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 Post subject: Dampen front of case, but maintain airflow?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:30 pm 
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I notice that a significant amount of the remaining sound in my case is being heard through the front of my case.

I've used dampening material on the sides, top and bottom of my case. The back part there is some dampening material covering convenient areas (eg. not the small little areas between PCI cards). I have a few pieces at the front of the case behind unused CD-ROM doors etc. The remaining opportunity is to dampen the lower front of the case to reduce sound coming out the front of the case. The question is, how do I dampen but not overheat the hard drives (ie. without completely restricting airflow).

I'm assuming the typical dampening material will not allow enough airflow through it (and while most have some porosity...not really that much). The material I'm using right now is simple carpet underlay.

I have an extra low flow panaflo case fan that I can deploy somehow. I can blow air directly at the hard drive, I can try and suck air across it (but if I'm plugging the front grill will it do much?). The other thing I can do is put the fan at the top, side, or back of the case as a 2nd case fan.

Any words of wisdom for what I should do here (in particular, considering the materials I have mentioned)?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:09 pm 
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Not much you can do. You need an intake somewhere, which limits your options. You can go with a bottom intake, which is a current point of discussion, or have a vented baffle in front of the fan or fanless intake, such as the plastic front cover in front of the fan mounted on the metal frame. It can reduce intake, but sound can still escape... Which is the reason to start with low-noise components.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:20 pm 
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I'll soon be installing a Power-Snooze insulation kit and hope to have enough leftover 2.2mm barrier material to line the lower front intake portion of the front cover. I figure it should reduce the amount of noise that gets reflected off of the cover and case.

If you don't have any thin, suitable material maybe you could try cutting up a mouse pad to fit the cavity. Use double sided tape and see what it does to your temps and noise. If it works, make the installation permanent with a better adhesive if needed.

-- Eric


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:36 pm 
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You really can't expect much/any significant airflow through dampening material. It is quieter to seal off the front of the case completely. Then you
can bring air in from a bottom vent.

Yes it requires some modding as no case I know of relies on a bottom intake for airflow....it's DIY.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:49 pm 
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is there room to glue a heatsink onto the sides of the HDDs? Perhaps the heatsinks would allow for less airflow...

What to use? Ramsinks might work. YS Tech boasts a selection of them on their website that may work but I dunno where they are sold...

Check under storage in the articles section for one on HDD heatsinks.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:18 pm 
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Bluefront wrote:
You really can't expect much/any significant airflow through dampening material. It is quieter to seal off the front of the case completely. Then you
can bring air in from a bottom vent.

Yes it requires some modding as no case I know of relies on a bottom intake for airflow....it's DIY.


Yeah I suppose a bottom intake is one of the options I'll have to consider. My dilemma is that this WD 120 Gig hard drive is so damn loud that maybe even the perfect scenario would not make for an overall quiet solution.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:24 pm 
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Trip wrote:
is there room to glue a heatsink onto the sides of the HDDs? Perhaps the heatsinks would allow for less airflow...

What to use? Ramsinks might work. YS Tech boasts a selection of them on their website that may work but I dunno where they are sold...

Check under storage in the articles section for one on HDD heatsinks.


Most of the cooling solutions I have seen on the market are not what I'd consider good. I see many annoying things about them:

1. They don't look like their effective. A CPU heatsink has many fins to maximize the surface area to volume ratio of the metal...HD ones don't seem to do this.
2. Use small high speed fans which I know would be noisy.
3. Way too expensive.
4. Don't use what I'd consider the best material (I don't think I've ever seen one that uses copper).
5. Some of the solutions out there to isolate sound without overheating tend to only work for hard drives with 2 platters. I'm pretty sure 120 GB hard drive I have is 4 platters or something. Runs hot already in current configuration which I would say is pretty decent conditions for ventilation...I taped the temperature probe from my case to the top of the hard drive and it usually reads about 90 F (31 C). Before I cut away the grill for the case fan it ran more like 95 F.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:39 pm 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/article22-page1.html

glueing a heatsink to the side of the HDD in a suspension is all I was referring to. I dunno what your setup is but it's a possibilty.

Heh, I think you are correct about most of the cooling solutions. A good enclosure is the smartdrive - but it costs a lot and needs some airflow.

YS Tech heatsinks - some of which may be perfect for the sides of a HDD.

31'C, this is in a regular HDD mount or suspension? BTW, what case are you using?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:56 pm 
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postul8or wrote:
Bluefront wrote:
You really can't expect much/any significant airflow through dampening material. It is quieter to seal off the front of the case completely. Then you
can bring air in from a bottom vent.

