[SOLVED] CPU not getting cooled, getting to huge (75-100+ c) temps doing basically nothing, need guidance.

Jan 30, 2021
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Thank you for taking the time to look at my thread, this is my first post so if I make mistakes or if this is an improper area to post this topic, please let me know.
Also, I'm pretty inexperienced with computers, despite all the power I'm playing with, so please go easy.

Specs (I can try to get more if necessary):
rtx 2070
Asrock z390 phantom 4s-ib
i7-9700k
unknown cooler (more info below)

For the past two or so weeks I've been having problems with my cpu overheating and shutting down my computer. I know the 9700k runs pretty hot normally, but the lowest it gets currently is about 58c, and that just seems to be whenever the cpu feels like being merciful, I can have it be doing practically nothing and it will easily go to 85c and above, and as of a couple days ago it gets to 100+ c just being on (strangely, I get no throttling, games still play at their best for the few seconds I can run them before the pc quits out). I am unsure what the temps were before, as I didn't have any overheating problems/concerns before this started happening, maybe sometimes the fans would get pretty loud but only for moments at a time, so the cooler I had was working pretty well for my cpu. Obviously I tried cleaning everything out, and that seemed to work for about 2 hours and then it went right to overheating again. I then tried reapplying thermal paste and that seemed to do nothing, so I can only assume something is up with the cooler, unless anyone can enlighten me on what else can cause a cpu to overheat (the pc has no blockages and is away from any walls too.)

Now, I know above I said "unknown cooler", it is unknown because I the pc is a prebuilt, but it seems the original listing for the prebuilt I purchased has been replaced with a prebuilt that is similar, except that it uses a different cooler, so I don't know what this one is. The cooler seems to be a 120mm radiator, with one fan on the back and one of the front, on the back of the pc case. I've inspected just about everything I've heard to check, it should be working and cooling the cpu (one pipe gets hot, one is cool, the fans are spinning super fast, the pipes have a little vibration) the only things that seem out of place are that the waterblock and radiator don't feel like anything, and that I can't hear anything, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to sound like as the fans dominate any sound right now, and I honestly never heard anything but fans from my pc from day 1 of getting it, so I don't know what a pump sounds like.

So by all my amateur knowledge I can only conclude that my cooler is dead and I will likely need a new one, I've been looking at the corsair h115i because that one has popped up as a solid choice for my cpu. However, I haven't set up fans/cooling at all in a pc, I'm guessing I need at least one more fan than what's on the h115i, as both fans will be spinning the same way and thus they cannot act with one as intake and one as exhaust like how my current cooler is operating? If I understand the basics correctly, I would put the h115i at the top with the fans as exhaust, and have a fan somewhere else that would act as intake? Not only that, but I also read that it is very possible to short a board if you put too many things on it to draw power, what would be the way to avoid that?

TL;DR I think my old cooler was a bit jank and dead, looking into an h115i, how would one who knows nothing about fans and cooling go about supporting that cooler?

Guidance on all these issues would be greatly appreciated!
 

Paperdoc

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Yes. First, you are right. If those two fans on the rear rad are blowing towards each other, that is dead WRONG! They BOTH should be blowing out!

Before you spend more money, the rad fan arrangement is so wrong, it is likely the main reason for your symptoms! So fix that FIRST, then see what you get. You see, with the two rad fans opposing each other, there is NO air flow THROUGH the rad in either direction, and hence NO heat removal at all! When you say one pipe from the pump is hot, and one cool, that confirms that the PUMP is running and sending water around the loop. One thing I did wonder about: you said "hot". When this is running normally, the difference between the two pump lines if not a lot: warm vs tepid, not hot vs cool. In addition, since those are the ONLY fans to ventilate the case and that is NOT happening, the case interior is building up to a MUCH higher temperature than it should. So, changing the rear fans so both blow through the rad and OUT, will vastly improve the heat removal from the CPU chip, AND provide one source of air flow though the case to cool the entire system.

Now, most cases DO need more than an exhaust fan at the rear to give enough case ventilation. But that's all you have right now. You probably should have one more fan mounted in the front of the case to blow air INTO the case. I recommend a 4-pin (PWM type) fan of 120mm size. You can plug this into one of the two CHA_FAN1 or 3 headers at the bottom edge of the mobo.

