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Old 07-08-10, 03:38 PM
Deshman Deshman is offline
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This isn't so much a project as a recovery operation; my motherboard was cast into the fires of hades and it could only find salvation in the holiest of waters. I've taken it from overheating to under-water.

After a while of putting up with newer games becoming increasingly laggy on the E8440 (@3.9GHz) I decided to allow the 5870 to use its full potential by installing a quad, thereby holding me off 'til the benefits of an upgrade are really worthwhile. Firstly I ordered a second hand Q9550 from ebay saving £100 over the best new price I could find. Evidently I can't choose my sellers as it arrived packaged as such:





Even after cleaning the top was showing marks, probably from a mis-mounted CPU cooler as the paste he'd kindly left on the CPU was not showing full coverage and the marks seemed circumferential to the paste. I'll have to lap this at a later date, for now I just need an FPS boost.



All good yes? No. I'm getting severe stuttering just playing Borderlands and I'd hardly call that a stress of the given equipment. Turns out my Northbridge chip is registering a temperature of 66c under a PRIME95 load and 3/4 of the threads stop with hardware errors.

My theory at this point is that the extra stress provided by the sk-775 Intel 'fake-Quad' due to inter-core pair communication happening via the FSB is too much for the all-in-one cooling mechanism on my motherboard. First I try literally screwing another fan to the heatsink with some small benefits:





It brings the idle temperatures down by about 5c and more importantly stops the crashing by dropping the load temps to 63c which seems to be the threshold for errors. Still not good.

This motherboard is notoriously hard to modify due to the heavy duty thermal-epoxy-paste Asus decided to use on the all-in-one heatsink. If I have to carry out something which might destroy my motherboard I might as well add water at the same time I'll be removing the giant ugly lump of copper:



Firstly the Southbridge mount comes off via push-pins:



Then after 20-25 mins with a combination of freezespray and directed hairdryer blasts combined with twists of a screwdriver under the HS the Northbridge started to move slightly. It's a terrifying moment when you realise that movement is actually the Northbridge shroud coming away with the copper and all you've succeeded in doing is melting the glue joining it to the NB PCB. With a little handy work and another screwdriver I managed to attack from the other side and save the shroud with minimal damage.

A little wiggling later and the whole assembly came off. Notice the centre of the paste on each block is white- this part of the paste had hardened and set like concrete, it had become brittle and was not transferring heat efficiently. Attempting to remove the paste with Arcticlean Thermal Material Remover resulted in absolutely no change whatsoever, even with double the exposure time and saturation resulted in no change:


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Old 07-08-10, 03:39 PM
Deshman Deshman is offline
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The chunkier bits came off with a Stanley blade scraped over a low angle but enough remained to affect future pastes applied, some heavier cleaning is obviously necessary:





Haha my motherboard has a CPU_CRAZY mode, why have I never noticed this before?



After a quick trip to Maplin made longer by the fact that I had to give them my name and address and a reason why I need it, I return with this:



Isoproplyalcohol, a fairly dangerous solvent. According to the label it requires some serious protective equipment:



A quick scrub later and the chips are clean as a whistle.



I mounted the blocks using MX-2 paste which is by far the most economical high-performing paste available at £2.49 a tube. I also used the EK advice on mounting by rubbing a small amount of paste into the copper and wiping the excess off again afterwards before mounting as usual with a small drop. An unusual approach but it seems to work well and resulted in a fairly even coverage.

Damn these blocks look better than bare copper and the SB block was a steal at £9.99





I left plenty of slack in the tubes for graphics cards and such to fit.. apparently it doesn't matter if your card is fat though, it still won't fit





With a bit of wiggling it fits in the bottom slot x16, guess I'll have to watercool my graphics to get everything back as it was and get my second card back in.. oh well
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Old 07-08-10, 03:41 PM
Deshman Deshman is offline
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Next I double insulated the fans with silicone washers for uber-silence. On a side-note I'm fairly impressed with these Xigmatech fans for the price having never used them before. Then I connect everything together.





A wet test followed by an electronics test. It's always a relief when everything clicks on fine







The smile on my face when I first saw those temps couldn't have been any larger even if they were correctly predicting next week's lottery numbers. After 30 mins those temps remained the same, happy face indeed



After two hours PRIME95_x64 stress testing to settle the machine in, these were the idle temps. It appears that not only has the addition of water completely solved the overheating issue but it has given me a large headroom for overclocking. Obviously the fact that I haven't added water to the mosfets will restrict the overclock somewhat but this was supposed to be a last chance/salvage operation not a technical improvement.

I'm currently running some overclock tests but so far I'm more than happy with the stability/results. Any feedback or ideas for future improvements on the cheap would be appreciated
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Old 07-08-10, 04:44 PM
AMDFTW AMDFTW is offline
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very nice fella,are you gna mount the rad in the case
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Old 07-08-10, 07:44 PM
Deshman Deshman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDFTW View Post

very nice fella,are you gna mount the rad in the case
It has been, that was just during the testing so I could work the air out of the rad. Turns out my phone still takes meh pictures in low light so I'm waiting to get a friend over with his 4D to get some decent results, then I'll post those up with the overclocking results
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Old 12-08-10, 04:28 PM
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tinytomlogan tinytomlogan is offline
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Make sure you keep the updates coming dude, I propper lol'd at the protective quipment pic
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