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 Post subject: Sonata - 3 x Nexus, XP-90, Fanless 6600GT... now it's quiet
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
1st post here... another newbie drawn into silent computing by fantasy tales of a "quiet" piano-black Antec case. Not that I am blaming the jet engine P4 heatsink or the whiny 6600 GT fan on Antec, but when I finished assembling my new PC, I was underwhelmed by it's silence. Not anymore!

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Components -

Antec Sonata - front bezel snipped out for air flow
Intel 3.2g Prescott - at least it's the low power Prescott
Asus P5GD1 - fast board, doesn't waste money on DDR2 ram
4 x 512m Corsair Value Duals - I work in Photoshop
2 x 250g Maxtor DM10 SATA 16mb - mmm half a terabyte
Leadtek 6600GT - occasional games
Chaintek 7.1 - excellent sound quality

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Cooling & Silencing -

2 x Nexus 120mm - I'm fond of the orange now
1 x Nexus 92mm - on the CPU
Thermalright XP-90 - impressive
Thermaltake Fanless VGA - also impressive
Aerocool Coolpanel - card reader & 2 fan rheos
Kids Silicone Ear Plugs - cheap silicone for fan mounts
Velcro (c) hi-tech harddrive suspension

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Since I couldn't find any suitable rubber cord... and since it can be changed rather easily... I used standard household Velcro to make harnesses for the Maxtor hard drives. Are they as silent or as decoupled as suspending them with elastic? Likely not. Are they much quieter than the standard Sonata mounts? Definitely.

I built this machine for performance first and silence second, I still have the hard drives in performance mode. With the new build, I can't even tell what is making the small bit of leftover noise that exists! It may just be the natural sound of the hard drive platters spinning. It certainly doesn't seem to be any of the Nexus fans; if I stop them one by one, the noise level stays the same.

Image

I live in a condo over a busy downtown Vancouver street, so the ambient level is somewhat high. Simply put, you can't hear the PC at all now. I'm sure in a quieter location, you could pick out more parts to silence, but in it's current home, it is virtually inaudible.


Quick reviews:

Nexus fans - WOW they are excellent. That's what you get for following the recommendations here in the forums. I realize the 92 and 120 are made by different manufacturers, but they are both impressive.

Thermalright XP-90 CPU heatsink - 4 degrees cooler than the stock sink at idle (38 now) and 10 degrees cooler at load (52+). I used Arctic Silver 5 for both and the Thermalright wins by a mile. Installation was simple and painless with their LGA775 adapter kit.

Thermaltake Fanless VGA - actually running cooler than the stock Leadtek heatsink with a fan! Installation was involved, but not that difficult. It is dumping some warmth into the case, but I don't have to put up with another tiny fan.

Aerocool Coolpanel - Lots of ports I'll never use, but I needed a card reader and this one comes with 2 high quality fan rheos.


Current Temps:

Ambient - 18c
Case - 31c
Intel CPU - 38c
Maxtors - 29 / 30c


ps. It overclocks easily to 3.8gHz and doesn't break a sweat :)


Last edited by vbmech on Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:39 am 
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Location: Sunny SoCal
Very nice job, and WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:04 pm
Posts: 11
Quote:
I was underwhelmed by it's silence.

^^^
LOL

Smart velcro trick!
Nice and tidy, very well done!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
>> Very nice job

High praise, thank you!

>> Smart velcro trick!

It worked in a pinch. I'm sure I'll mess around with foam or elastic, but I don't know how much quieter the Maxtors can be until I take them out of performance seek mode. Very nice drives (near Raptor speed) and (subjectively) quiet.

I upped the clock now to 3.7g and it's at 42c CPU temp. Very impressive work from the XP-90.. (and the Corsair value RAM, too.. 2.5,3,3,8 and cheap). I think I've reached the noise floor during the day since I can down volt the CPU fan and I can't hear the difference.

Now I have so many left over parts, time to build a new HTPC from the scrap :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:35 am
Posts: 539
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Very nice! I've got a similar setup and I've got 2 Yate Loon (orange) 120mm fans on the way (same as nexus but only $8 ).

