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uitzetter
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looking for advice from all you experts...

Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:53 am

Hello everyone,

First of all, thank you SPCR, for all your truely great and in depth reviews and thanks to all the users that keep this forum alive with great information, points of view and advice.

I've been reading up here as a member for about one month and as a guest a month before that. Finally I decided on some components, but I'm in need of some advice since 1. this is my first silent build and 2. I'm still slightly over my budget.

Please don't laugh, but it has been eight years since I have bought a new computer. And that is coming from a person who's primary job was in the it business. :cry: I know, but other things have had priorities in those years with kids on the way, cars which did broke down etc. Anyway, with my amd athlon xp dead and intel pentium 4 nearly dead, I can't wait to get a new pc. I need it, because videoencoding is like .... Photoshop is like ... Gimp is a little better. And I want it silent, at least as quiet as possible that is... As I've become nearly blind some 9 years ago, my hearing did take over. And I can't just stand the noise anymore :lol:

Anyways, this is how far I've gotten with the components I would like to use:
1. I3 530. It's low on power usage, it keeps cool, is fairly priced and can be overclocked very well. On 4.2 ghz it uses the same juice as an I5 750, which is good enough for me (as a primary rigg). Esp. considering where I'm comming from. When I ever step up to sandybridge or bulldozer in one or two years, the i3 530 makes an ideal htpc proc. and can then be undervolted. - EUR 105,02

2. Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3. Low on price, yet great features, incl. usb 3 and is a great overclocker. EUR 105,91

3. Scythe Mugen 2 rev.B. Only a degree behind the Megahalems, but the price is way better. Also, doesn't need another fan. Is powered with a silent slipstream. Maybe in the future I will add a second slipstream, so that I can set the voltage lower. EUR 33,80

4. Case: Fractal Design Define R2. I just love the interior and exterior and the features that it offers for the price. And if needed, I can add more fans if needed in the future. Is on the recommended list. I will try the included fans first, if it becomes a problem with cooling, I might go for the nexus real silent ones or the gentle typhoon ap-15 ones (undervolted of course). I like that the nexus fans seems to have a better sound, but I also like that the gentle typhoon seems to push more air? EUR 103,05

5. Samsung SpinPoint F3 7200 rpm. I will suspend that one with elastics, so vibrations shouldn't be an issue. € 59,74

6. Sony Optiarc AD-5240S - DVD±R € 18,65

7. Enermax Modu87+ 500w. I really liked the review on this one. I like the lower dba vs the seasonic x-650 on lower watts. Since I will not be using an additional graphics card and the i3 530 doesn't need much power, even when overclocked, I think I will be more than fine with 500w. € 129,59

8. SDD is a must for me. I want fast booting and fast app launching. I haven't really done much of research on sdd's but this sounds like a great
offering: Kingston SSDNow V-Series 64 GB at 200 MBps (read) / 110 MBps write. This one has better speeds then the intel x25-v, but I could do fine with a 30 or 40 gb sdd though. I will be using a stripped down version of windows 7 32 bit (10 gb) and approx. 100 open source portable apps (2 gb max). No games what so ever. So my boot sdd, doesn't have to be large. € 139,38

9. DDR: Corsair Dominator 4 GB : 2 x 2 GB - DIMM 240-pins - DDR3 - 1600 MHz - CL8 - 1.5 V. Seems like a good overclocker?? € 136,86

The total of this comes to: EUR 832,00

My budget is about EUR 750,-. So I need to get down a bit.

I really like your advice. I have thought about the Nexus Value 430 € 59,50 instead of the Enermax, which does help a bit. Not modular though...

So what do you guys think of this build and what are the best possible alternative options?

Thanks!

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:17 am

As I've become nearly blind some 9 years ago, my hearing did take over. And I can't just stand the noise anymore
I have a special appreciation for your situation... my brother became blind after a biking accident 15 years ago. He relies on JAWS and other audio/reading devices, gets disoriented and stressed out in noisy situations (like loud restaurants, around noisy computers). I've been supplying him with silent computers ever since.

Most of your choices seem fine.

Not certain about the Sony optical drive -- mostly been using Samsung, Benq, LG... and they're decently smooth if never quiet -- unless you limit the speed using software. (there's one in Nero -- which has unfortunately become such a bloat...)

I personally would not substitute the Nexus Value 430 for the Enermax -- the only way in which the Nexus compares is noise -- in every other way, it is a couple years behind the leading PSU designs. But you're right that the price difference is substantial. Is that the best price for the Enermax?

I doubt you need the Fractal case -- it really is designed for a much hotter system than your very modest one; the CPU is the only significant source of heat in your system. Almost any sturdily built mid-tower ATX or microATX tower with 120mm fan exhaust and decently open front intake vent will work. Tweak it as needed -- probably just swap the back fan out with a Nexus 120. I doubt you'd need a front fan. Depending on exactly how the back panel vent and CPU heatsink line up, you might need only one fan between these -- in which case the Mugen 2 fan can do double duty.

Keep in mind that if the noise in the case is minimal, then the case doesn't have to block much noise... few can actually block it really well anyway, otherwise, the components cook in their own heat.

If you're still stretched for $$, just go with a cheaper, smaller SSD -- the boot time will hardly differ. Alternatively, just use the HDD for now -- there are all kinds of ways to optimize boot time w/ Windows7 -- and besides, why bother booting? Just use sleep mode, the power draw is hardly any different from powering down with the Enermax, and the time required for restoration of full operation is typically under 10 seconds -- find a PC with that boot time! I can say from hands-on experience that the difference in the subjective experience of a PC with just SSD vs one with HDD is nowhere near as big as you would think. My feeling is that it's modest even with very well tweaked systems. In most cases, the speed difference is obscured by many other bottlenecks and points of hysteresis in the PC.

