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 Post subject: Building the ULTIMATE - SILENT HTPC
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 8:23 am 
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Was thinking about purchasing the Niveus Media Denalia ($4,000)

However, it has been brought to my attention that it is possible to build a TRULY SILENT PC with only a few fans (not entirely fanless as is the Niveus system). Silence is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, as is construction and power. I had also considered the A-Tech cases (however, they are too far out for a delivery time).

Here are the components which are recommended. I could really use some help in "ripping them to shreds" and letting me know what you think.

Thanks

Case - Silverstone LC03V
Power Supply - Super Tornado 400
Motherboard - Asus P5AD2 Premium
Memory OCZ N82E16820227020
Processor 3.4 Prescott
HD0 Samsung SP1614C (Boot)
HD1 Samsung SP1614C (RAID)
HD2 Samsung SP1614C (RAID)
Video Card - Leadtek 6600GT
DVD Pioneer DVR-108 Black A08XLB (Retail)
Video Capture - eHome Wonder w/FM
HDTV Capture HDTV Wonder
MCE 2005
Keyboard Mouse - Gyration Mouse and Keyboard
IN WIN USB Digital Card Reader
CPU Cooler Thermalright XP-120
Thermaltake LGA775 RM Adapter
80mm Fan - Noiseblocker
60mm Fan - Noiseblocker
120mm Fan - Noiseblocker
MCE Remote - Logitech Harmony Remote


Really looking forward to any and all feedback.

Peter


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 10:58 am 
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Wow sounds pretty spiffy!

Most of those components are from the recommended list, cant go too wrong. One thing though, Prescott can get pretty hot. How about 3.0 or 3.2 Northwood? Not to try to sound like a ATi fan boy, but how about a all in wonder 9800 pro for your graphics set up? Dont know much about the e-wonder card, would be great if you can share some info!

ever tried looking at these for HTPC ?? http://www.logicsupply.com/

the harmony remote is great too (well seems like you know more about HT than me :) ) Good luck~


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:57 pm 
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I'd second the comment about reducing the CPU heat by going with not just a NW-core, but perhaps a 90nm AMD A64. They do run cooler, no question about it.

The case is nice to look at but --- like just about every AV component style case I've looked at -- is seriously airflow-impaired. You will need to do extensive modding to make it breathe well enough... but like I said, this is true for every HTPC case.

This is a good article on such a mod: http://www.systemcooling.com/sst_lc03v-01.html

Note that the overclocked XP-2500M in that machine hits 46C. Guaranteed your P4-3.4 will be min 10C higher, probbly 15C, considering all the other gear.

You may want to rethink your 3 HDDs -- no way this machine will approach silence (~20 dBA/1m). The 3 drives alone, even if perfectly suspended, will produce ~27 dBA/1m at idle. Maybe 30 or a bit higher in seek. Plus there is the heat...

My suggestion: Use one Samsung 2.5" notebook drive & suspend it. You will take a bit of a performance hit but your noise will drop >10 dBA. Then invest in an external HDD array. They can work off USB2 or firewire on a long cord so you can put your data storage in a closet, far enough away for the noise/heat to be inconsequential for your system. Even 4x 200G drive array will set you back only $500-600.

This remote storage approach is a practical (and probably the least expensive) way to get massive storage for a quiet PC. The storage technologies have finally become cheap and user-friendly enough to make it work.

BTW, Noiseblocker fans don't even come close to the Nexus. Really. No contest.

Anyway, w/all the above, you have a pretty good chance of getting the overall noise down to <25dBA/1m, which is very good for a HTPC. If your HT/TV setup is like most people's, your gear sits ~2m or farther away -- so you have more leeway for noise. In fact, I've found even up to 35 dBA/1m is acceptable for HTPC under load because movies all have soundtracks & you'll play it loud enough with a good HT setup to make 35 dBA/1m pretty much inaudible most of the time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 5:48 pm 
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Which then are the quietest fans.

Unfortunately I am stuck with the Prescott Processor, as I want to use both the nVidia 6600 and need Dolby Digital Live processing for gaming to encode the multi-channel into DD in real-time.

