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Dual Xeons - CPU Fan Noise

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:35 pm
by JV
Hello all,

I'm brand new here and was wondering if anyone can help me...

I just built a dual 2.4 Xeon machine to use as the powerhouse in my recording studio...I bought the NAtec Sonata anticipating noise levels...

But of course the dual xeon fans are as loud as can be....there is no way I can work on music with them running in the background. Anyone have any ideas before I go and build an wooden cabinet with sound insulation????

please help! Thanks for any tips!


Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:39 pm
by Zhentar
well, some more info would be helpful... but basically the idea is to get a big copper heatsink with a slow, undervolted fan like the panaflo L1A. Remember that the default configuration is probably intended for stability in worst case situations, and you can probably gain a huge improvement just replacing your current fans, though temps will rise.

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:46 pm
by JV
Hi Zhentar,

Hi Shadow,

Someone else just said the same....

As for the the CPU fans, I am using the stock CPU fans on the dual Xeon 2.4s. I am all for the idea of replacing them for that is where most the noise is coming mobo is a Tyan Tiger and the CPU slots are side by side...would an aftermarket fan/heatsink still fit side by side?

As for temp....the CPUs are currently running at 37 and 41 degrees Celsius...that's with one 120mm fan in my Antec Case.

Thanks so much for the help!

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:57 pm
by DryFire
you should most likly get a quieter 120mm fan.

do you have a pic of the mobo? or at least the model i can find a pic of it on google?

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:01 pm
by JV
Hi DryFire,

yes the mobo is a Tiger i7505 (S2668AN)....

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:10 pm
by JV
I did some looking around and found this:

SM CoolFlow ® Intel Rev. 2.1 ... m_2_8.html

Any thoughts?

The Panaflow seems the I better off buying those, would i need to replace the stock heatsink?

thanks again.

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:44 am
by Ralf Hutter
JV wrote:I did some looking around and found this:

SM CoolFlow ® Intel Rev. 2.1 ... m_2_8.html

Any thoughts?

The Panaflow seems the I better off buying those, would i need to replace the stock heatsink?

thanks again.
That HSF looks like it would do the trick for you. It certainly would be quieter than your current solution. $120 for heatsinks though..., but I guess if you can afford the Xeon platform anyway, what's another $120 on top of it? :)

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2003 4:13 am
by SometimesWarrior
The SM CoolFlow looks like a nice heatsink, but it's a bit expensive. You can get two Thermalright heatsinks and two Panaflo fans for a bit less. Then again, you're running two Xeon's, so saving $30 probably matters very little. ;)

You can try replacing the stock Intel fans with 80mm Panaflo "L" models. This will certainly cut down on the noise. Watch the CPU temps, though. If they are getting too high with the fan swap, you can then upgrade the heatsinks to something like the Thermalright SLK-800.

Those SM CoolFlow's look good, though. The fan they use is quite good, and they've isolation-mounted it with rubber standoffs, which is a nice touch. I haven't seen any tests of their heatsink anywhere, but it's a big copper thing, so it can't be that bad, can it? :D

If you want to make one purchase and be done with it, the SM CoolFlow might be a good plan. If it doesn't cool well enough, you can replace the Papst fans with Panaflo "L" models, which have higher airflow. One problem with the CoolFlow: I haven't seen it for sale anywhere. Depending on where you live, though, it might be easier to buy.

A "tried and true" cooler at SPCR is the Thermalright SLK-800 or SLK-900 coupled with a Panaflo "L" fan, run at under 12 volts. Ralf Hutter reported that an SLK-900, with a 92mm Panaflo "L" fan set to 8 volts, will keep a P4 2.4C quite cool... only 40C-50C with full processor load, in a room whose temperature is 20C-30C, if I remember correctly. Here is his full report. Edit: oh look, here's Ralf now! :)

Good luck with your silencing efforts! I'm sure you'll find a way to tame the beast and hear your music.

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:18 am
by Shadowknight
Wierd, my first reply disappeared from the topic. Deleted?

Anyway, since you're a first timer, I'll make this easy on you...