Hope that helps.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

m0002a
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Post by m0002a » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:13 am

I would also question the use of the Fractal Design Define R2. The drive bays look convenient, but it has been proven that the sideways orientation cuts down on air flow from the front to back of the case. Some of the early "quiet" Antec cases (like Sonata) had that design, but it was scraped (for a reason) on the Antec P18x series. Also, the PSU does not seem to be isolated like in Antec P180x cases. I would see if you can find an Antec P180 Mini that might have a good price (or even a larger P183).

If you have buget problems (or even if you don't) I would highly recommend AMD low power processors. here is one example:

AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz (dual core) 65W - USD $68 at NewEgg

I would also highly recommend the the Xigmatech HDT-S1283 (or similar) which is less expensive than most other comparable CPU heat sinks. I run mine passively on top of an AMD 240e and it idles at 21C (according to my Asus motherboard), although I do have the 200 mm fan runing on low speed close by on the top of my P180 Mini case.

uitzetter
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reply to your suggestions

Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:48 am

Great to see some reactions and help! Thanks..

First MikeC, great to hear from you personally, have been reading a lot from you lately, lol.

I'm sorry to hear from your brothers horrable accident. I'm also dependent on a screenreader called Supernova. Jaws offers support for braille also, but since I cannot feel anything with my fingertips due to multiple sclerosis (also responsible for the bad eye vision), they adviced Supernova to me. Fortunatally, there are many technological options nowadays that can help to do the things we were used to. It's great to see that you can help your brother in this department so much and I am truely thankfull that you are willing to help me with your advice.

About the Sony optical drive, well, I must admit, I haven't done any research on that department yet. I just picked one. How does this one sound?
LG GH22NS50 Super Multi - DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - 22x/22x/12x.
I'm not using Nero anymore. Went to portable apps like Infrarecorder. I don't mind the noise to much when writing a cd/dvd since I'm in control of it and when it's done it's done. I've been using large usb sticks more and more and will be converting my kids dvd's to avi's. Software dvd's / cd's and such are in image files on my hdd, so I install from there. If I use the cd/dvd it is mostly for a clean win install of for other people that needs to have burned something. So little use, but still cannot miss one.

I'm in a way glad that you dislike the idea of substituting the Nexus Value for the Enermax. I really would like to go modulair and the review of the Enermax impressed me very much. I'll stick with it then. I can do about EUR 10 cheaper, but it will cost about the same in shipping, so no benefits there.

Then the case, that would be the best to substitute then. Pitty, because I really like the design. But I can do much cheaper there and it's overkill for me, so you are right. I can buy a demomodel from a respected computerstore here in the Netherlands. I'm talking about the solo. It's EUR 66,-. A non-demo model costs EUR 85,- I don't like the standard tricool fan though, but is easilly replaced by a nexus indeed. And I do not like the idea of using 92mm noisy fans if it turns out that I will be needing those fans though. (since I do plan on overclocking). I do like the suspension. It saves my husband the trouble of making one, allthough it would be his pleasure. Or I could go with a no brand name case and add noise dampening materialss and add suspension myself. My husband works in a factory which makes all kinds of ventilation products and they have noise dampening materials which I could use. The thinnest is 1.5cm though...

About the SSD. I might just leave it out for now. I don't use sleep mode now, because I don't trust my pc enough not to start a fire when I'm not around. I know, :oops: :oops:. It's just that I've seen/heard youtube comparisons and it did seem to make a huhge difference. But if you are saying that the difference is nowhere near as big as I might think (and you are right, I've always thought it would make apps start at least around 30% faster), then I might better think again or at least wait until they are a bit less expensive.

And yes, are a big help, thanks again!

uitzetter
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:40 pm

Hi M0002a,

You are right, I'm not going for the Fractal anymore. But I would like to say what I was planning with it. I wasn't going to use the drive bays, Only the frame. If it was possible my husband would cut it out of the case, remove the trays, rotate it sideways and add suspension. If turning it sideways wasn't possible, he would make a frame himself. The PSU isolation shouldn't be an issue though. I take the liberty to quothe MikeC on that one from the review of the Fractal "The latter is nothing noteworthy as the chamber design is pretty much obsolete given the multitude of quiet, cool power supplies today as well as the as-effective approach of having the PSU fan draw its air from below the case."

Anyways, as for your suggestions. I have looked at the P180 mini too a while back. I really liked all of it except the large fan which seems to be a tad to noisy. But maybe I'm just being picky. Other than that, it is a very nice case. So I read the review again just now and yes, very nice. I looked up prices and a black one costs EUR 104,41. So no savings there. But there is one that comes in white though. It is EUR 61,31. My husband knows a colleague that can spraypaint and it can be done at work, so maybe that will be an option...

As for the P183, it's even more expensive then the Fractal here, so it's a no go...

As for the Athlon II X2 255. They are a lot more expensive here. EUR 68 and not USD 68. We do not have the best of dollar - euro ratio right now. (of course you do, lol) The I3 530 seems to be a lot faster in benchmarks though. And they can be oc'ed like mad. They perform much like an I5 750 when oc'ed, exept for heavilly threaded apps of course, but otherwise it can keep up surprisingly well. So you know more about of the performance of the Athlon II X2 255 from the top of your head? I will need to find some more reviews on that one...

The same goes for the Xigmatech. I need more research. I cannot seem to find prices at the two webshops I usually look, so that's not a good sign. Maybe it's not something for the EU market? I will check and get back to you,

Really nice themps by the way...

