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 Post subject: Is a fanless PC possible?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:53 am 
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Location: Greece
I was wondering... With todays technology is a fanless system possible?
I was thinking something like this(note that i am not really interested in having high performance. Average is just fine for me):

:arrow: Antec P182 Case.

:arrow: Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500 (3GHz) - very low heat generated. According to this: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect0

3.4W idle, 33.4W load. A Fanless Ninja or Orochi is sufficient i think.

:arrow: I don't really think a motherboard creates much heat(right?). So i was thinking this: ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP

:arrow: ASUS EN8600GT SILENT/HTDP 512MB
This is already fanless, but of course the stock cooler is not very good. Attach an Accelero S1 Rev2 to it for better temperatures. Heat information here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article770-page4.html
If this is too hot i can switch to cooler one.

:arrow: PSU: Silverstone Fanless 300W or Corsair 520W. Not really sure if the 300W will be sufficient so i also have the corsair in mind, which is extremely silent.

:arrow: Western Digital Caviar GP (1TB). As silent as storage can get until Solid State Disks are mainstream.

:arrow: NO case fans. Hopefully the above hardware will generate so little heat that no fan will be needed.


Is this possible?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:19 am 
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If there's not a fan pulling the hot air out of the case, it doesn't matter how low-heat your parts are - as they slowly warm up the air in the case, they'll keep getting warmer themselves. With the parts you've chosen, you might be able to pull it off if you let the power supply fan pull hot air out of the case - until a few years ago, this was the standard setup. However, the extra heat will cause the power supply to spin its fan at higher speed, and it'll end up surprisingly loud. You'd be better off with a single slow Nexus or Scythe pulling the hot air out - that would keep the power supply fan at idle, and even though you'd have the extra fan you would actually end up quieter.

EDIT: I hadn't noticed you chose a P182. With this case, it won't work - with the power supply isolated and unable to contribute airflow, you'd almost be able to overheat a Via processor. A modern dual-core, even at 30 watts, is pretty much out of the question.


Last edited by tehcrazybob on Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is a fanless PC possible?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:20 am 
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BabisSougias wrote:
Is this possible?


Probably not, especially without some major modifications (vents on the top of the case, for example).

Also, without a fan in the lower chamber of the P182, most of the heat from the PSU will go toward the rest of the components.

If you're intent on having 0 fans, do a search for "0dba" - I seem to remember a fanless computer here... EDIT: here's the link

Also, your setup with two slow speed fans, one in the lower chamber, and one as exhaust (maybe ducted to a good heatsink), would probably be nearly silent.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:29 am 
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Quote:
3.4W idle, 33.4W load. A Fanless Ninja or Orochi is sufficient i think.


That's about the same power output level as the 1GHz P3 in my silentPC project, so I think it's possible.

I used a 1K/W industrial heatsink, since it is better suited to fanless operation than most PC CPU heat-sinks. If the Ninja is capable of delivering =< 1K/W in free air, then it should work OK, if you can keep the air-flow around if as unrestricted as possible.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:04 am 
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also with no air flow the hdd will most likely fail prematurely. But then you could get the ssd you wanted.. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:13 am 
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It's definitely possible but you should probably be looking at a different case. Are you sure you need a Nvidia 8600GT graphics card? If you get rid of that and use a motherboard with onboard graphics it would cut down on the amount of cooling needed. :)

Something like a mCubed HFX classic heatpipe case would work a lot better than the Antec P182:

http://www.mcubed-store.com/catalog/pro ... cts_id=121

For the HDD putting it outside the case in an enclosure on a block of foam works quite well. In an enclosure such as a Growup Japan Smartdrive 2002C the drive doesn't have any heat issues.

As pictured here my Samsung Spinpoint T harddrive is currently at 30c approx (room temperature of 18.5c) with no airflow across it at all. There's a layer of thermal paste between the drive and copper heatsinks to get some heat transfer.:)

Image
The main harddrive on a block of foam behind the case


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:18 am 
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look at xfx fatality is much better then 8600gt and still silent


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:34 am 
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I think making a fanless system is definitely possible. But it requires a lot of work and probably underclocking/undervolting for a stable completely fan-free system.

