This is my first post here.
I'm not a native speaker so if I make a mistake, please correct me
About two years ago I was a newbe in computer hardware. After reading the article CPU Undervolting & Underclocking: A Primer
, I was really suprised. Then I was wondering about silent machine based on Asus A7M266-D, mainly due to MPX chipset, motherboard layout and undervoltable capabilities. Unfortunately, insufficient funds and other expenses made this project unfeasible.
One year later I already knew that no matter how hard you tried with silencing, the noise was still there. My aim was to get rid of fans. This could be achieved by reducing power comsumption of CPU and optimized use of air convection. In order to cool CPU passively, I wanted to use Zalman CNPS 3100+ and motherboard with horizontal layout of the CPU socket. The natural choice was AMD Athlon CPU's because their multipliers could be changed easily. Since I couldn't find A7M266-D in my country any longer, I focused on undervoltable nForce2 boards. The only ones with proper layout which I managed to found were produced by Gigabyte.
Left with casing with two optic drives, HuntKey 300W PSU from my other rig, DDR 512MB 333, Maxtor 160GB with FDB and fanless Ati Radeon 9000, I ordered AMD Athlon 2500+, Gigabyte motherboard GA-7NNXP and Zalman CNPS 3100+.
The very first attempts were a real challenge for me
. First of all I removed a small whistling fan from the north bridge. I had to found the underclocking limits of my Athlon XP 2500+. That time I learned how to test the stability of CPU and how to safely overclock memory. At 200fsb my (AQXEA) CPU was rock stable @1.1v up to 1250Mhz and only boot in BIOS at 1500Mhz.
Month later I ordered proSilence 350W PSU. I tested various component arrangements inside the case, with bottom 5.25 bay open and I finish with that stable and pure fanless config:
Athlon Barton firstname.lastname@example.org, DDR 333@400 2.5-3-3-11. Temperatures from CPU diode by MBM were varying from 72 °C idle to 80 °C load while room temperature not exceeded 24 °C.
Zalman ZM-2HC1 helped with silencing Maxtor, but there were still some unpleasant horizontal vibrations. I succeded in reducing them using an home made experimental rack and mounted it with ZM-2HC1+HDD at the bottom of my casing.
But then after 2 months of fanless operation, PSU smokes and dies
. I complained it and waited 5 months for have it repaired and gone through the customs
. Eventually it got back to me, so I made my now EU-PC
fanless again. I took out my removable hard disk rack from my second 5.25 bay, added Maxtor 160GB and mounted Zalman ZM-NB47J on the north bridge. Now I have two 5.25 bays open and I changed my setup a bit:
Athlon Barton email@example.com, DDR 333@400 2.5-3-3-12. Now temperatures from CPU diode were varying from 69 °C idle to 75 °C load while room temperature not exceed 28 °C.
Two weaks ago I replaced R9000 with R9550 from Gigabyte. It is fanless, DX9 efficient enough
, cheap and overclockable.
Now it has Zalman ZM-NB32J on the core and it is 2 slot width.
Now some pics
System at work.
Simply an air duct.
Additional front air intake.
Overall view of components,
PSU from inside the case
Two heat sinks
and another small one.
Lower air intake
and last but not least the HDD section.
Now i can hear when my LCD change level of buzzing while I'm surfing the internet
PS. I'm still looking for A7M266-D
even though it has some bandwidth issues