Do I need a new fan?

Beebo Brink

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A few years ago I purchased this Cooler Master heatsink:

My local computer shop installed it for me, along with a general maintenance run, but they've closed (another casualty of the pandemic). Over the past few months, I heard a rattling -- getting more and more intense -- from inside my case and I narrowed it down to the clip-on fan that was paired with the cooler. I managed to pop the fan unit off, and the rattling stopped, so that was a correct diagnosis (yay me!).

Will my computer melt down if I don't replace the fan? I'm not sure I can figure out where to connect it back to the motherboard because my eyesight is so rotten for close-up work. I'd just as soon not replace it, unless it really does matter. The cooler was overkill to begin with, so really regretting that "enhancement" now.
 

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Replace it. You might get away with waiting if it is in a cold room and you monitor temps, but by summer you will need it.
 
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Monica Dream

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Interesting timing -my computer fan just decided to start freaking out the night before last. I thought it was done for; I got scary-ass messages (from the bios) on startup.

I took the side of the case off and watched. The cpu fan stalled, but then ran. I installed the intel power gadget and so far it's hovering at 44c (max is 100c).

I'm definitely buying a new fan A.S.A.P. -in my case that may be Dec or Jan and I'm watching mine nervously until then.

From what I can tell, you'll want to replace yours even sooner -mine's kinda working, but it sounds like yours isn't doing any cooling at all.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Will my computer melt down if I don't replace the fan? I'm not sure I can figure out where to connect it back to the motherboard because my eyesight is so rotten for close-up work. I'd just as soon not replace it, unless it really does matter. The cooler was overkill to begin with, so really regretting that "enhancement" now.
Modern CPUs have a builtin thermal throttling mechanism, which means if they do reach a certain threshold their either slow themselves down or even power themselves down totally.

When running such a CPU without fan it's up to the air flow in your case to cool down the heat sink, which might be not good enough for that task. You should replace the fan if you do not want to risk that your CPU always gets into the situation to reach the thresholds.
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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Replace the fan, they're cheap and much easier than replacing the heatsink since you don't have to mess with thermal paste.

You may need to buy an identical heatsink-fan combo to get a replacement part.
 

Ashiri

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Looking at the photos, it seems it's a standard 120mm fan which just uses fancy clips
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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Probably can just be screwed on without worrying about the side clips.
 

Beebo Brink

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Just to make doubly sure, in case I didn't stress this the first time, I don't need the cooler/heat sink at all. It's not part of the original build, I ran fine without it for years, but I decided to get fancy and it was just installed about year or two ago. If I trusted myself to take it out, I'd just throw the whole thing away and be done with it, but thermal paste, yeah.

So my question is really if the cooler itself -- without a fan -- poses some kind of danger. The case is well ventilated with plenty of fans, but I don't know enough about these add-on coolers to judge its effect.

I know the safest course of action is to install the fan... sigh... but I'm not looking forward to that chore. Simple enough if I could actually see what I'm doing. :p
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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You originally had no heat sink at all?
 

Casey Pelous

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It is easy enough to find out if you need the cooler, Beebo.

There's a handy little free program called Speccy (Speccy - Free Download) that reads out all the specs of the gear in your computer after a few seconds of scanning. One of those specs is the current temperature of the CPU. Most recommendations are that the CPU should be running at or under 50 degrees C. I just pulled up mine and it is running 32 C, which is where it will stay so long as I'm doing stuff like typing. If I'm rendering video it will creep up to the low 40's, but I have a pretty serious cooler on that CPU - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/FM2/AM3+ - Newegg.com.

If you're not rendering long videos (or audio) you might be fine without the additional cooling.

If it comes to replacement, heat paste is nothing to freak out about -- if you can spread soft butter thinly on bread, you can install heat paste. "A little dab'll do ya!"
 
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Just to make doubly sure, in case I didn't stress this the first time, I don't need the cooler/heat sink at all. It's not part of the original build, I ran fine without it for years, but I decided to get fancy and it was just installed about year or two ago. If I trusted myself to take it out, I'd just throw the whole thing away and be done with it, but thermal paste, yeah.

So my question is really if the cooler itself -- without a fan -- poses some kind of danger. The case is well ventilated with plenty of fans, but I don't know enough about these add-on coolers to judge its effect.

I know the safest course of action is to install the fan... sigh... but I'm not looking forward to that chore. Simple enough if I could actually see what I'm doing. :p
They would have to reinstall the original heatsink. The easiest thing to do right now is replace the fan and not mess with the heatsink.. Any standard case fan will do. Look for a 4-pin fan with PWM. Near the CPU on the motherboard will be a 4-pin connection marked CPU Fan. It should only fit in one direction.
 
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Beebo Brink

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They would have to reinstall the original heatsink. The easiest thing to do right now is replace the fan and not mess with the heatsink.. Any standard case fan will do. Look for a 4-pin fan with PWM. Near the CPU on the motherboard will be a 4-pin connection marked CPU Fan. It should only fit in one direction.
Taking a close look at the cooler specs, apparently the fan can be separated from the clip-on frame, so swapping it out should be easy enough. Thanks for the tip on where to find the connector. The one thing I hate about this case (which is otherwise pretty solid) is that the side fan is mounted on the case cover, so it has to be disconnected to do any real work inside. So that's two fans I have to re-connect with my bad eyesight, but it's doable.
 

Beebo Brink

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It is easy enough to find out if you need the cooler, Beebo.
Thank you, this was also really helpful. I'll monitor tonight, running SL and Sims 4, my only graphic-intensive programs, to see just how hot I'm running. If I'm not doing too badly, that will take some of the pressure off. :p
 

Imnotgoing Sideways

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Regardless of how big and fancy a heatsink is, it was not designed to operate passively. The fins don't have enough surface area or spacing to develop enough airflow by convection alone. CPUs do have thermal throttling, so they will slow when they're near overheating. They're still near overheating. Heat is like cancer for solid-state electronics, never leave it untreated.
 
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Handy little tool. I'm running between 48- 53 degrees C, which is borderline, but my new fan is on order from Newegg and should arrive in a few days.
That borderline is very conservative. Some sites will tell you that 80C is OK when playing intensive games. My laptop shuts down at 90C which is undoubtedly not a healthy temperature for the cpu.