Sonata Case Mods -- 5/2/05
I set out to improve the airflow within the Sonata case. My mods have all been inspired (and redirected) by you fine people at Silent PC Review.
I installed all new components into my system. It has a new, Venice-core Athlon64 3200+ processor on an MSI NEO4 Platinum motherboard. The video card is an MSI X800XL and there is 1 GB of OCZ ram installed. The two hard drives are both Seagate drives. One is a 250 GB 7200.8 model (two 133 GB platters) and the other is a 160 GB 7200.7 model. (I play games and do some video editing so it needed 2 good drives.) I left the stock Antec 380w powersupply in it.
The main mods were:
--Front bezel mod: open up bottom of bezel to allow more airflow into the case
--Bottom hole: open up more airflow through the case
--Cover the Antec holes: force air to be brought through the case to cool it more efficiently
--Hard drive cooling: efficiently have intake air flow over drives to cool them
--Insulate air gaps: prevent unfiltered air from entering case
After my mods have been completed, my idle case temperature is 39 degrees C and my fully loaded CPU temperature is 49 degrees C with a case temperature of 43 degrees C. That is pretty impressive to me. Room temperature is not great because the office in my house is in the back between the garage and the utility room, which has the washer/dryer and is also fully insulated. That means that the little air duct in the ceiling cannot supply the room with enough cool air. I haven't measured the room temp in there, but it is noticably warmer than the rest of the house (and it is near summer-time in Texas). Rest of the house is cooled to 77 degrees F.
New front bezel intake
Bottom of case with painter's tape on it. I wanted to center the new hole on the stamped "AntecDesign" (pencil used to highlight this)
The Antec holes in the sides are 3/16" in diameter and there are 91 holes per side. That translates to 2.7 square inches of area per side (5.4 inches total area). My 80 mm diameter hole has 7.8 square inches of area available, which is equal to the size of the powersupply exhaust. The holes in the side do not allow enough air to get to the powersupply and thus it draws it in from the DVD drive bay area (and some from the front bezel area).
The hole was drilled in the bottom and then aviation snips were used to cut out the 80 mm hole. An old fan body was used to allow an 80 mm fan filter to be easily mounted. (Note the padded, double-sided tape used to insulate the fan body.)
For the hard drive area, I used a hard drive package. It is closed cell foam that I cut into an 'L' to fit behind the drive rack. Now all air has to flow around the hard drives without going over them into the floppy drive area or behind them into the wire space AND, as an added bonus, the wires are all hidden behind the foam.
Shows the foam installed behind the drive bay and the power/SATA wires for each drive.
Here are the SATA drives installed with the wires neatly behind the foam.
I have added weather-stripping around the DVD drive bays and the floppy drive carriage. See it?
Near final look before closing it up.
Now all air is filtered and enters from the front bezel and the hole in the bottom. A few other holes were covered with weather-stripping or padded, double-sided tape was used (under the 120 mm case fan). No overclocking has been done and an ATI Silencer has not been attached to the video card, yet. I am pleased so far with the performance of the case (and the computer).