AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 processors are absolute beasts, but they do run hot, and might require a more aggressive cooling solution than you’re used to in your home-built desktop. What can you do to cool them down? Well, there are a few options…and Adam’s going to run through them all. He’s got a brand new Falcon Northwest Talon machine packing a Ryzen 9 7900X CPU and a Radeon RX 6950 XT, and he’s ready to try a few tricks in the latest PCWorld YouTube video.
In addition to a typical high-end 280mm AIO cooler for the CPU and single exhaust fan, the Falcon Northwest case includes an unconventional smaller cold air intake fan on the rear of the case, feeding fresh air directly to the fans on the graphics card. Combined with the pre-built machine’s super-clean cable wiring, it’s an interesting technique that requires mounting directly beneath the first PCIe slot, which isn’t something you can do without blocking those lower slots.
But that’s nuts and bolts. Adam’s testing for performance and temperature included five different CPU setup variables:
Stock configuration (turning off Falcon Northwest’s -10 curve optimization tuning)
Falcon Northwest’s base tune of -10
Custom-tuned -28 curve, near to the minimum possible -30 undervolt setting
Manual temperature limit of 85 Celsius
The most aggressive test: combining a -28 curve tune and hard 85° C limit
Adam found that AMD’s curve optimizer tool didn’t make a huge difference in CPU temperature under standard testing loads like Cinebench, PugetBench, TimeSpy Extreme, and various high-end games. That held true even with a tune of -28, very near the minimum setting that the tool will allow with the Ryzen 7000 hardware. It’s much less effective than we’ve seen with older Ryzen hardware, despite the fine showing by the Falcon overall. If you want to lower temperatures without taking a dramatic hit to performance, the easiest and most straightforward solution is to set a hard temperature limit, regardless of the curve setting.
Stick around until the end of the video to see the reveal of a custom Falcon Northwest case panel, and Gordon’s reaction — it’s worth the wait. For more nerdy optimizations of the latest PC hardware, be sure to subscribe to PCWorld on YouTube.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.