Small build log and gallery for my new HTPC.
CPU: Intel E2160
CPU Cooler: Scythe Nina Mini
Case fans: 2 Yate Loon D12SL-12 both hardwired @ 5V
MB: Asus P5E-VM HDMI
RAM: Geil PC6400
- I've had great experience with Geil, and they're cheap for Micron D9GMH
Case: Antec NSK2400
PSU: Stock Antec 380W
Hard Drive: Seagate 7200.10 320GB - horribly loud seeks
Optical: Samsung SATA DVD-RW
Keyboard/Mouse: SpecResearch 01027
, aka: XGene Imperial 2.4G Wireless Keyboard+Trackball
. I love this KB/Mouse combo. Note the optical trackball, L-click trigger, r-hand scroll wheel. Brilliant.
Now, if you've seen one NSK2400 you've seen them all. So no external pics. Hell, not many internal pics either. Instead, some important ones.
Originally, the CPU area it looked like this:
(That's my girlfriend's finger pointing at the new MB she got me for Xmas)
Yes, average stuff. But I wanted to overclock a little and I wasn't terribly impressed with the 100% load temps at stock speeds (1.8GHz). Core Temp 0.96 reported 58C peak temps with prime 95 stressing both cores. Overclocked to FSB 266, Core Temp settled on 72C. This is not good, as I'm shooting for FSB 333 = 3.0 GHz.
It ocurred to me that the simple "air dam" that comes with the NSK2400 was insuficient to re-direct air through the CPU HS. So I devised...
PLAN 1 - AIR BAFFLE:
A simple, 2-sided cardboard air dam with some silicone gasket materiel to sqish between the 120mm fan and the top of the case - keeps it from sliding around inside the case.
Which installs like this:
As you can see, this prototype is hacked out of the Scythe Ninja Mini retail box, and its dimensions were constrained by the simensions of the box. Not an ideal solution, but I decided to test it anyway. I hoped this would force more air to get sucked through the HS. But my load temps didn't change at all! So..
PLAN 2 - BIG DUCT:
I constructed a new air duct out of a corrugated plastic lawn sign I found in the basement of our house. This duct encloses both 120mm fans and the CPU heat sink.
The basic pattern:
This forces almost all air through the HS. Now 266 FSB load temps peaked at 62C - a 10C reduction! Not bad!
But the air restriction is audible with everything else off in the theater. It's a quiet whisper, whereas before I could only hear HD seeks. The whisper is completely drowned out by the fan on my projector, though.
1) I bought a IR thermometer hoping to measure my CPU temps. This is basically useless with the MB installed in a case. I can't get the thermometer in there and aimed at the base of the HS.
2) However, I learned that my NB is REALLY hot - 56C - much hotter than the Ninja mini. I am going to remove the big NB heatsink to check out the TIM or whatever Asus stuck in there.
3) Core Temp 0.96 revised the Tjunction-max for L2 stepping Allendale core processors from 85C to 100C. I've concluded that this is in no way meaningful as a measurement of absolute temperature. More useful is the delta to Tj-max. Whether Tj-max is 85C or 100C, I'm aiming to keep my delta higher than 20C.
4) This MB overclocks like crazy. I adjusted nothing more than FSB to hit 333. I flirted with this speed for a little while before backing down to FSB 266 for general use. All other BIOS settings were left on "auto".
5) EVERY TIME I switch inputs on my projector away from and back to the HTPC, my desktop resolution resets to 800x600. Annoying.
The IGP X3500 seems unable to properly render mpeg-2 video in VMR9 mode. Overlay and VMR7 work fine, but VMR9 has jaggies/macroblocking-like effects. Very strange.
MY FAVORITE FEATURE THOUGH, is the ability to write custom resolutions and timings to the registry with the DTD Calculator tool described in this avsforum.com
post. After adding a 1280x720, 48Hz mode, I can swith between 60 Hz (for ATSC HDTV) and 48 Hz (multiple of 24 fps for film-based DVDs) right inside the Intel graphics properties app. This is essentially a free, lightweight replacement for powerstrip, which doesn't support IGP.
Tomorrow night I'll do some more temp testing at a variety of FSB frequencies up to 333 MHz.
Thanks for looking!