You are here

Mike Chin's blog

X-Bit Labs' roundup of current AMD & Intel processors

An excellent examination of 14 processors, with a succinct summary. Probably a must read for anyone interested in keeping up to date with developments in CPUs. No surprise that the new Intel Prescott is deemed a loser. They like the Athlon 64 - despite its short anticipated socket life. The X-bit Labs Performance Tests of 14 Processors article.

ARM Systems offers "barebones" StealthPC Kits

A press release from ARM Systems this morning announced the immediate availability of "Do-It-Yourself" StealthPC "foundation" kits, based on its successful line of prebuilt Stealth PC systems. Basic DIY StealthPC Kits will consist of core ARM Systems noise-optimized components: AcoustiPack™ treated case, Panaflo fan high efficiency power supply, HDD soft mounting grommets and screws, and/or quiet case fans. Motherboards, CPUs and quiet CPU cooling options may also be offered.

News from TranquilPC in the UK

David from TranquilPC sent over an email of news about their company and their continuing development of fanless PCs. It will be of interest to most SPCR readers. Some interesting projects should be coming from TranquilPC this year.

Press Release: XICE - Watercooling for everyone

According to the manufacturer, the Xice Watercooling System combines easy installation without any modifications of the case, ultra-quiet PC operation and stylish design. Compared to other solutions which consist of several separate parts, the Xice solution uses one external cooling device. The 'ExternalCool' combines heat exchanger, pump and fluid reservoir in a designer-chassis. The pump gets its power directly from the power-supply of the PC. This ensures that the pump is always working when the PC is turned on. The set is available at for 349 Euros.

Mikhailtech adopts a Solarism gaming LCD monitor

Mikhail examines a LCD monitor from Solarism said to have a 16ms response rate (compared to 25ms of most) and marketed to gamers. "After months of prolonged use," he says, "I can't see myself going back to CRT, not even my 21" Trinitron." Thems fightn' words for some folks!

1.8 inch HDD with 40GB has just posted an interesting news item on a new hard disk by Toshiba. It's a 1.8" sized one which has a total storage capacity of 40GB and only uses 1.4 watts (!!!). That means that you could have 120GB of data with an overall power consumption of less than 5 watts, doesn't that sound great?!?! Check out the complete news item for more information and a picture...

VIA EPIA TC Mainboard (integrated PSU)

Helping to achieve slimmer, fanless designs, the VIA EPIA TC mainboard features a built-in 12V DC-DC power converter, eliminating the need for bulky power supplies that need a noisy cooling fan, and providing 60W of power on the 17cm x 17cm board. A horizontal SODIMM slot on the underside of the mainboard and the optional CardBus (PCMCIA) and CompactFlash slots help to achieve the VIA EPIA TC's unique low profile design by providing expandability without using the vertical PCI slot.

Energy Efficient Athlon 64 3200+

AMD's Athlon 64 3200+ appears to be exactly the kind of smart CPU that power users who also want silence have been wishing for. X-bit Labs' recent article about this new 64-bit processor from AMD reveals a great deal of intelligent thinking to maximize computing power and energy efficiency. AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology has several components:

  • Lower max heat dissipation than comparable Intel processor
  • Switches to the Halt/Stop Grant mode when the HALT command is performed. As a result, the processor temperature gets dramatically lower if it is not loaded 100%.
  • Reduces working frequency and Vcore when the processor is not under heavy load in order to lower the heat dissipation even more.

The last feature has never appeared in desktop CPUs before, though it has been used in mobiles for a while -- under the name "PowerNow!" for AMD and "SpeedStep" for Intel. X-bit Labs found a huge range of speeds and power dissipation for their sample Athlon 64 3200+ system, from 2GHz and 89W down to 800MHz and 35W. (See table on p.4 of the article for full details.) The X-bit Labs article is well worth a careful read.

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™ processor and the digital media optimized VIA UniChrome™ 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

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.

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.


Subscribe to RSS - Mike Chin's blog


www SPCR