Nvidia 8800GT Overheating

06 April 2008

As I mentioned briefly in this post I’ve been extremely disappointed in my new Foxconn Nvidia 8800gt. By default it would overheat enough to kill itself, locking up the whole computer. I tried to install Nvidia’s nTune software only to find it caused my computer to permanently reboot, forcing me to do a full reinstall of Windows. The second time around I installed Rivatuner and saw temperatures hit 95 degrees celcius and higher before the computer locked up. Wow. Equally amazing is the fact that the fan duty cycle (% of max speed) never budged from 30%.

The first step which let me start playing games on my 8800gt was to setup a custom automatic fan speed rule. I used the following settings:

  • Duty cycle min: 30
  • Duty cycle max: 100
  • T min: 56
  • T range: 16
  • T operating 110
  • T low limit 0
  • T high limit: 100

The GPU temperatures were still higher than I was really comfortable with, but at least I could use my $200 paper weight.

I kept searching the interwebs and found this forum thread detailing the reapplication of GPU thermal compound to improve temperatures. After a full afternoon of leveling tailoring on my mage I was bored enough to give it a shot. Here are the pictures:

Disassembling GPU
Gunky GPU Clean GPU
New thermal compound Happy PC

Before thermal compound reapplication: 65 degrees, 44% duty cycle
After thermal compound reapplication: 65 degrees, 30% duty cycle

So by taking off some screws and applying a tiny bit of thermal compound I was able to drop my fan duty cycle (and thus noise level) to the minimum. Before I tweaked my Rivatuner settings to those listed up top, my old settings had dropped my cpu temperature to 58 degrees. That’s the first I’ve seen this card go under 60 without jacking the duty cycle up to max. All said it’s a success, although from the sound of it others have cards even worse off than mine was.