Since you need this computer for recording purposes, I'm going to tell you everything you need to Pimp This Out (tm) for low/no noise.

First, take a look at this thread: ... ght=5801k6

All fans will vibrate when used. The trick is to minimize it to keep down the noise. Buy the McMaster Carr parts 5801k6 and 5801k8. These are fan isolators. They are a bit difficult to get on (MUCH easier to install if you pull the isolator with a pair of pliers while pushing the fan against the case), but eliminate a LOT of the vibrational noise. The k6s are best for 80/92mm fans, the k8s for 120mm fans. Alternatively, you can use earplugs (cut in half), or place rubber washers between the case and the fan. Isolators are the most effective though.

Buy a multi-fan controller. This will allow you to turn down the fans to a point where they are quiet, while allowing you to turn them back up on hot days. NEVER run them at 12 volts unless your system really needs it. 12 volts usually equals noise. Shoot for 5 to 7 volts. Some people use this ... =86&page=1 . But you will need fans with a THREE-pin connector to attach them to the controller. Also, the blue lights won't turn on unless the fan supports RPM monitoring (not a big deal... it's an aesthetic thing). It comes with two cables that allow you to have the fan plugged into the fan controller while still preserving RPM monitoring on the motherboard... Useful for a system fan, and 1 (or two) CPU fans.

120mm fans - Panaflos are VERY thick, so you can use one on the back of your Sonata case, but not the front (it will fit, but touches the drive case and transmits vibration). See here I don't think the Pabst 120mm work with fan isolators. Some people recommend JMCs undervolted to 5volts, but I have two and am NOT impressed. Have not been able to aquire any NMBs, so I don't know about them. I'm one of those few who are of the opinion that 80mms are quieter than 120mm.

Go to the main page and check out the recommended section. For recommended parts in general. I will warn you, though, that with the PSUs, some people have had problems with the Silentmaxx 350w PSU (no fan, entirely passive), with it either buzzing more than it's supposed to, or blowing up. For a high end system like yours, I would probably recommend the Seasonic Super Silencer 400w, it's the quietest of the fan based PSUs according the the recommended list.

Acoustic Dampening - Results have been mixed, but the only to have consistenly reported as being remotely effective is the Acoustipak Deluxe v2. (quietpc and carries this). It costs $80, and it will increase your temps. Even with 2 120mm fans, the Sonata has been reported to run fairly hot (hence, the reason they put in the ANTEC air holes... it needed the air). So it may not be recommended, as the foam would increase temps by itself, and again by blocking the needed airholes.
I've heard that the Evercase model on the recommended case list may have better airflow, and has been rated as quieter, but I don't know how it would handle a dual Xeon setup. Pretty cheap from New Egg though.

If this is the picture of your motherboard ... 114-04.jpg you should be fine, as it uses passive cooling instead of a fan.

What type of video card are you running? Zalman has a couple of GPU coolers which are fanless, or if you are in the market for a silent one, go to the quiet VGA section of the forums. Some people have just started a running list of silent cards.

Hard drive - look at the recommended list, but I've had great success with the Samsung 120gb 8meg cache PATA. Barracuda IVs are rare nowadays, and don't perform that great (from what I've heard). The Spinpoints are fairly quick. If you choose to you a drive enclosure, go with the Smart Drive 2002. I've seen a LOT of stories from people who wound up frying their drives in the Silent Drive, so go with the Smart Drive instead (which also acts as a heatsink, keeping the drive slightly cooler). An enclosure will cut down on idle whine (almost inaudible from inside the case from the Samsungs) and seek noise.

Alternatively, you can get a No Vibes III (or DIY with bungee cord) to suspend the drive. This will greatly cut down vibration between the drive and the case, at the cost of higher temperatures (due to the lack of heat conduction from the drive from metal-to-metal contact) and poorer performance (drive errors due to "shaking" within the elastic bands.

OR... you can use the grommet mounts for the hard drives that came with the Sonata.

Hopefully, this will get you to the quietness you need.

