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Shuttle becoming a System Integrator

Shuttle's seems determined to transform itself from a component manufacturer to a major systems integrator. Shuttle has been selling complete build-to-order XPC systems direct to end-users in the US since around May this year.

"New" Nexus products

Long-time SPCR sponsor Nexus (Nexutek) released several products over the past few months that are certainly worthy of note, as this brand is almost completely dedicated to quiet PC products. Some items have long discussion threads on the forums already; not exactly news, but better late than never:

NX-4090 400W PSU, an even quieter upgrade of the 120mm fan NX3500. They say 16.2 dB(A).
DampTek®, a dual-layer noise absorption material for internal case panels that looks like a serious contender.
92mm and 120mm versions in addition to their 80mm "Real Silent Fan"
Nexus Breeze case, a well-damped case with a unique airflow design that draws in from the bottm and exhausts only out the 120mm fan PSU.

All are probably worthy of reviews; just a question of when.

New Arctic Cooling VGA coolers coming

Arctic Cooling, who made a big splash here with their cost-effective CPU coolers and the innovative VGA Silencer, are about to release a whole series of VGA coolers for both ATI and nVidia graphic cards. Eight separate coolers, apparently, all based on the original concept of blowing the hot air from the GPU out the back of the case. No news on the Arctic Cooling web site, but PC Modding Malaysia has a preview.

Getting Ready for BTX

PCStats looks at the BTX form factor and early boards on display at the recent Computex show in Taiwan. Intel's 775 CPU, and 915 / 925 chipsets are featured in almost all the prototype boards but none are available for sale to consumers.

15 Multi-Fan Controllers reviewed at Tom's

Fighting Fan Noise Pollution is Tom's Hardware Guide's massive review of 15 multi-fan front panel controllers. They fail 2/3 of the units for not having a good high temp or fan fail alarm, but do list the fan voltage range of each controller (critical for SPCR) -- and other features. No time is spent on whether the controllers cause PWM noise in the fans or buzz themselves when fan voltage is reduced, both of which are not uncommon problems.

Avance Terminator case: Thermally Advanced?

Among the thousands of products being show at Computex in Taipei this week, news of the Terminator case (model C001) from Avance caught my eye. It seems to be a thermally well-optimized case with much promise for PC silencers. Here are some pics, courtesy of a TweakTown news blurb. (Click photos to enlarge.)

Like the recent Lian-Li V-series cases, there are separate thermal zones, and the mainboard is mounted upside down. There are two 120mm fan vents, one low on the front panel and the other low on the back panel. A cooling duct joins the two vents, blowing outside air across the CPU/Cooler that's in the duct path and exhaust the heat out. A chamber between the PSU and the mainboard compartments accomodates HDDs. The only issue is where the heat from a hot VGA card will go.

A review sample has been requested.

NY Newsday discovers PC noise... and SPCR

Yes, another major US daily paper has discovered PC noise as a topic worthy of editorial attention. In a piece entitled If there's too much noise coming from the bedroom, it may be the PC, NY Newsday columnist Lou Dolinar discusses how he dealt with the "sheer roaring noise" of a newly built PC. SPCR and several of our sponsors are identified as key sources of information and products... but why no hyperlinks?

Pentium M to replace P4

Just weeks after the Prescott-core P4s began rolling off the lines, these hottest CPUs ever made are on the chopping block. According to this Reuters news report, Intel has scrapped plans for two new P4-based products as it shifts focus to making chips that have twice the computing power. This is the highly efficient Pentium M, currently limited to mobile computing. The move comes amid concerns that in future versions, the Prescott would require too much power as well as expensive cooling systems. The new strategy shows Intel is backing away from a focus on raw speed. Intel plans to introduce dual-core chips for desktop computers in 2005 and plans to start shipments of dual-core chips for notebook computers the same year.

From a Silent Computing perspective, this is the best news from Intel in a long time. Thermals, cooling and noise are inextricably related. It is should be well known that not only can a Pentium M match the performance of a P4 that is double the clock speed, its thermal efficiency is around 4X better. That is, a Pentium M requires only 15W to match a P4 that draws over 60W for the same performance.

The Reuters report says Intel's dual-core chips for desktop computers will be available in 2005. Perhaps this means the single-core variety Pentium M for desktop will be available sooner?