So thanks to you too and I hope you have more info on the above. I will do some research on your suggestions.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:53 pm

The Solo is an excellent silent case, as long as you don't have a big hot video card. It's what my main system is in -- Intel c2d e8500 w/ 4gb ram, a modded PSU, ati-3850, 2 WD velociraptors suspended. I think it has a 120mm fan on the tower HS & one on the back panel, both spinning 6-700rpm. It's not really audible under my desk.

Your husband's resources sound very useful. ;) 1.5cm is ok -- the panels don't have to be completely covered. Just patches here and there will reduce standing waves (internal reflections), which is the main thing the damping can do in a PC case. If you use quiet enough components, there's really no need for damping.

As for sleep mode, I was like you & found sleep mode too unreliable until about 2-3 years ago when mobos became way better in this regard. The "green" push in electronics/computing made a difference; I know of very few mobos now that don't do a decent job of sleep/hibernate. Also, the risk of fire inside a PC is minuscule -- there are so many fire retardant materials and chemicals in electronics, there's hardly anything which can burn in a PC.

Apps might start faster... but the difference never seemed huge to me. Maybe because I'm using pretty fast HDDs anyway.

My take on almost all so called advancements in computer technologies is that they are usually bogus when you consider user experience -- unless you package a whole bunch of them together (like you're doing by completely replacing an old system). The incremental "improvements" simply keep sales volume up. An evil of late capitalism.

Like... a 10% boost in CPU speed is lauded as a huge win by most tech sites. Ditto similar speed differences in HDDs, video cards, etc. But to the typical end user, a 10% improvement is barely perceivable. Even if you boost the speed of every component in the system by 10%, it might still not seem significant at all. Personally, I don't consider anything less than 30% improvement in speed worth changing a component for -- and maybe not even then, unless it's clear that this change will effect a real 30% speed improvement in the overall system.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
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m0002a
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Post by m0002a » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:53 pm

I have the 200 mm top fan set on low speed, and I don't notice the noise at all when sitting at my desk. The case sits under my desk on the right side (I can reach it with my right hand fairly easily), so the top fan vents up into the bottom of the desk, which probably helps keep the noise from being noticeable. But some people have just blocked the top fan opening. With the 200 mm top fan and Xigmatek, I am able to run the CPU cooler without any fan.

AMD processors can also be over-clocked (not sure about that particular one) but that just generates more heat and requires more fan noise, so I don't care much for that idea myself.

The white P180 Mini's are much less expensive in the US also, probably because they are being discontinued. But I don't think I would try and paint one.

uitzetter
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:42 pm

@Mike and M002a,

Thanks for your replies so much.

You have convinced me Mike! I will drop the SDD for now and go with one or two hdd's instead. Maybe later I will go with SDD if it is matured more and the least expensive ones are even more "less expensive". Lol :wink:
Might it be wise to search for information about partitioning the outer ring of a hdd into a small boot partition, or doesn't it make much of a difference?

Both the solo and the p180 mini do sound good to me. I will re-read the articles on those again in the morning when I'm fresh and fruity and my brain will absorb the info better. But it will either be or a Demo Solo or a white P180 mini. :wink:

Is it because of the top fan that the case hasn't made it to the recommended list? Or are there other factors? Because maybe I wouldn't even need the top fan anyway because of the components that I'm using. And if I do need it, I could get away with it I think, setting it to low and undervolting it a bit. It should be inaudible then under my desk.

I wouldn't be using a hot video card ever, so that is not a problem in the Solo. Maybe a 5750 powercolor green eventually, but none now. I would be using integrated graphics and not a videocard like you Mike. The proc. wouldn't be a problem either. I would be overclocking though...

And yes Mike, very handy that company of my Husband. He brought home some dampening materials today, but I would need some specs though. Then I might be able to compare to acoustipacks / bitumen mats etc. I might not need it, but just love to see what happens. Some dampening material fitted with double sided tape can easilly be undone. Just like to see what happens.

Oh and it's good to know that with my new build, I do not need to worry about fire inside my pc. :wink:

Anyways, tomorrow I will be reading some more into solo vs p180 mini, the amd athlon II alternative and the Xigmatec.

I'm going off to sleep now. My kid is happily awake at 06.30 tomorrow. It's 23.40 here now.

I did like 'chatting' with the both of you though and thanks again for all of your thoughts, input and suggestions. I hope to 'speak' to you soon :D

uitzetter
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Post by uitzetter » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:47 am

Well, it took me long enough :wink:

I have heard the reviews a couple of times, I enlarged various pictures a couple of times and I have come to a conclusion that I actually don't know anymore... I will explain.

I have likes and don't likes on both of them. I like the cable management features, dampening materials, 120 mm exhaust fans and filters on both of them.

I do not like the looks of the solo, but don't like the white look of the p180 mini either. But that is actually not an issue to me, functionallity is. And because my eye sight is what my gouvernment describes as technically blind, I really don't mind the looks. Lol.

I like the suspension on the solo very very much, but can make one for the mini as well. (well, my husband that is..:wink:)

I like the removable hdd trays from the mini, but hate the fact that you cannot install a fan in front of it. If I understood correctly, the hdd tray has to be removed if you want to install a fan. That defeats the purpose of hdd cooling in my eyes?

I like the bottom mounting psu placement in the p180 mini. I'm not a big fan of top placement.

I do like the chamber seperation on the p180 mini, since the vent intake is not directly underneath the psu. That's one feature that I liked on the Fractal, so chamber seperation was not needed. However, since the vent intake is not directly beneath the psu, the chamber seperation is nice.

I dislike the 92mm intake fans of the solo, but I also dislike the 200 mm top fan of the p180 mini. I do like the overall better cooling capacity of the mini though, since I am planning oc'ing. At least until I get sandybridge or bulldozer in a couple of years and this one is going to function as a htpc. At that point, oc-ing will go. For now I do plan on oc-ing and the p180 mini seems to offer better cooling for that. If I need the 200mm top fan, I might get below 20dba if setting it on low and undervolting it as tested in the review.