Oh, and Zalman is coming out with a $1200 dollar case in the next few months that is completely silent (entire case is a heatsink, instead of using fans). It only comes with a 300w power supply, which you won't be able to change out (I think). Unless they offer a 400w for those needing more power, I wouldn't recommend it. Those two Xeons are going to need a lot of power.

As to the CPU HSF... Looking at the pictures of your board, you can easily go with 2 aftermarket HSF... 2 things. 1) Use Arctic Silver Ceramique thermalpaste (not capacitive, top of the line). and 2) keep in mind that if you go with the thermalright 900U, that will be a LOT of weight on the board. I use one, and find it perfectly fine, but I'm not sure if 2 would be a good idea. But the Silentmaxx link you posted is the first HSF I've seen that offers decoupling for the fan... but it's expensive.

Good luck.

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:33 am
by JV

Thanks everyone! You guys have dropped some serious knowledge on me :p I have lots to read and think through...

I'll update you all when I sort this out....thanks again!


Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 10:57 pm
by JV
Ok guys,

I've done some additional research and have come up with a few options...all of which have some snags.

Option 1: Replace the stock 60mm Xeon CPU fans. To do this I need an 80mm fan adapter but the problem is Xeons have their own propietarty Heatsink casing known as the PWT. The 60 mm fan attaches to the PWT by cliping, not screwing, into a 60 mm square shape frame. All the adapters I've found out there assume you will screw the adapter down to a flat surface. To make it clip in, I will have to modify the adapters by first making holes in the side (in place of having a square lip) and second, might have to modify the round base of these adapters to a square shape...lordy.:x

Option 2: Replace the entire stock Xeon heatsink/fan unit. I've looked into the Thermalright SLK800s and Panaflo fans but am conerned about the weight of two of them hanging from my upright mobo. On top of that, I'm not sure they will fit side by side on my tiger i7505 board....I've measured the space and if I where to have two 80 mm fans in there, they would be placed side by side, touching one the base of the heatsink I imagine would have to be less than 80mm. ??? :x

Any thoughts???? Thanks again for the tips!


Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:13 am
by Rory B.
Weight concerns usually come into play when a computer will be moved/shipped. If you are using your computer in your studio, odds are it isn't going anywhere. Go with the second solution.

If you are concerned about spacing, I don't think that the SLK800 is exactly 80mm wide. It is probably slightly less. You would be in good shape, I think.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:00 am
by Shadowknight
I was at a local computer shop a couple of days ago, and the topic of the dual Xeon casing came up...

Basically, you can buy a special case for the Xeons, which Intel want $250 for. Aside from airflow, the only special thing about it is that in normal cases, you screw the mb to metal standoffs, and the hs is either clipped or screwed onto the mb. With this case, the heatsink is screwed THROUGHT the mb and INTO the case. Which makes it a LOT more secure.

By the way, what's the total weight (in grams) between the two heatsinks? Zalman makes a heatsink on the recommended list that's made mostly (enitrely?) out of aluminum, and it's pretty quiet (though I've heard mixed things about the fan).

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 9:28 am
by SometimesWarrior
I have a dual-CPU Athlon machine with two Thermalright SK-7 heatsinks, which are about 500g each. I've moved it in my car across California a couple of times, I yank hard on the fan clips when installing fans, and I knock the case with my chair or foot all the time (whoops!). The heatsinks are still snugly attached to the case with the three-prong clips.

Shipping the computer with UPS might kill it, but careful transport and everyday use haven't affected my two heavy heatsinks, so they probably won't affect your dual-processor Xeon box, either.

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:55 am
by jojo4u
What about a fan duct to the 120mm fan at the back? The CPUs are in line so it's not that difficult.

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:26 pm
by caiser

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:39 pm
by tomcat
i also have a dual xeon 2.4 machine. before i switched to watercooling, i had these as cpu coolers: Swiftech MCX603-V. They take 8cm fans and are designed to fit right next to each other. If you want it really quiet, watercooling is the way to go. My machine is nearly silent with one 12cm case fan and two Nexus 12cm fans on the dual-radiator. Temps are very low too.


edit: just found this discussion