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 Post subject: Switching form factor silently: P180 -> NSK-3480
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:37 am 
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Hello everyone. I've been reading SPCR for little over a year now and it has been an eye-opening experience, and educating to say the least. While my silent computing fever began over seven years ago with me building a heavy duty silencing cabinet, a real multi-story behemoth inspired by a thread at another forum long ago, it was only after coming here that my approach developed anything resembling finesse. While I obsess about details, my lazyness enables me to settle for "good enough" and that is why my rather rugged solution remained in service for well over six years. Since then the industry has had time to develop, bringing all the current indispensable enthusiast components to the market and even to the mainstream.

My current system is an Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP + E6600 + Ninja Rev. B and a passive 7600 GS in an Antec P180 with a Phantom 500 and three 120mm Nexus fans. Apart from the fans that are completely inaudible at 600rpm, the only source of noise is the hard drive seek noise, muffled by a Scythe Quiet Drive that sits on foam. Thus there is no way to tell if the system is on unless the disk is working especially hard. I'm very happy with the system and have been using it for a year, though I just replaced the Phantom under warranty as it developed a loud coil whine.

Now I'm speculating whether I could reproduce an equally silent system in a smaller case, as I'm currently obsessing over optimally compact use of space. That is what living in smallish apartments, and then moving to an even smaller apartment due to returning to studying, has done to me. :)

The Antec NSK-3480 is what sparked this idea. I could simply switch the case and motherboard (perhaps an Asus P5B-VM DO unless I learn of something better) and the system should stay as quiet as before - except for the PSU. The stock case fan will be the first to go as I already have a better choice at hand, but how about the PSU?

The advantage of the P180 build is that all the fans are 120mm and were easy to pick for silence. They don't need to ramp up even at full load and the Phantom 500's fan has never started. The stock EarthWatts fan however won't be satisfactory for me. Should I do a fan swap for it and what kind of levels could I expect then? I suppose the PSU temps would stay within safe limits for sure at idle and normal workloads, but how about headroom and switching for a higher performance card? An 8800GT with an HR-03 variant (when it is updated for the GT) comes to mind. That power hog would probably change the machine's role from a 24/7 workstation to a gaming PC though.

In any case, the way I see it, the PSU in an NSK-3480 is the only obstruction on the path to virtual silence. What would be my best options at ensuring it will never have a louder noise signature than one or all of my practically silent Nexus fans - even if the DC power draw jumped by the amount of a gaming graphics card?


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 Post subject: Re: Switching form factor silently: P180 -> NSK-3480
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:26 am 
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Jokoto wrote:
While I obsess about details, my lazyness enables me to settle for "good enough"


I love this sentence, it also applies to me :)

I'm in a similar situation here, eying the NSK3480. But instead of going smaller, I'm actually going bigger, coming from a Shuttle SN26P.
The system should be at least as silent as my SSF is now, but I need more room, more power and more standard component options. As for the power supply, I'm not going to keep the Antec, since it's not powerfull enough. Not sure however what PSU I will take, I've been looking at the Zalman 600HP and the Corsair HX620, both very silent according to SPCR. Fan swap, maybe.

I'll keep an eye on this thread for your findings.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:51 am 
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Jokoto --

I'm sure your post resonates for many readers here; most of us have some degree or other of laziness, it's normal. ;)

Here's another lazy approach: Why don't you start by just trying the Phantom 500 in the 3480?

It would be a tight squeeze due to the length, but you can probably make it fit... and even remove the fan assembly if you have to. The power demand of your components is not that high, probably 50W DC or so at idle, and maybe 125W tops at load. With the vents on the top panel of the 3480, cooling for the PSU might be perfectly adequate for such low loads.

If that doesn't work, try swapping the fan in the EW PSU for a Scythe 80mm -- maybe the 1200 rpm model. At the super low default voltages the fan controller supplies, that fan will be extremely quiet.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:15 pm 
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didi: While I don't know what kind of system you are considering, 380W seems to be plenty, for example for an E6600 + 8800 GTX. http://mcoleg.blogspot.com/2007/05/all- ... -that.html

Mike, thanks for your input. I guess the Phantom just might physically fit, although barely. I wouldn't have any qualms with removing the fan assembly either, as the warranty will soon be out anyway. It would then be just like the 350W version.

