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 Post subject: My Somewhat-Silent PC
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 3:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:39 pm
Posts: 27
Location: White Rock, BC
Hi,

I first heard of this great site from an article in the Georgia Straight.
I promised myself that when I upgraded computers, I'd try my hand at a silent PC.
Four months later, 'ere we go...

The noise making bits of my system:
Lian Li PC7
Enermax 365P-VE(FC)
AMD 2100xp w/ stock cooler
Asus AV78X
MSI Geforce 4200ti
Maxtor 60gb non-FDB
Liteon 48x CD-RW
ASUS 8x DVD

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My desk is built into an alcove, so there's no way to put it on the floor without having cabling issues; it sits about 2 feet from my ears (perhaps life would be simpler if I just drilled a hole in the desk, but hey, what fun would that be?).

In stock form, the thing was so loud that I literally couldn't hear myself think. I'd get mentally fatigued after an hour.
After trawling the site and forum I've done the following:

First step was to disconnect all the Lian-Li case fans. There are 2 intakes in the front and an exaust at the rear.

The stock AMD fan is a howler, so I installed a Thermaltake Volcano9 using the manual pot for fan speed. Strangely, at lowest setting (1850rpm), the fan emits a slight scraping sound which eases as RPMs are increased. I found the best compromise between scraping and fanblow turbulence was ~2500 rpm.
Had I known about other possibilities such as the Coolermaster CP5 series, I wouldn't have gone with the Volcano9.

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In any case(pun intended), there were improvements to be sure. With the fan noise under control, the Maxtor's bloody high-pitched whine needed addressing. I ended up using some foam from the Maxtor retail box of all things to make a basic foam sandwich. The foam fits perfectly in the U-canals of the 5 1/4 drive bay adapters:

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Sorry not the best pic. I didn't foam the top or bottom in the interest of heat dissipation.
However, the front was game:

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The 5 1/4 bay cover conveniently keeps the foamies together. Drive whine was nicely reduced (sorry no decibel meter), but now it's quite warm to the touch. Frankly, I can't wait for this silly Maxtor to fail, so I can have an excuse to get an FDB drive.

With the HDD under control, the Enermax PS sounded more noticeable. Disconnecting the 92mm fan is easy enough. There was a 1 degree rise in MB and CPU temp according to ASUS PCProbe. FYI, the 80mm fan spins at 2500rpm. The exaust from the PS,now the system's sole exaust, is a fair bit warmer.

There's a huge difference in the two optical drives. The Liteon has such a banshee wail, that one just sits there thinking "you've got to be kidding!?!". The Asus on theother hand, purrs like a kitten. The Asus seems to have far superior build with a belt driven drawer, etc.
However, I suppose it's simply the difference in spinning speed- 48x vs. 8x.

To summarize:

-All case fans disconnected
-AMD stock CPU fan replaced with Volcano9@2500 rpm
-Enermax 92mm fan disconnected
-Silly Maxtor foamed up.

Image

After all this faffing about, PCprobe claims:

54C CPU Idle
43C MB Idle

60 CPU w/ Load (after a few hours of Morrowind)
48 MB w/ Load

Although the case is now warm to the touch, the numbers suggest it can take more heat, no? I'm concerned with the sorry airflow of the system.

Also, it doesn't look like the big Zalman VGA heatsink will fit; the RAM clips and Northbridge look like they're in the way?

Overall, the machine is quieter now, but it's still annoying. Does anyone have any suggestions? Go for that Coolermaster CP5-7JD1b-0L perhaps?
Panel damping? Or maybe just throw the Maxtor out the window?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 4:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 262
Location: Worcester, UK
Have you had a look at decoupling the HD? That should give some good reductions.

I think you should be ok with the zalman VGA HS, tho im sure someone who has one can add something regarding this.

I dont use AMD, but i think you could improve the CPU heatsink. Theres a socket A HS roundup on this site.

