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 Post subject: Custom Cooling Advice
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 10:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2002 9:17 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Right here! What are you, blind?
Hello. First time poster, long time reader. (uh, sorry.) Anyway, I'm hoping to get some nice advice from you guys, since my box is starting to irritate me with its noisiness (plus I haven't changed anything in it for almost 6 months now! ah, the pain!). Here be my specs (every last one of them, even the ones that aren't at all relevant -- relevant ones are italicized -- and I apologize in advance for how crappy it looks, but if I used [code] then there would be no italicizing :|):

cpu : AMD Athlon XP1800+ (o/c 1533MHz)
hs : Thermaltake VOLCANO 6Cu+ (7000RPM; 38CFM; 39dBA)
mobo : MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU (VIA KT266A chipset; USB2.0 support; embedded RAID)
ram : 1-DIMM 512MB PC-2100 DDR SDRAM

3.5" : some cheap $14 piece of shit
keyb : Logitech 105-key membrane keyboard (three internet keys (www, mail, search))
mous : Microsoft Intellimouse with Intellieye (optical; corded; wheelmouse)
dvd : Sony DDU-1621 (RPC-1 (region-free [hack]))
cdrw : Plextor Plexwriter 161040A (16/10/40x; BURNproof)
hdd1 : IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60GB; 7200RPM) > RAID-0 striping array with HDD2
hdd2 : IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60GB; 7200RPM) > RAID-0 striping array with HDD1
hdd3 : Western Digital Caviar WD800BB (80GB; 7200RPM)
enet : D-Link DFE-530TX+ PCI (10/100; 100Mbps)

inet : Toshiba PCX1100U (cable; 2Mbps down, 384Kbps up)
vid : Hercules 3D Prophet III Titanium 500 (nVidia GeForce3 Ti500 chipset; o/c 260/590)
crt : NEC MultiSync FE1250+ (22"; .25mm dot pitch; flat; black)
snd : Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy eX (IEEE1394; IR; optical I/O; S/PDIF I/O; MIDI)
spkr : Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 (THX certified, bla bla)
ops : Windows 2000 Professional (build 2195; Service Pack 3)
prnt : Hewlett Packard DeskJet 660C (150-300dpi)
scan : EPSON Perfection 1650 PHOTO (1600dpi non-interpolated; 3200dpi interpolated)
ups : Please buy me one! ~_^
case : Lian-Li PC60-USB (aluminium)
psu : Sparkle FSP350-60BN (350W; 1 fan (I can't make out what it is without opening the thing up))
fans : front intake : 2x Adda AD0812HS-A76GL (80mm; blows over HDD rack)
rear exhaust : stock 80mm

usb1 : Intel CS330 internet camera
usb2 : Palm M505 (no extension card)
usb3 : PS-PC USB Dual Shock Converter (MadCatz DualForce controller; translucent blue)
usb4 : Nikon Coolpix 995 (3.3Mpix; 4x optical zoom; CompactFlash types I and II; swivel)
usb5 : Acecat Flair USB drawing pad

So, yeah. Here's some information for you guys regarding what exactly I'm looking for.
  • I don't want to underclock my processor.
  • I'd like my system noise level to be about 30dBA.
  • I'd prefer to have no fan on my heatsink, as long as it'll stay cool.
  • My CPU runs at 49-50°C and my case runs at 39-40°C (stable). I know 'safe' temperature goes up to 70-80°C, but I've always tried to stay below 50°C. How much potential badness is there if I let it get up to 60+°?
  • I would like to know of some good tried and tested insulation material that I can install without a lot of hassle.
  • I can't do suspension with my HDDs since I don't have five 5.25" bays, but the drives are on a slide-out rack. (Yay for pseudo-hotswapping.) Would it help to put foam between the HDD rack and the rack mount to minimize vibration?
  • The front intake fans have a speed control. Would I need to add resistors or similar to change speeds of the other (cpu, gpu, psu) fans from 12V to 5V or whatever you recommend?
  • I've never done any potentially system-damaging modding before (eg. modifying cooling bits that could burn/short out hardware), so I'm rather nervous about it, and I'd like to keep things as untouched as possible. Please keep this in mind as you make suggestions. :wink:
  • The heatsink is hooked onto the mainboard really solidly. What the heck do I need to do to get it unhooked? heh... (I wanted to change the compound from the crappy stock silicon-base to Arctic Silver a while back but couldn't get it off easily and didn't want to break my stuff, so I stopped trying.) :oops:
  • I'd like to get the noise level down to 30dBA while keeping the cpu temperature below 55°C. Is this unrealistic for air cooling?
  • The video card is overclocked as you can see above. This hasn't caused any problems, and the Hercules card is well-cooled with memory heatsinks and a "blue orb" fan for the core which I could not, for the life of me, find specs for. (Not a Thermaltake.)

