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 Post subject: My new Digital Media Center PC
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 12:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:42 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Finland
Hi!

I recently purchased a DigiTV PCI card for my Dell Optiplex 240 desktop PC. This PC has been my "reasonably quiet" media PC for about two years now, but after getting the TV card I decided that I need to replace the Dell with something that would be quieter than my VCR so that I can leave it recording TV programs overnight.

Back in August last year I had purchased an "el cheapo" 3D rendering machine, which I thought might work as my new media PC if I just could replace the noisy fans with quiet ones. I already had quiet hard disks in my Dell, which could use in my new machine. So, with the goal of building a quieter-than-a-VCR PC using as many existing parts as possible I began the project.

These were the parts I already had:
- MSI 865PE Neo-L mainboard. This was the cheapest hyperthreading-enabled mainboard I could find back in August 2003.
- P4 2.4C processor (again, cheapest HT processor)
- Codegen Noble ATX-8012 case. This case with the Codegen 350W "quiet" (that's a laugh) PSU cost only 5 EUR more than what the same PSU cost separately, so I thought it was a bargain.
- 1 GB no-name DDR 400 RAM (2x512MB)
- Seagate Barracuda ATA-IV 80GB hard disk
- Samsung SP1604N 160GB hard disk
- LG GSA-4040B DVD+/-RW drive
- Matrox G550 graphics card (passively cooled with great TV-out quality)
- SoundBlaster Live! Platinum sound card
- Creative Dxr2 DVD decoding card (this is from back when DVD players cost a fortune and a decoder card in a PC was a much cheaper alternative)
- Nebula DigiTV PCI card

In order to silence the machine I purchased the following new stuff:
- Nexus 3500 PSU
- Zalman CNPS-7000A AlCu cooler
- 2x Sunbeam HDD Silencer brackets

here are some pictures from the result. My apologies for the cable mess inside the case (and also outside of it), that is something I haven't yet gotten around to fix.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The result was a success. The machine is noticeably quieter than my VCR, and a LOT quieter than what the Dell was. I am running the Zalman cooler at 5v, and the Nexus does not seem to speed up even under load (although I haven't yet tested it with a prolonged heavy CPU load).

I am running the CPU overclocked to 2.5GHz. The original Intel stock cooler had trouble keeping the temperatures down. The longest render I did took about three weeks at 100% CPU load non-stop, with the CPU temperature never dropping below 67 degrees C during that three week period, mostly staying between 69 and 70 degrees C. There were no stability or throttling issues, though.

With the Zalman cooler at 5v the CPU temp stays below 50 degrees C when idle, and during short (a couple of minutes) 100% CPU load the temperature only got to 57 degrees C, which is quite an improvement. The render machine went to 67 degrees C in that time.

The Seagate is running rather warm at 44-46 degrees C. I plan to experiment with attaching an extra heat sink on top of it, to see if that cools it down.

SpeedFan reports the system temperature at around 35 degrees C, Samsung at 39 degrees C, northbridge at around 60 degrees C and CPU at around 45 degrees C during normal use.

Thanks to all the information about quieting a PC I have received here I succeeded in my goal of building a quiet digital media hub! :)

Pate


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 Post subject: Looks good
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 5:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 4:26 am
Posts: 398
Location: €ngland
I notice your TV out cable for the G550 looks possibly home made. I could be wring since I only have one for a G400. If you did make it then I'd be interested in finding out how so I can get my HTPC onto DVI for its non TV screen!

And the DigiTV is a great card! I certainly like mine... :D

Even with the quiet hard drives, you might want to suspend them to decrease the noise even further.

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 Post subject: Re: Looks good
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:42 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Finland
CoolGav wrote:
I notice your TV out cable for the G550 looks possibly home made.


Ah, you noticed! Yes, it is indeed home made. I ordered an adapter, but after waiting for two months with no adapter in sight I decided to make one myself. I got the info I needed from here:

http://forum.matrox.com/mga/viewforum.php?f=52

http://forum.matrox.com/mga/viewtopic.php?t=4385

Quote:
And the DigiTV is a great card! I certainly like mine... :D


I have to agree! The only problem with it is that there still is nothing worth watching on TV! :lol:

Quote:
Even with the quiet hard drives, you might want to suspend them to decrease the noise even further.


They are sort of suspended with the Sunbeam HDD Silencer brackets. Those have large rubber blocks to insulate the HD vibration.

Thanks for the comments!

Pate


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:11 pm
Posts: 230
Location: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA, USA....Just West of B.F.Egypt
...better hide them wires before Ralf sees 'em! Maybe Photoshop could allow you to put them black rectangles over the embarassing parts like they do for the ads for porno flicks!

( :oops: bad Loren! All bad!!!)

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