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 Post subject: Silent nirvana! Old athlon rig gone quiet
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:58 am
Posts: 10
Location: sweden
YAY!

Finally i have a computer that is silent enough. When i started lurking around on these forums a year or so ago i
noticed that my computer was a horribly noisy beast that needed to be silenced.

System specs:
Antec PlusView 1080AMG (modded to hell and back)
Abit NF7-S v2.0 nforce2
AMD athlon 2500+ barton (not oc'd, stock 1833mhz)
1gb+2x256mb = 1.5gb ram (weird and shitty setup i know)
Samsung Spinpoint F1 1Tb
Asus Radeon 2600PRO AGP
NorthQ 400w PSU (with ADDA 120mm fanswap)
Spire Whisperrock CPU-cooler
Nexus 120mm exhaust fan


I soon became aware of the biggest limitation of this endeavour, And that limitation was my case,
An old Antec PlusView 1080AMG. Its basicly a Chieftec Dragon with a sidewindow and a somewhat restyled front.

Sweet jeebuz! how the h*ll am i supposed to get this thing to shut up.
The antec had from the factory five 80mm fans, three intakes and two exhausts.


That is not going to work i said to myself and whipped out the dremel :twisted:

The thick steel of the antec slowly but surely dissapeared and i was left with a big rectangular hole in the front and something that looked like a round hole in the back.
The idea was to have a single nexus 120mm fan running in the back in tandem with the powersupply-fan generating airflow over the critical components.
The huge intake area is supposed to be the only way air is going to enter the case so i have taken great care to seal every other possible hole.


The next problem was the HDD-cages. I bored out the rivets holding the whole assembly and threw that away.

How would i mount my HDDs now? By thrashing an old pair of joggingpants and take the elastic waistband ofcourse.
I bored out 4 holes in the bottom of the case and 4 holes in the CD-drive cage.
Four equally long elastics was then put trough the holes and a knot was tied in each end.
I now had a suspended hddcage and it can actually take quite a punishment.
I had 6 drives hanging in those elastics once before i got my spinpoint F1 8)


The next idea i got from this forum was to damp the case vibrations. A case of B!quiet dampening mats was applied to almost every naked area of steel.
I dont know how much of an impact this made but the case feels (and weighs) like a WW2 bunker now.
Sturdy as hell and it has a very "dead" ring to it when you knock on the panels.
I also got rid of the horrible plastic feet and replaced them with small rubber feet to reduce vibration in my desk.


The GFX-card is always a problem, it generates a lot of heat and with heat comes noise.
Or so i thougt, I bought a friends GFX-card that he had no more use for.
When buying graphic cards for old Athlons you need AGP cards :( Those are expensive for what you get but i got a great deal from my friend.

The card is probably the fastest AGP card this system could practicly use because the CPU is no socket 754 athlon 64 monster 8)
I dont think i would gain anything speed wise by getting a 4670 agp. Its a very nice card thou, An asus 2600PRO with custom cooling.
I dialed the fan speed down to 25% in rivatuner and made a cardboard compartment for it so it has its own ecosystem to heat up.
I also removed all the pci-brackets to get some ventilation of this compartment.


As stated above the CPU is an old Athlon 2500+ (barton core) this high end of its day powerhouse is cooled by an Spire Whisperrock with an 80mm fan.
Its a ball bearing fan but when dialed down in speedfan the noise characteristics of the fan is not all that bad i think,
no tonality that i can hear at least and its very quiet.

The dream cooler is the gargantuan Thermaltake sonic tower passively cooling the athlon.
They pop up on ebay from time to time so i might get one someday :roll:


The motherboard was once cooled by a small disgusting 40mm fan whose bearings went kaputt after like 2 years of service.
I exchanged the cooler with a passive one from an soltek board if i remember correctly. Works like a charm :)



As i said in the beginning of this monstrous post i have finaly arrived in nirvana!
All the mods above have been made over the last two years but yesterday i made the last one.
The latest and greatest so to say. I swapped the fan in my PSU.
The fan that was replaced had lately starting to make more and more bearing noise.
The horisontal mounting position called for another ball bearing fan and my choice fell on a 120mm ADDA running somewhere in the 1500rpm region.