I hope I don't come off as being greedy for advice or something, but I can't stand how loud this thing is anymore!! At first I was like "okay, it's loud, but this thing is the fastest around!" ... now it's not the fastest anymore and I Want Quiet!! :P

Thanks for your help!

Colin Snover

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 1:20 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 333
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Okay I'll start off the advice here :)
- to unhook a heatsink you need a flathead screwdriver be CAREFUL with the unhooking of the heatsink as many a person has mashed their mobo into shreds, u apply a downward force and then swing the clip out...
If u are really scared, stick a piece of corrugated cardboard underneath the socket lugs or something protective like plastic...

- Change the fan on the 6Cu+ to a more saner slower 60MM fan or even better change the entire heatsink, this site has a recommended list, u'll need a fan on the heatsink, the heatsink needs SOME airflow over it otherwise u need a very well ventilated case :)

- Sound insulation will help a little bit in the sound reduction of the case but it's NOT a magic bullet as most ppl think it is... I personally use closed cell foam, it's sold as automotive deading foam for cars, very light and ease to work with, you could also go with dynamat or a varient.

- It might help if u put foam on the HDD rack to minimise vibration as well also you could try and set the acoustic management on the drives to a lower level using something like the IBM feature tool

- Specs for your blue orb
here 26.4dBA is what they've claimed...
You could hook the blue orb to a Zalman fanmate 1 and experiment with the silencing if you want.

- your two adda AD0812HS-A76GL fans are rated at 33.4dBA, u could undervolt them with something like a zalman control or replace them for something quieter like Panaflow L1A's if yu like..

- The rear exhaust fan on your case has a restrictive grill to exhaust air out, this will cause a lot of turbulence noise, u can cut the grill out with tinsnips if you really want and replace with a wire grill...
You could also replace the rear fan with a Panaflow as well :)

- The PSU fan if you think it's quiet enough (u said u don't want to do anything too risky ;) ) you can leave alone or you could swap it in for a quieter fan as well

*phew* after all this I'm thinking your HDD's are going to be your weak spot but hopefully this will make your case decently quiet enough :)

Nothing is impossible: Somethings are not worth the effort to achieve.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 1:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2002 11:31 am
Posts: 20
Location: San Jose, CA USA
First, start with cleaning your case up. Read carefully and apply all the case mods to your case. You are losing 70% of your cooling capacity to just the grills in your case. Also clean up the air paths through your case. Either get round cables or make your own, get the wires out of the air path.

Then you can undervolt your rear fan. Easy way to try it is to make a 12V to 7V or 5V molex:

Next swap out that HS and fan, you'll never get it quiet enough and maintain your OC. Go to a Thermalright SK-7 with a YS Tech variable speed fan. You can get both at at a good price right now. The advantage of the YS Tech is that it comes with a decent rheostat with a real knob and on long wires. Easy to bring the knob out the front of your case. The YS Tech is not the quietest at full speed, but is really good at moderate and low speeds.

For sound deadener, I would target vibration dampening material as your case transfers vibration easily which is tranlated to sound. Best I have found for systems is from and is Part number: 9709T19, Adhesive-Back Damping Sheet Polymeric Mastic,.070" Thk,.7 Lbs/SF, 32" X 54", Black, $ 12.79 Each . One sheet was big enough for 4 midtower systems and cuts easily with sissors or a box knife. Shipping was about $6 and it came right away. Also use their site search for other "dampening" products. They have everything. Best prices on the planet for every kind of commercial/industrial sound deadening material you can imagine.