With the odd way the rad system was set up, I'd like to review where to plug in all the fans, and how to configure their headers in BIOS Setup. First, the CPU cooling system, consisting of one pump and two fans on the rad. Plug the PUMP into the CHA_FAN2/PUMP header at mid-board. In BIOS Setup (see mobo manual p. 82), set it to be a PUMP header; use PWM Mode; Profile Setting to Normal or Standard; TEMP Source to CPU, not mobo. I presume the cable from the pump ends in a connector with THREE holes. These settings will have that pump run at full speed all the time, which is how most are designed.

Oops! forgot about getting into BIOS Setup. See manual p.47, and you'll probably get to EZ Mode, p. 48. From there use F6 to get to Advanced Mode (p. 51, and there choose H/W Monitor form the top menu.

Now the two rad fans. ONE item here depends on a detail of the fans on the rad - that is, whether the cables from them end in connectors with THREE holes or FOUR, so note that. Plug the two fans into the two CPU_FAN1 and 2 headers at the board top. In BIOS Setup, configure both of these headers identically. Choose the Normal or Standard Profile Setting; IF there is a MODE choice (the manual does no show it), choose Voltage or DC Mode for 3-pin fans, or PWM Mode for 4-pin ones; there will be no choice for TEMP sensor - these headers only use the one inside the CPU chip. This will make both rad fans work identically and their speeds will be automatically adjusted according to the temperature inside the CPU chip.

Lastly, the added front case ventilation fan as a fresh air intake. Connect it to either CHA_FAN1/PUMP or CHA_FAN3/PUMP at bottom front. In BIOS Setup configure as: Switch set to FAN; PWM Mode for a 4-pin fan (if that's what you get); Normal or Standard Profile; Temp source to MOBO, not the CPU. This will put that fan under automatic speed control based on the temperature at a sensor on the motherboard, since this is supplying air for the entire case.

When you make changes to configuration settings in BIOS Setup, remember to use Esc back to the Advanced Menu, then click on EXIT at top right. That gets you the Exit Menu, where you choose Save Changes and Exit to save your new settings and reboot.
 

Paperdoc

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Just a small thing to check, because I detect slight confusion. On the rear-mounted radiator with TWO fans, BOTH fans should be blowing in the SAME direction - out of the case. That is called a push/pull arrangement of fans. So, are they both blowing that way?

I raised that because you were worried about the new system having two fans blowing the same way - in your case, though the rad and then outside, as exhaust fans. You did not seem to realize that your existing system already does that, in a slightly different way.

If you go ahead with the Corsair H115i purchase and replacement, you will need to remove the liquid cooler system you have, and that will involve removing the brackets that hold the pump assembly on top of the CPU chip. Then you will need to install a new bracket and assembly. This will require access to the BOTTOM of your mobo in the area of the CPU socket. The H115i system instructions will give you full details on that. Oh, and something to check. That H115i system uses a fairly large rad of 280 x 140 mm. with a pair of 140mm fans. Your case will need the right space for that rad. So check that its specs say you can mount a 280 mm rad in the top as you plan.

Do not worry about electrical load. The H115i system is designed to get all the power required by its pump and two rad fans from the CPU_FAN header, and the load is entirely reasonable for that.

What else is involved in your case air flow? Right now you have a single air exit point in the rear rad with a pair of fans in push/pull, bu you have not told us of any other fans. If you have more, tell us locations and sizes.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Thank you for your response, but the more I read and hear about this topic leads me to believe that my prebuilt was constructed pretty strangely..

Just a small thing to check, because I detect slight confusion. On the rear-mounted radiator with TWO fans, BOTH fans should be blowing in the SAME direction - out of the case. That is called a push/pull arrangement of fans. So, are they both blowing that way?
I thought that should be how it works, but it seems like the fans are blowing two opposite ways, like they both seem to be push. The innermost fan is blowing cold air into the case, and the one closer to the back is blowing cold air out the back. It is possible that I could have put them back on when cleaning and applying thermal paste, but I had a picture of the way the fans were before taking things apart and I put it back the same way. I could try different configurations if its worth a shot. I can also provide pictures.

I raised that because you were worried about the new system having two fans blowing the same way - in your case, though the rad and then outside, as exhaust fans. You did not seem to realize that your existing system already does that, in a slightly different way.

