Jump to content
PaulXMann

Is fixing the incessant fan ramp up / ramp down on the agenda?

Recommended Posts

Gotta say, love my VCS... haven't had any problems of noted, and it's been humming along with extra RAM, SSD, and Windows or Batocera booting great from external flash drives. BUT... the one thing that drives me nuts is the incessant change in fan speed the accompanies virtually every activity. 

 

I'm assuming there's no, simple fix in the bios or whatever, but does anyone know if this is on the roadmap to be addressed by Atari? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to have subsided quite a bit on mine after the latest updates (not that it was terrible before).  Mine has an issue where you can not exit Chrome apps or streaming services after about an hour of use (kids will watch a movie and you can't get back to the dashboard).  Others have reported this to Atari too and they keep saying there is a fix in the works, so hopefully that will get fixed as well.  Such a strange array of issues and nothing consistent between hardware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, joeatari1 said:

Such a strange array of issues and nothing consistent between hardware.

You're not wrong. I've been pretty fortunate. That said, it seems like most of the issues (connection stuff, Bluetooth stuff, fans, etc.) should all be fixable via updates. The hardware itself is pretty coo, all thing considered!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, PaulXMann said:

Gotta say, love my VCS... haven't had any problems of noted, and it's been humming along with extra RAM, SSD, and Windows or Batocera booting great from external flash drives. BUT... the one thing that drives me nuts is the incessant change in fan speed the accompanies virtually every activity. 

 

I'm assuming there's no, simple fix in the bios or whatever, but does anyone know if this is on the roadmap to be addressed by Atari? 

The VCS is great. As for fan noise there actually is an easy fix. Disabling core boost in BIOS is a solution, there won't be any fan ramp up / ramp down. As a result, CPU frequency will not exceed 2600Mhz, but you won't really notice significant performance loss. CPU temperatures also won't reach highs above ~65-70C.     If you're not comfortable with BIOS settings, you can under Linux (in terminal) use:

echo "0" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/boost

to disable core boost, or

echo "1" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/boost

to enable it.

 

Or you can use the app cpupower-gui to switch CPU frequency governors to some extent.

 

In Windows you need to configure it in power settings.

 

Hope this helps!

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, PaulXMann said:

Gotta say, love my VCS... haven't had any problems of noted, and it's been humming along with extra RAM, SSD, and Windows or Batocera booting great from external flash drives. BUT... the one thing that drives me nuts is the incessant change in fan speed the accompanies virtually every activity. 

 

I'm assuming there's no, simple fix in the bios or whatever, but does anyone know if this is on the roadmap to be addressed by Atari? 

Rob Wyatt, the system architect for the original Xbox is the one that designed the VCS. So they probably didn't want to have a RROD nightmare and take any chances with overheating.

 

I don't mind the fan really. My Dreamcast had a noisy fan too, thought it was defective when i got it but realized that's just the way they are. Still loved it though.

Edited by Djmicklovin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had this issue until I replaced the plastic thermal pad on the heat sink over the cpu with actual thermal paste. Now its fairly cool and quiet. I can still get it to be noisy running the heaven benchmark in pc mode. Its a huge improvement.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, tadream said:

Disabling core boost in BIOS is a solution, there won't be any fan ramp up / ramp down. As a result, CPU frequency will not exceed 2600Mhz, but you won't really notice significant performance loss. CPU temperatures also won't reach highs above ~65-70C.

Awesome--thank you! I've switched this to "disabled," so we'll see if that does the trick.

 

I've found a ton of other comments about this (and appreciate the other contributions above--thanks, guys!), so it seems to be a fairly common issue. Hopefully it's still on their radar to address!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whelp... I can report that with core boost set to "disabled," the system generally runs quieter during typical activities (email, web browsing). HOWEVER... as soon as I launch a game, it's off to the races. The fans zoom up and down like crazy with any activity at all. I'd honestly rather have the system throttled than to have to deal with this cacophony. 


Hopefully someone out there is listening (literally and figuratively) and we can get a bios update that calms things down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Rob Merritt said:

I had this issue until I replaced the plastic thermal pad on the heat sink over the cpu with actual thermal paste. Now its fairly cool and quiet. I can still get it to be noisy running the heaven benchmark in pc mode. Its a huge improvement.

Wonderful!!!! After one year....I have a new Atari...thanks to you. This clearly is bad design! This plastic pad is rather a thermal isolation gum. I removed it, put just a little bit of thermal paste onto the cpu...and suddenly the fan doesnt run at all ((Linux Mint, Netflix, Firefox). At first I was afraid that something is wrong with my VCS because it was COMPLETELY QUIET...but all is fine (CPU-X) 😀😃

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention @tadream 's fix. The terminal echo-0-boost thing (sudo su) is required to get your VCS quiet. Thanks!!! And you have to repeat it after every bios update...

