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 Post subject: Not as loud as raucous
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:12 am
Posts: 566
Location: UK
It's probably a long way from quiet by the standards of many of you, but with the valuable advice to be found here, my system is now much, much quieter than it was before. The main hardware consists of:

  • Cooler Master Praetorian
  • X-Pro MPT460P 460W PSU
  • A64 3400+
  • DFI LANPARTY UT nF3 250Gb
  • 2x1GB KingMax DDR400
  • Geforce 6800GT
  • Yamaha SW1000XG soundcard
  • AudioTrak Prodigy 7.1 LT soundcard
  • Leadtek VC100XP video capture card
  • Hitachi 7K250 160GB (SATA)
  • Seagate Barracuda 120GB (ATA133)
  • Maxtor DM10 200GB (SATA)
  • LG GSA-4120B DVD-RAM drive


Of the two main offenders for noise, the first was the CPU fan which was some 70mm Foxconn thing. To replace that I purchased an Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro, which was the best cooler I could find that would fit inside my narrow case. Fortunately it turned out to be better than I had expected, with the temperature controlled fan being off almost all the time, and only reaching ~600rpm in the worst case (it is a cold winter here at the moment though). It is therefore effectively silent relative to all the other noise sources.


The other culprit was the 6800GT which really screamed. After studying all the reviews I could find, there was little doubt that I could do no better than the Thermalright V1 Ultra, which I duly purchased. Unfortunately, my dimwitted self didn't think to look at its dimensions first, and I now can't fit the side of my case on properly due to the heatpipes sticking out a few mm too far. I will have to cut a hole in the side to fix it, but that's ok since I was going to cut decorative holes in it a some point anyway. The important thing is that it does cool well with the fan at 7V, with a maximum load temp of 72C. Like the AC Freezer, this fan is also effectively silent at that voltage (it cooled a lot better at 12V, but was also rather loud).

To finish it off I replaced the four stock 80mm case fans with Sharkoon Silent Eagle LED fans. These were a bit of a disappointment, with a noticeable buzzing from the motor at 12V where the stock Cooler Master fans emitted only the white noise of turbulent air. At lower voltages this disappears, fortunately. The two front fans run at 7V, the top exhaust at 5V and the rear exhaust is temperature controlled, usually running at ~1100rpm.

The difference with those changes is remarkable - it was previously audible from other nearby rooms, but now it is unintrusive even within the same room.

After all that text you probably want some images to relieve the tedium (click for fullsize images):
Image
That thing in the 3.5" bay is an IR transceiver which I haven't used for years, but you never know when it might come in handy.

Image
Inside it is one of the most compact mid-tower cases. The narrowness would have prevented me from purchasing it personally, but it was free so I can't complain. Otherwise it is a fantastically well made case, with very thick aluminium panels, lots of rigid u-channel and all the bolts screw into inset steel nuts, so there is no risk of stripping out the thread.

Image
A closer view, in the dark. I expect that none of you would dream of making the inside of the case look pretty like that at the possible expense of noise, but I can't have it looking ugly as I sit in front of it for long periods. The blue LEDs look really overpowering in the photos, but they are subdued in real life, giving a calming blue aura to the surrounding area.


One improvement I was considering was removing the fan from the V1 Ultra and ducting it directly to the rear exhaust fan, and doing the same for the CPU to the top exhaust, but I don't think the PSU fan would give sufficient airflow to cool all the other components.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:42 pm 
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Heh, you are the first person I see to use TR V-1 Ultra cooler. To be honest I expected better performance, especially from a relatively high speed fan at 7V. TR V-1 was on my list of candidates for aftermarket video card cooler, but I went with VM-101. Seems I don't have anything to regret :)

Welcome to the worlkd of silent computing!

BTW if you are anything like most of us, this "unintrusive even within the same room" will soon seem to you just as loud as before you did the mods!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:15 pm 
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Posts: 566
Location: UK
JazzJackRabbit wrote:
Heh, you are the first person I see to use TR V-1 Ultra cooler. To be honest I expected better performance, especially from a relatively high speed fan at 7V. TR V-1 was on my list of candidates for aftermarket video card cooler, but I went with VM-101. Seems I don't have anything to regret :)

I think maybe those temperatures make it look worse than it is: 72C was the temp I got during initial testing, but it's dropped to about 68C now the AS2 has had time to settle. Also I am still working my way through my supply of AS2 - it would probably be better with AS5. There is also not much airflow around that area except the 80mm exhaust fan - with a 120mm fan it would be better (won't fit in my case :(). With the V1's fan at the max 2500rpm it gets down into the upper 50's, which is more than 30C better than the stock cooler and less than 10C above the idle temp. Also, a 25mm thick 2000rpm fan seems to give approximately the same performance as the 15mm thick 2500rpm stock fan.

I strongly considered a VM-101 or 102, but the scant information I could find on their performance on comparably hot GPUs put the 102 at 90-100C even with a relatively fast fan on the CPU nearby helping airflow. We'll soon see how well it works in the hands of one more dedicated to fanless cooling though.:)


JazzJackRabbit wrote:
Welcome to the worlkd of silent computing!

Thanks :)

JazzJackRabbit wrote:
BTW if you are anything like most of us, this "unintrusive even within the same room" will soon seem to you just as loud as before you did the mods!