Yes it requires some modding as no case I know of relies on a bottom intake for airflow....it's DIY.


Yeah I suppose a bottom intake is one of the options I'll have to consider. My dilemma is that this WD 120 Gig hard drive is so damn loud that maybe even the perfect scenario would not make for an overall quiet solution.


Same here. I sealed off the front and rear intake points and made a muffled bottom intake as per bluefronts cookie-jar solution. This isn't quite as quiet as when I encased the wd1200jb in carving rubber but it's very close. I suspect that an additional level inside the bottom intake box would make up for that small difference.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:27 pm 
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Trip wrote:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article22-page1.html

glueing a heatsink to the side of the HDD in a suspension is all I was referring to. I dunno what your setup is but it's a possibilty.

Heh, I think you are correct about most of the cooling solutions. A good enclosure is the smartdrive - but it costs a lot and needs some airflow.

YS Tech heatsinks - some of which may be perfect for the sides of a HDD.

31'C, this is in a regular HDD mount or suspension? BTW, what case are you using?


First off, I buggered up the conversion...it's more like 33 C.

My HDD is screwed into an ordinary HDD bay with 4 screws. My case has racks for CD-ROMs/HDs going all the way from the top to bottom -- there is no gap at the bottom front of the case where I could put a cookie jar or something. This also constraints me to any suspension mount being in an empty CD-rom bay.

I guess it worries me a little to attempt suspending the hard drive in a CD-ROM bay because the airflow at the part of the case won't be too good. I'd have to have some heatsinks. The link provided with those 7.5 inch heatsinks that are attached to the side of the hard drive looks promising though.

The main thing is I need the supplies such as heatsinks and suspending materials to be easy to find (can get them easily at stores around the city)...main reason is most people provide links to shops that only ship to people in the USA (or would ship cheap or free to USA, but charge $25 to ship the tinyest thing to Canada).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:46 am 
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Some people (ie. Ralf Hutter) have used a fan suspended with zip ties to cool the HDD.

Recently I figured out how to handle the No vibes III: remove the cork pads between the aluminum and the metal to prevent the drive from ever possibly touching any metal in the suspension. Then, for me I used sorbothane below the drive to dampen any left over vibrations but you may prefer to use Grommets to decouple whatever vibrations are leftover - it just depends on how you'll mount it.

You may also just use grommets to decouple the HDD.

a grommets thread

There are also rubber feet that can be applied to the bottom of your PC. The rubber dampens vibrations being passed from the computer to the desk - if sources of vibration are already dampened, this can be redundant.

I have some tiny Cooler Master RAM sinks and will try them out as soon as I locate them. Moving things around my HDD-in-NoVibes is running at 41'C! too hot for me. I'll locate the dern sinks in just a sec and post an update as to whether they help.

If you go with the longer sinks, you'll have to suspend your own HDD. But if you go with a No Vibes, it will be that much easier but you'll want to use smaller RAMsinks. There are better looking small RAMsinks than the coolermasters I have but they are all I have at the moment.

The largest RAMsink I've seen to date, and I haven't been searching very hard, is the Thermaltake DDR Copper Heat Spreader that retails for $12 at newegg.com for two good heatsinks (and a heatspreader)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 4:26 pm 
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After putting some thought into it, it seems like some kind of suspension mount in the CD bay makes sense. I could probably put a fan in there to blow across the drive and keep it cool. I could also do a good job of isolating the area a little bit which would probably keep things pretty quiet.

I guess that's what I'll have to do is look at things like RAM heatsinks and see if I can make due. Places like Newegg don't even ship to Canada.


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 Post subject: Intake damping
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:35 am 
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A bent tube with damping material on the walls will let air in but not much sound out. There is often space in the bottom of a case to mount something like it.

I have something simple in the Sonata:

http://members.home.nl/jutezak/kast/gat.jpg
http://members.home.nl/jutezak/kast/tunnel.jpg

It doesn't take any useful space. I doubt if it is enough to allow closing the entire front with barrier material - I added it to get more airflow, as teh Sonata intake is somewhat limited. And the tunnel made of damping material keeps noise inside and lets the air move over the motherboard, where it's needed.

But if you are the type that removes the drive cage and mounts the drives elsewhere, you could stack some sound barriers vertically with wide gaps. The air will flow through the gaps which should be at different heights (or left/right) while the sound will hit the damping material.

In any case my problem is noise from the back (stock Sonata fan and power supply) - not from the front.