Still, there's this nagging feeling about cramming a now totally fanless PSU in a relatively closed space where nothing even so much as aids the convection, notwithstanding the top vents. If I were to put in a new 8800 GT for which NVIDIA claims a power consumption figure of 105W... (And, seemingly, an idle consumption still near 40-50W... why oh why, in spite of the new 65nm process!)

This I guess leaves me with the other option. In fact, I'm starting to feel rather optimistic about swapping in a 80mm NCB fan for testing at least, these being ones that some marketer claims to be 17dBA - whatever the case, it should be at least around the magic barrier of ~20dBA (or simply lower or equal to ambient noise level) in this application. I don't know who makes them, since Google only finds the Finnish retailers for these Liebermann Psi-Blade 80x80x25mm fans, even with the product codes (F20020050D FAN / NCB fan 80x80x25mm / TCS08400020). While I'm at it, I might cut and terminate all the extra wires in that PSU so at last there wouldn't be a big bunch of extra cabling to stash away.

Now, I need to settle on a good microATX board that shines. I need to be able to connect three displays (one of which is a TV) preferably with DVI, but trolling through manufacturers' sites is a lot of work. Questionable support for multiple graphics cards, especially if there are two different makes installed together, makes me worry. Matrox Millennium series seems otherwise fine, providing either PCI or PCIe (x1 or x4?) cards, but resolution support is limited with DVI! (Digital: 1280 x 1024 Analog, main display: 2048 x 1536 Analog, secondary display: 1600 x 1200) The Asus P5B-VM DO has been the only one I've come across that at least doesn't lack anything critical and doesn't have an odd layout of the connectors, like the ones Abit for example seems to practice.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:22 pm 
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My 8800 Ultra needs a lot of amps on the 12V rails. 380W IS enough, if the Ultra were the only thing that draws from the 12V rails.
I guess the Antec PSU would probably be ok, but without headroom and a lot of heat. More heat to get rid of = faster fans.

Jokoto wrote:
didi: While I don't know what kind of system you are considering, 380W seems to be plenty, for example for an E6600 + 8800 GTX. http://mcoleg.blogspot.com/2007/05/all- ... -that.html


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 2:02 pm 
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Jokoto wrote:
Still, there's this nagging feeling about cramming a now totally fanless PSU in a relatively closed space where nothing even so much as aids the convection, notwithstanding the top vents. If I were to put in a new 8800 GT for which NVIDIA claims a power consumption figure of 105W... (And, seemingly, an idle consumption still near 40-50W... why oh why, in spite of the new 65nm process!)


Have you looked at Silverstone's TJ08? Very similar in size, layout and price (although it doesn't come with its own PSU) to the NSK-3480. You could easily run a passive PSU in this case (unlike the Antec), because there's no separate compartment for it. I've personally used a Fortron Zen (well, a SilentMaxx, which is basically just a rebadged Zen) in this case, and had no heat issues. There was no audible difference over my Corsair HX520, so I ended up using it in a different build instead, but it's entirely doable.

Quote:
Now, I need to settle on a good microATX board that shines. I need to be able to connect three displays (one of which is a TV) preferably with DVI, but trolling through manufacturers' sites is a lot of work. Questionable support for multiple graphics cards, especially if there are two different makes installed together, makes me worry. Matrox Millennium series seems otherwise fine, providing either PCI or PCIe (x1 or x4?) cards, but resolution support is limited with DVI! (Digital: 1280 x 1024 Analog, main display: 2048 x 1536 Analog, secondary display: 1600 x 1200) The Asus P5B-VM DO has been the only one I've come across that at least doesn't lack anything critical and doesn't have an odd layout of the connectors, like the ones Abit for example seems to practice.


I was in the same boat. I wanted to connect 2 monitors and a TV to my mATX computer. What I ended up doing was simply adding a nVIDIA PCI graphics card (6200) to go with my 7950GT. Another option I considered was to replace my nVIDIA card with an ATI one, so I could use the Abit F-I90HD motherboard's "surroundview" feature. Felt it would be too much of a waste however, as I would've had to replace my motherboard as well and my 7950GT suits me fine. Might be an option for you though? I would ignore the Matrox cards completely as they're all overpriced, underperforming junk, imo.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:06 pm 
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Hello,

Bit of a lurker here at SPCR, but seeing this topic I decided I'd chime in.

