Passive CPU cooling

Cooling Processors quietly

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Winnick
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Passive CPU cooling

Post by Winnick » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:02 am

I have the following system:

Athlon II X3 455
Antec P180 Mini
Radeon 4850

I was wondering if I could replace the standard cooler of the CPU with a Large heatsink - and count on the two standard case fans - 120mm and 200mm - to keep the processor cool - or will a fan still be needed?

Currently the standard cooler accelerates to 3000rpm when I'm playing games - too much noise.


edit: let me just add that I am running the 120mm on low and the 200mm on low or medium setting. But setting the 120mm to medium becomes too much noise.

BlackWhizz
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Post by BlackWhizz » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:16 am

I think you can. your CPU has a tdp of 95w. get a Scythe Ninja (not the mini ninja) mount it and you'll probably can cool your cpu passive.

But i think the silenter option may be replace your back 120mm fan with a 3pin fan and run your top fan on 7v (at high) many say the top fan is more silent that on 12v low speed.

nomoon
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Post by nomoon » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:43 am

You can likely do it, and it would likely be quieter than your current situation. However, I would say that your system would be even quieter if you put a slow 120mm fan on a good tower CPU cooler. See this thread (Passive CPU cooling not necessarily the quietest solution.) Adding a slow CPU fan will allow you to run your case fans more slowly.

Jason

ces
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Post by ces » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:13 am

Thermalright makes the HR-01 plus. According to SPCR, it benchmarks better than the Ninja.

It is an old design. It was originally designed as a passive heatsink. Yet even by todays standards, it performs just as well as the Prolimatech and even with faster fans it performs almost as well as the Prolimatech (per SPCR testing).

Thermalright makes two compatible accordion ducts that clip right onto the the HR-01 (the red one is the shorter one). It permits one fan to act as both the case fan and as the CPU cooler fan.

But that is not all, if you are willing to flout convention (I love doing that) you can run your case fan to push air into your case, providing the CPU cooler with the fresh cool outside air first. This air is generally going to be about 10C to 15C cooler than the air from inside your case. A 10c to 15C advantage is a heck of a cheat.

I would just dump that big loud 200mm fan. Just shut it down. If you are pushing fresh air in, the old warm air will find its way out the top. Keeping a positive pressure case reduces dust accretion.

Someone said that they have stopped selling the HR-01 in the UK. I hope that doesn't mean they are phasing it out in the US. You might want to hurry up and buy one while you can.

It is only one of three heatsinks that I am aware of that are designed for pure passive use. They other two are the Scythe Ninja and the Scythe Orochi. Of the three it appears to be the best one at responding to the addition of fans.

judge56988
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Post by judge56988 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:40 am

ces wrote: Someone said that they have stopped selling the HR-01 in the UK. I hope that doesn't mean they are phasing it out in the US. You might want to hurry up and buy one while you can.
There's a couple of places here that stock the HR-01 (Not plus version - I can't find that anywhere) but only for some Xeon processors.
I was thinking of getting one a few months ago but in the end got a Mugen II - which I'm very happy with.

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Post by psyopper » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:49 am

I'll second the Mugen2. I'd likely even refer it over the Ninja.

ces
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Post by ces » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:53 am

psyopper wrote:I'll second the Mugen2. I'd likely even refer it over the Ninja.
But do you really believe that the Mugen2 will work very well without a fan on it. That is what Winnick was talking about doing - just relying on the case fans.

Particularly given the Mugen's shape, I would not expect it to do well without some kind of air current.

