VoodooPC Rage F-50 PC / Zalman TNN-500A Case

Complete|Mobile Systems
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On the inside of the front door is a Safety Notice and a drawing. Here's a photo of the notice:

Note the warning about keeping the unit away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. I also imagine very high ambient temperature is not recommended... although if Zalman's development lab is in Korea, they would have had to take into account the hot occasionally >35°C summer temperatures there.

The drawing shows how to access the interior of the case. The first instruction ensures that the right side castor feet are engaged so that the wheels can't turn. That done, I looked for the bolts. They turned out to be substantial Allen-head bolts, along the top and bottom of the left side. You can see them highlighted in the photo below. The two center arrows point to highlighted hard drive mounting bracket screws.

With the Allen head bolts off, the left side of the case simply pivots out from the back edge.

Entire left side hinges out.

The hard drives are mounted on the inside of the left side panel, along with the integrated power supply below the drives and AC connection box on the top left.

More details of the AC input box (with on/off switch), hard drives, and the fanless power supply.

Here is the label on the cover of the fanless power supply, which I made no attempt to open up. We can safely presume that heat producing components are directly clamped or heatpipe-connected to the left panel for heat conduction and eventual convection cooling via the external fins. The top and bottom panels of the PSU cover have ventilation slots, which must allow for some direct air convection cooling.

The 160W combined 3.3V + 5V power capacity, and the 12V line's 12A capacity are quite modest by today's standards. VoodooPC says that this PSU is considerably "beefed up", but the standard Zalman label was not changed. VoodooPC found the standard Zalman PSU not quite stable enough for their needs. The nature of the "beef up" was not specified, but we can presume key components such as voltage regulation transistors and capacitors were upgraded with higher capacity units. Zalman's web site cites 75% efficiency for this PSU at 230V; at 115 or 120VAC, it's usually a couple points lower. Certifications for safety agency approvals such as UL/CSA were notable by their absence.

The HDD mounting setup is surprisingly crude, acoustically speaking, considering the effort and expense given to run everything fanless. Hard drives always make noise, and in a fanless system, their noise is more noticeable because of the absence of white noise from fans.

The photo above shows how the drives are mounted.

1) Screw the HDD to the aluminum shelf.

2) Slip the groove on the left side of the aluminum shelf over a short "bracket" that's attached to the side with two screws from the outside.

3) Tighten the screws from the outside, and the aluminum shelf gets clamped to the side.

This system is secure, but any vibration from the hard drives is transmitted directly into the case. The system tends to accentuate noise from drive vibration, especially head access noise. The unfortunate thing is that so little space is provided between each drive "bay" that securing a drive suspension mount that would reduce the noise would be a challenge. I am not certain that any retail drive noise reduction device would fit easily here. More on noise later.

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