I have built a new P180B recently using a core 2 duo 6600, the infinity and an intel badaxe.
Things I have noticed:
- I could under no circumstance manage to mount the infinity properly with the motherboard already put into the P180b. It was simply not possible to get my hands down between the back side of the case and the cooler so I could get the plugs pushed down hard enough to lock it properly to the motherboard (the top of the plugs are partly under the cooling fins). They felt ok, but they where not. Once I took out the motherboard I also discovered that I had not manage to get proper connection between the CPU and the infinity base.
- It is a very tight fit with the badaxe. The infinity mounting bracket on the backside is just a mm above one of the capacitors on the badaxe. I though for a while that it was actually touching it, and this prevented it from getting full contact with the CPU surface, but closer checking reveals that there is a very small space there. The space is so small that I would not be suprised if production differences might cause trouble for some people with badaxe motherboards
- I do not feel that heat is transferred as good as I would expect up the heatpipes. Having some experience with other heatpipes, I would expect more heat to get "up" to the cooling fins than what I can feel (and measure) with the infinity. It might be that the cooling area is just so darned large that the heat is not very noticable, but my stomach tells me that the pipes are not working as well as they should.
This especially goes for overvolting the cpu. The cpu temperature increases quickly, but I just cannot feel the heat rising the same way in the tower. It is just as if the heat is not transfered from the CPU as well as I would expect.
I have double checked the termal paste and it is good.
- The fan I got with the infinity does not work well when the fan is controlled by the motherboard. For whatever reason, when the fan controller on the motherboard is used to reduce fan speed, the fan starts emitting a clicking/buszzing noise. I tested with other schyte fans I had and they all have the same noise problem with the fan speed controlled by the badaxe.
In any case, I replaced it with a PABST, which did not have the problem. The PABST also generated less noise and had significantly less vibration. The standard fan did seem to make a bit vibration noise in the infinity.
It is not a lot of vibration and did not really notice this until I tested other fans, but any noise reduction is always good.
I eventually hooked everything to a 4 channel Schyte fan controller which works well.
The infinity is pretty good despite my feeling that the pipes are not working as well as it should. With the PABST running at 1020 rpm, I top out at about 62C running cpuburn for several hours with the airconditioner in the room turned off (ambient around 30C) and with the CPU overclocked at 3.2GHZ.
- I did test with an 800rpm schyte on the infinity and it works well. So did passive cooling at standard CPU clock. However, I discovered that if I moved the fan down on the infinity as far as I could without hitting motherboard components, it will blow air on the infinity base as well as all the capacitors on the motherboard surrounding the CPU. Both CPU and surrounding components got colder by several degrees which allowed me to overclock to 3.2GHZ without very little extra noise and still keep nice temperatures.
The fact that the CPU got that much cooler from increasing airflow on the heatsink base is a major reason why I suspect that the heatpipes are not working as well as they should or could. At least not for my infinity sample.
- Next to infinity, almost under it, is the quite large passive northbridge heatsink on the badaxe. I have been playing with the idea of moving the 120mm fan on the infinity a little bit to the side so it also covers the side of this heatsink. It will reduce airflow on the infinity, but the tests I have done so far indicate that loosing airflow on 1-2 cm on the upper edge of the infinity has little effect on cpu temperature. The effect on northbridge temperature is dramatic though (10C reduction with a little bit overvolting). The problem is that parts of the northbridge retention bracked and a few fins blocks this from being done.
I am current itching for chopping of parts of the northbridge cooler to allow moving the CPU fan a few cm to the side (or rather, downwards when the P180 is standing). The tests I have done indicate that I can increase the CPU clock about 300MHZ more if I add more voltage on the northbridge. Only thing stopping me is that that the machine is very very silent right now and I will only do this if I can keep the noise down which I can if I move the fan.
It just seems drastic to destroy the standard cooler like that.
All in all, the machine is very silent. I have added noise dampening on all sides and edges of the cabinet (including the inside of the door). Got 4 western digital drives of the silent type with a bit of AAM enabled, a nvidia 7900 gtx, and a bunch of 120mm fans are all very silent and carefully tuned with the low speed I could get with acceptable noise (does such a thing really exists?).
With this new PC, I ended up turning off my mini mac on the desk the other day because I felt that it was too noisy at idle. This P180b system under my desk is less audible (even with the CPU and disks busy) than the idle mini mac from all other positions in the room except if you crawl under the desk to the backside of the machine.
Not sure why, but I am still trying to figure out how to make this thing even more silent and at the same time faster. There should probably be a mental institution for people like me
Its getting borderline like HIFI addiction. You spend more time tweaking the system for perfection than enjoying it.
Got to finish this soon