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The MSI PC Alert 4 utility allows using the LED display to show the information about the CPU and system temperatures as well as about the speeds of the CPU and system (PSU) fans.

   

   

The program window also tells you about the voltages and frequencies of the system:

The temperature of the idle system was 42°C (measured under 25-27°C room temperature). Under a synthetic load (CPU Burn), the CPU would heat up to 54°C. The cooler sped up from 2250rpm to 4000rpm at that and the noise level grew somewhat. Still, the noise remained rather low, without annoying peaks or resonances; it will hardly prevent you from watching your favorite movie with comfort.

When the CPU temperature grew to 55°, the cooler spun up to its full speed of 5500rpm and quickly cooled the CPU down to 44°. The “active cooling” session lasted for about three minutes, after which the cooler’s speed returned to the minimum.

The main disadvantage of the cooling system employed in the MEGA 865 is the lack of fine-tuning options like setting the correlation of the fan speeds and the temperatures. You can’t set up activation thresholds, either. There was also a minor inconvenience as the LED display would sometimes produce weird “writings on the wall” like “CPU 0000 RPM” or “SYS 7800 RPM” and others. On other occasions, the display would hang up altogether and its contents would remain the same even after a restart – only power disconnect would cure this malady. I hope these problems will find their resolution in the next version of the BIOS, though. Probably, the developers will also be kind to add the fine-tuning options I’ve just spoken about.

Yet another confusing thing was the relatively high temperature of the memory modules working in their normal mode. They are not cooled in any way and their temperature was very hot to the touch, although we didn’t register any stability issues.

As a last touch to our tests, we decided to add an external AGP graphics card into the MEGA 865 to see if it was at all possible. We had some doubts about that because:

  • there are many cables tailing from the PSU that may prevent us from plugging the card into the slot;
  • the graphics card cannot be too long; otherwise the AM/FM module, SATA connector and other components will not let it plug into its slot;
  • the AGP slot is too close to the PSU and the CPU cooler. If we installed a graphics card, the latter wouldn’t have anywhere to pump air from.

We took a GeForce FX 5900 card from Gainward for our test – its size is standard and its cooling system is rather small, but the card itself is fast enough. To cut the long story short, we managed to plug it in and snap the latch of the AGP slot, but we had had to detach the SATA cable for that and even to remove the optical drive! After that, the graphics card blocked airflow towards the CPU cooler, and the heap of PSU cables was near it, threatening to block it altogether. Can the system work in such conditions?

My launching the CPU Burn utility made the processor as hot as 74°C, and the fan speeds were the maximum. In spite of the increased temperature, the system maintained stability for a long time without any sign of overheat, while 3DMark 2001 showed a tremendous score of 12,238 (1024x768, 32-bit color) instead of 2,688 I got using the integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 core.

  

Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend to you to install the topmost (i.e. hottest) processors with a powerful graphics card into the MEGA 865. The system temperature under a load was so high that even the cover of the system case was perceptibly hot! And even if you manage to solve the problem of overheat, there may arise problems with the limited power of the PSU.

 
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