Antec Aria SFF Case (w/PSU)

Cases|Damping
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LOW POWER SYSTEM - Round One

The first installation was with the DFI PS35-BL motherboard (supplied for the review by Antec) and the P4-1.8A processor:

  • DFI PS35-BL Intel 865G chipset P4 motherboard w/integrated VGA
  • Intel P4-1.8A
  • Zalman 6500AlCu-B heatsink
  • OCZ Technology PC3200 memory (512MB x 2)
  • Samsung SP0802N hard drive
  • Samsung SM-252B CD-RW Drive
  • Antec 80x20mm cooling fan
  • Zalman Fanmate1 fan controller
  • Antec Cyclone Blower
  • Windows XP Pro SP1

I left the 80mm fan over the Zalman 6500 cooler turned off for a while, just to see how well the PSU fan alone would cool the CPU. With the ~50W P4-1.8A, it seemed to be fine. The exhaust air from the 120mm fan felt only slightly warm, and there was never any sign of instability with any application I tried.

After Windows XP SP1 was fully loaded, I installed the Folding @ Home client and had the system running 24/7 for a few days for team SPCR. The CPU fan was turned on during this time, set to ~5V with the Zalman Fanmate1. This is a fairly rigorous thermal test, probably on par with heavy prolonged gaming, as it puts the CPU in constant 100% utilization. The system was perfectly stable throughout this period, with no errors in Folding.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that this DFI board does not have any sensor circuits to monitor temperatures, and the MBM5 readings were completely static. So another Micro-ATX motherboard had to be obtained. One of our sponsors FrontierPC came through with a loaner Asus P4S533-MX motherboard with integrated VGA for this review.

LOW POWER SYSTEM - Round Two

  • Asus P4S533-MX motherboard with integrated VGA
  • Intel P4-1.8A
  • Zalman 6500AlCu-B heatsink
  • OCZ Technology PC3200 memory (512MB)
  • Samsung SP0802N hard drive
  • Samsung SM-252B CD-RW Drive
  • Antec 80x20mm cooling fan
  • Zalman Fanmate1 fan controller
  • Antec Cyclone Blower

The Asus P4S533-MX motherboard is a bit older and uses the SiS 651 chipset. It does not have any input for the memory reader; I will have to assume that this feature works when connected to an appropriate motherboard. The board does have monitoring sensors, which really is the critical need for the testing. Rather than patch the previous Windows XP install for this board, a completely fresh installation was done.

HIGHER POWER SYSTEM

This system is the same as the above except for the following components. The copper version of the 6500 cooler was used as it is more appropriate for the higher thermal output of the P4-2.8A.

  • Intel P4-2.8A
  • Zalman 6500Cu-B heatsink

GAMING SYSTEM

This system is the same as system two, except for the addition of an nVidia GeForce Ti-4800-128 MB RAM VGA card. It's not the latest and greatest but still a pretty strong gaming card. It draws ~40W, which is still a lot of heat to add to a small box. (An ATI 9800 Pro card was available, but it had already been modded with an Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer; the retention bracket on the back of the card protrudes too far and interferes with the PSU, preventing it from being mounted in the case.)

As you can see from the photo above, it's a pretty tight fit, with the PSU cables running between the VGA card and the heatsink. You can't help wondering if there's a better placement for the cables exiting the PSU. The photos below show the card installed from the left side of the case, and with the Cyclone Blower fan installed two slots over.



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