ATI 1950 Pro Heat Problems

June 26, 2007

Every new system, especially when you modify it, seems to have some kinks–I have had several issues with my new machine and components.  None of mine have been “deal breakers” (meaning returning the product) but instead just minor annoyances that have taken some extra time to deal with.

The card itself, a Diamond Viper ATI Radeon 1950 Pro, PCIE with 512 MB of memory, has taken me into the modern age of gaming.  When I look at the display on my old machine it looks blurry–a stark contrast to the crisp depth of detail I get with this card.  My problem of late has been heat.  I went about 6 weeks with no real issues, then one day after burning a DVD and using the LightScribe function of my drive, I had a warning telling me my card would begin to lower its clock speed due to excess heat.  I was worried, of course, and didn’t quite know what to do, except to crack the case, turn it off, and let it sit for a while.

All those things worked, and for a couple more weeks I had no issues.  Enter Lord of the Rings Online.  The game put the temp up through the roof–for reference I consider anything in the high 90s C, and 100s too hot, as does my card.  Yesterday I took a trip to the computer store to find a fan.  My original idea was to add a fan to the side of the case to increase airflow.  When I returned home with what a salesman said I needed, a Vantec Tornado Case Fan, capable of putting out 110 CFM of air, I decided to install it to replace my existing case fan.  It worked–blowing more air than any other fan in my house.  Seriously.  It was pointed at me for a bit, as the case was turned, and made me cold.  It also took care of the heat issue.  Instead of running at around 95-104 C, I was down in the 60s.

Just one problem of course–the specs tell you the noise is around 55 db.  I am not good at “earballing” decibels, but it was friggin loud.  Too loud.  So loud I went upstairs to make a phone call and still heard it.  So I thought perhaps I could find something that was about half the airflow of this, and net some 20 degrees or so of cooling.  No such luck.  After returning the product, I read somewhere that you can add a speed adjustment of some sort to your case fan.  I am not sure how to do this, although I may look into it and try this solution again, providing I can turn the fan down.  This would allow me to ratchet it up a bit when rendering 3D and the like.

I spent this morning searching newegg.com for a solution–a bigger fan than what I ended up with–an aluminum frame case fan from Evercool.  I would link that site, but the listed URL on the package does not work.  This inspires confidence, let me tell you.  The fan is supposed to give me about 38 CFM, far too low for what I need.  My heat problems were not gone when rendering 3D.  I also added an expansion slot fan directly below the card, which is supposed to give me 36 CFM.

After opening the empty PC expansion slot in the back of the machine, and putting some holes in the case around the card, I seem to have dropped the temperature around 10 C.  I would like to bring it down even more, and am thinking of adding a second fan to the side of the case.  I am also open to any suggestions someone might have.  If you can’t tell, this is my first foray into fan modification on a computer.  I have never had heat issues before, and am unsure how else to fix it except either upgrading my current case fan or adding a fan somewhere else.

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Return of the Gaff

June 25, 2007

I have been on a bit of a hiatus, have you noticed?  Thanks for keeping tabs on me folks, I sincerely appreciate it.  I will give you a quick run down, and unfortunately for you readers, it is mostly devoid of drama.  As a teacher, the end of the year is quite busy, both with grading papers and the coaching I do.  Late afternoons and evening work left me with little time to write, much less play, and so I got out of the habit of posting here.  I was beginning to hint at a reduced posting rate with my article Balancing Time, though I was not really considering stopping all together.

However, as many of you know, once you get out of the habit of doing something, it tends to become a habit in itself.  So I would like to apologize for not updating you all on my status, and appreciate all of you that have left my linked.  I plan on picking up the post rate again, though probably not daily as some do.  As far as my distractions, I have gotten my duo, Lurk and Gaff, to level 70 and been raiding some since the end of the school year.  The family has taken off for the lake a few weekends to camp and fish, although the boat is now in need of some repair (dry rot will do that).  On top of those things, my daughter has started dance class, I finished coaching both my high school team and my son’s soccer team, we are now playing T-ball, taking swim lessons, going to the pool, gardening (I should be canning salsa soon), and trying to get my new machine up to speed with all of my logins and favorite spots from my old machine.  Enough about real life, here are a few pics from the new card–

This pic was the first morning I logged into EQ2 with the new card–I was floored.  These pic’s never do the graphics justice in game, but all I can say is it was money well-spent.

Gaff

A more recent picture in KoS, at the quest mob for Draco Mortuus Vos Liberatio:

Squid Face

Here is a frog from the Hidden Refuge–I was impressed with the chain mail detail–I think Lurk is in love.  The thumbnail is a test of my login from the new machine.

More to come–I promise this time!