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 Post subject: Totally Positive Antec Aria...Ver. 2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:27 pm 
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This is my hopefully final Aria setup, after a number of changes. The airflow is 100% reversed from stock.....it is now completely positive airflow. All the stock vents remain unchanged, but the stock PSU is removed, replaced with a dc/dc converter, and powered by an external 15A 12V power supply (Radio Shack). The 200w converter powers the P4 Celeron 2.4 without problems. The voltage rails are fairly stable......the input is 13.5V and the 12V rail is usually 12.5V, dropping to 12.2 during benchmarking.

In the place of the stock PSU, there is a Yate Loon 120mm blowing into the case, the airflow directed at an XP 120 by a three-sided duct. On the rear there is a simple intake muffler, with the air entering from the bottom. This duct overlaps the video card, providing ambient temperature to both the CPU cooler and the Video card heatsink. This video duct lowered the card temp over 20C from the previous negative pressure setup I first tried.

While it probably would not work the same for all setups, this positive pressure airflow works excellent in this Aria, and combined with that heatsink, allows an idle speed of about 750rpms, with the CPU at 35C (ambient of 21C). The fan speed is automatically regulated by an M-Cubed Fan Amp......at max CPU usage the Yate Loon reaches 1350rpms, and the temp stabilizes at about 45C. The board temp stays around 39-41C.

The only temp problem I have with this setup is with the hard drive. There is little airflow over it, so I added a 60mm Delta, regulated by a Fan Mate to 5V......HD temps max around 42C. Not too bad, but I think a laptop drive would be better in this setup. FWIW....this case could hold two 3.5" drives, in it's current configuration.

This setup is amazingly quiet from all angles, even from the rear. You wouldn't know it was running, except for the front blue lites. At max rpm, all you can hear is a slight woosh from the Yate Loon. There is plenty of padding in the case, and four places for the exhaust to escape. I'm certain Antec never envisioned an Aria running like this......but it works great.

The next mod to this setup will be a CPU upgrade, and an intake air filtration system. I like this thing quite a bit..... :D

Image

Image

Image

More photos in a Photobucket Album

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Last edited by Bluefront on Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:51 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:54 pm 
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Very interesting. We do not get to see many SFF systems around here, owing to the fact they are not so easy to build. How about a full list of the components. Also, how does your system run with only 12V? PSU's have 3.3 and 5 volt rails as well. Are these just not needed?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:55 pm 
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Very nice. Amazing how many things are easier by going with a DC-DC PSU and a brick. Too bad the only ones I could find are either only 6 A on the 5 V rail (ie, too little for my current socket A board) or only 4 A on the 12 V (zero upgrade path... and that's bad for a pricey $80 set).

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:57 pm 
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Regarding that power supply...it's a Pico 200w converter. and the 3 and 5V rails are needed. This thing relies on a 12V input, and converts it to the other necessary voltages.

Nothing else unusual in this computer....

ASUS Board
Celeron 2.4
Thermalright XP120 CPU cooler
YateLoon 120mm fan
Maxtor 80gb HD
ATI Radeon 7000
Xytel Wireless Lan card
Generic Modem
512gb generic ram
Lite-On optical drive
60mm Delta HD cooler fan
Antec Aria case
M-Cubed FanAmp fan control
Fan-Mate controller for HD fan

Many internal case mods, dampening foam, etc. Some stuff in there is hard to photograph......like an internal sound deflection panel under the optical drive. Yeah everything is a tight fit....the XP 120 is a really tight fit. Two millimeters more in any dimension and it would not have fit.
:lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:57 pm 
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diver wrote:
Very interesting. We do not get to see many SFF systems around here, owing to the fact they are not so easy to build. How about a full list of the components. Also, how does your system run with only 12V? PSU's have 3.3 and 5 volt rails as well. Are these just not needed?


