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 Post subject: Sonata mods
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2003 11:11 am 
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*** Bezel Mod


I've opened up the bottom of the bezel on my Sonata. This has probably been done before by pretty much everybody but I thought I'd share a micro-howto.

The 3/16 thick Sonata plastic cuts like cheese with a pair of Wiss offset aviation snips. It wasn't the easiest material to make tight radius turns with though, so I ended up using both the left and right hand snips to get it looking decent. It's a far less messy solution than using a die grinder.

Even opened up like this, I can really feel the air rushing into that big opening.

In rear of the bezel are three unseen slats, molded into the plastic. I've removed the top two, as per MikeC, and that works hand in hand with this mod. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that at this time.


Before...

Image


Cutting...

Image


After...

Image


After on a different Sonata...

Image

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Last edited by Tom Brown on Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 2:30 am 
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I think I'll pass on this mod. In order to see whether cutting up the bezel would help, I simply pulled it off completely. I'm not seeing any change in temps whatsoever.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:22 pm 
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*** PSU airflow mod

As well as the bezel mods, I also like to do the L1A fan swap on the PSU and bend the slats to improve airflow. The bending is done with a pair of needle nose pliers.

Here's a Sonata PSU with the top slats bent, bottom slats stock...

Image


Here it is the finished PSU...

Image


Exhaust temps went down considerably. The PSU exhaust barely feels warm now. A duct thermometer shows 90F under roughly any conditions. Changes in room temperature seem to have no effect whatever on the PSU exhaust temps (the max I've been able to get my house is 32C... it's winter here in Canada :D ). Changes in case fan speed don't seem to have any effect either. I guess the thermal fan speed circuit does it's job very well.

If I overclock my CPU to 2.4 GHz, OC my FSB to 200 MHz, and OC my video card as far as it will go, the PSU exhaust will creep up to 100F. Of course, I don't run my system this way.

I'm completely comfortable with a 90F exhaust temperature. The PSU should have a long and stable life running at this temperature. With the L1A and bent slats, the PSU is inaudible.

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Last edited by Tom Brown on Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:27 pm 
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*** Shot glass mod

The feet on my Sonatas are very short, perhaps 1/4" high. They sink into the carpet in my office and this blocks airflow to the bottom of bezel.

To fix this, I have my Sonatas sitting on shot glasses. The cases aren't glued or fastened to the shot glasses in any way. I'm not in an earthquake zone. :D

Notice I don't use the headlights. I think they're cheesy. If I leave the front door on either of my PCs open at night (when I'm burning a CD with nero, for example...), the LEDs from my Sunbeam Rheobuses cause my hallway to glow red. It scares me whan that happens. :D

I will point out that these shot glasses are not visible when standing in the room. The way the traffic flows, I'm the only one who knows they are there. The point of this post is to show a method of raising the case off the floor to improve airflow in a carpeted situation.


Modified, quiet, and cool running Sonata beside my main desk...

Image

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Last edited by Tom Brown on Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:55 pm 
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*** Antec vent closing on a Sonata

Without the airflow mods, I found my MB and CPU temps went up 3 or 4 degrees when I plugged the Antec vents. Now that my case flows extremely well and I have fan speeds cranked back to ultra-low, I find that closing the Antec vents doesn't seem to make any difference at all. None of my temperature sensors change with the vents plugged and the duct thermometer that I use to monitor my PSU exhaust also shows no change.

I think it's likely that the L1A in my PSU ramps up a wee bit with these vents plugged but I don't monitor this voltage so I just don't know. It doesn't matter to me, though. I don't bother plugging them on new cases I do.

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Last edited by Tom Brown on Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 5:10 pm 
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*** Opinion: stock sonata case fan versus OEM Panaflo


I tried the Panaflo FBK-12G12LH in place of the stock sonata case fan and I find that it is not an improvement. At higher voltages, the Panaflo is definitely more quiet than the Antec. At 5v, however, I believe the Antec to be more quiet.

Note that I use a Sunbeam Rheobus to control my fan voltages. I run the case fans just under 5v.

Also note that Ralf Hutter does not share my opinion on this issue with regard to the FBK Panafo versus the Antec fan in his BQE. At least, this is my impression. I completely respect Ralf and his opinion. I have absolutely no doubt that his FBK Panafo is more quiet than his Antec fan. Our Antec fans must be different somehow.

