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 Post subject: Advice on Silencing my Lian Li Pc61
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:44 am
Posts: 31
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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.


Ok ;) 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 :/


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:27 am 
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-The P4 2.4C is a relatively cool processor. I imagine either heatsink will work splendidly for it. We have one on my Wife's computer and it managed to survive this past summer when we lived in an apartment w/ no A/C (and yes, temperatures got up to around 30C).

-Rear exhaust is usually the most important, but Case airflow is hard to judge exactly. One thing is for certain though. Most people around here get by with only 1-2 case fans.

-Northbridge.... I'm clueless in this area, but IIRC the NB-47J is the HS of choice for that.

-Videocard, if you're going to use the Zalman WITH a fan, I would seriously consider the Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer instead (or ATI Silencer). It will exhaust the heat out of your case rather dumping it in.

by the way WELCOME TO SPCR

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:02 pm
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Location: Bangkok Thailand
I have LianLi PC7 which I believe has the same dimension with PC61.

I have quieten mine which I have posted here.

Hope this help give you some idea.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:44 am
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
thanks for the tips.

I'm sure my CPU would survive... my concern was, that I'd need to bump up fan speeds in summer. I may just go all out and get the XP-120. At least then I have the freedom of picking and choosing my own fan.

If my solutions arent quiet enough, perhaps I'll do case dampening, and replace the PSU. I'd love a computer that I have to put my ear right next to it to know its even on... but I'll try & keep my goals realistic for now ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 1:43 pm 
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For cpu cooling you seem to be on the right track. If the rear casefan and its mounting are anything like my old case - Lian Li 6089A - there are a few things you can (should?) do:
  • replace it. Those 80mm stock Adda fans are very loud and do not undervolt to quietness. I would suggest replacing all 3 case-fans.
  • soft-mount it. The motherboard tray that it's attached to resonates quite easily.
  • cut out the fan "grille" which is, as you said, horrible.
  • undervolt it. An easy way to do this is to hook up the fan to the 3-way controller for the front fans.
You could use the top blowhole as an psu duct, but that doesn't work for a dual-fan psu so forget I mentioned that :)

You didn't tag your vga cooling as a major source of noise. Do you have the standard 9800pro screamer fan on it? If so, Arctic Cooling VGA silencer is your ticket. Biggest noise reduction I got and relatively cheap, too.

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II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:38 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Yeah, my VGA cooler isnt a main source of noise... its just a REALLY ineffective at cooling it. I'm not sure what standard idle VGA temps should be, but ~70°C seems a bit high (and over 80° when in games!). So I worry that when summer hits I'll see problems.

I'll give some thought to the Arctic cooler for it. Have had far more recommendations on here for it than the Zalman heatpipe (with fan). Plus its cheaper aswell.

:)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:33 am 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Just an Update...

I forked out and bought the Thermalright XP-120 heatsink. For the 120mm fan, I got a Panaflo 120mm Low Speed. Model FBA12G12L. I know this wasnt the most silent choice, but I'm currently strapped for cash, and there was a deal with the XP-120 that shaved off $15 Australian off the price of the fan.

I also got the "Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer 3". Thankfully it fitted fine, had a bit of worry whether I was getting the right model, as its a 9800 pro platinum, but its on a 9800XT PCB so I got the 9800XT model.

Also got a "Noise Isolator" fan controller. It was fairly cheap (cheaper than it would cost me to buy all the connectors and rheobuses and make my own). A bit disappointed with it tho.... I got out the multimeter and checked the voltage on the channels when on the lowest fan setting, and found the voltage only dropped to 6.8V.

Its made a very significant difference. Undervolting my rear exhaust fan has quieted it down heaps (although it is still clearly a noise maker, and will be replaced).

Now that those major sounds have been reduced.... now I'm noticing the other sounds (I can sense an obsession coming on).

Next purchase will be a Zalman NB-32J northbridge heatsink. I measured out the clearance for my XP-120 (which completly shadows the northbridge) and found that there would almost certainly not be enough room for a Zalman NB-47J. My motherboard doesnt have mounting holes for a Zalman NB Cooler either... so I'm going to either have to hack up the heatsink a bit, or use Arctic silver thermal epoxy. Then I have the added worry of it never being removable, and hindering the removal of the XP-120 (as I have to lean the XP-120 the northbridge a lot to hook it in/out).

