Wednesday, May 14, 2014

GA-P35-DS3R fan control

The Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R motherboard has a IT8718F chip. It can control the speed of 3 fans via PWM and monitor the speed of 5 fans. The chip also has 3 thermal sensor inputs, which can be read by software. The SmartGuardian feature allows any thermal sensor input to be used to automatically control any fan without software intervention. Fan speeds can also be controlled from software. A PDF datasheet is available.

The BIOS has options to enable CPU fan speed control, and to use voltage or PWM to control the fan. I'm using voltage. The stock Q6600 fan has a 4 pin connector and supports PWM, but PWM causes noise. Voltage can control the speed just as well without the noise.

The BIOS programs the SmartGuardian feature to control CPU fan speed, but it doesn't provide any options for changing that configuration. Both Linux and SpeedFan support the IT8718F chip, but neither can program the SmartGuardian feature. SpeedFan only has an option in the Advanced tab to switch a fan from SmartGuardian to software control, which allows SpeedFan to control its speed. At least for the second PWM output, SpeedFan may not properly re-enable SmartGuardian.

An 8718fans program allows changing of SmartGuardian and other fan-related settings in the chip. It also allows viewing of current settings.

This GA-P35-DS3L information seems similar or identical to the GA-P35-DS3R. CPU fan speed is measured via the first fan sensor, and controlled via the first PWM output. That page claims that the first PWM output controls CPU fan voltage and the third output controls CPU fan PWM, which I didn't test. The second fan output controls voltage on SYS_FAN2, the 4 pin fan connector near the DIMMs and 24 pin power connector.

The BIOS sets up CPU fan control by using the second temperature sensor to control the first PWM output. This is a sensor at the CPU, but not one of the internal core temperature sensors that can be seen in programs like Core Temp. The IT8718F chip cannot use such sensors, because they can only be read by software running on the CPU. The second sensor measures temperatures which are about 10°C colder than the cores. According to 8718fans, full fan speed would be reached at 66°C, which probably corresponds to core temperatures near 76°C.

The BIOS also sets up sensor one to control PWM output two with the same settings. This is probably not reasonable for a case fan, because sensor one isn't at a particularly hot location. Its normal temperature is near 40°C, and if it reached 66°C, hotter areas would overheat.

The IT8718F SmartGuardian algorithm uses a slope, essentially just setting fan speed based on a linear relationship with temperature with some smoothing features. This means temperature depends on load, rather than being controlled to a particular level. If a certain fan speed corresponds to a certain temperature at a certain CPU load and CPU load increases, temperature increases until a new equilibrium is found, with a higher temperature and higher fan speed.

I'm now using SpeedFan to control a case fan, but still letting SmartGuardian control the CPU fan. Maybe I will inject some code into the MBR or elsewhere to set up SmartGuardian for the case fan, because I perfer not depending on an application for fan speed control.

1 comment:

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