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 Post subject: Yet another SPCR poster-child
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:54 am
Posts: 40
[Edited 2005.03.24.08.55] As the original post was composed way past my bedtime, I've edited for clarity and fleshed-out a bit.

This is the system I was running when I discovered that modern self-assembled computers don't have to be loud. I ran this box (Athlon 1200) for many years, and they were all hand-me-down parts when I got them. I assembled it in a typical "cram the cables in however they fit" fashion, and never once thought about where airflow came from or went to. It had fans, therefore it was cool, right? :oops: As you can see, it's a royal mess.

The only thing I was concerned about at the time was the ATi 7500, which I inherited when the fan died. I was running an old 2D card at the time, and wanted to try a couple of 3D games that I had been unable to run, so I stuck it in to see how long it would last--I'm still using this card, with no fan, three years later. The sink never gets warm.

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Enter SPCR: A great deal of time lurking here (probably prompted by a noisily dying nb fan) finally coaxed me to check my temps, which were idling around 55-60C. :shock: A little cablegami later, I didn't feel quite so ashamed of it, and temps improved drastically. I later replaced the cpu fan with an 80mm w/ adapter and a Zalman nb heatsink, and I undervolted the cpu and a few fans, bringing the noise under control--sadly, the computer was just too out-of-date for me to live with for long.

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So I upgraded. Several of SPCR's most recommended parts, and a few of it's most common mods, and I have a system that's powerful and quiet enough to keep me (mostly) content.

Disclaimer: "Powerful enough" and "quiet enough" are extremely subjective. I'm an excessively patient person, and I don't play FPS games, so my "powerful enough" may be pathetic to the next person. I also probably live in a somewhat noisier environment than many of the audiophiles on this site. I am NOT an audiophile; the speakers on my computer are a pair of 6" unpowered mid-range speakers manufactured years before I was born. I live with noisy pets, noisy floorboards and ceiling fans, noisy neighbors, and (worst of all) a noisy vga fan in the wife's system four feet from mine.

Parts list:

AMD Athlon64 3000+ Winchester--What's not to love about this thing? It was a stretch for my budget, but I think it'll last long enough for me.

Asus A8V--I Really like this board. The only thing I could ask is for more control over the error threshholds. The BIOS insists that my CPU fan has failed at 800rpm, and that the CPU is over-voltage at 1.05V.

Arctic Silver 5--Wow, they've come a long way from the stuff I used to find separated and pooling around the processor's pins.

Thermalright XP-120--Ok, so I splurged a bit. I didn't really need this, but it feels good to buy the top-of-the-line something for once. That, and unless you buy a Nexus to go on it, it's really not much more expensive than the Zalmans. Mounting was a little cumbersome, but less scary than the old clips that used to scrape the traces by the socket.

Samsung Spinpoint--I drew a JVC, but I don't think I've dropped the total system noise enough to notice any whine. The only thing I hear out of the HD is seek noise, but that is transmitted through the case rather well. I had not planned on decoupling the drive, but that may prove necessary.

Antec SLK3700AMB--This case, with the power supply, was cheaper to get (shipped) than the 3000B when I bought it. I'm extremely happy with it, but for a few little nits: If the rear grill was as nice as the front, I'd have left it in. I don't care about the front; it's not seen (or open to fingers). Two pointless design flaws with the fan holders: they block airflow, and they don't use the standard case fan holes. The bezel restricts airflow enough to raise my temps somewhat, but I haven't decided on any mods yet.

Geil 512MB DDR400--My concession to stupdid consumerism. I know nothing about CAS timings, or anything else that makes one stick better than another, and I felt that I'd hit diminishing returns on the value of my research for this system. I bought this one because it was blue. :P

NEC 3500--My first DVD-RW. I'm glad I have it, but I really don't use it a lot. I can't compare the performance to anything, and I haven't been happy with the noise level of an optical drive since they stopped running through sound cards.