I've already gone through a similar transition, from Solo to the nsk3480. I've also had an overclocked 8800GTS 640MB card in both.

I'm not sure the P5K-VM has all the features you're looking for, but it's the best in terms of BIOS options of all the mATX boards for c2d that I've gone through, and probably the only serious overclocker for c2d mATX, along with one from Gigabyte (I forget the name, but overclocking isn't a priority in this case anyway), although right now I'm actually running an E6850 undervolted at stock speeds.

For PSUs, I bought an HX520 for this system, and now it's sitting outside the PC: it had this horrible high-pitched whine to it, which varied in tone and intensity with load. I got a NeoHE 500W for free not long ago, put that in, and although not spectacularly quiet, it is not annoying over the rest of the system.

Which brings me to the noise aspect; it's not silent. I had the same components in my Solo, complete with the undervolted Nexus fans, and the noise difference is quite noticeable. Everyone around me assures me I'm insane, but the noise went from unnoticeable to quite noticeable. Most of the noise is airflow noise from the case fans, a bit of a higher-frequency noise from my CNPS9500 (if you try to fit a ninja in that case, be ready for some intense cable management), and a bit of a whine from the videocard - unless you can't accept a system which you can hear, you can trust the stock cooling on the GTS, but not the GT's 60mm fan.

Running the case fans (1 92mm and 1 120mm, both Nexus) at 5v shows little improvement in noise, and significant increases in temperatures, especially for the videocard which needs air as it is close to the bottom-mounted HDD, and that's despite running the card underclocked at idle.

So, bottom line, you're likely to find your system is louder than in your P180. But, it *is* very small and cute :). It's also not obtrusively loud, though you might need to work a bit to get it quieted down to a tolerable level. Keep in mind the PC is located not 30cm from me, on my desk, just like my Solo used to, so any noise is not muffled at all. Also, the bottom HDD mounts are not enough to stop the vibrations from my WD5000AAKS from reaching the table, though a bit of rubber under the computer case did stop that.

Sorry for the long and poorly structured post, it's kind of late.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:08 am 
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Moogles wrote:
Have you looked at Silverstone's TJ08? Very similar in size, layout and price (although it doesn't come with its own PSU) to the NSK-3480. You could easily run a passive PSU in this case (unlike the Antec), because there's no separate compartment for it. I've personally used a Fortron Zen (well, a SilentMaxx, which is basically just a rebadged Zen) in this case, and had no heat issues. There was no audible difference over my Corsair HX520, so I ended up using it in a different build instead, but it's entirely doable.

Yes, the TJ08 looks good, even though it's aluminum and just a tad larger. The side intake is definitely better positioned. One downside is that it doesn't come with a PSU made with a tiny case in mind, so cable management would be harder. The Phantom for example would definitely cause some grief with the cables.

Quote:
I was in the same boat. I wanted to connect 2 monitors and a TV to my mATX computer. What I ended up doing was simply adding a nVIDIA PCI graphics card (6200) to go with my 7950GT.
[...]
I would ignore the Matrox cards completely as they're all overpriced, underperforming junk, imo.

I'm considering making do with the integrated graphics of the motherboard, if it happens to play nice with a discrete card. I haven't been able to find boards with DVI yet, that would still support PCIe 16x for a discrete card. The Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H would have VGA, DVI and HDMI but only PCIe x4 worth of bandwidth is left for the x16 slot. I'm considering the GA-G33M-S2 now (I don't need the RAID on -DS2R). You are right, the Matrox cards aren't worth it - I was only considering them as some of them could be plugged in PCIe x1 slots.

Sorbet wrote:
I'm not sure the P5K-VM has all the features you're looking for, but it's the best in terms of BIOS options of all the mATX boards for c2d that I've gone through, and probably the only serious overclocker for c2d mATX, along with one from Gigabyte (I forget the name, but overclocking isn't a priority in this case anyway)

Hey Sorbet, thanks for your hands-on info!