I don't know how quiet I will want to make it; I find it harder to get to sleep in complete silence, strange as that may seem.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Mr Evil wrote:
I think maybe those temperatures make it look worse than it is: 72C was the temp I got during initial testing, but it's dropped to about 68C now the AS2 has had time to settle. Also I am still working my way through my supply of AS2 - it would probably be better with AS5. There is also not much airflow around that area except the 80mm exhaust fan - with a 120mm fan it would be better (won't fit in my case :(). With the V1's fan at the max 2500rpm it gets down into the upper 50's, which is more than 30C better than the stock cooler and less than 10C above the idle temp. Also, a 25mm thick 2000rpm fan seems to give approximately the same performance as the 15mm thick 2500rpm stock fan.

I'm kind of curious how well your system would fare with the side panel closed, IME (see below) 6800GT puts out a lot of heat under load, so a single 80mm exhaust fan may not be enough. Have you tried mounting 80x25mm fan in pull configuration with your V-1 Ultra?

Mr Evil wrote:
I strongly considered a VM-101 or 102, but the scant information I could find on their performance on comparably hot GPUs put the 102 at 90-100C even with a relatively fast fan on the CPU nearby helping airflow. We'll soon see how well it works in the hands of one more dedicated to fanless cooling though.:)

Well, it's definitely not impossible. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:29 pm 
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Location: UK
JazzJackRabbit wrote:
...I'm kind of curious how well your system would fare with the side panel closed, IME (see below) 6800GT puts out a lot of heat under load, so a single 80mm exhaust fan may not be enough. Have you tried mounting 80x25mm fan in pull configuration with your V-1 Ultra?..

The temperatures I gave were with the side panel closed. Although it doesn't fit properly at the moment, it does mostly close with only a small gap along the bottom edge (and a bulge in the middle :x). I just tried it with the side off completely and GPU temp went down to 62C, but CPU temp went up by 1C (to 36C).


JazzJackRabbit wrote:
...Have you tried mounting 80x25mm fan in pull configuration with your V-1 Ultra?..

I did try turning the fan around, but it made virtually no difference, contrary to my expectation.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:53 pm 
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Mr Evil wrote:
I did try turning the fan around, but it made virtually no difference, contrary to my expectation.

Was that with the side panel open or closed? I would imagine that in pull configuration the hot air should be exhausted much closer to the rear fan which would make much more effective removal of the hot air from the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:33 am 
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Location: UK
JazzJackRabbit wrote:
Was that with the side panel open or closed?..

Closed again.

JazzJackRabbit wrote:
...I would imagine that in pull configuration the hot air should be exhausted much closer to the rear fan which would make much more effective removal of the hot air from the case.

That's exactly what I thought too, but it doesn't seem to work like that in reality. I suppose Thermalright must have known what they were doing when they mounted the fan the "wrong" way.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:06 pm 
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Location: UK
I cut a hole in the case side so it can be closed properly. Click for full-sized images again:
Image
The smaller holes are purely decorative (it looked a bit odd with just one large hole in the corner). I need to obtain a transparent dome of some sort to cover the large hole, and some flat sheets of plastic to cover the other holes so they don't ruin the airflow.

Image
I did the other side too, just for fun.

There is a slight increase in noise coming through the holes, which will hopefully be reduced again once they are covered. Damping of the panels also seems to be required now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:46 pm 
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Posts: 1121
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Hi, like the holes, with the blue lights inside bet it looks great in the dark. Not sure I could sleep in the same room as that much light but that's just me. Very nice workmanship, makes me cringe over my efforts, I have, effectively the same case although mine called itself ATCS 201C, agree with you about the solid construction and very good general quality. Mine wasn't free though, in fact I paid ~£140 for it, and another £60 for the PSU, that £200 now would buy a P180 with an S12 600w :shock:
When I came to the conclusion the bottle neck for quiet operation was the single rear 80mm ran I figured one of the options was a 120mm fan PSU. As I think your A64 3400 isn't a very cool CPU either I guess it's an option that would have worked for me but I went a different route and hacked the rear of the case to take two 80mm fans. It's worked too as now the noise floor, with all the fans turned down, is the HDD.
Keep up the good work,
Seb

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:06 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Bay Area Ca.
I too did not want to give up my blue lights so I got a blue could cathode and some yate loon fans. The cathode is brighter but I can turn it off so its not a problem for me.

Nice job on the side panels and I love aluminum cases (I own a lian li)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:59 am
Posts: 28
Location: Raleigh NC
Wow! I love what you did with those panels! Having some clear acrylic behind it would definitely quieten it down. I too have a CoolerMaster case and I found that the side panel vibrated less after I added a window with thick 0.5mm acrylic. I do have some blackish foam pads stuck behind the panels too.

FYI, the rear 80mm exhaust can be swapped out for a 92mm. You'll just need to enlarge the hole and drill new fan mounting holes. 120mm fan won't fit. :cry:

If temps permit, I'd cover up the top blowhole. It gives noise a direct path to your ear if your pc is positioned lower (on the floor). If it's sitting on your desk, I don't think you'll hear it.

Here's a pic of mine with some UV lighting that's louder than the pc. :P

Image


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