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 Post subject: My new rig - OR - how I blew my last paycheck...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 9:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 7:31 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Mississauga, ON
As I am sharing an apartment next year, my computer is moving into my bedroom, hence the need for uber quiet. My previous setup was a XP1600 with a Volcano 7, 512MB RAM, 80GB IBM HD, Pioneer DVD-105, LiteOn 32x12x40, Radeon 8500DV (AIW), all on an MSI KT3 mobo with an Enermax PSU and generic case (and exhaust fan). Sources of noise were the Volcano 7 (self-explanatory), 80GB HD (annoying whine), Pioneer (jet engine!), enermax 92mm fan (clickety-click), and GPU HSF (high pitched whine). Temps were about 50deg under load, as determined by the MSI thermal sensor.

The first set of changes was the replacement of the Volcano 7's fan with a Panaflo L1A, removal of the Radeon HSF (replaced with a Zalman NB32J northbridge cooler and a Panaflo L1A), replacement of the 80GB HD with a Cuda 7200.7 80GB (MUCH quieter!), and removal of both fans in the PSU, replaced with a single L1A. This brought the system down to a respectable noise level, but it was nowhere near quiet (the Cuda still vibrated to the case, and the L1A on the CPU had to be at 12V to keep the system cool, even with the system underclocked to 8x133 = 1.06GHz).

The next set of changes was the trick, and leaves me with the quiet (but still not silent) system I have now! The first step occured when I smashed the tray of my Lite-On burner - I sheared off a few things inside. So, I got a LG GCC-4480B Combo Drive - and got rid of the noisy-as-hell Pioneer. (Note - try to get the Samsung SM-348B if you can - it's a better drive!) Then, I decided that since I was fiddling with the 5.25" bay, I'd try to mount my new Cuda using some nylon rope (I'm really cheap - the damn NoVibes is $50, the nylon rope was $0.50!). No more vibrations! The next step was my discovery that the MSI KT3 cannot undervolt. Having heard of massive undervolting with the Palamino cores (and subsequent temperature drops), I took a leap of faith on a Soltek FRN7-L mobo. Very nice - nForce2 and undervoltable to 1.1V! I was able to lower the voltage on my 1600 from 1.75 to 1.45V, while keeping the stock clock multiplier and FSB - 10.5x133= 1.4GHz. The final touch was MikeC's PSU Thermistor Mod, which eliminated PSU noise. The CPU and HD fans (I have my intake fan at the top of the 5.25" bay - see below) are at 5V, the PSU fan is thermister controlled but never seems to be above 5V, and the fan infront of my GPU is fan-mated to around 7V. With the side panels removed, the entire system is just as loud as the buzzing from my CRT, and the system is a mere two feet away from my ears!

Here are some photos:

This is the standard case shot - the cables need some work, and I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to put the PSU back inside the case, or leave it on top and feed the cables through the PSU hole in the back. It runs cooler with the PSU out - I can put the PSU upside-down to allow for better cooling, and remove a heat source from just above the CPU. Gotta love that Soltek Gold PCB!

The front of my baby. The HD is suspended by nylon rope, and has a Panaflo in front of it. Notice the foam at the bottom of the drivebay - this is not sound insulating foam - this is 'incase Sameer's half-brained nylon rope trick fails then his new Cuda won't smack the bottom of the drivebay' foam. The MSI badge needs to be removed now, I guess....

Finally, the Radeon setup. More on this is here and here. I just love how the gold Zalman complements the Soltek gold PCB.

Here's a table of fan voltages and temps: (all fans are L1A's)
Hard Drive (5V), HD Temp = 30C
CPU (5V), CPU Temp (On-die Diode) = 58C (folding for 2 hours)
Video Card/Northbridge (~7V Fanmate), NB Temp = 34C
PSU (Thermistor Controlled, ~6V), Temp = ???

The next steps:
Get a real case - suggestions are more than welcome. I don't care for a powersupply unless it is quiet - it'd be nice to have a backup.
Tie up those damned cables and get some lighting in there :)
Figure out what to do with the extra two L1A's that I ordered by mistake...
And maybe, just maybe, get a Barton and some DDR400 RAM - if the Barton will run cool at 5V.

BTW, if you've made it to the end, give yourself a pat on the back - I kinda have a problem being brief sometimes... :oops:

And thanks go out to MikeC et al for running this forum and helping me blow my paycheck on computers :D


Opty 165 @ 2.25GHz, 1.2V, AC Freezer 64
Asus A8R32-Deluxe, 2x512 OCZ PC3500
1x74GB Raptor, 2x320, 2x500 Caviar
Sapphire GTO2 with Zalman HS/F
Enermax Liberty 500W, P180

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