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Ralf Hutter's P4C Quiet Rig
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Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 4:21 am ]
Post subject:  Ralf Hutter's P4C Quiet Rig

Here's my latest iteration of a quiet PC.

I was getting bored with my PIII-S rig so I decided to see how quiet I could make a P4 800MHz Canterwood system. I wanted a fast, stable sytem to use as my everyday computer. I went with an Intel MoBo for stability.

Hardware is:

  • Intel D875PBZ Motherboard
  • P4 2.4C CPU
  • Thermalright SLK900U heatsink + 92mm Panaflo L1A "BX" rpm monitoring fan @ 8 volts via Zalman Fanmate
  • 2 x 512MB of Mushkin Level II Dual Pack PC3200 RAM @ 2-3-3-6
  • ATI Radeon 8500, fanless
  • Seagate Barracuda IV, 80GB
  • Toshiba SDM1612 DVDrom
  • Nexus 3000 PSU
  • Antec SLK3700 case with 120mm "OEM" Panaflo @ 5 volts as case exhaust fan, 92mm L1A @ 5 volts as HDD cooling fan

Here's some pics:


Overview:
Image

All IDE cables and wiring routed neatly for maximum airflow and minimum clutter. Fans mounted with elastomer fan mounts:
Image

Wiring details. Main PSU wire bundle is covered with gray Flexo-pet from SVC.com. Other PSU wiring is covered with black Flexo-pet from Fry's:
Image

MoBo wiring details. All wiring run as neatly as possible for maximum airflow. Note the unusal shape of the fan blades on the 120mm OEM Panaflo:
Image

Back panel fan mount details. Grill cut away for best/quietest airflow. Rubber molding applied to clean up edges. Fan mounted with elastomer grommets for lowest possible noise. This is a special (non-catalog, as far as I can tell) OEM version of a Panaflo L1A. It is quieter than an L1A at 12, 7 and 5 volts and seems to flow as much air. Case temps stay the same whether I use this fan or a real L1A. (Maybe the funny blade shape has something to do with this??):
Image


My plan was to try and make this as quiet as possible but keep CPU, case and HDD temps well within a safe range. I started with the SLK900U for three reasons. First, it seems like this is the King Of The Cooling Hill for P4 heatsinks. Second, it bolts to the MoBo for the best possible contact and safest mounting technique. Third, you can swap fans to achieve the best cooling vs. noise ratio. I wanted to use a 92mm fan so that it would overlap the heatsink and blow air on the MoBo and RAM. I figured whatever extra cooling I could get for free could only help. I chose the 92mm Panaflo L1A as a starting point and got myself one of those "BX" (rpm monitoring) versions so I could monitor it's speed by plugging it into the MoBo header. I put the fan on a Zalman Fanmate so I could adjust the voltage on the fly for the best possible noise vs. cooling ratio. Default fan speed at 12V is around 2100 rpm. I set the Fanmate to give me 1700 rpm to start. This knocked the edge off of the noise of the L1A. I used 2xPrime95 to load the CPU(s) to 100% so I could check the temps at full load. I monitored the temps with Motherboard Monitor. Idle and load temps at 1700 rpm were quite low so I turned the fan speed down to 1500 rpm and tried again. Temps were perfectly suitable at this setting so this is where I stayed, for now. It's been getting up into the mid 90°F range inside my house over the last few weeks and my system temps get fairly warm in those temperatures.

Here's my final (for now. When it cools down again I'll set the CPU fan speed lower) temps:

Ambient temps in my computer room range from the mid 70°F to mid 90°F range during this time of the year. All temps wil reflect this spread.

  • Mobo temp ranges from 28°C to 36°C at idle, 31°C to 41°C at load.
  • CPU temp ranges from 30°C to 39°C at idle, 41°C to 51°C at Prime95 load.


These are perfectly safe temps and this computer runs super quiet at these settings. Even when the temps are at their hottest, the PSU fan does not increase it's speed. I guess it's still below it's 200W/38C threshold.

I'm super-impressed with how this rig turned out. It's just a tiny bit louder than the PIII-S rig that previously resided in this case but is a waaay more powerful system. I've gained lots of performance at the cost of only a tiny bit of added noise (from the 92mm L1A CPU fan running at apprx 8 volts. Come winter I'll turn it down some more and be back where I was with my PIII-S system). I'd consider this new P4C rig a complete success.

Author:  miker [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Excellent system. Very neat and orderly. Nice folding and wire management.

3 questions:

1. What did you use to cut the 120mm fan grill out?

2. Where'd you get the 120mm OEM Panaflo?

3. Did I read you right, when you said it was quieter than an 120 mm L1A?

Author:  tragus [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:17 am ]
Post subject: 

4. Where did you get the BX 92mm L1A?

Yep, verrrrry pretty.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:35 am ]
Post subject: 

miker wrote:
Excellent system. Very neat and orderly. Nice folding and wire management.

3 questions:

1. What did you use to cut the 120mm fan grill out?

2. Where'd you get the 120mm OEM Panaflo?

3. Did I read you right, when you said it was quieter than an 120 mm L1A?


1) $8 nibbler from CompUSA.