The Register's analysis.
Overclockers.com's take: "The End of (Easy) Scaling"

Fujitsu MHT2060AH review by HardwareZone

Singapore-based HardwareZone.com has a department store approach to hardware reviews, so sooner or later, they do something that strikes your fancy, no matter what your particular interest. Their recent review of the Fujitsu MHT2060AH does it for SPCR, commenting as they do, on the performance of several other 2.5" notebook drives from Seagate, Hitachi, and Fujitsu, ranging in spindle speeds from 4200 to 7200 RPM, and 2 mb to 8 mb cache.

PCWorld carries MikeC Review of Fanless PCs

A brief review I wrote for PC World Magazine on the fanless Hush ATX PC and Voodoo PC Rage F-50 (based on Zalman TNN500A) is in the May issue of the magazine curretnly on the newstands. It's in their webzine as well.

Heavy Traffic Warning; slowdowns likely

A TechTV show featuring yours sincerely discussing -- what else? -- silent pc and SPCR was shown last night and also during the day today. Both broadcasts caused immense spikes in traffic (20X the norm) that the site became inaccessible for a while.

I expect it may happen again tonight at 6pm (Eastern) when the show reruns. TechTV apparently reaches 40 million North Am. homes. Traffic from even 0.1% of that audience squeezed into an hour would be enough to crash most non-enterprise web sites. Sorry, but not much we can do right now.

The Tech TV web site

I haven't seen it myself... I hope they made me sound/look at least somewhat sane. :-D

Join the SPCR Folding Team!

The SPCR Foldling Team is actively seeking new members. If you have an idle computer, a bit of competitive spirit and don't mind contributing to scientific health research, folding is for you. Find out more here. Note that there are many more threads in that section of the forum about SPCR's [email protected] adventures, trials, victories and tribulations.

Athlon XP-Mobile 2500+ examined at Hexus

An interesting overclocker's look at the AMD Athlon XP-M Barton 2500+ has been posted by HEXUS.net. "It fits straight into a desktop S462 board without modification (uPGA XP-Ms excepted), is fully unlocked for multiplier selection, defaults to only 1.45v at 1.83GHz, and overclocks prodigiously." For SPCR readers, these comments suggest the processor might also be very undervoltable, making it run even cooler than it already does. HEXUS concludes..

The low-voltage nature of the CPU can also be used to power an ultra-quiet system, should the user be so inclined. The results speak for themselves. High performance doesn't necessarily have to be limited to the Athlon 64 or top-end Pentium 4 CPUs. What's more, it can be achieved with a £70 CPU.

Also check out this related XP-Mobile thread in the SPCR Forums.

Undervolting VGA cards at X-bit LAbs

In an echo of SPCR articles* about CPU undervolting, X-bit Labs recently posted an article entitled “Cool” and “Quiet” or Anti-Extreme Overclocking Experience. It discusses sophisticated undervolting of several VGA cards and reducing fan voltages to reduce heat and noise; several different voltages present on the VGA cards are dealt with individually. Positive results are reported, so this may be a viable solution for those who are electronics-savvy and deft with a soldering iron. One thing not really discussed is any changes in performance as a result of the substantial undervolting (as much as 15% for the VPU and 26% for internal circuitry).

*CPU Undervolting articles at SPCR:
CPU Undervolting & Underclocking: A Primer
,
Undervolting T'Bred-B CPUs with José Ángel
,
Ultimate Underclock & Undervolt Project
.
Also, there has been much discussion in the Forums.

Pentium-M to the Desktop!

The Inquirer reports that

"Intel will this week announce details about a new wave in desktop computing using the Centrino bundle... Pentium M, a successor to the Pentium III-M, is a cool operator, and can do most of what a Pentium 4 can, whether it be labelled a Prescott or not. The INQ understands that the Pentium M is such a successful chip that in 2005 Intel may integrate the low wattage CPU cores into one four way die."

One assumes this means a desktop chip package and some reference boards, perhaps announced at the Intel Developers Forum in SF this week. It is exciting news for low noise computing enthusiasts, who have experimented with expensive P-M versions of Mini-ITX boards. We anticipate a huge migration to the Pentium-M, limited only by quantities of what Intel can deliver.

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