Also, I'm unsure of some of the other sources of noise. I cant unplug my northbridge fan currently to see if thats the main source... and besides that, I'm quite sure there is another distinct source. My biggest fears are that this other source is from my ATI Silencer 3. I disconnected both intake fans, and found that I could notice no noise difference at all (they are both undervolted to 4.8V via the Lian Li speed switch). I may also need to add a resister in series with the fans connected to my "noise Isolator" to get them down to 5V.

Ok, enough rambling (I have a problem with rambling :P)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:45 am 
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"I cant unplug my northbridge fan currently to see if thats the main source... and besides that, I'm quite sure there is another distinct source."

Because of their small size and high speed they often are. What's more is it's usually a higher pitched sound which is more likely to drive you up the wall. If you can't unplug the fan just just something to jam it for a few seconds then relase it again. You'll notice the sound difference and tone easily this way. I usually just stick my finger on the centre of the fan and press down to gradually bring it to a hault.

What about your HD noise? I mean there are 3 of them and WD HDs tend to be LOUD. Try booting the PC without powering the WD.

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CPU & HS: i5 2500K | Noctua Noctua NH-U12 - fanless
Case & PSU: Antec P180 | Antec Phantom 500
Components: 8GB G.SKILL | Gigabyte Z68 | Sapphire Ultimate HD7750 | Samsung 840 250GB
Cooling: Nexus RS 120mm top controlled by mobo (very low RPM)
Storage: HP MediaSmart EX495 WHS2011 - 2x1TB WD Red


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:59 am 
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I can hardly imagine that the VGA silencer is the source of noise. At low fan speed it is inaudible IMO (you did notice the little switch on the back grille, right?). You can test this by stopping the fan with your finger for a few seconds.

Your harddisks sound like prime suspects: in both my Lian Li's they are a considerable source of noise when hardmounted, due to case vibration. You can try putting your PC in standby-mode which depending on your power settings will cause your harddisks to power down, enabling you to hear the difference.

Not knowing your mobo layout exactly, you could also try to run the board with the NB fan unplugged but still in place, assuming that the XP120 fan cools it sufficiently. I know this worked for my old videocard, where I suspended an 80mm fan right over the gpu heatsink/cooler assembly (was a Geforce FX5600). You'd need some localized temp monitoring tho, to make sure you are not frying anything :?

Quote:
Now that those major sounds have been reduced.... now I'm noticing the other sounds (I can sense an obsession coming on).

Join the club... we're all friends here! :D

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II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:44 am 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Wow, you were DEAD right... that one hard drive (cant see from where I am whether its the Seagate or the Western Digital)... its making a CONSTANT HIGH PITCH WHINING SOUND. And whats worse is, this sound phases in and out....
Its so FREAKING annoying. I had no idea a hard drive could even produce that sound :? I'll be fixating on it forever now.

The Northbridge is now the noisiest fan. I managed to wedge a cotton tip earcleaner in there to jam it up. It was actually a very awkward maneuver since the ATI silencer ramsink Backplate and the XP-120 overhang make the northbridge fan practically inaccessible. The Crctic Silencer makes a slight bit of noise, but its a very non offensive one, however I'm quite sure there is NOT a speed selection for this particular model (or any of the new range...). This is not the Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer Revision 3. This is the Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer 3 -> http://www.pccasegear.com.au/prod1578.htm .

Anyway... getting back to that hard drive..... what the hell can I do about that? Could the fact I have it mounted on its side instead of flat be adding to the problem?
I will of course investigate the other forums for silencing hard drives, but if anyone wants to get me started feel free :). I'd prefer to not have some elastic band system of holding them just yet. The other two hard drives dont seem to be producing much noise. But that one drive.... so annoying


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:58 am 
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Nope, sideways or horizontal does not make any difference (had them sideways in my old case and horizontal now). What you can do is unscrew the drive cage and put in on a piece of foam to see if decoupling helps anything, but IIRC decoupling won't do much about the whining; it will only reduce case vibration. I have no real experience with silencing hdd's yet, but luckily others here have.

