Do I need to add extra cooling systems to run Folding@Home?

Victor Ong January 7, 2013

I built my first computer, and it’s running fine. I installed folding@home, and suddenly the CPU temperatures flared up from 40 degrees C to nearly 80 degrees C.

Is this a safe operating temperature? Do I need to add extra cooling systems?

  1. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I have a box fan on my main system.

  2. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    ha14 has the best advice so far.

    However, as far as actual damage goes, your CPU should automatically reduce speed if it starts to overheat anyway. You can literally pull the heat sink off and it will carry on running, and slow right down to a crawl as it gets too hot (there's a few good videos of this on YouTube). If it's unable to do that, then a secondary system should kick in and shut off the power.

    The cooler you run the CPU, then the longer it should last in theory. I personally prefer them to run cooler than that, so although more cooling isn't necessarily needed, my personal preference would be to add some. I'd also probably opt for a heat sink with a large fan, which will shift more air and be much quieter, as well as a good variable speed (controlled by the motherboard) case fan near the CPU to pull away the heat as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    Water cooling, as far as I'm concerned, is a game. There's a reason you don't see high performance servers and business machines running water cooling - good air cooling is just as effective, cheaper, and generally speaking safer.

    • Victor Ong
      January 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Hm. Though water cooling does make sense. Do you know where I can find a good comparison between aftermarket air coolers and water coolers?

  3. Rob Hindle
    January 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I'm not sure distributed computing projects like Folding and SETI are represent the best use of resources. The idea is appealing but in practise you are providing resources at your expense for the benefit a third party. You may be fine with that: deserving cause, something you are personally interested in, happy to contribute etc but in reality very inefficient.

    If the few dollars a year it's costing each processing resource contributor were made as a financial contribution for mainframe or server-farm capacity optimised for the task then the processor power per dollar spent would probably be orders of magnitude better.

    Whilst I might be OK with providing a bit of spare processor resource to a deserving cause, I'd be pretty annoyed if the demand was such that I needed to consider going to additional expense to support it.

    However another way of looking at your situation would be to say maybe you made some miscalculations in your home-build PC and the problem you are seeing is telling you something like maybe you overclocked without full regard to the additional cooling the CPU might need under full load for example.

    • Victor Ong
      January 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      It's really the incentive the EVGA gives for doing this supercomputing.

  4. Dimal Chandrasiri
    January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    it would be a good idea if you can add some additional cooling fans or what ever you use. since more heat, it will degrade your computer parts performance. so it's better o add more cooling..

  5. Jan Fritsch
    January 8, 2013 at 6:57 am

    First make sure the program is viewing degree C and not Fahrenheit.

    You can try dusting off the internals of your computer (especially the cooling Fan) and make sure the CPU cooler is properly seated on the CPU. Depending on the age of your computer the thermal compound may also need to be refreshed.

    Except a not properly seated cooler all of this options are usually just "tweaks" and "little improvements" so you should definitely consider a better cooling system. Ultimately changing the cooler will also address all the above options.

    While it's not unusual for a processor to hit 80°C during full load it is not temperate you want to operate on long term. All Folding@Home does is utilize your processor to it's fullest so any other operation doing this will also result in this borderline temperature.

    • Victor Ong
      January 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

      But is it quite dangerous for it to go above 80?

      • susendeep dutta
        January 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

        It would be not good for the processor to go above 80 C as it would raise electricity consumption and would heat up other parts as well.Every component has a tolerance level and you must avoid it to even reach it nearby as possible as you can.

        If water cooling is not comfortable or your case doesn't have enough space for it,then opt for a aftermarket CPU cooler fan which comes with a good heat paste which can for sure keep the temperature under check.

      • Jan Fritsch
        January 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        I would say a temperature of 80°C is already dangerous if it's maintained for more than a minute or two.

        One would have to know the exact CPU model number or name and look into the specification but in average Desktop CPU's are designed for a max. operating temperature of ~70°C.

        To give you one comparison, my CPU has a temperature of ~30°C in Idle and 50-55°C at full load using traditional air cooling.

        But putting all of that aside I strongly suggest you to stop using Folding for now and try another monitoring tool to check the temperatures as some combination of tools and chipsets cause wrong readings.

        You can find various suggestions in this thread.

        Once you checked that and another tool gives you the same high reading you definitely have to change to invest into better cooling.

  6. ha14
    January 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

    You need to maintain your temperature under the recommended Tmax as per Intel/amd speculations.

    you can change to water cooling if you wish.

    How many cores do I need to run this? What types of CPUs?
    In the beta test, we are strongly recommending that this code be run on 4-core boxes, although it can be run on 2-core boxes with reasonable performance. The code does best on Core 2 Duo/Woodcrest class chips and we recommend these systems (new iMacs, Mac Pro's, etc).

    Second generation GPU client on ATI hardware (GPU2) FAQ

    Second generation GPU client on NVIDIA hardware (GPU2) FAQ

    How to: Use 100% of my CPU when folding with Hyper-Threading/multi-core CPUs?

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