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:09 am

@BlackWizz: "the silenter option may be replace your back 120mm fan with a 3pin fan"

forgive my ignorance, but how will a 3-pin fan lower the noise level? (if we say that the 3-pin will be of same noise quality as the standard - as otherwise it's a given)

I've tried stopping the 200mm and It makes no difference to the sound level, I can't hear that unless I put it to high. (even with the system running idle) and the cpu fan at standard 2000rpm)

@Nomoon - a slow fan on a tower cooler will be the next natural step, if the passive solution does not work :-) thanks for your input

@ces: I guess that what I'm hoping is that the 200mm fan will provide the airflow that is needed to not need a cooler on the CPU heatsink.

thanks for all your input

ces
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Re: Passive CPU cooling

Post by ces » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:53 pm

Winnick wrote:I was wondering if I could replace the standard cooler of the CPU with a Large heatsink - and count on the two standard case fans - 120mm and 200mm - to keep the processor cool - or will a fan still be needed?

Currently the standard cooler accelerates to 3000rpm when I'm playing games - too much noise. .
Maybe you are overreacting. Just get a decent tower cooler. Prolimatech or any ThermalRight. The Mugen is inexpensive. The Noctuas are all good.

Then run it with a slow fan.

Try it for a while. That is probably all you need.

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:37 am

@ces:
in the sense of thinking about going passive - due to the noise of the stock cooler - yes, I am probably overreacting :-)

But I just wanted to hear if anybody had tried it.

I have 4 sources of noise - the two case fans, the cpu fan and the gpu fan.

I've tried stopping the 200mm fan at idle - and I heard no difference - so that is not what I'm hearing. I'll try stopping the other case fan and see if that makes a difference, then I'll try the other two - and then we'll find out which one I'm hearing.

But at load it has to be either GPU or CPU fan I'm hearing - and CPU cooler is easier to replace than GPU fan.

Next is the cost *sigh* we'll see when I can scrape the money together.

Thanks for your input :-)

ces
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Post by ces » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:47 am

Winnick wrote:But at load it has to be either GPU or CPU fan I'm hearing - and CPU cooler is easier to replace than GPU fan.

Next is the cost *sigh* we'll see when I can scrape the money together.
You want cheap?

1. First test for coil noise. If you put your finger on the coil and the sound changes or stops, that is your culprit.

2. Look around SPCR for their mod of the stock CPU cooler. They remove the stock fan and lash a Nexus fan to the fin array. It will cost you one fan. Maybe not even that.

Remove your exhaust fan and use that. Your intake fan may be all you need. Every cubic inch of air it pushes in will push out a cubic inch or warmed over air. That air will find its way out.

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:04 pm

The coil? - sorry, English is not my native language - so I'm thinking a coil is something that is coiled up - like a rope can be :-) what does this has to do with fans?

ces
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Post by ces » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:47 pm

Winnick wrote:The coil? - sorry, English is not my native language - so I'm thinking a coil is something that is coiled up - like a rope can be :-) what does this has to do with fans?
The coils are small piecesof metal or similar material around which some wire is wrapped. Some of then are enclosed is small square capacitor looking like items near the CPU. They are also in the PSU. There are used to control voltage and current.

If you touch one and it stops it from vibrating, it muffles any noise it is making. That could be the source of your noise.

Winnick
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more time to play this weekend

Post by Winnick » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:36 am

I will take some time to investigate exactly where the noise is coming from this weekend. It does sound like fan noise to me - but we'll see.

And I realized I made a mistake - I have not tried stopping to 200mm fan. Only the 120mm one - and that was the one that made no difference.

Most likely you guys a right that I can also hear the 200mm. Then I'll see if I can do the 7v trick on it.

thanks for all your input

BlackWhizz
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Re: more time to play this weekend

Post by BlackWhizz » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:47 am

Winnick wrote:I will take some time to investigate exactly where the noise is coming from this weekend. It does sound like fan noise to me - but we'll see.

And I realized I made a mistake - I have not tried stopping to 200mm fan. Only the 120mm one - and that was the one that made no difference.

Most likely you guys a right that I can also hear the 200mm. Then I'll see if I can do the 7v trick on it.

thanks for all your input
Could u post the results of the 7v trick?

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:48 am

Of course I will post the results - but unfortunately I do not have any measuring equipment for noise.

But temperatures and my own subjective opinion on the noise - of course

Winnick
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testing

Post by Winnick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:30 am

OK - first test.

