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 Post subject: when three fans become one
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2004 2:57 pm 
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fans - you either love 'em, or you hate 'em. i hate 'em...

SHUTTLE SN41G2
Athlon XP 2600+
120GB 7200RPM HDD
DVD burner
no additional cards

removed stock case fan and stock PSU fan, and built ducting for rear of case:

Image

secured ducting to rear of case using original fan mounting holes, but without inner aluminium whatsit. used foam and instant gasket to form seals:

Image

end result:

Image

Image

and the effect this had on the performance? well, i've removed the original noisy case fan and the original noisy PSU fan, and added a 120mm noiseblocker, which runs at around 1000RPM and cools the case just fine. temps now look like this:

Image

which are indistinguishable from the temps i was recording with the stock equipment, and sound levels have been reduced substantially:

Image

note that turning off the northbridge fan has no measurable effect on the sound level, but my ear notices a very slight improvement. zalman passive cooler should be arriving tomorrow, completing the 3-become-1.

finally, i have a small resonance somewhere that i am too tired now to track down - once that is gone and the zalman mod complete, this puppy is gonna be proper in whisper mode. when the resonance isn't resonancing and the northbridge fan is off, the hard drive spindle is by some margin the loudest component.

total cost: hmmm... maybe 30 quid?

8)


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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 am 
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Hey cool! So I take it that small elbow is so that air gets sucked through the PSU? Does that setup cool the PSU as well as the stock 40mm fan?


BTW - WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

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 Post subject: Hey -- you left the rear grill in place!?
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 7:10 am 
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Hello:

It looks really good, but -- you left the rear grill in place!?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 8:03 am 
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Nice mod. I have to agree with Neil, you'll probably get a huge decrease in temps if you open that rear fan grill, it looks really restrictive.

Great idea for quieting down a shuttle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 8:11 am 
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Now THAT'S a mod I've got to try. What did you use to for the 40mm duct and how did you get that stuff to seal together?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 8:50 am 
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thanks, and thanks for the welcome Ralf!

yup, that's the idea of the elbow - i placed a temperature probe inside the PSU before i did the mod and after, and the air temperature by the exhaust was 47/48C before and 50C after. so roughly 2/3C hotter after the mod, nothing i'm going to worry about.

the rear grille - yeah, i left it in place deliberately. i know that if i took it out i would get much better airflow trough the case, and i would still consider making this change (in fact you can see the black marker line where i intended to cut at one point - oh, no you can't, you'll just have to imagine it ;). however, if i remove that grille, the vacuum behind the fan would, i believe, be substantially reduced, and that will reduce the airflow through the PSU. in other words, if the air can get out of the case more easily, it won't make the effort of coming through the PSU. that's my logic, but i'd welcome further comments.

the ducting is made of 2 inch waste pipe (polyethylene i think, or maybe PVC) which can be cut with a stanley and is very easily deformable. all stuck together and sealed with liberal use of the glue gun (bit messy, but this mod _is_ at the back ;). the blue stuff is instant gasket, and its use around the fan is probably overkill! but i think it is important where the duct enters the PSU.

i can give more details if anyone's interested in trying this one. zalman didn't come today :(, hopefully tomorrow.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:01 pm 
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Hey dude

welcome to SPCR

I bet the resonance noise is from the HDD, that was a complaint in the recent zen shuttle mikeC reviewed.

Other then the that noise, how quiet is the SFF? can you hear it from a meter away?

How much CFM does the 120mm fan on the back push?

Can you post a link of the zalman HS you plan to use on the NB, i have one on my Abit Nf7-S and it is blue and very tall.

I really would love to build one of these little things as it would be something new to work with and look really neat and i can laugh at all the ppl here in tampa who have big full towers with like nothing in it.

i was really not considering this project after sthayashi and Eds machine are not quiet. I was thinking they have much more exp then i do in modding and if they couldnt how could I.

but if it is possible, i would love to give a shot at it, i only got 10 credits this summer so i got some spare time too!!