As you are looking at the Corsair PSU, it sounds like you're not really that concerned with fanless as maybe just very quiet. Even the smallest amount of airflow from a very slow spinning fan can make a big difference compared to fanless. Note that just because a part is labeled as fanless, doesn't mean it doesn't need some airflow. Fanless video cards, CPU coolers and PSUs generally require that they still have some airflow over them. They just don't need a dedicated fan on them. And motherboard chipsets can get very hot even with a CPU and case fan blowing air around.

Also, if 300W isn't enough to power a system (which it definitely is in your case), then you definitely will not be able to do fanless. 300W is a LOT of heat to remove from a system without any direct airflow.

I'm guessing you could get by with the parts you specified with a good low speed 120mm fan on the back and the corsair PSU fan. Two very slow moving fans should be very difficult to hear and would keep things much cooler than no fans at all. Of course you could always try and see what happens. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:36 am 
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What if i leave the sides of the P182 open?

And if that isn't sufficient, then just also put it sideways so the heat goes up?

I am unable to find most cases in greece, especially not passive cases. I even found the P182 by luck :/. I was interested in the Zalman TNN500 but coulnd't find it. (oh, also at some point i found out its price...) And fanless cases are really heavy to order from outside.


Alternatively i should change the fans of the P182, they are kinda noisy even at low. Or make them run reallllllly slow. But since they aren't 3-pin fans i can't use the (zalman) fan controller :/.

I don't really need the 8600GT, but i don't think i can find good MB with onboard graphics here in greece. But i should probably switch to a cooler VGA.


The 0dbA project seems wow... just wow :).


edit: Ok, i guess i don't mind having fans even if they slow really slow. I have used the zalman fan controller on another system (Thermaltake shark) to make the Scythe fans (i change the original ones) run so slow i could'nt hear them. But i probably can't do that on the P182.

So according to all your suggestions maybe i should focus on silencing the case fans.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:44 am 
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BillyBuerger wrote:
Of course you could always try and see what happens. :)


Thats what will hapenn probably :).

I am short the motherboard and processor only...

tehcrazybob wrote:
If there's not a fan pulling the hot air out of the case, it doesn't matter how low-heat your parts are - as they slowly warm up the air in the case, they'll keep getting warmer themselves.


Heat concentration will probably be a problem since the pc tends to be open 24/7.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:50 am 
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If you're happy to use some fans, and have the Antec P182 already, why not build a PC like cmthomson's Antec P182 (but with newer components and without the overclock).

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article672-page1.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:22 am 
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BabisSougias wrote:
BillyBuerger wrote:
Of course you could always try and see what happens. :)


Thats what will hapenn probably :).

I am short the motherboard and processor only...

tehcrazybob wrote:
If there's not a fan pulling the hot air out of the case, it doesn't matter how low-heat your parts are - as they slowly warm up the air in the case, they'll keep getting warmer themselves.


Heat concentration will probably be a problem since the pc tends to be open 24/7.


Test it this way; put three 100 watt light bulbs in the case and measure the case temp after 1 hour! :roll:
Even one 100 watt bulb with no fan is gonna get real hot.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:50 am 
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Possible? Yes. Practical? IMO, no. It's a lot of extra work for little to no gain. You can very cheaply and easily put together a system that is effectively silent (i.e. can't be heard above ambient noise from a few feet away). Passive cooling requires clever enclosure design, custom heatpipes and externally mounted heatsinks, etc.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:09 am 
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Quote:
Passive cooling requires clever enclosure design, custom heatpipes and externally mounted heatsinks, etc.


yes, if you're trying to make an ATX case into a fanless PC, something which it (the ATX spec) was never designed for. a fully passive PC could be as simple as an undervoltable motherboard, an HTPC (ie non-tower) case with the top replaced with mesh, and a fanless power supply (ST30NF would be my choice). granted, this requires a miminal level of DIY skill to make the mesh top for the case, and also the inevitable increased level of power consumption makes this inappropriate for gaming PCs, but to make a PC that can surf the web, playback music and watch DVD/MPEGs, and run basic office apps (ie what 90%+ people use PCs for) it can be done with off-the-shelf parts rather than expensive custom heatpipes and external heatsinks.

sure, it's easier to just print out the SPCR recommended list and hand it to your local PC shop, but then where's the fun in that? :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:18 pm 
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What a fanless system would look like.

http://www.geocities.jp/numano333/index.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:37 am 
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Laz Winterz wrote:
What a fanless system would look like.

http://www.geocities.jp/numano333/index.html


exactly proves my point. if you want to make an ATX tower case fanless, it can be done, but you're fighting the basic design of the case all the way, and you end up with huge, ugly PCs like in that link.

