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 Post subject: Quiet Athlon XP System
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:17 am
Posts: 69
Location: Sydney, Australia
Quick Overview of specifications:
Antec Super Lanboy
AMD Athlon XP2500+@3200+ @ 1.85V
Abit NF7 w/ Zalman NB-47 on Northbdrige, NB-32 on Southbridge
Geil 2x512 DDR400 w/ Blue Heatspreaders
Gigabyte N66T128VP 6600GT (AGP)
120GB Seagate HDD
Antec Phantom 350W

Now onto the details,

CPU: The CPU is an Athlon XP2500+. I am running it at 3200+ speeds right now, with 1.85V. It is not prime stable unfortunately, but hopefully it is folding stable, chances are slim though. If it keeps corrupting work units, I'll have to set it back to stock and undervolt to 1.425V. It is cooled by the Spire WhisperRock IV, with the fan rated at 2300rpm, 28CFM and 25dbA. It is currently on the Fanmate running at approx 1700rpm.

Video Card: The Gigabyte fanless 6600GT is a beauty. While temps are high, this can be expected from a passively cooled card. Since temps only reach the 80's, I'm satisfied. Anything past 90 I will start to worry (let's see what happens in summer hehehe). There is less than 1cm clearance between the northbridge cooler and the graphics card heatsink.

Hard Drive: Not much to say about this. Its a Seagate 120GB ST3120022A. Currently at 41degrees. It runs fairly hot, as it is only 'cooled' by the air that has been heated by the CPU and video card. Suspended using some elastic I found lying around, seeks such as during virus scans are still audible, but under normal usage it is inaudible.

Power Supply: I'm using the Antec Phantom 350W. The first one failed, this is the one that came after the RMA and has been working perfectly. You may, or may not have noticed that the PSU is installed 'backwards', so to speak, such that the power cables come out on the motherboard side, as opposed to the normal orientation, where the cables would come out on the 'windowed' side. It doesn't seem to affect the operation of the PSU, and it is mounted like that solely for cable management reasons.

Case and cooling: The entire system is cooled by two fans. One is the 80mm CPU fan as mentioned above, and the other is a 120mm GlacialTech Silentblade. It is mounted into the back fan mount, and the grill has not been cut out. When I first got the fan around 4 weeks ago, it was quiet, but now it exhibits a slight clicking sound, I'm guessing its the bearings. It runs at 12V, as I don't have anything to lower the voltage. However, I guess it is necessary since the system produces quite a bit of heat.

The overall configuration is such that the rear fan brings in cool air, and it eventally moves out the front of the case. This configuration lowers the temps on the CPU by approximately 10 degress, but the HDD suffers as a result, but it is still well within the limits.

The bottom of the case is lined with the foam that comes from the motherboard boxes, I doubt it does anything acoustically, but it looks nice, and it acts to hide the wires behind the drive cage.

Temperatures and performance: Overall, the temperatures in the case are satisfactory. The video card core idles at around 60degrees, load is around 80. CPU under load is 56 degrees, and case is a warm 35 degrees. I don't know what idle temps are, since the CPU is always folding. Performance is on par with other rigs of the same specification, I can reach 3877 3dmark05. It is stable for gaming and general use.

Other: Using a Liteon 52x32x32x CD-RW burner. Quiet, but when it spins up to full speed it is very very noisy. Thankfully, I don't use it much. Floppy Drive is pretty quiet I guess, I don't even use it :D . The RAM has nice-looking blue heatspreaders.

Thoughts: This setup is nearly silent. During daytime, it is virtualy inaudible. Only once the ambient noise levels drop lower, usually after 10:30pm, does the rig become noticeable, but I can live with it. The HDD has been suspended using normal elastic. I'm surprised at how much difference suspending the hard drive makes. This rig has come a long way since I first built it around 1.5 years ago, and it certainly has been worth the effort, and money.. :wink: Back then it featured active northbridge cooling, stock VGA cooling, stock AMD cooler, SmartBlue350W- you get the gist of it. Its a lot quieter, but its amazing how quickly I adapt to the new noise level. For a week or so after I got the Phantom I was amazed at how quiet the computer was, but soon the quietness disappears and you get used to it.

Pictures:
[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/1.jpg]Image
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You can see the motherboard foam I've put on the bottom of the case. It gives it a 'clean' look.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/2.jpg]Image
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You can see how the HDD has been suspended. The elastics are held together with staples. THe HDD below has been removed, and I've put back all the stock Antec drive-sleds back in.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/3.jpg]Image
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Hehe. Just a shot showing how I ran the computer for a day or two while I waited for the new graphics card.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/4.jpg]Image
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I attached the Zalman NB-32 to the southbridge using the included thermal adhesives. I'm not sure how much it affects the system, but without the heatsink, I couldn't hold my finger for much more than 3-4 seconds on the southbridge. Notice that there is very little clearance between the capacitors and the video card.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/5.jpg]Image
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Bare system. Gotta love the heatsinks, and the blue heatspreaders :P

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/6.jpg]Image
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Overall shot with the window on showing the system as a whole. I'm pleased with the cable management, and you can see the foam hiding the wires behind the drive sleds.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/7.jpg]Image
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Another shot, this time with the window off.

[url=http://members.optusnet.com.au/badtz_style/SPCR/8.jpg]Image
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Shot of the upper section of the case. The two fans pictured are the only sources of noise. Note that the rear fan has been reversed, and the CPU fan is on the Zalman Fanmate.

Wow, that was long. Plenty of details, hope others may be inspired to make their PC's quieter. Comments/critique and questions are welcome!!

Regards,
timmy(x3)

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My rig - Athlon XP, 6600GT, Superlanboy


Last edited by timmytimmytimmy on Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:19 am, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:35 am
Posts: 539
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
I like the staples on your elastic. :lol:

Seriously though, you might consider flipping the elastic around itself so that the bottom band is above the HDD and the top band is below the HDD, this would create an "X" in the elastic on either side of the HDDs preventing them from touching the metal drive rails. It would also keep them more secure.

Nice clean build!

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Sonata (foamed)Bezel mod
Seasonic S12-330, 2x120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12@1000RPM, P4-2.6C w/PAL8942 80mm L1A@10v, 1GB Mushkin DDR400, ATI 9800Pro 128MB w/ZM80A, Samsung SATA 160Gb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:51 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 7:36 am
Posts: 26
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Do your processor a favor....blast that dust off the heatsink!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:51 am
Posts: 290
Location: UK
I can bet you that getting a fanless gpu will take the noise levels down hugely!

I have an arctic cooler on my radeon 9800Pro and its the noisiest component by far


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:17 am
Posts: 69
Location: Sydney, Australia
Mr_Smartepants: I couldn't think of anything besides the staples- it works hehe. With regards to the X thing about suspension I thought about it, but the elastics are quite thick and thus it would be difficult. Also I don't want the staples on the bottome side, there is some exposed electronic components on the underside.

fluxu8: Yeah this pictures are from a few weeks ago, I cleaned it beginning of this week.

BenW: I hope so. I also need to undervolt the CPU fan to make it quieter.

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My rig - Athlon XP, 6600GT, Superlanboy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:51 am
Posts: 290
Location: UK
You could make an X and either turn the hard drives upside down or remove staple and restaple with it on the other side


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:17 am
Posts: 69
Location: Sydney, Australia
I've updated the first post. Its rather long now :D

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