I had some thoughts about making this into a story with characters, but my fantasy went dry.
Anyways, I decided to post my rig since I have this community to thank/blame for being somewhat addicted to reduce computer noise. The choice of hardware is based on several incidents. It started with a purchase of a complete PC some 3 years ago. An intel it was.
Then I upgraded my graphics card to a 9800PRO. Then my mobo died on me and I didn’t consider upgrading anything else at the time. Then my 9800 died on me and I was out of options and had to go for a AGP card. And with that performance enhancement I upgraded my processor as well. So, no particular reason why I have what I have.
Short: My rig
Intel P4 3.0 GHz/800FSB with Scythe Ninja and Pabst 120mm.
2*512MB Samsung DDR400
ASUS P4S800D-E mobo.
Leadtek 6800GT with Zalman VF700 and Nexus 80mm fan.
Nexus 4090 PSU
Seagate Barracuda 160GB 7200.7 SATA in mCubed Vertical Silencer case
Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 9 160GB ATA with Nexus DiskTwin.
NEC 2500 DVD-RW
Cooler Master CM Stacker case with BeQuiet damping sheets.
2*120mm Nexus case fans + 2*80mm Nexus case fans.
mCubed T-Balancer fan control.
My thoughts around this rig.
I got the Stacker case because I think it’s so versatile and it’s possible to test different ideas. And it’s fairly future proof with BTX possibility. Also the possibility with 2 PSUs and the good air circulation made me choose this case. I wasn’t too keen on the huge side intake so I put in a bit 4mm thick glass instead. It dampens the sound, looks cooler.
and maybe it helps with the airflow not being disrupted.
I immediately after getting the 6800GT card, ordered an Arctic Cooler NV5. But having it with my T-Balancer made the fan make a rattling sound. And I don’t think the NV5 can handle cooling the memory and GPU and still be cool/quiet enough. So I swapped it for a VF700. It cools way better and also was a bit quieter. But the tiny 80*15mm fan sounded a bit too much. So I searched for a suitable replacement. And I found it in the Nexus 80mm which had enough material to drill holes in and pushing enough air. I didn’t know what the original Zalman fan pushes but I compared with 80*15mm Panaflo and the Nexus 80mm seems to be enough at around 20cfm. It idles at 8.0V/705rpm and 65°C at ambient 25°C. I have to be closer than two feet to hear it. It may be a few degrees warmer with the heatsink on top. But the PSU likes this setup more.
And this is another great feature of the Stacker being able to chose mounting right or left side. The top “casing” for the PSU had a bit too small opening for a 120mm fan, and I didn’t want to cut until I tried mounting it in the bottom of the case. So I changed side for the mobo and mounted the PSU at the bottom. Its fan immediately spun slower. Not ramping up at all like before. Could be the less obstructive mount. The PSU is mounted with an Antec anti vibration kit and rests on the damping mat. I was a bit disappointed with the Nexus PSU at first but now I’m really content. Allthough it may very well be replaced with an Antec SmartPower.
I had the Thermalright XP-120 until yesterday, and I was really happy with its performance. But I felt it disrupted the airflow around the PSU and the rear case fan. Installing the Scythe Ninja was fine until I was about to mount the fan. I put the case on the side to avoid too much leverage. It took some time and i had to use tape as a third hand to mount the clips to the fan.
The choice of a Pabst and not a Nexus was that the Pabst can rotate at a slower speed. The Ninja can run fanless and I don’t turn the fan on until somewhere above 40°C. At idle the CPU doesn’t rise above 40°C so it’s virtually fanless.
The HDDs are somewhat dampened and cooled. The Maxtor is mounted lowest and has the Nexus DiskTwin as cooling. It also damens the vibrations a bit with the rubber mounts. But reducing AAM really made this almost silent. And being the secondary HDD it contains my music, movies and such files, so when it spins, I’m listening to other stuff.
The Seagate is in a mCubed Vertical Silencer case. It does dampen sound very well but it runs a bit too warm I think. It’s mostly around 45-50°C. No big deal perhaps, but I’m a bit disappointed. I can still hear seek noice quite well. I had it suspended in the top just behind the 2 80mm fans but it wasn’t cooler, neither quieter since the noise escaped through the top ventilation. Now it’s just above the Maxtor with a Nexus fan blowing air from the front of the case above it. That fan spins at the same rpm as the rear case fan. Which now spins at 500rpm or 8,5V. I will have to dial in these better since I haven’t had this configuration that long. The mobo reports 34°C at this moment, also at 25°C. I have 2 northbridge coolers, 1 Zalman, 1 Cooler Master, but I’ve decided not to swap the original simply because there is no need.
The 2*80mm Nexus case fans are so quiet at 7V I can’t hear them at all. I can hear them at 12V sure, but they’re great. I’m not sure I’ll need them really. I installed them for cooling the top mounted HDD, but of course they do no harm since I hear no difference if I turn them off.
I have not decided what to do about the top ventilaion hole yet. Probably some kind of filter to dampen noise but still letting out some air.
I will update this when something new happens. Please give response if you like.
Good or bad.