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 Post subject: Sigma One--pretty much dead silent for WWW, E-mail and Music
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:00 pm 
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This is my silent rig project, the NgTechnik Design Sigma One. Where I sit, my head is approximately four feet away from the closest part of the system, and there is a heavy tabletop between my ears and the system as well. When no music is playing from the system (quite seldom), and it's late at night with no traffic out on the street, my 15" LCD display is audible over the system itself. This is probably because of two reasons: firstly, the system is that quiet, and secondly, the LCD is only about two to three feet away from my ears, and directly in front me, a prime position to be at if you want to make sure I hear you. If I turn off my system (basically never except to perform mods on it), I'll tell it to perform shut down, then reach forward and turn off the LCD, I'll hear it go off, and then believe it or not, I'll go to turn off my surround receiver, and I then notice it get even quieter!!! This is even before Sigma One itself has completed soft shutdown, so in other words, the computer is already so quiet that I can even hear both my LCD display and my surround receiver's normal running sounds (a very faint buzz and a very faint hum, respectively) in the room along with the computer itself. The system, however, is still just barely audible from where I sit, so there is still a tiny bit of room to grow in terms of silence, but I'm posting here anyway to show how it looks so far, since I might just leave it like it is, and also to perhaps get some suggestions or advice on where to go from here.

I had posted for a while before, during and after the completion of this project.. By the suggestions of several readers that replied to my thread posts on the Anand, Sharky, Sudhian and Sysopt forums, I am posting the pics here at SilentPCReview.Com. The images are hosted by Earthlink, off the server I have with them to host my web site, NgTechnik.Com. Here are the system specifications:

InWin IW-V523G black steel microATX minitower enclosure with cold air side intake duct,

Fortron FSP300-60PN steel ATX PSU with 120mm super quiet fan remounted using Antec Noise Killer 120 kit,

ASUStek P4B533-VM microATX i845G-based socket-478 mainboard with factory stock passively cooled northbridge,

Intel Pentium 4 2.0A, running at 2220MHz (444MHz quad-pumped FSB), at stock voltage of 1.525V, passively cooled

1 512MB piece of Crucial PC2100 DDR SDRAM at 148MHz (3:4 ratio, DDR296) at stock voltage with timings of 5-2-2 CAS 2.0,

Thermalright SP-94 HS, mounted through mainboard, with a perfectly applied layer of Arctic Silver V; I spent something around an hour putting on that thermal conductivity material, and will be putting up an editorial at my web site, NgTechnik.Com, about my method to perfect application of thermal conductive material, when I get around to writing it; the CPU is passively cooled by this HS thanks to my efforts, idling around 35C and peaking around 65C under load (at 2220MHz),

Seagate ST340014A parallel-ATA HDD mounted within Zalman ZM-2HC1 passively heatpipe cooled HDD mount with thick rubber mounts; this silent cooling system not only keeps my drive running quite comfortablly (MBM 5 is reporting the drive's S.M.A.R.T. sensor as detecting an average daily temp. of 35C), but completely eliminates translation of drive resonance into the system enclosure,

Visiontek Xtasy brand ATi Radeon 9600-based 128MB graphics adapter with factory stock passive cooling,

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro sound board,

Netgear GA302T gigabit ethernet adapter

and the already very quiet 80mm exhaust fan that came with this case, mounted using an Antec Noise Killer 80 kit, and slowed down using a Zalman Fanmate.


The rest of the system (outside the box) is detailed at my web site, again: NgTechnik.Com. If you want the entire story behind the NgTechnik Design Sigma One, please go there to check it out. Please keep in mind that these images were shot before I received the a new, quieter optical drive and the Antec Noise Killer kits, and before I went out and bought the gigabit ethernet adapter to hook up to Alpha Two (my power rig), so they won't show up. Now, I'll post up just the most important images, with (very) brief captions:

Image
This is the front view; that off-black optical drive is a Lite-On 24X burner that has already been replaced with a blacker (is that a word?) Samsung SD-816 DVD-ROM drive.

Image
Here's the side view, showing the truly critical cold air duct that allows me to passively cool that overclocked P4.

Image
This is a shot of the rear, to see how that PSU looks. The Antec Noise Killer mounting for the exhaust fan is not visible due to the shot being taken when it was.

Image
This is a shot showing how the factory stock InWin cold air intake duct looks, from the inside of the side panel.

Image
Here's a closer shot, showing how the duct lines up to the CPU & HS, which clearly, have no fan mounted directly to them.

Image
Another, bigger shot of the side panel assembly, and a shot of the 80mm exhaust fan that's rheobussed (another word I made up) by a Zalman Fanmate (barely visible). Again, the Antec Noise Killer 80 kit wasn't installed yet when this image was shot.

Image
My attempt at shooting a pic of the hard drive and its passive heatpipe cooling system. See anything? :wink:

Image
An overall shot of the system hardware; visible here are the passively cooled CPU, northbridge and VPU, and the massive 120mm underside intake of Fortron's truly wonderful (particularly for its [email protected] pricetag!!!) super quiet PSU.