Yate Loon 120mm--Gotta love `em, but boy, are they fugly. I wasn't unhappy with the stock Antec fan, but I bought two of these from the start, and they're definitely better.

Antec 350--Not a bad little PS for a stock unit. Loud by SPCR standards, but not a screamer. I was surprised to see SATA connectors on here--nice surprise in an aging model case. The design here seems silly, though, with a 92mm intake seemingly at full speed and the 80mm exhaust thermally controlled, it seems guaranteed to eject heated air into the case through the front vents. In what was probably a lapse of judgement, I removed the 92mm fan. The exhaust gets a little warm now, and the 80mm ramps up as high as 1200rpm (though I don't know what max is here).

And, of course, the same old ATi 7500 (and it's favorite blanket of dust)

I started with the Antec fan in front @ 5V, a YL on the XP-120, and a YL exhaust. After I dropped the core to 1.05V, this thing barely got above ambient. :) With so much heat headroom, I started toying with fans to drop the noise level (speedfan is awesome). I tried removing the fan on the XP-120, and temps went up signifigantly (but still acceptable). I felt a little uncomfortable without any airflow being drawn through the hs fins, so I fashioned a duct from cardboard and duct tape (duct tape on a duct! Who'dve thunk it?) and the temps dropped down to nearly match the performance with the other fan in.

I've since replaced the oft-ridiculed duct tape duct with acrylic. I suspect I may need to dampen it at some point, but I haven't noticed any additional noise yet. The cpu idles around 32C with both fans at 50%


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Potential improvements:

I'm currently testing leaving the exhaust fan completely off...with the case front sealed up, and the only other exhaust being the PSU's 80mm, enough air is pushed through the duct to keep the cpu at 50C during Prime95. I need to seal the few holes on the back to make sure as much air as possible is forced through the sink.

I'm not happy with my PSU setup. It's too noisy, and I can't tell if it's overheated or not. I really like the new S12 series coming out, but I'm concerned that the intake might be too restricted by my duct. NewEgg has the SS for cheap, but a low-power s12 just seems like a better unit to live with for several years.

I could duct an intake to the PSU, but this unit's not really designed for front intake--this seems like too little bang per time spent. I had hoped to remove the 80mm and replace the 92 with a 120, but there's not quite enough clearance inside the PSU case, and definitely not enough clearance ouside with my monster duct in the way.

I could build a new duct routing the XP-120 into the PS rather than the exhaust--but I don't want to add any more heat to my current PSU, and the duct was a lot of work. Maybe if I get the s12.

I think I'll shortly be looking for a HD decoupling solution. I can't exactly explain it, but suspensions bother me. I know they're effective and secure for many people, but I just don't like them. I like many of the commercial 5.25" solutions, but I also like having my HD actively cooled. I just don't know what I want to do here, yet.

One of my next attempts will be, I think, to dampen the door. It rattles badly when the HD is active, causing raised eyebrows from my wife, who is unenlightened to my quiet crusade. Further damping will probably happen much later (read "never").

I have two conflicting objectives regarding my intake, in that I need more airflow than current, and I need all of it to pass through the filter. Soliciting input here (as well as everywhere else).

Soft-mounting the fans is not a priority, as I'm trying to remove one of them completely, and the other seems not to vibrate much at all. It's even still in the purple bracket, though I removed the pointless airflow obstructions.

One of my most difficult and important decisions while putting together this system--which badge to use? :lol: My components came with an Antec badge, an AMD badge, and an Asus badge, but none of them really spoke to me. It was when I went to throw out an old case that I realized I'd had the perfect one all along...

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:shock:

_________________
Current: Winchester 1.8GHz @ 1.05V, A8V Deluxe, 512MB DDR400, Gigabyte 6600 256MB, XP-120 w/ pseudo-Nexus, SLK3700AMB


Last edited by Shriek on Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:34 pm
Posts: 889
Location: Finland -- Folding For SPCR
Hi Shriek,

If I see correctly, you have hardmounted your HDDs? If you want, you might want to try suspending them, buying suitable suspension material shouldn't cost much anything. Nice looking case, I especially liked the CPU duct. Keep up the good work!