~RaNDoM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 3:03 pm 
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hi RaNDoMMAI,

i will track down the resonance next week and let you know (assuming i can find it!), will bear in mind that it might be the HDD, thanks. i tried the one-metre-away thing with the northbridge fan disconnected, and you can hear something - but it's the resonance you hear, so until i sort that i can't really tell you honestly. i can distinguish the airflow noise from the fan when i lean over the back, and i'm pretty confident that it won't be audible from 1m in front of the case, but we'll see.

the fan on the back is a 120mm noiseblocker,

http://www.tekheads.co.uk/s/product?product=602872

(but in black) which is supposed to push 38cfm@1200RPM, and i'm running it at about 1000RPM. the zalman cooler is the tall blue one, NB47J i think they call it, must be same as yours.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 3:20 pm 
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very cool mod.

i had a somewhat similar idea recently when i was considering getting a shuttle, but your method is way more elegant than what i was thinking. and i tend to think you are correct that you need the resistance of the grill to ensure you get adequate flow through the psu. good foresight. you seem pretty creative... got any other neat mods to share?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 3:22 pm 
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Now there's a really nice use of ducting. And your idea of leaving the grill in place to increase airflow through the PSU makes sense. But I'd try cutting out the grill anyway, measure temps, see what happens. It might be quieter without affecting PSU temps. If the PSU started running too hot, you could always close off the case opening slightly with a small metal plate.

Good job.... :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 8:54 am 
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hahaha... see in the bottom picture that my shuttle is standing on my old, old, tower case? on the off-chance i lifted it up, and... found that resonance!

i'll post an update when the zalman comes, but it's already clear that i need to get myself a hard drive with a quieter spindle. is anyone in the business of making near-silent drives? i haven't looked into it.

also, as i get closer to "zen", i'm starting to notice the noise from the fan spindle. anyone know of something quieter than a noiseblocker at 120mm?

i'm getting picky now, but i want to see how far this can go.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 11:19 am 
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hey dude

Ed has be reommending Globe fans now. I think they are ~8 bucks US

I use a nexus 120mm. It runs at 12V and is quiet enough for me!

Samsung spinpoints HDD are the best you can still buy. if you are lucky you can get as old seagate barrucuba.
Ed also did a seagate vs samsung article here

~RaNDoM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 3:06 am 
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cool, thanks. i can get the samsung SP1614N, which is the drive ed used in the comparison. unless anybody has a good reason not to choose this drive, i'll order that tonight.

zalman cooler has arrived. question though - i have heard a lot of talk about how this isn't a good idea when i'm using the onboard graphics - to quote one opinion, "...you would have to be insane...". hehehe.

well, i don't know about that, but i am willing to give it a shot if i've got a 50/50 chance of success, just for the challenge(!). anyone got any good information/opinion on how this is likely to go? i don't game on this machine - the most graphics intensive thing i do is play movies, so i figure that my onboard graphics is probably running well below full throttle anyway - i would be very appreciative of any opinions on whether this logic is flawed or not.

Globe fans, eh? Nexus? so much choice...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 6:03 pm 
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Well, it might be a good idea to just buy a 40 dollar radeon 9200np card if you are really worried.

also, i have a nexus real quiet 120mm and it is awesome.

Ed recommend the glode fan and for 8 bucks you cant really beat that.

Let me know how everything works out, if you can get this thing quiet and silent after a meter then i gotta try too. love new projects!


Did the zalman fit?

btw, i helped built a comp like 2 years ago using on-board video for a little cousin and it has a passive zalman on it and it is still running now. He plays alot of MMORPGs too. although YMMV

~RaNDoM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 6:32 pm 
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Hi! *waves* :lol:

Justed wanted to chime in; for those who figured this isn't really possible just because I gave up, it's really not as hard as I made it out to be, at least for a non-overclocked machine (I am in no way trying to steal your thunder; what you've done is monumentally smart, and far better than what I could pull off with my SN41G2V2); I think I set my target too high, trying to get a massive overclock in an XPC with air cooling...

Just in case the Zalman happens to not be good enough to serve your needs, I can easily recommend Swiftech's MCX-159 northbridge cooler. I am pretty confident it's the very best chipset cooler there is (haven't tried Thermalright's NB-1, however), and that's without the fan. With the fan, it is definitely unbeatable, but I would never dare tell anyone here at SPCR to use that stock fan; it reminds me of the ol' Delta black label 70mm CPU fan!

Again, I seriously want to congratulate you on a job well done; that's some truly snazzy work you did there. It's a shame about the overclocking issues on the FN41V3 boards, though. :cry:

Oh, just to throw some numbers up; with the stock, active (but highly craptastic) northbridge cooler that comes with the ABIT AN7 mainboard, I was hitting over 50C on the northbridge (ABIT built in a sensor to detect northbridge temps and their bundled software indicates this). By swapping that junk for the MCX-159, passive, I dropped my northbridge temps to 40C; that's an over 10C reduction!