Thomas


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 Post subject: Re: Intake damping
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 11:37 am 
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zak wrote:
A bent tube with damping material on the walls will let air in but not much sound out. There is often space in the bottom of a case to mount something like it.

I have something simple in the Sonata:

http://members.home.nl/jutezak/kast/gat.jpg
http://members.home.nl/jutezak/kast/tunnel.jpg

It doesn't take any useful space. I doubt if it is enough to allow closing the entire front with barrier material - I added it to get more airflow, as teh Sonata intake is somewhat limited. And the tunnel made of damping material keeps noise inside and lets the air move over the motherboard, where it's needed.

But if you are the type that removes the drive cage and mounts the drives elsewhere, you could stack some sound barriers vertically with wide gaps. The air will flow through the gaps which should be at different heights (or left/right) while the sound will hit the damping material.

In any case my problem is noise from the back (stock Sonata fan and power supply) - not from the front.


Thomas


I think the gist of what you are saying is that I don't have to so much plug the air intake, just make the path for airflow a little less direct.

I think this will allow enough air to enter for purposes of general cooling of the case. However, to decrease the amount of hard drive noise escaping from the front of the case I'll probably have to direct the airflow underneath the hard drive. In that case I will probably need a fan blowing onto the hard drive to keep it cool. As it is now it's probably running at the top end of the recommended heat range....and I'm leaving room considering that it's winter/spring conditions and summer conditions are coming. I'm thinking as the room temp. rises, the hard drive temp will rise by about the same amount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:06 pm 
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Seems to me the main problem is the hard drive, so
How about replacing it. Notebook drives are fairly cheap now and much much quiter than even a Samsung Spinpoint never mind your WD. They also run alot cooler, and are lots smaller so you could experiment with blocking your front vents, but leaving just a little space to cool the drive.

Andy P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:13 pm 
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AndyP wrote:
Seems to me the main problem is the hard drive, so
How about replacing it. Notebook drives are fairly cheap now and much much quiter than even a Samsung Spinpoint never mind your WD. They also run alot cooler, and are lots smaller so you could experiment with blocking your front vents, but leaving just a little space to cool the drive.

Notebook hard drive : approx $3 per GB
Desktop hard drive : approx $0.50 per GB or less

There will be those for whom the performance loss and increased cost will not matter. But I don't think it's a realistic option for most.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:55 am 
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Yes, performance and cost would be the primary things I'm looking for, and then quietness comes third.

I don't think I could bring myself to just put aside my biggest hard drive...I'd like to try and mitigate the loudness first and only take it out as the last option.

If I'm talking $20 for padding, heatsinks, fans vs. replacing a $150 hard drive....I'll try the $20 investment first!


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 Post subject: Re: Dampen front of case, but maintain airflow?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 1:12 pm 
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postul8or wrote:
I notice that a significant amount of the remaining sound in my case is being heard through the front of my case.

......The remaining opportunity is to dampen the lower front of the case to reduce sound coming out the front of the case. The question is, how do I dampen but not overheat the hard drives (ie. without completely restricting airflow).

I'm assuming the typical dampening material will not allow enough airflow through it (and while most have some porosity...not really that much). The material I'm using right now is simple carpet underlay.


Interesting how this thread quickly got away from damping. Before you read on, be aware that I did the entire foam application in one pass so I quantify can't how much the following helped. I present it here as food for thought.

I did (more or less) as I suggested in an earlier post. I lined the lower portion of the cover with 2.2mm thick vinyl(?) barrier material. The reasoning behind that choice was that it wouldn't block airflow and the barrier material should have "some" impact on airborne noise since it's not as hard as plastic. Plus it has the added benefit of damping structural vibrations.

Then I turned my attention towards the case itself. I had previously trimmed out the stamped grill, leaving me with a gapping, square hole. I ended up applying 16mm foam to the left, right and top case walls surrounding the hole, leaving the bottom open for airflow. The 16mm foam doesn't completely fill the gap between the cover and the case so if any air was drawn upwards before foaming, well it still has something of a path to follow. (I really doubt the airflow up the front cover above the lower fan opening amounts to anything.)

Then I noticed that by applying foam to the interior and exterior case surfaces I had in effect created a 41mm foam "tunnel" to the case interior. When I had covered up every apperciable, accessible surface there was still some foam leftover so I stacked more 16mm and 25mm foam around the fan opening resulting in an 82mm foam "tunnel" to the interior.