2) Electronics wholesaler in Colorado. $75, shipped for 40 fans. It's hard to beat $2 each for a 120mm Panaflo! You can also get them in single unit purchases for $13 from Thermalfx.com right here in smoggy LA.

3) Yes, they are definitely quieter. I tested four of these against four regular L1As at 5, 7 and 12V. It was about a toss-up at 12V but at 5 and 7 volts the OEMs are noticeably quieter. They have less "clickyness" and less air noise.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:39 am ]
Post subject: 

tragus wrote:
4. Where did you get the BX 92mm L1A?

Yep, verrrrry pretty.


Digikey.com.

Jim at Coolcases.com also has them, I think.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:47 am ]
Post subject: 

Radeonman wrote:
Where's the cut out grill on the PS? (Keep the warranty?)

I think lessons on cable hiding are in order... unless you just use longer than 18" cables. I can never get mine to behave that well.


It was a warrnaty issue at first. I'd heard of some people haveing trouble with noisey 3000's so I wanted to CYA. After I used it for a few weeks out on top of my workbench I noticed that I wasn't really hearing any turbulence from the grill so I just left it.

Those are stock 18" cables. I go strictly by the ATA spec book for my cables. I build OEMs for people so I do not like haiving "issues" with out of spec components. I went through my rounded cable phase a few years ago but had a little trouble with data corruption when using a pretty high-end brand of rounded cable so I ditched them and went back to flat ribbons.

I taught myself how to fold them. I searched the internet for pics of the "famous" Voodoo and Falcon NW cablegami but never found any. I just bought a handfull of $2 ribbons and started folding. After some practice I got good at it.

Author:  tragus [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 6:24 am ]
Post subject: 

Ralf Hutter wrote:
I just bought a handfull of $2 ribbons and started folding. After some practice I got good at it.


Zhentar, take notice.

Ooops, wrong thread.

Author:  Zhentar [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 7:34 am ]
Post subject: 

lol if only I could fold for $2... :) as for cable folding, I basically suck. I'll stick with the rounded cables, ata spec or no :)

Author:  14Nemo [ Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:38 am ]
Post subject:  Intel NB heatsink

Ralf, could you give the dimensions for that massive Intel NB heatsink? I'm curious as to how big an ICH5R heatsink has to be to run passive. Thanks.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Thu Jul 24, 2003 5:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Intel NB heatsink

14Nemo wrote:
Ralf, could you give the dimensions for that massive Intel NB heatsink? I'm curious as to how big an ICH5R heatsink has to be to run passive. Thanks.


2" x 2" square, 1.5" high.

That Zalman 123 NB heatsink is a similar size.

Author:  Jan Kivar [ Thu Jul 24, 2003 9:12 am ]
Post subject: 

5. Where did You put your old HW?

6. NO SOUND CARD?

Cheers,

Jan

Author:  GamingGod [ Thu Jul 24, 2003 4:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

Did you just buy one of those 120mm fans or did you buy 40? If you bought 40 and you want to get rid of 3 or so of them I would like to buy a few for sayyyy $3 each?

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Jan Kivar wrote:
5. Where did You put your old HW?


It's sitting on a shelf until I decide if I'm going to sell it, or whatever.,

Jan Kivar wrote:
6. NO SOUND CARD?

Cheers,

Jan


No sound card. I do not ever use any Windows sounds. I have an external USB D/A converter that's hooked up to my home audio system that I use for playing music.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:49 am ]
Post subject: 

Radeonman wrote:
This is his quiet rig. From what I can tell, his other rig is his music rig, and he obviously doesn't care about quality much, since he's just got a set of tinny labtec desktop speakers.


Audio on my Quiet Rig is an external USB D/A converter into my home stereo system.
I suspect this:
Image
sounds a little better than most PC soundcard + PC speaker setups. :)

The Labtecs were a gift from my wife so they sit there for reasons of Marital Harmony.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:53 am ]
Post subject: 

GamingGod wrote:
Did you just buy one of those 120mm fans or did you buy 40? If you bought 40 and you want to get rid of 3 or so of them I would like to buy a few for sayyyy $3 each?


I got in on a group buy for these fans so I didn't have to buy all 40. I bought 'em blind, never having heard then. They were cheap enough to throw away if they were junk and it turned out they are one of those unexpected treasures.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:56 am ]
Post subject:  Nice!

Hello Ralf:

Are those Vandersteen 1's or 2's? If they are 2's, I memory of them was that the cabinets were deeper, and they look too tall to be 1's...either way, I have not ever heard Vandy's with a tube amplifier... :wink:

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 5:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nice!

NeilBlanchard wrote:
Hello Ralf:

Are those Vandersteen 1's or 2's? If they are 2's, I memory of them was that the cabinets were deeper, and they look too tall to be 1's...either way, I have not ever heard Vandy's with a tube amplifier... :wink:


They're "2Ce Signatures". They're the latest 2Ce's with the tweeters of the 3c's.