All I am saying is that my experience with the stock fan has been excellent. I have an FBK Panaflo in one of my Sonatas and the stock Antec case fan in the other. Both systems are pretty much silent.

When I walk into my office, all I hear is a gentle whirr of the 160 GB Seagate 7200.7 disk drive that each of my two systems contain. Using information contained in the articles and forums on this site, I have completely achieved my goal of making my PCs quiet.

One day I will probably replace my Seagate drives with Samsung drives. Not for a while, though...

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Last edited by Tom Brown on Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 5:38 pm 
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i just took my front bezel off my bqe to see how much of a difference it would make. let's just say that in the space of the past 5 minutes, case temp has gone down 5C and cpu temp down 2C :) my case is standing upon 2 1" tall feet that i made out of balsa wood.

i've done the exact same psu mod that you have tom (i followed your lead.. hehe) except that since i broke the psu's fan header when trying to remove the plastic shroud, i have to feed the l1a's power cable out the grill and to my rheobus.

cpu temp just dropped another 1C for a total of 3C. i think i'll mod my bqe's bezel then :) any suggestions on how to do it tom? (without buying some wiss tin snips, they're expen$ive)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 6:06 am 
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chylld wrote:
i just took my front bezel off my bqe to see how much of a difference it would make. let's just say that in the space of the past 5 minutes, case temp has gone down 5C and cpu temp down 2C :) my case is standing upon 2 1" tall feet that i made out of balsa wood.

cpu temp just dropped another 1C for a total of 3C. i think i'll mod my bqe's bezel then :) any suggestions on how to do it tom? (without buying some wiss tin snips, they're expen$ive)


Doesn't the extra noise that escapes from the case after you remove the front bezel bug you? It certainly bugs me. I think Antec's done a pretty good job of balancing airflow and noise reduction with the SLK3700 bezel. The 2 cases I've recently reviewed, the P160 and the Super Lanboy, both have very open front bezels, and yes they do have better ventilation than the 3700's but they also let way more internal case noise (CPU fan, PSU fan, rear case fan, HDD noise) out through the front. I find this an unacceptable tradeoff for a case that's a few degrees cooler.

Keep in mind that if you open up the bottom of your bezel you'll be bypassing the front air filter on your case. I actually tape off the slot in the bottom of my SLK3700 bezels so more of the air goes through the filter. My case temps are plenty cool with the stock Antec bezel (low to mid 30°C during the 90-100°F days of summer, mid to high 20°C during the "cool" 70°F winters here in Sunny SoCal). Here's a pic of my taped up bezel:

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:01 am 
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Tom, thanks for the great mini write up and the pictures. I didn't even
know about the bend-the-PSU-slats trick, I think I'm gonna give that one
a shot.

Ralf,
I tossed out my air filter b/c I thought it vastly impeded airflow. I'm
surprised you left yours in. Does it cut down on noise as well?

//edit: arg, phpBB 2.06 doesn't use separate tables per post?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:18 am 
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Tom, thanks for the pictures. To make this great thread complete, you should describe how you removed the front bezel, and when you can, take a picture of the two piece bezel.

It's been a while since I removed the front bezel. I remember taking out all the drives (5 1/4" and 3 1/2"), releasing all the tabs including the ones on the non-removable panel side by sticking fingers through the 5 1/4" bays, and gently pulling with every tab that comes loose.

I managed to remove the door too without anything breaking. The top tab on the door that attaches to the "hinge" (the small plastic protrusion) on the case can bend slightly. I push down on it and gently removed the door. There is no need to do so for the mods that Tom described.

By the way I think the Sonata looks hilarious with the shotglass feet. And I'm in complete agreement with the headlights, and getting rid of that extra wire helps a little in making it neater too. I'd like to paint the clear plastic and the chrome USB/FW cover black as well. Anyone tried that?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:55 am 
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hyperslug wrote:
Ralf,
I tossed out my air filter b/c I thought it vastly impeded airflow. I'm
surprised you left yours in. Does it cut down on noise as well?