Image
A much closer look at the central hardware core. Once more I'll state that the Antec Noise Killer 120 kit wasn't installed yet when I took this shot, so that PSU was still unmodded in this pic.

Image
Here's the lower end of the core. Missing here is the as-yet-to-be-installed at-the-time gigabit NIC, which has a neat little passively cooled heatsink on it. :D


And that's about it for the system itself. Please check out my homepage, which is, once more for the sake of it, at HTTP://WWW.NgTechnik.Com/. And please let me know what you think! I am taking suggestions, so please voice your opinion. I am currently considering switching to a the 40GB Samsung Spinpoint drive that's available from NewEgg.Com for $60, and mounting it in a SilentDrive enclosure from QuietPCUSA.Com. If I do that I'll also order 120mm, 92mm and 80mm Acoustifans from them, one of each. The 120mm one will replace the fan that's inside the PSU, the 80mm one will replace the current exhaust fan (also through that Fanmate) and the 92mm I will install onto the SP-94 through another Fanmate I have laying around, so that I can take the CPU higher; it works fine now and I can even go to 2340MHz with an FSB of 117Mz, but the problem is that in its current, passively cooled state it overheats after a duration of heavy load; it does 2340MHz just fine if just mildly cooled actively, but I don't want to do that unless it's at least as quiet as the setup is now, if not even quieter. Finally, I'm also considering some sort of full-system foam noise isolation, but I have a feeling that in such an already quiet system, that won't help much; would it?

-Ed

EDIT: Images cropped and/or resized.


Last edited by Edward Ng on Thu May 20, 2004 7:46 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:02 am 
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edwardng - WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

Thanks for coming over here to post this. It fits in very well with what we do here at SPCR. Actually we've already been talking about your system in this thread (although it did wander OT into a discussion over semantics).

You'll probably be interseted in this guy's system. He's done almost the same thing as you and even used the same case.

edwardng wrote:
I am currently considering switching to a the 40GB Samsung Spinpoint


I'd be careful about going with that version. It's built on a different platform than any of the other Spinpoint SP80 series of drives and may not have the same acoustics (although it may be even quieter than the larger drives, but we don't know, not having tested one :) ) as the larger drives. You might want to ask around as see if anyone has experience with the 40GB drive as well as the larger drives so you can get a comparison of them. I have both the 8MB and 2MB versions of the 160GB drive and absolutely love them. They're both as quiet as my older Barracuda IVs and run much cooler plus they're faster too. A very nice drive.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:44 am 
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It is interesting to hear that the 40GB Spingpoint is of entirely different design...

What is the quietest Samsung Spinpoint that people have tried around here? And is it safe to run it in the SilentDrive enclosure?

Oh and, thanks for the warm reception, LOL. I didn't know I had caused quite a stir over on that other thread. :shock: But yeah when I save passively cooled I, personally, mean no active cooling directly attached. It'd be virtually impossible to get away with the system I am using without any active cooling in the entire system; I just don't know how much heat the overclocked CPU, the VPU and the HDD would combine to create inside a zero flow environment.

Say, has anyone tried using a foam sound dampening kit on a system that's already this quiet? Does it help at all? I might get a set of nibblers and cut out the grill behind the exhaust fan to reduce air turbulence noise, and if the SilentDrive doesn't pan out, maybe I'll try the foam dampening kit, and try to dampen as much of the 5.25" bay that my HDD is in.

-Ed

PS Oh and I mean this thread here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:44 am 
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edwardng wrote:
It is interesting to hear that the 40GB Spingpoint is of entirely different design...

What is the quietest Samsung Spinpoint that people have tried around here? And is it safe to run it in the SilentDrive enclosure?


There's only 2 different versions of the PATA Spinpoints available, the 120GB model SP1213N and the 160GB SP1614N. Both use 2 x 80GB platters so they should sound identical. There is supposedly a single platter 80GB version (SP0812N) but it's never been for sale in the US.

DO NOT put it in a SilentDrive. These things are awful. The one you want is the "SmartDrive". Use the search here to find out more about this. MikeC reviewed the Smart Drive on the main site. Any Spinpoint should work fine in a SmartDrive as they run very cool anyway.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:53 pm 
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Are the dual-platter Spinpoint drives still quieter than my ST340014A?
I also noticed the strange thing about that review in that he indicates that an elastic mount is, in use, quieter than the Smart Drive, because not only was the drive inaudible at idle, but iwqas also inaudible during seeks (when mounted using elastics), but when it was in the Smart Drive, seeks were still slightly audible. My current situation is that the seeks are totally inaudible (still don't know what seeks on this drive sound like, even with my ear right up against the drive bay cover with Diskeeper defrag running), but its motor whine can be heard with my ear right up near the system (not against it, but very near, within a foot).

-Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 3:10 am 
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edwardng wrote:
...By the suggestions of several readers that replied to my thread posts on the Anand, Sharky, Sudhian and Sysopt forums, I am posting the pics here at SilentPCReview.Com...


Welcome aboard! I'm glad you posted over here, after we spoke at another forum. That's a great job you've done on your rig, as you know!


Ralf Hutter wrote:
...DO NOT put it in a SilentDrive. These things are awful...


That's not true at all. SilentDrive enclosures are not awful, they are perfectly acceptable so long as the drive spindle-speed is not faster than 5400rpm (as the manufacturer clearly states). They are especially effective when also used with foam mounting.

A 5400rpm SpinPoint drive would be an excellent match for use within a SilentDrive enclosure. In fact, many people use this combination of '5400rpm drive + SilentDrive enclosure' right now in their extra-silent HTPC rigs with great success (myself included).

However, the $60 SpinPoint drive mentioned above is (I believe) a 7200rpm model. Who knows, with the "cool-running" reports of the SpinPoints, perhaps even this drive would work just fine within a SilentDrive (a select few 7200rpm drives do work fine within them) - but personally I would not use it with an untested 7200rpm drive model.

It's true that some careless people have fried their 7200rpm or faster drives in SilentDrive enclosures, but it is incorrect to blame a perfectly good enclosure unit when the actual problem was obviously user error.

8)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:18 am 
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edwardng wrote:
Are the dual-platter Spinpoint drives still quieter than my ST340014A?


Yes, definitely. Read the posts here to get an idea of people's impressions of the Seagate 7200.7 and the Spinpoints and I think you'll see a trend.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:34 pm 
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While I'm busy contemplating about the SpinPoint drives and Silent Drive or Smart Drive enclosure...

I'm beginning to notice my LCD's buzz more and more. Has anyone here noticed the sound produced by their display unit (CRT or LCD) other than myself? And has anyone taken action to deal with it? Because from my sitting position the LCD I'm using is more audible than the computer, and when I go behind my desk (doesn't happen too often but it does happen) I can very clearly hear the LCD; its buzz is probably about two to three times louder behind the LCD, but it is still quite audible in front of the thing, now that my computer is so quiet. I wish to do something to dampen the buzz being put out by my Samsung SyncMaster 151P, but can't figure out any good solutions.

Little help please? :D

-Ed

PS Just browsed around for some answers and just wanted to add that my 151P has an inline power block, so part of the power circuitry is not in the unit itself, and yet the buzz is clearly audible from behind the unit, and clearly coming from the unit itself (the extremely high-pitched buzz), and not the power block, which only emits a mid-low frequency hum, and that hum is only audible when I hold the block up and press it to my ear. Changing the refresh from 72Hz to 70Hz and from 70Hz to 60Hz yields no change in pitch or volume, either. Running out of ideas here. :?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:08 am 
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edwardng wrote:
I'm beginning to notice my LCD's buzz more and more. Has anyone here noticed the sound produced by their display unit (CRT or LCD) other than myself? And has anyone taken action to deal with it?
Little help please? :D


See my reply to your question here.

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 Post subject: Sigma One Updated!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 9:49 pm 
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Okay my Acoustifans from Acoustiproducts, which I purchased from QuietPC USA arrived last week and I have installed them, and have been living with them for a week before coming here to post on them.

I will update this thread as well as my web site with pictures of the changes I have made using these fans, first chance I get to shoot pictures and type it all up.

But to outline here what I've done, and how it's working out:

I ordered two full sets of Acoustifans. Two 80mm, two 92mm and two 120mm, and used them on both Sigma One and Alpha Three (I did a major overhaul on my power rig, Alpha Two, and as such have redesignated it to Alpha Three; I haven't mentioned it too much here at SilentPCreview just because it's not really silent).

For Alpha Three, I replaced the Sonata's 120mm exhaust fan with a 120mm Acoustifan, and replaced the Intel HSF with a Thermalright SP-94 and a 92mm Acoustifan unit. The exhaust fan is now attached to a 3.5" drive bay four-channel rheobus and mounted to a Zalman fan bracket to cool the overclocked video card; details on the modified card can be seen at my site, here, if you're interested in seeing it; the HSF in the card is also attached to the rheobus, and yes, I need to update the site because it still says Alpha Two.

For Sigma One, I replaced the 120mm fan in the PSU with a 120mm Acoustifan, by cutting the wires to the stock fan close to the fan, since it's soldered to the PSU board, then stripped about a half inch, folded them back, slightly twisted, and then pushed the bare leads into the power connected on the fans; perfect fit! The thermal diode for the fan was placed tightly against the heatsink in the PSU. Closed up the PSU and remounted it, then I replaced the 92mm exhaust fan that came with the case with a 92mm and placed its thermal diode right on top of the SP-94 that's in this system; I tried putting a 92mm Acoustifan on the SP-94 but its proximity to the PSU fan caused a wind turbulence sound, so I decided to skip on the fan for the CPU HS (so it's still got no fan on it) and then I went the extra distance and removed the fan grill on the PSU entirely.

