing an extreme stress test. In your daily usage, both the GPU and the HDD would work at much lower temp, I suppose.

3) One thing I notice is that the NH-L9a is installed with with the fins being perpendicular to the RAM. I suggest, changing the orientation by 90 degrees so that the fins run parallel to the RAM. As hot air from the heatsink will exhaust in the direction of the fins, this new orientation will point 1 of the 2 airflow direction toward the three 60mm fans. This orientation might give much better thermal performance for the CPU.
 
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BernardoZ

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3) One thing I notice is that the NH-L9a is installed with with the fins being perpendicular to the RAM. I suggest, changing the orientation by 90 degrees so that the fins run parallel to the RAM. As hot air from the heatsink will exhaust in the direction of the fins, this new orientation will point 1 of the 2 airflow direction toward the three 60mm fans. This orientation might give much better thermal performance for the CPU.

Damn, how did I miss that? This is actually a great idea, you should try this tip and run new temp tests Mortis! I presume you will see some cpu different temps after changing it.
 

Mortis Angelus

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Several thoughts:-
1) For HWMonitor, I would say use the Package temp for your CPU temp. Is that idling at 26C? If so, this is quite good. If idling temp is 54C, something is not right. If reinstall of HSF does not help, then perhaps you can go into BIOS and see if there is a problem with XFR (which auto-overclocks for you). Maybe it is not working properly at idle. See if disabling it would help or not? In the very old days when AMD had Cool N' Quiet technology to 'downclock' when idling, see if a similar feature is available.
If none of these helps, then it is probably mainly due to the bad airflow inside the case.

2) Regarding the 3 side 60mm fans as intake or exhaust, it seems max CPU load temp reaches 95C throttling temp regardless of intake or exhaust.
If I have to choose between a slightly cooler GPU (89C vs 92C) and a much cooler HDD (41C vs 52C), I would give the preference to the HDD. But then, all these temp arise when you are doing an extreme stress test. In your daily usage, both the GPU and the HDD would work at much lower temp, I suppose.

3) One thing I notice is that the NH-L9a is installed with with the fins being perpendicular to the RAM. I suggest, changing the orientation by 90 degrees so that the fins run parallel to the RAM. As hot air from the heatsink will exhaust in the direction of the fins, this new orientation will point 1 of the 2 airflow direction toward the three 60mm fans. This orientation might give much better thermal performance for the CPU.


Thanks for your excellent comment!

1) As was stated, the 26 degrees idle is when I have the top cover/shroud of the xbox removed, so it is basically like an open air system. If I have the xbox fully assembled it idles at 35-41 degrees, which is expected for this system with limited airflow.

2) the 95 degree and throttling only happens with these synthetic tests. I put on half an hour of PUBG and reached 83 degrees on GPU, and 65 degrees on CPU and the HDDs at 38 degrees. With the fans as INTAKES. So perhaps I dont have to worry too much?

3) Unlike with the NH-L9i (intel version) you cannot rotate the NH-L9a 90 degrees. Only 180. This is because the AMx sockets are rectangular, not square like Intel's socket. And what's more, the NH-L9a is rectangular in itself too.

This begs the question, whether or not I should have gone with an Intel based system... But doesn't a 4 core, 8 thread system from intel run much hotter?
 
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BernardoZ

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Damn, I forgot that amd socket detail.
I'm out of ideas than man, so I probably will stop posting here. Hope someone else can help you solve your problem.
About cpu, if you have the money, i would go with an Intel i5. Even some older gens are superior in most cases than the 1500x, because of single thread performance. And they seem to have same TDP, so the heat might be the same.
Cheers
 
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tinyitx

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I think 83C GPU + 65C CPU + 38C HDD is not bad for gaming. As long as the HDD is under 50C, it should be OK.
The relatively high GPU is probably caused by hot air re-circulation. I see there are some case vent openings adjacent to the GPU. Maybe you can install some fans there (ie mirror image of the three 60mm fans on the other side of the case, sort of) to help out the ventilation? Having the ODD sitting so close directly on top of a non reference cooling GPU is really a nasty thing to deal with.
 
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