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Swiftech GPU Peltier reviewed by 3dXtreme

3dXtreme has a review of the Swiftech MCW50-T 80 Watt Thermoelectric GPU Peltier. "This is the Swiftech MCW50-T, the first fully assembled thermoelectric graphics card cooling unit in the world..." With GPUs rivalling CPUs for heat, water cooling and peltiers may become inevitable for anyone who wants a chance at a quiet top end computer.

New Year Promo Giveaway!

We're kicking off the New Year with a bang: A Promotional Giveaway in Jan 2003 with lots of fabulous prizes for quiet computing. Our goal is simple: to increase SPCR traffic and to promote makers & sellers of quiet PC products. Check under Announcments in SPCR's Forums.

OCIA Review of the Swiftech H20-8500 WaterCooling Kit

OverClock Intelligence Agency has posted their review of the SwiftTech H20-8500 Series Liquid Cooling Kit. Requiring only an 80mm case exhaust fan and an empty 5 1/4&quote; drive bay, the SwiftTech seems ideal for those with smaller cases. Overall, the OCIA review is positive. The SwiftTech H20-8500 looks like a promising solution for those who are seeking high performance combined with low noise.

Plasmic COCOON Noise-reduction PC cabinet

Attractive (but big) tower PC cabinets by new startup Plasmic described as "revolutionary PC furniture, designed to bring unmatched noise reduction, physical protection of the PC, and unique aesthetics to the modern office environment." A new stylish and secure variation on the old box-it-to-shut-it-up idea. Shipping weight could be a cost issue, especially from Denmark to anywhere outside of Europe.

ViaArena reviews the EPIA-M

"So far I have been unable to enjoy these audio and video files in the comfort of the living room... I don't want a big noisy PC whirring away in the living room." So Fiona built a complete, compact media PC with EPIA M, G-Alantic case, and ATI Remote Wonder.

Interesting reader submissions

Aike sends in news of Xbit Labs' coverage of the new Shuttle XPC SB51G barebones PC featuring i845GE core-logic that can take advantage of the Hyper-Threading technology provided by the latest Pentium 4 3.06GHz CPU.
Mikell tells us about a new Goldenfield atx power supply with a single 120mm fan that looks like a cool and quiet power supply. It certainly has potential, with the huge fan and wide open vent.
And Rick was wandering around the Castronic web site and found a new mini-itx case, mini CheckerCube-129, with 2.6"x 8.5"x 9.7" (tiny) dimensions. There are vent holes punched all around the unit. which is designed for fanless operation. Looks promising, but does require a slim CD and a slim hard drive.

Mini-ITX pc in a scanner

When my associate Marien contacted VIA to do an ITX mod, I had no idea that the job would fall into my lap. Over the last month I have seen Gas Cans, ETs’ and various other “non- computer” items get molested (I can only imagine the pain that ET went through) and turned into computers (check out http://www.mini-itx.com). What I have done is brought the computer back to the computer, so to speak. What you will see in the next horde of pics is what I call, The scannerPC.

AOpen's "SilentTek: mobo-embedded system noise controller

Just when it looked like the big boys in the PC industry would never get the quiet PC thing, comes this news about Silent Tek from AOpen: There are 4 CPU fan noise reduction algorithms, and one CDROM noise control function. At low power, "you may find your CPU fan is almost always running at zero RPM." This promising feature is on the "new generation" of AOpen motherboards.

Silent Tek works with SilentBIOS on "some" AOpen motherboards, which passes fan control over to Silent Tek after boot. After a few weeks of frustration with less sophisticated motherboard-embedded fan control functions from other companies, we await eagerly for some AOpen samples to review!

Next: "Muffled" High Performance Computing

Not silent or quiet, but muffled. (That's probably the best overclocking fanatics can hope for!) Seriously, "Muffled Computing of San Jose, CA is announcing the release of their new fan mufflers and foam kits designed specifically to create a high performance computing experience free of excess noise." They look like well-built little add-on metal boxes, lined with damping, to act as vent tunnels or mufflers for fain exhaust. 5-15 dBA noise reduction with less than 1% increase in temp is claimed. Check out Muffled Computing.

Dell releases SFF PC

Dell has released the Optiplex SX260, their latest entry into the growing Small Form Factor PC market. At 9.72" x 3.50" x 9.53", this looks to be one of the smallest SFF PCs yet. Key to the tiny size is the external 150W power supply, which should also help reduce the noise of the SX260. Unfortunately, Dell doesn't list any sound ratings for the box, so it's difficult to say how quiet this machine is.

The need for silence

Why are we hungry for silence? Or is it just the absence of noise we long for? Well, living in busy cities we want to control the noise. We want to choose.

This summer I read about silent computers and my mind wandered back. Ahhhhh, those were the days VIC-20, ZX81, C64, no noise! I almost had forgotten them. Why can we have something quiet like those? Well, I bought the EPIA mini-itx with the C3 processor. I knew what I wanted. Listening to streaming radio and writing and now and then surfing the net.

But ....

21 PSU Roundup at Tom's Hardware

A roundup of power supplies at Tom's Hardware including noise tests and power output capability. The staff of five (sigh!) who worked on the review built their own load PSU tester and failed 6 units, including 3 that did the BANG! thing. Some highly ranked models are obviously available only in Europe. Definitely worth a read.

Seagate Barracuda V reviewed by Storage Review

Storage Review has a review on the new Seagate Barracuda ATA V hard drive. According to the review, Seagate has reduced their hard drive warranties from 3 years to 1 year starting October 1, which is certainly bad news. The good news is that Storage Review found the Barracuda V to be 3.5db quieter than its predecessor, the Barracuda IV. The difference seems large enough to be beyond a reasonable margin of error. The V may be a new standard bearer.

SPCR featured in Vancouver paper, The Georgia Straight

A while ago, someone suggested contacting Dave Watson, the tech columnist at a local paper (in Vancouver, BC, Canada where I live), to see if he'd write up something about SPCR, maybe bring more exposure to the site. So I did, an interview ensued, and here's the result in the Georgia Straight.

About the paper: "Established as the lifestyle and entertainment weekly in Vancouver for over 30 years, the Georgia Straight is an integral part of the active urban West Coast lifestyle with a per issue readership in excess of 369,000."

The University of BC anechoic chamber student project mentioned at the end of the article is happening! I have the role of an "industry consultant" (or some such thing) for 3 final-year mechanical engineering students who are examining DC fans (noise / airflow / vibes @ various voltages) used in PCs. They are guided by Prof. Murray Hodgson, UBC's specialist in acoustics and the manager of their anechoic chamber.

I've doggedly pursued this one for most of 2002. Finally! Thankfully, some corporate sponsors have promised support for this project by way of funds as well as equipment and materials. Naturally, results from this project will be published here at SPCR on an ongoing basis.

Zalman releases Fanless VGA heatsink ZM80-HP

It seems that Zalman has finally released their long awaited fanless heatpipe GPU cooler, the ZM80-HP. With cooling fins on both sides of the card, there is hope that this new cooler can run the hottest GPUs completely fanless. It's available from SPCR sponsor Silicon Acoustics for ~US$40.

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