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Old 04-07-2009, 09:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

Hi all.

You're probably familiar with the GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card. It's kinda been described as two 512MB graphics cards sandwiched into a single block which give a total of 1GB of vid RAM (with multi GPU enabled in nVidia control panel). And, the GX2 can give off a fair amount of heat.

I've done searching on the 'Net on what's considered an "average" temp for the GX2 when idle. On the various pieces of information I've come across, it always seems to be much lower than what I have.

My average idle temps always seem to be around 70 to 75C; from what I've heard and read, this seems to be a little warm for idle. I know various things can effect temps, like ambient temp, etc.

My computer case is a full tower Coolermaster 932 HAF. This thing has got some massive fans on it (4 total: Front & side intake, and rear & ceiling exhaust). I've had the GX2 not quite a year yet and am basically pleased with it......but the temps worry me.

So I wrote to BFG Tech from where I got my 9800 GX2, and without coming right out and telling them my idle temp, I asked what's an overall average idle temp, given my ambient temp of around 22 to 25C. I was told that 55C is average for the GX2.

I don't think I've ever seen my card at 55C during system idle. The only time I would get that kind of temp is if I checked my GPU temp right after booting.

The other day I installed and loaded up Far Cry 2. I watch the long intro movie sequence, and then play the game for just a little bit. I exit the game, check the temps, and both GPU's are in the high 90's, about 97 & 98C. I'm aware that the GX2 can hit 100C.......but usually after hours & hours of gaming; I had just started Far Cry 2!!!!

Anyway.....BFG Tech was good about it when I contacted them. They've got that lifetime warranty thing, so they approved an RMA on it. But I wanted to check some things and get your take on it:

I don't think I've ever actually read it anywhere or seen it, so.....Even though the GX2 is two graphics cards sandwiched into one, does it have two fans between the GPU's.....or just one fan?

And how about this: The side case fan on my HAF case is an intake fan, blowing air into the case, and the GX2 card is right near here. But, the GX2 has vents on the side of it that are blowing heated air out, correct? So is my side case fan blowing air in "fighting" it? Are they at odds with each other?

I remember coming across something on the 'Net once about this, and somebody somewhere showed a pic of the GX2, and how the heated air from it blows out, so what they did was take their side case fan and reverse it, in essence, to take the hearted air from the GX2 and exhaust it out. Here's the link from overclock.net:

Possible Solution to 9800 GX2 high temperatures? - Overclock.net - Overclocking.net

Think there's anything to this? When I get my replacement GX2, should I give this a shot?

Even though I've been able to play games pretty smoothly on this GX2, the temps have always worried me. Occasionally I've experienced system locks & reboots, which, I'm fairly certain, were probably due to the GX2 pumping out a lot of heat (I've come across this info, too, on the 'Net). My current GX2 is probably faulty, so it's a good thing that BFG Tech is RMA'ing it.

So please let me know.....does the GX2 have two fans or just one between the GPU's? And how about reversing the side case fan when I get the replacement GX2.

Thanks!
Pez
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

When did you get the card? If you haven't blown it out with compressed air that could be the issue.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

I got the card around May or June of 2008. And I do blow the case and the card with compressed air. But usually when I do that it only lowers the temp by about 3 to 5 degrees.

And speaking of compressed air...........you know how those cans have some kind of refrigerant in them? At least I think they do. Anyway, I noticed when spraying them that if you tilt it the "wrong" way, that a liquid will start coming out. I wouldn't want any of that to get into the graphics card.

Is there a "proper" way to spray those cans without risking a leak of liquid onto vital parts?
Pez
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

I just dealt with a hot gx2 and here is what I did. First change your case fan to exhaust because the gx2 blows air out of the top. There is just one fan inside the card with heasinks on either side of it.

If you feel up to it (I really do not recommend this unless you feel comfortable) I took the card apart, about 30 screws total, removed the old thermal paste and replaced it with tx-2.

Next make sure your cable management is good allowing for proper air flow throughout the case. Make sure you do not have any other cards right next to it.

As a last resort you can install a 120mm fan blowing on the card itself.

I did not have to add a 120mm fan and with these steps dropped temp under load from 100C to around 85C.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

Thanks for the reply, hefemeister.

So changing the direction of the case fan is a good idea, eh? Did you check out the link I provided? The link's pic shows air also coming out of those side vents, too (and you said air also comes out of the top, right?).

With the Coolermaster 932 HAF case I've got, it looks easy enough for me to dismount, turn around, and then re-mount the side case fan. Here's a link to Coolermaster for the HAF case:

HAF 932 - Cooler Master

At the link, you can click on some tabs for the Specs, and as you can see, it's got some big fans.

Only one fan inside the GX2, huh? I kind of thought that but wasn't sure. Now I know!

So if I reverse the direction of the side case fan, this will mean I'll have three out of the four fans acting as exhaust fans (side, rear, and top/ ceiling); the front fan will be the only fan blowing air into the case. As you can see from the pics on the Coolermaster site, that side case fan is right where the GX2 card is.

Well....I don't know if I'll feel up to taking the card apart. I'll be getting an RMA replacement card any day soon, now. So hopefully it'll be a reliable replacement card and not run as hot as the one I've got.

I've already got good cable management with the HAF case; nothing blocking the air flow inside the case, lookin' good there

Say......do you know anything about those compressed air cans for blowing out dust? Is it only if you tilt them do you run the risk of letting out a little liquid? So keep it upright and tilt the piece you're cleaning instead?