As for my experience so far, I'll just put it this way:
As soon as I get off my lazy bum, I'll take a picture of how close my head is to my computer when I sleep at night, and let me just say this much; I hear virtual dead silence in my room when I sleep at nights, and Sigma-One is on 24/7.

Stay tuned for promised updates, including pics of the updated system with new fans, and even some open-PSU shots for your viewing pleasure.

-Ed

PS I am now considering a silentdrive enclosure for the Seagate ST340014A that's inside Sigma One, only because if I put my ear against the front of Sigma One, I can sort of hear the drive; I think I've reached the point of obsession with the possibility of absolute dead silent.


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 Post subject: New Pictures of the PSU Mod and AcoustiProducts AcoustiFans!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:43 pm 
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My full web site with full gallery of images can be seen here, but I'll post up some of the photos on the forums just for ease of access. I do recommend, however, to visit the site itself. All info on the site regarding this particular project is under the Sigma One link.

Overall rearside system view, with modded PSU and AcoustiFan for exhaust:
Image
The exhaust fan is mounted using an 80mm Antec Noisekiller isolation frame as well as the fan-included ear grommets.

Rearside close-up of modded PSU:
Image
Looking carefully, the AcousiFan's clear blades are visible through the low-air-impedance rear panel of the power supply.

Rearside close-up of the exhaust fan:
Image

Side view of the system with the side panel on:
Image
The heatsink of the CPU, which has no fan attached, is visible through the side panel duct that is included with this case. Cold air is pulled in through the duct due to negative internal case pressure induced by the exhaust fan and PSU fan, and having the front intake of the case sealed off.

Side view of the system with the side panel off:
Image
The very same shot as above, but with the ducted panel removed; lots to see here. The CD sleeve used to seal the front intake is clearly visible, as is the Thermalright SP-94 used to cool the processor, and the rear exhaust fan is visible, revealing the path taken by the cold air that comes in from the duct. Also noticeable is that the video card, Gigabit ethernet adapter and northbridge are also passively cooled items. The blue device mounted in the lower half-height drive bay is the hard drive, a Seagate ST340014A, mounted via a Zalman ZM-2HC1 passive heatpipe cooler with grounded rubber isolation mounts. The exhaust fan receives its power filtered through a resistor to reduce speed to silent levels, and the white wire coming from it is the thermal diode, which is mounted on top of the SP-94.

Here's the sealed PSU from below:
Image
The clear blades of the AcoustiFan cannot be more obvious; nor is the fact that the grill-guard has been removed. I did this to eliminate air impedance entirely; it can also be seen that wiring inside the PSU has been moved out of the way of airflow as much as possible.

An angled clamshell view of the open PSU:
Image
Here is a picture of the PSU wide open from below. The label on the fan reveals it for what it is. Visible, also, is that the white thermal diode wire wraps around the larger heatsink in the center, and how all the internal wiring was pushed over to the right side to prevent interference with air flow and fan blades.

Close-up of fan hook-up:
Image
This super close-up shows the 3-pin hookup from the fan-included resistor, circled in red, and where the wires from the PSU connect to the resistor, circled in yellow. The stock fan was hardwired, so I snipped the wires as close to the original fan's motor as possible to give myself plenty to work with. Then I stripped about 3/5" of sleeving off the little wires, folded back half of the bare lead, twisted 3 times, and inserted the bare leads directly into the 3-pin connector, for a snug fit; it looks clean and neat, and is tight as a button!

Close-up of inline resistor:
Image
And circled in red in this close-up shot is the resistor that comes with all AcoustiFans. It is mounted to the side, clear of spinning blades and moving air.

Close-up of internal heatsink with thermal diode wiring:
Image
In this massive close-up, the red arrow indicates approximately where the diode is located beneath the heatsink it is wrapped to. The obvious white wire is that of the diode.

Fuzzy shot of the actual diode:
Image
This, admittedly, out of focus close-up shot is an attempt to show you the diode itself, mounted underneath the heatsink; I circled it in red to make it more distinctly noticeable.

System exhaust from interior:
Image
Finally here is a shot of the exhaust fan from the interior, with the side panel removed. Visible is the Antec NoiseKiller isolation frame, which, honestly, does little now that I'm using a virtually zero-vibration fan (it sure helped with the stock case fan though). The fan's diode wire can be clearly seen running its way on up to the top of the SP-94.


I hope that this update is as informative as I think it is. If anyone has any questions at all about the system, the fans, my web site or myself, do feel free to reply to this thread, e-mail me at [email protected], or best of all, talk to me using AIM. My screenname is SoySalsaPicante.

-Ed

EDIT: Cropped and/or resized images.


