Silent PC Review is dedicated to reviews, news and information about silent computers and components, as well as their energy efficiency and thermal performance.

Nvidia and Shuttle to produce new SN40 system

Nvidia and Shuttle announced today their partnership to produce Small Form Factor nForce2 barebones, a move which should see improved performance from the tiny PC. We can expect many of the nForce2 features to be integrated into Shuttle's upcoming SN40 including:

Choosing Fans for Quiet, High Airflow: A Scientific Approach

Fans|Controls
Contributor TheBigFan used fan laws and sound equations to calculate the theoretical airflow and noise levels of 111 selected DC fans at reduced speeds, multiples and different configurations. This fascinating article sums up the thorough research and thoughtful analysis of a self-professed noise fanatic to identify the quietest fans that cool well. The data is downloadable as xls, pdf or zipped xls files. A very worthy addition to SPCR's growing knowledge base!

Tom's Hardware review of the Shuttle SS40 Mini PC

Tom's Hardware has an article about the Shuttle SS40 PC. The author practically gushes about the SS40 and gives it high praise. There are some great, detailed pictures of the mini-pc's heat pipe heat sink along with a decent explanation of how heat pipe technology works. Those two things alone make the article worth reading. Also mentioned is the fact that Shuttle will be releasing a replacement for the SS40 soon, which will contain an AGP slot, perhaps the biggest gripe heard about the SS40 today.

Zalman fanless VGA-heatsink/heatpipe due in August

Zalman says their new VGA heatsinks with heat-pipe(ZM50-HP, ZM80-HP) will be available early August and prices are not decided yet. Thanks for the tip, Patric.

AMD Shipping Athlon XP SFF!

Xbit labs reports that AMD just started shipping Athlon XP SFF processors featuring low power consumption. These CPUs utilize a bus speed of 100 (200)MHz instead of the common 133(266)MHz, and the supported Vcore ranges between 1.05-1.45V, which allows reaching only 35W heat dissipation level. Should make it easier to build quiet XP-based systems. Thanks to Alex Hu for the news tip!

Mini-ITX Web Site

www.mini-itx.com is a site devoted to (surprise!) all thing related to the Mini-ITX platform recently developed by VIA. Our review of the VIA EPIA-5000 Mini-ITX embedded CPU integrated motherboard remains the most read article on SPCR. Many projects and concepts are covered at mini-itx.com, including silent and simply cool PCs. Well worth a visit.

Silent Supercomputing

The New York Times is running an article (free registration required) about two very different supercomputers. One supercomputer, called Q, follows the traditional path of packing as many teraflops into one computer as possible, without regard to power or heat requirements. The other computer, called "Green Destiny" takes a different approach. Relying upon low-power, low-heat chips from Transmeta, this computer is made up of a Beowulf cluster of machines and requires just a fraction of the power of the larger Q supercomputer. While the article doesn't fall within the traditional boundaries of silent personal computing, it's still worth a read.

Seagate announces larger Barracuda drives.

Seagate announced a new, larger Barracuda V series of hard drives. Using the same technology that made the Barracuda IV series so popular with quiet PC enthusiasts, these new drives will support 60GB per platter and support Serial ATA in addition to "regular" ATA. In addition, the Serial ATA drives, expected to ship later this month, will offer an 8MB cache, which should make for a nice increase in performance on these 7,200RPM drives.

Zalman ZM300A-APF PSU

Power
A new PSU from Zalman, now with Active PFC, wire fan grill, bigger heatsinks, higher efficiency and lower noise, all at the same price as the old PSU. We put the ZM300A-APF through its paces on the test bench and it emerges smelling like roses.

Review: Smart Drive HDD Enclosure

Storage
A smarter realization of the old "seal-up-that-hard-drive" idea? Smart Drive is a slick aluminum hard drive enclosure with the superb fit & finish done so well by the Japanese. US retailer Silicon Acoustics kindly provided a review sample. Does it work? Read on & find out!

New Zalman products

Zalman has officially released their new powersupply (dubbed ZM300A-APF) and a "multi-connector" for connecting two 5V and two 12V fans to a single 4-pin plug. Details can be found at Zalman's Korean website or Zalman USA.

They also have pictures of the ZM-50HP VGA cooler using heatpipes.

Zalman CNPS 6000Cu Review

Overclocker Cafe has a review of the all-copper Zalman CNPS 6000Cu CPU heatsink. They recommend it and call it "VERY quiet!". A separate article from Tweakers Australia suggest that the all copper design doesn't add much beyond the aluminium/copper version except weight.

ExtremeTech's article on silencing PCs

ExtremeTech has posted an article that walks through an entire PC silencing project. It's a decent summary, but they certainly made some questionable decisions, such as choosing the Maxtor DiamondMax drive over the Seagate Barracuda IV and the Enermax Whisper PSU over the Zalman or Seasonic. They also had some difficulties silencing the HSF on the P4 2.53GHz chip, which isn't surprising, given the heat output of Intel's top of the line CPU. Nevertheless, it's an interesting article that provides a good summary-level explanation of how to silence a PC.

Effective Passive Hard Drive Cooling

Storage
This addition to our archive of articles on dealing with the noise and heat of hard drives was made possible by the careful experiments of Philip Dayson. More insights on effective cooling of hard drives. Hint: Neither the top nor bottom of the drive is the hottest part!

Thoroughbred AMD XP still runs HOT

The new 0.13 micron core AMD XP was awaited eagerly by many power-hungry but quiet-loving PC enthusiasts. Alas, initial reviews everywhere suggest the wait was for naught. While generating a bit less heat, the reduced size of the die has resulted in less contact area for heat transfer to the heatsink. The result is a very marginal 1-2° C or 7% reduction in temperature, depending on which review you read. Why didn't they adopt a heat spreader?! For links to the first reviews...