Cool Machine – How to Keep Your PC Cool & Stable

Keep Your PC Cool

Everyone wants a Cool Machine both literally & figuratively. We want the fastest and best machine and prefer not to pay too dearly for it. Consequently, we make compromises.  How to Keep Your PC Cool?

AMD or Intel

Keep Your PC Cool

Until recently,  I had always built computers using Intel CPUs but I needed a fast machine to do video editing and AMD multiple processors were the best bang for the buck.

Which Processor?

Once we decided on AMD, we had to decide on a specific processor. At the time our budget focused on the Ryzen 5 1600, so we had it narrowed down a bit. Even here we needed to decide between 1600 & 1600X. Most reviews showed the 1600 was the best deal & it included a cooler so we went that route thinking we probably wouldn’t overclock.

Cool Memory

No cool machine is complete without cool memory so we opted


for 16GB Team T-Force Night Hawk DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) which was considered a  bargain. We had not considered that the native speed for AMD was 2133 MHz so our 3000 MHz memory would need to be over  clocked (OC)!

Over Clocking Memory

In theory, you can over clock memory a MSI board by selecting an A-XMP  profile but keep in mind that the Ryzen supported MSI boards were very new at the time. After several BIOS upgrades and using special profiles (Try It!), I am finally able to achieve 2933 MHz on my memory.

Over Clocking CPU

At this point, we have already entered the realm of over clocking so we might as well over clock the CPU, right? Over clocking the memory didn’t seem to do any harm but overclocking CPUs that tend to run hot has it’s own risks.

We managed to get a decent over clock on the CPU by increasing the multiplier (CPU Ratio) to 37 which put our 3200 MHz processor at 3700 MHz. Even the auto configuration of the processor ran it at 3400 MHz so this was a modest over clock.

How Hot is Too Hot

Now that we had  out cool machine running memory & CPU at modest

Hot Server

over clocks we wanted to make sure it was stable & not so hot that it would be damaged.

We had to raise the CPU core voltage for stability so this made things a little hotter than we would prefer.

Research showed that most folks were happy with temperatures within the 30C-45C range.

Coolers – How to Keep Your PC Cool

We did a lot of research on possible cooling solutions.

Huge Cooler – Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4

There are huge solutions like the Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4  assuming you have the room and budget for it.

The real question is whether or not the stock cooler is adequate. After all our search to keep our PC  cool necessarily included keeping our PC was self-destructing.

Is Our PC Stable – Stress Testing

Putting aside for a moment our search for an adequate cooler, we decided to see how cool our PC was in terms of stability. Our thinking was the PC must be cool enough if it can pass stability/stress tests.

The most mentioned stress we found was Prime95 so we promptly ran the program. When we saw temperatures in the 80C range and a few rounding errors, we aborted the program and made some adjustments.

Prime95 Rounding Errors – DRAM Voltage

The rounding errors were related to memory. It turned out that our memory over clocking was not as cool as we thought. The memory voltage (DRAM) from the BIOS was being changed during boot.

We had noticed this before but figured the lower voltage was probably better on the wear & tear of our memory and likely reduced system heat. As it turned out, system or memory heat was never a concern but getting the DRAM voltage right was.

T-Force Label

The best source of memory voltage is the label on the memory.

While the MSI BIOS Try It feature had been close in assigning the  DRAM voltage (1.36 V), the MSI utility Command Center showed it had been changed drastically (.8 V) upon booting into Windows 10.

Changing the DRAM voltage in the BIOS from 1.36 V to the label value of  1.35 V fixed the issue. Now Command Center showed the same voltage as the BIOS & Prime95 had no errors!

CPU Core Voltage – Re-Addressed

As we found out with DRAM voltage, small adjustments can make a big

Re-Addressing CPU Cooling

difference so we decided to lower or CPU core voltage from 1.4 V to 1.3875 V. 1.4 V is considered teh top threshold for most over clocks so dropping ever so slightly was helpful.

Back to Prime95

With our CPU Core & DRAM voltages lowered we decided to try Prime95 again & stuck out the tests watching out temps run a little lower than the previous run. Ultimately the temperature ran as high as 91 C by the end of the 30 minute torture test (Blended mode) of Prime 95.

This pretty much assured us that the stock cooler did an adequate job of cooling for our needs. We never intend to run Prime95 again so should never come anywhere near those temperatures.