What he's saying is he has a DC-DC PSU on a PCB that snaps right into the ATX connector on the board (visible in the first picture). That converts 12 V DC into 3.3 V and 5 V as required, and possibly regulates the 12 V rail (although that depends on the model). 12 V DC is provided by a passive power brick, much like the ones that laptops use.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:23 pm 
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Actually it's not a power brick......it's a little black box with a thermal controlled fan. I've never heard the fan start up, probably because the computer's current draw is rather low. It's regulated output is 13.5V even under load. Works good (Radio Shack about $60).

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:20 pm 
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did you hot glue your back plane?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:25 pm 
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Nice man, definately looks very nice.

I have an old Athlon XP SFF for my parents, a Shuttle that is pretty quiet, although the 7200.7 160 GB is rather noisy -_-;;. Yours definately looks nicer, but I'm sure my P180 would crush yours ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:14 am 
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This is going to have a P4 2.8, one gig of faster ram, a SATA Laptop drive before much longer, so it should end up pretty fast. It's fair right now. There's enough airflow for a faster/hotter video card also. I am somewhat limited by the 200w PSU however.

Trunks...that's silicone sealer around the ports. That panel had a very poor fit to the board and I had to stop the air leaks at that point. Any exhaust leaking there would get sucked back into the intake.....not good.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:11 am 
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Wow, that's one cool setup, there! I dreamed of putting together something like this back when the XP120 was still the "king-of-the-hill" CPU cooler around here. But I gave up on those ideas when I realized my 2.5Ghz Celeron was toasting up the inside of my case. At the time, my CPU cooler was "first in line" for fresh air, which meant warm case temperatures. In your case, you've solved that problem for the GPU cooler and PSU...as well as the hard drive thanks to the extra fan. That leaves...well, not a lot of stuff to suffer from CPU warmed air. Great job!

What's the "stuff" around the parallel/serial ports on the ATX backplane? Something to make the ATX backplane airtight? I'm guessing that an earlier layout had negative pressure and you were being fastidious about dust entry points.
[edit-nevermind, I read the rest of the thread]

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:07 am 
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Thanks.....yeah I sealed the cracks when the case was running negative pressure. Actually it's just as important running positive, since you still want air movement over/out certain places, definately not out around the ports.

Here's what the External 12V PSU looks like....it can be located anywhere and left on.

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:34 am 
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What would happen if I had a Pico, a car battery and some solar cells. Hook it all up to a Turion on a uATX 754 board (Biostar Tforce) with a 2.5" drive and a real quiet cooler...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:58 am 
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Hard to say.....that was close to my original idea for this PSU. However, it would not supply enough voltage off just a car battery. The computer would start and run, but would crash with any high current draw (like benchmarking). It may have been a compatibility problem with the MSI board I wanted to use, but I doubt it.

This new 12V power supply runs at 13.5V (about like a car with the motor running), and works just fine (fingers crossed). There is one Pico PSU made for automotive use, different from this one I'm using.

Here's a close-up of the Pico converter I'm using. Note it covers the floppy MB connection, but I think a floppy cable would squeeze in there.

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:33 am 
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It just occured to me that this build comes close to implementing an idea I recall floated around here at times--taking a single large fan and parceling out air from it into smaller ducts to each major component. Thus, each major component is cooled by fresh intake air. This idea is like a central air conditioning system, where a single blower is ducted to multiple outlets.

Maybe instead of an extra fan for the hard drive, the hard drive could be cooled with a small duct protruding from the side of the main duct.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:55 am 
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Well that's an idea I could try....I've got some appropriate sized pieces around here. I hesitate to chop up that duct however, since it's working so well. I also think we may be asking a little too much out of one Yate Loon at 750rpm. The HD fan is quiet enough at 5V to be a non-noise factor.

That duct was easily made out of a small paint roller tray from Lowes......maybe I can get another to experiment with. I purpousfully made everything very easy to disassemble. The duct is held on the fan with velcro and removes in a flash.

