Copying this from a gaming forum where I posted it, so it's not really "silenced orientated" in what I talk about, but anyway
The system is not as quite as I would like yet, but I'm getting their. My list of to-dos include quieting down the PSU (as mentioned) and at some point upgrading to a 939 A64 system, or a Pentium M. In the long run, internal plus side mounted semi passive water cooling is my goal. (ie passive radiator plus active radiator with temp controlled fan that comes on when it hits a certain temp)
I would go for the Res, but I need my system to be portable, and a res 1 isn't exactly poratble
Just thought it would be cool to post some pics of my current setup. I wouldn't classify it as a 'mod', although I have made some modifications, and gone to a lot of work on the cabling. I often get queries about how to setup an efficiently cooled rig, so here's what I've done
Here is a shot of the interior of the case:
Athlon XP 3200
1024 mb Mushkin 2-2-2 special (BH6)
X800 Pro IceQ (Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer)
Gigabyte NF2 ultra mobo
2 x SATA hdds
2 x PATA hdds
Antec True Power 550
2x Thermaltake 120mm fans
Gigabyte 3d Cooler
Zalman Passive NB cooler
Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer
2 x 80mm fans in PSU (stock, for the moment).
Interior close up showing the Passive NB cooler, Ram and CPU cooler :
In this picture you can see the lengths I've gone to trying to sort out the cabling, sleeving everything and intelligently routing cables. All of the power cables run behind the drive bays and then come around for the four drives. The Fan cables run up to a small gap behind the PSU, while unused PSU cables are stored in the space above them. The extra mobo power connector runs behind the PSU, under then fan and then onto the mobo - this took me a while, as the Gigabyte has it in a rather daft place. Both PATA drives and the Optical drive have their own channels - ie one device per cable, which added a bit to the cabling. All the fan tails (and their are a lot of them - due to the fan controllers) are cable sleeved (black sleeve with black heat shrink), as are 90% of the other cables. I use the included cable connectors on the base of the case to route the front panel cables, and the top connector cables are currently unused and stored in one of the 5.25 bays. All of the molex connectors are switched for Black Vantec easy-connect molex's - makes a big difference (except the gfx power connector, which I switched for a standard black connector because the Vantec wouldn't fit). The CPU fan cable heads to the top of the mobo and then underneath, looping around to under the IDE cables and heading to the fan controller, and then back. The gfx fan cable is also hidden under the ide cables, getting power from one of the extra headers on the mobo.
You can see in the some of the pics that I have partially covered some of the internal surfaces using foam. This is to dampen the noise of the case, plus prevent reverberation. You can't see it, but I've placed foam on parts of both side panels to prevent vibrations, which helps a lot.
Now, the Tsunami comes standard with a 92mm fan on the side panel. However, this fan is obviously a source of noise, especially with their being a direct path between it and my ears. So, I decided I would do some kind of duct.
The first thing I did is remove a 92mm fan from it's fram, and mount the frame onto the side panel:
Then what I did is make a foam duct:
Why foam? Well, firstly it's cheap (essentially free), easy to work with, and looks relatively decent. But perhaps more importantly, it absorbs the fan noise from the CPU cooler, quieting down the system.
The duct in place:
The duct looks very skew, which is the one disadvantage of the foam - it takes a couple of tries to position it correctly. However, when positioned well it provides the CPU with cool ambient air, dampens the noise a bit, and looks pretty cool
. CPU temps (idle) are currently 42c with the CPU fan at 1600rpm (standard RPM 2600 - more on this later). Without the duct or the 92mm fan temps where about 47c, and with both the 92mm fan and no duct it was about 46c - so it's made a great improvement, and decreased noise.
In addition to the duct, I've made some airflow mods in terms of cutting out the front fan grill and removing the fan bracket, and sealing all airflow paths except the ones I want using electrical tape. I will do the grill mod to the back, however I must first get a 120mm wire grill (would hate to kill my sister's Yorkshire Terrier!) and I need to work out a better way of cutting the grill out - maybe a hole saw.
The two 120mm fans are controlled by the PSU - the Antec has a temp sensitive speed controller that controls it's internal fans, and an option to control external fans. At idle they usually run about 1100rpm (5volts is 900rpm, 12 volts is about 3000 rpm and very, very loud), under load the fans peak at about 1600rpm - which, quite frankly, is too loud - I have some plans to sort it out which I will work on when I get a chance (either a fan transplant for the Antec's fans plus another fan controller for all four fans, or moving the temp sensor for the antec, or ducting the PSU some fresh air, or modding the PSU cover for a 120mm fan). The Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer on the same fan controller as the CPU fan, running at about 5volts - it's very, very quiet and doesn't show any of the PWM 'click' that you get if you run it using the header on the card. The fan controller I use is some cheap controller designed for the 5.25 bays that I have modded and installed internally - I don't change the voltages often, so I prefer having them mounted where people can't stuff with them. It's a real cheap controller that I chose because it drops to 3.75volts (well, more accurately about 4.5v, but it's still good). In future I'm planning to add a pair of Vantec Nexus fan controllers, and to put all the fans plus some CCFL's on them.
The money shot:
As the rig stands right now the temps are as follows:
GPU: 45c (this with the VGA cooler running at about 45%, amazing really!)
GPU environment: 42c
Maxtor Disk 1: 36c
Maxtor Disc 2: 37c
Seagate Drive 1: 38c
Seagate Drive 2: 39c
The noise levels are very low - during the day I am only slightly aware of the system. To give you guys an idea of the overall system noise, it's about half the noise of a reference nVidia 6800 ultra fan at it's lowest setting - ie damn quiet
However, the non-linear (and imo conservative) temp. ramp of the PSU means that the case fans and PSU fans sometimes spike higher than they should, creating more noise than I would like - hence I'm quite keen to do some kind of PSU mod / swap.
Feel welcome to make any comments or suggestions.