I don't know if it is even possible to get below dba 20 and still be able to do some oc-ing with either solution. I would like to go somewhere between 3.8 - 4.2 ghz. It has enormous speed advantages at minimal extra power draw and heat. Actually the best performance to power ratio seems to be at 4.2 - 4.4

On the other hand, achieving a more silent below 20 dba system seems better doable in the solo. Cooling would become a problem maybe?

What do you think?

As for the Athlon II X2. Stock idle and load power draws are better or equal on the I3 530. And the perfomance of the stock I3 530 seems to be a lot better, according to reviews at anandtech and bittech. So I will stick with the I3 530, even though it costs EUR 30,- more.

I've looked at the Xigmatech also. It seems that they are very hard to find here. I've found only 7 stores and it only costs eur 2,- less at best. So I will stick with the mugen also. At least, assuming that the mugen will fit in both the solo and the p180 mini?

I'm hoping on getting your thoughts on these questions...

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:35 am

Given that you have no video card to worry about, go w/ Solo (or any sturdy tower style case with 120mm fan exhaust and nicely open front intake vent) & get the best HS with the quietest fans. The Prolimatech Megahalems or Noctua DH14 -- with either, use Nexus 120 fans -- one on the HS and one on the back panel as exhaust, both fans blowing out. You should be able to OC to the limit of the CPU while keeping the overall noise below 20 dBA/1m -- assuming a quiet suspended HDD or SSD, and a quiet PSU. No worries about the top mounted PSU, as the Enermax stays silent in much hotter conditions than your system will generate.

You might also want a manual fan controller for those fans unless the motherboard's fan controllers provides this -- or use Speedfan. Basically, if you let the system control the fans thermally, the up-down changes in fan speed can become annoying. My approach with almost all systems is to set the fans to the highest speed they need to be to keep the system stable and cool enough under the highest loads the system will see. If high performance coolers are used, then those fans can still run quite slowly and quietly.

An aside: Steady broadband noise is far less annoying or audible than almost any variable noise, that's a fundamental of noise/psycho-acoustics (for both people & animals) due to evolution/survival instincts.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
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uitzetter
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Post by uitzetter » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:50 pm

Hi Mike,

Great to hear from you again! And it's just as great to hear that what I would like to do seems possible!

I will go with the Solo then. Exp. since I wouldn't need the 92mm fans, even when oc-ing. The already installed suspension is great and if the top mounted psu isn't going to be a problem with the enermax modu87+ 500w, it's a nobrainer. I will take your advice on another heatsink. I've decided to go with the Megahalems instead of the Noctua. Eventhough the review of the latter was truely great, it costs EUR 30,- more. And as stated in the review, maybe the Megahalems will do just as good with 2 fans.

I will go for the Nexus fans. Although I have a question. The orange onces are about EUR 4,- and the black/white ones are about EUR 8,- Is the price premium just for the color or are they somewhat diffrent? The orange onces seem to be identical. Fan blades look the same and the specs are.I will order three, so 1 have one spare and can test dual fan setup on the Megahalems if I need/want to. Since you have so much experience in testing fans, esp. Nexus I presume, can you tell if there is any difference? I recall to have read there is not, but just to be on the save side...

Since I have some breathing room in my budget now, I would like to buy a fancontroller. I dislike software speed control, but wasn't sure about the 5/7 volt trick either. So it is nice to include a fancontroller, now that there is room. I've read in the forums a bit and the Kaze Master seems a popular choise. At around EUR 25,- it's the max I would be willing to spend I think. However, the tempsensors seem to be off quite a bit, after reading some reviews here in the Netherlands. I've read the review about the ZM-MFC2. It seems perfect with temp reading and wattage reading, which I find very interesting, esp. when oc-ing. The MFC2 cannot be found in the shop where i would like to order my system, but can always look elsewhere. The MFC3 can be found there, but at a price of almost EUR 50,- Oemphh... Which one do you like? Can you recommend any?

And, thanks also for your recommended approach. I will definatelly use that info when seeking the optimal cooling/performance/noise ratio.

You have been a very big, big help so thanks again. :wink: :P

I hope that you or anybody else are willing to help out with my remaining two questions about the orange vs black-white nexus fans and the fancontroller. :wink:

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:54 pm

I'm pretty sure the only difference is color, so you might as well go for orange. They might be the older ones with closed corner flanges but this is irrelevant for your application.

92mm fans aren't so bad -- if you get one that's smooth and run it slow.... but I really don't think you'll need it here.

As for fan controller, generally I prefer something super simple and internal so that it cannot be accidentally reset... which is one reason I like the Zalman fanmate -- the original one. The 2nd gen has super long cables which make it messier but the advantage is that you can mount it on the outside (like the back) to access w/o opening the case. There's no point spending EUR 50 for a fan controller you will set once and forget about, imo, especially as the controls then are tempting for others to play with. The fanmate, btw, can handle two Nexus fans -- just use a y- splitter on the output. I found the ZM-MFC2 a pain to use, btw. You need to be sighted to have any chance of using it efficiently.

Keep in mind that with a modular cable PSU, you can customize one cable specifically for 5V or 7V only, just for the fans. I don't see much advantage to running the Nexus 120 at 5V in most cases, as it is already pretty much inaudible at 7V. The 7V trick simply cannot do any damage to a modern PSU, never when it is one of many components being run by the PSU.

Speedfan provides all the temperature monitoring you'll need, btw.

You could also combine different fan control techniques -- 7v trick just for the exhaust fan; a fanmate or similar with y-splitter on 2 CPU fans. But chances are you will be fine with just two fans -- put them both on the HS blowing out for maximum CPU cooling -- as long as the exhaust vent is in a reasonably stright line with the CPU fans, you don't even need an exhaust fan.

