Loud Xbox 360

The forum for non-component-related silent pc discussions.

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kwong121
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Loud Xbox 360

Post by kwong121 » Sun Nov 27, 2005 2:26 pm

Not sure where to post this message. Moderator, feel free to move it to wherever it fits.

Has anyone gotten an Xbox 360 yet? I have one. I bought it mainly as a Media Extender. My theory was that I will keep my noisy media PC in the back room and stream the contents to a quiet receiver in the TV room. I thought that, as a consumer unit, the Xbox 360 must be somewhat quiet. Boy was I wrong. It is loud. The noise from the two high RPM fans are just unbearable. I like the box and it would be a shame to have to return it. So I am exploring some options here.

I am wondering if it is possible to attach heatpipes on the CPU and GPU and run the pipes all the way outside to the back of the box to some fins. This way, we may not even need a fan. The box is designed to either stand on its feet or lie on the side. I intend to stand the box on its feet and as such open area is not a problem. But I am not a handy man so my question to you guys, MikeC specifically, is, would you like to take on an Xbox 360 and silence it? I live in the Vancouver area so I can drop it off to you pretty easily. I am not worry about the warranty.

Who knows, if you can perfect your techniques, you may be package and sell the kits. I am sure there are a lot of Xbox 360 owners who are like me.

Thanks,

Kaman

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Post by MikeC » Sun Nov 27, 2005 2:53 pm

Email me. Let's talk. I'm sure we can try a few things. Worth an article anyway. :)
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Post by Gxcad » Sun Nov 27, 2005 3:02 pm

If the 360 is as loud as you say it is, I'm sure many people would be interested in seeing SPCR take a hack at quieting it down effectively. I'm dissapointed to hear reports that it is loud? The thin PS2 is pretty good in that respect IMHO.

-Ken

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Post by StarfishChris » Sun Nov 27, 2005 4:08 pm

Gxcad wrote:If the 360 is as loud as you say it is, I'm sure many people would be interested in seeing SPCR take a hack at quieting it down effectively. I'm dissapointed to hear reports that it is loud? The thin PS2 is pretty good in that respect IMHO.

-Ken
Ah, but the thin PS2 is fanless :D but prone to overheating :( The original is fine, but it certainly isn't quiet as say the Gamecube or Dreamcast. I sincerely hope Sony pay attention to acoustics with the PS3, or else silencing a console may be par for course!
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kwong121
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Post by kwong121 » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:44 pm

Yeah, I don't know what Microsoft was thinking. Media Extender is a big part of their 360 marketing. How can they possibly think that it is okay to have a noise box in a theatre room? At first I thought I can drown out the noise by cranking up the volume but it just doesn't work out. Anytime there is a somewhat quiet moment in the movie or songs, that high pitch sound from the fans just gets into my nerve. Heck, it is even louder than my current PC or it seems that way anyway.

Kaman

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Post by Big Fat Duck » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:24 pm

strap a nexus on it, gg
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Post by twylight777 » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:13 pm

during media mode and dvd playback its fairly quiet - its during a game that the 747 lands in my HT.

I think as a media extender its...ok...a fan mod will make it dead silent - prolly just drop a pair of nexus in there and slow em down a touch.

My problem is during a game - PD0 the DVD drive is howling non stop, but whats wierd is there is no "read lag" so i know its not really reading the game...more like its keeping it running in case it wants to access something...very..f-ing...loud.

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Post by Badger » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:40 pm

Dude send it to Mike I would love to see what he can do to it. Stick it in a P180? haha just kidding, but really...
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Post by MikeC » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:41 pm

Badger wrote:Dude send it to Mike I would love to see what he can do to it. Stick it in a P180? haha just kidding, but really...
kwong121 is bringing his over in a couple days. We'll see what can be done -- without going off the modding deep end.
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Post by Krazy Kommando » Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:57 pm

i would love to see what the silencing kings can do about it. maybe rip off the top and stick on a ninja or two? lol
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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:19 am

Remember what we're dealing with here. The box is about the same size as the original XBox, but it has a monster CPU compared to the old P3 733 MHz. The GPU is another hot component, but the HS looks much more primitive compared to the one on the CPU. So the CPU probably runs hotter, but the GPU got a cheaper low profile HS, perfect for high airflow. :twisted: See the review at Anandtech, they show you how to open it without breaking anything. I think it's possible to make it more low noise, Mike surely have some better fans for it. www.free60.org is a good place to find more hardware info.