What I want to see from the microATX motherboard is full-speed PCIe x16, DVI instead of VGA (or in addition, as long as it doesn't rob PCIe lanes), true Gigabit Ethernet (on PCIe), sane connector placement especially since it's meant for tight places and overall reliability. Oh, and a northbridge cooling solution that allows for an HR-03(+) to wrap the graphics card, just in case I need it - sadly, there's not enough vertical space to do this in a microATX case, and the Ninja blocks the other way too so these (VM-101, VM-103) aren't options either unless I change the CPU cooler (unlikely).

Quote:
I got a NeoHE 500W for free not long ago, put that in, and although not spectacularly quiet, it is not annoying over the rest of the system.

Which brings me to the noise aspect; it's not silent. I had the same components in my Solo, complete with the undervolted Nexus fans, and the noise difference is quite noticeable. Everyone around me assures me I'm insane, but the noise went from unnoticeable to quite noticeable.

Dang, how hard might it be... I'm thinking very slow fans for exhaust, Ninja, possibly PSU (swapped for the most silent I can find) and possibly an equally silent fan on an aftermarket GPU cooler. If it's gasping for air, I will make holes. For the record, I keep my P180 door open, because as soon as I close it, the idle temperatures start climbing from 36 to over 40. The 5.25" slot covers are open so the three bays provide a direct intake to the CPU heatsink. I suspect there will be a similar disadvantage with either of these mATX cases, the 3480 or even the TJ08. The Puget C2D build had a T2400 in it and it still was rather warm. Of course, the position of the heatsink was different from most systems. In my case it would be right under the PSU - this is why I'm considering a traditional PSU with a 80mm fan I would swap, and make an intake duct for it - a NeoHE perhaps? I'm hoping it would be enough to keep it completely inaudible with the right fan, and then I could concentrate on the rest of the system. The Phantom would probably affect CPU temps as it runs a lot hotter, even in my P180 with a dedicated slow fan for it in the bottom chamber. I admit I have only tried it in this one case though.

Quote:
Running the case fans (1 92mm and 1 120mm, both Nexus) at 5v shows little improvement in noise, and significant increases in temperatures, especially for the videocard which needs air as it is close to the bottom-mounted HDD, and that's despite running the card underclocked at idle.

The HDD should be an easy component as long as I can find an unobstructive way to fix it in place, e.g. on some foam, as it's in the Quiet Drive. What I'm mostly concerned is that the slow, inaudible speed of the fans might indeed not be enough in one of those cases. I guess adding an extra 120mm in there would not increase the noise at all, at least not perceptably, and hopefully allow me to find a quiet and comparably cool system. I'm anxious to try it out but reluctant to expend money and effort in testing them both.

Edit: Asus P5E-VM HDMI looks rather promising. The manual doesn't state how the PCIe lanes are distributed, though. Only a few online stores seem to carry it right now, seems new - and pricy!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:52 pm 
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Quote:
sane connector placement especially since it's meant for tight places and overall reliability. Oh, and a northbridge cooling solution that allows for an HR-03(+) to wrap the graphics card, just in case I need it - sadly, there's not enough vertical space to do this in a microATX case, and the Ninja blocks the other way too so these (VM-101, VM-103) aren't options either unless I change the CPU cooler (unlikely).


Just in case you're considering the P5K-VM, here's a pic of my rig's insides so you can have a look at the cooling solution/clearance issues (wiring still messy, I know :))

Image

Also, closeup of the HDD <-> GFX issue:

Image

Quote:
In my case it would be right under the PSU - this is why I'm considering a traditional PSU with a 80mm fan I would swap, and make an intake duct for it - a NeoHE perhaps? I'm hoping it would be enough to keep it completely inaudible with the right fan, and then I could concentrate on the rest of the system. The Phantom would probably affect CPU temps as it runs a lot hotter, even in my P180 with a dedicated slow fan for it in the bottom chamber.


As you can sort of see in the case shot, the PSU is isolated in its own chamber, so for the NSK3480, it shouldn't have any impact on the case thermals. Also, the top panel has vents which might be sufficient for a fanless PSU, and, combined with the holes from an empty 5.25" bay, are sufficient for a typical 80mm fan-cooled PSU or even an upside-down 120mm PSU (had the Corsair in that way). The NeoHE is not very loud, and with the fan swap you're thinking about I'm pretty confident it would be quiet enough for any system short of a dead-silent one.

Here's a shot of the top section:

Image

You can see how tight it is up there, and the NeoHE is actually shorter than the HX520 I had in before.