One question:
Does your Aerocool panel remember your custom alarm settings? I have an Enermax temp monitor/fan controller and everytime I turn off the PC, it dumps my temp alarm settings so that the next time I turn the system on I have to reset the alarm. :evil:

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Sonata (foamed)Bezel mod
Seasonic S12-330, 2x120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12@1000RPM, P4-2.6C w/PAL8942 80mm L1A@10v, 1GB Mushkin DDR400, ATI 9800Pro 128MB w/ZM80A, Samsung SATA 160Gb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 9:05 am
Posts: 1443
Location: Turkey
Very nice build vbmech.

Couple of questions & pointers.

Did you cut out the rear fangrill? I know it's one of the most open stamped grills but it still makes a lot of noise.

Did you do anything about the PSU? That 380s is still my noisiest component, even after modding with an Acoustifan.

Are the Antec holes covered?

I see you used the ziptie mount method. But i think you missed out on the rubber padding. It helps, even with nexus fans. (I can feel you cursing as you remember how +&%* difficult it was to get the fans and the zipties in in the first place :) )

For the Thermaltake VGA cooler, if you feel it getting too hot at any time, remove the bracket below the AGP. The airflow from the nexus takes care of it.

Last note: Great to see someone actually read up and have a nice build by his first post :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
Mr_Smartepants wrote:
Does your Aerocool panel remember your custom alarm settings? I have an Enermax temp monitor/fan controller and everytime I turn off the PC, it dumps my temp alarm settings so that the next time I turn the system on I have to reset the alarm. :evil:


Well I just did some more reading on the panel since I haven't had much time to sit and play with the system yet.. turns out the alarm settings are pitiful. I would not recommend this panel for someone who needs precise control and alarm functions; I'll deal with it since it incorporates a card reader and I don't need too many fan controls anyway.

I thought it was a typo on the manual where it says:

"You can adjust the alarm settings in intervals of 1000 RPM (800 - 4800)."

I was sure they meant 100 RPM... nope. It only adjusts up from 800 in steps of 1000. I only have it controlling my 92 CPU fan at the moment since the motherboard / SpeedFan controls wouldn't idle it down because it only has 3 pins instead of the 4 it wants on the motherboard CPU pinout.


burcakb wrote:
Very nice build vbmech.


Thanks!

>>Did you cut out the rear fangrill? I know it's one of the most open stamped grills but it still makes a lot of noise.

I haven't yet but I have my Wiss snips ready. I've been see-sawing back and forth about doing it. I don't care about having a grille but I don't want to deface the case if it doesn't have much effect. I guess I wanted to see what the noise level would be like after this re-build and then find the next noisiest component and work down. I may be at the PSU / turbulence level now.

>>Did you do anything about the PSU? That 380s is still my noisiest component, even after modding with an Acoustifan.

All I did was remove the outer wire grille. It is one of the latest Sonata PSUs with the big honeycombed front and SATA connectors. I was tempted to replace it in this build so I wouldn't have to re-wire in the future, but my wallet said no, I'd already spent too much on the box.

Is Acoustifan the preferred swap instead of Nexus or L1A?

>>Are the Antec holes covered?

No.. I feel some draft through them so I figured there was some intake happening. That was also on my list of nextgen improvements.

>>I see you used the ziptie mount method. But i think you missed out on the rubber padding. It helps, even with nexus fans. (I can feel you cursing as you remember how +&%* difficult it was to get the fans and the zipties in in the first place :) )

Heheh the fans weren't so bad. I'd actually mounted fans like this in the past -- my old Socket A Tbird has a rear fan mounted in exactly this style. With this box though, I took some Kids Ear Plugs.. made of silicone.. and smushed them all around the fan mounting holes so the fan is only resting on the silicone and doesn't touch the metal. It's a little ghetto but I figured better than a direct mount. Bonus: I got matching orange plugs so they may be hard to spot.

>>For the Thermaltake VGA cooler, if you feel it getting too hot at any time, remove the bracket below the AGP. The airflow from the nexus takes care of it.

Hmm you mean the stabilization / locking bracket? That is optional?

I think the cage mounted Nexus is in an excellent position to suck from the drives and blow onto the fanless VGA.