Dunno about any TDP's but I don't think it will be as low as some dual core K8's hitting 35 W. We're talking about three cores, not two. The lack of space is another problem. It looks like 60 mm fans, so no Nexus I guess. If it had a notebook DVD then it would be much easier to make it run cool. I'm not surprised that µ$ uses a more standard looking DVD, they have a hard time keeping the costs down as it is.

Have you heard about the enormous PSU running hot? Maybe µ$ forgot where people usually put those.

Good to see that they're using a Samsung HD.

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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:39 am

Looks like P4 775 mounting holes, just get a Zalman Reserator for it! 8)

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Post by kapouille » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:01 am

Mats wrote: Dunno about any TDP's but I don't think it will be as low as some dual core K8's hitting 35 W. We're talking about three cores, not two.
I think you would be quite surprised.
It may be 3 cores, but they are greatly simplified in comparison to modern PC CPUs. I think 25-35W would be a good guess. On another hand, expect the GPU to be more around 60W.

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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:21 am

kapouille wrote:
Mats wrote: Dunno about any TDP's but I don't think it will be as low as some dual core K8's hitting 35 W. We're talking about three cores, not two.
I think you would be quite surprised.
It may be 3 cores, but they are greatly simplified in comparison to modern PC CPUs. I think 25-35W would be a good guess. On another hand, expect the GPU to be more around 60W.
Really? That's interesting.
Yeah that GPU + northbridge is probably quite hot, it's close to a X1800 I think. That HS looks like a joke, like a cheap 1U Aluminium cooler. Just because they couldn't afford a slim DVD.

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Post by kesv » Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:33 am

Mats wrote:
kapouille wrote: I think you would be quite surprised.
It may be 3 cores, but they are greatly simplified in comparison to modern PC CPUs. I think 25-35W would be a good guess. On another hand, expect the GPU to be more around 60W.
Really? That's interesting.
ArsTechnica did a pretty good job of analyzing the XBox360's Xenon CPU. As you can see there are mainly three things that lower the power consumption when compared with the K8. First it uses the PPC instruction set, which means the CPU needs less decode logic. Second the individual cores are pretty narrow. Only 2 instructions can be issued at a time per core. And finally the cores are in-order so no logic is needed to reorder instructions during execution.

All of this has some performance implications, but M$ is hoping that they can mitigate it with 'intelligent' developer tools and compilers.

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Post by Ironic » Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:05 am

kapouille wrote:
Mats wrote: Dunno about any TDP's but I don't think it will be as low as some dual core K8's hitting 35 W. We're talking about three cores, not two.
I think you would be quite surprised.
It may be 3 cores, but they are greatly simplified in comparison to modern PC CPUs. I think 25-35W would be a good guess. On another hand, expect the GPU to be more around 60W.
Someone told me it was something like 80w for the cpu.
Considering the size of the psu, it could make sense.

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Post by kapouille » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:01 am

Ironic wrote: Someone told me it was something like 80w for the cpu.
Considering the size of the psu, it could make sense.
I think you may well be right.
The power supply is specced to be able to deliver 200W+. In this case, 80W TDP for the CPU sounds a likely share and would explain why this big heatpiped cooler and why some people have problems cooling down their power supply.

I wouldn't personally swap a dual core K8 for a 360 CPU though, especially with a super low 35W TDP. 360 CPUs are good for data stream processing, but not very good for generic processing.

Another element is that they are designed to be cheap to produce rather than energy efficient and in addition the first generations are likely to be "overclocked" in order to match the necessary yields.

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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:37 pm

Don't think it's that low power either. If it was then it could have a small notebook style cooler. I expect at least 50 W.

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Post by pangit » Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:49 pm

I will be interested in Mike's appraisal of it, and how easily it can be silenced. e.g. what quiet fans would fit inside it? I have no idea what size the stock ones are, but the Xbox1's was non-standard (around 70mm) but I managed to squeeze a Panaflo in there.

