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 Post subject: Performance Yet Quiet
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 10:12 am 
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Posts: 42
Location: Everett, WA
This is going to look like a copy of Ralf's P4C rig. I understand, however, I must say that I did do research and had ordered the parts for this thing far before I had even seen his gallery post. I haven't been around here very long, but I have been reading the main page for a while.

I've been reading and posting over at ArsTechnica for a long, long time and I was trying to put together something like a muted version of their Hotrod. Most of the part I am using were housed inside of a Dell Poweredge 400sc case. It's very similar internally to their Optiplex and Dimension towers. Basically no airflow and high temps are the measure of the day.

Suffice to say, I was sick of the noise due to the temp controlled fan (I run Seti so it was always running fast/loud). So I took most of the parts directly out of the 400sc and dropped them into a new case. This is what I have:

Antec SLK3700-BQE
Nexus NX-3500 PSU
2x Nexus 120mm fans
Asus P4P800 Deluxe
Intel P4 2.8C
Thermalright SLK-947U w/Panaflo 92mm M1BX
2x512MB Kingston HyperX PC3200
Seagate 40GB 7200.7
Seagate 200GB 7200.7
Plextor PX-708A
Samsung SD-616E
Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro modded w/Artice Cooling VGA Silencer
M-Audio Revolution 7.1

Anyway, on to the picks:

Image
Here is the back of the case with a good shot of the matching orange fans. They kind of stick out like that, but it's nice because those fans are dead silent, even at 12v.

Image
Now the front. Another orange fan, another step closer to silence. This, like the one on the back are currently hard-mounted. I've holding off for a bit on using some sort fo fan isolation as I'll explain next.

Image
See that nice Panaflo on the SLK-947U? Yeah, it's an M1BX. Nice fan, but a bit too loud for me. It's L1BX replacement is already ordered so I'll be able to update you on the noise then. So far it's a lot quieter than the 400sc, but not "silent" yet. Otherwise these parts went together very well, I'm happy with them.

Image
Cablegami is certainly an art! I was able to get the data cables all nice and neatly folded down, and I was able to use an IDE cable as a cable holder by flipping it under the slot for the HDDs to hold the LED, speaker, and power stiches cables into place, it worked well that way. The cable moving up to the optical drives is also in a nice place and folded down pretty well.

Overall I'm happier with this system than my 400sc, it's quieter already and that's with a M1A at 12v. Once that gets replaced it will certainly be quiet enough for me. The most amazing thing to me was the dramatic temperature drop between the two systems:

Temps while running Seti
Code:
      400sc     New
CPU   53C     39C
Case  44C     37C


Temps while Idle
Code:
      400sc     New
CPU   42C     37C
Case  38C     36C


Temps while Overclocked to 3.36GHz (960MHz FSB) while running Seti
Code:
CPU   43C
Case  41C


Those are all as reported by Motherboard Monitor. Once I get the L1BX installed I'll post again with updated temperature readings. I'm absolutely floored by how low they got (heh, pun).

I've been running it overclocked for 8 hours now without a single issue, including playing games. I haven't pushed the CPU any further than 3.36GHz as that's a very good overclock and I don't want to have problems later with heat.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 11:28 am 
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Apparently the P4P800 Deluxe under-reports CPU temps by about 7-9C so please make the appropriate calculations in your head when looking at them. Even with the temperature correction the change in temps is still very good.

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Last edited by magic_p on Sat May 08, 2004 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 11:28 am 
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Location: Keene, New Hampshire, USA
why dont you hide the power connectors for your exhaust and intake fans; it looks ugly with all your other good cabling to have those hanging in the middle of your case. is your 92mm fan runnign at 12V? buy a fan mate for it if it is, you'll get it down to a more bearable level. looks nice cept for those fan power connectors!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 11:45 am 
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Location: Everett, WA
Well, I'll be adding a rheobus soon and I'd rather just wait until then to do it. I don't want to go through all the work of getting the cabling nice and neat only to have to redo it all again when I'm running everything into a 5.25in bay instead. I'll be zip tying some other things at the same time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 2:12 pm 
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Check your HDD temps (you can do it with MBM, read the "help"). I suspect you'll find you can get them cooler by moving them both down one slot, and getting some better airflow over/through them.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 2:29 pm 
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Right, that would put them in the path of the fan a bit more. I'll have to add that to my list of things I need to change when I get the rheobus. Thanks.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 3:37 pm 
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How's the 120mm fan in the Nexus NX-3500? Does it ramps up, as the temperatures in your case go higher?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 4:20 am 
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Location: Everett, WA
I wish I could say but I haven't done a lot of noise testing yet because the Panaflo M1BX is so loud. It just drowns out any other noise and makes it hard to determine if anything else is making noise or not. By the end of the week I should have the new L1BX fan, fan isolators, my Sunbeam rheobus, and Zalman fanmate for the L1BX and 4-3pin adapters for the two 120mm fans I have.

Then I'll be able to do some real testing. I'll have the wires all nice and neat, the hard drives moved down a slot and the fans controlled. It should be the last step in making this thing absolutely silent, when not overclocking.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 1:04 pm 
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I got my Sunbeam Rheobus today. Very nice, I must say. I removed the LEDs and put it in and rewired my stuff a little. I don't have picks yet, as I'm waiting until I get my 92mm Panaflo L1BX before I take them, but the wire ugliness is gone now. I went to town with some small clear zip ties and cleaed it up while I added the rheobus.

The rheobus does work well, although, as the review said, it very quickly drops voltage as you turn the knob, then tapers off once you are below 5v. Varying the speed of the Nexus 120mm fans did nothing to change the noise, so the M1BX or the Nexus NX-3500 are the culprits.