After that i think the Enermax is probably the weak point, but theres plenty of info here in the forums and on the main site about what you can do about this... :)

A little tidy up of the cables might help to improve air flow too :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: My Somewhat-Silent PC
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Mike Sae wrote:
First step was to disconnect all the Lian-Li case fans. There are 2 intakes in the front and an exaust at the rear.

So basically, you have no case fans now, right? That's probably okay as long as you don't add more expansion cards or hard drives to your system.

Quote:
Frankly, I can't wait for this silly Maxtor to fail, so I can have an excuse to get an FDB drive.
Why wait? I'm sure you're helping it along with all that foam, but I think the most cost (and time) effective way for you to lower your HD noise is to just buy a 60 or 80GB Barracuda IV (around US$90-100), and then sell your Maxtor on eBay (recoup US$60-70). Better to be out US$20 now and get months of silence than to give your HD early heat death and have to dish out full price for a new drive.

Quote:
Disconnecting the 92mm fan is easy enough.
Don't forget to remove it as well. You don't need a big hunk of plastic fouling up the only air pathway out of your case. Same thing goes for the exhaust fan above the video card.

Quote:
There's a huge difference in the two optical drives. The Liteon has such a banshee wail, that one just sits there thinking "you've got to be kidding!?!"[snip] I suppose it's simply the difference in spinning speed- 48x vs. 8x.
Really not much you can do about this. Check this thread for suggestions on optical drives. But do note that DVD drives spin their media at about the same RPM (about 9000RPM for 16x DVDs) whether they are reading DVDs or CDs. The "x" speed is based off of a base data transfer rate (150 kB/s for CD, 1.25MB/s for DVD), not off of a base RPM rate (for which companies use 200 RPM for CDs and about 500 RPM for DVDs).

Quote:
Also, it doesn't look like the big Zalman VGA heatsink will fit; the RAM clips and Northbridge look like they're in the way?
If you want to quiet your video card, you could probably just unplug the stock fan and then use fishing line or cable ties to secure a Panaflo to the card. You'll lose a PCI slot, but it looks like you've got plenty anyway.

Quote:
Overall, the machine is quieter now, but it's still annoying. Does anyone have any suggestions? Go for that Coolermaster CP5-7JD1b-0L perhaps? Panel damping? Or maybe just throw the Maxtor out the window?
I was just reading Akira Kurosawa's Something Like An Autobiography, and at one point he quotes some ancient poetry that goes "For your sword, use the Full Moon Dragon Blade." I'm not entirely sure how that's relevant, I'm not even sure it's especially poetic, but the poem at SPCR more or less goes: "For your heatsink, use a Thermalright with a Panaflo." Your choice of the AX-7, SK-7 or SLK-800, and you'll probably have to run the Panaflo at 12V. Oh, and if you want to be able to lug your system around without worrying about breaking your CPU core, the Swiftech MCX-462U is probably a better choice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 8:07 am
Posts: 47
Your hard drive is gonna get fried to a crisp...Maxtors are notorious for their heat output.

I'd say to ditch it and get a Seagate. :D


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 Post subject: re:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:39 pm
Posts: 27
Location: White Rock, BC
Thanks for the input!

Weasel: I'm going to attempt that aluminium HDD sandwich tomorrow. I'll use rubber bands instead of 4 bolts to secure the 2 plate together- see what happens. Also, I'll try Blu-tack as a damper between the case and HDD.

Justin-
Quote:
So basically, you have no case fans now, right?


Right. The only exaust is the 80mm PSU fan.

Quote:
Don't forget to remove it as well. You don't need a big hunk of plastic fouling up the only air pathway out of your case. Same thing goes for the exhaust fan above the video card.


IIRC, someone here mentioned how leaving the fan in or better yet, closing off the 92mm hole is better for the PSU (convection effect?).
I wanted to close up the rear holes so less noise escapes, but I see what you mean about the only air pathway. Forgot to mention there's an empty blowhole on top of the case.
Still, I'm removing the rear fan right now!

I remember seeing some Coolermasters and Swiftechs at a local shop awhile back. I'll check again tomorrow, and hopefully pick one up.

I see a Seagate coming on very soon :)

PS Justin,

Have the Akira Kurosawa reprints rolled into Philly yet? They're playing in Vancouver this month. Lovely....