You could also make a duct between the heatsink and the back exhaust vent. Something like this, or perhaps more sophisticated with your hubbie's skills -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/article947-page3.html -- bottom photo:

Image
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uitzetter
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Post by uitzetter » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:00 am

Hi Mike, thanks for your responce and help again :D I will reply to your comments underneath them ok?
MikeC wrote:I'm pretty sure the only difference is color, so you might as well go for orange. They might be the older ones with closed corner flanges but this is irrelevant for your application.
Thanks, nice to know it for sure. They did have closed corners though indeed as far as we could tell. Lol. I had already added the orange ones to my basket, when I showed my hubbie the difference. He didn't like them, so back to the black and white onces. Well, the premium price isn't to much since I won't need 10 of them or so, so I guess it will be ok..


92mm fans aren't so bad -- if you get one that's smooth and run it slow.... but I really don't think you'll need it here. I hope that I don't need them, but I will include a 92mm Nexus fan in my order, just to be save in case the hdd need a little more. Good to know these don't sound to bad when undervolted.

As for fan controller, generally I prefer something super simple and internal so that it cannot be accidentally reset... which is one reason I like the Zalman fanmate -- the original one. The 2nd gen has super long cables which make it messier but the advantage is that you can mount it on the outside (like the back) to access w/o opening the case. There's no point spending EUR 50 for a fan controller you will set once and forget about, imo, especially as the controls then are tempting for others to play with. The fanmate, btw, can handle two Nexus fans -- just use a y- splitter on the output. I found the ZM-MFC2 a pain to use, btw. You need to be sighted to have any chance of using it efficiently.
Nope, and besides it there is also no point in builing a "budget" build and spending EUR 50,- on fan controls. Like I said EUR 25,- is the most I would like to spend on that, but those Zalman fanmate are nice. I prefer those to the 7v trick, as I can set/try other volts as well. Anywhere between 5v and 11v right? I can only find the 2nd gen here, but I don't mind the long cables as it think it would be nice to have it on the back of my case. I will order a y-splitter as well. Oh, and the ZM-MFC2 is also about EUR 50,- here. So it's a no go anyway. I did like the wattage feature though. And I know it wouldn't be of much help to me without someone reading it to me, but it would have been nice eye-candy for my husband. The zalman Fanmate on the other hand, I should be able to use myself as I probably can count the times pushed on the button. Just have to keep a record of the last setting.

Keep in mind that with a modular cable PSU, you can customize one cable specifically for 5V or 7V only, just for the fans. I don't see much advantage to running the Nexus 120 at 5V in most cases, as it is already pretty much inaudible at 7V. The 7V trick simply cannot do any damage to a modern PSU, never when it is one of many components being run by the PSU.

Speedfan provides all the temperature monitoring you'll need, btw. Thanks! I'll use it for the temp monitoring then, but I do not like setting fan variations based on speed softwarematically, for the reason that you pointed out earlier.

You could also combine different fan control techniques -- 7v trick just for the exhaust fan; a fanmate or similar with y-splitter on 2 CPU fans. But chances are you will be fine with just two fans -- put them both on the HS blowing out for maximum CPU cooling -- as long as the exhaust vent is in a reasonably stright line with the CPU fans, you don't even need an exhaust fan. My husband doesn't like modding electrical stuff but I'll ask. But I would like to test the fans for their sound and cooling capacity at various speeds, so the Fanmate could provide at a small price there. But I am going to let my husband read about it and we'll then decide. I do like the idea of not needing the exhaust fan if it's in a staight line. Definatelly gonna see how that one works out..:wink:

You could also make a duct between the heatsink and the back exhaust vent. Something like this, or perhaps more sophisticated with your hubbie's skills -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/article947-page3.html -- bottom photo: Well, I don't know about the sophistication level of my hubbie, lol, but if it could help I'm sure he is willing to help. But I do not understand something. I thought that the duct helps to ensure that the fins get all the air? You modded the heatsink so that the fins are further away from the heatsink (don't know if I put that very well under words, I hope you understand what I mean though). So with the Megahalems, what would be the point of such a duct? Should the duct also help to move all the air through the heatsink and fins straight to the back exhaust venthole? And what about the other area's of the motherboard that might need cooling?

Anyways, I am very, very glad that you are willing to help out so much. I will order as soon as possible and hope the parts are available at a short term. I would like to post my findings at various temps etc. on the forum for who ever is interested in them. Is system advice the best place, or should I start a thread elsewhere?

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Post by MikeC » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:02 am

The duct in that system helps to ensure that most of the fan's generated airflow actually goes through the fins of the HS -- since that fan is the only one in the system, mounted on the back panel of the case. There was no easy way to mount the fan on the HS, so this was a simple fix.

In your system, if you mounted a fan on the front of the HS pushing air through it, and a fan on the back panel blowing out, a duct might help the two fans to work more effectively to cool the CPU. But on second thought, a fan mounted on each side of the HS might be simpler and more effective -- if they line up well with the exhaust vent in the case. Then you could dispense with the exhaust fan.

Anyway, come back and tell us how it all worked out. Post pics etc in the general gallery section.
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Post by uitzetter » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:23 am

Hey Mike,

Thanks for explaining that for me. :wink: I will try dual fans on the heatsink with and without the exhaust fan, to see what the difference in cooling is.

I'm hoping to place my order next monday and am hoping they can deliver on short notice. Anyway, once I have it I will post in the general gallery section.

