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Get More Out Of Your Volcano 7

Date Written: January 17, 2002
Written By: Jason Rabel
Company: Thermaltake

 

Get More Cooling For Free!:

The Thermaltake Volcano 7 heat sink has become very popular in the overclocking community by combining good cooling at a budget price. One of the nice features of the Volcano 7 is that it sports an 80mm fan that gives higher CFM without the noise traditionally associated with 60mm fans. However the Volcano 7 fan does not run at a fixed RPM like most traditional style fans. Instead the Volcano 7 fan RPM increases with the ambient temperature through the use of a temp probe mounted on the side of the fan housing. Here are the specs taken from the box on the fan's performance:

  • 2900RPM @ 25C (77F) / 46CFM

  • 5000RPM @ 35C (95F) / 53CFM

While I have always been happy with the performance of the Volcano 7, I noticed that it never reached the maximum RPM even when the CPU was under heavy use. The only way the fan will reach the higher speeds is if the ambient temperature around the probe increases, however most overclockers are big on case cooling so the ambient temp in the case never reaches high enough for the Volcano 7 to reach its peak performance. If you look at the picture below, you can see the green blob which is the temp probe that controls the fan.

So with that in mind, I thought to myself the probe needed to be somewhere that was warmer than the rest of the case to "fool" the fan into spinning faster. At first I was thinking of taping the probe near the voltage regulators since they get hot, or the back of my video card, however if you unscrew the fan you can see that the wires on the probe are not that long, and I didn't really want to fool with extending the wires to make it reach a heat source.

Sure enough as I was looking at the fan and the heat sink, the solution was right in front of me! The temp probe fits nicely right in the middle of the heat sink where the clip goes through! The temperature is definitely higher because the heat sink is absorbing all the heat from the CPU (as if that really needed to be said).

After booting the computer back up, it was very obvious that the fan was spinning at a higher RPM. So I decided to run some tests to see just how much faster it was spinning and how much more cooling I was getting.

 

Testing & Temperatures:

The test was conducted on an ABIT KT7A-RAID w/Athlon 1.4GHz @ 1.533GHz - 1.92v. The board was placed on an open workbench to keep the ambient temperature controlled and constant. Also, the fan speed was rounded to the nearest hundred RPM.

In the charts of the temperatures below, you may wonder what it means when it says "top" and "bottom", so here is a quick explanation:

 

Top:

An external temp probe is touching the side of the CPU core for a direct reading.

Bottom:

The built in motherboard probe takes a less direct reading from the bottom side of the CPU.

Ambient Temperature:
73.8F 23.2C

Volcano 6Cu+  1.4GHz @ 1.87v

Volcano 7
Heat Sink

CPU
Idle Top
CPU
Idle Bot.
CPU
Load Top
CPU
Load Bot.
Idle
Fan RPM
Load
Fan RPM
Before Probe Mod 84.4F / 29.1C 84F / 28.9C 124.5F / 51.4C 129F / 53.9C 3200 RPM 3600 RPM
After Probe Mod 83.7F / 28.7C 84F / 28.9C 119.3F / 48.5C 123F / 50.6C 3500 RPM 4900 RPM

Conclusion:

Well I think the temperatures speak for themselves, a solid 5F for something that takes only a couple minutes to do. When the temp probe is placed inside the heat sink it allows the fan to reach a much higher RPM, while at the same time when the machine is idle it will still spin at a slower RPM and run near silent.

Also if you don't like how the fan runs faster (and somewhat louder), it is just as simple to put the probe back how it was before.

Please, before attempting to do this mod, shut down your system completely and unplug the power (just to be safe).

Questions / comments / suggestions / rants / tips? Talk about it in the Overclockers Forum!

 

 

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