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HP needs bigger fan?

Nik Habicht

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I'm rapidly running out hard drive space in my 18 month old HP Media Center home PC. (120 gig C drive and 80 Gig secondary.) New drives are on the way --- a 250 gig 7200 RPM secondary, and Western Digital's 10K 74Gig as a primary. My present 80 gigger has had some issues over the past few months with files dropping off or becoming unavailable. Since I'm going to open the computer to install new drives, and another gig of RAM anyway --- should I consider replacing the Cooling Fan?

Is the fan a separate job from the power supply or do I replace both? Suggestions, tips, appreciated --- as I teeter ever closer and closer to building my next computer.......

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You should also look at the case to see if there are mounting points for an additional fan or two. I always fill all "fan slots" when building systems. If you don't have enough power connections on the mobo, there are adapters which add a fan style power connection a regular power supply output.

www.newegg.com has a huge selection of fans.

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For those of you don't know, I work as a newspaper photographer. The idea is to run applications and the "My documents" folder only off the 10K drive. Images would be imported directly to the 250 gig drive, browsed, captioned, renamed and selected from it. That drive would also act as a scratch disk for Photoshop ---- so I figure I won't fill it much past the 160 Gig mark. That would let me keep the last year or so of image files live. Backup would continue to occur to a pair of External 120 Gig drives and to DVDs for older and less important images.

I was referring to case cooling ---- and I'll say it gets warm and toasty --- but I've never stuck a thermometer in the case.....

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if you want to know temps, you can give motherboard monitor a try.


no new versions are coming out, but it supports a LOT of chipsets.

If heat is the problem, it may be the case, and not the fans. THe case may just not have enough airflow, especially for anything more than the components that shipped in it.

Step one is crack that puppy open and check for the spare cat or dog accumulated in the fans or dust filters.

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I'm going to guess that the fan to replace is the case fan? Is it an 80mm fan? Iam sure HP wouldnt put 120's in their cases. Dont bother with the mobo chipset fans or the CPU fan, unless your going to change out the entire cooling unit and replace it with a highspeed vantec or somesuch. Those CPU replacement fans can be noisy, but not needed unless your going to seriously overclock. I would get the case out in the open with more airflow, rather than hidden under a desk...especially HP cases that are steel and plastic rather than the good heat conducting aluminum cases we see today.

No need to replace the case fan unless it has a draw or noise problem. I would think that the HP case has no intake fans in front of the HDD's. The fans should be tied to your mobo but some companies run them off the PS. No big either way, they both unplug.

If you have XP PRo, go ahead and reformat your 80 gig with NTFS. It may just need some direct attention to work right again. If I am reading correctly, the 10k WDigital HDD is the Raptor. That is one noisy drive, believe me. You really dont gain that much with a faster spindle either, plus SCSI took another big leap that IDE Sata wont reach again for awhile.

On higher end cases, taking the side panel off is not a solution, as these cases are engineered to draw in and out for max airflow and cooling. When you get close to building your dream machine, give me a call and I will help you configure and build something that is rock solid, tweaked but not bleeding edge.

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Nik... any idea of the tempature you're getting in the case?

Is the new space going to be needed real time?

O.K. --- after installing MBM, while burning images to DVDs, Case temperature stayed at a steady 107, CPU rose from 91 to 102, Sensor 3 remained at 32 degrees......

CPU temps actually climbed while adding files to ROXIO, and then fell back to 91 degrees over the first seven or so minutes of DVD burning.....

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Drive temps that start flagging warnings for our servers are 45' C (113F) (some are higher like 60'C, but that would be extreme)

Are you thinking about combining drives or adding another new drive into the same case?

Like Sandoz said, does this case get good airflow? Have you vacumned out or blown out the dust?

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If thats Fahrenheit no prob.......Celsius prob. Also would like to know what chipset, cpu your running as that changes core temps due to die processes. 64 bit AMD and 9 micron die sets run alot cooler. VIA northbridge and southbridge chipsets run average temps. High limit for a P4 is 70C or 161.6F.