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 Post subject: Re: re:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2003 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 10:41 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Boston, MA
Mike Sae wrote:
IIRC, someone here mentioned how leaving the fan in or better yet, closing off the 92mm hole is better for the PSU (convection effect?).
I wanted to close up the rear holes so less noise escapes, but I see what you mean about the only air pathway. Forgot to mention there's an empty blowhole on top of the case.
Still, I'm removing the rear fan right now!


If you are debating about closing fans to help noise, close the fans in front, and put some sound - breaking material on the wall behind the case (a cloth might not look as bad as acoustic foam). That all-wood desk just *can't* be an effective sound blocker.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 5:58 am
Posts: 152
Location: Fairfax, Virginia, USA
No matter which CPU heatsink you go with, I'd use a 92mm panaflo mounted on a Zalman FB123 fan bracket. Undervolt it to 7V and you should stay plenty cool. Then mount a second 92 or 80mm Panaflo to the FB123 over your Ti4200. You probably won't need the Zalman VGA heatsink, and this will also cool your northbridge. And the 2 Panaflos should be pretty much silent.

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Last edited by jamoore9 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2003 10:28 am
Posts: 85
There are some generic heatsinks at allelectronics.com. You can put those on your hard drive and use zipties to secure it tightly on the aluminum part. This way you don't void the warranty by messing up that sticker and it's on tightly. Would this work? I haven't actually tried it; I just thought it up now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:39 pm
Posts: 27
Location: White Rock, BC
Thanks guys,

I've since ditched the Volcano 9 and Enermax and replaced them with the Zalman 6000HSF and PSU.

The Enermax and Thermaltake, while advertised as "quiet" solutions are anything but. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

At any rate, since installing the Zalmans, I run all my case fans at 5 volts; they're mounted with bluetac and can hardly be heard. My case runs much cooler now compared to the config in the pics.

The PSU, a big improvement over the Enermax, is still the loudest component. When I get a chance I'll remove the thermistor from the heatsink and see how it reacts.

Panaflos are the next step (need to import them into Canada, AFAIK.)

JoF, I'm planning to use Coolermaster RAMsinks on the HDD...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:39 pm
Posts: 27
Location: White Rock, BC
Quote:
The PSU, a big improvement over the Enermax, is still the loudest component.


Correction, the MSI GF Ti4200 is definately the loudest bit. I mistook its droning fan for the PSU. Damn, that Zalman PSU is quiet :)

Time for a Zalman HP 80, then!

If it fits on an Asus A7V8X. Anyone?


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 Post subject: Zalmaned!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:39 pm
Posts: 27
Location: White Rock, BC
Since fully Zalmaning my PC, the rather loud PC pictured above has transformed into the pretty damn quiet one below:

Image

Image

Image

Yes, I know the wires are a mess, but with the 7v adaptors and such, that's as good as it's gonna get :oops:

Installing the ZM80A is a pleasure. One can really appreciate the genius of it during assembly. The sinks are warm to the touch and I have no stability issues. My only complaint being the tubes of thermal paste contain more air than paste.
BTW, no install problems with MSI GF4 Ti-4200 and Asus A7V8X.

The Zalman ZM300A-APF is a lovely PSU. Far more quiet than a single fan Enermax "Whisper". I don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said in Mike C's review.

The 6000cu works a charm as well. For some reason it ran really hot the first night but settled in the next day. Overnight it went from 69c under load to 59c load. Weird- I don't know how to explain it and I'm not complaining. The airflow from the 92mm mounted on the Zalman bracket certainly helps the ZM80A.

Anyways, the loudest thing is now the suppressed (oppressed :) ) idle whine from the pre-FDB Maxtor 60gb. That's next to go.

Also, I suppose the oft mentioned Panaflos won't hurt.
Somebody mentioned that undervolted Coolermaster fans are pretty quiet?

I'm really impressed with Zalman's CNPS tech. I'm a fan! (pun intended) I wonder if they have plans for a Smartdrive-like device?


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