I have been looking to find a good source on the heat output of the 3.2, 3.4 and 3.6 Prescott processors, and have not found it. From what I can glean the 3.2 and 3.4 are about the same with the 3.6 being higher. Can anyone confirm this?

Also, currently, I am considering the Seasonic Tornado as it seems to be the quietest which also will remove heat from the case. Is there a better choice?

The point on the drives is well-taken though, and if they are a problem in the case, they can always be relocated. I am most worried about heat in the system (Silverstone LC03v case). The 60mm fan is to replace the generic one at the back of the case, the 80mm is an intake fan in the bottom, and the 120mm is for the XP-120 CPU cooler.

Any and all suggestions given my limatation is appreciated.

The real question is how much quieter can I expect the Denali (Niveus Media) to be? This is going in an equipment rack with some very high-end gear, and feeding a Sony Qualia projector. Uses will be:

Movies,
TV,
Music,
Gaming.

Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:37 pm 
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from CPUHeat & CPUMSR:

Intel Pentium 4 Prescott, 0.09 micron, 1024 kByte Level 2 cache socket LGA775
---------------------------------------------------------
VID=1.425V parts
78.0A * 1.292V = 100.76W 2.8 GHz (PRB 0)
78.0A * 1.292V = 100.76W 3.0 GHz (PRB 0)
78.0A * 1.292V = 100.76W 3.2 GHz (PRB 0)
119.0A * 1.27V = 151.13W 3.4 GHz (PRB 1)
119.0A * 1.27V = 151.13W 3.6 GHz (PRB 1)

Intel Pentium 4 Prescott, 0.09 micron, 1024 kByte Level 2 cache socket 478

Vcc(max) = VID - (Icc(max) * 1.45 / 1000)
---------------------------------------------------------
VID=1.400V parts
78.0A * 1.28690V = 100.37820W 2.8 GHz (FMB 1.0)
78.0A * 1.28690V = 100.37820W 3.0 GHz (FMB 1.0)
78.0A * 1.28690V = 100.37820W 3.2 GHz (FMB 1.0)
91.0A * 1.26805V = 115.39255W 3.2 GHz (FMB 1.5)
91.0A * 1.26805V = 115.39255W 3.4 GHz (FMB 1.5)

-------------

Seasonic Tornado 400 is probably a fine choice.

I don't understand why you think a Prescott is needed to use both the nVidia 6600 and Dolby Digital Live processing for gaming to encode the multi-channel into DD in real-time. ???

If you are saying a top A64 can't do this, I think you're mistaken. Whatever, the Prescott will draw 25-30% more heat than an equivalent speed/power A64. This is not to say the A64s are cool, either; just that they are cooler.

It's impossible to say how much quieter an all-fanless system will be compared to what you build because...

1) it depends how you build it
2) which depends partly on how well you understand the thermal management issues & dealing with noise & vibes
3) and partly on your modding skills

If you go with the best fans and operate them for minimal noise , the difference will not be big especially if the Denali (Niveus Media) has the same HDD complement, because it is the HDDs that will set lower limit for noise.

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Last edited by MikeC on Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:41 pm 
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I'm also building a quiet/silent MCE2005 HTPC with a different approach. My first suggestion is to sign up as an OEM System builder here and read thru the powerpoint presentation about building a MCE2005 system including minimum & recommended hw requirements. As others have noted, the Prescott is hot. It also is way more horsepower than you need. Note that for hw (MPEG2) encoding capture cards, the minimum equivalent processor power required is 1.6GHz, for sw encoding (i.e. ATI all-in wonder) minimum equivalent processor power required is 3.0GHz.

