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

Scythe Heatlane Zen NCU-1000 fanless CPU cooler

Cooling
The Heatlane Zen NCU-1000 CPU Cooler is another unusual CPU cooler from Scythe. It is massive, looking for all the world like a skyscraper on the motherboard, it uses a heatpipe to spread the heat evenly throughout its substantial expanse, and it is designed to cool P4 processors while running completely fanless. SPCR takes them at face value and tests the Zen without a fan on a P4-2.53 system.

Small and Silent: the Nimble V5

The Nimble V5 is an ultra compact yet complete mini-PC based on the VIA Digital Media Platform comprising the power-efficient VIA C3¬ô processor and the digital media optimized VIA UniChrome¬ô CLE266 chipset.

Measuring only 2"x7.7"x7.7"-about the size of a paperback novel-the Nimble V5 Personal Video Conferencing Player fits easily onto any desktop in the house or office and operates silently, drawing only about 12 watts of power. (Read the review at epiacenter.com)

Review: Arctic Cooling Copper Silent 2 TC

Cooling
Thermally controlled fans on CPU heatsinks attempt to provide silence whenever possible, and maximum cooling ability when needed. It’s simple in concept, but very difficult to make work in practice. Arctic Cooling have been doing it for a while. Russ examines their latest iteration for socket-A, the Copper Silent 2 TC. It is a thumbs up for the SPCR audience.

Antec 3700BQE (Black Quiet Edition) case

Cases|Damping
Thermally controlled fans on CPU heatsinks attempt to provide silence whenever possible, and maximum cooling ability when needed. It’s simple in concept, but very difficult to make work in practice. Arctic Cooling have been doing it for a while. Russ examines their latest iteration for socket-A, the Copper Silent 2 TC. It is a thumbs up for the SPCR audience. ...

Fanless Heatpipe CPU Cooling System by FMAH

Do-It-Yourself Systems
A fanless CPU cooling system custom-made using heatpipes, a massive heatsink and a unique system configuration by contributor Fred Mah, fmah of the SPCR forums. The cooling power of this silent system is nothing short of impressive, able to handle the hottest XP without a fan. It's easily adapted to any type of socket CPU and makes all kinds of system setups possible. It's in the Cooling section but could also go into Systems. A very cool design!

Cable Sleeve & Heat Shrink Tutorial

Starsky over at Blue Couch has written a tutorial on Cable Sleeve and Heat Shrink for beginners. The article includes information on removing molex connectors, and contains a brief video on using a naked flame on heatshrink. (Caution: A heat gun would be a preferable method.)Read the Tutorial

Gorgeous Minuet case

We've mentioned that Antec is launching lots of new cases recently. One is the Minuet, a slim microATX case designed for desktop use. Well, the case has been in our hands for a week, and we won't be able to get to a full review of it for a while, but it is such an impressively attractive case that it deserves a closer look of the exterior. Even this photo does not fully capture the tasteful and subtle contrast between the shiny silver metal finish of the bezel perimeter set against the semi-gloss silver of the front panel. If looks could kill... Look for a review of the Minuet and the larger but similar style Overture in the next few weeks.

Review: 3aCooler's Zebra AlCu1 heatsink

Cooling
The 3aCooler Zebra AlCu1 Socket-A heatsink borrows a little from Thermalright and a little from Zalman but ends up with its own compact, tidy approach to CPU cooling. Rusty's first HS review for SPCR on this interesting, mostly successful product from Romania is succinct and precise.

New Quiet Products from Nexus

Nexus, of NX-3000 PSU fame, has recently introduced a series of new quiet PC components over the summer:

The Nexus 80mm Real Silent case fan is said to produce only 17.6 dB(A), this value "the result of numerous tests in an anechoic chamber following the highest standards." They say they "simply cannot find another [fan] this quiet!

The NX-3500 Special Edition, a 350W power supply featuring the increasingly popular 120mm bottom-mounted fan. They claim it is only "19.2 dB(A) in idle mode and will be inaudible when mounted in a computer system as the fan will be located on the inside of the computer case. The NX-3500 has longer power cables and is SATA ready!"

Then there is the all-aluminum PHT-3600 SkiveTek, a light weight P4 heatsink equipped with a fan with 2400 RPM and a noise spec of only 19 dB(A). It is said to challenge all-copper HSF in performance despite its low noise and aluminum construction.

VIA 1Ghz C3 + C3M266 review at PC Silencieux

A thorough and creative review on the VIA C3 Nehemiah 1Ghz + VIA C3M266 motherboard at PC Silencieux, translated from the French original. It includes a SPCR-esque comparison against an undervolted, underclocked AMD XP setup and much commentary about noise vs performance and thermal issues. PC Silencieux is a French site started recently by long-time SPCR forum member Kostik. It's not clear who wrote the original article and who translated, but Kostik, you were involved one way or another: Very nicely done!

Hush ATX: P4 & AGP in stylish silence

Hush Technologies have done it again. At Computex in Taiwan last week, the people that brought you the stylish and quiet Hush mini-ITX PC unveiled a new snazzy PC with a distinctive family resemblance: The Hush ATX. Available in MediaServer and standard desktop configurations, this completely fanless PC features Pentium P4-478 motherboards with VIA or Intel chipsets. ATX, micro-ATX and mini-ITX boards can be accommodated. Video can be handled by on-board or normal AGP slot VGA cards. The Hush ATX bring Pentium 4 and AGP video power to the silent sector with the most stylish presentation yet to be seen

One exciting aspect of their design is a completely fanless 240W full ATX 2.03 standard Auto-switching 90-250VAC power supply with a very high >82% efficiency! Though the technical details are not fully explained, one would have to guess that one side heatsink cools the PSU while the other cools the CPU, likely by using heatpipes to transfer the heat. Very nicely executed & extremely cool. We'll have to beg for a review sample. The Hush ATX brochure is downloadable here.

New Antec P160 case coming soon

Antec has developed a new ATX tower case they call P160. News about this case could not be found on the main Antec web site, but an Australian distributor Altech Computers had this to say:

Antec have combined their innovative `Quiet Computing` technology with cutting edge design, and features to create the P160, or `Performance One` case. Made from anodized aluminium, the case includes a swivelling front panel with LED temp readouts, FireWire, USB and audio ports, 10 drive bays, a removable motherboard tray, blue LEDs and a washable air filter. Speak to your account manager about placing an advanced order today.
A PDF promotional brochure is available at Altech. The marketing copy in that brochure implies that this case may replace the widely copied SX-10xx series cases. "AntecRep" has stated in the SPCR Forums that the P160 will be available in the US in late October.

Installing a Zalman NB47J

Installing a Northbridge Heatsink is one of the first steps many people take towards silencing their noisy computer. Traditionally pesky 40mm fans growl in your case, and get worse over time. PilgriM over at Bluecouch has posted an article detailing his experiences Installing a Zalman NB47J northbridge heatsink on an Abit KR-7A motherboard. A simple painless process, even for people with no experience inside the case.

New harddisk enclosure by LEY-ECD

Company Press Release: The high-end FEK-Pro harddisk-insulation covers the hdd completely - that ensures effective reduction of for even 15,000rpm disks . Available at www.pcsilent.com

BTX form factor announced at IDF

On Sept 16 at the Intel Developers Forum in San Jose, Intel formally announced the Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) form factor specification, and posted the 32-page document at the www.formfactors.org web site for public access. Here are some photos of prototypes I took at the Technology Showcase hall at the recent San Jose IDF. Look for a summary analysis article soon.