IBM SFF S50.....passive cooled 3.2 P4.
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Author:  Bluefront [ Wed Oct 22, 2003 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  IBM SFF S50.....passive cooled 3.2 P4.

An Anandtech article about a new computer, very small, very neat, with a number of interesting features......not the least of which is a fanless 3.2 P4. So it can be done, even in a SFF. Impressive.


Author:  MGP [ Wed Oct 22, 2003 5:33 pm ]
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Wow those IBM Thermal Engineers are intense. VERY IMPRESSIVE!

Author:  MGP [ Wed Oct 22, 2003 5:40 pm ]
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But I just realized this...how practical is it for IBM to sell a SFF PC (for space-constained workareas) with such a powerful CPU? Does the average corporate employee need a 3.2GHz PC to run Office suites?

Yes, some do CPU-intense apps need all of the GHz they can get, but this group would probably opt for a full-fledge workstation anyways (at least this is my impression). Therefore, while I do like what I see, the product just doesn't seem to be nearly as mass marketable as IBM's other SFF PCs.

If anyone sees my logic as being skewed, please let me know as I just finished a Cinema midterm and I'm a bit wheezy myself. :D I may be little too critical... :twisted: Ironically, one of the films I was doing a paper on is Chris Nolan's Insomnia, and, as corny as it sounds, it gave me insomnia. Gotta get some sleep...

Author:  wsc [ Wed Oct 22, 2003 6:17 pm ]
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That machine looks very remarkable, it was the quitest SFF computer by a long shot that Anandtech tested! A full featured BIOS plus an AGP slot would make this the ultimate SFF in my book.

Author:  MikeC [ Wed Oct 22, 2003 7:36 pm ]
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Fanless is a bit of a stretch when the 2 front fans are an inch away (or less) from the CPU heatsink, don't you think? From the look of things inside, this is an early adaptation of the BTX form factor introduced by Intel at IDF San Jose in Sept. The front mounted fans, the duct over the front mounted CPU, the strange shaped PSU...

I wonder how quiet we would cosider it... They say: 40~41.5 dBA @ 4" from center of 4 sides ...
Hmmm, let me pull out the SLM and take a few measurements at 4"...

10 minutes later:

1) P4-2.8G / 2 HDD PC in 18" sturdy mid-tower: 28-30 dBA -- this one is very quiet.

2) P4-2.53G out in open test bench system with 400W Fotron (4" from noisiest component, the PSU): 36 dBA -- this one I consider way too noisy

3) XP 2100+ system in Evercase: 30-32 dBA. Pretty quiet machine.

4) P3S-1.13G system in Evercase: 24-26 dBA. My quietest, my reference.

Somehow I don't think that IBM is going to please that many people here for noise.

Author:  Bluefront [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 2:17 am ]
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Well it's not quiet compared to a standard slightly modded tower. However when compared to other SSF computers, it scores big. And since the form factor is not dependant on a cpu mounted fan, and rather uses a ducted cooling setup, it is open for modifications. Perhaps a modification to the PSU fan could allow removal of the two small fans. I like it.

Author:  jojo4u [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 7:49 am ]
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My observations:

This is no way a passive CPU. The fan are simply moved to the side.

200W PSU for a P4 3.2 ... impressive.

It seems a kind of BTX, but with mirrored design (PSU on the right side when seen from the front). 2 fans at the front - perhaps better than only one (BTX)

Is the PSU the only outlet? So there are 2 fans blowing in and 1 blowing out. The designer have to ensure that the troughput of the two groups are matching.

Author:  MikeC [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 9:09 am ]
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Compared with other SFF tested by Anand, it scores big. OK.

I think given the desk top placement of SFF, the front panel sound reading would be the most important. This unit's advantage at 4" from the front is only 3~4 dBA better than the next competitor. Go to the ~2' (or more) distance to the user's ears, and that difference becomes smaller.

Even so, we're looking at a machine that's 50% louder than the loudest one I measured above -- #2. And that one I would consider unusable 2' away from me. It is loud.

Using the 4" distance from front panel yardstick, I'd say it has to be 32 dBA or less. In fact noise standards for SFF have to be lower than for towers, becasue they are usually located closer to the ears, at the same level as the monitor. That IBM has at least another 10 dBA to go.

It IS a matter of reference standards. Anand's says "superbly quiet" -- but their references are machines that would be considered intolerably noisy by the vast majority of readers here.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:39 am ]
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jojo4u wrote:
My observations:
200W PSU for a P4 3.2 ... impressive.

Not really.

I put my Kill-a-watt on my P4 3.0C system* a few weeks ago and go these numbers:

I ran (simultaneously) 2xPrime95 + 3Dmark2001, burn CDr @ 52X and the full load was 174W.

The thing idles (surfing the web, word processing, light Photshop etc) at 75-80W.

IMHO, big PSUs are overrated.

*P4 3.0C, SLK900U + 9V 92mm L1A, 80GB Cuda IV, Plextor Premium 52x CDrw, ATI 8500, 120mm L1A and 92MM L1A case fans @ 5V, Super Silencer 400.

Author:  MGP [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:56 pm ]
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And you also have to remember that the SFF PC doesnt use a power-hogging gfx board, which helps power consumption

Author:  Jan Kivar [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 1:17 pm ]
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And that the PSU is likely capable of giving more than 200W for a short period at boot. You have to note that older PSUs were designed to supply more amperes to +3.3V and +5V rails, whereas the new PSUs are designed to supply more to 12V rail.



Author:  Rory B. [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 1:47 pm ]
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IBM should add more air holes to the rear panel and even supply I/O slot covers that are perforated to support airflow (like the ones on the G4 Macs that I've seen), and then make the dual SuperRed 80mm fans thermally-controlled. That, coupled with better noise management in the PSU could make this a noise winner on par with most Dells that I've heard.

I agree, it looks very much like a BTX.

Author:  Bluefront [ Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:39 pm ]
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First-off, I don't think anyone using this forum runs a stock computer as his main rig. So when I look at this S50, it is with the idea that I could make it better/quieter. And It does look that this machine has the potential for modification. It's reasonably quiet to begin with.....you could probably get it with a less powerful CPU, reducing the heat. Looks like you could mod the PSU for better air-flow, maybe use a laptop drive to give more internal space for airflow, etc.

The setup is one big air duct from what I can see. The PSU is sucking air from the front fans, over the CPU, over the NB heatsink, over the board. If you added any vent holes, this duct setup would be upset. I'll just bet with the right pieces, this computer could easily run with the one PSU fan only.

My little SFF is running like that....one PSU fan only. And it was never designed that way at all. Some internal ducting and a few mods pulled it off. This S50 would be a real winner with some TLC.

Author:  HammerSandwich [ Sat Oct 25, 2003 4:36 pm ]
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Ralf Hutter wrote:
I put my Kill-a-watt on my P4 3.0C system... and the full load was 174W.

The thing idles (surfing the web, word processing, light Photshop etc) at 75-80W.
Are those numbers for AC power?

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:48 am ]
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HammerSandwich wrote:
Ralf Hutter wrote:
I put my Kill-a-watt on my P4 3.0C system... and the full load was 174W.

The thing idles (surfing the web, word processing, light Photshop etc) at 75-80W.
Are those numbers for AC power?


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