They sound real, real good through that tube amp, but they sound real, real good through a good solid state amp too. :)

Author:  Jan Kivar [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 9:05 am ]
Post subject: 

Ralf Hutter wrote:
Audio on my Quiet Rig is an external USB D/A converter into my home stereo system.
I suspect this sounds a little better than most PC soundcard + PC speaker setups. :)


I wish I had proper space to setup my gear. I have to settle for something not so optimal ATM...

Jan

Author:  Mr_Smartepants [ Fri Jul 25, 2003 9:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Ralf Hutter wrote:
2) Electronics wholesaler in Colorado. $75, shipped for 40 fans. It's hard to beat $2 each for a 120mm Panaflo!


Damn Ralf!
My opinion of you just shot up a couple of notches! First you build this excellent system (kudos), THEN you find a wholesale store that sells 120mm L1A 'flos (and rare ones at that) for only $2 each. Wow, I'm impressed! You currently hold a position just one notch away from system-builder-perfection (a position held only by myself and God! :lol: ).

ATTENTION everyone!
If you plan on building a system for yourself, just copy what Ralf does!
You can't go wrong!

So Ralf, exactly WHERE did you get these panaflos from for only $75 for 40 units?.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Sat Jul 26, 2003 4:01 am ]
Post subject: 

Mr_Smartepants wrote:
Ralf Hutter wrote:
2) Electronics wholesaler in Colorado. $75, shipped for 40 fans. It's hard to beat $2 each for a 120mm Panaflo!


So Ralf, exactly WHERE did you get these panaflos from for only $75 for 40 units?.


The place is called (IIRC) "Rd Electronics" and they're somewhere in Colorado. The guy I got the fans from (who hasn't been responding to my emails over the last two months :() lives near the place so he was able to buy them right at their store and not pay the shipping costs. I'm trying to remember more but that's the best I can do right now. Maybe that company in LA (see my link above) that sells them individually for $13 will make you a quantity deal...

Author:  edz [ Sat Jul 26, 2003 7:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Found this on ebay:

RDR electronics

40 Matsushita Panaflo 12V DC Fan FBK-12G12LH

cost is $50 + $20 for postage in US

p.s. first post =)

Author:  Melluk [ Sat Jul 26, 2003 3:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Good find edz!
and ralf of course.

Did i hear anyone say Group Buy?

Author:  lenny [ Sat Jul 26, 2003 10:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

OK I bought a box of 40 (there's still more). If anyone's interested, I'd be glad to sell them to you at cost + postage - I only need 5 for myself. If you live in the SF Bay Area feel free to arrange to pick it up from me.

If MikeC wants one for testing I'd be glad to donate one.

If no one takes up this offer, I guess I'll use it to cool my garage :)

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Sun Jul 27, 2003 3:28 am ]
Post subject: 

edz wrote:
Found this on ebay:

RDR electronics

40 Matsushita Panaflo 12V DC Fan FBK-12G12LH

cost is $50 + $20 for postage in US

p.s. first post =)


Yeah, that's gotta be the place. It would be too much of a coincidence if it wasn't.

Note that those come with a non-standard connector that will need to be replaced. The tails aren't removable either, like regular Panaflos. I have a bag of 4-pin Molex connectors so it wasn't a big deal for me to cut off the originals and replace them with a usable connector, but "heads up", it does need to be done.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Sun Jul 27, 2003 3:37 am ]
Post subject: 

lenny wrote:
OK I bought a box of 40 (there's still more). If anyone's interested, I'd be glad to sell them to you at cost + postage - I only need 5 for myself. If you live in the SF Bay Area feel free to arrange to pick it up from me.

If MikeC wants one for testing I'd be glad to donate one.

If no one takes up this offer, I guess I'll use it to cool my garage :)


Put me down for 4. :)

Don't forget to factor in the cost of some packing materials when you calculate how much to sell those for. They guy that did the group buy that I got my originals from found that it was cheapest to use USPS Priority Mail because you can get free boxes and tape then all you need to do is buy some bubblepack.

Author:  lenny [ Mon Jul 28, 2003 2:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ralf Hutter wrote:
Note that those come with a non-standard connector that will need to be replaced. The tails aren't removable either, like regular Panaflos. I have a bag of 4-pin Molex connectors so it wasn't a big deal for me to cut off the originals and replace them with a usable connector, but "heads up", it does need to be done.

I'll post a new thread under Deals (or whatever the thread is called). So far I still have 15 fans available. I also have crimpers and a few connectors for both 4 pin molex or 3 pin motherboard fan connectors available so I can change the connectors for those of you who prefer a tidier looking connection. I'll post the details in the new thread.

Author:  Melluk [ Mon Jul 28, 2003 3:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'll have two please.
Will you ship to Europe?

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Tue Jul 29, 2003 5:35 am ]
Post subject: 

Figured I'd post this here too as there's interest about these fans. This is a pic of a regular L1A and one of the "OEM" Panaflos. Note the difference in the hub size and the shape of the fan blades. Maybe this helps keep the noise down?

I've certainly never seen another Panaflo of any size that looks remotely like this but I have seen some of those extra quiet 92mm JMC-Datech fans that Dell uses on their P4 cooling ducts and the blades look very similar to these OEM Panaflo blades.

Image

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