But if the DVD is spinning all the time that will be near impossible to silence, especially if it has a proprietry connector.
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Post by Krazy Kommando » Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:26 pm

ive just had a great idea. cut a hole in the casing over the CPU/GPU area and install a 120mm nexus/yate loon etc (with dust filter!). then use x2 quiet 60mm exhaust fans and the ducting to help push out some of the air. dunno if it would work, but it might do
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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:32 pm

Krazy Kommando wrote:ive just had a great idea. cut a hole in the casing over the CPU/GPU area and install a 120mm nexus/yate loon etc (with dust filter!). then use x2 quiet 60mm exhaust fans and the ducting to help push out some of the air. dunno if it would work, but it might do
The DVD is still in the way! :lol: Have you even looked at the pics?

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Post by MikeC » Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:48 am

kwong121 brought his over last night. We did a quick SPL measurement -- and I double-checked this morn.

Facing the Xbox, from a meter, the SPL is 31 dBA. Not real loud. You can hear that the fans are not spinning that fast, but they have a very mechanical, kind of harsh acoustic signature. Like a couple of bad ball bearing fans along with lots of vibration and maybe an old 5400 rpm ball bearing hard drive. It's a complex mix of buzzing, a bit of whining, whirring, and humming, along with some wind turbulence. Not benign.

kwong121 said it gets under his skin and really starts annoying him after a while. Having had it on for half an hour now, sitting about 10 ft away in the same room, I know exactly what he means. No way I could have it in the same room playing music. Unless it was constant high volume rock, this thing would bug you in all the quieter passages. Ditto movies. Even boom-bang movies have quiet moments.

Will be opening it up it later.
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kwong121
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Post by kwong121 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:03 pm

Woohoo, can't wait. Goodbye factory sealed box and warranty. Hello my soon to be quiet 360?

Just want to take this opportunity to thank Mike for taking on my box. Regardless of the result, it is an honor to be accepted by the master. I told Mike that while I learn a lot from this site and contributers like you guys, I don't know much about thermal/cooling stuff so I will just keep quiet (pun intended) and let you guys dissect the thing.

Kaman.

twylight777
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Post by twylight777 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:47 am

I bet just a fan upgrade and slow down will do wonders for everything but during gameplay.

that DVD drive spinning is just the devil.

Mike you need to put it under a game load also - way different sound when its spinning perfect dark zero during game play

Also the power adapter (from hell) has a little fan in it but it seems to be running pretty slow.

I'll mod mine when I can be sure I can get another.

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Post by Beyonder » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:17 pm

Funny....since I'm doing media center development at work, I post on the Media Center newsgroups a lot, and I recall reading (and responding) to this:

...it's so interesting how subjective people can be regarding noise levels--one person's quiet often seems to be SPCR.com's definition of intrusive. It's pretty clear that the current XBox is quite a bit louder than your average VCR, and the noise emitted is pretty intrusive from Mike's posting, however.

Is the noise level consistent throughout gaming, playing back DVDs, and listening to music? According to MSFT it should throttle back the fans, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.
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Post by MikeC » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:26 pm

Please, recommend a game I can rent from the local Blockbuster video store that will run on this xbox 360. Nothing too hard to play -- I've only ever played strategy games, really.
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Post by jojo4u » Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:18 pm

Heise online (german) got hands on a european version.

Noise from 0,5m away:
Idle at dashboard: 1,8 sone
DVD: 2 sone
Project Gothham Racing: 3,8 sone
latest original Xbox revision: 1,8 sone

Power consumption:
standby: 2,5W
idle: 136W
DVD: 118W
game: 160W

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/66908

----
UPDATE:

Here are some german figures which compare it to the original one:
power consumption: http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hard ... ox_360/27/

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Post by joshd2012 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:58 am

The funny thing is, the day the 360 hit stores, and all the stories started to surface about how loud the system is, the first thing I thought was that you guys would be silencing that bad boy. I look forward to see what you guys end up doing with it.
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Post by frostedflakes » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:33 pm

I haven't done much research on the 360, but I wonder if maybe the version with a hard drive might be slightly quieter, as the console could load game information onto the hard drive, this way it wouldn't be required to keep the optical drive spun up and ready to be accessed at all times?

Just thinking out loud, might be something worth looking into Mike.
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Post by andywww » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:57 pm

I don't know, cacheing games to hd seems like such a good idea, but also like one that would be disabled to prevent possible really easy nocd hacks, you know? Yet another way in which DRM makes our lives a little less pleasant.
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