The geometry of the fan was actually worse than the original fan with hub struts running more or less parallel to the blades.
The blade design was better thou with smother edges. This fan have a normal 3 wire design for motherboard connectors and i was not very entusiastic
about cutting a brand new fan so i decided to run it from the motherboard as a normal case fan with the benefit of speedcontrol from speedfan!
It works like a charm and the tonality and bearing noise is virtually gone when the fan is run at low speed.
I also removed the grill in front of the fan to remove any unwanted turbulence noise.

The problem i now faced was that speedfan could only control two fanheaders on the motherboard despite there is a total of four headers on the motherboard.
I ran the cpu fan and psu fan on the controllable headers as those were the noisiest fans and the nexus being pretty quiet even at full tillt.
I Dialed the speed down on the two controllable fans and the only thing i heard was the nexus... ... ...
GOD D`?*!#%¤!"IT! how was i supposed to quiet the quietest fan without speedfan.

Then i remembered a mod i did to my dads computer a few years ago which involved silencing a noisy as hell 60mm fan that ran via a molex.
Just rearange the pins in the molex socket and you get 7volts or 5 volts.
Lucky enough i had some molexes lying around because the nexus cable wasnt long enough if i was to use the molex that sat there from the beginning.
The 3 pin interface was long enough thou. So i removed the 3 pin socket from the power leads,
but kept the yellow speedsensor wire in there so i could put it in a motherboard 3 pin socket for speedmonitoring.
The power leads where then soldered to standard male molex contacts which was then put in to an empty molex connector.
I rewired the molex for some 5 volt action, put it in an empty socket and turned on the computer and here i am, sitting in what i would call silent nirvana 8)


Some pictures of all the mayhem:

Image
The guts in all its glory

Image
The harddrive suspension and gigantic front intake hole

Image
The three fans, elasticly suspended nexus and foamdampened psu and cpu fan

Image
Externaly mounted nexus, It was to wide to fit inside

Image
The front rubber feet and the HDD suspension rig

Image
The GFX-card cooler in its cardboard compartment photographed through an empty PCI-bracket

Image
The old PSU-fan, It wont be missed

Image
The nexus is now converted to run on 5volts from the molex plug but still be able to supply an RPM-signal

Image
A liquor store receipt standing up from the suction in the front provided by the two exhaust fans

Image
The system in all its splendor, picturing my beautiful Dell G2410t and my very silent system




Without MikeC and all you other guys this could never be possible!
Thank you

/Alexander


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:50 pm 
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Nice to see lots of mods :twisted: !!!! I like it !

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:57 am 
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An interesting selection of mods, shows you can get good results with less than perfect components. I`m only not sure about the vga shroud. It looks as if hot air could end up being recycled. I`m sure the case exhaust would handle any heat produced by the gpu fine.

Not so long ago I was running a very similar system (2ghz barton, 2600pro). For some time I was using the sonic tower you mentioned and it is by far the best cooler you could use on an athlon xp. It even managed to cool my athlon passively. If you plan to keep this system for a while it might be worth getting one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:58 am
Posts: 10
Location: sweden
The vga temperature has not been a problem so far with the shroud on because its quite a cool running card over all.

I do however have the cpu on what i think is the very edge of its thermal capacity. It idles around 45 and normal day use puts it in the 55-58 range. Normal day use means spotify, a browser and a torrentprogram more or less.

Putting the cpu thru the paces @ 100% for 5h to get maximum temp is not really of interest. So keeping the added thermal load of the gpu in its own compartment is kind of important, I think :roll:

MMMmm! i want that sonic tower goodness ooh yea!
I am going home to my parents this afternoon to pick up a sempron 3300+ (an OEM part, same as the barton 3200+) and two 1gb sticks of ram if they all arrived. Somehow i just cant part with this old dinosaur of a system :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:07 am 
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Posts: 540
Location: Massachusetts, USA
i gotta ask..

why on earth did you not suspend your hdd in the 5.25in bays at the top. It looks like you have plenty of room, and it woulda been a lot tidier and safer for transport

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:36 am 
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Location: Sweden
RoGuE wrote:
i gotta ask..

why on earth did you not suspend your hdd in the 5.25in bays at the top. It looks like you have plenty of room, and it woulda been a lot tidier and safer for transport


Cooling would be an issue.