I decided on a 2.4C P4 Northwood on a Aopen motherboard which allows undervolting. I will use only hw encoding cards. Other than an A64 or P4 Northwood, you could also do fine with a 35-watt Athlon XP-M 2400+. In regards to the video card, what will your display device be and how will you connect. Best result is with a DVI connection to a HDTV. Currently, the only MS approved video cards are NV FX 5700, FX 5900 and 6800; ATI 9800 and X800. From posts on thegreenbutton.com and xpmce.com video card must be DX9 compliant. I'm not sure such high-end hot & noisy cards are actually required and will try to make my system play with a passive/silent Radeon 9550 or 9600 with DVI output to a Samsung DLP HDTV (720P). If this setup does not work out, I'll bite the bullet and fork out the $$ to buy the only passively cooled MCE2005 approved card that I'm aware of. Note that HP has just released a model z545 living room MCE2005 PC which uses only a Radeon X300 video card. So, my specific suggestions, go with a cooler P4 Northwood, Athlon64 or AthlonXP-M. Buy a motherboard which is quiet computing friendly, i.e. pwm controllable fan headers, undervoltable, cool n quiet for A64. Take a long look at Aopen motherboards. Go with fans which have had better reports on SPCR, Nexus, Globe or Papst 4412 for the 120mm, Nexus or Panaflo L1A for 80mm and avoid using 60mm fan entirely! Use a passivly cooled video card. Oh and finally, though Gyration keyboards are supposedly awesome, I don't like the idea of a mouse for a HTPC, instead I bought the updated version of the Liteon Airboard, which has an integral pointing device and will us the new Philips OEM MCE remote which has learning capability. I'm told it can control power on off for your TV and home theater receiver and adjust volume on your home theater receiver.

Good Luck!

PS: you replied while I was writing my response. So you want real-time DD5.1 encoding for gaming, why not go with an XP-M on an NFORCE2 with MCP-T Soundstorm, which has real time DD5.1 encoding? In this case, I'd suggest ABIT, Aopen or DFI ultra infinity which have MCP-T, SPDIF out or in/out and are undervoltable.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 7:06 pm 
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MikeC

Seems like the 3.2 gHz part is MUCH cooler than the 3.4, though cool is not a word I would use for 100 watts.

As for the need for 775 parts, the Dolby Digital Live is hardware built into the motherboard, and currently the 6600 is only a PCI-E part, thus the 775 motherboard.

The Denali uses (2) Seagate drives. I am planning on (3) Samsung drives. I am assuming that from a distance of two meters I will not hear anything at all.

I am not planning on modding the case. While I have built many a PC, I have never modded one. The Silverstone LC03v seems like a fine case with plenty of airflow, especially with the Seasonic PSU and the XP-120 cooler. I am trying to find the BEST fans to use with this case. Can you make any recommendations and where to find them?

I am interested in the Denali, but from what I am reading, sounds like I can have a system which is just as quiet for a lot less, and get a better motherboard (925x system vs. 915), better DVD (16x DL vs. 4x single layer), more USB and Firewire ports, better video (6600GT vs. 6600), faster RAM (533 vs. 400), etc.

In the end, I may just buy the Denali as it would be less work. However, I am interested in investigating this. I am interested in your recommendations on Fans as well as what you think may be the best way to go here.

Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 7:08 pm 
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BTW: After all of my reading, I am concerned as to how well a system can work (Denali) being TOTALLY FANLESS. Supposedly they have designed their own case with Heat Pipes, designed to professional audio amplifier type specs, but I still don't see how it is going to stay cool. Especially in a rack with other high heat equipment.

Has anyone heard of these guys before? What is their reputation?

Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 9:15 pm 
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peters wrote:
I am not planning on modding the case.

In that case, you cannot expect your system to be quiet. The Silverstone LC-01 is very similar in basic design except that its side/intake vents are larger (better) than the LC-03. I have reviewed this case; there is no way you could build a system that will draw >200W inside this case and run it quietly w/o serious modding for better airflow.

Niveus Media is a small high end Cal company. They use the HUSH ATX PC (reviewed by SPCR -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/article_i ... p#prebuilt ) chassis as the basis for a fanless media PC -- Niveus Media Center Rainier Edition. The Denali is a natural evolution of that fanless technology to a larger chassis that will accommodate a full ATX board and provide full access to all the PCI slots. I have not had the opportunity to examine this product yet.

