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 Post subject: hardcore gaming+small+quiet=possible?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 5:20 pm
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Hey guys, im brand new to the forums, but im not a forum n00b, so ill cut to the chase.....:)

Basically, i like my computers good looking, fast, and a lot of fun (just like my women), and ive been doing a fair amount of research on trying to find an SFF case that will allow me to have the best of all 3 worlds. So, to that end, i need some opinions. For starters, i have a Radeon 9800 pro that i want to go in the box. Is this practical? Now, which one to choose? I like the new Aopen XC Cube, and the new Shuttle XPC ST61G4, but which one (or neither?) will give me the ability to play Far Cry/mp3s/divx/dvds/etc and still not explode from heat or sound like a 747 at takeoff? This machine will be going in the livingroom as an all purpose HTPC. Opinions please, thanks!!
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:11 pm 
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It's possible, but you're gonna be hard-done by to do it under any kind of budget.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:18 pm 
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Lets say budget is important, but im willing to fork out some dough to get what i want :) Of course, at first i need to start with the case. Any ideas?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:32 pm 
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I'm not the leading authority on silence here, but as far as power goes, I'd probably go with the Shuttle XPC SN85G4V2

High End
Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2ghz version)
GF 6800 Ultra w/ NV Silencer 3
1gb Corsair/Mushkin/Kingston ram

Bang/Buck
Athlon 64 2800+
ATI 9800 Pro
512mb Corsair/Mushkin/Kingston ram

You'd have to ask these guys about heatsinks and other silent cooling factors tho :P

EDIT:
Im not sure that Shuttle will actually support those videocards, it only has a 250W PSU


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:20 am 
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I would not examine shuttle XPCs for a quiet gaming rig. As the owner of a Shuttle, I can tell you that you're going to have to mod the hell out of it before it will be silent.

The Aopen looks to be a better choice, IMO but I have no experience with it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:03 am 
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there arent any decent, quiet aftermarket video coolers that will fit in a shuttle. You can get a decent fast gaming rig, but you wont be able to max out an overclocks and keep it quiet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:13 pm 
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Im not concerned about overclocking at all.....just a nice, fast, relatively quiet gaming rig.......more suggestions? :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:30 pm 
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Shuttle has the better CPU cooling system, but the 40mm fan in the PSU is tough to silence when it ramps up. The AOpen has an 80mm fan in their PSU but not as good CPU a cooling system -- still, because there is are wee little fans thjat get whiny when thigs heat up, the AOpen is probably the better bet. The CPU cooler in these can be replaced if necessary -- for something compact and more powerful with a blow-across set up (see review for why.)

They will all need modding to get the VGA quiet, and HDD suspension as well. The latter is not hard (esp w/ a notebook drive -- see Storage Section and Forum); the former probably need at least a hole for the VGA fan intake.

and btw, welcome to spcr, ghostboarder!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:39 pm 
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Hey, thanks for the welcome MikeC!! Glad to be here :) So it sounds like the Aopen might be the better bet? I can see some of you guys are real fanatics when it comes to this stuff....lol....hdd suspension? Im not THAT picky (although i would probably end up doing it sometime anyway) Basically, its silencing the fans (the biggest source of noise in any system) that is the biggest issue to me. Keep in mind.....this is going to be an HTPC, and as such it will be probably about 6 feet from the couch (by the TV), so there is some room for SOME noise.....it doesnt have to be whisper quiet.....just as close as i can get without going broke :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 12:39 pm 
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Hey, no more replies? Whats the big deal! :P Anyway, ill stress again that it is not 'total silence' i am looking for, just a considerably more quiet rig than the usual.

MikeC: those 'wee fans' your talking about.....couldnt they (mostly) be replaced with higher end (papst, etc) that dont whine? And any ideas on modding the VGA (R9800 pro), are those new ATI coolers coming out going to fit in the Aopen/Shuttle? And if i memory serves, the Aopen DOES have a blow across setup, which according to the review......works quite nicely, but im sure even nicer with a quieter/higer quality cpu fan (suggestions?) :) Also, would possibly drilling some intake (or exhaust) holes in the area of the vga cooler help matters? It would definitely take in (or remove, as the case may be) more air :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 1:54 pm 
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1. VGA. All SFFs have the AGP slot right next to the case side. So you can't fit a ACVS or Zalman or Aerocool there. And whatever 1 slot heatsink/fan solution you find will end up with the fan right up to the side, getting terrible airflow and being noisy on top. You might try cutting up the side to allow airflow, but I'd be hesitant. You'd probably better off toning down your gaming needs to a 9600Pro or a passively cooled XT if it's possible?

2. HDD suspention is, IMO, a must. Those are aluminium cases and the hdds will rattle them badly. I haven't got my SFF yet but I've been eyeing them closely and it seems the AOpen has a better layout for suspension (I don't want to go the way of notebook drives)

Mike, you always say the 80 fan on the AOpen PSU isn't good but have you looked at swapping it? Is it a 25mm or 15mm fan? If it's a 15, the Zalman OP1 seems to provide pretty good flow at 5V. Plus the PSU intakes look a bit cramped, opening them up may perhaps quieten it down? If I hadn't quit my job last week, I would have contributed a EA65 modding attempt :) Well, in Sept. hopefully.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:11 am 
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I have a shuttle I'm trying to get to about the same amount of silence as you. There are a few things to keep in mind:

1) suspension is out of the question unless you are willing to saccrifice the DVD drive or put it externally as there is only one 5.25 cage.
2) replace the rear fan with an L1A or something...there is no change in temps with the much lower CFM, you can always cut out the rear grill to increas airflow (do it before you install the CPU because the ICE cooling system has to be off...and I'm too lazy to take it back off)
3) if you dont mind a hot graphics card the zalman HP50 whatever does actually work on the 9800 I think...it's just going to be HOT. there are case mods you can do to put the arctic cooling HSF on there, but involves cutting the case. (check out SFFtech.com for info)
4) you can get a mesh sided case from shuttle ($50 black only) which increases airflow.
5) my HDD is the loudest thing in my case, the vibration is killer - puting in spinpoint drive now, hopefully that will help
6) the 250watt PSU, although it is only 250 actually has 6800GT cards running off of it no problems, it can handle a LOT of stuff. make sure you get a model with the silentx psu.
7) the new P chassis, expensive, bigger and coming out in a week or two might be something worth looking at. better cooling and all.

Hope that helps. I'm far from an expert on any of this stuff, but hey, every little helps right :)

Twill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:16 pm 
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Posts: 337
@Twill

It is possible to suspend your HDD in the shuttle space.

please check out the zen article
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article139-page6.html



i have a zen now and although it is super quiet, it is not silent, i can still hear seeks every now and then since the zen is so close to me.

I think even with a 80gig samsung notebook, it will still be noticeable but barely.

i consider my main rig quieter because the samsung are in a foam box that is then dampen by a steel case and then is a meter away.




~RaNDoM

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:29 am 
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hmmmmm....interesting, hand't thought of that. Going to have to go take a look to see if that will fit in my system now. only downside is transport. It's not going to move well, but there are probably ways of fixing that.

Thanks random.

Twill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:53 pm 
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Posts: 337
@Twill

i have lug my zen back and forth for a while now and the shock cords do a great job holding it in place. i check every time i move it to make sure the HDD didnt move too. i was very worried at first about the HDD touching the NB heatsink.

I guess the shork cables i got from walmart arent as cheapo as i thought.

~RaNDoM

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