Disconnected both 120 and 200mm fan - started up dragonage.

Active fans: Stock CPU fan, stock GPU fan and Stock PSU fan (Enermax Modu 82+)

temperature of CPU rose to 50degrees after a minute or two - stock cpu fan spinning at 4500rpm and rising
source: Asus PC Probe II

fan noise high.

connected the 120mm fan and set to full power to bring down temperature and then set to low to get ready for next test

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:42 am

2nd test

Active fans :120mm set to low, stock cpu fan, gpu fan and psu fan

Starting dragonage

CPU temperature goes to 46 degrees and stays there, cpu fan spins at around 2800rpm

system noise - audible, but not intrusive. A bit to loud still for my liking.
estimation: major source of noise now comes from the GPU.

Set 120mm to high to bring down temperature and prepare for next test

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:23 am

3rd test

active fans - 200mm set to low, stock cpu, gpu, psu fans

starting dragonage

at Low - cpu temperature rises to 49 degrees and cpu fan spins at 3000
cpu is the loudest part of the system, gpu close thereafter

not extremely noisy - but too much in my opinion - will not disturb others in the room though.

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:31 am

4th test

200mm set to medium

cpu temperature still at 49 degrees, but cpu fan spins at 2800

less noise overall than with 200mm fan set to low.
the medium setting has a low hum, but nothing intrusive, not much difference in fan noise from the 200mm on low or medium - in my opinion.

ces
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Post by ces » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:41 am

Winnick wrote:4th test

200mm set to medium

cpu temperature still at 49 degrees, but cpu fan spins at 2800

less noise overall than with 200mm fan set to low.
the medium setting has a low hum, but nothing intrusive, not much difference in fan noise from the 200mm on low or medium - in my opinion.
1. I am a bit confused about where the 120mm fan is set in all these tests?

2. Would you try a few tests with the 200mm fan turned off and the 120mm exhaust fan pushing air into the case? Perhaps:
(a) 200mm fan turned off with 120mm exhaust fan turned around pushing air into the case (on full, then on medium, then on low)
(b) 200mm fan turned off and blocked with cardboard, with 120mm exhaust fan turned around pushing air into the case (on full, then on medium, then on low)
(c) some combination of the above with a crude cardboard duct directing the case fan air flow at the CPU heat sink.

3. Then one more test, take your Antec 120 and lash it to the frame of your stock CPU cooler, while unplugging the stock cooler fan. I am not familiar with AMD stock coolers. Can you do that. The purpose is not to test for noise. The purpose is to see what effect it has on cooling.

This test isn't as important as the others, and if it is too big of a pain you can skip it. But you might want to do it anyway. Because the low cost solution is likely to include a fan mod to your stock cpu cooler, so you should do a dry run before you do the real thing.

Maybe you can even do the fan mod on your cpu cooler without removing the stock fan. And still use that as a long term solution.

4. From the data from your prior tests and these tests you will have enough info to make a good low cost and effective decision.

5. I conjecture that the test results will support a solution that will cost you no more than two fans. One fan to use for the MikeC mod of lashing a nexus fan to your stock CPU fan array cooler, and a second fan to replace your Antec 120 with something that can move more air with less noise.

6. What fans are available to you? 120mm Nexus? 120mm Scythe slipstreams. Can you buy one Nexus and one 120mm 1200 rpm Scythe Slipstream?

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:25 am

Sorry, I got lazy updating the same information again - in the 3rd and 4th test - only the 200mm is running. The 120mm is disconnected. Just like in the 2nd test - only the 120mm is running, the 200mm is disconnected.

the 120mm on medium is already to much noise - that's why I didn't bother testing that.

I'll see what I can find time for tomorrow - but sure, I'll be happy to try out some more configurations.

But from this it looks like I have to do something with GPU and CPU before I can get the noise further down.

A Larger fan mod for the CPU as you suggest - and perhaps an intake fan directed at the GPU could help... that should lower the temperature and stop motivating the fan to spin up.

