Someone asked recently what my system was and I answered by saying I have so many on the go & being ripped up & down that it's hard to say. That's not totally true. One system has been a mainstay for most of my serious writing, publlishng, web browsing and email for quite a while. The contents and config of this system changes, but the case & HDDs have not changed.
A couple days ago, I had a glitch that froze the PC and didn't allow power on after shutdown. I knew it was something related to the PSU, so I left the old PSU in place and just patched in another one in a hurry and left the new PSU outside the case. This morn, I was tidying up the case & decided I'd see what happens with the PSU left on the outside: I simply removed the old PSU and left the new one out.
Here are a couple pics:
Superpower Landmark ATX-298U
mid tower case -- very sturdy, totally easy lift off sides, all grills cut away, high density carpet underlay on inside of side covers. Old -- no front ports at all. Bottom of the front bezel is cut away for great airflow. This bottom intake slot hangs over the 1.5" thick piece of closed cell foam the whole PC sits on top of -- to eliminate whatever vibration is left from getting into the floor. Only serious problem with this case has been dust. I keep telling myself I have to do some Bluefront-type filter mods, but never seem to find the time, I do vacuum and wipe down in there occasionally, esp. the HS and HDD area. Amazing how quickly dust builds up; HS give better performance w/o dust.
AOpen AX4GE Max P4
mainboard -- the one used in the SilentTek review
Zalman 7000 copper
HS @~4V (fanmate1 on 5V feed)
Zalman 300A PSU
- Panaflo 80L modded -- it was nearby when I had my emergency! Seems to run ~5V
Matrox G400 Max
32mb VGA dual head; stock cooler with 40mm fan replaced with Zalman NB passive cooler (thermal adhesive) -- cooled with a Panaflo 80L @ 5V hanging off the back of the card w/elastic -- see photo -- with 4-PCI slot covers open below AGP port. Still love this thing; try others but keep going back -- as long as I am using analog VGA outputs. When I go to dual DVI, then it will be replaced. Maybe with a new 650 Matrox?
- SCSI card for old scanner
- PCI USRobotics hardware modem
- 2 Panaflo 80L fans @5V
As you can see, the PSU is just sitting on top of the case, with 2 thick weatherstripping foam pieces as feet. The wiring is routed through the PSU hole in the case. It's Panaflo 80L modded.
The 2 Seagate Barracuda IV 40G drives have been my main drives for over 2 years. One holds the OS & programs, the other holds ALL my data, which I place in My Documents
. Things like My Favorites, email files, address book -- everything that Windows normally squirrels away in all kinds strange cubbyholes are here in simply named folders. This makes maintenance and backup really easy:
I do uncompressed backup of the Data drive to an external USB or network drive every evening. If the PC goes wonky for any reason, I just pull out the data drive, plonk it into any other Windows machine and I am ready to pick up where I left off in 5-10 minutes of reassigning Special Folders using TweakUI (MS utility).
The drives are suspended in an old 5.25" drive cage (same one shown in my original HDD suspension article) with sewing shop elastic cord -- quite stretchy and spingy; the HDDs really float in there. The Panaflo 80L @ 5V in front is also suspended the same way. The assmbly just sits in the front bottom. You can see the front intake fan grill is completely cut away -- two actually -- an 80mm hole and a 50mm hole.
Here's what it looks like with the HDD cage in place.
With the internal PSU, I had a Panaflo 80L case fan on EAR grommets at 6V. It measured ~20 dBA/1m. With the case closed, the noise level has not changed subjectively with the PSU on the outside. I've had it this way for 2 days now, and I notice no difference from before. There is no high freq noise from this at all, only a tiny bit of a lower frequency whirr -- from the fans, I think. No seek noise at all -- either heard or felt on the case.
Since moving the PSU outside, all the temps have dropped by 5~6C. In 22C ambient & (folding @ home 24/7)
- CPU: 52C
- Sys: 44C
- HDDs -- top: 37C, bottom: 35C
- PSU: it's barely moving ainy air but what exhaust there is feels cool to the hand. Gotta be the coolest PSU exhaust air I have ever felt. This is while folding, with ~120W power draw. Power draw is 80W at idle.
I did check at idle briefly -- I think the CPU fell to ~30C or even less. No change in HDDs.
So far, this new arrangement is a success: It's certainly no noisier with one less fan and temps are lower across the board. The only downside is that if I get sloppy while hacking under the hood, the PSU could fall off, yanking components on the end of cables, and break itself, too. BUt it is easier to work inside because there is so much more room...
Anyway, for whoever asked (there were a few) this is one of my reference systems. It is a fast system that I can multitask w/o problem -- I have no need for any more speed for anything I do. Only Acrobat occasionally crashes, but it does that with every PC I've ever used! Under my desk, it is generally inaudible. And no one even sees the external PSU or wire mess (which is all tied together and strapped to the case).