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970m Pro3 cooling...

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    Posted: 07 Oct 2016 at 7:27pm
Hey there,

I just ordered the 970m Pro3 motherboard yesterday (it should arrive today). I also ordered an AMD FX-8350 + an all-in-one liquid cooler from Arctic.

The liquid cooler is a big one, featuring a 240mm radiator with four 120mm fans. This thing is supposed to cool the CPU significantly.

Now I read on the Asrock website that the 970m Pro3 Motherboard requires a top-blow CPU cooler along with the AMD FX-8350...

My question is: would my new powerful 240mm liquid cooler provide enough cooling so that the surrounding components of the socket stay cool enough also?

I don't have any intentions of overclocking anything on the system! Just normal usage for gaming and all-round stuff...

Thanks in advance!

PS: my new case features a 120mm rear fan + I will add 2x 120mm fans on the roof later on, just above the motherboard. Enough mainboard cooling for the 970m Pro3?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2016 at 9:36pm
Originally posted by ASRocker ASRocker wrote:

Hey there,

I just ordered the 970m Pro3 motherboard yesterday (it should arrive today). I also ordered an AMD FX-8350 + an all-in-one liquid cooler from Arctic.

The liquid cooler is a big one, featuring a 240mm radiator with four 120mm fans. This thing is supposed to cool the CPU significantly.

Now I read on the Asrock website that the 970m Pro3 Motherboard requires a top-blow CPU cooler along with the AMD FX-8350...

My question is: would my new powerful 240mm liquid cooler provide enough cooling so that the surrounding components of the socket stay cool enough also?

I don't have any intentions of overclocking anything on the system! Just normal usage for gaming and all-round stuff...

Thanks in advance!

PS: my new case features a 120mm rear fan + I will add 2x 120mm fans on the roof later on, just above the motherboard. Enough mainboard cooling for the 970m Pro3?


I'm glad you read that suggestion in the CPU Support list, too many people never do. Thumbs Up

As you know, the reason for suggesting a top-down CPU cooler is to cool other components on the board, specifically the CPU VRMs, under the black heat sink to the left of the CPU socket. That also helps to cool the "Northbridge", 970 chipset.

AIO liquid coolers, and custom water cooling in general have one main drawback, they don't circulate air over the VRM heat sink, etc. That becomes significant with AMD boards because they tend to have fewer VRM phases/chips with small heat sinks, and may be using power hungry FX-8000 or FX-9000 series processors. Your build qualifies in both areas. If you OC your CPU, while it will be cooled great with your large radiator, the CPU VRMs will be extra toasty.

Your goal is to provide cooling mainly for the CPU VRMs and the 970 chipset heat sink. The question becomes does adding extra fans in various locations actually accomplish that?

Given your description, I'm guessing your radiator is mounted on the front of the PC case?

If so, are its fans moving air into or out of the PC case? It also sounds like the only other fan is mounted at the top rear of the case, right?

The only way to know if your fan configuration is working it to check how warm the CPU VRM heat sink is. Since you don't OC, you probably won't need extreme cooling for the VRM heat sink. You can just touch the heat sink with your finger, or if you had an IR thermometer to check it.

We need to know how the fans on your radiator are configured, and what video card you are using (usually they add heat to the PC case), and the other fans in your PC case, and their configuration, intake or exhaust.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ASRocker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2016 at 8:28pm
Thanks for your reply Thumbs Up

Well, yes, I always RTFM LOL It helps a lot and most likely prevents the user from becoming the problem.

Meanwhile I got my components and put them together. I'm actually writing from my new system right now. It works absolutely stable so far. Windows 10 setup was fast and without problems (via USB). Latest Asrock and AMD drivers are working well also. No issues yet.

The mainboard temperature is 27簞C at the moment, and the CPU is idling at around 29簞C (my room temperature is at 25簞C right now). I already did a stress test; using CPU-Z; which showed that the CPU does not get above 49簞C. So my liquid cooler from Artic works quite well I guess. I could touch the VRM heatsink with my finger. However, its temperature was close to the pain threshold. So I guess the temperature was between 50 and 60簞C. Not something to be worried about I think. I won't overclock the system anyway, and also, such a stress test is unrealistic since no game will stress all 8 cores to their full extent. I could touch the north bridge and south bridge easily by the way. They stayed warm but did not get hot.

Regarding the ventilation of my system: the liquid cooler is installed behind the front mesh panel of my case. It's the Corsair Carbide SPEC-M2. Corsair did not promise too much. The airflow inside the case is quite remarkable. And I did not even install the two 120mm top fans yet! The four 120mm fans from my CPU liquid cooler are pulling fresh air through the front of the case, onto 2/3 of the mainboard (north bridge & south bridge and lower part of the VRM heatsink included) and to the graphics card and hard drives as well. The air is then pulled out by the rear fan. This creates a decent amount of airflow. I'm sure that adding the two 120mm fans at the top will cool the entire system properly. Probably it will do it better than by just adding a top blow CPU cooler. Such a cooler does actually only push the "used" (e.g. warm) air from the heatsink directly onto the mainboard... does it really make sense?

My graphics card is a Sapphire Radeon RX 460 Nitro (4GB) by the way. It's a nice card but I bought it just for transition. I will resell it and buy the Sapphire Radeon RX 470 Nitro+ (4GB) next month...