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Just because I didn't respond to your post doesn't mean you were right. It just means I was speechless as to how to reply to such an idiotic statement

[MainRig][HTPC][Playground]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:23 am
Posts: 749
Location: The Netherlands
Something I'd try is to completely seal the (great-looking!) cpu duct, to make it exclusive for the XP-120. That way, the PSU gets colder case air fed through it instead of cpu-heated air. You could also try to install a PSU duct through the front and completely seal the 92mm hole in the bottom... but you might need to cut open the PSU casing on the side opposing the 80mm fan. Something to test with a few pieces of cardboard me thinks...

Great case badge btw! 8)

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I: E5200 OC, Ninja II, Gigabyte P45, ATi HD4850 w/ S1, Raptor + Samsung disks in Quiet Drive, Enermax Modu82+ 425W, Lian Li V1000, 2x Nexus 120 PWM
II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:54 am
Posts: 40
I've added quite a bit to the original post--I was too tired to think when I put it up the first time. :)
Aleksi wrote:
If I see correctly, you have hardmounted your HDDs? If you want, you might want to try suspending them, buying suitable suspension material shouldn't cost much anything.
I'm using the included grommets, but they're not much. I'm looking into other solutions, but I'm trying to stay away from suspension. I just don't want to have to remember that my HDD is dangling when I move the box or when my dog barrels into it while chasing the cat.... :roll:
Aleksi wrote:
Nice looking case, I especially liked the CPU duct. Keep up the good work!
Thanks!
teejay wrote:
Something I'd try is to completely seal the (great-looking!) cpu duct, to make it exclusive for the XP-120. That way, the PSU gets colder case air fed through it instead of cpu-heated air.
It may not be clear in the pictures, but the duct doesn't allow air into the PSU. The only part of the duct open to the case is the surface of the XP-120 and the small gap between it and the rear case wall.
teejay wrote:
You could also try to install a PSU duct through the front and completely seal the 92mm hole in the bottom... but you might need to cut open the PSU casing on the side opposing the 80mm fan. Something to test with a few pieces of cardboard me thinks...
I've considered this, but, as you indicate, this PSU isn't ideal for front intake. I haven't yet determined that the mods necessary would be worth it, and I'd kinda like to keep this unit in one piece as a halfway decent spare.
teejay wrote:
Great case badge btw!
Thanks! It's funny that considering how much has changed, these, in particular, haven't changed in 25 years. :D

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Current: Winchester 1.8GHz @ 1.05V, A8V Deluxe, 512MB DDR400, Gigabyte 6600 256MB, XP-120 w/ pseudo-Nexus, SLK3700AMB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:28 am
Posts: 101
Location: Central U.S.
Wow, terrific looking CPU duct Shriek. I bet if you get a fanless power supply (phantom, silverstone, coolmax, etc) and leave off the intake fan, you can have a cool running 1 fan system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:40 pm 
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Shriek, did you find with your new acrylic duct that your temps was any better than your cardboard setup?

Or are your temps slightly higher than having a fan on exhaust and fan on cpu? (how much higher)?

BTW, nice setup. I just ordered my new parts for LX-6A19, and some yate loon 120mm fans.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:38 pm
Posts: 296
Location: France, Europe Folding for SPCR
Nice setup, Shriek!!

Concerning your PSU dilemma, why don't you move the PSU a little further into the case (towards the front). It looks like you have plenty of space before you hit the optical drive. And judging from your terrific CPU duct, ducting the PSU exhaust to the back should be a breeze for you. That way the intake of a 120mm fan PSU will (mostly) clear your CPU duct. You might want to have a look at the silent rig in my sig to see what I mean (I had to move the PSU by a lot, though, bc I wanted to fit a 120mm exhaust fan behind it).