That 32 degrees on temp sensor 3 seems funny, almost like its a celsius reading sneeking in there.

Please don't use a vacuum. Those things are electromagnetic hell storms that can really ruin your system. I never get a vacuum cleaner near one. Berkim is right about blowing out the dust but he probably uses an approved computer vacuum kit that experts use. I think Belkin used to make one. Compressed air is the way to go, I have removable , washable filters on the intake fans in front of the HDD's in a Lian Li case.

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I've always cleaned computer equipment like camera gear --- with compressed air, being careful to maintain the upright attitude of the can. Temps are in Fahrenheit. Specifications from HP's website are:


Pentium 4 2.53 GHz

400/533 MHz Front side

Socket mPGA478


MSI MS-6577 Version 2.1

Micro-ATX design

Intel 845GL Chipset

Motherboard specifications

Comes with 512 MB PC2100 DDR memory installed (may contain more than one memory module)

Motherboard accepts DDR266/PC2100 or DDR200/PC1600 Memory modules

Motherboard contains two memory slots

Upgradable to a maximum of 2 GB

Motherboard requires a minimum of one 64 MB module.

Graphics card:

ASUSTEK GeForce 4 MX440 with 128 MB DDR memory and TV-Out

Power Supply:

200 watt (max) power supply for ATX style motherboards

There are two hard drives currently in the case: a 120 gig 5400 rpm C drive and a 80 gig 7200 rpm secondary drive. The plan is to replace both of them --- the C drive with WD Raptor 74 gig 10K rpm drive and the secondary drive with a WD 250 gig 7200 rpm drive.

I appreciate the interest and the suggestions.....

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Hmmm... only a 200Watt power supply...?? I'd go with something heftier just on general principles.

Care to be more specific? Two hard drives, two optical drives, zip, two or three firewire/USB2.0 card readers, two external HD with their own power supplies....

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Teetering on the..........

Well since you are teetering to buying or building a new system Then I would keep the Raptor. But if you have cooling issues which i gaurantee HP cases will have, and plan to keep the sys for awhile, then please note that Raptors run HOT. You need a case that has inlet HDD cooling fans. Preferably one 120mm or 2- 80mm fans in an aluminum case. HP lame-o HDD can putter along for awhile in hotter conditions, but are usually running 5200 rpm's or thereabouts.

Also, if you are planning to build down the road, why would you add RAM? The new chipset mobos are supporting matched Dual Channel DDR RAM. So your expenditure will not carry over too well in order to maximize throughput on a newer chipset.

Sig Lady is right. You are hardware challenged, especially for PS. 200 Watts is VERY LOW for todays chipsets and processors, not to mention optical drives. I havent seen a 200 watt in 6 years. The standard is pretty much 325 for a basic system. I run 525W because you can never have too much power, and that good juice keeps every hardware component happy. The price point is negligable, just be careful on the brand. OCZ, Enermax and Antech make some good reliable gravy buckets.

IMHO, with nothing to gain, The MSI mobo you have is a disaster waiting to happen. Backup often.

If you ever upgrade your video card for editing or gaming you will be stuck trying to supply power to the new generation of vid cards. They now require a VGA power connector directly from your PS in order to run. Also your chipset doesnt support AGP 8x, but there are no games out there, YET, that are AGP 8x...maybe halflife 2 is.

So bottom line, your comp. is tailing into redundancy. So buy those components that you can transfer to a new system down the road.

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yeah, your power supply is marginal, especially if you hang anything powered by the USB line off the usb connections (ditto firewire).

BAsically, the computer they sold you had about enough juice to run it as is. Not only will the raptor run hot, but it will suck more juice, especially on spin-up.

frankly, taking a guess from what you have said and pluging it into overclockulator, I come up with a power requirement of 364 watts, which sounds about right given the number of drives on that thing. to deal with temperature variations, I'd go with 400W or higher as most are rated for output at temps lower than are realistic and output drops with temp increase.

