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CompuNurse Temp Probe

Product: CompuNurse Temperature Probe
Street Price: Around $14 USD
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason Rabel

 

What Is It?:

In a nutshell the CompuNurse is a little battery powered digital temperature probe. The probe itself is very flat and is at the end of a cord about 3' long. Here is a quick rundown of the specifications:

  • Range: -40C to 90C

  • Resolution: .01C (max 0.3C)

  • Accuracy: 1C

  • Display: Constant readout

  • Sampling: 3 second sampling cycle

  • Sensor Cord: 800mm cold resistant PVC cable

  • Battery: G10 (1PC)

The CompuNurse is small enough to fit a couple of them on a 5 1/4" block off plate. Tou can get a general idea of the CompuNurse from the picture below, the digital readout is very easy to read from various angles, and the temperature probe is long enough to reach just about any area in a full tower case with enough slack to route the cord out of the way.


(Click To Enlarge)

The CompuNurse only displays in Celsius which probably isn't a big deal for most of the world, but us people in the US are used to Fahrenheit and I actually have a little conversion table printout handy so I know exactly what the temperature is in a format that I'm accustom to. Also, the CompuNurse is battery powered so it is always on. While it doesn't consume that much power, I think incorporating some sort of switch would of been nice to help extend battery life. But also being battery powered gives it a lot more possibilities and portability.

 

What can you do with it?

My intention when I bought the CompuNurse was to place it on the top of my CPU and monitor to monitor the core's temperature (and to see how accurate the thermistor on the bottom of the CPU was). However when I first set the probe on the CPU I noticed that a bit of the heat shrink tubing was overlapping on ceramic part of the CPU, and it was so thick that a heat sink wouldn't sit flush.

My solution was to take a knife and shave off the excess heat shrink tubing until it cleared the ceramic edge of the CPU.

 
(Click To Enlarge)

Yes that knife is a Spyderco, I've had it for about 5 years and I use it all the time and it is still razor sharp. Anyhow, you can see from the second picture that I have removed some of the heat shrink tubing and just exposed more of the flat plastic layer that encases the temp probe.

Next I measured the thickness with my dial caliper to see if it would clear the CPU core.


(Click To Enlarge)

The thickness is right at .019" which is more than ample room to clear both Intel & AMD CPU's. Just so you know, an Intel CPU core is about .033" high, and an AMD CPU core is about .031" high. So next I mounted the temp probe touching a corner of the CPU core and used a piece of tape to hold it in place. Next I ran some tests to see how it compared to the thermistor mounted on the motherboard under the CPU.


(Click To Enlarge)

 

How Does It Compare?:

Here is a little chart to compare the CompuNurse to the onboard thermistor:

Testing was done using a KT7A-RAID with a 1GHz Athlon (Courtesy of PCNut) overclocked to 1.13GHz (8.5 x 133), running at 2.05v (for added heat).

 

Ambient Temperature:
82.1F +/- .5F 27.8C +/- .5C
 

Heat Sink Model

CPU Idle CompuNurse CPU Load CompuNurse CPU Idle Onboard CPU Load Onboard
Vantec CCK-6035D 90.9F 32.7C 120.4F 49.1C 90F 32.2C 120.2F 49C
Thermaltake Dragon Orb 3 90.9F 32.7C 126.5F 52.5C 90F 32.2C 125.6F 52C
GlobalWin CAK38 91.4F 33.0C 121.1F 49.5C 91F 32.8C 120.2F 49C

As you can see, the temperatures stayed within 1 degree of each other. Seeing as how the CompuNurse is rated to 1C accuracy and it is touching the CPU core on the top, the MB thermistor touching the bottom of the CPU seems to be pretty accurate since it is keeping inline with the CompuNurse. Even after using 3 different heat sinks the numbers stayed pretty consistent.

 

Conclusions:

Since not all motherboards have the ability to monitor CPU temperature, this is an excellent and inexpensive alternative. While I probably wouldn't bother keeping this on a CPU that already has a thermistor touching the bottom (like my board which is the ABIT KT7-A) since those numbers seem to be fairly accurate, I would use it on some older motherboards that don't have that luxury of monitoring the CPU core. I would also consider it a necessity when testing heat sinks to get the most accurate readout possible. Another use might be to measure the core temperature on your video card, or air temperature coming off of certain fans, or even water temperature if your rig is setup like that (take extra caution though!).

The only big gripe I have is that there is no Fahrenheit readout, would it of really been that difficult & expensive to add a little switch in the back to go between Fahrenheit & Celsius?

Other than that one little discrepancy, I like the CompuNurse and would recommend it to any person that is wanting to monitor some temperature in their system.

Pros:
  Inexpensive
  Accurate
  Battery Powered
  Long Cord For Probe
  Can Fit Under CPU / GPU

Cons:
  Readout Only In Celsius
  Battery Powered

Rating:
 
For The Average User: 9 / 10
  For The Extreme Overclocker: 9 / 10

 

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