Prime95 safe ? – Real Bench


Research showed that there may be issues with running newer versions of Prime 95 and that a more real life stability test is RealBench.  Our temperatures ran much lower with Real Bench so we are content that our system is stable.

But Is Your PC Cool & Stable?

We certainly think that our PC is cool in regards to over clocking the CPU & Memory. Our latest on User Benchmark shows our CPU “Performing way above expectations (87th percentile” and our memory ” Performing way above expectations (95th percentile)” so that’s not too shabby.

We  managed to run Prime 95 for 30 minutes without errors under temperatures we don’t ever expect to see in our video editing so it’s stable enough.

Cooler Upgrade in the Future?

For now, we are happy with our stock cooler but will keep an eye on

Cooling Dilemma

the temperatures. 40 C no longer seems hot after running Prime95 torture tests.

If we do upgrade the cooler we will need something better than the stock cooler so maybe we opt for Noctua monster coolers.

If so, we will need to ensure that it is either compatible with AMD or that there is a bracket kit available. We also need to ensure that the cooler doesn’t interfere with our memory. We think our system board is can handle a big cooler but we definitely don’t want to be forced into running single stick of our memory.

In addition to the cost of the cooler, we may need to remove the mother board to install brackets which is another downside.

Video editing PC

We used our standard PC & GoPro Studio for our smaller videos without a hitch so were hoping we could get by without a Video editing PC. As the videos got larger, Studio would hang periodically.

Building a Video editing PC

We  hoped to build a Video editing PC without breaking the bank.

We built the PC back in October 2017 but only recently ironed out some of the kinks with MSI and memory.

AMD or Intel

We have historically stuck with Intel but you can get a lot more bang for the buck with AMD processors. Key to video editing is multiple cores and AMD is tough to beat in that regard.

We built our video editing PC with a AMD Ryzen 5 1600. This 6-core CPU was much more powerful than a comparably priced Intel CPU.

System Board

Once we had decided on a CPU, we looked for a compatible system board. The MSI -350M Pro-VDH fit the bill.

None of the newer system boards were without issues and we had no intention of gaming.

We had numerous issues rebooting the PC until recently. BIOS updates for our system board and SSD M.2 drive have been key.

Current BIOS



We wanted the fastest memory we could fit into our budget. Team DDR4-3000 was considered a bargain for the price so we decided we would give that a try.

Note that any memory speed above 2667 MHz is not officially supported by AMD and is considered over clocking (OC). Historically we have been wary of over clocking anything but it’s pretty common with AMD.

Additionally, you should use memory that is on their approved hardware. When our memory performed less than expected we tried more expensive memory that was on the list. That memory did no better than ours so we stuck with our original choice.

Through a series of BIOS updates we are currently getting 2933 MHz which is great but it hasn’t been easy.

Up until the latest BIOS update, the max we ever saw was 2800 MHz. We still can’t use MSI A-XMP but Try It works fine.

Our Memory

Team – T-Force / Night Hawk 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory – THWD416G3000HC16CDC01

SSD M.2 Drive

These days you need a SSD drive for your operating system but there are many to choose from. The M.2 version is much faster so this is the route most take.

It’s a breeze installing software from a fast USB thumb drive to a M.2 drive. There were issues seeing the M.2 drive on boot but we sorted that out without too much difficulty.

More disturbing was issues with restart. There was almost zero chance that the PC would boot on a restart. We found that entering BIOS (delete)  seemed to allow the system to find the drive. Even exiting (F10) with no changes was enough to get the system to boot.

This was not critical to our operations so we lived with this for months.

Recently we got a firmware update from MyDigitalSSD and the PC reboots without issue.

Our SSD drive

MyDigitalSSD – BPX 512GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive

Graphic Card – GPU

We opted for a GPU that was solid without being too pricey. We haven’t had any real issues with it other than downloading huge drivers for NVIDIA GeForce Experience.  I am not sure we even need those since we don’t do any gaming.

The GPU works fine even running dissimilar monitors. Currently we are running a 4K 32″ monitor (Display Port) & a 1K 28″ monitor(HDMI).


EVGA – GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB ACX 2.0 Video Card


Is it Worth the Effort?

We are now able to edit videos without too many issues. GoPro Studio has been left behind for Premiere CC and we are editing 4K videos.

We definitely like the speed of our video editing PC but it has not been without some headaches and it cost around $900 in parts & Operating System (Windows 10 Home). That didn’t include the recently acquired 4K monitor which is another story in itself.