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 Post subject: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:03 am
Posts: 8
Hey there! First post here. I'm overdue an upgrade of my audio recording computer, and ever since discovering the existence of the (ridiculously large) NoFan CPU heatsinks, I've become obsessed with the idea of a completely silent, completely passive build. Below I've pasted the components I've chosen. Pure processing power, no GPU, no moving parts.. but the question remains of where to put them. The NoFan is LARGE so HTPC boxes are out... Honestly, I'm not averse to ghetto-rig solutions like milkcrates or the like. Ideas?

Image

CPU: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-co ... 5x-ratio-4

Heatsink: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/nofan-cr ... cooler-95w

Mobo: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte ... ie-30-(x16)-d-sub-(vga)-dvi-d-micro-atx

PSU: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/400w-sea ... -(heatsink)-atx-psu

RAM: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(4x4gb)-corsair-vengeance-blue-ddr3-pc3-12800-(1600)-unbuffered-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-150v

SSD: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/256gb-oc ... -s-35k-iop



Thanks for reading!


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:24 am 
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Whatever case solution you go with, please make sure the motherboard is oriented horizontally. That cooler must weigh 10 lbs and looks like it will pull the motherboard apart if it's mounted in the typical vertical configuration.

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:23 am 
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It's actually only 730g -- lighter than an NH-U12P (770g w/ one fan) or NH-D14 (over 1.2kg with both fans)!

http://www.quietpc.com/nof-icepipe


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:43 am 
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Location: Norway
For a PC without a powerfull GPU I believe the best solution is a case with heatsinks, feks HDPlex, Streacom and HFX. The heatsinks work best outside the case where the air is cooler. We have build a HDPlex H3: http://www.hd-plex.com/H3.SODD.html with a i7 3770, 160W PicoPSU w/192W adapter, Corsair 8GB 1600MHz LP RAM, Samsung 830 256GB SSD, Sony Optiarc BD-5850H, Asus P8Z77-i deluxe motherboard and Windows8. The PC is very fast and plays blueray without a problem (but you can't use the full PCIE slot with this case. 6 heatpipes is overkill so if you cut one pipe out, or the two lowest pipes, you probably can get space for a PCIE X1 or X4 flexible riser cable. If you need full PCIE slots there are lots of alternative heatsink cases).

For a CPU with only 45W tdp the case is eaven more safe. The case only uses the heatsinks on one side to cool the CPU. With a motherboard that have room for heatpipes to both sides, the case could be modded with three heatpipes to each heatsink (HFX sell heatpipes and each pipe can take 33W). The H3 is recommended for max 65W tdp, with two sides active this means 2x65W=130W tdp (within recomended cooling capacity). With both sides active the case probably could cool of i7 3770K on full load, and maybe some overclocking aswell. To run only the CPU I think the PicoPSU should give enough power. Or you could place an ATX powersupply, like the one you suggest, on the outside. I have done this with a Streacom FC5 with a discrete graphic card http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=65196&start=30

If you need 16GB RAM you may go for a micro-ATX motherboard and a bigger case (I don't know if there are any 2x8GB RAM in low profile).

With the fast development of integrated graphics I think small cases with heatsinks will be more and more popular. In spring Intel say the Haswell CPU will have twice as good graphics as the AMD has today and play most games in HD. A midrange gaming pc in the HDPlex H3! It will be interesting to see... (edit: I may have been a bit optimistic about Haswell and that it will be double of the HD4000, I am not shure. Maybe it is AMD Kaveri APU that will be the next big step, they say this is based on the HD7700 series.)

By the way, HDPlex has in our experience very good customer service. (we where lucky to get hold of a H3 with silver front though, they are often sold out)


Last edited by Highfi on Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:25 am, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:50 am 
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Other stuff to think about if you go with this cooler:
- motherboard skyline: there's only 32mm of clearance under the cooler. Make sure your selected mobo's components, VRM cooling, etc will clear the cooler.
- RAM height. Same thing.
- It'll block the first PCI-e slot.

Review at e-teknixs

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:07 am 
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I recommend two Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB sticks, instead of four 4GB sticks. Ballistix Sport is very low profile.

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:45 am 
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Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Changed the RAM to this one, it looks like this is the lowest-profile stick I can get from my retailer: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(2x8gb)-corsair-ddr3-desktop-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-11-11-11-30-15v

Also changed the mobo to this one, because it allows use of fan xpert for intelligent fan profiles... Just in case that big-ass heatsink turns out to be insufficient and I need a failsafe under load. http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8b ... ie-30-(x16)-d-sub-(vga)-dvi-d-atx

Regarding case, I will need access to that one free PCIE slot for firewire. And I could still even use the obstructed slot by adding an extension cable, right? From what I'm reading, I'm starting to think that adding a case to a completely fanless setup like this does nothing but increase temperatures. Strongly considering just screwing everything to a piece of perspex or wood and leaving it all in plain view: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing ... pc-1090142


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:26 am 
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Location: UK
I would second the suggestion of a Streacom passive case. You only have a 45W CPU so a PicoPSU will nicely pair up with this. The NoFan CPU cooler without a very openly ventilated case will not allow you to get the heat out of the system, the same as if you were to use a normal heatsink and set it up passively.