Thanks again for all your kind help and thanks to m0002a and this forum too of course. I can't wait to get my hands on this new system. :D

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Post by widdlecat » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:09 pm

Sorry for such a late post, but I have the Sony Optiarc DVD-RW and would like to say that it is very quiet for an optical drive. It's very quiet if you have it mounted well. I've mass damped my drive and made it so that it's fairly innocuous barring the occasional spin up. I highly recommend it and hope it serves you well!
[size=75]Maingear SHIFT chassis \ Seasonic X-650 psu \ WD caviar green WD15 EARS 1.5 T HDD \ Sony Optiarc DVD-RW \ Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 mobo \ AMD Phenom II X4 965BE @ 3.6GHz passively cooled with Thermalright HR-01 plus \ 2 x Powercolor ATI HD 5750 SCS3 passive cooled in CrossfireX \ 8 GB Kingston HyperX@1333MHz \ 2xSilverstone 180mm intake fans, 1 Noctua S12B ULN exhaust fan[/size]

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Post by Arbutus » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:12 pm

For your consideration:

The Mugen 2 is cheaper in your region and comes with a PWM fan which is automatically controlled by the mainboard. Mount the fan on the side of the Heat sink adjacent to the rear chassis fan location and blowing towards the rear of the chassis. A 2.5 cm (1 inch) duct, made out of a 120mm fan with the guts cut out, is mounted on the rear chassis fan location.

This cooling setup compared to normal configurations reduces noise in these ways:

=> The fan makes less noise sucking air from the heatsink than blasting turbulent air at the heatsink.
=> The turbulent air from the fan has time to moderate before hitting rear grill.
=> There is only one fan making noise and it is inside the chassis where it will be less audible than when mounted at the edge of the chassis.

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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:45 am

Hey, thanks for your replies! I'm sorry to get back to you so late...

@Widdlecat: Thanks! But I've added the LG to the basket already. I don't think it makes a huge difference, because i will not be using it much. But I'm interested in what you wrote: "I've mass damped my drive". Do you have any pics of that?

@Arbutus: I know the Mugen is cheaper. It's about EUR 13,- cheaper than the Megahalems. And yes, it comes with a good fan. But it's PWM and I don't want that. With either the Mugen or the Megahalems, I will be using 1 nexus fan or maybe 2 in push-pull if it doesn't affect noise to much. So with either solution, I would have to buy other fans. I want to control them manually, so the fans don't ramp up and down "on their own". The mugen however, is more of a pain to install (although better than it was..) and is much more sensitive in the way of how it's mounted as I have read, which could reduce cooling performance. To be on the save side, I will go with the Megahalems, even if it's EUR 13,- more expensive. But you are right, I was thinking about the Mugen 2 also at first...

Your cooling setup is very interesting. Mike also had a suggestion like yours, but I think it was a pull setup on the heatsink, rather than sucking air. And he also suggested a duct (not like yours). So I have made a few tables on how I would like to test the new cpu. I don't know if it's possible for me to do though, or if I would have to rely on my hubbie to change setups etc. If the latter is the case, it would be hard to do, because it will take lot's of time.

I'm thinking about testing like this:
APPS:
CPUBurn processor stress software, using 4 instances
FurMark stability test to stress the integrated GPU. With Xtreme Burn option
GPU-Z to monitor GPU temperatures and fan speed.
SpeedFan to monitor system temperatures and fan speeds.
Prime95 processor stress – large FFTs settingss software.
PCMark05 as a general system benchmark.
3DMark05 as a 3D benchmark.
CPU-Z to verify oc

I would like to measure Idle and Load Power with the I3 530 at different speeds. We are trying to borrow a multi-meter from my hubbies work.
I would also like to measure DB, but I doubt that my husband can borrow a good meter from work. We know they have one, since they are also testing in a silent room

I know it looks messy, but don't know how to fix it propperly... I pasted from OO Calc.

I3 530 Stock (Sample Values!!!) CPU Spd. Multi+Bclk CPU Volt. Uncore Mem.Spd. Mem.Volt GPU freq. QPI Ratio QPI/Vtt Power Idle Power Load
2,93ghz 22 x 133 1,1 volt 2.13ghz 1,590ghz 1,65v 733mhz x32 (5,1 ghz) 1.37v 69w 149w


I3 530 Stock Power Idle Power Load CPU Temp HDD Temp GPU Temp Mainb. T. SPL
Active Fans
int@5v / hts-push-pull@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-push-pull@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push-pull@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push-pull@5v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@11v /exh –
int- / hts-push-pull@9v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@7v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@5v /exh-

int@5v / hts-push@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-push@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-push@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-push@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-push@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-push@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push@5v /exh-
int- / hts-push@11v /exh –
int- / hts-push@9v /exh-
int- / hts-push@7v /exh-
int- / hts-push@5v /exh-

int@5v / hts-pull@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-pull@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-pull@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-pull@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-pull@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-pull@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-pull@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-pull@5v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@11v /exh –
int- / hts-pull@9v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@7v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@5v /exh-

I have included the suggested setup from Mike and Arbutus, but without a duct. If the values look promising, I'll see if my husband is willing to make a duct.

What do you think?
A couple of questions though:
1. What would you recommend for temp monitoring?
- GPU - GPUZ or CPUID Hardware monitor?
- CPU temp- Fanspeed or CPUID Hardware monitor?
- Motherboard temp? I don't know actually. Is this interesting to measure and with what software?
- HDD temp - ChrystalDiskInfo?

2. Is it wise to order a small amount of Arctic Silver Premium for Megahalems mounting, or is the standard paste good enough?

I hope to get some suggestions :wink:

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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:31 am

imo, if you want to measure power, AC power is the most important. A multimeter will not help you there. Get a good cheap handy ac power meter.

