It is currently Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:50 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: My quiet Air cooled Lian-Li PC-A05N (with pics)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:04 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Montréal, Canada
About a year ago, I got tired of that noisy PC that was in our living room. So I started researching on how to silence computers and slowly started buying some parts.

One of my goal was to have the computer inaudible when idle, or rather when I was not playing a game on it. I had no problem with the thing revving up its fans to full speed when starting a 3D game as I wear closed headphones when that happens and I understand that the heat has to be exhausted somehow. I'm not a real gamer either, I play not more than 2-3 hours per week.

By mostly fooling around with a few fans I had on hand, I slowly understood that to have an efficient and quiet fan, it had to be as big as possible and spin rather slowly. I then decided that there would only be 120mm fans in the PC and that they would not go faster than 1000RPM when I was not in game.

I also experimented with a "speed controller" for fans, but since i was often forgetting it to high or low when the opposite would have been needed, I decided that it was not correct for me and that all the speed modulating of the fans would have to be based on temperature rather than with a manual device.

With all those constraints, I ordered:

-one PC-A05N Lian-Li case from Newegg as it was esthetically pleasing to me (I like sobriety and simplicity) and wide enough to fit a huge CPU cooler
-one Noctua NH-U12P SE2 CPU cooler hoping that It would be good enough to be used fanless
-one Asus 8600GT Fanless vid card

All this to be working with my dual-core 3GHz AMD CPU and my Asus M2N-E motherboard that I already owned.

I spent a complete night (up to 6 am ) assembling and testing the thing and this is how it ended up.

I found out that to cool itself efficiently, the passive vid card had to have a very very good airflow going through it. The only way i managed to achieve that was to have every fan exhausting the air outside the case and blocking all the other orifice in the case to make sure that the air was entering it by the vid card ventilation slots.
Image
As you can see, every opening except the vid card slots and that rectangle grill on the left were blocked with duct tape. That way, i managed to have the vid card temp idling at 50°C which was very good considering that this card slow itself down at 125°C. I also needed to reverse the rear fan since it was originally pushing air inside the case.

The PC-A05N is a nice case if your goal is to have a low air pressure case, there is aditionally to the rear 120mm fan, a second one in the front which at the same time cools the hard drives that are mounted right behind it, and you get the PSU also exhausting the air in the front.
Image

Theres a nice and sober front panel that goes in front of those two exhaust fan.
Image
Yeah I took those pictures just before the yearly cleaning/vaccuming of the interns. Thats why the case is so dirty.
Image
Image


To help with further quieting the thing, I relied on the Asus firmware of the motherboard to throttle the CPU fan and both case fan according to its temperature sensor and I activated CPU scaling. The CPU is instantly under clocked to 1GHz instead of 3 when its not computing anything.

I first installed the Noctua cooler without a fan on it. It was good for idling or light computing, but It would reach nearly 95°C when gaming. Those temps scared me and I decided to install one of the 2 120mm Noctua fans that were provided with it. Adding the fan instantly dropped the temp to 70-75°C while having cpu at full speed and 100% usage for more than an hour. Much safer than 90-95.

My only deception with that setup, this is also where most of the noise come from, is the PSU placement. It seem like a trade-off was made so that the cool "inverted air flow" design was made possible. The PSU is having a hard time cooling itself. the front panel with those little slots is too restrictive. If I take off the front panel, the PSU fan slow down of almost 400RPM in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it does not look good with the front panel removed and anyway, I would fear my cat could lose a leg with that huge exposed fan.
Image

This is pretty much it, these are the temps reading when the computer is idling. (It's powered on 24/7, as its used as a semi-server also)
Image
In any ways, I reached my goal. When the computer is idling and the ambient temp is not too hot, I cant hear it at all unless I kneel and go put my head right next to it. During the hottest summer days (35°C), It will be audible but not annoying at all....until I start Quake or Nexuiz :)

Please let me know what you think of my setup and don't hesitate to ask any question about it. I would also like to request for suggestion or improvement ideas.

Thanks,
Julien


Last edited by julien-1993 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:30 pm 
Offline
Friend of SPCR

Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:15 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Portland, Oregon
Nice build, but I feel more inclined to comment on your Conky script... ;)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:04 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Montréal, Canada
Thanks :) I got the inspiration for it from a user of the Archlinux forum. If anyone is interested, I can post the conky config here, just ask


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:31 am 
Offline
Friend of SPCR

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 am
Posts: 1314
Location: CT
Nice build !
The only thing I would change would be the exhaust fan, but if it's quiet for you, it's not worth it. Good job !

_________________
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:37 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:39 pm
Posts: 307
Location: Toronto, Canada
Decent build, though how does the PSU get air with all those cables/ drives on top of it?

Asus 8600GT passive -had one of those- quite a hot card!

_________________
Antec 302-S Project
Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:04 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Montréal, Canada
speedkar9 wrote:
Decent build, though how does the PSU get air with all those cables/ drives on top of it?