What else is involved in your case air flow? Right now you have a single air exit point in the rear rad with a pair of fans in push/pull, bu you have not told us of any other fans. If you have more, tell us locations and sizes.
Well the reason I didn't mention any other fans is that the fans I mentioned are the only two fans in my case, and they seem to not be set up logically based on what you're telling me. If I forgot to mention or wasn't very clear, the setup is essentially a sandwich. One fan is blowing out, then there's the radiator, then there's the other fan on the other side of the radiator blowing air into the case, attached to the back.

That's why I was asking about having the fans on the h115i spin the same way and having to get an extra fan was: I thought that the fans were exclusively part of the liquid system and the fans from the nonfunctional system couldn't be used on their own as case fans. I thought I would be left with only two fans that have to spin in the same way if I got the new, longer cooler, and would have to get a third to act as intake.

So ideally, I get the h115i and use can use the other fans from my old cooler in the case to create a good airflow, yes?
 

Paperdoc

Champion
Ambassador
Yes. First, you are right. If those two fans on the rear rad are blowing towards each other, that is dead WRONG! They BOTH should be blowing out!

Before you spend more money, the rad fan arrangement is so wrong, it is likely the main reason for your symptoms! So fix that FIRST, then see what you get. You see, with the two rad fans opposing each other, there is NO air flow THROUGH the rad in either direction, and hence NO heat removal at all! When you say one pipe from the pump is hot, and one cool, that confirms that the PUMP is running and sending water around the loop. One thing I did wonder about: you said "hot". When this is running normally, the difference between the two pump lines if not a lot: warm vs tepid, not hot vs cool. In addition, since those are the ONLY fans to ventilate the case and that is NOT happening, the case interior is building up to a MUCH higher temperature than it should. So, changing the rear fans so both blow through the rad and OUT, will vastly improve the heat removal from the CPU chip, AND provide one source of air flow though the case to cool the entire system.

Now, most cases DO need more than an exhaust fan at the rear to give enough case ventilation. But that's all you have right now. You probably should have one more fan mounted in the front of the case to blow air INTO the case. I recommend a 4-pin (PWM type) fan of 120mm size. You can plug this into one of the two CHA_FAN1 or 3 headers at the bottom edge of the mobo.

With the odd way the rad system was set up, I'd like to review where to plug in all the fans, and how to configure their headers in BIOS Setup. First, the CPU cooling system, consisting of one pump and two fans on the rad. Plug the PUMP into the CHA_FAN2/PUMP header at mid-board. In BIOS Setup (see mobo manual p. 82), set it to be a PUMP header; use PWM Mode; Profile Setting to Normal or Standard; TEMP Source to CPU, not mobo. I presume the cable from the pump ends in a connector with THREE holes. These settings will have that pump run at full speed all the time, which is how most are designed.

Oops! forgot about getting into BIOS Setup. See manual p.47, and you'll probably get to EZ Mode, p. 48. From there use F6 to get to Advanced Mode (p. 51, and there choose H/W Monitor form the top menu.

Now the two rad fans. ONE item here depends on a detail of the fans on the rad - that is, whether the cables from them end in connectors with THREE holes or FOUR, so note that. Plug the two fans into the two CPU_FAN1 and 2 headers at the board top. In BIOS Setup, configure both of these headers identically. Choose the Normal or Standard Profile Setting; IF there is a MODE choice (the manual does no show it), choose Voltage or DC Mode for 3-pin fans, or PWM Mode for 4-pin ones; there will be no choice for TEMP sensor - these headers only use the one inside the CPU chip. This will make both rad fans work identically and their speeds will be automatically adjusted according to the temperature inside the CPU chip.

Lastly, the added front case ventilation fan as a fresh air intake. Connect it to either CHA_FAN1/PUMP or CHA_FAN3/PUMP at bottom front. In BIOS Setup configure as: Switch set to FAN; PWM Mode for a 4-pin fan (if that's what you get); Normal or Standard Profile; Temp source to MOBO, not the CPU. This will put that fan under automatic speed control based on the temperature at a sensor on the motherboard, since this is supplying air for the entire case.

When you make changes to configuration settings in BIOS Setup, remember to use Esc back to the Advanced Menu, then click on EXIT at top right. That gets you the Exit Menu, where you choose Save Changes and Exit to save your new settings and reboot.
 

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