-Ed

PS Good luck with your little bundle of joy; I can't wait to see how far you take this build...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 11:24 am 
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Dude Ed

the Swiftech's MCX-159 is like 35 bucks on sale! at SVC

The thermalright is only 12 and the zalman is like 5!

Do you feel the swiftech is worth 20+ dollars more?
Do you think it will fit on the shuttle?

Quote from svc
"MCX159-A™: thru-motherboard bolts, and springs. Springs are compressed by a knurled knob, and feature a compression limiter. Installation requires removal of the motherboard. Bracket design affords compatibility with various chipset models.

Compatibility: center to center distance between mounting holes ranges from 2.05" (52.1mm) to 2.41" (61.4mm).

Note that due to wide variations in motherboard manufacturers retention solutions, users are advised to check their motherboard retention mechanism prior to upgrading."

~RaNDoM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 12:21 pm 
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I think the Zalman is worth a try first; if it works fine, don't bother with the more expensive MCX-159. However, if the Zalman proves to be not good enough (i.e. chipset is overheating), MCX-159 is more likely the only choice. I owned an XPC and I will tell you that technically, it will fit, in terms of attachment (my FN41V3 board had through-board mount holes and the MCX-159 lined up just fine with them); however, I cannot recall whether the MCX-159 is too high or not, to fit underneath the drive cage. As I no longer have my XPC, I cannot state for certainty if it will or won't fit under the drive cage; some modification may be required, in that case.

I've seen how hot the nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset can get, and that doesn't even have integrated video. It just worries me to think about that Zalman acting as a passive cooler on such a hot chip. From the looks of that thing, at the least, it doesn't appear to be nearly as effective as MCX-159 (or Thermalright's NB-1). I mean, it doesn't even seem as if it will really outperform the stock active cooler that came on my AN7, and my MCX-159 blew that stock cooler away by over 10C (even though I have never utilized the fan that came with MCX-159)!

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 2:37 pm 
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the zalman: fitted fine, seems to be cooling fine, temperatures in the case are apparently unaffected (as expected). one proviso - if i hold my fingers against it for about 4 seconds, i say "ow" and have to retreat. no idea how hot this makes it, but as a reference point, it's as good as any. i have not given (and probably never will) the IGP a good workout since the install.

the hard drive: turns out i have the Barracuda 7200.7 already (ok, so i didn't care who makes my hard drive before this week!), so i will probably stick with that. how much gain am i likely to see from constructing an HDD sling? (the shuttle tinplate bay is pretty crappy).

the noiseblocker: my only dissapointment - a quiet fan, yes, but whines noticeably at 1020RPM (my desired speed). i think this has developed since i installed it, also dissapointing. at 770RPM it's virtually undetectable, but does not push enough air. at 1020 it whines. at 1130 i begin to notice the airflow noise, but there is zero whine. at 1250 the whine is back. some resonance issue here, i am going to try the nexus or the globe.

overall: very happy with this mod, i would recommend it to anyone (except gamers). my v.pretty but annoyingly loud new toy is now much quieter than the average PC, and at minimal cost.

further work: i can turn off the case fan using speedfan, with the result that the only noise i can hear is the harddrive. this is a beautiful moment to be alive. it pains me deeply to have to turn the fan back on. conventional wisdom would have it that i can't ditch the fan entirely without including acres of heatsink. i say there is more than one way to skin a cat... i feel another mod coming on 8)

Image

thanks guys for your comments and interest - hi ed btw


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 5:10 pm 
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I really think you should snip off that inside rear grill, your airflow will be 10x better. Ed modded his when he first got it and his temps dropped about 8C all around (pm him for exact info).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 7:53 am 
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MonsterMac wrote:
I really think you should snip off that inside rear grill, your airflow will be 10x better. Ed modded his when he first got it and his temps dropped about 8C all around (pm him for exact info).


He left it there deliberately. You can read about it in one of his earlier posts:

stupidkid wrote:
the rear grille - yeah, i left it in place deliberately. i know that if i took it out i would get much better airflow trough the case, and i would still consider making this change (in fact you can see the black marker line where i intended to cut at one point - oh, no you can't, you'll just have to imagine it . however, if i remove that grille, the vacuum behind the fan would, i believe, be substantially reduced, and that will reduce the airflow through the PSU. in other words, if the air can get out of the case more easily, it won't make the effort of coming through the PSU. that's my logic, but i'd welcome further comments.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 8:08 am 
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That's one excellent mod. This may be the thing to get SFFs back on my wishlist.