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ImageSilent rig: muffled Sonata; relocated Seasonic-SuperTornado; ducted 7000A


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:42 pm 
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Shriek, if you don't want a dangling HD (I didn't either), this solution might appeal to you. NoiseMagic NoVibes III attached to the cage-mounting thingy at the bottom of the case using velcro. My HD is now super quiet and stays nice and cool, and with the velcro it is very secure. Keeping the HD at the bottom keeps it cool. Hope this helps.

Btw your duct rocks.

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Case upside down, HD secure:

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 Post subject: Re: Yet another SPCR poster-child
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:13 pm 
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Posts: 536
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
Shriek wrote:
I've since replaced the oft-ridiculed duct tape duct with acrylic. I suspect I may need to dampen it at some point, but I haven't noticed any additional noise yet. The cpu idles around 32C with both fans at 50%


That's a great looking duct! Where did you get the acrylic? And how do you work with it (cutting, glueing, etc)?

Thanks!
Matt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:42 am 
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len509 wrote:
I bet if you get a fanless power supply (phantom, silverstone, coolmax, etc) and leave off the intake fan, you can have a cool running 1 fan system.
I'd love to try it, but I just can't justify the premium prices they seem to have. There are just too many solutions out there that are "good enough" for my application.
mikeraach wrote:
Shriek, did you find with your new acrylic duct that your temps was any better than your cardboard setup?
I did not record my temps to compare the performance of the prototype to the finished duct. However, the results wouldn't have been helpful anyway, as prototype cardboard duct had a base plate that sat on the XP-120 restricting airflow somewhat--it was necessary due to the flimsy construction.
Quote:
Or are your temps slightly higher than having a fan on exhaust and fan on cpu? (how much higher)?
Again, I don't have my actual recorded numbers, but the difference between CPU & exhaust vs. ducted exhaust was negligable. Even if I didn't care about noise and severely overclocked the CPU, I cannot imagine feeling a need to put a fan directly on the XP-120 rather than use a duct.
JanW wrote:
Concerning your PSU dilemma, why don't you move the PSU a little further into the case (towards the front).
I've seen this in one of Bluefront's (who seems to be becoming the patron saint of extreme silence modders :twisted: ) old posts, but I honestly never thought of using it here. That may be a very good idea if I end up going with the S12-330 I've been ogling. :)
Revolver wrote:
Shriek, if you don't want a dangling HD (I didn't either), this solution might appeal to you. NoiseMagic NoVibes III attached to the cage-mounting thingy at the bottom of the case using velcro.
I rather like what I've seen of this style of this style suspension, though I'd probably bolt it to the bottom bracket instead (maybe with a bushing for further dampening). While I have great faith in the power of velcro (as long as it hasn't been abused), it's the adhesive that I don't entirely trust/don't like cleaning up when no longer needed. :?
matt_garman wrote:
Where did you get the acrylic? And how do you work with it (cutting, glueing, etc)?
Acrylic comes in many brands from most hardware/home improvement stores. As I understand it, Lucite (what I bought), Plexiglas, and the rest are all the same stuff. I bought an 18" x 24" sheet and used less than a third of it. Buy the thinnest (read "cheapest") stuff they have; strength will not be a problem.

Cutting was mostly done using the "score and snap" method. Score a straight line with a utility knife (make it a nice deep score, especially near the edges), and clamp the piece to a tabletop with the score lining up with the edge (score up) and another flat surface (I used a case panel) lying on top of the piece. Press down until the acrylic snaps, and clean up the edges (with a file or knife) if you don't get a perfect break.

What you should use to bond acrylic is a two-part solvent manufactured explicitly for acrylic--it basically melts the surface of the joint and the two pieces become one solid piece of acrylic. I used the tube of Loc-tite super glue that claims to be formulated for plastics, because I couldn't find anything at Lowe's that mentioned acrylic. It may be the same thing, as it's a two-part and it bonded rock-hard in seconds, but if you want to build an aquarium I'd recommend more research. :lol:

I put two 1/16" holes in the front panel (a standard drill bit works fine for that size) and tied the duct to the XP-120 with some thin, flexible wire through the holes above the upper heatpipes.