I'm not done with this build yet, as I'm not satisfied with the noise and I'm contemplating fitting a soundcard in there somehow. I'm thinking putting the HDD in an enclosure, at the top, under the vents, may be enough for cooling whilst creating more space for the videocard/ for a soundcard.

As an aside, just having the panels off for the few minutes it took me to take the pictures caused the idle temperatures on both the CPU and the videocard to fall around 3-4C, so even with the two fans at 12v, the rig is still asking for more air. Cutting holes down next to the videocard might help alot in this regard.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:06 pm 
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Sorbet wrote:
Just in case you're considering the P5K-VM, here's a pic of my rig's insides so you can have a look at the cooling solution/clearance issues (wiring still messy, I know :))

That looks like a board worth considering as well. It appears the Intel's integrated graphics solutions disable themselves as soon as a dedicated graphics card is installed, or that's what I was told. I guess I must use a PCI card (maybe a soundcard too) and thus I have to choose a board that definitely has enough space between the PCIe slot and CPU for an HR-03 (Plus) and a chipset cooler that doesn't block it. Unless this monster from Gainward materializes in the near future and actually works, that is.

Quote:
Also, closeup of the HDD <-> GFX issue:

Hm, there indeed isn't much space for a hard drive - I was thinking of placing the Quiet Drive on one of its ends somehow so it wouldn't block any slots - it might be a foolish dream as it hasn't really hit home yet how tiny that space is! Thanks for the pictures, they really help.

Quote:
As you can sort of see in the case shot, the PSU is isolated in its own chamber, so for the NSK3480, it shouldn't have any impact on the case thermals.

I'm going to separate the PSU in any case.

Quote:
I'm not done with this build yet, as I'm not satisfied with the noise and I'm contemplating fitting a soundcard in there somehow. I'm thinking putting the HDD in an enclosure, at the top, under the vents, may be enough for cooling whilst creating more space for the videocard/ for a soundcard.

As an aside, just having the panels off for the few minutes it took me to take the pictures caused the idle temperatures on both the CPU and the videocard to fall around 3-4C, so even with the two fans at 12v, the rig is still asking for more air. Cutting holes down next to the videocard might help alot in this regard.

How fast do you need to run your fans to maintain good cooling? I wonder if my plan of getting by with very slow fans will fly in this case, without larger intake vents. No matter how many small holes there are hidden in the sides of the front bezel, I feel they may not be enough. I'm prepared to enlargen them and cut some more, e.g. to the bottom, but I'm not too optimistic about that either. Eventually the case would just be Swiss cheese with not much in the way of controlling the airflow anymore. The result could be a case with fans that can only disturb air in their immediate vicinity, at least when they are low airflow types and need good airflow design to aid them. These cases are so cramped there's not much space left for additional fans for trouble spots, and they may be pointless anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:44 pm 
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Jokoto wrote:
Unless this monster from Gainward materializes in the near future and actually works, that is.


That, is awesomness.

Quote:
Hm, there indeed isn't much space for a hard drive - I was thinking of placing the Quiet Drive on one of its ends somehow so it wouldn't block any slots - it might be a foolish dream as it hasn't really hit home yet how tiny that space is! Thanks for the pictures, they really help.


Unless you're much more creative than I am, you're not going to want to do that. The only place I'd consider (and am considering, in fact) putting an HDD enclosure is the top section, right up against the vents. That might help the videocard breathe, help the case temps, and help create more space.

Quote:
How fast do you need to run your fans to maintain good cooling? I wonder if my plan of getting by with very slow fans will fly in this case, without larger intake vents. No matter how many small holes there are hidden in the sides of the front bezel, I feel they may not be enough. I'm prepared to enlargen them and cut some more, e.g. to the bottom, but I'm not too optimistic about that either. Eventually the case would just be Swiss cheese with not much in the way of controlling the airflow anymore. The result could be a case with fans that can only disturb air in their immediate vicinity, at least when they are low airflow types and need good airflow design to aid them. These cases are so cramped there's not much space left for additional fans for trouble spots, and they may be pointless anyway.


