For the last 2.5 years I have used an Asus Eeebox (4) Eee Box B202 | N270 | Vertex 32GB
) for my daily computing. Over time the fan in that computer has become louder. So it was time to build a more quiet system. When looking at the pile of computer parts I have, I noticed that I didn't even have to buy any new ones. These are the parts I picked:
- Hush Mini-ITX case with powersupply (motherboard died years ago)
- Intel D525MW Atom Mini-ITX Motherboard
- 2x2GB memory (can't remember the brand or type)
- Intel 320 Series 40GB SATA 2.5" SSD (system disk)
- OCZ Vertex II 180GB SATA 2.5" SSD (music storage)
- Generic PCI riser card
- 3Com 3C905-CTX 100Mb netword card
- 92mm Nexus fan
- Rubber fan mounts
- Some cables
Partly assembled system (bigger picture)
- This motherboard has only two SATA connectors and no IDE connectors, so de optical drive is going to be completely useless. Except for hiding cables of course
- The SSD tray is mounted in the case with two sticky thermal interface pads. If they are still sticky after 10 years, then they'll stay sticky for a while longer.
- Note that I left out the I/O shield. It will become clear why in a bit.
Some more assembly done (bigger picture)
- There were another two strips of sticky thermal interface pad attached to the inside of the HD-cover. I used them to attach the second SSD to the top of it.
- Almost all the cables added too. The SATA cables aren't very tidy, but there is no need for airflow below the network card anyway.
As you might have noticed from the pictures above, there is a big (well for mini-ITX anyway) heatsink attached to the motherboard in a different location than the original VIA boards this case was designed for over 10 years ago. The original cooling solution with an aluminum block and a heatpipe won't fit. So I needed to cut a hole in the top cover and attach a fan to it. Since the heatsink is about 9cm long, I choose a 92mm fan.
Before cutting the aluminum top cover I created a cardboard prototype. After testing the system, I decided to move the fan a little bit forward (bigger picture)
The top cover was too thick to cut with tin snips. So I had to drill a circle of holes and then cut everything out with a dremel. I had enough cutting disks, but not enough drum sander bands to clean up everything. So the out of pocket costs for my "new" computer was a little over €2 for a set of sanding bands.
And finally the completely assembled system (bigger picture)
The computer is running Xubuntu 14.04. The system is sitting in a rack below the printer next to my desk. I bridged the network card and the on-board network. Then I plugged the cable from my network printer into the 3C905 network card. This saves me from having to run another long network cable or buying a switch (which power supply would probably occupy another two slots of the power strip).
The fan is set at a constant 30% PWM in the BIOS and is running at a speed of a little more than 720RPM. There are no other noise makers in the system. I need to stick my head close to the computer before I hear it. I certainly can't hear it, when I am sitting at my desk.