Last edited by Edward Ng on Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Samsung SpinPoint SP1614N...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 10:21 pm 
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Going by several people's suggestions, I have put down an order for a Samsung SpinPoint drive. More specifically, I have an SP1614N on order from ZipZoomFly (aka GoogleGear). Here's a useful link. I'll update this thread once I receive the drive and get to evaluate it. I've had a ton of personal experience with different hard drives in my time, so I hope my knowledge of drives will allow me to provide useful insight into this product for those interested in it.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:47 pm 
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Got the drive today.

To make my life easy, I tried something new.

The drive that was in there, Seagate ST340014A (single 80GB/platter drive with only one head on one side of the platter, so 40GB total), was divided into two partitions. The first was a FAT32 partition of precisely 20.0GB, and the second was an NTFS partition of, "the rest," which was something close to 17GB. I had... "issues..." installing XP SP1 if the whole drive was just one 40GB NTFS partition; don't ask.

Anyway I had Norton SystemWorks 2004 Pro already installed, so I decided to see if there was a way to perhaps implement it to migrate to the new drive, and thereby save myself some 4 hours of software installation and configuration.

Queue the Disk Clone.

Turns out Norton Ghost, which is included in SystemWorks Pro, not only performs backups, but also has a Disk Clone function. I figure, "Ah, what the hell... why not?" Although I feared that it can't clone from a 40GB drive into a 160GB drive, I decided to try it anyway.

So I shut the rig down, open up the system, plug in the new hard drive where the optical reader is, for the time being, and booterrup.

I tell Ghost to perform a clone from the Seagate into the new Samsung drive, reboot and it starts cloning away.

I notice while it's doing this, that it clones the 20GB partition as 1/2, 20480MB and then the second partition as 2/2 (some crazy figure, same as the original size). I'm thinking to myself, "Oh great, now I've got a drive with two puny partitions and a chunk of empty space that'll be using up a third drive letter. Yay."

Finish it up, reboot, shut down. Swap drives, hook the optical reader back in, hit the power button and pray.

ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM she boots like lightning! It goes in, detects the new drive, and tells me to reboot. I reboot, WHAM ZAM THANK YOU MAM, another lightning fast boot and I'm all set. I go to System Management to fix up the extra space and found myself another nice surprise: Ghost cloned the old FAT32 partition onto the new drive into an 80GB partition, and the old NTFS partition into a new one taking up the rest of the 70GB! I am soooo happy.

And now for the really important part: Just how quiet is the Samsung SP1614N compared to a Seagate ST340014A?

It's quiet, very quiet.

I will, however, not say that it's definitely quieter than the Seagate, per say... However, the type of sound it produces is less intrusive. The Seagate (when housed inside my rig and mounted in the Zalman heatpipe cooler) has a minor high frequency ring to it. The Samsung, on the other hand, appears to produce a lower frequency sound signature.

Lower frequency is better.

Now so far I'm only speaking in general. But that is, in all honesty, not entirely fair; allow me to explain.

I'm comparing a drive that has 40GB capacity, a single platter, and only one head on that one platter (meaning only one side of the platter is used), to a drive that has two platters, and four heads (two per platter, one per side). Considering the Samsung is a far more complex drive, in reality, the Samsung really is a quieter drive.

That's not even factoring in performance and heat!

The Samsung is definitely cooler running. I would have to say a few degrees Celsius cooler running than the Seagate, as far as my own hands can tell (didn't do any formal temperature testing; sorry!). This bodes particularly well when you consider the Seagate has half the platters and a quarter the number of heads.

Finally, the Samsung totally, absolutely, smokes the Seagate. Normally, even if one drive is faster than the other, it's not a noticeable difference. In this case, however, not only is the Samsung faster, but it's noticeably faster. A noticeable difference is a major difference in my book. I'm going to attribute it to several factors, including:

1) 8MB of cache versus 2MB
2) While both drives are actually 80GB/platter drives, the 160GB drive has the majority of my useful data in the very front of the drive, because of its size, which leaves the data in a higher transfer rate zone.
3) Better optimizations of reading and writing patterns

This concludes my extra, extra informal comparison of the Samsung SpinPoint SP1614N to the Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ST340014A. I hope it was useful!

-Ed

PS With this I'll have to say that I am very close to done with the system. I'm not entirely sure if I want to spend around $40 for a drive silencing enclosure, or close to $100 for whole system sound insulation. I am considering the Antec Phantom fanless PSUs when they come out, but I need to seriously consider the impact that will have on system cooling, since it would dramatically reduce the vacuum effect that pulls cold air in through the duct over the CPU.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:46 pm 
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Do you think that removing the currently used duct and replacing it with one running from the 120mm rear exhaust fan onto the cpu heatsink would offer equal cooling performance?

I'm considering this for my next computer setup, as it's impossible to find a case with a side-duct down here and I cannot be arsed to create one myself.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:08 pm 
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Well it would probably work extremely well, except that my rear exhaust fan is 80mm. :?