I left mine in because it traps a lot of dust, a lot. I didn't hear any difference with or without the filter so I left mine in. My temps are fine too, I don't see where any more airflow would be beneficial in my circumstances.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 5:27 pm 
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Thank you Ralf!

For proding Tom about the Pix links that no longer worked in the first post. Look what we got, an article on modding all the facits of the Sonata case and related information. With a quick rewrite Mike C has another feature contribution.

Oh, Tom, thank you too :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 6:57 pm 
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HAHAHA
Being my typically naive self, I decided to remove my dust filter since I didn't seem to have any dust problems inside my case anyway. So I took the front bezel off, took the dust cover off and *POOF* all this dust goes flying everywhere and falling off the dust filter :) I just cleaned the thing, I needed to use water, there was too much dust to clean with just tissue / blowing.

I guess the dust filters won't impede airflow too much since I'm running negative pressured, so I'll go out to the hardware shop and see if I can find some similar material for the bottom hole that you (ralf) covered up. I think that's a much better solution than taping it up.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:58 am 
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chylld wrote:
I'll go out to the hardware shop and see if I can find some similar material for the bottom hole that you (ralf) covered up. I think that's a much better solution than taping it up.


Very good idea! I think I'll put that on my "to do" list as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 6:42 am 
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Does replacing the PSU fan on the Sonata with an L1A make a noticeable difference? I was thinking of getting a new PSU, one of those ones with a single 120mm fan mounted internally, as I would expect that should be quieter. But if swapping the fan works, I might try that. I still keep meaning to try a baffle as well...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 7:06 am 
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Arcanthis wrote:
Does replacing the PSU fan on the Sonata with an L1A make a noticeable difference? I was thinking of getting a new PSU, one of those ones with a single 120mm fan mounted internally, as I would expect that should be quieter. But if swapping the fan works, I might try that. I still keep meaning to try a baffle as well...


There's at least a couple of threads in the PSU forum that deal with swapping out fans in the Sonata PSU. Search for them and you'll find more info about this mod.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 12:31 pm 
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Welcome to SPCR, Arcanthis!

Arcanthis wrote:
Does replacing the PSU fan on the Sonata with an L1A make a noticeable difference? I was thinking of getting a new PSU, one of those ones with a single 120mm fan mounted internally, as I would expect that should be quieter. But if swapping the fan works, I might try that. I still keep meaning to try a baffle as well...


Yes, it will make a HUGE difference. There are precautions you must take however (as with opening up any power supply) and bending the grill slats as Tom has done is highly recommended. Check the other threads for more info.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:43 pm 
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*** The $6.99 CDN Princess Auto PC hush kit

While at Princess Auto, I noticed they have PC hush kits on sale for $6.99 CDN. They were mis-marked as 0.5x19x48 closed cell foam mats. I picked up two.

Princess Auto is the Canadian equivalent to Harbor Freight in the US.

Image


The kits can be installed with nothing more than a scissor and the PC lining adhesive (also mis-marked as Permatex weather strip adhesive). I also used a guillotine cutter and utility knife to hasten the cuts and make them nice and square. The foam cuts very cleanly.

Image

Image

A little of the silent computing adhesive was required on the door but this is the only place. The rest of the kit is held in place by friction. Don't forget to oversize the cuts by 1/8" to allow for this.

Don't make the mistake I did and put the adhesive where it will show through the Antec vents. If you make this mistake, you can do what I did and just wait for it to dry and scrape it off.

Image


Done.

Image


Some in the bottom of the case...

Image


I also lined the hard drive bays but I don't have a picture of that for some reason.

Also the top of the case...

Image


Overall, I would say my noise has been reduced but only marginally. I'm glad I didn't pay $100+ CDN to have a pre-cut kit brought in from overseas. The pitch of the noise has been lowered and that is probably a positive thing too.

The fooling around factor was surprisingly low. My PC was down for a total of roughly 45 minutes to install foam everywhere it made sense to do so. I couldn't imagine a pre-cut kit installing much more quickly.

One sheet easily did a Sonata with quite a bit left over but it wouldn't do two.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:57 pm 
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Very nice work Tom Brown!

8)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 9:51 am 
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A buddy just receive a Sonata yesterday and he tells me the PSU has SATA power connectors and it doesn't have the slats in the front of the PSU, either.


