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I've constructed a server that uses 2 Xeon E5-2620 CPUs and per Intel's recommendation I'm in the process of ordering heatsinks for each and I'm slightly concerned about thermal management. The case I'm using is well ventilated (the Coolermaster Cosmos II) but I have a few concerns regarding the adequacy of the heatsinks recommended by the MB manufacturer (Supermicro CPU HeatSink SNK-P0048PS). As you can see these heatsinks come without a fan and I'm wondering if they can keep the Xeons within their normal temperature range...

Due to the low volume of literature on the topic I wasn't able to find anything conclusive.

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closed as off topic by Chopper3, TomTom, EEAA, Greg Askew, HopelessN00b Nov 11 '12 at 12:59

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There's nothing about that case that says "suitable for servers" to me. – RobM Nov 11 '12 at 10:50
@RobM I'm aware of that, but we didn't have the budget for a rack case. I found this one laying around in the office. – Jason Tzen Nov 11 '12 at 10:52
If you don't have the budget for a server case you don't have the budget to build a server at all. The case is an important part of server design, not an afterthought. Those processors and the heatsinks specified for them are designed for a server chassis, and those are designed to aggressively channel airflow over the components of a server in particular way and you will never get good results by putting them in a general desktop case. There's a lot more to server airflow than putting a lot of holes in the case and nailing fans to some of the holes at random like the case you mention does. – RobM Nov 11 '12 at 11:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Rackmounts have pretty significant airflow and fans, and sort of focus on airflow over quietness. The ones I used to own sounded like a jet plane. Gamer cases are designed for cool running - they have larger fans with slower speeds - servers have LOTS of high speed fans. Your case is probably the same size of a 2-3 U server

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There's 3 fans blowing air RIGHT over the processor and ram, at high speeds (to hell with noise levels). The servers likely also run in lower ambient temperatures in the conventional server room - the case I just linked has a upper operating temperature of 35 degrees.

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The cosmos has a big case fan (for everything) a vent fan on top, and totally the wrong configuration for the job. The focus is on overall airflow, since you also need to cool the graphics card and stuff.

I'd suggest going for the same sort of heatsink you'd go with for an equivalent enthusiast level processor if you wanted to be safe - in this case LGA2011. These may still be passive, but are designed for cases that don't sound like a small airport.They're designed for the more likely environments a 'tower' style case will be found in - offices and such, with people, not computer centric ambient temperature

Another thing to look at is the TDP of the two processors. Your Xeon has a TDP of 95W, the top of the line sandy bridge E (which shares a socket) has a TDP of 150W - so a SB-E heatsink SHOULD be able to handle things under normal conditions

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Thanks, this helps a lot. Do you think that enthusiast heatsink-fan combos like the Enermax ETS-T40 will keep a Xeon at normal temperature (30-40 degrees Celcius)? – Jason Tzen Nov 11 '12 at 12:38
edited my answer. I would guess so, based on the thermal design power of the two chips – Journeyman Geek Nov 11 '12 at 14:06
Thanks, I really appreciate the help :) – Jason Tzen Nov 11 '12 at 19:12

Nothing funny here. See, you MS up professional and non professional, so you ahv a Problem.

The heatsinks from SUperMicro are professional, for use in a RACK CASE. That is a case with GOOD Ventilation - like a permanent quite high airflow.

Your Coolermaster COsmo is non professional. It is not a rack case, it does not have a decent airflow, so passive coolers made for rack cases do not work. And no, that Little Ventilators or your case are nothing comapred with the cooling of a professional rack Server.

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