As I stated earlier, I can't quantify in any way just how effective this exercise was beyond the fact that rapping on the front cover results in a dull muffled thud. Insulating the case has only increased the CPU and MB temps by ~1-2 degrees C. And, FWIW, the HDD was installed in a SmartDrive 2002 enclousure and mounted in the lowest 5.25" bay a week or more before insulating and it's temps _may_ have risen by 1 degree C. (I really should be more anal about noting/recording ambient temps, but I'm not. Spring has sprung and ambient temps have jumped slightly.)

Bottom line on temps: CPU maxs out at 50c with an occasional, brief jump to 51c; a couple weeks ago 49c was the max. MB hit the upper 30's whereas it used to hit mid 30s. HDD remains at 44c max and idles in the upper 30's. Case fan is the same 80mm L1A at ~8.5v that I've been running for about a month. The Antec PSU fan has hit highest RPM's I've seen from it, about 1800 I think; but that's only a jump of ~100. I may change the case fan resistor jumper to a lower value as summer is approaching I'm comfortable with these numbers.

This post has gotten far more long winded than I expected. I hope this helps.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 1:36 pm 
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I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea of replacing the hard drive. I just swapped my loud Enermax psu with a silent (IMO) Antec True power supply in my main rig. I now know for a fact that the only thing left causing noise is the 80gb and 200 gb WD drives (and the fan on my gf4).

I just walked into Best Buy and they had some random Seagate 160 gb hard drives on sale for $90. My experience with Seagate has been great. Sure the $90 is more than $20 but look at it this way. If you spend the $20 and it doesn't work, you still need to spend the $90. Also, if you buy a new drive you can sell the old drive. I'm sure you could get $20 for the old drive at least, probably more.

postul8or wrote:
Yes, performance and cost would be the primary things I'm looking for, and then quietness comes third.

I don't think I could bring myself to just put aside my biggest hard drive...I'd like to try and mitigate the loudness first and only take it out as the last option.

If I'm talking $20 for padding, heatsinks, fans vs. replacing a $150 hard drive....I'll try the $20 investment first!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:16 pm 
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I've already bought the padding anyways, but I see your point.

I'm more than 50% convinced that the only way to make my PC even close to silent is to change the parts inside. Even when I buy the new HD how quiet will it be if I don't at least do some padding is what I also have been wondering. From what I have read Seagate does seem to have a good reputation for reliability and quietness...I notice that a few benchmarks seemed to say they were 2-5% slower. Not a concern for me though.

For the record, the next time I buy a hard drive I would like to buy 2 of them and make use of the RAID on my motherboard (I've got the ASUS P4C800-E). I think I would want to use the SATA which always brings the cost of HDs up. I'm thinking I'd like to wait a little for the price of SATA to go down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2004 2:46 am 
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With all this talk of HDs I thought I'd mention my setup.

I have a 3ware 7500 series RAID with 8 ports, and a four port RAID on the motherboard. The motherboard has two 40GB 7200RPM Seagates and the 3ware has four 80GB 7200RPM Seagates! It's not silent, but all the drives are suspended on elsatic and have home made aluminium heatsinks on them, so it's not too loud either. In fact, I'd say the four fans in the system (2x Panaflo 92mm @ 5.5V, 1x Zalman flower cooler on minimum and 1x 120mm Qtec "big fan" PSU) are louder. Plus, having the machine under the table probably creates a bit of an echo.

If you need masses of HD storage but also want silence, get an old PC (Pentium II class would be good, but you can go lower) and stick some HDs in it, preferably on a RAID (even a software RAID). Throw in a cheap gigabit ethernet card (I have seen them as low as £15) and put it in another room. Gigabit ethernet is faster than your HD at 80MB/sec - you need a RAID just to max it out!

MoJo

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:05 pm 
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In my case I'd say that it's more likely to put the computer inside some kind of cabinet instead of another room but I understand your point.

What did you use to create your homemade heatsinks, I haven't come across a place that sells a big hunk of aluminum or copper to use as a heatsink. I think the closest I'd find is a sheet of it, and then I'd have to have something to bend the metal or create some "fins" somehow.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 2:01 am 
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For heatsinks I got some aluminium U shaped rods from B&Q. They do other shapes too, such as a W shaped rod, but U seemed the easiest to work with. I cut the rods to length with a hacksaw and drilled them with a Dremel mounted in a drilling rig.

I'm interested in the experiments of a professor who put a noise canceling mic/speaker system next to his CPU fan to reduce noise. It could work for HDs too, perhaps.

I'm away from the 4th to the 25th, so might not be able to reply.

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