I feel your pain here, as I'm still pondering the issue myself. There isn't much room to put in more fans that would accomplish anything in this case as you can see from the pictures, and the only intake, next to the CPU on the side panel, while useful, would not benefit much from a fan: there's already significant airflow there (resulting, I assume, from the powerful 120mm fan very close by), I can feel it with my hand.

The only reasonable hole-cutting I might consider would be for an intake for the videocard, a la TJ08's. Of course, combined with the CPU side intake, we're talking alot of open space, ie noise.

All that being said, even overclocked, my system runs within spec temperature-wise for all components even if I turn down the fans to 5v and block the side intake. I might have used a tone that's a bit too alarmist really.

I won't go into specific temperature numbers unless you force me to as there are a multitude of different scenarios I've tried, and I didn't take notes :wink: Suffice it to say that the noise/cooling balance I'm most comfortable with is both case fans at 12v (12-7v just doesn't justify the temperature increases), side intake open, CPU fan at minimum, videocard fan at 50-55% (vs default 60, which has an audible whine). At load, the videocard fan speed increases, which results in a strong whooshing sound (no grating or anything, fortunately), but that's all. The CPU temperature never goes beyond 60C even at 4+ hours Orthos load (mesured by CoreTemp 0.95.4), the videocard never reaches 85C at full ATITool (0.26) load with 80% fan speed, the HDD never reaches 45C despite the videocard (speedfan 4.33). Turning down case fan speeds impact HDD-GFX combo the most, with the card topping out at 85+C and the HDD reaching 45 easily and going above. Surprisingly, my CPU isn't much influenced by case fans, probably because of the side intake. Even overclocked to 3.6GHz (1.45 vCore), with all fans at 5v, with or without the videocard working, it never gets to 70 (though I like sub-60 much better, and couldn't care less for 3.0-3.6GHz, so I run undervolted).

So yeah, those are my current ballpark numbers.

Hope all this helps anyone considering the transition from a powerful quiet full-size machine to a small, quiet, powerful machine (asking for alot are we? :) ). I can't be sure if the TJ08 would fare better, however my guess is it would be a similar situation as this. The NSK3480 color scheme matches my monitor's though, so that's a definite plus :D.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:48 pm 
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I have now decided to try a Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R. The -S2 would do (just the same but without RAID) but it isn't available here. The P5K-VM does not seem to have holes through the board for northbridge heatsink mounting, so mounting an HR-05 might be problematic. The Gigabyte board seemed to have slightly less complaints, but that's probably only because it is newer. They say the G33 chipset gets somewhat hot, so I would like to move my HR-05 to the new board as well.

However, there is a slight problem with space. If I decide to later install an 8800 GT and the HR-03 GT for it, it would have to be installed in type 1 configuration wrapping the card. Apparently there's only 27mm of clearance between a HR-05 and the graphics card though, and the fins of an HR-03 are just about that high - not counting the clearance they have to the back of the card. I'm prepared to make it fit, if necessary, by grinding off some material in the fins where they make contact and slight bending of the pipes and fins if there's any give and space at all. Here's the diagram of the dimensions of the HR-03 Plus, which shouldn't be too much off from the GT version:

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/3011 ... izeck4.jpg

What I'm unsure of though is whether or not this is sensible at all. The HR-03 and -05 are designed to have airflow through them vertically, but here they would be side by side, both right under a Ninja. I'm thinking of trying horizontal airflow first, parallel to the Ninja's own, towards the rear exhaust - what do you think, could it work with the heatpipes right in the way? The heatpipes and TR's "Proprietary through holes on fins" with their little dabs of of metal twisted perpendicular to the fins practically form a block to horizontal airflow here. I don't think anyone has tried this before... The only other way is to let heat rise through them all the way to the Ninja and then yank it out to the back. I'm not terribly worried about CPU temps, by the way.

On the other hand, maybe I'll just wait if any other working passive solutions come along from the card manufacturers. It's just that there's no guarantee any will come available around here and how effective they are. Well, time will tell and there's no rush to upgrade the graphics anytime soon. I've waited this long to have time for some Bioshock, I can easily wait some more. Now I just need to find the most low-powered PCI or PCIe card for the third display (TV) - with DVI and HDTV-out available to choose from, preferably.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:14 pm 
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Jokoto wrote:
What I'm unsure of though is whether or not this is sensible at all. The HR-03 and -05 are designed to have airflow through them vertically, but here they would be side by side, both right under a Ninja. I'm thinking of trying horizontal airflow first, parallel to the Ninja's own, towards the rear exhaust - what do you think, could it work with the heatpipes right in the way? The heatpipes and TR's "Proprietary through holes on fins" with their little dabs of of metal twisted perpendicular to the fins practically form a block to horizontal airflow here. I don't think anyone has tried this before... The only other way is to let heat rise through them all the way to the Ninja and then yank it out to the back. I'm not terribly worried about CPU temps, by the way.