If your case has a 120mm exhaust, like Alpha Three (an Antec Sonata case), I'd say it's worth trying. Keep in mind that if you plan to turn the rear 120mm exhaust into an intake, that this will put cold air onto the CPU, then the air warms up on its way into the case because of this, so it won't help to cool other devices in the system.

If you make the duct but keep it as exhaust, it means that the air used to cool the CPU is from inside the case, but ducted straight out, so the air cooling the CPU is warm from other system components; what it will do, however, is reduce overall case temps, because the heat from the warmest component, the CPU, is ducted right out.

The second scenario is more idea for total system cooling; the first scenario is better for CPU cooling, but worse for the rest of the system. Sigma One's cooling setup is great for achieving silent CPU cooling, but I rely on the rest of the system's components not needing decent amounts of cool, flowing air to keep them cool. For example, if I had a more powerful video card or a warmer running hard drive in Sigma One (or worse yet, more than one hard drive), the system as a whole would get hot fast. The first scenario outlined above (converting 120mm rear fan into an intake and ducting it straight onto the CPU) might suffer a similar penalty because using the rear fan as an intake has the poor side effect of a short air loop, where cold air comes in, cools the CPU, then gets sucked right back out through the PSU before helping out your video card or your hard drives, unless you keep a separate fan up front for cold air intake to help the drives out.

It's a delicate balance between proper air flow, sufficient cooling of the CPU, and satisfyingly low amounts of noise--unless water is involved, there's bound to be something given up (either silence factor, or performance in the form of needing cooler running components).

I personally keep a second rig for gaming and other heavy activities that require performance, and only turn it on as needed; since that machine has all the power I need, I decided to compromise performance for the quietest and coolest running components available (that happen to be on the more affordable side). I'm not sure if you're running just one machine, or can make the same trade-offs I did. This is the explaination to why I have both systems, Alpha Three and Sigma One.

-Ed

Edits: Added and modified that last paragraph right there. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:04 am 
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That's some good points you make there edwardng.

I'm hoping that a 120 mm rear fan exhaust + cpu duct will be enough to cool the cpu (as I don't really have any other excessively hot components in the computer), but I suppose that I could always add side cpu duct later on if it's not enough.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 1:35 pm 
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Exactly what CPU, case and heatsink for the CPU are you actually going to do this with?

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:21 pm 
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edwardng wrote:
Exactly what CPU, case and heatsink for the CPU are you actually going to do this with?

-Ed


- AMD64 3000+ (the new stepping),
- case is undecided atm, the only case with a cpu duct available down here (The Netherlands) is the Chenbro Gaming Bomb- suggestions for other cases available in dutch shops are welcome!
- CPU heatsink will be a Zalman 7000a alcu.
- HD Samsing 120/160gb sata.
- passively cooled radeon 70000 (not sure about the model, only 2d usage anyway)
- Nexus 3500N
- Rear exhaust fan: Papst 120mm or Nexus Real Silent 120mm

I'm going to try it with cpu fan first and if I feel the noiselevel is still too much I will try without a cpu fan.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:30 pm 
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If you can purchase components from the U.K. and have them shipped to you, you might want to consider AcoustiProducts' AcoustiFans.

I don't know if they're available in your area, but I personally prefer PSUs with 120mm fans, and the Fortron FSP300-60PN is pretty popular, and uses a 120mm fan. I know they're available at the same place in U.K. listed in the above thread for the AcoustiFans.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:32 pm 
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edwardng wrote:
If you can purchase components from the U.K. and have them shipped to you, you might want to consider AcoustiProducts' AcoustiFans.

I don't know if they're available in your area, but I personally prefer PSUs with 120mm fans, and the Fortron FSP300-60PN is pretty popular, and uses a 120mm fan. I know they're available at the same place in U.K. listed in the above thread for the AcoustiFans.

-Ed


The Nexus 3500N uses a 120mm fan, thanks for the input though!

Nexus is a dutch company so their stuff is relatively cheap down here...

My main problem right now is finding a nice case :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:12 pm 
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Oh, wow! I've gotta' take a look at that. Up 'til now, all the Nexus PSUs I've seen are single or dual 80mm fan. Thanks for the heads-up...

I'll try to find some good cases but it's hard for me to figure out what's actually available up your way; they don't sell Antec cases there? Antec makes a great many 120mm fanned cases.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm 
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edwardng wrote:
Oh, wow! I've gotta' take a look at that. Up 'til now, all the Nexus PSUs I've seen are single or dual 80mm fan. Thanks for the heads-up...

I'll try to find some good cases but it's hard for me to figure out what's actually available up your way; they don't sell Antec cases there? Antec makes a great many 120mm fanned cases.

-Ed


Yeah but only @ high price levels because they come with a PSU.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:13 pm 
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I just wanted to say that I did a quick read of MikeC's review of the Nexus 3500 PSU; when I saw the photos of the interior of the PSU, and, particularly, the heatsinks, I immediately noticed something interesting...

