It is currently Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:59 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Fanless i5-670 HTPC/File Server - getting below 20W idle?
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
First post! Good to be here. I've read reviews and forums on SPCR for years, but finally I have something to contribute.


I just finished building my zero-noise, fanless HTPC rig. Components:

i5-670
MSI H55M-ED55 motherboard
G.Skill Ripjaws F3-10666CL84GBRM 2x2GB DDR3 memory
Cooler Master Hyper Z600 heat sink (passive)
PicoPSU 150XT
Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD
WD Green EARS 1.5TB HD
LG WH08LS20K BluRay burner
Mad Dog MD-16X3DVD9-8X DVD-burner (rebranded NEC ND-3500)
Rosewill R101-P-BK MicroATX Mid Tower

Everything was picked with low noise and power consumption in mind. Paying for an SSD was a painful experience, but in the end was well worth it... super low power consumption, and zero noise. WD Green is on stand-by most of the time (and is rubber suspended for good measure).

Regular PSUs made no sense to me; with my goal of 20W idle, PSU efficiency at very low power was essential. PicoPSU seemed like the only option.. maybe 150XT was a bit of an overkill, though.

I wanted to get the smallest case possible, but since I went with a MASSIVE passive heatsink (Z600), the case had to be wide enough to handle it (Z600 has to be horizontal for heat convection). Rosewill was one of the widest small cases I could find... The heat sink barely fits, but barely is good enough.


HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?

Performance-wise, this thing is a screamer! i5-670 is incredible, and coupled with an SSD, it's the fastest PC I've ever had. I don't need high performance, but I like snappy computers, and having LAME finish every MP3 track compression before EAC/MadDog is done extracting the next one is pretty neat. (And MadDog is pretty damn fast)

I also succeeded in my zero-noise goal. Unless I tap into my MP3 library on the WD1.5TB, the whole thing is dead silent... obviously. :) No fans, no noise. In fact, the noisiest component in my system is my LCD... an old Dell with constant 'whine'.

Running full blast, 4 threads of Prime95, the power consumption maxes out at 85W (off the wall, measured with a Kill-A-Watt). Doing the test right now; CPU temp is at +87C, which is pretty high, but Z600 is still doing a pretty good job, considering no fan on the heatsink OR the case (I left the PSU slot open for ventilation).


HOWEVER:

My treehugging goal of 20W idle didn't work out: the rig is idling at 22W. :( I was wondering if anyone had ideas on how to squeeze out the last two watts out of the system..?

In hindsight, I probably should've gone with Intel-branded stripped-naked H55 motherboard. Reviews seem to indicate it idles at even lower power than MSI...

I can't undervolt the CPU with the MSI board (!!). It probably doesn't matter, though; i5-670 powergates probably take care of most of the idle power (would help with load power, though).

I could undervolt some of the other components - mainly I was thinking DDR. Right now it's using the standard 1.5V. Tweaking the termination voltages might buy me some more as well... but haven't had time to do that... Also, I wasn't going to bother try if someone here has already done it, and noticed DDR3 undervolting doesn't help.

I could look at undervolting the H55 chipset itself, if you think it would work. I was going to shut down all the extra stuff I don't need (like PCIe links), but the bios doesn't let me, so no luck there.

I'm so close with this... two more watts! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Also, if you know of a good 1920x1200 LCD that has an HDMI/DisplayPort input and doesn't "whine", I'd be interested. 24-30inch should fit nicely. EnergyStar preferred...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Posts: 740
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Pics please


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 12:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:35 pm
Posts: 808
Location: Greece
Third! :)

I`m quite surprised to hear that an modern MSI board doesn`t allow undervolting/turning off components. Have you looked at bios updates? It`s also possible that such options are hidden, for example many Gigabyte boards require you to press ctrl+F1 to access some more advanced options.

