Soltek Hardware Monitor is Soltek’s brand name utility controlling all vitally important system parameters. It reports the CPU temperature, the air temperature inside the case, system voltages and fan rotation speeds. For better visual experience they used multi-color indicators: green – OK, one or two red ones – overloaded. Another visualization means is the font color: when the parameters get beyond safety maximums the font color turns red.
In fact, I have to admit that Soltek Hardware Monitor has pretty scarce functionality for the programs of its type. Moreover, when we launched such utilities, as SpeedFan and CPU-Z, Soltek’s Hardware Monitor wouldn’t boot up correctly anymore: the voltages and temperatures it reported were a way above the nominal values, which indicates its pretty low reliability. That is why we also resorted to third-party software during our thermal experiments.
And now let’s check out the results we obtained. At first we the system CPU was running at the nominal clock rate, and after that we overclocked it:
We do not list the fan speeds here, because they can be set manually in CMOS Setup for any temperature (we will tell you more about it later). We only have to note that by the time certain temperature threshold is reached, the fans speed up to the maximum allowed in the BIOS. Throughout this test session the rotation speeds changed from 1298rpm to 1896rpm on the system fan and from 1298rpm to 3125rpm on the CPU fan.
If you take a closer look at the table above, you will notice that the cooling system doesn’t have that much of a resource, even though they implemented special technology. Even after a slight overclocking, the CPU temperature approaches critical values. But the most important thing is that you will be able to boil water on the capacitors used in the CPU voltage regulator circuit when the system is running in the overclocked mode. :)
The second technology that we mentioned in the beginning of the section is typical of all Athlon 64 processors and is called Cool’n’Quiet. This technology is intended to reduce the processor power consumption thus reducing the level of generated noise if the system supports the third technology aka Smart Fan. The latter technology manages dynamically the rotation speed of the system fans depending on the temperature of the system components. Cool’n’Quiet support is implemented through a special driver, which controls the CPU working frequency. When the CPU is not fully loaded (such as in office applications, for instance), the driver Reduces its working frequency, until there are no more idling resources. When the processor workload increases, its working frequency grows up to the needed value. The CPU frequency is adjusted by reducing/increasing the processor clock multiplier. The CPU definitely consumes less power when running at lower working frequency, and hence it generates less heat. As a result, Smart Fan slows down the cooling fans thus making the system run quieter. The model we tested in our lab worked exactly this way. According to our subjective “audible” experience, the system was running at least twice as quietly in idle mode compared to the full-power mode.
You can optimize system cooling settings in the CMOS Setup page called SmartDoc Anti-Burn Shield. Here you can monitor all the temperatures and manage the system fans functioning. Here is a list of settings you can play with to improve the thermal stability of the system:
- Enable emergency shut-down in case threshold temperature is reached;
- Reset the threshold temperatures for fans speed-up;
- Select from the list of supported settings for Fan 1: 60oC/65oC/70oC and for Fan 2: 35oC/40oC/45oC;
- Adjust the fans reaction time once the temperature has changed. Each fan will have its own value set.