Scroll up from this message and look at the images of my PSU, the Fortron FSP300-60PN. Compare them; notice anything interesting? :wink:

Really, that doesn't surprise me much anyway.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:23 pm 
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Yeah they basically are the same, except for the fan.

Nexus is a dutch company though, so their products are pretty cheap where I live (The Netherlands).


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 7:47 pm 
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Nice! I wonder how it compares to my hand-modified piece. :D

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:15 pm 
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Edward Ng wrote:
Nice! I wonder how it compares to my hand-modified piece. :D

-Ed


I wouldn't be surprised if yours is better due to the higher quality fans you use.

I will be purchasing my new computer within a month, so we should be able to compare soon enough :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:32 pm 
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Shweet! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how your rig turns out. :D

-Ed

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 Post subject: Fujitsu MHT2080AT+SilentDrive=Silence
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:58 pm 
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I have lined the inside of the case now with "egg crate" foam and placed a double-layer of shipping foam sheeting at the floor of the case. Resting on that at the floor of the case is my new HDD setup.

I swapped out the Samsung SP1614N with Zalman ZM-2HC1 for a Fujitsu MHT2080AT mounted within a SilentDrive enclosure.

Here're the Motherboard Monitor results for the system in the past 17 hours (since swapping drives):
Image
Not bad, huh? And that's not even the best part.

There is now zero hard drive noise.

Zero.

No idle whine. No motor whir. No seek rumble. No recalibration chirps. Absolutely, positively, zero hard drive noise.

The only noise that can be detected from in front or to the side of the system, well, is basically nothing. This would be in my room, even at 2:00am in the morning (it's difficult for me to stay up until 3:00am or 4:00am like in the past due to my new job). If you press your ear up against the front bezel of the system or the side panels, then the minor air flow of the system can be audible. In the future, I plan to purchase Antec's new Phantom fanless PSU (assuming it does come out, whenever that finally does happen).

I'll try to shoot some pictures and post them up some time.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:28 pm 
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Perhaps OT.

I'm curious why you named your systems Alpha, Beta and Sigma? Why those Greek letters? Why not Upsilon (oopsilon) or Rho or Iota or Lambda or Mu or Nu or Psi (psee) or Pi (pronounced pee in Greek rather than pie as it is often pronounced in mathematics and the fraternity and sorority systems in the US)?

And what do the numbers represent? Iterations of system builds?

Alpha, Beta, Gamma at least would have been like ABC.
Was Alpha your first system and Beta your second, but then why Sigma?
Delta would have made sense if you were looking for a change.

Anyway, enough speculating.....what were your reasons?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2004 8:14 pm 
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Hehe; I guess it's not entirely clear enough on my web site. That, or maybe not everyone visits it, which is understandable. Or finally, it might just be that there's too much reading to do; that's fine, I get tired of reading sometimes, too.

Anyway, here's how it works:

Alpha systems are my personal power rigs. I started off the whole naming system with Alpha One a long time ago; it was an ABIT KT133A-RAID, T-bird [email protected] (w00000t phatty o/c!), 256MB of OCZ PC150 SDRAM, a GeForce4 Ti4200 o/c'd higher than a Ti4600 (the numbers no longer reside in my memory) and two RAID arrays. That's right, two; the OS/apps were on a pair of 15GB Deathstar 75GXPs with 16KB striping on a Promise FastTrak100. The second array was for A/V, Photoshop etc. and was quadruple WD400BBs with 256KB striping on a Promise FastTrak SX4000 w/256MB of cache. All of this was housed inside a really ghetto-modified Enlight 7237 with a TruePower330 PSU; I had hard drives velcro'd to the side panel and to the side of the hard drive cage because of the overcrowding; the CPU was cooled with a Thermaltake Volcano 7+.

It's reasons like Alpha One that I started getting sick of noise...

The numeral after the Greek symbol is the model in the series; as you see, I'm up to Alpha Three. I constantly am upgrading, so I decided that the best way to differentiate from one model to the next in series is by system enclosure. Come the first overhaul, Alpha Two was housed inside a modifed Thermaltake Xaser II (A6000A, with hand-cut top 80mm blowhole). The motherboard and CPU were changed many times in my bid for overclocking nirvana (which, alas, illuded (sic?!?) me). The machine had a Tbred-A 1800+, then a Tbred-B 1700+ (better stepping) and finally settled towards its end on a Barton 2500+ (which never did do better than 2230MHz 100% stably, to my dismay), on an ABIT NF7-S 1.0, then an ASUStek A7N8X Deluxe 2.0, and finally on a Gigabyte 7NNXP. I really did try way too hard with the thing. It had a Radeon 9500 128MB nonPro softmodded into a 9700 Pro (worked great 'til it up and died one day), cooled using a ZM80A-HP. If you dare to visit my old web site right here, you can see how the beast was cooled. The machine once again featured dual RAID arrays; it had a single Seagate Cheetah 15K.3 of 18GB (attached to the excellent value LSI Logic LSIU160 PCI U160 SCSI adapter) for OS/apps, a pair of WD400BBs in 64KB striping for cache/downloading etc. on the Silicon Image SATA RAID controller using SATA->PATA convertors, and finally quadruple Maxtor Diamond MAX Plus 9 6Y060L0 (60GB each) in 128KB striping for A/V, all attached through SATA->PATA convertors to a HighPoint RocketRAID 1540 adapter. The CPU was cooled using a Vantec Aeroflow at first, then later on with a Thermalright SLK-900A with a TMD fan on top. All of this was powered via an Antec TruePower 550 (is it just me, or do Antec PSUs run insanely #$^$%^ hot?!?). The RAM started as two pieces of GeIL Platinum PC3500 256MB DDR SDRAM; towards the end, another piece was added, a GeIL ULTRA Platinum PC3500 DIMM of 512MB for 1GB total.