Speedfan will find all the temperature sensors including the ones on the HDD. If the fans are connected to mobo headers, the fan speeds will be monitored too -- except if they fall below the mobo's limits -- if higher than 500~600rpm, it should be no problem.

The megahalems comes w/ thermal compound -- it should be fine.
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:04 pm

Hey Mike, great to hear from you again! :D

Ok, I did some research and according to a well know and respectable research site http://kassa.vara.nl/, the Cresta RCE1106 Wattmeter is the best, with the least deviation (did I say that right?). Kassa compares different products, helps consumers who have problems with a product etc. etc.. Beauty of it is, it's only EUR 9,99.
http://www.cresta.nl/index.php?Itemid=2 ... 73&lang=en

It's good to know that Speedfan also includes the HDD temps. But when I run it on my old, very old pc, this is what I get, without HDD temps. I think my HDD doesn't have a temp sensor.

Image

How do I know what temp1, temp2, temp3 represents?

Anyway, the HD temps should not be an issue with my new system. So thanks for clearing that up.

I will check how many fan headers mobo has. Can you connect two fans connected to a y-splitter, to a mobo fan header?

And I will not order arctic silver then.

Thank you so much for your help, I appreciate it greatly! :wink:

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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:11 pm

uitzetter wrote:How do I know what temp1, temp2, temp3 represents?
Experiment. Usually one or more is the CPU which will jump as soon as you put a serious CPU load on (like Prime95), some are additional cores (in current CPUs), one is usually a sensor somewhere on the board that often parallels the CPU -- not useful unless you know exactly where. Finally, some are just nonsense... not sure what exactly they are.
I will check how many fan headers mobo has. Can you connect two fans connected to a y-splitter, to a mobo fan header?
Probably not wise as the mobo fan circuit could get overloaded. Maybe you should get 2 fanmates (or similar) if you want fan speed monitoring.
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:39 pm

Wow, that was fast! Thanks!

I will experiment with Fanspeed and Prime, to figure out which one is the CPU fan.

About the Fanmates. I was planning on ordering three.
- One fanmate for the exhaust fan
- One fanmate for the two fans on the heatsink (at first in push-pull) by using an y-splitter as you suggested
- One fanmate for the two intake 92mm intake fans, also using an y-splitter.

But if I do so, can I connect them to the motherboard in any way to measure fan speeds? I wouldn't want to overload the mobo fan circuit. Or isn't fan speed monitoring that important and can I calculate them myself like so? Or isn't it so linear (or how should I say that):
12v = 1000rpm
11v = 917rpm
9v = 750rpm
7v = 583rpm
5v = 416rpm

By the way, the Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 has only one four-pin connector for the CPU fan and one four-pin connector for a case fan.

I have posted earlier what I would like to test. Various setups with intake fans off and on (no more than 5v), exhaust fans off and on (various voltages) and heatsink fans, in push-pull config, push config or pull config at various voltages.

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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:48 pm

The fanmates allow fan monitoring through its 3-wire interface. So if you connect the fanmate between the mobo header and the fan, you can monitor the fan speed. But just how important is tracking fan speed? For me, not at all... tho it can be useful as a quick check to make sure the fans are actually spinning and for "reset" reference.

The process I use to tweak fan settings is pretty simple. Set the fans to the loudest I really want them to be, then run some CPU/system stress utilities. For myself, I only run them for 10 minutes max -- because I will never ever run my system to rpime95 levels for more than that. If the temps remain with safe limits, the case is closed up and I'm done. (I take into account the ambient temp and if it's lower than the peak in the room during hot summer days, add that difference to the measured CPU temp.)

In most cases a little adjustment is necessary.

The CPU temp might be way below max safe level, in which case there's extra headroom I can use for less noise. I'll play around with tweaking all the fans down until I hear an overall reduction in noise, and run the stress test again. But perhaps a HDD or PSU fan is loud enough that reducing the speed of the fans makes no real difference in noise, in which case, I go back to the higher speed -- might as well have the best cooling.

If the CPU temp is too close to max for comfort or is on the verge of throttling (seek out and use a CPU throttle detection utility - try RightMark CPU Clock), then cooling has to be improved... and this means speeding the various fans up a bit -- starting with the CPU HS fan but also playing with both exhaust and intake (if there is one). All this is to find the quietest fan settings while still keeping the components cool enough.

The RPM of the fans can be useful to record but only so you can go back to a setting -- the final balance is between noise as you perceive it and the component temperatures.

EDIT -- btw, you should take a look at how speedkar9 mounted an intake fan in the Solo case HDD elastic suspension (for reduced noise/vibration) in his Solo Bedroom PC
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:46 pm

MikeC wrote:The fanmates allow fan monitoring through its 3-wire interface. So if you connect the fanmate between the mobo header and the fan, you can monitor the fan speed. But just how important is tracking fan speed? For me, not at all... tho it can be useful as a quick check to make sure the fans are actually spinning and for "reset" reference. Yes, but what would happen if I connect a fanmate between the mobo header and use an y-splitter to connect two fans? Could the mobo header handle that? Because I would like to have the two heatsink fans on one fanmate, since they are always both on the same speed, no matter what voltage I am going to apply..

The process I use to tweak fan settings is pretty simple. Set the fans to the loudest I really want them to be, then run some CPU/system stress utilities. For myself, I only run them for 10 minutes max -- because I will never ever run my system to rpime95 levels for more than that. If the temps remain with safe limits, the case is closed up and I'm done. (I take into account the ambient temp and if it's lower than the peak in the room during hot summer days, add that difference to the measured CPU temp. Thanks, very good tip!)

In most cases a little adjustment is necessary.