Most of your noise right now is probably your HSF/HS combo, then your exhaust fan followed closely by your PSU.

Finally, you can enable the CPU Halt command to lower your system temps when you aren't pushing the CPU. It dropped mine by 18C at idle and 7-9C at full load. Go read about it at This will make it possible to run all your fans at a much lower setting.

If you do everything above, you can knock a bunch of sound out. My system measures 34dBA right now and is running OC'd. Before I did everything above, it measured around 44dBA. To get to 30dBA or below you might have to give up on OC'ng or swap out your PSU. There are other things you can do, but first get the basics out of the way.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 6:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2002 9:17 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Right here! What are you, blind?
Wow. You guys rule. :D
I'm going in a somewhat haphazard order and am not [quote]'ing you, but hopefully you'll understand what my responses are toward. :)

I guess it's time to take my (horrendously expensive) round ATA/100 cables back out of my old Alienware box and put them in here. The only thing I worry about are slowdowns from data collisions caused by the cable being round instead of being a ribbon. That said, with a RAID-0 array, that REALLY shouldn't be a problem. I'll go yank those out later tonight.

I realized how to get the heatsink off this afternoon. I'm such a doofus. :P Well, I was a doofus, not anymore. Really. I swear. ..stop looking at me like that! ;)

My GPU isn't actually overclocked, that's outdated information. (Oopsie.) Actually, that's a a lie. I hadn't tried those numbers, then did and realized that it was a substantially Bad Thing(tm) since it caused the card to lock up under heavy load. That's the last time I randomly plug in O/C numbers from card reviews. ;) I didn't think that the Thermaltake Blue Orb was what was on my card, since it looked much thicker than this fan/HS, but I guess it is one in the same. :P I'm not sure about connecting it to a controller (at least, not one without a thermal diode, and even in that case it'd probably run full-speed since I have several other PCI cards that are rather hot, like my ATi TV-WONDER tuner ... hmm, I should probably have a fan blowing between those PCI cards, now that I think about it, but that's not the point :D). I guess I'll think on it for a while.

I'd like to replace as much as I can with quieter fans and sinks that perform around as well as what I've got now. Price is (almost) no object. Most relevant, I suppose, are the case fans. Like I said about the Adda fans, there is already a speed control on them. (3-speed c/o Lian Li.) I leave the control at 12V because of the potential liability of heat on these 60GXPs. (I really need to check to make sure these aren't Malaysian models. Good thing I backup my mission critical data regularily, eh? :|)

I'll definitely cut out the exhaust grille in the back and replace it as well as the fan (if I can find out where the thing is plugged in, that is -- it's connected to some mysterious far-away source and is bundled together with a bunch of other power cables -- else I guess I'll just solder the new one in place). That said, I don't get any speed readings on it right now, and would really like to. Any ideas on that short of installing some funky sensor board?

I downloaded the IBM tool and will be installing it presently. Hopefully it won't break anything. ;)

I've read the reviews on the PSUs and heatsinks, and was looking at the Thermalright SLK-800 (top recommended HS) and the (also top recommended) Seasonic SS-350 with Active PFC. What kind of fan should I replace the stock that the SLK-800 comes with with? Would the Zalman ZM300A-APF be better (runs cooler, but only comes in 300W and test sample had some coil buzzing)?

I'll see how my system runs after running some of the programs you've suggested. I don't think they will really reduce the noise much, though, unless the HALT throttles down the HSF.

Thanks again!

Colin Snover

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 4:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2002 9:17 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Right here! What are you, blind?
The IBM tool doesn't recognize my hard drives (or something... gives me an error), probably because they're in a RAID array (or something, again). The HALT utility that you directed me to didn't have a link to a proper file for my mainboard (MSI -- the article said that they changed something from the KT266) so I couldn't do that either. Both of these seem like extremely good ideas, so I'm looking for any suggestions from anyone. Also, none of the questions I asked in my last post were answered. Help me out, please!


Colin Snover

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