There is not much left to do other than that, except perhaps removing the dvd burner (though seeing that you rip cds often that might put unessesary stress on the BR drive). You could also remove one of the memory simms which most likely will let you reach your goal, not sure if its worth doing though. Maybe it`s worth doing it once just for kicks :)

_________________
My PCs: Workstation : HTPC in a CD player case : Custom Mini ITX projects


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:03 am
Posts: 273
Location: Brooklyn, NY
If you can't under volt, then under clock (if you can). They both effect power consumption. The advantage to under clocking is no negative impact to stability.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 8:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 9:16 pm
Posts: 85
Location: Texas
It's possible to run an i5 passively? I'd never imagine... Isn't 87C too hot?

_________________
My Current Rig:
Athlon II X4 620e @ 2.6ghz | Gigabyte Radeon HD6770 1GB
BIOSTAR A870U3 | 8GB Mushkin Blackline DDR3-1600
64GB Crucial M4 | 128GB Crucial M4
640GB Hitachi Travelstar | Corsair 450W
Wattage is 73W Idle, 205W Fully Loaded


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 7:57 am 
Offline
Friend of SPCR

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:02 am
Posts: 82
You're going to have to explain this one to me...

http://processorfinder.intel.com/detail ... pec=SLBLT#

i5 670 TDP is 73W, and TJ max (maximum junction temp at the CPU) is 72.6C.

So either you're not getting an accurate measurement of your CPU temp or ... you're not reading the temperature correctly. If you were over TJmax your PC would shut down, and if it didn't shut down, your CPU would burn up.

I'm curious about your idle power as well - in a system I designed with a single SSD, no disk drive, and an e4500 (65W TDP), single notebook optical drive, and mini-itx board, I was only able to obtain 28W idle. How did you get less than that with more components and a higher power CPU?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 8:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
Posts: 676
Location: in the depths of hell
mark314 wrote:
You're going to have to explain this one to me...

http://processorfinder.intel.com/detail ... pec=SLBLT#

i5 670 TDP is 73W, and TJ max (maximum junction temp at the CPU) is 72.6C.

So either you're not getting an accurate measurement of your CPU temp or ... you're not reading the temperature correctly. If you were over TJmax your PC would shut down, and if it didn't shut down, your CPU would burn up.

I'm curious about your idle power as well - in a system I designed with a single SSD, no disk drive, and an e4500 (65W TDP), single notebook optical drive, and mini-itx board, I was only able to obtain 28W idle. How did you get less than that with more components and a higher power CPU?

The Thermal Specification uses TCase (temp on the center top side of the heatspreader) so expect core temps to be higher. I seem to recall reading somewhere that TJmax for the core is 100C with throttling occuring at ~95C.

Clarkdales are very power efficient and they don't really use 73W during normal operation. Also note that the 73W TDP covers both CPU and IGP, whereas you still need to add the power consumption of the IGP on LGA-775.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:37 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
b_rubenstein wrote:
If you can't under volt, then under clock (if you can). They both effect power consumption. The advantage to under clocking is no negative impact to stability.


I might; to reduce the max temp a bit, but I don't necessarily want to lose the performance... :D I would much rather underclock.

Maybe there will be a nice bios update sometime in the future... <fingers crossed>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
zodaex wrote:
It's possible to run an i5 passively? I'd never imagine... Isn't 87C too hot?


87C isn't really too hot; these things are designed to work at those temps for some 5 years or so. I'm not running Prime for 5 years in a row...

When idling, the temp is pretty close to room temperature.

Clarkdales are pretty low power; passive cooling is possible, as long as the heatsink is good enough. Hyper Z600 is a huge heatsink, but the blades are spaced apart so convection can work its magic.

I'm not sure if it's being sold anymore... I got a refurbished one from Cooler Master website.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
mark314 wrote:
I'm curious about your idle power as well - in a system I designed with a single SSD, no disk drive, and an e4500 (65W TDP), single notebook optical drive, and mini-itx board, I was only able to obtain 28W idle. How did you get less than that with more components and a higher power CPU?


The TDP values relate only to the maximum power consumption the part can have. Clarkdales have much lower idle power consumption than Conroes because of extensive use of power gates. Also, E4500 is a 65nm part; Intel moved to high-K metal-gate transistor structure at 45nm, which reduced power consumption and leakage.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
alleycat wrote:
Pics please


I took a lot of pics while building the rig, but haven't had time to upload them... will see if I have time this weekend (probably not :( )


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 4:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:41 am
Posts: 32
Location: Netherlands
Why u didn't go for an Antec Three Hundred case with Scythe Orochi Heatsink? That was a much better combination! Temps were probably much lower then.