My mistake on the Silencer, I assumed you had the rev. 3 since it was an 9800... missed the part where you said it was an XT board. If you have a temp sensor on your ATI, you could try connecting the silencer fan to the fan controller. Not sure if that will work, but it seems you have bigger fish to fry first... GL on that hdd!

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II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 6:34 am 
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hmmm.. ok upon doing a bit of reading, I'm a little less against suspension of drives. Does seem like it can be done fairly securely if you do it properly.

Of course, the main worry then, is temperature. I downloaded DTemp, and found both my seagates running at 30°C which is lovely, and the Western digital running at 36°C. If I were to decouple, I could expect to see a 4-6° increase, which would put me over the 'recommended' 40°C mark. And thats just in spring. Come summer, with the days of 30°C Ambient... they'll be RATHER warm.

My hard drive cage on the lian li is fortunately right next to the two front intake fans. Also an advantage, is that the cage is WIDE (as wide as a 5¼" drive bay). So if I mounted the drives horizontally I could suspend them. Curious if anyone has tried a custom heatsink, that your hdds screw into on either side, then suspend. So you have some of the heat dispersion advantage, as well as suspension.

Anyway, I'll keep reading.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:27 am 
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"And whats worse is, this sound phases in and out.... "

Yip sounds like the WD lol. Funny actually, it was a WD drive that strated my obsession with silinecing! In my old rig I had a I had a WD Cav SE and it made the same whining you describe which wouldn't have been half as bad if it was constant but nope it faded in and out which just constantly caught your ear grrr... Anyway I deceidede to build a new rig from scratch with quietness being the main focus and here I am :)

Decoupling the drive won't stop the whine. I'd sell the drive and buy another Seagate or Samsung drive if you're serious about it.

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CPU & HS: i5 2500K | Noctua Noctua NH-U12 - fanless
Case & PSU: Antec P180 | Antec Phantom 500
Components: 8GB G.SKILL | Gigabyte Z68 | Sapphire Ultimate HD7750 | Samsung 840 250GB
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:09 pm 
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Orbit wrote:
Curious if anyone has tried a custom heatsink, that your hdds screw into on either side, then suspend. So you have some of the heat dispersion advantage, as well as suspension.
Yep, someone did: Effective Passive Hard Drive Cooling

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 7:36 am 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Well, I got a Zalman NB-32J today for my northbridge :)

Because I have an Abit IC7, I had to butcher it a little. I followed advice from someone on the abit forum, and cut off 3 heatsink pins off each corner. Then the stock IC7 clip goes down on it nicely. Plenty secure, with arctic silver 5 on it :D. The XP-120 and panaflow fan overlap right over ¾ of the northbridge, so its getting actively cooled anyway ;)

Its cool to the touch, although I havent tried encoding anything yet.

Also, disappointed with the 6.8V minimum from my fan speed controller, I found a spare adapter for a 3 pin fan plug. I pulled out the pins from the 4 pin molex, and flipped it round, so the fan plug would be connected to 5V instead of 12. Hooked that up to my rear case fan, and its finally silent like the front ones.

Apart from the faint high pitch noise from the hard drive, the noisiest thing in there is a tie between the Panaflow 120mm cpu fan, and the Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer.

I cant afford, or be bothered doing much more for now. A PC that I cannot hear at all, is apparently out of reach, considering i Need high performance aswell (and my lack of money) :(

Thanks for all the advice :) my system is a LOT quieter, I just was a little unrealistic about my goals of total silence :)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:33 am 
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I have a IC7-M3. I also got tired of the whiney NB fan. I got the zalman NB cooler and glued the thing to the NB with artic thermal epoxy. Never to be removed again. At that time I was looking into overclocking the thing som I placed a papst 40mm fan on top of it. I required that I cut down the fins in the mittle of the hs. The speed was controlled by speedfan together with the cpu fan and the PWM fan. Later I have removed both 40mm fans and clocked it back to normal, with no issues.

Later...
/Schroinx

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