All sorts of issues can arise from bad power. My numbers assume your card readers and external drives are hooked up all the time. So you may not be blowing the budget by as much as it seems if they are not. Which might explain why you aren't complaining of worse behavior, because overtaxing by 100W for several months usually results in more crashiness and other instability.

Don't worry too much abnout agp 4x vs 8x the performance difference is negligble with the best cards, and meaningless with the MX cards. The new thing is PCI-e anyway. (games don't care, they use what you can throw at them until something bottlenecks, currently that tends to be CPU fro far cry, HL2, doom 3, etc)

If I were going to dump money into it without upgrading the system, I'd buy a good case. A $100-150 case will look nice, make installs easier on you, make it easier to keep cleen, and will last a several sets of guts.

(for single cpu, I really like thermaltake VA3000. it's actually called the tsunami, but it appears that is being expurgated in people's catalogs given current events. good airflow, has cleanable filters built in, nice approach to drive mounts, quiet)

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Everyone who has said you need a bigger PS is right. That should be the next upgrade item. Besides keeping it clean and not restricting airflow, that is the single best thing you can do to keep it running long enough to justify this drive upgrade expenditure (though they can be moved later).

If you really want some more airflow and have a front panel bay available, there are fan modules that can be stuffed in there and tagged into extra connectors on the PS. But for heavens sake, beef up the PS to at least 400W. If the PS runs cooler, the whole case will too.



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I knew there was a reason I threw these questions out there ---- thank you all very much!

Power Supply first shot tomorrow morning. My external drives are powered off, unless I'm backing up images. Card readers and Zip Drive are plugged in all the time --- but are written to/read from only part time. The system has been amazingly stable ---- until I try to burn DVDs, that's usually where I have to reboot after every disk. Guess I have an idea why now.....

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If I were going to dump money into it without upgrading the system, I'd buy a good case. A $100-150 case will look nice, make installs easier on you, make it easier to keep cleen, and will last a several sets of guts.

I was wondering about this --- but there's really nothing keeping me from junking the HP case and moving the entire computer into a new suit, is there?

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I usually sell the whole system and start with a total rebuild. You can move into another house that has more optical bays, removable mobo tray, front, side, rear and top exhaust/inlet fans and real nice removable interior HDD bay that will hold around 4-6 HDD's. Make sure it is ALUMINUM. Light and cool. Theres alot of flavors out there. I like Lian-Li Mid tower cases or if you want custom cases go to wahoo computers. That PC-60 at $100 is a great buy. There are variants by the same manufacturer that will get you clear side panels, quiet foam lined interiors (sacrificing heat dissipation for lower sound) removable trays etc. Lian li


Better cases will usually not come with a PS, and if they do they are lower end PS's.

I am really diggin' my OCZ power stream Power supply. Really nice finish, braided and wrapped looms, and the back fan has a green LED, so its Spooky :o at night....... Newegg has good prices on those. Plus it has SATA power connectors and the VGA power connectors for any newer vid card you may get. Adjustable Rails in the 525w flavor i got, but look at this http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc....-104-150&depa=0

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I was wondering about this --- but there's really nothing keeping me from junking the HP case and moving the entire computer into a new suit, is there?

There shouldn't be. The main issues you might have are 1) they use a mATX power supply. and 2) they use ducting and a so-so heatsink that only works well with the ducting in place.

1 is a non-issue if you also replace the PS. 2 might mean you have to get a new heatsink for the CPU.

As for power supplies, if you want to go cheap, stick with fortron or sparkle (both made by the same company), they are very good value for performance. OCZ, Antec, enermax are all pretty good. PC power and cooling are very robust and beefy, but they are loud and pricey.

I mostly use fortron myself. The only reason I had any reason not too was because they just didn't make what I need.

