The new barebone-systems, worth considering at all?
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Author:  Henrik [ Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:38 am ]
Post subject:  The new barebone-systems, worth considering at all?

Quite a few new barebone-systems have seen the light of day lately. Does anyone have any experience with them (except from reading reviews on the internet)? Are their noise levels tolerable? AMD or Intel? Can they be modded at all, or is a simple fan swap the only mod which is doable without destroying the (beautiful?) cases? How about passive cooling of graphic cards, are there any room for that?

Author:  silvervarg [ Mon Oct 20, 2003 3:31 am ]
Post subject: 

They vary quite a lot from system to system.
I general it is harder to make a barebone system quiet than it is to make a bigger box quiet.
Your concerns are:
Small space limits your options on what components to put into the system.
Sound dampening materials is very hard to fit in.
Lack of 5.25" bays can make it difficult to decouple harddrives.
Design often makes for a rather poor airflow. This can often be fixed, but sometimes this forces you to change the systems external appearance to less pleasing.
Then you have the PSU. This will often become your major concern. A small PSU means that there is a small fan in the PSU. A cramped case and small fans means they have to run rather fast.

So, it is not impossible to get a near silent bare bone system, but it is harder than to do it with a normal sized box with the same hardware performance.
If you still want to go this route I would start to look at what PSU you can fit into the barebone and the size of the fan in the PSU. The reason is that this is the hardest part to do modding on, so you want something that is good from the start.
One middle way to go is to get a mATX case that can fit a ATX PSU (these are quite rare, but they do exist).

Author:  Fabool [ Mon Oct 20, 2003 4:21 am ]
Post subject: 

I was considering a barebone cube system but decided not to go for it for various reasons, mainly the fact that it is hard to silence. I'm now looking at a mATX case (Coolermaster 620 to be specific) which seems like a good middleground.
It was a tough call though, since the cube cases look very nice and don't eat up desk space, but since I'm not really confident in my modding ability I decided not to get one.

The new Shuttle barebone systems look nice but from what I've read they are somewhat noisy. For example, the new 220W PSUs have 2x 40mm fans.
VGA cooling is also limited. Most barebone systems have the AGP slot right next to the case cover so it's nearly impossible to passively cool a card without cutting the case.

The new Soltek EQ3401 is probably the quietest of the new P4 based systems. If I remember correctly it also has the AGP slot further in the case so you could fit an Arctic cooling VGA silencer with the cost of the PCI slot.

Check out http://www.sudhian.com if you haven't already. Lots of info on the site and forums.

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