Oh....in case anyone is wondering. That dc/dc converter runs cool to the touch. You don't need any airflow over it, although in this setup it does get some airflow.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:58 pm 
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No car battery, but this whole thing is way cool. It beats having to run a big wad of wires from an externally mounted Phantom 350.

If you had a 2.5" drive it would not need any cooling, but it kind of looks like this rig was built from recycled components, so I respect your not wanting to spring for a new drive.

I Love cheap stuff myself, diodes, resistors, Stretch Magic, DIY ducts...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:37 pm 
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Well I tried the HD fresh air duct......by adding a small flex tube inside the main duct. The opening to this tube flairs out, so it's much larger than the tube itself, and does pick up a fair amount of ambient air. The tube dumps it's airflow right behind the HD fan. Seems to work fairly well. From what I can tell, the HD temp dropped 2-3C. Some tweaking may improve things. Other temps are about the same. :D

Image

I added more photos of this setup to my Yahoo album

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:11 am 
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After a few week's usage, I've made a few changes. I determined to use a laptop drive (it's on order), which will avoid the HD temp problems. I redesigned the intake duct.....the top plate is now a sheet of copper, about 4"x5". Since the inside of this plate/duct is always running ambient temps, it makes a perfect cool-plate to which a laptop drive can be mounted. The picture shows my experimental HD install. It runs about 3-4 degrees over ambient......without any airflow directly on the drive. No more HD temp worries.

Then I decided the top of this case was not circulating air very well.....the top plate of the ARIA got warm. This was somewhat affecting temps of everything.....so I moved the HD fan of the previous setup to the rear of the case. I cut out the stock power plug (now using a little dongle wire) and moved the 60mm fan to that location. At 5V it's completely quiet.....and does a good job removing the upper layer heat build-up. The fan is mounted to a gutted 25mm thick frame, so it's positioned right over the cards.

This whole thing is well on it's way to being the coolest/quietest SFF you'll ever see. :D

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:47 am 
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I gather that you can't get rid of the 60mm fan due to motherboard issues, right? If so, then it's a pity because I'll bet the top of the case could have been exhausted perfectly fine with just a plain old opening. With the 120mm fan providing positive pressure, there'd be no shortage of "oomph" pushing air out that way.

BTW, instead of the copper "cool plate", you could have just mounted the 2.5" drive inside the duct. ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:14 am 
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Yeah you're right.....I need an RPM signal over 1000 to start-up without hitting "F1". Silicon Acoustics sells an RPM "Doubler" that might work, attached to the one Yate Loon. But I can find no info about the thing, and it costs $24.

And I tought about mounting the drive inside the duct (still could), but that would really obstruct the intake airflow, and make cabling more difficult. Still might try it though.

And yeah, some passive venting on the top of the case would solve the heat build-up, without a small fan. But I don't want to chop up the case. I am playing arould with making a custom top, complete with passive venting. Initial experiments with that idea look promising. The top is completely flat, so any number of setups can be easily made. More to come......

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:19 am 
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I didn't mean to cut up the top of the case--I just meant having that existing 60mm fan opening, without the fan. Positive pressure within the case would surely push air out that opening effectively.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:15 am 
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Well just having a vent hole in place of the little fan does help....but I'm thinking of really hot summer temps. A summer only top like this would do the trick. :)

Image

Ok...later. I played with this new vented top for a few hours. It works amazingly well. The case sits at eye-level, so any extra noise from the new vent goes upward and is not audible. But......there seems to be less noise from the front, since there is less airflow out the front vents. So the thing is quieter this way, seems to be anyway. It's hard to judge when you have something this quiet.

But the temps have improved. It now is idling at 34C @aprox 800rpm (ambient of 25.5C). I ran CPU burn for a long time. The CPU temp slowly raises to about 47C, at which point the Yate Loon goes to max (about 1400), but only for a few minutes, then turns off for a long time. The temp at max averages about 44C. Not bad for one fan. The one little exhaust fan has no measureable effect on or off.