Rather than just blurt out uninformed opinions, I'll just say that I've thought of trying to do what you're suggesting, and, for the same reasons you point out, I decided it was not worth the risk/effort. That being said, if you do eventually decide to go ahead and try it, please keep us posted as I'd be very interested in what you find out.

Seeing my case open in front of me, I have a feeling it would work if the large side-panel vent wasn't covered, but I'm not sure the horizontal airflow alone would be enough, especially considering how little air is pushed through with low-airflow fans. I do not have any experience with the HR's however, so this is just gut feeling.

If I ever have enough time (and a bit of extra cash) on my hands, I think I'll try experimenting extensively with this case and setup. Thinking of modding the front for a 120mm fan, rearranging side-panel grilles, enclosing an HDD in the top chamber, and trying a ninja + almost passive videocard combo, same as you are thinking. As it is, though, it's tolerably quiet, so it's hard for me to get past that initial lazyness barrier. :wink:

Quote:
I've waited this long to have time for some Bioshock, I can easily wait some more.


[OT] I found Bioshock to be quite awesome by the way, especially with a good graphics card. [/OT]


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:16 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:26 pm
Posts: 1421
Location: Finland
I think I'll share some of my experience with NSK3400.

First off MikeCs phantom idea: As we can already see from sorbets picture. It's already a tight fit with Antec NeoHe. I have S12-430 in my NSK3400 and that leaves me 28mm of clearance between the psu and my optical drive which is 185mm long. I think Phantom is 43mm longer then S12, so it wouldn't fit in with a long optical drive. Not that it would matter much, because it's impossible to route the cables from the side hole, if Phantom has the fan. Even without the fan, it's not 100% certain, that the cables can make the steep turn.It wasn't totally painless even with S12, which is about 2cm shorter then Phantom without the fan.

Easiest way to make your computer quit is to stop monitoring temps. Few weeks ago I was running my NSK3400 rig "completely" passive. Meaning I had 2 active fans in my computer. Soft mounted Nexus running at 800rpms and S12-430W fan at minimum. I felt, that I wouldn't have gained anything from running the Nexus slower, because the S12 was already dominant. I don't know what the temps were, but the computer was stable with Passive Ninja and Passive gigabyte's 8600GT (which turned out to be a whining pos). I didn't run any benchmarks to test stability, but I played long sessions of NWN2 without any issues. Good enough for me.

_________________
Antec Solo case /w Seasonic S-12 430W, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2, X2 4850e /w Scythe Ninja, 2x2Gb DDR2800, WD Raptor 150GB, 500GB WD GP in Antec MX-1, BenQ G2400W, Logitech diNovo Laser, Logitech z-680


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
Posts: 99
Location: Finland
The way I see it, since I will be using the exact same hardware, the key issue is whether or not there is enough airflow. The big difference between these builds is the impedance for airflow. In the P180 I have several unrestricted paths for air straight through the system. Three of the 5.25" bay covers are off, forming a huge, straight intake for the Ninja and then there are the lower intakes. I keep the front door open because closing it results in a rise in temperatures. (Nothing terrible, but since I have the easy option and it doesn't affect noise...)

In the NSK3480 the PSU chamber is roughly similar and with a fan swap to the EarthWatts, I can pretty much rule it out as a noise source, somewhat like the Phantom in my P180. The main chamber will get some work done just to be sure; I'll cut away the grills behind the bezel and consider doing something to the side panel as well - perhaps a vent next to the expansion slots like in the SilverStone TJ-08 and possibly one in the corner in front because I know the bezel will restrict airflow a little.