I have read many negative reviews and opinons of this mainboard and Asrock. But my conclusion is that in most cases the problem is not the board but the user. People seam to overclock like crazy, and then being surprised and not really aware that they literally destroyed their system. For example, one guy stated that the mainboard is not stable and quit working after a few weeks. At the end of his review he mentioned in one short sentence that he could overclock his CPU "only" to 4.4 GHz on this board stably... One other person stated that the sound quality is bad. But it's just as perfect as on my previous MSI Z77 G43 LGA 1155 board (sound quality also depends on the used speakers/headsets...).

All I can say for now is, that this new system just works as fast and as stable as my previous old i7 MSI system. I switched back to AMD and Asrock due to budget considerations. The only thing I was worried about are the temperatures on AMD. But it doesn't seem to be an issue as long as cooling is sufficient and overclocking is not a consideration.

I will report more once I did intense gaming for hours...


Edited by ASRocker - 12 Oct 2016 at 8:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2016 at 11:20pm
You are right about the users being the problem in many cases, particularly when over clocking the CPU on low end and midrange AMD boards. Some of those boards don't even have a heat sink on the VRM chips, which combined with only four or fewer chips in the VRM design, is a recipe for disaster.

Sorry to say, but you won't see this kind of design on Intel based boards that are designed for over clocking. People complain that Intel only allows over clocking on their 'Z' or 'X' boards, which is true, but there is a reason for that. You won't find a four phase VRM design with no heat sink on the chips on any of these Intel boards. With AMD, it seems anything goes, no requirements for the quality of a board that can over clock. Compare the VRM phases (number of chips) on high end Intel and high end AMD boards. The Intel boards will have more phases for processors that don't use as much power as the AMD FX processors need, particularly when over clocked.

You experienced the need for cooling for the VRM heat sink, whether or not the air moving across the heat sink is warmed by cooling the CPU with a top down blower CPU cooler. I know you said you will add more fans to your case, but lets consider the way it is now.

The amount of air movement over the VRM heat sink is minimal with only the rear exhaust fan. Plus all the warm air from your radiator and most of the heat from the video card is randomly flowing across the board and VRM heat sink and finally out the rear exhaust.

Consider the amount of air coming into your PC case with four 120mm fans on your radiator. I know you are using the fans in push-pull mode, so it is really two 120mm fans, but the two extra fans provide more air pressure, so more air into the case.

Now consider you have one exhaust fan. Probably the 120mm fan that came with the case? Certainly not as good as your radiator fans, right? Lower RPM, even at full speed? Quite likely. Did you check what the temperature of the air coming out of the case is, just with your hand?

How can that fan exhaust the amount of air coming into the case from four 120mm fans in push-pull? It can't. Your case is small and has positive pressure inside, more air coming in than out. Or are the top fan mount areas just open grills, with no cover. I can't tell looking at pictures of the case.

Optimizing air flow for the VRM heat sink will be a challenge. I'm glad you know that over clocking is not the best idea with this board and current PC case cooling configuration.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PetrolHead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2016 at 5:45am
Originally posted by ASRocker ASRocker wrote:

I won't overclock the system anyway, and also, such a stress test is unrealistic since no game will stress all 8 cores to their full extent.


As far as stress test goes, there are tests that stress your system more (and more fully). For example: Running CPU-Z stress test for ~10 minutes on my rig saw my socket temp has peak at 50 C and core temp at 40 C. Roughly 10 minutes on Prime95 and the temp peaks were at 58 C (socket) and at 43 C (core). I don't think anyone really uses CPU-Z's stress test for any serious stability testing, because it's too light.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2016 at 2:45pm
It's a very subjective topic these days. The old guard tend to favor Prime95 because it puts the system under heavy stress, the problem is, there is literally no situation that will load your system as heavily in a real use scenario. Add to that the fact that running your CPU overclocked at higher than stock voltage under that much load for 8-12 hours (the accepted "burn in" period to test for stability) you run the risk of damaging your CPU and you can see why a lot of people have moved off of Prime95 as a stress test tool. There is also the fact that you may pass a 24 hour P95 test one day then have the same test, at the same settings, fail the next. Modern hardware is far more complex than what was available at the time Prime95 was created.

I usually run 10 passes of Intel Burn In Test as it tends to spike the temps very quickly and for that short of a period of time you are less likely to burn out the CPU. My general go to for testing my every day overclocks/temps is Cinebench on a loop for 4 - 5 hours. It is a much more realistic load and will tax the system a fair bit more that a game/video rendering but nowhere near as much as Prime 95.

In the end all these methods work, even CPUz's stress test. The important thing is that the test is long enough to ensure stability. The only exception is Intel Burn In Test which completes reasonably quickly but I have never tried it on an AMD system. On intel systems it benefit's from intel's internal knowledge of their architecture and it's tests are specifically designed to stress every aspect of the CPU and it's capabilities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PetrolHead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2016 at 12:53am
I agree with most of what you said, Xaltar. I'm just not sure that CPU-Z's stress test actually puts the system under more stress than some games or rendering software might. It most definitely doesn't stress the cores to their full extent, since P95 stresses them more. By the way, neither might not be the best option if one wants to stress test the whole system. This is why sometimes people run something like Unigine Heaven or Furmark while they're running P95. I personally prefer running RealBench if I'm not happy with just using P95. It's easier to just run one program and it's supposed to stress the system more than any combination of separate stress tests.

Anyways, to get back on topic: FX 8-core plus no top-down blowing cooler? Definitely no overclocking and I'd stay away from P95, even though the airflow through the case seems to be okay. I'd still take parsec's advice on making sure the VRM is cooled enough and I suggest you monitor your socket and CPU temperatures every now and then. By the way, you might want to look into undervolting the CPU. Even a small decrease in voltage (if the system remains stable) could help the components cope with the demands of you CPU.
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