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O.K. Part Two: The case switch and move to a bigger power supply (430Watt) went relatively smoothly. The computer runs --- and is faster than it used to be. I was unable to make the Raptor my boot disk --- but that's not really a bad thing. I'm using it now as the disk to import image files to and as a Photoshop scratch disk. It makes my most used applications --- PhotoMechanic 4.3 and Photoshop CS --- fly. That said --- loading apps off the HP 5400 RPM drive still sucks and video performance bogs down too.

I'm considering a MB replacement --- and I'm looking specifically at these two boards:

Abit's VT7 or

Intel D865PERLK.

Can I continue to use my Pentium 4 2.53 Ghz processor with 533 frontside bus with either of these boards? It appears I can --- I'm leaning a bit more toward the Intel board because it has firewire support. Or should I upgrade to a processor with an 800 frontside bus to take advantage of faster ram?

From what I'm reading it seems that I should avoid buying PC3200 RAM unless I upgrade the processor --- right? Am I better off using all four RAM slots on the mother board, as compared to using only two? If I use all four, do I have to slide in 4 512MB modules or can I slide n a pair of 512s and a pair of 256s?

Last but not least what do I do about a graphics card? Better to spend $XX on a more current 128MB card or on a somewhat older 256 MB card?

As you may have guessed from looking at my list of components cash is an issue right now --- I need to be frugal here. As much as I'd like to buy the highest end stuff out there, I can't afford it this year.

FWIW, Firewire is crucially important but could come via PCI card. SATA is important because I love the RAPTOR and it's the frive format of the future, no? While I don't see my self setting up RAID now, it might be nice to retain the option.

Drives --- both hard and optical are not an issue, because they exist, as does a copy of XP Home. Pro would be nice, but not essential. All suggestions gratefully accepted.....

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Why do you want to upgrade the motherboard exactly? So you can stick more than two sticks of memory in it? It's not real clear form the discussion so far. both those motherboards are socket 478 and support a 533 FSB, so yeah, the processor should be moveable.

PC 3200 can be mixed with slower ram, you just may need to be careful. You won't see any performance gain going form 4 sticks to two. Wtih a dual channel memory controller, You see performance jump when going fomr 1 to 2 and from 3 to 4, but not form 2 to 4. If there is a matched pair in the appropriate slots, you get the full benefits of dual channel. The only benefit you get by going form 2 to four is being able to reuse your oold memory by adding more of same instaed of having to upgrade to a whole new pair of dimms that are as big as you want.

As for video performance bogging down, you will have to be REALLY specific abotu what you mean. Especially if you are talking about video editing. With video editing, you can have 5 or 6 different bottlenecks depending on what you are having issue with. Where is your video coming from, how are you getting it into your pc, and what are you using to edit it? If it isn't video editing, what do you mean by video bogging down? (2d performance, playing back AVI, MOV, MPEG, 3D video performance, refresh rate, ????)

There's no reason that motherboard couldn't pplay video games, edit DVDs, etc. at a decent clip. SO upgrading the motherboard is probably the least beneficial use of cash at the moement unless you need to escape a physical limitation of the board like not enough pci slots, or memory slots, or lack of an agp port etc.

What exactly do you want to do with your pc you can't do now, and if the answer is nothing, what do you want to be able to do faster with it?

oh yeah, and if you have the urge to order a motherboard, make sure to pick up a tube of arctic silver with it. you will need it when transfering the CPU, and do NOT reinstall the heatsink without cleaning the heatsink and cpu surface properly and applying new thermal interface material (i.e. the aforementioned arctic silver).

[heh, I just looked at your profile and realized you're the same nik I shoot at old bridge with. I do so suck at remembering names.]

[extra bonus edit: you also shoudl consider zipzoomfly.com for orders. Their 2-day fed ex shipping is often free, and gets here faster than newegg since they opened up their edison warehouse (whihc has them and fedex sitting on their saver packages so you don't get free overnite/2nd day), they also have no presence in NJ, so they don't collect sales tax. Not that I'd insinuate you wouldn't report that in the sales and use section of your tax return. :ph34r: ]

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