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Question Avoid fan-ramping at idle with 3900X in Noctua-equipped build?

AxelMagnus

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Oct 28, 2013
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I just bought my 2nd desktop computer ever, and the first I've put together myself. The goal is for the system to run as quiet as possible.

Specs are 3900X / Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2x16) 3200 MHz / Samsung 970 Pro Evo 1 TB / B450-F Gaming Asus Rog Strix. CPU cooler is Noctua NH-D15, case is Meshify C and case fans are 2x NF-A14 PWM as front intake and 1x NF-A12x25 PWM as exhaust.

At first, I just ran everything stock. Fans kept ramping up and down constantly, not to a super-high speed, but they were constantly jumping up and down between like 20 and 60% even when not doing much. Downloaded HWMonitor, and could see that CPU temperature was between about 43 and 55 degrees. Temperatures also jump up and down during seconds in a range of up to 10 degrees, which I didn't know CPUs were supposed to do. I thought they just slowly went up and down in smaller increments. Voltages on the cores were constantly at about 1.5 V.

Researched a bit, and discovered that those temps are considered a bit high for not doing much/basically idling - in general. I also discovered that people have the same issue with stock 3900X, both the slightly high idle temperatures, which was a relief so I could confirm that it wasn't an issue with my doing thermal paste wrong. I think I got it right, should be spread across the entire CPU, but don't feel 100% confident since I checked and smooched about 10 times lol. But it seemed even in the end, hope it hasn't dried out or ended up uneven or anything while I did that?

I also discovered that it's normal for the temperature to fluctuate really quickly like that? Something to do with really quick heating of the CPU. What about cooling, why does it get cool so quick again?

People were suggesting lowering voltage on CPU, but I noticed this seemed a bit too advanced for me. I started by just adjusting the fan curves so the CPU ran hotter before fans kicked in, which did help quietness, but now the CPU were averaging closer to 50, which I think is a bit high?

So I thought I'd try "EZ tuning" in BIOS, which to me seemed safer than trying manual settings when I'm a newbie. I set it to "daily computing" (not "gaming") and "tower cooler". Now the temps are looking better, with idling around 40%. If something happens in the background, it does still ramp up to 48, but the average is down by about 5 degrees. Voltages at idle are now around 1.1 V. I ran the fan calibration, which I think measures lowest effective RPM? That lowered the lowest speed quite a bit, since I guess the Noctua fans are good, and I mimicked the "quiet" fan preset, but adapted to the new lowest RPM.

Problem is, I still get the occasional fan ramps when doing very little at the computer, and I was wondering if there's more that can be done about that? It seems a standard practice is to kick in the fans quite a bit already at 45 C, but that happens frequently, so I constantly get a little fan ramp.

What should I do about that? Should I run the CPU hotter with the fans kicking in later, or is there any tuning steps a newbie can take that makes the CPU not wanna go to 48 for the slightest little background task activity? I want to keep this safe, but I'd very much want no ramping unless I'm actually using the CPUs on average more than like 20%. As it is now, it happens constantly even at just a few percent.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I've added a "fan smoothing" of 15 seconds in BIOS, but I don't know if that is really doing anything?

I've also run my computer for about 50 hours in total by now, and got my first freeze today. (I guess i've run the new settings for like 40 hours by now.) It wasn't a normal type of software freeze I've seen before. Spotify went into a 200ms loop. The mouse could still be moved, but screen was completely frozen. Never seen that before on any system. So I think it might have been the CPU tuning? But I guess I'll keep settings longer to see if it's a persistent problem or just an odd one.

EDIT2: Even though the voltages on the individual cores are around 1.1 V, the "CPU core" voltage at the top of HWMonitor, whatever that means, is now around 1.3 V. I think that used to be around 1.5 too before the EZ tune.
 
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AxelMagnus

Honorable
Oct 28, 2013
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Thank you for your answer.

