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 Post subject: My semi-quiet Tsunami rig
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 12:35 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Copying this from a gaming forum where I posted it, so it's not really "silenced orientated" in what I talk about, but anyway :D

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 :wink:

Artag

---------

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 :D

Here is a shot of the interior of the case:

Image



Specs:
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
Floppy
CD-RW/DVD drive
Antec True Power 550

Cooling:
Thermaltake Tsunami
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 :

Image

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:

Image

Then what I did is make a foam duct:

Image

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:

Image

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 :D. 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:
Image

As the rig stands right now the temps are as follows:
Case: 37c
CPU: 42c
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 :D ;)

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.

Artag

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:34 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA
Oooo, nice wiring job! I'm going to have to try that... :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 4:19 pm 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Looks sweet and clean, very nice cabling, but actually looks a bit noisy, with the two ThermalTake fans, two Maxtor HDs, and all. I guess this is one of those cases where foam damping makes a big difference.

Reputedly the Vantec fan controllers make a slight buzzing sound, but don't take my word for it.

The PSU is a two-fan job. It's also a quite expensive PSU, would be a shame to chuck it out. I would just ditch the 92mm and change the 80mm fan in it, to an undervolted Panaflo L1A or Nexus fan. I assume you overclock, because otherwise that 550W PSU is a complete overkill.

I am also highly suspicious of the Thermaltake fans. So replacing those would be my next step. Nexus fans are, again, very quiet out of the box.

After that, the HDs...but then it gets really expensive. What Seagates are those, btw?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 pm
Posts: 2696
Location: Scarsdale, NY
I own a Tsunami and have worked with a couple others besides my own and will state for a fact that the fans included with Tsunami Dream are an attrocity in terms of acoustic performance.

Do yourself a favor and switch to Globe 120s on the cheap, or Nexus 120s if you're willing to spend a little more. The difference will shock you.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 12:35 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Yip, I know the fans are terrible :D Only built up the machine a few weeks ago, and I'm still debating what fans to move over to. The problem is I'm stuck in the proverbial middle of nowhere (South Africa) so everything ends up more expensive due to international shipping and tax :( Of course, before I upgrade the fans I'm most probably going to sort out the CPU cooler - it's quietish but noisier than the thermaltake fans at 5volts (900rpm). I've ordered an SI-97, just waiting for it to arrive - also need to choose a fan for it.

The PSU was most likely a mistake - I wanted a high end PSU with room to grow, plus as I had just killed a 420w Antec, so I didn't want to take any chances. Was the only high end PSU my suppliers had in stock, so it wasn't my first choice :( While it may be overkill (infact, I'm pretty sure it is), it is a decent PSU and does not create too much noise, so I'll most likely mod it.

All the HDD's where pre-SPCR - pretty much prior to me worrying about silence. The Seagates are SATA 7200.7s, one 120 and one 80. The 120 is very quiet at idle but has loud seeks, while the 80 is very, very quiet. I'm waiting for the 7200.8's before I upgrade - once I've experienced a few for myself I will either get two of the 400's, or I'll setup some kind of remote storage in another box.

This machine is not uber quite, although it's position (under my desk with the floor, wall and side of the desk carpeted) helps a lot, as does the relatively high ambient in my office.

One question I do have - how do Sunon, Papst and Vantec Stealth fans compare with the famous Globe and Nexus fans?

I can get any of the first three locally, for a much *much* cheaper price than importing, hence, do you guys think it's worth importing?

Artag

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 2:41 pm 
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Artagra wrote:
One question I do have - how do Sunon, Papst and Vantec Stealth fans compare with the famous Globe and Nexus fans?

I can get any of the first three locally, for a much *much* cheaper price than importing, hence, do you guys think it's worth importing?

Artag


Sunon: I'm not sure; hopefully someone else knows.

Papst: Again, I'm not sure, but many people have reported clickiness to them.

Vantec Stealth: Look, I'm gonna' just come out and say it: they suck!

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 2:51 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Quote:
Sunon: I'm not sure; hopefully someone else knows.

Papst: Again, I'm not sure, but many people have reported clickiness to them.

Vantec Stealth: Look, I'm gonna' just come out and say it: they suck!


Well, my experience with the Stealth's has also been terrible, while the Sunon's and Papst's have been pretty good. Last time I was overseas I picked up a number of 80mm fans - Panaflos, Sunon, Papst and some Deltas (I was an overclocker - what can I say!) and since then I've compared them to the only "supposedly quiet" local 80mm, the Stealth. What it comes down to is that the price of a Sunon, Papst or Stealth is one tenth the cost of importing a Globe or Nexus... so I'm between a rock and a hard place :P

What I think I will do is pick up some Sunon's (they are now available locally, and are pretty quiet - well, the 80mm's are the quietest fans I have) and then grab some Globe's when I'm in the states in March... oh the joys of living in Africa.

Artag

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:27 pm 
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Seconding the comment on the Vantec fan controller - mine is almost useless because you can either have it turned up (loud fans, no buzzing) or turned down (quiet fans, lots of buzzing). Inbetween you get a bit of both.
The buzz is best described as individual high pitch "click" noises than merge into a continual buzz when all the control dials are on minimum, and it definately comes from the controller. If my case didn't have a door it would drive me nuts.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:51 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Mmm - well, my case has got a door, and I've got a friend with a Vantec Nexus - so I'll borrow his and see what it's like. Thanks for the headsup!

Artag

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:56 pm 
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I haven't heard any bad things about the 120mm Papst here on SPCR. Only people complaining about their price...doesn't appear to be your problem, on the contrary. Maybe head over to the Fans forum and ask. I myself dislike the 80mm Papst, because of its sound quality, but quantity-wise I'd doubt you'd hear it over your HDs at all.

Out of curiousity, how much more would you pay for a Nexus in South Africa?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 11:41 pm 
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Globes from mnpctech + shipment would be worth every penny you pay for.

PS: My Vantec Nexus (3.5 bay with 3 fan & 2 CCFL controller) works fine. It's the fans that suck

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:32 am 
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
The Papsts's in SA cost about $15 each, which is not too bad. Unfortunately, the Nexus and Globe fans are not available locally, so I need to go to the hassle of importing them. A lot of vendors don't accept Credit cards that have a billing address in Africa (blame it on 419 scams), and Pay Pal does not allow anyone from Africa to register (once again, blame it on fraud.) Now a Globe at $8 is a bargain, but the shipping and hassles make me wonder if it's worth it - maybe I must just suffer with these Thermaltakes (which are bad, but not *that* bad - for example, I can't here my PC atm compared with ambient noise (birds, some traffic noise etc) ) until I go to the states next year.

Artag

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