I really like the mod, back to basic and simple yet efficient, really reminds me of my own. Keep up the good work!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Well done :) Kudos on the mods and the result

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:00 pm 
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Posts: 540
Location: Massachusetts, USA
bozar wrote:
Cooling would be an issue.



na...first of all, theres basically no air blowing over that drive. The front intake is so large, and the exaust is so minimal compared to it, that the volume of air over that large area allows it to move very slowly.

Second of all, people suspend drives in 5.25in bays without air intakes in front of them all the time. Modern drives barely heat up anymore.

It might make the difference between ~38C and 32C (roughly). In the end, the drive is speced to operate at temps even above 40C.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:00 am 
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You don't need much airflow at all to cool a hard drive. Just a little air moving in the general area is often plenty.

Cooler running drives (usually lower-powered/speed) can run in 5.25" bays without overheating, if done properly, but it hard to make them quiet as well. However, I'm watching two of my older drives (80GB and 200GB Maxtor IDEs) very closely in my WHS. They are too warm for my liking and will probably be removed altogether shortly, as it's not worth the potential headaches to keep another 250GB of storage in the server.

That setup is fine...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:05 pm 
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Location: sweden
To rouge:

I have never thought about mounting the drives in the 5.25" bays.
From a noise point of view i think it would be better because i have completly soundproofed it up there.
The thing is that i am really paranoid about heat induced HDD death. I have killed atleast 3 drives that way so seeing that the drive runs
7 degrees celsius above ambient (22C real temp) calms me down.

But it is definitely a way of mounting that i am going to investigate for future revisions to get a little more quietness from the computer.


The relation between the intake and exhaust area is more than 1:1. 288cm^2 of exhaust vs ca:180cm^2. This gives quite rush of air over the HDD even at low fan speeds.


Sometime in the future i hope to get an intel X25-m SSD. This would unload my spinpoint F1 from all the work of running a OS which in turn would lower its temps. Maby then i could move it up in the 5.25" compartment.


/Alex


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:30 am 
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well thing is...90% of the heat produced in the drive is heat you will find at idle...that is, the spindle motor / friction in the bearing.

Most drives made in the past couple years would be fine without active cooling. In other words...you aren't going to fry it in the 5.25 bays.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:08 am 
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Sweet advice!

I will try it out soon !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:32 am 
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RoGuE wrote:
Most drives made in the past couple years would be fine without active cooling. In other words...you aren't going to fry it in the 5.25 bays.

Not sure I agree. Just resting a HDD bare oon the open bench top w/o active airflow (which we do all the time in testing at spcr) puts the temp of most drives up past 40C. Typically 45C and up after an hour or so. A tiny bit of airflow like from a 500rpm 80mm+ fan is enough to drop the temp 10C, tho. While newer drives don't draw as much power, that heat still needs to be dissipated. No way I'd mount one in a position where it doesn't get some airflow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Location: Sweden
MikeC wrote:
RoGuE wrote:
Most drives made in the past couple years would be fine without active cooling. In other words...you aren't going to fry it in the 5.25 bays.

Not sure I agree. Just resting a HDD bare oon the open bench top w/o active airflow (which we do all the time in testing at spcr) puts the temp of most drives up past 40C. Typically 45C and up after an hour or so. A tiny bit of airflow like from a 500rpm 80mm+ fan is enough to drop the temp 10C, tho. While newer drives don't draw as much power, that heat still needs to be dissipated. No way I'd mount one in a position where it doesn't get some airflow.


I still agree with MikeC, the tiny airflow provided by the open front is adequet for a safe temp, I doubt mounting in the 5.25 bays would be safe because of the dampening.

My drives in my Chieftec tower is a lot older than stenben's so I put an 120 mm undervolted Nexus RS in front of them, better safe than sorry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Older nForce4 and other chipsets (e.g. any board with your AMD Barton processor) normally do not support AHCI, so an SSD with TRIM support would not be advised. In order for an SSD to be utilized on your system, it would have to have built-in maintenance, like some of the newer OCZ products offer. If you want specific examples, I can dig up a few. Just a tidbit of info I felt should be shared.

Alternatively, you can pick up a controller card (PCI ?) that supports AHCI over SATA to use an SSD in your system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Location: sweden
Hmm.. Its a shame about the intel SSD not working properly on nforce2 MBs. I will investigate further before making any purchases.


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