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What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:24 pm 
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jaganath wrote:
Laz Winterz wrote:
What a fanless system would look like.

http://www.geocities.jp/numano333/index.html


exactly proves my point. if you want to make an ATX tower case fanless, it can be done, but you're fighting the basic design of the case all the way, and you end up with huge, ugly PCs like in that link.


Depends on the person. I don't mind having a fugly case, if I can get it completely fanless and silent. (Live with HDD noise for now, until SSD become affordable).

Laz Winterz, thank you for putting up that link.

While I agree building a fanless system is indeed an engineering challenge, it may be worth it to those who are tired of fan noise.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 1:37 am 
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IMHO....."fanless" is quite possible, with the right components, in a modified ATX case. I have done bench testing using a P4-2.4 (45-100W), with a Ninja heatsink. You need to stand the MB on end, as in a tower case. Here's the bench setup...

Image

When I removed the fan, stood the setup on end, and ran CPUBurn for quite a while, the CPU stayed under 52C.....ambient around 25C.

Running this setup in a tower case would require a mesh top (big mesh openings), and the bottom of the case would need to be completely cut open, with tall feet or casters.

There's no room for an internal PSU...a PICO would be required. No video card....the on-board video would have to do. A laptop HD would work, as long as it was stood on end so as not to block airflow. As long as there was a clear path for bottom to top convection airflow, and you didn't mind somewhat higher temperatures than normal, along with a completely mesh top.....it would probably work.

The key is the heat output of the CPU....obviously the biggest heat producer, the use of a Ninja which can handle convection cooling, and an un-obstructed airflow path. If you can live with such a setup.....go for it. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:29 am 
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2.53GHz P4 (SL682 in ga8-siml mobo) under test on the bench at the moment. Sitting at about 50'C (~+30'C) @ 100% CPU useage.

Image

The copper block is just a counter balance; the whole thing is balancing on the CPU . I hope to use about half of the about heat sink in the finished version.

Earlier, I tried the heat-sink used on the original SilentPC project; It was fine while idling (running XP) but anything over 50% CPU caused the temp to rise too high.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:19 am 
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Like other members said, it is possible but it requires some careful planning. Don`t forget that fans are not the only component spinning and thus making noise. You will also need to address the disk drive(s) which are louder than a couple of low speed fans in my experience.

Having said that, it is certainly an interesting thing to try and there are many useful links in this thread.

If I were to build a fanless pc today it would go like this:

M/B: I would certainly go for a motherboard with intergrated graphics. One reason is power consumption, the other, is that a dedicated vga would restrict the natural convection airflow a little.
For an intel cpu I would reccomend theese boards:

http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.524345
Dvi, but average reliability record

http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.526699
Good all rounder but no dvi

http://www.plaisio.gr/product.aspx?catalog=20&category=69977721&product=1049976
Hdmi, good features but expensive

HDD: While the GP is a good all rounder you might consider a notebook drive such as these:

http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.303882
http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.301624

Even lower power consumption than the GP, designed for laptops ie to work in a low airflow environment.
Even those laptop drives can be audible. I ended up sandwiching my hdd between foam and another larger drive and got good results by doing it.
Image


PSU: A pico psu would be ideal. It uses no fan and takes up very little space inside the case since it uses an external power adapter. The most power efficient solution for a minimal system.

http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.417/.f?sc=8&category=13
http://www.mini-box.com/110w-12v-8-5A-AC-DC-Power-Adapter?sc=8&category=13

A lesser, 80 watt combo is available in Greece, not sure if it can take a core2 at full load.

http://www.magicom.gr/store/index.php?target=products&product_id=29834
http://www.magicom.gr/store/index.php?target=products&product_id=29837

You will need a few adapters to connect your components to it:

http://www.magicom.gr/store/index.php?target=products&product_id=29849
http://www.hacshop.gr/hac/servlet/gr.hac.display.Visualiser?action=showproduct&item=3268

If it must be an atx psu, I would reccommend this rebranded fortron:
http://www.pc-store.gr/product_details. ... tem_id=495[/url]

I think that the pico is worth the trouble though, it will be more difficult to manage the airflow in the case when you add the bulk of an atx psu.