Considerations - new GPU cooler, new CPU cooler.

For now - lets see what we can do with fans - tomorrow.

These are my options for purchase close by.

Others, I will have to wait until I go back to Denmark next month, where I can get everything (and I speak the language - which helps)

http://www.users.hu/category/8

eventhough the site in in Hungarian - I can still manage to recognize the company and product names.

ces
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Post by ces » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:36 am

The purpose of testing related to the 120mm isn't to test its noise, but to test what effect it has on other attributes of your computer.

One of the things you have to do is to replace the Antec with a Nexus or Scythe. But until then you can use the Antec fan as a stand in to test the cooling effect of a Nexus or Scythe replacement fan.

If it and/or a cardboard duct helps reduce the speed of the CPU fan, then one solution might using a Nexus Beam air attachment on whatever fan you use in that position. Or using Silverston's directed air current fan.

To what extent can you alter the speed of the GPU? Have you considered an after market cooler for the GPU?

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:33 am

If you read my post above - I have considered an aftermarket GPU cooler ;-)
I just need to find something that will fit the 4850 I'm using now and also fit with a future upgrade.
But that could be tricky as I don't know if a future upgrade will be to the 5xxx series - or not until the next series come out (in which case it's impossible to know if the cooler will fit) - have been considering the Accelero twin turbo pro.

I have never heard of the Nexus Beam - looks interesting - especially for an intake fan in front of the GPU - and also, as you state - if it turns out to make sense to use the current 120mm placement as an intake fan instead.

Test:

Active fans: 120mm on low, 200mm on medium, stock gpu, cpu

playing dragon age - temperature stays on 40 - cpu fan speed at around 2200rpm

Noise is very similar to having the 200mm set to medium by itself - Neither fan is noticeable over the other .

ces
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Post by ces » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:01 pm

Winnick wrote:Test:
Active fans: 120mm on low, 200mm on medium, stock gpu, cpu
playing dragon age - temperature stays on 40 - cpu fan speed at around 2200rpm
Noise is very similar to having the 200mm set to medium by itself - Neither fan is noticeable over the other .
That looks pretty good. That is with the 120mm exhausting air from the case?

Are you going to see what happens at the different speeds if you flip the 120mm fan around in the other direction?

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:39 am

I will do some more testing during the week - I might do the whole thing again and also make note of the MB temperature measured by PC probe.
And take some more time - I noticed yesterday that the cpu fan speed increased after prolonged playing. So I will try to me more thorough next time 'round

I can get hold of the following fans

Nexus 120mm D12SL-12
Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12M
Scythe S-Flex SFF21E
Nocturna NF-P12
Noctua NF-S12B FLX

Listed by price level with the Nocturnas being 50-100% more expensive than the rest

ces
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Post by ces » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:19 am

Winnick wrote:I can get hold of the following fans
Nexus 120mm D12SL-12
Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12M
Scythe S-Flex SFF21E
Nocturna NF-P12
Noctua NF-S12B FLX
If you can get only one, get the first. If only two, get the first two. If only three get the first three. If only four, get the first four.

ronrem
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Post by ronrem » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:40 pm

Seems you might benefit more from a cooler quieter passive vid card.
Those little high rpm fans make more noise than a low RPM 200 mm,which if set under 500 rpm is a very effective air mover,and quiet enough.

You don't mention whether you have the CPU or anything overclocked.

Trying to get a max power gaming rig silent is like trying to build a 200 mph dragster that also is a nice commuter car. It's not doable.

Pick your compromise.

Winnick
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Post by Winnick » Mon May 03, 2010 1:00 pm

@ronrem:
no no, don't worry - I am not trying to overclock anything - if I was doing any medling, I'd sooner undervolt the system (without underclocking). But no, everything is stock.

And yes - no doubt, replacement of the GPU cooler is certainly a must to go much lower - but also much more expensive than replacing the fans with Nexus' :-) (at least here in Budapest)

Once I have some more tests - I will create a new topic with a title the is more accurate than the current :-)

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