My tolerance for noise was at the breaking limit at this point...

Finally, I decided that it was enough, and set out to make my life nicer by building Alpha Three. Coincidentally, the 7NNXP slow-deathed spectacularly, taking the Barton with it, so I took this opportunity to switch over to an Intel platform (I had also gotten sick of non-Intel chipsets, sorry to say). I decided on a Sonata, and put into it an ASUStek P4P800 and a P4 2.6C (it's doing 3120MHz) cooled using a Thermalright SP-94. The softmodded 9500 that died also was replaced, with a 9800 128MB, o/c'd to Pro speed. The insanely loud remaining pair of WD400BBs was finally dropped, leaving only the Cheetah and the four 6Y060L0s, now attached to a Promise FastTrak S150 TX4 instead of the HighPoint piece from before. It's all running off the PSU that comes in the Sonata. I switched to dual pieces of PNY Verto PC3500 of 512MB each, since the 865PE can only do dual channel with even numbers of sticks.

The difference from Alpha Two was dramatic, and suddenly, I realized the possibilities, having begun surfing this site for ideas on the build of Alpha Three. I came to the conclusion that instead of leaving Alpha Three on 24/7, I should build a new silent rig for my 24/7 duties, and just turn on Alpha Three for gaming/heavy duty work (I do tons of desktop publishing, high-res digital imaging etc.).

Before I talk about Sigma One, let me talk about other letters not mentioned at my site...

The Beta series were the second series of machines I started building; Beta machines are simply the machine my dear mommy runs. She's on Beta Two now, which is just a Gigabyte 7N400-L with that Tbred-A 1800+ I used to run on Alpha Two at one point. The PSU is the old True330 I had, and the video card is a rock solid Matrox Mill. G450 (love Matrox!). It runs a single WD400JB that once belonged in Delta One. Beta One was that T-bird 1G of mine from Alpha One, mounted to an ABIT KG7-RAID, mounted inside that Enlight 7237. Beta Two is in an InWin IW-A500.

Gamma One was a machine I built for my cousin; I forget the specs (man, I've built so many rigs by now!). I stopped numbering computers outside my home after that one.

Delta One was my dad's rig. It was an ASUStek P4B533-VM mounted inside a black InWin mATX low-profile desktop case with a single WD400JB, a low-profile Radeon VE adapter and a P4 2.0A. If these specifications look familar, they should...

Okay, going back to catching the silent bug, Sigma One came into the picture. My dad found that he never touched the little machine I built him, and I brought up the fact that my sound system had reached a point where its full potential just could not be appreciated with a noisy system. We decided that I would take Delta One and use its components for the purpose of building a new silent rig. This silent rig would act as my 24/7 communications platform and as my music front-end as well. The case for Delta One had the unfortunate problem of a seemingly proprietary PSU siz, and it was a noisy one, too. The lack of good ventilation was also going to be an issue, since I planned on minimal active cooling. I had built a machine for my cousin's friend's girlfriend (whoa) using a spectacular little InWin ATX minitower for mATX with a very useful side cooling duct, and decided to spring for one of them; plus, they were cheap, are were of typically good InWin build quality; plus, the standard-size PSU that it came with can easily be swapped.

So I moved the mobo and CPU into the new enclosure, then swapped out the stock InWin PSU for the Fortron-Source FSP300-60PN. I then swapped out Intel's pitiful stock cooler and replaced it with the ubersink: Thermalright's awe-inspiring SP-94. The rest is history.

As to the reason for Sigma One's name, it's sort of simple. Alpha was already taken by Alpha Three, even though Sigma One is also my own machine. I decided to go with Sigma because it's, "S for Silent."

That's about it!

-Ed

PS Oh yeah, BTW, the sound system that prompted my profoundly passionate search for absolute (perceived) silence is an Echo Audio MiaMIDI professional sound adapter hooked up via silver single-ended coax to an Onkyo TX-SR501 surround receiver, powering a pair of Paradigm Audio Reference Series Studio/20 loudspeakers via hand-made silver speaker cabling. The speakers are mounted to Atlantis Reference 28 stands, unfilled.

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