It's always the best to get the largest cpu-heasink you can get and a big tower case with much air holes at the top if you want to cool things passive.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 5:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
That probably would've worked. I didn't know about Orochi - I guess I didn't do my research.

I wanted to make the system small; initially I was thinking of a small-box with a mini-ITX board and a low-profile active cooler. I ditched the idea because of noise, but still wanted to make the system somewhat small.

To be honest, I'm not too concerned about the temps... I believe these CPUs are designed to handle high temps pretty well - they have thermal diodes to trigger throttling if the temp gets too high.

But your suggestion is interesting; maybe I'll try to make a Gulftown-based passive-cooled system using Orochi and that Antec case.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:23 am
Posts: 218
Location: East Sussex (UK)
please post pics.... pretty please!

_________________
WebbStation - Phenom 965 / Resorated CM690-II Build


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Photos
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:29 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
Image

That heatsink is bigger than the MSI mobo.

Image
Side shot. looks like it'll work pretty well...

Image
PicoPSU plugged in.

Image
Initial boot successful!


Image
All plugged in; heat sink barely fits.

Image
Everything fits... barely.


Image
A well-deserved break......


Last edited by NeelyCam on Sun May 23, 2010 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:30 am
Posts: 419
Location: Italy
Add some ventilation, it might reduce power consumption by allowing the MOSFETs to operate in a lower ambient temperature, thus more efficiently. :wink:

_________________
Corsair HX750W - My personal experience
xan_user wrote:
Nothing thermaltake makes is ever quiet. If they could figure out how to make a flash drive noisy, they would.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 2:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
Ehanks for the suggestion. That might help with load power consumption, but at idle the temps are so low that the temperature probably doesn't affect the results much..


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 3:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:23 am
Posts: 218
Location: East Sussex (UK)
That cooler is MASSIVE!!!

_________________
WebbStation - Phenom 965 / Resorated CM690-II Build


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
It's pretty large, but does the job nicely.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:48 pm
Posts: 14
Location: California, USA
That's pretty sweet. 22w idle?? I'm impressed.

My recent Atom D510 build idles at 18w, and yours has got some serious power and only uses 4 more watts...man...

Then again the CPU costs as much as my whole build did 8)

Looks good!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:14 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Orange County
Image

Nice, I like your style!

_________________
Silverstone Fortress FT01B-W, Corsair HX620W, Gigabyte MA790XT-UD4P, AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, Thermalright HR-01X (w/ S Clip), OCZ DDR3 PC3-12800 Platinum AMD Edition (OCZ3P1600LVAM4GK), Sapphire 4890 Toxic, OCZ Vertex 60GB (System) & WD Caviar Green 1TB & RE 2TB (Media), Plextor DVD±RW (PX-760A), 7.1 WEI


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:45 am
Posts: 59
Location: New Zealand
Nice Maß! Awesome rig, too.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:32 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Memphis, TN
I'm also using a similar processor, the i5 680, and my passive system is idling around 20c as well, so perhaps our thermal monitoring reports are correct after all. Besides, since we aren't using the IGP, our CPU is never pulling the full 73w TDP, probably maxing somewhere in the 60w TDP range.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Oregon
I'm using the IGP... I think it's the most power-efficient way to get the 2D graphics done while keeping idle power low.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:44 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 6:53 am
Posts: 1544
Location: Sweden
NeoGeo wrote:
I'm also using a similar processor, the i5 680, and my passive system is idling around 20c as well, so perhaps our thermal monitoring reports are correct after all.

I doubt that. :lol: No thermal monitoring is correct ever. ;) What's your ambient temperature?

_________________
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 750 Ti | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | TJ08-E | G-360 360W
Server: Intel DH77DF | i3-2100T | 4TB+3x3TB | picoPSU | Idle 24W AC


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group