Often times, through our temperature testings with heatsinks we tend to rely heavily on the temperature sensors on your motherboard. While they do provide the degrees on the CPU and the motherboard, many times this temperature is not exactly the most accurate. Some of the sensors for the CPU are right underneath the chip itself in the middle of the socket. Not exactly the ideal location for tracking temps!
So what I used to do was take my home made temperature probe I made out of a cheap Radio Shack case temp. LCD (you probably remember this from a while ago...these things were $5 a pop). This worked for quite some time and eventually this thing did what most Radio Shack products do, it died. Battery replacement didn't work, this just flat out died on me one day.
Since that died, and our testing required an easy accessible probe, we called upon one of our new sponsors, 1 Cool PC to provide us with an answer. If you visit 1 Cool PC, you may notice it looks like 3DFXCool, well...it is. They just went through some name changes, still the same rock solid store from way back in the day. Anyway, I was talking to Bart (he owns the shop) and he sent over a nice little unit called the CompuNurse. From the packaging, this product was meant to be simple. If you didn't know what it was used for, then you probably bought the wrong thing.
There are no instructions, there is just an LCD screen with temperature readings in celcius and a black probe comes out of it.
From the packaging:
- Temperature Range: -40C to 90C
- Accuracy: 1C
- Sampling: 3 seconds constant
- Battery: 1 X G10 (Circle)
A good range of temperatures to work with, with a accuracy boasting of just 1 degree celcius away. Now instead of bare wires coming out of the unit like the one we made ourselves, this one comes wired completely. I tried to tug the wire out with a little force to see if it could take some GideonTech pounding, it put up a good fight so I gave up on the breaking of this unit (we rather need it to finish this review).
To test out how accurate this unit is against the normally used motherboard sensors, we strapped this probe to our AMD Thunderbird 800Mhz Chip. The wire measures about 3 foot long, so you can position this anywhere in the case and mount it on one of your drive bays if needed.
From that picture, you can see we strapped this bad boy using a small piece of electric tape. It keeps it in place so we won't lose our spot. The tip of the probe is positioned as close to the CPU slug as possible. Most of the heat transfer is going to occur in this area, so we might as well document it.
Ok, that Thunderbird has seen a major beating. That's from all the abuse we put on it, but it still is cranking, kudos to AMD for making this tough worker.
Here's another picture from a far, it fits right under the heatsink without obstructing the slug and heatsink contact area.
Our test system is as follows:
After doing a boot up, we check the idle temperatures of our 800mhz Tbird using VIA's Hardware Monitor. We also use the chip at full load, running the RC5 Client and 3D Mark 2k1 at the same time.
The VIA Hardware Monitor takes the temperature reading directly from the motherboard's sensors.
Here are the results:
|Ambient Temp: 30.5C
|Via Hardware Mon.
The temperatures are rather close, only a few degrees off in each test. I certainly prefer an external temperature probe as compared to the one located on the motherboard itself. The reading is more precise in my opinion. You can also position this probe in different areas like the video card or a specific spot in your case. So this unit is rather handy to have if you do a lot of trouble shooting, or just testing like we do here.