CASE: In a passive setup you will probably want to use natural convection airflow to it`s full extent. That means you need a case with large vents at the top and bottom.
I see two possibilities: you can either pick a decent case you like and cut the vents yourself, or you can choose a case that already has those. The only one I could find was the coolermaster 690, pics shown here:

http://www.coolermaster.com/products/product.php?language=en&act=detail&tbcate=17&id=2908
It`s available in checkmate though you might also find it in eshop (currently out of stock).

If you choose another case and wish to modify it, a lian li might be a good choice as aluminium is easier to cut than steel. You will also need some grills unless you are really confident in your cutting skills :)
http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.809595

Any vents that do not contribute to your cooling setup should be blocked, especially at the front. You might also want to use sound deadening materials to further reduce hdd noise.

HEATSINKS: A skythe ninja and thermalright hr05 could handle the cpu and chipset. The mosfets that regulate the power to the cpu will probably need some cooling as well.
Image

I`m afraid there is nothing in the market designed for mini atx motherboards. A solution is to cut/adapt an old heatsink you already have. If it`s not possible, at least try to fit some vga ram heatsinks.
Shop around in eshop for those.

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Last edited by ntavlas on Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:37 am 
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I had a k6 333 rigged in a snowboard shipping box.(5' tall by 12" wide 4" deep) It would work fine F@H untill the heat came on in the house, then it would lock up. Part of the problem was the furnace stirring the air up messed up the convection , as well as adding to ambient temps.

I prefer one fan to help mask ambient noise and disk seeks. Also Hwy 101 is less that 1000' feet away. :cry:

If i tried this again I would vent from under house, though pc case and out the celling.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:42 pm 
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It would be a lot easier to make single fan system. Adding 500 rpm Scythe slipsstream would not contribute noise level much all but would do significant help in air flow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:52 pm 
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I am considering using water cooling, like the Zalman Reserator 2.

That way i can move the heat outside the box. I should probably need a single fan to remove pilling heat on the box though right? Is there another disadvantage?

edit: OK so i thought about the following. I will use a Scythe Orochi for the CPU cooling. That automatically means i will leave the side of the case open. Also orochi's fan is 140mm and really silent so i think it will be ok to leave it on but can also run without it.
Then i will have the reserator only cool the VGA. That will also allow me to get a high end vga and/or use two cards in SLI/Crossfire

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:35 pm 
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A fanless 2.53GHz P4 is possible:

I've just about completed the upgrade to my SilentPC project.

CPU temperature stays below 60'C ( <+30'C) at full load. Even running continuous bench-marks for an hour failed to raise the CPU above 50'C in my, rather cold, workshop.

Image

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Last edited by BillTodd on Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:37 am 
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This guy in Finland built a case that is the cooler for processor and for graphics card. No fans. http://metku.net/index.html?path=mods/passive/index_eng


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:17 am 
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Hello,

You beat me to it...this is one picture of the system:
Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:00 pm 
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BillTodd wrote:
A fanless 2.53GHz P4 is possible:

CPU temperature stays below 60'C ( <+30'C) at full load. Even running continuous bench-marks for an hour failed to raise the CPU above 50'C in my, rather cold, workshop.

Image


Egads. What is that heatsink???


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:31 am 
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I've sent MikeC more pictures and info, there should be an update on the spcr site soon :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:24 pm 
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An interesting read. this one convinced me beyond doubt that a couple good fans are the way to go :lol: :lol:


Putki wrote:
This guy in Finland built a case that is the cooler for processor and for graphics card. No fans. http://metku.net/index.html?path=mods/passive/index_eng


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:48 pm 
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From an engineering challenge / hobby you can do a fanless, but if your doing it for silence, it really isn't worth it.

2 120mm 500rpm fans at 7v (350-400rpm) as intake and exhaust will cool your system far better than any creative fanless system you can come up with, and at those speeds you wont hear the fans until your practically scrapping your ear on the blades.
Although you'll need to put your HDD's (2.5inch ones of course) in passive cooling enclosures to get it really really quiet.

Or just dip the whole thing in cooking oil. Liquid cooling to the extreme!


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