Bare with me.. this is a little indepth
I'm one of the unfortunate souls who has his computer in his bedroom. I went for around 2 years with my Athlon 1.2GHz with a FOP38 7000RPM Jet engine in my room. After that, I decided that I was no longer going to put up with the annoying whine, and opted to go for a Pentium (as I felt the Athlons ran too hot).
Anyway, I got my P4 2.4c quite a while now, had everything standard and now I'm just not satisfied with the noise level.
I'll break it up into sections about what my Current setup is, and what I had in mind.
1.) Current setup
- Lian Li PC61 case with 4 stock fans (2 front intake, 1 rear exhaust, 1 blowhole exhaust)
- P4 2.4c with Stock heatsink/fan
- Abit IC7 motherboard - With small whiney northbridge fan
- Thermaltake 420W Dual fan 'Silent purepower supply'
- Gecube Radeon 9800 Pro "Platinum" with stock heatsink/fan
- 1x Seagate 120gig SATA, 1x Western Digital 120 SATA, 1x Seagate 80gig PATA
- Pioneer DVD-Rom & DVD Burner
First things to note, the Lian Li stock fans are all 80mm ADDA AD0812LB-A76GL fans (I googled to find they were rated at 26.4CFM and 23dBA). Lian Li cases have a fan speed control for the dual intake fans at the front of the case, which I have on the lowest setting. I have completely disconnected the Blowhole fan. The rear exhaust fan has no speed control, so is running at 12V.
I live in Perth Western Australia, and while the winters are fairly cool (averaging around 10-25°C maximums), the summers are HOT (Plentiful days over 30°C). I have no airconditioning, so that often means temperatures inside raising close to 30°C ambient.
Currently its spring here, and with an ambient temp of 20°C inside this room, my CPU is reading as 42°C idle. Having an Abit IC7 Motherboard, I have read that its method of reading temperatures is not consistent with the temperature measurements of other motherboards... so i'm not sure if this is a scary value to have. My video card on the other hand is a REAL issue. It is a version of the 9800 Pro that is actually running an r360 (9800XT) core, and its running at 398MHz. The stock cooler for it is a real piece of crap, and I'm seeing temperatures (idle) of around 68°C (according to the overdrive tab temperature monitoring).
2.) Noise sources
I have picked out the three main sources of noise to be:
- The stock CPU fan. Its running at around 2600rpm all the time, and is clearly the loudest thing in the case. I had problems several months ago with both my CPU fan and Northbridge fan starting to make horrible sounds. I removed the protective stickers of both, and sprayed with some WD-40. THis probably also allowed in contaminants, however the sound before was worse.
- The rear exhaust fan. If this is 23dBA.... god help me. Its almost as loud as the CPU fan, however if I can get it slowed down (like my front intakes) then the noise wont bother me much. ALthough I'm guessing they're probably not pushing much air when at low speed.
- The northbridge Fan. What a piece of garbage this little whiney thing is. If you searched the net about the IC7, the most plentiful response you'd hear is how terrible the northbridge fan is.
still with me! what I hope to do about it:
3.) The Solutions:
I want to start with those 3 noisiest parts, and work my way from there.
- For the CPU, I'm very tied up at the moment between the Zalman 7000 Al-Cu, and the Thermalright XP-120. The price difference of these two is quite phenominal, but I'm thinking about the hot australian summer, and wondering if the Zalman 7000 will need to be run at full speed to keep my CPU cool. Advice?
- The Rear case exhaust. For starters, I'd like to just undervolt this, and see how it goes. I may end up replacing them all if I'm not satisfied with the amount of air its pushing at lower voltage. Also, the bracket on the rear of the case for this fan seems quite horrible. Its practically solid metal, with just small slits for air to escape. Perhaps its not the fan being that noisey, and more just the poor design of the stamped grill (although most other parts of the lian li have impressed me).
I'll also likely remove the blowhole fan completely, and tape up the top grill from the inside. So that its sucking the air in from the front intakes rather from the roof.
- For the northbridge, I'm considering the Zalman ZM-NB47J Northbridge cooler. I have an IC7 motherboard, which lacks the mounting holes, so I will have to mod it. (Probably involve cutting off the Fins on each corner, so the original IC7 mounting bracket can hold it in place).
- For the video card, I'm pretty set on the Zalman ZM80D-HP heatpipe cooler. WITH the fan of course. I hope having the fan on silent mode will be sufficient
4.) Specific Questions
- I'm wondering about spacing.... I have read that the Thermalright XP-120 will require bending of some capacitors to fit it in on my motherboard (from the Thermalright compatible motherboard list). And my concerns are will it all fit together? the Thermalright XP-120, the Zalman ZM-NB47J Northbridge Cooler and the Zalman ZM80D-HP heatpipe for my video card.
If anyone has any of these products on an IC7 I'd like to hear from you.
- Also... what does everyone think of the "recommended" panaflo 120mm fan for the thermalright XP-120. If its going to give good airflow undervolted & be silent, then I could save some money getting it packaged with the XP-120. Or is this fan pretty useless?
I'm going to leave things like, hard drive vibration and fan mounting vibration as the last on the list of priorities. I'd prefer not to have to get into case dampening stuff if I can avoid it.
Anyway, you've read this much! Please tell me what you think.... I've put a lot of reading and thought into it :/