There is ½ inch space between the lower HD and the PSU. Thats the biggest problem with my build atm. I removed that lower HD since I did not needed it anymore and it helped a little. Even with it off, its hard for the PSU to cool itself because the bottom of the HD cage is a plate with just a few holes in it...still restricting air.

I would really like to find a solution for that which does not involve cutting the case.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:41 am 
Offline
Patron of SPCR

Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 1:49 pm
Posts: 836
Location: Somerset, WI - USA
Ouch, that's pretty dusty. Has it been awhile since you cleaned it or do you have pets or just a dusty room? The problem with passive GPUs is that they generally do still need airflow. And that case really leaves the GPU sitting up there with none of it. Your exhaust only fans give you the good cooling for the card. But that much negative pressure causes air to come it through any possible opening. Such as the cracks along the side panels, the space in the back panel connectors and worst, optical (and in the old days floppy) drives.

What if you turned the CPU fan the other direction so it blew directly at the GPU? The air would be a little warm coming off the CPU but at least it's moving. Then you could turn the rear fan into an intake which will also make sure the the CPU and vicariously the GPU are getting cooler air. And, you could put some cheap air filter in from of the intake fan and keep at least some dust out of that thing.

Or just strap a slow moving fan on top of the GPU. Sure it won't be fanless anymore. But a big fan directly on it will need to spin slower and therefore make less noise to provide the same cooling as a case fan farther away.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:04 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Montréal, Canada
BillyBuerger wrote:
Ouch, that's pretty dusty. Has it been awhile since you cleaned it or do you have pets or just a dusty room? The problem with passive GPUs is that they generally do still need airflow. And that case really leaves the GPU sitting up there with none of it. Your exhaust only fans give you the good cooling for the card. But that much negative pressure causes air to come it through any possible opening. Such as the cracks along the side panels, the space in the back panel connectors and worst, optical (and in the old days floppy) drives.

What if you turned the CPU fan the other direction so it blew directly at the GPU? The air would be a little warm coming off the CPU but at least it's moving. Then you could turn the rear fan into an intake which will also make sure the the CPU and vicariously the GPU are getting cooler air. And, you could put some cheap air filter in from of the intake fan and keep at least some dust out of that thing.

Or just strap a slow moving fan on top of the GPU. Sure it won't be fanless anymore. But a big fan directly on it will need to spin slower and therefore make less noise to provide the same cooling as a case fan farther away.


Hi and thanks for your suggestion of an alternate way to cool the gpu. The computer is dusty like this because it had been running 24/7 without cleaning for 10months before I took the pictures. Also, I do have a long-haired cat. It's really not that bad though, since this is a non-smoking house, its not the sticky kind of dust that you can have in a pc, It was all squeaky clean after 3-5 minutes of vaccuming the interior. I will still monitor all temps and fan speeds very closely though, just to be sure things are not getting out of safe range.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:32 am
Posts: 20
Location: The Netherlands
What I don't get is why you closed all holes with duct-tape, reversed your intake fan into an exhaust fan, and made a downwards airflow at the CPU.

What's your intake, and why is the warm air going downwards? Imo you're doing it wrong. A reversed ATX should not be half-reversed. I think you can make this a little more silent by improving your airflow :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:04 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Montréal, Canada
TheZeroorez wrote:
What I don't get is why you closed all holes with duct-tape, reversed your intake fan into an exhaust fan, and made a downwards airflow at the CPU.

What's your intake, and why is the warm air going downwards? Imo you're doing it wrong. A reversed ATX should not be half-reversed. I think you can make this a little more silent by improving your airflow :)


The reason why I taped every hole of the case is to force the air to enter it by the graphic card. On the first picture of the thread, you will see that the vid card and the rectangle intake next to it are not taped.

Now with those 3 120mm fans pulling the air out of the case, a great quantity of it is forced in trough the vid card ventilation slot. Thats how I manage to properly cool that Asus fanless vid card which is known to be a very hot card. Its temp will be ±55°C at idle and ±75°C when running a graphic intensive game. I know the idle temp is a bit hot, but this card is designed to run hotter than regular vid card with a fan.

The air is going downward because I don't really have a choice. In order to achieve a negative internal air pressure, I need to use all fan in exhausting mode and those fans are located at the bottom of the case.

here's a quick drawing of the airflow inside the case.
Image

Of course its opposed to the effect of natural convection, but at those scale, it really doesn't take a lot of force to go against it. I am aware that this is probably not the most effective way to quiet this case, but numbers proove that its not the worst either. I am actually here to get suggestion on how to get my setup quieter than it already is.

Here is another screenshot I took right now of the monitoring app I use. Ambient temperature is cooler today and it shows well on the fan speeds.
Image


Last edited by julien-1993 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 44
Location: USA
Nice build, I recently built myself an everyday-use system and was debating between the Silverstone TJ-08 and this Lian Li case. I ended up going with the TJ-08 since my previous build, an HTPC, was in a Lian Li PC-c37B and I wanted to see what Silverstone had to offer. Its nice to see a similar build with the Lian Li.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [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