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Current: Winchester 1.8GHz @ 1.05V, A8V Deluxe, 512MB DDR400, Gigabyte 6600 256MB, XP-120 w/ pseudo-Nexus, SLK3700AMB


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 Post subject: Re: Yet another SPCR poster-child
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 9:29 am 
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Shriek wrote:
I've since replaced the oft-ridiculed duct tape duct with acrylic. I suspect I may need to dampen it at some point, but I haven't noticed any additional noise yet. The cpu idles around 32C with both fans at 50%


Nice work! This is just how i'm planning to build my next comp. Question, are you using the duct to intake fresh air from the back or blowing air out?

EDIT:

from looking at the setup of your rear case fan, I would guess you are blowing out.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 1:56 pm 
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Yup, the rear fan sucks air up through the XP-120 and blows it out the back. The front fan is supposed to be the only intake--I have it set at 50% and the rear at 30%. I guess it's working, as I have to clean the filter out regularly (I hate shedding season :x ), but I don't know of any way to verify that there isn't airflow coming in elsewhere.

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Current: Winchester 1.8GHz @ 1.05V, A8V Deluxe, 512MB DDR400, Gigabyte 6600 256MB, XP-120 w/ pseudo-Nexus, SLK3700AMB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:04 pm 
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Shriek wrote:
Yup, the rear fan sucks air up through the XP-120 and blows it out the back. The front fan is supposed to be the only intake--I have it set at 50% and the rear at 30%. I guess it's working, as I have to clean the filter out regularly (I hate shedding season :x ), but I don't know of any way to verify that there isn't airflow coming in elsewhere.


Overtime, you will start to see dust built up at areas where air slips through, evidence of leakage. That's one way to tell if you are patient enough... :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:08 pm 
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adala wrote:
Shriek wrote:
Yup, the rear fan sucks air up through the XP-120 and blows it out the back. The front fan is supposed to be the only intake--I have it set at 50% and the rear at 30%. I guess it's working, as I have to clean the filter out regularly (I hate shedding season :x ), but I don't know of any way to verify that there isn't airflow coming in elsewhere.


Overtime, you will start to see dust built up at areas where air slips through, evidence of leakage. That's one way to tell if you are patient enough... :wink:


I saw air leaks on the front of my Sonata within 2 days. Tells you how much dust i've got floating around in my house.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 5:33 pm 
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Is that Winchester undervolted and still running a stock speed?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 8:09 am 
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Hey shriek i was thikning of a duct like you're just a few days ago before seeing you post i even had a similar design.

Good job on the duct i too am going to use acrylic but then use araldite since the glue i used at school (the one that melts the two surfaces and then bonds them) is a bitch and expensive to get hold of.

wish my teacher was still at school he'd have given m the whole bottle lol.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:22 pm 
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halfpower wrote:
Is that Winchester undervolted and still running a stock speed?
Yup, and still no problems. 1.05V is as low as I could get it to remain stable, and I didn't see much point in dropping the speed to try to get it lower.

I've actually considered bumping it up to 2GHz and seeing just how far I'd have to raise the voltage, but I just haven't put the time into deciphering the settings necessary to do that. I've never felt comfortable overclocking before (I just can't afford to fry a chip), but then I've never known that I had the kind of headroom I do now. We'll see if I feel like it's necessary after my 6600 gets here tomorrow. :D

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Current: Winchester 1.8GHz @ 1.05V, A8V Deluxe, 512MB DDR400, Gigabyte 6600 256MB, XP-120 w/ pseudo-Nexus, SLK3700AMB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:26 am 
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Location: Canada
Hi, I have used the SL350 for a long time. If you don't plan to replace it, I recommend these mods:

1. Replace 80mm fan
2. Stick ramsinks (or any heatsinks that fits) onto the stock heatsink. Preferably, use arctic silver adhesive.
3. Cover the most of the bottom 92mm intake, and open up the back for better airflow. This helps optimize the airflow inside the PSU.[/url]


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