The only bad side to this rheobus is that is doesn't quite fit in the bay and it looks like it's been pushed in a little too far because of the position of the screw holes. It's not a big deal and I might end up trying to modify my last set of rails for the SLK3700-BQE to see if I can get it looking a bit better.

Well, I'm off to install the other Sunbeam rheobus in my server to see what sort of drop in noise I can get.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 1:52 pm 
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Can you drop the speed of the Panaflo L1BX with the Rheobus, to see if the PSU fan is louder?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 2:51 pm 
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The other rheobus is installed in my server and now it makes almsot no noise. I cannot hear it from a few feet away with the fans at about 5v.

DG, unless I'm mistaken this CPU header needs to have a fan on it to allow the system to boot properly. I'll have my L1BX and Zalman fanmate installed hopefully by the end of the week so I should know then, the current fan is an M1BX at 12v, which as you might imagine is pretty loud. I didn't buy anymore 3pin extension cables so the M1BX can't make it to the rheobus, the cable is too short. I've already spent 25 minutes installing it, getting the cables nice and neat, and zip tying so I'm pretty beat.

During the install of the rheobus I did turn on the system once to make sure everything was spinning up. The PSU fan didn't seem to make a lot of noise, of course the CPU fan was on, so at the very least, the CPU fan IS louder than the PSU fan.

BTW, Ralf I moved those HDDs down a slot and turned on the SMART temp reading in MBM. The 200GB drive, on the bottom is running at 46C, the 40GB on top is running at 41C. Current case temp is 48C and the current CPU temp (with a 8C adjustment) is 56C. That case temp seems a bit high considering that the HDDs are running cooler. Id' guess it's really probably closer to 45C espeically seeing as a lot of wires are sitting in the area directly above the case sensor.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 12:28 pm 
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I got my Panaflo L1BX from Jim at Coolcases.com today. I installed it, and it works almost as well as the M1BX did. The CPU temps rose 1C and case temps stayed the same. The noise did drop, and for the first time ever I've been able to tell the difference in noise between the hi and lo settings on my VGA Silencer! WOOHOO!

The disappointing part is the fan in the Nexus NX-3500 PSU. While certainly low-noise, that's about as far as I would take it. It's not as quiet as the Nexus 120mm "Real Quiet" fans that I have in the case. It would appear that the fan in the NX-3500 is a 120mm Real Silent fan, but it's not. It's a more powerful version that makes more noise. It doesn't make a ton of noise, but it is about as loud as my TruePower480 at less than 50% load.

Has anyone had the Nexus NX-3500 and the Sparkle Aurora 350w next to each other for testing? I'm thinking of trying a different PSU now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 4:52 pm 
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the fan in teh PSU is probably load or temeratuire controlled which is why it seems louder than your case fans. also, i recnet (1 week ago) got my fortron aurora 350 PSU and it is insanely loud; you can manually adjust the PSU fan speed, but once your temps go up, or the load increases, the fan just speeds back up. All in all, its not worth it, your probably better off modifying your PSU with a differnet fan like a globe 120mm fan that's temperature controlled.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 6:26 pm 
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After looking at the other quiet alternatives I'm thinking that you are right. It won't be worth it for me from a cost perspective.

I should say that I'm certainly not disappointed with the overall noise level of the computer. It's much quieter than it was previously. However, I wasn't expecting such a "quiet" PSU to make as much noise as it does. Especially given the reviews and ranking compared to my TruePower480. The loads are similar, the True480 has more HDDs and fans on it, the NX-3500 has a Radeon 9800 Pro on it and larger fans.

I still have a Zalman fanmate and some fan damping materials arriving on Monday so maybe I can play with them a little bit and see where I get with those.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 6:50 pm 
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BTW, NEW PICS!

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Adding the rheobus wasn't a big deal and it gave me the chance to clean up the wiring with some careful movements, zip tying, and clever use of the back side of the case to hide the wires from full view. The mess of cables is still there, but now it's hidden better in the 5.25in bay below the rheobus. I also added a finger guard to the exhaust fan and now the CPU fan is a Panaflo 92mm L1BX.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 2:03 am 
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No AccoustiPack as per yet, or ist that planned?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 2:32 am 
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Nope, that's going a little too far for me. $80 for it is just a bit much for me at this point in time. I'm still paying off a Nikon D70 package so my funds for this was limited and I'm already a little bit over budget as it is.

The only other currently planned changes will be a fanmate on the CPU fan and fan isolators. I'm going to be playing with fan orientation and some other things to see what I can do about getting the PSU fan to slow down a bit. Right now it's the major noise maker. The noise isn't annoying though, it's a faint whoosh from the air movement.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2004 1:03 pm 
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magic_p wrote:
I also added a finger guard to the exhaust fan

Why, if You don't mind me asking? Do You have a bad habit of sticking your fingers in there? :D

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 2:37 pm 
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It was more for look than anything else. Since I added a Zalman Fanmate 1 today, it's also to protect the fan if I should accidently brush it while adjusting the fanmate. At $20+ for one fo those I really cannot afford to have one ripped to shreds. I killed a 92mm M1A when I accidently drop something into one spinning at full speed and one of the fins broke. At $6 each they aren't so expensive that I'm worried about one dieing because of stupidity.

BTW, seeing as I have the fanamte installed now temps are about the same, even at the lowest setting on the fanmate and noise levels dropped considerably. It's still not completely silent, but "low noise" would describe this beasty now. I'm very happy with the overall results. I might post pictures but I really didn't change anything other than the fanamte and some Vantec fan and PSU silicon damping that's hardly visible.

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