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 Post subject: My nearly silent computer; custom case; pics
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:41 pm
Posts: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY
Components:
80GB Seagate Spinpoint - $10
120mm Yate Loon at 5V - $6
fasteners - $3 at Lowe's
Celeron 400MHz, Dell proprietary PSU - free

The first picture shows how it all goes together. I crudely cut a gaping hole in the PSU, then ziptied a 120mm grille (to complete the Faraday cage that is the PSU's case) and a fan in place.

Note how the mobo and hard drive are bolted in place. I've accidentally mantained an automotive theme here. I like it.

The PSU goes at the rear left corner, where I cut a cold air inlet. The fan will face the CPU, per the suggestion of IsaacKuo in another thread.

Image

Here's the computer up and running. I haven't yet cut a port for USB, ethernet, or audio, but it would be a trivial matter to do so.

Image

Temperatures are amazingly good. The mobo and CPU lack thermal sensors, but I do have a meat thermometer which I know to be accurate +/- 1oF in that range. At full load, with the Radeon 7200 rendering 3D, air temperatures near the CPU and the GPU do not exceed 95oF with an inlet temperature around 75oF (a rise of 11oC). The hard drive is only warm to the touch; perfectly acceptable.

I'm contemplating throwing my TV/radio tuner card in the box, but I really want to keep the idle power consumption down, as this computer runs many hours a day, and I seldom watch television anyway.

And the reason I made it: It's so very quiet. Not virtually inaudible, but it is as quiet as a Seagate Spinpoint in a cardboard box. With the hard drive spun down, the only hint that it's on is a very faint noise that's either a whine or a buzz.

What's good:
Almost virtually inaudible.
Custom cases were never so easy and adaptable.
This layout is so much better than ATX. I would never have been this quiet and cool in that Dell case.

Wishlist:
A hard drive enclosure.
A computer that won't break if you use it as a stool or a coaster.
A method of better securing the PCI cards.
A cardboard box that's slightly smaller. About 8cm narrower would be ideal.[/img]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:27 pm
Posts: 327
What did you do with the oli?


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 Post subject: Re: My nearly silent computer; custom case; pics
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:48 am
Posts: 399
Location: Netherlands
Brian wrote:
Components:
80GB Seagate Spinpoint - $10
120mm Yate Loon at 5V - $6
fasteners - $3 at Lowe's
Celeron 400MHz, Dell proprietary PSU - free

The first picture shows how it all goes together. I crudely cut a gaping hole in the PSU, then ziptied a 120mm grille (to complete the Faraday cage that is the PSU's case) and a fan in place.

Note how the mobo and hard drive are bolted in place. I've accidentally mantained an automotive theme here. I like it...


i'm using 5w50 synthetic in my chevrolet. :)

amazing enclosure for your computer. easy to adapt to mods.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Posts: 5085
Location: UK
Quote:
80GB Seagate Spinpoint - $10


You mean a Samsung Spinpoint, right? :wink:

Where can I get a Samsung Spinpoint for 10 bucks??


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:50 am
Posts: 1705
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
You could get in a TARDIS and travel here to the USA as of two weeks ago. ;)

Anyway, I LOVE this case. My first two scratchbuilt cases were made out of cardboard, although hidden underneath stylish vinyl adhesive floor tiles. Cardboard is easy to construct with, has no risk of shorting out circuits, and doesn't resonate much. You've noticed the one big disadvantage already--worrying about someone/something sitting on it (I have cats).

If you ever upgrade your videocard, you'll discover another annoying thing--the need to cut out new holes for every port you want to use. My first case had a individual portholes like your case. However, because of the vinyl floor tiles it was a real b**** cutting out new holes for every little port (and left ugly old holes).

In my second case, I improved things a bit by figuring out a way to attach the ATX backplane directly to the motherboard. That meant that at least for the ATX ports, all I needed was a single large rectangular hole.

By my third case, I'd given up on the idea of individual portholes. The rear of the case is just plain open, with cardstock partitions to control airflow. What can I say? I'm lazy. ;)

[edit added:]

Oh wait. Celeron 400mhz? Nevermind! I'm guessing you're not going to bother upgrading the video card! Maybe a cheap RAM upgrade...or maybe a CPU upgrade. With a cheap CPU from CompuVest, that machine could be upgraded to something which could smoothly play DVD quality videos...

Is that a Slot-1 system? Socket 370? Either way, keep an eye out on CompuVest.com; occasionaly they have a really good deal on a relatively fast PIII or Celeron. I bought a couple 733mhz PIII's from them, of which one of them may have been bad (or I may have killed it with mishandling).

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Isaac Kuo


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:41 pm
Posts: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY
I measured its AC power draw: 31W at idle! That's with the HDD spun up, even. Power draw goes up to 43W with a full CPU load, and no higher than 49W if you add in GPU and HDD activity.

400MHz is where I want to be. I like this computer's minimal power draw and heat output as much as I like the quiet. While I wouldn't turn away a good Coppermine, I really don't run any applications here that could use the extra CPU. Office, CAD, internet all run well.

To those of you who suspect me of driving a Ford, nope. My transportation appliance is a Subaru, and I lubricate it with European-market 0W30 Castrol Syntec. However, that oil comes in cases of six - fine if you have miniITX. :roll:
I guess my car is a lot like this computer: not as powerful as newer models, shaped like a box, but it's inexpensive and it gets me where I need to go just as fast as a newer car would.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:11 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:50 am
Posts: 1705
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
That's cool--my secondary workstation is a 433mhz Celeron and it runs just fine. I got a nice boost from upgrading its RAM, but that required waiting around until I lucked out and got some discarded 128meg RAM modules (only two RAM slots).

My only problem with the 433mhz Celeron is that it is almost able to smoothly play videos, but not quite. In contrast, the 616mhz P3 in my HTPC plays videos smoothly. I think 500mhz is somewhere around the limit.

I'll be taking pictures of this workstation in a bit...it's not in a lovely scratchbuilt case like yours, though.

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Isaac Kuo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:39 pm
Posts: 667
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Brian wrote:
To those of you who suspect me of driving a Ford, nope. My transportation appliance is a Subaru, and I lubricate it with European-market 0W30 Castrol Syntec. However, that oil comes in cases of six - fine if you have miniITX. :roll:
Hmm... sounds like someone who's been doing reading at BITOG? ;) Motorcraft 5w20... German Castrol 0w30 (which I also use BTW).

Sorry for the O/T.


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