If you want a challenge & to have some fun, go ahead & build your own but be ready with some metal cutting tools. :lol: :lol: If the final outcome is what interests you, then the Denali seems like the better choice.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:13 am 
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One of the principals of Niveus has posted many times on thegreenbutton.com. I have confidence that you would be completely satisfied should you go w/ a Niveus MCE2005 HTPC. But, $4,000...ouch! You can definitely build a very quiet fanned MCE2005 HTPC in a desktop Hifi style case for much less. But, you need to re-adjust your thinking. Firstly, since it's a HTPC, you need it quiet, not silent. It's much more critical to have silence in a desktop system that will be used in a very quiet ambient. You just don't want to hear fan noise during quiet sections of movies and music. That's much easier than building a totally silent PC. Secondly, this is a purpose built PC, build it with a the power you need with a buffer, don't go full on for a bleeding edge RAID system. Go w/ a XP-M barton, P4 Northwood or A64 and a less power hungry, cooler/silent video card like an X300 or Radeon 9600. Forget RAID and start w/ a single 250GB+ fluid bearing HDD, such as a Hitachi 7k250, 7k400, Maxtor DM10 or the upcoming Seagate 7200.8. Choose a case which has an 80mm exhaust fan and better ventilation, if possible. For extra credit, try case modding for better ventillation and implement a suitable CPU HSF that is exhaust ducted, like is done in the Dell and Gateway Media Center PC's. You should be able to build for less than $1500. BTW, if you do build and implement a VFD, there's a post on thegreenbutton.com with links to a custom VFD driver for MCE2005.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:14 am 
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Alright, I read the article on the mods for the Silverstone LC03. The question arises though with that many fans:

2 60mm
3 80mm
1 120mm (CPU Cooler)
1 120mm (PSU)
1 on VGA card

How can this thing ever approach being quiet?

Is it really that necessary to have so many fans to keep this case cool? From the specs, sounds like it would sound like a jet engine taking off?

Also, what is the best system then for isolating a 3.5" HD from the 3.5" mounting location? I assume some sort of grommet?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Building the ULTIMATE - SILENT HTPC
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:54 am 
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peters wrote:
Was thinking about purchasing the Niveus Media Denalia ($4,000)

However, it has been brought to my attention that it is possible to build a TRULY SILENT PC with only a few fans (not entirely fanless as is the Niveus system). Silence is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, as is construction and power.

OK, what's the deal with this? 3.2GHz PIV with zero fans? Thermal throttling anyone? :?

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:37 am 
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peters wrote:
Alright, I read the article on the mods for the Silverstone LC03. The question arises though with that many fans:

How can this thing ever approach being quiet?

Is it really that necessary to have so many fans to keep this case cool? From the specs, sounds like it would sound like a jet engine taking off?

Also, what is the best system then for isolating a 3.5" HD from the 3.5" mounting location? I assume some sort of grommet?

Thanks

Well, I'm glad you read it, finally. :P

IMO, the systemcooling.com guys went overboard. I would not use fans on the bottom intake and I would lose the 60mm fans. But all the vent openings absolutely need to be there, as do the exhaust fans.

You'd be amazed how quiet even 4-5 fans can be when they are good fans all all spinning slow -- for 120mm fans, 25 cfm/18dBA is perfectly doable, and Panaflo 80Ls give 14~15 cfm/18 dBA.

There is a sticky ranking various HDD decoupling methods in the Storage forum, and many of the article in the Storage section on the main site discuss the subject. Often the best solution is the one that works well in your case; ie, some adaptation of basic principle to the specific case.

Jan Kivar wrote:
OK, what's the deal with this? 3.2GHz PIV with zero fans? Thermal throttling anyone?

I don't see that this is so unrealistic. The thing has huge dual HS (bigger than the slimmer Rainer model) with probably multiple heatpipe links between the CPU and the right side HS. Chances are they are careful to use a NW, not a Presshot. Max power on a P4-3.2NW is 95W. Like the HUSH ATX PC, with a P4-2.8 (, it'll probably run >60C with CPUBurn, but with normal apps, I'd guess it'd be fine. No way they are going to release this without being sure of the thermals; the RMA would cost them way too much.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:48 am 
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My understanding is that it is indeed a Prescott as the motherboard is a 915 based system Socket T. However, the 3.2 is the coolest of the Prescott pieces. Should this not be fine.

After some discussion with my engineers here (who were looking to build the system in house) and Tim over at Niveus, we are pretty much sold on buying a Denali (costs being equal when I have to factor the time of a couple employees working on the system for a couple of days).