In the real world, I doubt the Yate Loon will ever move off 800rpms. The real test for this system will come with a P4-2.8.....coming soon with the new laptop drive. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:42 pm 
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I swear.....I won't touch this thing again before the new parts arrive. But one last mod to this top vent experiment. I opened up the vent slightly, and sat the external 12V power supply over the bigger opening. This PSU does run fairly warm, but sitting over an airflow at aprox 32C, it is cooled off quite a bit. The PSU sits about 10mm off the opening. Plenty of airflow.....

Image

Image

Oh....add this to the useful info dept. I tried a nvidia 6200 (fanless) in this setup. Won't work. Apparently too big a current draw for the 200W converter.
Edit: after adding a separate ground wire for the dc/dc converter, I tried the 6200 again, and it works. The card has a temp sensor reading of about 45C at an idle......this is a full 8C lower than the other computer this card was in. And it proves to me, the over-lapping cpu duct is cooling this card well. Nice.

Image :D

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


Last edited by Bluefront on Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:12 pm 
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The new pieces arrived.....a P4-2.8 NW, a Samsung SATA 5400rpm Laptop drive, and some new ram (two 512mb sticks), and an AverMedia TV/FM tuner card.Everything is working fine....no power issues and no heat problems at all.

One small glitch......After a fan upgrade to a Globe fan (solved the boot problem as the board reads the rpm of this fan just fine), my fan controller (a fanamp) failed. I'm temporarily using a fanmate.

And I solved a rather high system temp reading with a modification to the main intake duct, and a small heatsink on the Windbond chip. More to come....

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Totally Positive Antec Aria...Ver. 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:23 pm 
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Bluefront wrote:
This is my hopefully final Aria setup, after a number of changes.

:P

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:52 pm 
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Heh....you know the ideas/mods never end. By final setup, I mean the basic airflow design, and the replacement of the PSU with the converter. These further mods are minor improvements and tweaking. (don't count :lol:)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:01 pm 
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Come'on Bluefront, do another DIY writeup!

I love the screwing the HD to the copper plate

ahhhhh, my project is chugging along

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:06 am 
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I doubt anyone will try to duplicate this Aria, so a more detailed description would be pointless.

Actually the copper HD "cooler plate" was one of the last mods to this setup, and one of the best. That HD usually runs under 30C, no matter the other temps. I have no HD temp issues at all. Plus the entire duct with the HD attached, is soft mounted using foam and velcro. It is inaudible at all times....

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 11:34 am 
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Well I modded the top again.....now it slants up from the front, giving about a 2.5" vent running the width of the case,facing the rear, and giving enough room to install an internal fan controller.

Plus I finished the filtration system. This one was a little tough. The filter is a Nissan Xterra cabin filter, shortened by a few inches. I cut a 5" x 6" piece of 3/4" pine board. I cut a hole in the middle and using a hand file, modded it to match the fan opening on one side, and the filter on the other. Took a couple of hours.....but it fits nice, and doesn't leak any air. This sucker will run clean.

Now I'm waiting for the new fan control system. FWIW.....with the installed filter in place, and the fan speed unchanged from before the filter, this computer runs about 1-2C higher temps. adjusting the fan speed up about 50rpms, returned the temps to what they were before the filter. Actually with the filter installed, this setup does sound quieter. My new intake muffler is still on the drawing board. :D

Image

Image

I found a small vent at Home Depot that I could mod to fit the case top. This is the coolest running of the bunch. Might be the final vent design, but I'd like to add a temp/rpm display to the top. But this vent works great.

Image

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


Last edited by Bluefront on Fri May 12, 2006 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 6:57 pm 
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Good write up, Bluefront.
After the picoPSU-120 review I'm thinking of a similar project to this - Aria case, pico power supply and MSI RS480M2-IL mobo with AMD3000.


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