Hi All, and firstly thanks....
This Website has been an inspiration to me, and my downfall!!! I've read similar on a ton of posts....
First of all, my rig...
You can see I have made myself a complete piece of furniture, with a pc built in there. The inspiration was a hotel room I was staying in for a very long time. I realised that wall mounting my desk eliminated the need for legs... In hotels of course this is to make the maids job easier, and being a home automation freak, I reckoned that when I eventually get my robo-vacume, this will help. From a design point of view, there is another benefit. The illusion of space. You can see the floor right to the skirting boards and by making the desk smaller than most people are used to, The eye is fooled into thinking the space is bigger. This does (I sleep here, I know) work. But thats not what this site is about... I'll move on.
This caused me a major problem! The space I had to squeeze my entire rig was limited, 245mm(h) x 495mm(w) x 300 mm(d). Not a standard pc case.
I had two choices
1) Buy a mini atx system - too expensive
2) Build my own case
So the case it was. Time to visit B&Q
6mm MDF was my first choice, it's easy to work with, I had used it already for making drawers in the unit, and it didn't take up too much valuable space. Most importantly, its reasonably dense, so hopefully quiet. I did make the lid and the base out of melamine board... I had some lying around, and it supplied rigidity to the box.
http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/blairt ... pg&.src=ph
The box itself is simple. I started by cutting up a midi ATX case brought out retirement. This gave me the mobo mounting points, the pci mounting points and a PSU space, with minimum fuss. Also it squared the case for me, usefull when my DIY isn't the best.
The rest of the box was easy, although space was tight as you can see. I smothered everything in Akasa sound matting.... Its probably not the most effective, but I sell it and get a discount. Its £9.99 per pack at "The computer Shop" at the moment. Thats where I work.
A thicker sheet of mdf was used for the front, a 5 1/4' bracket was drilled out from another case, this screws to the front panel and holds the DVD and the HD. The bottom was cut out of the bracket (after a bit of experimention) to improve airflow in, as this bracket is mounted close above the air intake, and also to allow the thermaltake fan to blow upwards onto the HD.
The HD (Seagate Baracuda 80gb v. quiet) I decided to enclose in a molex silentdrive enclosure, mostly because I could pick one up from maplins for only £12.99. This was effective to say the least at reducing search/read noise, but didn't effect the chugging when writing. A length of knicker elastic (Woolworths £2.99), as described in the site, suspends the drive now... Silence!!
Next, the processor... Its an AMD 1400, spare from another machine. First I tried an Akasa 825 heatsink and fan, described on the box as low noise... (17db claimed) Hmmm, not low enough for my liking but i sell them, so got it for £6.50 on my staff discount. First, I added a duct to move the fan away from the alloy heatsink, good reduction on noise there. Next I swapped the Akasa fan for another of the thermaltake fans. The reason was this, the Akasa fan comes with two ways to control speed, thermistor or by variable resistor. However to get it to spin at its lowest speed, you have to use the thermistor. Problem is that it spins up at even low temps. So you never (at least on Athlon) get the slowest speed. The thermaltake, is controlled only by dial, and as I am feeling brave, I'm running at its slowest. This is giving me an idle temp of about 56c rising to 59c on my normal use.
Maplins came up trumps again, this time with a thermaltake passive heatsink for my graphics card a 128mb ti4600 from Nvidia. A little fiddly to fit, but hey, totally silent. Love the heatpipes, and a quick feel tells me they are not a gimic.
Power supply time, and a poor purchase made here. I bought a FIC 550watt supply. It was £49.99 and described itself as silent. I purchased it before discovering this site. I knew at the time it was overrated for my system, but it was cheap, quite a bit quieter than my old one and available when my last one gave up the ghost. On one hand, it made me really think about noise, search the web, discover this site etc. On the other, it was damm loud after I had killed so much other noise. My solution...
I was terrified, read, read and read again the articles here. Tried first of all prying out the inbuilt thermistor.... a little success but nowhere near enough... Time to borrow a voltmeter. I measured the thermister, compared to a selection of variable resistors bought from maplins, realised that none were right, then realised that the thermaltake controller already in use was not far off the mark. I snipped the little terminal off the controller, and soldered it into the board... I mounted the fan with a 12cm rubber mount (Maplins £2.99)
Before you try this, visit the PSU section and get instructions!!! You can kill yourself, set fire to stuff, open the gates of hell etc.
Its a decision I was glad I made... The sound level now is now perfect for me... The PSU seems to be running at a similar temp to before, I'm still alive, and no sign yet of the riders of the apocalypse.
The other mods I made were rounded IDE cables (The Computer Shop £4.99), I changed the power switch for one from maplins £1.99, sprayed silver as the LED was keeping me awake.
This was my first quiet pc build, and I am delighted!!! If I were doing it again, I would probably do it differently. I learned a few lessons. Now in my living room, I have a CD player with matching DAC. The DAC is faulty, so I think you may just see photos of the two welded together, and a passive 2100 athlon system inside!!!
This is an illness!!!
ps I could not have done it without this site, the advice was invaluable.
*** 19/07/05 Just bought myself a Dremmel. Getting the living room project underway, started though with a bit of practice on the PSU, got rid of that grill you see on the bacK. Didn't make things noticebly quieter, but putting a hand (carefully now) to the back of the PSU, the airflow is better. Case Temp came down 2c according to speedfan.***