As long as Niveus is a reliable company (and they seem to be outstanding in their pre-sales support anyway) that stands behind their products, the answer is simple.

I would not expect to see any "Thermal Throttling" of the system based upon what they have told me. Also, the case in the picture I understand is a prototype based upon an ATech case. The final version will be based upon a special case of their own design which is repleat with Heat Pipes and massive heat sinks.

I only hope it works! Sounds like it could work out very well.

Thoughts?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:58 am 
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peters wrote:
My understanding is that it is indeed a Prescott as the motherboard is a 915 based system Socket T.

775 CPUs come in both Presshot and Northwood flavors. Intel does not dare kill the NW yet; they know this would mean wholesale defection to the A64 camp for those who are disgusted with the Presshot thermals. Back in August, Intel decided to make NW & P cores avaulable on both soket 478 and 775, and to extend the available NW core CPUs way down (in clock speed) -- from a news item back then:

For socket 478, more high end P4s -- P4EE-3.6 (NW), P4E-3.6 & 3.8 (Prescott), and Celerons (w/256Kb cache) up to 3.46GHz. There's also new slower P4-2.26 & 2.4 (533MHz / 512KB cache Prescott w/o Hyperthreading).

For socket-T, low end NWs: 2.8C, 3.0C & 3.2C (800MHz / 512Kb cache). And high end NW: P4EE 3.2 & 3.46 (1066MHz / 2Mb cache).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:40 am 
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MikeC wrote:
775 CPUs come in both Presshot and Northwood flavors. Intel does not dare kill the NW yet; they know this would mean wholesale defection to the A64 camp for those who are disgusted with the Presshot thermals. Back in August, Intel decided to make NW & P cores avaulable on both soket 478 and 775, and to extend the available NW core CPUs way down (in clock speed) -- from a news item back then:

For socket 478, more high end P4s -- P4EE-3.6 (NW), P4E-3.6 & 3.8 (Prescott), and Celerons (w/256Kb cache) up to 3.46GHz. There's also new slower P4-2.26 & 2.4 (533MHz / 512KB cache Prescott w/o Hyperthreading).

For socket-T, low end NWs: 2.8C, 3.0C & 3.2C (800MHz / 512Kb cache). And high end NW: P4EE 3.2 & 3.46 (1066MHz / 2Mb cache).

Very interesting news, Mike. Any idea when the 775 Northwoods will ship?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:45 am 
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Quote:
Any idea when the 775 Northwoods will ship?

Right now. I have a 775 2.8NW.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:11 pm 
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i got an ANTEK slk 3700 BQE case and i love it,
alot more quiet than all my previous cases,
gonna put a zalman reserator in it,
fanless watercooling,,

can you get more quiet ?

yeah,, a fanless PSU,,,they're out there,,,and you're quite set :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:34 pm 
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Can't seem to find anything on a 3.2 Northwood for the 775 socket. No listings on Pricewatch.

Anyone know where one can find such a processor?

Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:47 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Jan Kivar wrote:
OK, what's the deal with this? 3.2GHz PIV with zero fans? Thermal throttling anyone?

I don't see that this is so unrealistic. The thing has huge dual HS (bigger than the slimmer Rainer model) with probably multiple heatpipe links between the CPU and the right side HS. Chances are they are careful to use a NW, not a Presshot. Max power on a P4-3.2NW is 95W. Like the HUSH ATX PC, with a P4-2.8 (, it'll probably run >60C with CPUBurn, but with normal apps, I'd guess it'd be fine. No way they are going to release this without being sure of the thermals; the RMA would cost them way too much.

Yeah, I'm quite sure that they've tested it thoroughly. I was thinking about the Zalman fanless case, which has ~double the HS area (assuming that the Niveus system uses just the right-side HS for the CPU), and it's rated for PIV 3.2 GHz.

Using the Dell cooling system (=doesn't crash->thermals ok) the system will run just fine... :roll:

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject: 775 Norhwood - Where to buy it from?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:22 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Right now. I have a 775 2.8NW.

Where did you buy it from? I want to get a 775 Northwood. Where do I get one from? :?:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 9:14 am 
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