Edited by Charles Darwin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2022 at 6:26 AM, Charles Darwin said:

I forgot to mention @tadream 's fix. The terminal echo-0-boost thing (sudo su) is required to get your VCS quiet. Thanks!!! And you have to repeat it after every bios update...

Doesn't matter because it doesn't work. I disabled core boost in the bios (same thing) and it still ramps up and down if you have it under a decent load. Actually, I shouldn't say that... it DOES quiet things down when it's not doing heavier tasks, so it's helpful in that regard. But as soon as you start some light gaming, it starts the same rollercoaster ramping... up and down, up and down, up and down.

 

It shouldn't require a change in thermal paste to regulate the fans, just soften the fan speed curve and aggressiveness of the response. Not sure why Atari refuses to do that, particularly for a chipset that was designed to run without any fan at all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well...my VCS is quiet now...if you use "sudo su" in the Linux terminal and enter @tadream 's command, it works. (I can tell, when I run CPU-X in Linux Mint) Of course, the removal of the "isolation pad" at the CPU is also required...this is complete crap!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just one more thing...it could well be that every time you boot into the "ATARI OS" that the bios settings are set to standard and the boost gets activated. I haven't tested it yet. I just use my VCS with Linux Mint.

Edited by Charles Darwin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Charles Darwin said:

Just one more thing...it could well be that every time you boot into the "ATARI OS" that the bios settings are set to standard and the boost gets activated. I haven't tested it yet. I just use my VCS with Linux Mint.

I'll have to double-check the bios, but it does seem to be quieter in "normal" tasks (web, email, etc.), so I think the "fix" has stuck. It's just a shame Atari forces the consumer to experiment and try to find these workarounds to get the thing to function in a way that doesn't detract from the rest of the experience. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree...yet, I paid for the VCS many years ago (I owned AMD shares in 2016 and read about the project) and didn't really expect to get anything useful. A year ago I was very surprised that finally I received a quite solid mini PC. To me it seems that the original design was pretty good, but the "designer" quit too early and the remaining staff wasn't fit for the job. That explains this weird thermal isolation stuff they put between the fan and the CPU...and it also explains the weird bios settings.

Anyway...my VCS is connected to a large TV and I watch Netflix movies, run Virtualbox machines and surf the www...it's fun...especially since the fan-on-off-behavior is gone. This turned out to be mostly a consequence of a thick rubber layer on the CPU...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Charles Darwin said:

I agree...yet, I paid for the VCS many years ago (I owned AMD shares in 2016 and read about the project) and didn't really expect to get anything useful. A year ago I was very surprised that finally I received a quite solid mini PC. To me it seems that the original design was pretty good, but the "designer" quit too early and the remaining staff wasn't fit for the job. That explains this weird thermal isolation stuff they put between the fan and the CPU...and it also explains the weird bios settings.

Anyway...my VCS is connected to a large TV and I watch Netflix movies, run Virtualbox machines and surf the www...it's fun...especially since the fan-on-off-behavior is gone. This turned out to be mostly a consequence of a thick rubber layer on the CPU...

I got mine in March last year and the VCS has become the PC I use the most at home. I have more powerful computers but the VCS is just more fun. I couldn't stand the incessant fan ramp up / ramp down so the first week I had the VCSI replaced the thermal pad and also did the regular upgrade stuff (32Gb RAM, internal SSD). Temps went down by about 10℃, but that didn't stop that awful fan noise when CPU temps reached ~90℃. It was some time after when the first BIOS password became public and disabling CPU BOOST put an end to the fan noise in my case. I later read about the echo "0" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/boost command line so I turned CPU BOOST back on in the BIOS and now use the mentioned command line when I do stuff that puts such load on the CPU that the fan has to ramp up. This of course reduces the CPU frequency to 2500Hz or so, but does not really hurt the performance. If I should need that small performance gain, I use the echo "1" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/boost command line and live with the fan noise. Now in my case, CPU BOOST isn't really needed, even when using a Virtualbox Windows, GIMP and a browser session with 20-30 open tabs, VPN and internet radio simultaneously. This also means, I've never ever experienced the incessant fan ramp up / ramp down with CPU BOOST disabled even when using Geekbench to do some stress test. Oh yes, one more thing. I was thrilled to learn about your paper clip method in the very beginning, but never had to resort to using it thanks to the BIOS passwords that became public over time. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...