Vista experiments, PC heat

My new gaming PC arrived in Friday, and since then I have been trying out and configuring it, those minutes I had available. The most complex challenge is actually hardware related: the system is powerful enough for me, but it is too hot. Meaning that both the motherboard/system sensors and the CPU are constantly around 60 degrees C. For a moderately over-clocked CPU that might still do, but for the system board that is not good. I have tried tweaking the fan software options, made sure that the BIOS settings also support fan controls, but no. I installed an extra fan into the case but it does not appear to be powerful enough. The only trick so far that actually works is to open side of the case and direct powerful airflow from a 40 cm air-conditioning fan directly into this hornets’ nest. That makes sure that even when I tweak the game settings to the top, or play various video music files while driving several background applications the system temperature does not go over 30°C. Now I only need to weld this fan into a gigantic hole that I somehow drill into the case side. Hmm. Need some thought still.

Apart from the heat frustrations, the new system is a beauty – my old gaming/workstation PC had been so long out of date, that having a fast processor, plenty of memory and even some disk space to spare is a thrill. And I actually quite like how Vista works, with its slick Aero things and all. But there are several downsides to this system as well. Its DRM policies are notorious, and the system security messages start to drive me mad. Yes, I do know that I want to run those programs that I asked the operating system to run, thank you. Having four different dialogues popping up when you download and start up a new networking software is sort of overkill even these days, I’d say.

Vista is still missing some crucial drivers, so no hurry if you do not need to upgrade right now. For example, plugging in two Canon digital cameras, the PowerShot S3 IS was recognised and all worked automatically, but Canon EOS 350D required separate driver installations, and it still appears that the OS tool is not capable of downloading pictures from the camera. You need to use a separate tool from Canon to do that.

Apple iTunes and QuickTime do not work yet with Vista either. I have now opted for QuickTime Alternative and Real Alternative to use open, community supported alternatives. The online, streaming videos do not run completely smoothly with these, though. Hopefully the media player and codec situation gets better, soon. But the Vista Media Center was a real delight; you could spend just hours leaning back, clicking through your photo collections while listening to mp3’s playing in the background. The home theatre setup with its wireless keyboard really gets into its proper use now. DVD movies and digital sound work also fine.

And now back into Neverwinter Nights 2, and the world of Forgotten Realms…

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.

3 thoughts on “Vista experiments, PC heat”

  1. Frans, have you contacted the shop regarding the high temperature? One would expect a custom fit PC like that to run flawlessly – if everything is OK. Before making any irreversible changes to the system, I’d definitely demand the shop to take a look at the system.

  2. Yes I have, and they responded that they consider even 70°C system temperature still to be “normal”, so my Elite case having 50+°C is no problem. I have heard other views on this temperature issue though, so even if I am hesitant to send the machine back in post (it functions perfectly, after all), I’d prefer to cool the machine more efficiently to guarantee longer lifespan for the components.

    From the store they offered various 8cm-12cm additional fans that I could consider, but for now on, I ended up buying a 6-inch (15+cm) desktop fan and opening one side of the PC case and letting the fan blow inside. This keeps the system temperature at 40C — satisfactory until I can think about something that looks or works better. The problems are currently in the aesthetic area mostly, the airflow is satisfactory. Some liquid cooling system might offer an all-silent, all-powerful cooling solution, but I am not ready for that at the moment.

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