The CPU temp might be way below max safe level, in which case there's extra headroom I can use for less noise. I'll play around with tweaking all the fans down until I hear an overall reduction in noise, and run the stress test again. But perhaps a HDD or PSU fan is loud enough that reducing the speed of the fans makes no real difference in noise, in which case, I go back to the higher speed -- might as well have the best cooling.
That is exactly what I want to do, test with all the fans at various setting and stress the cpu / gpu. I would like to test all of the settings underneath, for a given cpu speed. So test the setups at stock speed, at 3.8 oc, 4.2oc and 4.4oc. That way, I can compare noise, power usage and cooling performance between every setup at any given cpu speed and decide the cpu speed I will use 24/7 with one of the underneath fan setup.

I3 530 Stock / 3.8OC / 4.2OC / 4.4OC
Measurements I would like to do for the above setups:
Power Idle - Power Load - CPU Temp - HDD Temp - GPU Temp - Mainb. Temp. - SPL if possibe
Fan setup to test for each cpu speed different active fans:
int@5v / hts-push-pull@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-push-pull@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-push-pull@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push-pull@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push-pull@5v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@11v /exh –
int- / hts-push-pull@9v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@7v /exh-
int- / hts-push-pull@5v /exh-

int@5v / hts-push@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-push@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-push@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-push@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-push@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-push@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-push@5v /exh-
int- / hts-push@11v /exh –
int- / hts-push@9v /exh-
int- / hts-push@7v /exh-
int- / hts-push@5v /exh-

int@5v / hts-pull@11v /exh@11v
int@5v / hts-pull@9v /exh@9v
int@5v / hts-pull@7v /exh@7v
int@5v / hts-pull@5v /exh@5v
int@5v / hts-pull@11v /exh –
int@5v / hts-pull@9v /exh-
int@5v / hts-pull@7v /exh-
int@5v / hts-pull@5v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@11v /exh –
int- / hts-pull@9v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@7v /exh-
int- / hts-pull@5v /exh-

I know it would be a lot of work, but since this is my first silent build and I do have the time when my kid is at school, it would be a very nice "project" to fiddle with... :D :D


If the CPU temp is too close to max for comfort or is on the verge of throttling (seek out and use a CPU throttle detection utility - try RightMark CPU Clock), then cooling has to be improved... and this means speeding the various fans up a bit -- starting with the CPU HS fan but also playing with both exhaust and intake (if there is one). All this is to find the quietest fan settings while still keeping the components cool enough.

Thanks I will keep this in mind and have downloaded RightMark CPU Clock. I will check this out. You are giving me a lot of very great and usefull information. Thanks! :D

The RPM of the fans can be useful to record but only so you can go back to a setting -- the final balance is between noise as you perceive it and the component temperatures.
I agree. That why i would like to be able to see the RPM of the fans. I would prob. only use it to verify if the fans are working properly. though. so it's more of a 'neat feature' then a necessity for me. But, it would be nice to have. If it's not possible to get the two hs fans on one fanmate connected to a mb header, I can connect them to the power supply right? And then I can't read RPM speeds of course, but can I assume that I can calculate RPM would be like this?
12v = 1000rpm
11v = 917rpm
9v = 750rpm
7v = 583rpm
5v = 416rpm


I sorry that I have so many questions. I'm such a noob. But I would like to say that your information, tips and advice is really priceless to me. (I hope that's an expression used in English to, lol)

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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:17 pm

No, you really can't calculate RPM like that. What you will find is that the Nexus fan is quiet enough that most of the audible adjustment is between roughly 8~12V (11V w/ the fanmate). It's very narrow.

We cite rpm and voltage to the fans in many of our reviews here but in reality, fan voltage is not trackable w/o a multimeter, and a pain to set up for fans hooked up in a PC. So that's hardly a good reference to go by. If the mobo fan speed monitoring doesn;t work for whatever reason, trust your hearing.

I would be cautious about putting 2 fans on one mobo header but it's probably OK -- the nexus fans are pretty low power. Not sure what that will do to the accuracy of fan speed monitoring.
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:37 pm

Ok, good to know that I can't calculate RPM like that. Thanks,

I will contact Gigabyte about the two fans on one header. Is it true that the 120mm power usage is 1.8 Watts Max? I've gone to the nexus site, but there was no mention about power usage. I found this value at: http://www.coolerguys.com/840556054078.html

I hope it is possible. I'd also like to see if fan speed monitoring will still be accurate. :D :D

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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:21 pm

uitzetter wrote:I will contact Gigabyte about the two fans on one header. Is it true that the 120mm power usage is 1.8 Watts Max? I've gone to the nexus site, but there was no mention about power usage. I found this value at: http://www.coolerguys.com/840556054078.html
Why wouldn't you check here first!?? http://www.silentpcreview.com/article69 ... html#nexus -- we measured 0.95w to be the max power draw of the nexus 120. 2 should be ok on a single mobo fan header.
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Post by uitzetter » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:19 pm

God, how could I have missed that? I'm sorry.:oops: :oops: I have read the roundup a couple of times earlier, but that was about a month ago or so. When I googled last night (very early this morning at 2.00 am), SPCR didn't show up.

Anyway, thanks for the link and the actual power usage :wink:

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Post by uitzetter » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:18 am

Well, you were right mike, with the Nexus fans, you can put two, or even three fans on one header if you wanted to. I sent a mail to Gigabyte and this was their response:

"Thank you for contacting GIGABYTE.
Please do not go over 1Ampere on each Fan connector .
The power supply +12V will limit the output current."


Those 120mm Nexus fans have a Amp. of 0.30 max. so I should be save. It's nice to have a way to control those fans per voltage and see the RMP readings, assuming this stil works.

I have ordered the system all of the components should be there in 7 - 10 days at the latest, maybe earlier.

I will let you know once we get the new system. We will put some photo's in the gallery at that time, before I will begin testing the setups.

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