Sunday, August 31, 2014

Using the T_SENSOR on Asus Maximus VII Gene board


One of the new features introduced by Asus with the new round of motherboards for the mainstream Intel CPUs was the ability to incorporate thermal readings of a user installable thermal probe for its monitoring and fan controlling software. Not all motherboard supports it and not all of them came with the thermal probe even if supported. Only the highest end boards came with the probes. Despite my Maximus VII Gene board being the highest end Micro ATX board made for this platform by Asus (or any other vendor for that matter), it didn’t came with the probe. Sadness, but at least it indeed supported this feature.

When I was moving the system from the ATX case to the Micro ATX case the other day (read all about it here), I came across an extra thermal probe that came bundled with the old Scythe fan controller that I had been using a while back. I had already sold the fan controller via Rakuten Auctions (because I moved from it to the Fan Xpert software on Asus boards) without bundling it up. Well, there is nothing I could do about it now, but I wanted to see if that particular probe was compatible with the motherboard.

And, it was!

Now, temperature of which component should it sense? I thought about the temps cooling plan of the case, and there was only one obvious candidate. The video card. The side intake towards the front of the case was simply pumping fresh air in for the video card. It doesn’t have to run at all, if the video card is idle. So I figured that I could control the fan speed of that fan according to the video card’s temperature. The top intake and the rear exhaust were directly associated with the CPU anyways.

Friday, August 22, 2014

RMAed the Logitech Z623 speaker set and got a new one


Almost 2 years ago, I bought the Logitech Z623 speaker set to replace the Corsair SP2200 speakers that developed a crackling issue in the subwoofer (read “RMAing Corsair SP2200 speakers in Japan” and “From crackling Corsair SP2200 speakers to Logitech (Logicool) Z623 speakers”). I bought it from Amazon because they had it for the cheapest offer. It cost me a little under $90 although it should have cost me about $130 if I bought it directly from Logitech as that was the MSRP.

However there was one issue with this particular set. Many of the end users were complaining about a defect with the power button. The speakers would turn on and off on its own at random times.

Not everybody was having this problem so I thought I might get lucky. Even if the problem developed in mine, I would not have a problem with RMAing as Logitech’s customer support is superb. After about one year of usage, the problem developed on my set as well. It was not irritating at first as it would only appear - if at all - at the time of powering up the speakers. But eventually it got worse up to the degree where it would lose power while watching a movie even.

My first Noctua product - the NH-U12S CPU cooler


The Decision

As I sent back the Silverstone HE-01 cooler due to erratic vibration issues (read about it here), after a lot of thought I decided to buy the reasonably new Noctua NH-U12S, single tower cooler. Although this is a very small cooler compared to all of the high-end coolers out there, even compared to the HE-01, it seemed to perform exceptionally well on reviews. I had the Noctua NH-D14, Thermalright Silver Arrow IB-E, Bequiet Dark Rock 3 and Bequiet Shadow Rock Slim in my mind as well. But in the end, I went with the NH-U12S because it would give me peace of mind when looking to buy a new GPU as all of the above seemed to have clearance issues if the GPU had a backplate on it. All of those seemed to have a problem with the clearance with the too most PCI-E slot in the motherboard.

The NH-U12S has two advantages over the HE-01 that I had.

  • Like I said, it's much smaller that means there will be ample clearance between the video card and the heat-sink. There were clearance issues with the HE-01 where I had to insulate the fan clip using tape because it touched the back of the graphics card.
  • While the HE-01 had to rev the fan at 2000RPM to get to its maximum cooling performance, this does it just with a silent-optimized, 120mm 1500RPM fan. A lot of reviewers seemed to praise the Noctua cooler because of its noise to performance ratio.


The purchasing

Unfortunately I could only find two stores (Oliospec and PC-Ones) carrying the product and both of them asked an unreasonable price for it. On top of that, I had to pay shipping as well. It kind of disheartened me because I was so used to buying stuff with free shipping from Amazon and some of the other well known PC stores such as Sofmap, Tsukumo and Dospara. However, as I was all set on that cooler I decided to go ahead with the purchase despite the price.  Obviously I went with the store that offered it at the cheapest accumulative price.