>>Last note: Great to see someone actually read up and have a nice build by his first post :)

:) I did tech support through college so it's probably my 100th overall build but certainly my quietest. I've only been lurking for about a week but I've had the urge for a silent PC for a while. Thanks to everyone who shares their experience on this site and thanks to my neighbor (somewhere in the city) Mike C.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
edit: I just noticed in the pics that the Chaintech soundcard is missing from the PCI slot. I forgot to put it in before I took the photos. I also removed the second set of SATA cables that was going up to the front panel.. I'll never use them and can always hook it up if I want to.

Also, it's tough to see, but I did re-wire the Nexus fans. The huge harness with 3 plugs on it was too much for my cabling tastes. I reduced them to the necessary 3-pin connectors, soldered and taped down.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 9:05 am
Posts: 1443
Location: Turkey
PSU & Antec holes.

Actually having the holes open helps a lot with the PSU. I have the same later version PSU but it still is darn loud. Same wallet problem here :( I'm thinking the L1A would have been a better swap but I didn't have any at the time.

VGA

I meant the slot cover. The exhaust 120 cools the back heatsink well and the heatpipes also work well to keep the front of the card cool. But if ever you get the urge to overclock, removing the slot cover one below helps. FYI.

Rear grill

I didn't think it made much noise or limited airflow - until I cut it. It's hard to imagine the effect. Much like drive suspension. You never know what you've missed until you've done it. Granted, with your ambient & PSU, you probably won't hear the difference but even the airflow difference might be nice if things get too hot.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
burcakb wrote:
...removing the slot cover one below helps. FYI.

Rear grill

I didn't think it made much noise or limited airflow - until I cut it. It's hard to imagine the effect. Much like drive suspension. You never know what you've missed until you've done it.



Thanks for the advice! I probably will cut out the grille.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:35 am
Posts: 539
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
vbmech wrote:
Mr_Smartepants wrote:
I have an Enermax temp monitor/fan controller and everytime I turn off the PC, it dumps my temp alarm settings so that the next time I turn the system on I have to reset the alarm. :evil:

I thought it was a typo on the manual where it says:

"You can adjust the alarm settings in intervals of 1000 RPM (800 - 4800)."

I was sure they meant 100 RPM... nope. It only adjusts up from 800 in steps of 1000.


Hey at least your alarm threshold is 800 RPM :P
Mine starts at 1000 and won't go any lower (by default). At least the alarm silences itself after an annoying 30 seconds.

BTW, I didn't cut out my rear grill either. At least not until I get my watercooling kit and mount the radiator back there.

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Sonata (foamed)Bezel mod
Seasonic S12-330, 2x120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12@1000RPM, P4-2.6C w/PAL8942 80mm L1A@10v, 1GB Mushkin DDR400, ATI 9800Pro 128MB w/ZM80A, Samsung SATA 160Gb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:18 am
Posts: 449
You can always cut fan grills that are build into the case.. If you then decide you want grills, its easy enough to buy some $2 standard grills (metal rings) which looks nice too :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:03 am
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Quote:
Antec Sonata - front bezel snipped out for air flow

What did you snip?
Have any pics?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 1:05 pm 
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Nice job. OTOH, you could have saved a lot of work simply by using those earplugs as intended. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:17 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:03 am
Posts: 40
I got the Dremel out and got some plastic out of the way.
I dont think its going to help much cause the steal is still blocking tha air path.

Look:

Image

But i didn get creative with a 92mm i had, look:

Image

Whatcha guys think?


Last edited by BOT_toNka on Thu Jan 27, 2005 5:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:33 am
Posts: 14
BOT>> What did you snip?

My Sonata is a bit different from yours; my hard drive cage is more open than the photo you showed. Sorry I don't have a pic of it, but taking the panel off of a full case is a bit of a pain :)

Here is a photo of the part I cut out of the bezel. This is the bottom of the case, in the front. You'll see there is a small vent hole at the bottom that you can make larger with some tin snips. I also took out some more plastic above that part that you can't see from the outside-- the same pieces you took out with the dremel.

Image

Hammer>> Nice job. OTOH, you could have saved a lot of work simply by using those earplugs as intended.

LOL I know, I know :P

Even worse is the HTPC I built out of leftover parts.. it's very noisy and the wife said she doesn't like it in the living room. Whodathunk... now it's noising up my office again... where are those earplugs?


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