For your note, Noiseblocker has another 120mm fan, the SX2 Pro Blacksilence, that's supposed to be a lot more silent with higher flow ratings. I have one to arrive in two weeks, I'll let you know how it is.

I'm not sure cutting out the back grill is such a good idea. From what I've seen with my midtower cases, cooling the PSU all by itself is one big challange and after talking to an electrician, I'm really scared of not cooling the PSU enough.

For your note, I asked him why failing power supplies also took out everything connected to it. He said the transformers use coiled wire. After being subjected to high heat levels, the coil windings start melding together and after some time become just one thick wire with just one wrapping, effectively NOT being able to step down the voltage and lets all 240V through, taking out everything in the process. So if you could periodically check the insides of your PSU for coil damage, you could effectively avoid blasts.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:02 pm 
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hi burcakb, thanks :)

i'll be very interested to hear how the SX2 is, i'd definitely try swapping that in if i hear a good report.

interesting to hear as well what happens to the PSU when it overheats... if the problem that develops is just an overvolt, do more expensive PSUs have an overvolt=shutdown mechanism? would be a matter of a couple of pence, i would guess.

i'm really pleased with the shuttle now - keep not realising it's on, which makes a nice change. has anyone else had experience with the SX2? i'd like to hear, sounds like an easy next step. or would anyone like to compare it against the nexus or the globe (i haven't looked these up yet)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 3:12 am 
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sorry, just had a look at the noiseblockers this morning and realised that the blacksilence is one of the SX2s. have also been recommended nexus and globe fans (was that RaNDoMMAI?), and ended up looking at a vantec. according to the manufacturers (figures are cfm@dbA)...



all these fans look pretty similar, except the blacksilence, which looks to perform substantially better. also encouraging is that its figures should be directly comparable with those of the SX2, since they come from the same manufacturer, and so, one would hope, a test rig that is at least similar. so i'm going to try the blacksilence, and i'll post how it compares with the SX2 i'm running at the moment. if it's as good as those figures, though, it begs the questions "how?" and "how long until they are all like this one?" :o


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:37 am 
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If you purchase the Vantec, you will learn quick and hard that those manufacturer's numbers mean almost nothing; the Vantec Stealth line of fans is very possibly the single worst line of, "silence-oriented," fans ever marketed. They put out as much motor noise as a Caterpiller that missed its tune-up by several years (okay, maybe not that much but still much more than you'd appreciate).

My recommendation is either the Nexus or the Globe.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 9:22 am 
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Can't you replace the loud shuttle psu with an external (fanless) one?
You could bolt the external psu to the side or top of the case to maintain (a portion of the mobility) of the system. Power cables could be routed trough the hole in the back where the standard psu used to be.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:46 pm 
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Yes but isn't one of the main points of the Shuttle XPC portability? Having a big, heavy external ATX PSU (like that wonderful SilverStone) hanging about from it would hamper portability a good deal, I would think.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:13 pm 
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Nice mod! I built a Shuttle for my brother and I have to agree, the noise is pretty annoying. Specially when the going gets tough... you can hear the fan surging from low rpm to high rpm and back again constantly.

I have to agree with the poster above though, cutting off the grill might further lessen the noise and improve cooling.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 9:39 pm 
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The Nexus fans are awesome. However 1 of the 3 inside my case has a very audiable click. You'd probably not even notice it but as the PC is so quiet now it needs to get sorted. It's still the best fan noise-wise I've come accross so I've ordered a couple more and will replace it with the quietest one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 6:18 am 
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i have to agree it is a nice mod. a psu exhaust temp of 50 degrees worries me, anyway (i am a hardware design engineer and 50 degree air temp means something is cooking at 70 degrees or something.. it works, but not for long).

i don't have a SFF yet, but i was thinking about mounting an ATX PSU behind the shuttle and have the ICE fan blow into it. the air will be warm, but not that hot.. and an ATX psu has more thermal headroom than a SFF PSU anyway.
It would increase depth of the whole thing, but that's not bad IMHO. a single fan cooling solution would be worth the little tradeoff in looks for me.

I can comment on the emergency shutdown feature in case of coil meltdown: it won't work. The shutdown feature works by turning off the primary (mains) side switching transistors, and as long as the transformer insulation is intact, the secondary (low-voltage DC) side will be off. when the transformer melts down, the primary dc-link voltage of more than 300 volts DC can appear on the secondary.
Of course, this type of failure can be avoided with a high quality transformer.
regards
k


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