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:48 pm 
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I think I'll go the route of custom-building, in order to show off that heatsink and preserve as much airflow as possible. Something as simple as laying the components flat and putting them between two layers of plexiglas, separated by 'stilts' could work..


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Location: Germany
Geissler wrote:
I think I'll go the route of custom-building, in order to show off that heatsink and preserve as much airflow as possible. Something as simple as laying the components flat and putting them between two layers of plexiglas, separated by 'stilts' could work..


You won't have any protection against EMV that way. If this matters to you, i cannot tell.


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:34 am 
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What do you mean by EMV? Electromagnetic... ___ ?

While googling it I found something rather amusing: http://www.emfblues.com/3-Hole-EMF-Prot ... ction.html


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:16 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 612
Location: Germany
Ja, EMV seems to be the german term.

I normally won't give a ... on radiation and electrical fields, but a guy i know insisted on running his PC with all side panels stripped off.

He experienced some weird things with electrical devices in direct neighbourhood to the PC, even his mobile missed some calls every now and then.

The day i covinced him to put the panels back on, all that irrational stuff went away and never came back. So the ECE standard in Europe isn't there for nothing in the end, i'm afraid.

YMMV.


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:06 am 
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PC components can be nice radio interference sources - just think of all that stuff switching at 100-4000MHz. A metal case stops most of the emissions (not coupled to cabling).

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:38 am 
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Hmm, this is actually a concern for me.. It would completely defeat the purpose of this build if it caused interference with my guitars or microphones. Will have to re-think this, possibly with a macho HR-02 as the CPU cooler so that the whole thing fits inside a Fractal R4, which I hear is about as quiet as you can get.


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:55 am 
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depending on the frequencies i believe chicken wire or probably something with smaller holes would work for emv but im not completely sure, i believe it just needs to be a faraday cage with small enough holes for higher frequencies. then you can still have it essentially open for ventilation purposes but could be negative for estatics i supose


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:23 am 
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Interesting. Does anyone know whether something like this do the job, with 1.5mm holes? The computer will be near speakers and monitor..
http://compare.ebay.co.uk/like/12098599 ... sbar&cbt=y


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:16 am 
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Posts: 19
Hi,

EMV or EMC (British) is down to (half) wavelength of the holes or gaps in the case. The digital signals are now in the GHz range and the rise/fall times are fast so the harmonics are significant at 3, 5, 7... times the clock frequencies. Fortunamtely those higher freqencies are very directional so they won't go round a bend. So a good (theoretical) case vent design has either a punched hex grille or a grounded wire grille and a grounded metal plate covering the hole with, say, an inch gap for air flow. The same kind of layout used to kill accoustic noise from the case front. Avoid case windows.

A simple test is to put your mobile phone inside the case (plugged in but switched off for grounding) and see how many bars of signal you get vs. outside the case. Same frequency range.

As for passive, convection cooling, I've toyed with the idea of a chimney to passively boost air flow. See [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_effect[/url] for details.
e.g. For a 1m long, 125mm diameter pipe, 40degC (above ambient) inside the case, the equations predict up to 28 cubic feet per minute. That's the same range as a single fan.

Might be interesting to see if a length of 5" vent pipe on a top-exhaust case would work! Tape or glue to an old fan chassis for mounting.

From my own experience, a good 120mm fan running slow will solve most heat problems and is virtually silent, at least when new.

Have fun,
--Dave_G.


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:39 am 
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Ok, this is dredging up really old and dusty knowledge, so take it with a grain of salt.

Worst case: If I were designing an RF oscillator or tuner, I'd want material that's <1/10th the wavelength of the highest frequency of concern.

1GHz sine wave has a wavelength of 0.3m. 2.5GHz sine -> 12cm.

But, CPU clock isn't a sine wave, more of a trapezoid. So, there are significant harmonics. I'd design for blocking up to the 5th harmonic using holes no bigger than 1/10 it's wavelength.

5th harmonic is 12.5GHz. Wavelength is 24mm. 1/10 wavelength is 2.4mm :)

Reality check: size of the fan vent holes in a typical case are much larger and all OEM PCs supposedly meet FCC's Part 15 and IEC's CISPR Publication 22 class B limits. Here's a fun Intel pdf from 1999: Design for EMI.

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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:50 am 
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Location: Norway
About the chimney and the stack effect this is realy an interesting idea: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/82456/comptake-demonstreert-passieve-koeler-met-holle-pijpen.html

Hope Comptake can deliver this to the market soon...

Maybe you can succeed with your own version!


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:37 pm 
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OK guys, thank you, I feel safer going for the caseless build knowing that I can always resort to the wire solution if I have interference problems!


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 Post subject: Re: 100% passive yet powerful build needs case
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Geissler wrote:
OK guys, thank you, I feel safer going for the caseless build knowing that I can always resort to the wire solution if I have interference problems!

and thats exactly why god created modders mesh!

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