I suppose I can expect similarly higher temperature baseline in the NSK3480 as in the P180 with the door closed. I'm cautiously optimistic that even the synthetic load temps could stay at safe levels at quiet fan speeds. Judging by the NSK3300 review with a roughly comparable system wattage-wise (configuration #1), if the temperatures were at that level and the main noise sources were fans that will be quieter in my build, I think it should work out. One thing I haven't even explored yet is undervolting, if having exhausted all other options something still needs to be done, but we'll see some time after the order ships - it's only waiting for the motherboard now.

Edit: While I'm waiting I decided to try undervolting - I manually set the lowest vcore the P5B Deluxe didn't complain about on POST, which was 1.1500. (It still booted all the way to Windows with lower settings and even ran Orthos without crashing - there were errors though.) A couple rounds of ORTHOS went fine and right now I'm running Prime95, large FFTs. Running Intel TAT seems to cause an instant rise of a few degrees in addition. All in all, the maximum load temperatures are now ten degrees less! Vcore is 1.104 V at load according to CPU-Z (1.112 V at idle). I'll keep testing this through the night and perhaps tomorrow, but it seems this system should be able to do fine in a case with weaker airflow, as long as the new motherboard can cut the mustard. NB undervolting might be interesting too, once I can get to it.

Edit 2: I loaned an electricity consumption meter and here are the results. These are AC readings:
Idle at desktop: 101 W (with my usual applications running, no CPU-hungry programs)
Full CPU load: 127 W
TAT + ATI Tool: 133 W

For the record, the two displays plus the sound system consume roughly another hundred watts, 97 W or so. 42 W for a 24", 38 W for a 20" and the rest is taken by my active near field monitor stereo speakers and an active subwoofer, perhaps 12 W give or take and 8 W or thereabouts respectively, if I recall correctly. I wonder when and where the sub would take the rest needed for the 55 W stated power from. The speaker system alone states 90 W in the back! :D

Estimating from the efficiency of the Phantom 500 at those levels, this translates to roughly 80 W idle and 105 W load DC power. Surprisingly little difference! I'm not going to bother measuring with stock vcore. I hope the new motherboard at least could consume a little less power, but we'll see.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
Posts: 99
Location: Finland
Update: I now have the new setup up and running, mostly finished and just miscellaneous tweaking remaining. This thing fits under the table very nicely, is comparably quiet vs. the old system and you'd all love it to bits as well if you saw it. A more thorough report will follow when I get my hands on a camera and some more free time (which is also needed to decide whether to work it some more or not, and to gather some experience with it). For now I'll just link to some screen caps. This is a Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R with a E6600 + Ninja Rev. B in a NSK3480, HR-05 on the NB, EarthWatts 380 fan swapped to an NCB fan and just two 120mm Nexus fans @ 600rpm, one on the Ninja and the other as the exhaust. Video card is still the passive 7600GS and it seems to be cooled just as well as in the P180, now with a negative pressure system. A 500GB Samsung T166 in a Scythe Quiet Drive is suspended in front, not blocking any expansion slots! I'm running the E6600 undervolted and here I tried undervolting the FSB and (G)MCH a bit as well. The "system" temperature reading came down 5 degrees from 40 at idle - here it has been running Orthos for a while. I'll need to check whether this will work in the long run. For the moment I can state that CPU idle temperatures are a couple degrees higher than before, but load temps actually seem to be down a bit, or at least not any higher. Ambient is 21 degrees.

http://s232.photobucket.com/albums/ee11 ... _temps.png

GPU load will take the passive XFX-made card to 80 or over, with the fans running at a constant 600rpm. They don't really need to ever ramp up, just like before. I'm using the IGP for a third monitor but I really need to find an ADD2 card to get DVI out of the integrated graphics, or some very low power PCIe card, preferably with HDTV-out support (with YPbPr component). Which one would you recommend? I'm having a hard time finding any gf6xxx series cards anywhere, ADD2 cards don't seem to exist in this part of the world and I don't want to use the 7600GS as a secondary card if I updgrade to some gaming card later. It would have to be placed in the bottom-most PCIe x4 slot, with questionable airflow.

What is the coolest-running PCIe card with at least one DVI and an HDTV-out?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:55 pm 
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Location: www.NEQX.com
pics please! I'm considering the same case with a DuoCore e6850. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
Posts: 99
Location: Finland
Pics are now up in a thread at the General Gallery forum.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... p?p=386532


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