4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2015 8:24 PM by JonathanF

    Help w/Adjusting SDR Max Fan Speeds for P4000 S1200RPL V3


      Hello All,

      I just put together a new server from an Intel P4000RP barebones chassis which comes with the S1200RPL board. On first power up it sounded like a jet engine and remained like that until I updated the bios, redetected the chassis, and did all the usual steps recommended. Now the fan speeds are totally fine when idle or under light load, but they increase to an irritatingly loud volume when running at high load.


      Acoustic mode is already turned on in the BIOS, but I would like to go further as I am pretty confident I could half the max fan speed values and still be no where near overheating. The server has no hard drives, just SSDs, so there isn't much to keep cool in there other than the CPU. Unfortunately it will live in a room with 4 working people, so keeping the sound to a reasonable level is a priority even under max load. Obviously I will do some tests to make sure there is no danger of overheating.


      Anyway, the issue is that I'm not sure which entry to modify. Unfortunately this being a newer board, the entries don't correspond to some of the past forum posts / tutorials I've read online. An example section from my S1200RP.sdr follows below. I'd ultimately like to adjust sys fan 1 and sys fan 4 while leaving the CPU fan settings alone. I see that "Temperature Threshold Boost Value" and "Ramp Step" are both 64, hexadecimal for 100. Is one or both of those what I need to decrease, or am I in the wrong place?


      Really appreciate anyone's time and effort on this. Thanks!


      _SDR_TYPE   C0

      _SDR_TAG    'UPS_8X35NOSAS'

      _REC_LEN    001C


         // Sensor Record Header

         0F0C           // Record ID

         51             // SDR Version

         C0             // Record Type

         17             // Record Length


         // Record Body Bytes

         570100         // Manufacturer ID

         0C             // Record Subtype Value (Fan Speed Control SDR Record, rev 2)

         02             // Record Version

         08             // FSC Record Type (08h = Main Domain)

         01             // Domain Mask

         F0             // Fan Profile Support


         // Domain Configuration

         01             // FSC Sub-Record Type (01h = Domain Configuration)

         14             // Normal Control Value

         64             // Ramp Step

         01             // Scan Rate

         64             // Fan Fault Boost Value

         64             // Temperature Threshold Boost Value

         64             // Chassis Cover Boost Value

         01             // Sensor Exclusion Count

         2E             // Sensor Number To Exclude From Fan Boost  


         // Stepwise min Sub-Record

         02             // FSC Sub-Record Type (02h = Stepwise)

         00             // Stepwise Header ID

         25             // Stepwise Curve ID


         // Stepwise max Sub-Record

         02             // FSC Sub-Record Type (02h = Stepwise)

         00             // Stepwise Header ID

         2A             // Stepwise Curve ID

        • 1. Re: Help w/Adjusting SDR Max Fan Speeds for P4000 S1200RPL V3

          Since you are using an Intel board in an approved and tested Intel chassis, i would be very leery of trying to change the SDRs,

          However, i would recommend checking the system thermal readings and fan speeds under load where the fans have ramped up.


          The fan speeds are tuned to be "Green" meaning the system is allowed to heat up to a pretty high temperature (usually 3 to 8 degrees below max) letting the fans run as slow as possible which saves electricity.


          My first guess would be the fan ramp is in response to the CPU getting hot. (P1 Therm Margin < -8)

          Most likely cause of this would be the heat sink is not seated correctly.

          Also check the heat sink fins are alined with the direction of air flow (front to back, not left to right)


          Dropping the fan speed without knowing what is the thermal sensor driving the fan ramp could damage the system if the driver is a card or SSD.

          If the driver is the CPU, dropping the fan speed will result in the CPU throttling and your performance will suffer.

          • 2. Re: Help w/Adjusting SDR Max Fan Speeds for P4000 S1200RPL V3

            Thanks for the detailed response.You are dead on correct about everything. I eventually determined the CPU temp was the driver using some temp monitoring software. Under load it was getting up into 80-90C, which seems abnormally high as the Tcase max for my CPU is 74C. (Perhaps the "green" settings you speak of?) However, when the fans ramped up, the temps dropped and stabilized around the 70s.


            The heatsink was definitely seated correctly, and the thermal paste appeared even when I removed it to check. I'm using the cheap stock cooler though, not an aftermarket which I'm thinking is the real problem here. I noticed when installing it that it was about half the size and weight of some of the stock Intel coolers from the Core 2 Duo days.


            Anyway, I'm taking your advice and leaving the SDR alone. Instead, I've ordered a well reviewed and significantly larger Zalman cooler to replace the stock piece of junk. I will post back if this solves the problem. With any luck, it will keep the CPU cool enough to prevent it from ramping the system fans up.

            • 3. Re: Help w/Adjusting SDR Max Fan Speeds for P4000 S1200RPL V3

              Sounds about right.


              Some day I will figure out why we only spec Tcase since we only report Tcore.

              Tcore runs ~10+\- degrees higher the Tcase so the system is responding correctly (if loudly) the the CPU temp.

              • 4. Re: Help w/Adjusting SDR Max Fan Speeds for P4000 S1200RPL V3

                Good to know! Well, the verdict is in: with the new Zalman cooler the CPU peaked at 75C and hovers between 64C and 75C depending on the speed of the CPU fan, rather than spiking to 85-90C with the stock cooler. At no point did system fans or power supply fans ramp up like they were previously. Problem solved! Thanks again for the help.


                PS: If anyone from Intel marketing actually reads these threads, shame on you for providing such inferior thermal solutions in the past few years, especially with $300+ Xeon server CPUs.