Pez
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

When you get your new card just change the fan direction and check temps on it. I would not take a new card apart.

Funny I did not look at the link you provided but it was one I looked at when I was researching the same problem. The card in questions was my friends second card as the first died from overheating. It was an xfx vs your bfg so it is not just a manufactures problem.

Yeah if you turn a can of compressed air upside down you basically get ln2. You can do some cool freezing with it. Just make sure you have it right side up when spraying your computer. I have never had any problems with liquid from a can. If you are real worried you can let it set for an hour or so before you fire it up.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

this may sound stupid but did you ever turn the fan up to 100% using riva tuner or EVGA precision?
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

philbar71: Yes, I use EVGA precision to monitor my nVidia card. The card works well on Auto, as when I'm gaming with an intensive app like Crysis or Far Cry 2, I can "hear" the fan speed up.

When I exit the game and launch EVGA, fan speed is at max 100%, but the temps can be quite up there, in the 90'sC. And this is only after gaming for 10 to 15 minutes. Ambient temps are about 22 to 25C.

I don't think the card should be getting this hot so quickly; I think it's faulty. BFG Tech is sending me a new one; should be arriving soon.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pezzy View Post
I got the card around May or June of 2008. And I do blow the case and the card with compressed air. But usually when I do that it only lowers the temp by about 3 to 5 degrees.

And speaking of compressed air...........you know how those cans have some kind of refrigerant in them? At least I think they do. Anyway, I noticed when spraying them that if you tilt it the "wrong" way, that a liquid will start coming out. I wouldn't want any of that to get into the graphics card.

Is there a "proper" way to spray those cans without risking a leak of liquid onto vital parts?
Pez
Proper way would be to take the Graphics Card out, or any other device you need to get dust out of. I just did the same with my computer, see I wasn't taking the Graphics Card out and blowing all the dust out of the cracks (or should I say, out of the holes, like the heatsink and fan. I seen a lot of dust bunnies fly out of it, just by doing one punch of that air :-) ... So I hit it real good with several more blows, and lots more came out. So best thing to do, is take out the device you wish to dust blow, and keep the can upright, while tilting the card/device to where you need it. Be careful though, you might want to buy a wrist band that you can connect to the Computer Caseing, to keep the human body static from hurting your Graphics Card or any other device effected by Static Electricity.

Example of improvement: GeForce 7800 GT - Temperature I was getting without a good cleaning for I would say about 3 years, 67c - idle (I saw it peak past boiling point several times, while in play "couldn't play long "). I first cleaned my graphics card with just a Q-Tip (cause I couldn't find the straw to my air can), like took some dirt off the fan with the Q-Tip, it put my Temp to 57c - idle. I then finally found that straw to the air can, and blew out all that dust and dust wads from heatsink area and fan (basicly the whole card), now I'm getting 46c - idle, I had it peak to 77c today while playing a game. 100c is boiling point. So it's kicking like new again I hope your new card works great for you... what games do you play?
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: GX2 / Temps / Case Fans

Well........

The RMA'd 9800 GX2 arrived; it's hooked up and things seem a whole lot better.

In my original post, I mentioned that the tech at BFG Tech said that an "average" idle temp for the GX2 is around 55C. Before this replacement card arrived, I had never been getting that, despite keeping computer case & graphics card cleaned. I would idle in the 70's, and then get up towards 100C after gaming.....and only for short periods!!

The new card that arrived - while not idling at 55C - is idling at about 60C.......a sight better than before! Plus, I noticed something else:

On my previous card (that idled in the 70's), after gaming for a short bit, the card usually went into the 80's and sometimes upper 90's (nearing 100), and when I'd check the fan speed with EVGA Precision, the fan would be maxed out at 100% fan speed.

With the new card that arrived, after gaming for a while, I check temps and fan speed: temps are in the 70's, and fan speed only 50% or so. Pretty nice.

On my previous card, when temp idled in the 70's, the fan speed was in the 60's or so. I do think there was something definitely wrong with that card: high idle temp AND fan speed. Plus, high temps and maxed fan speed of 100% after short gaming periods.

LuDawg: Nice example you gave there with your GeForce 7800 GT and how the temps continually dropped after cleanings! But the GX2 is known for cranking out the heat with two bundled GPU's; I think I've discovered since purchasing it not quite a year ago that perhaps this was a design flaw. On my Coolermaster HAF case, I even reversed the side case fan (230 x 30 mm), turning it into an exhaust rather than an intake; I did this before the new GX2 card arrived. Hopefully this will help remove some of the heat the GX2 gives off.

In this thread, hefemeister mentions about an experience with a GX2 card, and how it was an XFX brand and not BFG, so yeah, probably a design flaw, not just a certain manufacturer. hefemeister also mentions about taking the GX2 card apart and replacing the old thermal paste with TX-2; I don't know if I'm brave enough to try that On my Quad CPU I use Arctic Silver 5 (I couldn't even find TX-2 for my CPU at Fry's Electronics....surprising).

And LuDawg: you asked what games do I play.........a variety, but I do like first-person shooters, like Painkiller, Crysis, Far Cry 2, Legendary, etc. Racing games like Grid, DiRT, Need for Speed, etc. But I also enjoy a good mystery/ adventure game, like Art of Murder, Still Life, and "oldies" like the Gabriel Knight series & Tex Murphy.

Enjoying my new, lower idling temps in the 60's!!
Pez
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