High CPU temps after upgrading

I just replaced an E5-1603 (4c/4t 2.8 GHz) with an E5-1660 (6c/12t 3.3 GHz/3.9 GHz) in a T3600. The idle temp before was in the upper 30's. After upgrading, it's idling in the low 50's.

I pulled the heatsink and had applied too much thermal paste, which is brand new Arctic MX-4. The second time I made sure it was around the size of a pea and in the center. I ran Cinebench R-15 and hit 76 degrees, which is better than the 90 I hit the first time before reapplying paste. Cinebench R-20 maxed at 78.

High CPU temps don't seem to be uncommon with these workstations, but I'm a bit surprised at the jump considering the TDP is the same (130 watts) for both processors. I'm glad I didn't go with the higher wattage E5-2687w. The heatsink is pretty fool-proof since it screws into the motherboard, so I don't think there could be an issue there. Does the CPU put out that much more heat due to hyperthreading and turboboost?

Does the thermal paste take some time or a few cycles to "cure"? I can't imagine it would change more than a few degrees. Should I try reapplying again? I could try another brand, but I hate to buy more.

I read the thread discussing the Noctua heatsink, but would rather not spend that amount on a heatsink or go through the effort sourcing the bolts. Someone mentioned on reddit having good results by replacing the stock fan with a Noctua and using an adapter or rewiring the connector.

Any other thoughts? I don't want to pursue any more upgrades if I can't get the temp down in a reasonable manner.

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  • Totally normal, with an upgrade like that. Try changing the CPU fan speed in the BIOS. It will be louder but will run cooler. 

  • cowboy_wilhelm Noctua makes some nice aftermarket heatsinks that can be modded to work on Dell workstations.  

  • Gorilla Warfare Jbigticket23 The idle temps were much better after starting in the morning. The cores are around the mid-30's, so it doesn't seem like a bad application of thermal paste now. After 30 minutes of running and using Chrome , it's still in the low to mid-40's as I type this.

    It seems like there is definitely an airflow issue with these cases. I'm working from home in a small bedroom that heats up a bit with all this electronic equipment running during the day. But still, the difference is 72 degrees (F) in the morning and around 75-76 during the day with everything running. That shouldn't cause the CPU idle temp to be 15-20 degrees higher.

    I turned the system fans up to high (BIG mistake), then down to medium, and was able to achieve idle temps in the mid to upper 30s when it was previously low 50s. Setting the fans to medium is too loud, so I may have to pursue some Noctua upgrades. Bit of a bummer, but what do you do?

  • The Noctua upgrade needs some slight modifications to the mounting setup on the CPU.

  • The CPU is idling in the upper 30's with a Noctua fan at 100% on the stock heat sink. The CPU fan adapter did not work, so the PWM wire is disconnected. The temperature would have probably been similar anyway. The Noctua is louder at full speed than the stock fans were on auto/low, but it's significantly quieter than the stock fans set to medium. It still reached 80 running Cinebench, though.

  • Just to update this, I decided to go the full Noctua route and added the NH-D9DX i4 3U heatsink as described in Adam's blog. This dropped the CPU temp from 80° C to 70° C while playing GTA V. I was hoping for closer to 60°, but at least it's better than it was. The idle temperature dropped maybe 3 degrees. The temps may go down some more with winter approaching and the ambient air temperature being lower in the house.

    I think these cases are in serious need of more ventilation. There is plenty of supply coming in, but very poor exhausting. A fan at the top of the case would probably make a huge difference, but I don't think my hand is steady enough to take on that project.

    Differences under load:

    • Stock heatsink with 80mm Noctua fan at 100% and ARCTIC MX-4 thermal compound: 80° C
    • Noctua NH-D9DX i4 3U with 90mm fan at 100% and provided Noctua thermal compound: 70° C


  • I had the same problem after switched from an E5-1650 v4 (6 cores * 3.6GHz) to an E5-2680 v4 (14 cores * 2.4GHz).  I'm still not sure that was an upgrade even though the math says it should be (obviously not on single-threaded apps, but there are fewer and fewer of those these days).  I installed a GTX1060 at the same time.  Idle temp rose to the mid 50s (sometimes near 60C) using the stock heat sink and Arctic MX-4.  The GPU shows roughly the same temperatures so I think it's really that hot inside the case.

    I suspect the underlying problem is Dell's use of 80mm fans in the enclosure; in order to keep the noise level acceptable, they run the fans as slow as possible which results in high temps.  When I run Intel's processor diagnostic and it fully loads the CPU, the temps quickly reach max (86C), but then the fan kicks in and drops temps to ~70C with a significant increase in sound, but not awful.  When the test is over it quickly drops back to ~55C.

    I'm going to see if I can shoehorn a 120mm exhaust fan into or onto the back of the enclosure to reduce temps without adding too much noise.

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