Yes, as mentioned in the post I've already played around with that. (Text was a bit long, sorry about that!) I've now tried a curve that doesn't go above 30% fan speed until the CPU passes 55 C. That at least lowers the intensity, but the fan stills ramps up and down to that slightly higher speed. I'd very much like for the fan to act more on averages and stick to its speed for longer periods of time, say 30 secs at a time! No ramping, just stay there until it's done working on the averages.

The way I understand it, the fan doesn't really need to ramp up that quickly to follow those short temperature fluctuations from the CPU. Is this in a issue with my motherboard not doing fan smoothing correctly? Or is a 10 degree fluctutation a thermal paste or other type of problem? Or is this just the way it is regardless?
 

MadsModsat

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Oct 10, 2019
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I use a piece of fan control software called Argus Monitor in order to set the behaviour of the various fans in my system. They are set to some very specific parameters to avoid the ramping up and down i experience with pretty much any of the Asus BIOS settings available for fan control, when my computer is under light use.

I use it for overriding the BIOS fan settings, but you can run any combination between keeping BIOS to control some fans, manual constant RPM settings for other fans, and software control for another set of fans (or all three) - also adjusting according to different temp sensor sources.

You can also specify if you want a certain fan to react to "average temperature" or "maximum temperature" to minimize rapid fan speed fluctuations, and you can specify the time interval of the temperature polling rate for the average temperature reading of a specific sensor.

You can download a free 30-day trial with all program settings availbale, to see if it could help with your specific issue.

After that, it costs around USD $9.99 for one year, and there's a cheaper 3 year license.

It takes a little bit of time to setup, but after that, I've found the software to be very useful.

I know I have an Intel CPU, and you have a Ryzen, which are known to fluctuate a lot temperature-wise under light load, but I'd be surprised if you weren't able to find a combination of settings, which will limit or remove the annoying rapid ramping up and down of the fans in light load or idle scenarios.

Since I use a 9900K which can run a bit hot, I also had issues with the fan speed fluctuations and the annoying sounds as a result of that, wcich is why I decided to ditch BIOS control and buy a piece of software to improve fan operation in my build - or at least to suit my personal preferences.

Here's a quick example of three different curves I use simultaniously for different fans. The curves are defined by the fact that my idle/ light load is always below 46'c including brief temp spikes (which is why the curve is flat up to that temperature to avoid changes in fan speed). High load is always between 50 - 65'c, and maximum stresstest load is always between 66-74'c (except for Prime95 with AVX, which peaks at 82'c).

The HI_AMP curve is for the top exhaust fans which only spin up slightly under load, while the CHA_FAN2 curve is for the front intake fans which spin up for cold air intake under load. I run a curve for CHA_FAN1 rear exhaust similar to the CHA_FAN2 intake fans, but I've made it match the CPU cooler RPM at high temps, in order to improve the CPU cooling peformance (by eleminiating the possible build-up of high pressure air between the rear exhaust and the CPU cooler).
So there are a ton of options for maximizing airflow and fan behaviour.

You can even have 4 different profiles stored to switch between quickly on the fly, if you want to have a gaming profile, a quiet profile with constant rpm, a high performance profile - and so on.

I've found it useful to let the chassis fans react to the GPU temperature as well as CPU temperature, because some games don't put a lot of load on my CPU, which means the case fans wouldn't really spin up during gaming, but this would make my GPU run a bit more hot, which reduced boost clocks and duration slightly... -so having intake and exhaust chassis fans react to GPU as well as CPU, has improved gaming performance slightly, which I like.

I have 5 x 140mm Noctua Redux PWM 1200RPM chassis fans and a Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.Black CPU cooler, all controlled by the software mentioned above (The two intake fans are on a y-splitter).

Sorry for the wall of text, I went a bit into details hoping it would be more helpful, becuse it seems you have already spent a lot of time on details with your current setup... -I hope you'll find a good way to achieve the fan behaviour and fan noise levels you are looking for.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: AxelMagnus

AxelMagnus

Honorable
Oct 28, 2013
35
1
10,535
0
Tha
I use a piece of fan control software called Argus Monitor in order to set the behaviour of the various fans in my system. They are set to some very specific parameters to avoid the ramping up and down i experience with pretty much any of the Asus BIOS settings available for fan control, when my computer is under light use.