-- Tom

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:27 am 
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Tom Brown wrote:
A buddy just receive a Sonata yesterday and he tells me the PSU has SATA power connectors and it doesn't have the slats in the front of the PSU, either.


-- Tom


So where does cool air enter the PSU?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:36 am 
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Tom Brown wrote:
*** Overall, I would say my noise has been reduced but only marginally. I'm glad I didn't pay $100+ CDN to have a pre-cut kit brought in from overseas. The pitch of the noise has been lowered and that is probably a positive thing too.

The fooling around factor was surprisingly low. My PC was down for a total of roughly 45 minutes to install foam everywhere it made sense to do so. I couldn't imagine a pre-cut kit installing much more quickly.

One sheet easily did a Sonata with quite a bit left over but it wouldn't do two.


But how do you know this foam you bought is equal in noise reduction to the Acoustipack pre-cut for Sonata?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 2:14 pm 
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JVM wrote:
But how do you know this foam you bought is equal in noise reduction to the Acoustipack pre-cut for Sonata?


I don't know this.

I've built quite a few speaker projects both as a hobbiest and projects while I was an engineering student. I've played with quite a few different damping materials. It is generally accepted, I think it's fair to say, that BlackHole 5 is the best internal damping material for these projects. I've purchased several sheets of this stuff at $50 USD per 24"x24" piece.

The BH5, like the Accoustipack, has three different densities to it's 1/2 inch thickness and it makes sense that it would have distinct damping advantages. I think I still have an unused sheet of the stuff. If so, I'll post a picture of what it looks like when I get home.

The thing is, testing at the SRC anechoic chamber at the U of S and also my own measurements with LSPLab and Nexus show no difference between BH5 and pourous, closed cell foam. Both of these materials provided comparable improvements over an undamped enclosure, however sleight. The improvements were audible and measurable (but just barely). A couple of the shinier carpet underlay materials provided no improvement at all.

so...

I've come to the conclusion that many exotic and extremely expensive materials are wildly oversold and tend to appeal to the egos of golden eared audiophiles. You know... the guys who need to break speaker cables in properly to get the best sound.

As far as experience of, or knowledge with, the Acoustipak kit goes, I have none. I offer no data on that product. My observations are purely for the Princess Auto $6.99 CDN foam mat.

I have a calibrated panasonic microphone and the Nexus RTA soft/hardware, but I would not be able to produce any numbers that would be meaningful in this context. For that reason, I am simply providing a subjective assessment of this project. My assessment of this project is that while it provides an improvement, it is excruciatingly minimal and only worthwhile for silentPC zealots such as ourselves.


Regards,

Tom Brown

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 2:19 pm 
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Ralf Hutter wrote:
So where does cool air enter the PSU?


The same place but my understanding is that it's now a different style grill. I'll try to get a picture in the next couple of days.


-- Tom

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:56 pm 
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Yes the PSU grill is now a hexagonal pattern, similar the rear case fan grill, although the hexes are much smaller. The entire front side (i.e., internal side) of the PSU is covered with hexagonal holes. I'd say there is much more openness for airflow when compared to an un-modded 'old-style' Antex PSU. Compared to an 'old-style' PSU modded with the slats bent 90 degrees, I'd say they'd be roughly similar in airflow.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:45 am 
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cool thread... i feel the urge to create a 3700BQE mods thread...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:45 pm 
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hehehe i wrote up a diy report on all the mods i've done to the bqe, mikec is in the process of preparing it for publishing on spcr. :) but i think it'd be good if we could get a collection of mods for a single case and then combine it into a single diy report just for that case..

and btw mikec: can you make this thread sticky / a diy report or something, i keep finding myself referring back here ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 4:42 am 
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... i can have/write the watercooled bqe bit!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:06 pm 
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Here are asome photos of the new sonata PSU:
Also note... that it came with two thumscrews in the back of the case

SATA Ready marked on PSU
Image

HEX Grill on inside of PSU
Image

2 SATA Plugs... this is one of them.
Image

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:20 pm 
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I have some case mods for the Compucase LX-6A19, which is almost identical to the Sonata.

You can find them here.


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