I use it for overriding the BIOS fan settings, but you can run any combination between keeping BIOS to control some fans, manual constant RPM settings for other fans, and software control for another set of fans (or all three) - also adjusting according to different temp sensor sources.

You can also specify if you want a certain fan to react to "average temperature" or "maximum temperature" to minimize rapid fan speed fluctuations, and you can specify the time interval of the temperature polling rate for the average temperature reading of a specific sensor.

You can download a free 30-day trial with all program settings availbale, to see if it could help with your specific issue.

After that, it costs around USD $9.99 for one year, and there's a cheaper 3 year license.

It takes a little bit of time to setup, but after that, I've found the software to be very useful.

I know I have an Intel CPU, and you have a Ryzen, which are known to fluctuate a lot temperature-wise under light load, but I'd be surprised if you weren't able to find a combination of settings, which will limit or remove the annoying rapid ramping up and down of the fans in light load or idle scenarios.

Since I use a 9900K which can run a bit hot, I also had issues with the fan speed fluctuations and the annoying sounds as a result of that, wcich is why I decided to ditch BIOS control and buy a piece of software to improve fan operation in my build - or at least to suit my personal preferences.

Here's a quick example of three different curves I use. The curves are defined by the fact that my idle/ light load is always below 46'c (which is why the curve is flat up to that temperature to avoid changes in fan speed). High load is always between 50 - 65'c, and maximum stresstest load is always between 66-74'c.

The HI_AMP curve is for the top exhaust fans which only spin up slightly under load, while the CHA_FAN2 curve is for the front intake fans which spin up for cold air intake under load. I run a curve for CHA_FAN1 rear exhaust similar to the CHA_FAN2 intake fans, but I've made it match the CPU cooler RPM at high temps, in order to improve the CPU cooling peformance (by eleminiating the possible build-up of air between the rear exhaust and the CPU cooler).
So there are a ton of options for maximizing airflow and fan behaviour.

You can even have 4 different profiles stored to switch between quickly on the fly, if you want to have a gaming profile, a quiet profile with constant rpm, a high performance profile - and so on.

I've found it useful to let the chassis fans react to the GPU temperature as well as CPU temperature, because some games don't put a lot of load on my CPU, which means the case fans wouldn't really spin up during gaming, but this would make my GPU run a bit more hot, which reduced boost clocks and duration slightly... -so having intake and exhaust chassis fans react to GPU as well as CPU, has improved gaming performance slightly, which I like.

I have 5 x 140mm Noctua Redux PWM 1200RPM chassis fans and a Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.Black CPU cooler, all controlled by the software mentioned above (The two intake fans are on a y-splitter).

Sorry for the wall of text, I went a bit into details hoping it would be more helpful, becuse it seems you have already spent a lot of time on details with your current setup... -I hope you'll find a good way to achieve the fan behaviour and fan noise levels you are looking for.
Thanks a lot! This was a lot of good information. I'll definitely check out Argus Monitor and see if I can achieve some better results with it.

I also just saw a video that talked about 3.6 GHz and sub 1 V being normal at idle with the 3900X, while mine is running at 1.1 V and 4 GHz at minimum, so I think I'll have to look into if it's possible to adjust some things there too. Doing the EZ tune preset in BIOS helped temperatures already, so I guess if that worked correctly, temperatures and fan response would be even better too.
 

MadsModsat

Prominent
Oct 10, 2019
836
157
640
46
There's also a free software controller called SpeedFan which used to be very popular. But it hasn't been updated since 2015, and unfortunately the sensor chip and fancontroller on my motherboard, weren't supported by the current version of SpeedFan - but if your motherboard is supported, that could be a free alternative.

But I'm personally very satisfied with Argus Monitor, despite the fact that it isn't free to use.

EDIT : Updated with link
 
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Reactions: AxelMagnus

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