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Old 11th March, 2002, 07:51 AM
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Quest for Silence

I put this here because it deals with many issues, although a lot of it has to do with cooling so if after reading you think it belongs in cooling then that's the place for it. on to the story....
First of all. I'm an idiot at times. It will be proven in this thread as I show how I progress on my way to a silent PC.
What started as something simple a while back has turned into an all out quest to get my main system, that I have to live with at my desk. I didn't begin this journey by looking for quiet, though. I already had that. I had a Macintosh that made almost no noise. But, as all good things have to come to an end, so did my time with the Macintosh as I sold it for a PC. The PC I replaced it with was a HP something or other with a Celeron 433 and integrated video. Huge mistake as most of you already know. Half the performance of the Mac that I had with an OS that was about as friendly as a drunk looking for a fight. At least it was unfriendly on the HP.
Next step. Upgrade the HP. Well that turned out to be a joke and I gave up on it pretty quickly. I needed a real PC. Performance was the goal and almost every search for pc related performance lead me to only a few sites and it lead me to one site repeatedly. Most of you are familiar with the site and Joe's and Ed's articles (as well as the others) were invaluable to me as were the forums managed by Daniel and all of the posts by many of the people that now make up this forum. So it began.... Ordered the stuff that I needed and built my PC. It was OK, but it was kind of noisy. The PSU and the heatsink and the case fan and the hard drives (dual 75GXP's RAID 0) were the main culprits. It wasn't too terribly bad. I had a stock hsf on the 900 MHz Tbird and it didn't destroy my hearing, but it was noticeable.
Next step. I wanted to OC my tbird. Well, the temps on it with the stock hsf were too high. 55C-60C average. Not really idle and not really full load since I wasn't folding at the time. It would not OC the way it was. Fine. That Glaciator thing is looking pretty hot. I think I'll hook up with one of those. It definitely brought my temps down, but it still wouldn't OC past 1000. Oh. There's this thing called a stepping? What's that? AYHJA who? OK. So the AYHJA Y it is along with a fine overclocking mobo(Iwill kk266+). Now that's what I'm talking about..... to be continued.
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Old 11th March, 2002, 08:09 AM
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After learning a bit more about it the 1000 AYHJA Y was performing at 1400+. Still hot. Time for a 120mm panaflo and to cut a hole in the back for another fan.
Now it's really starting to get loud. Not as loud as some of those systems with the delta's in them, but loud enough for me. Annoying loud, just not deafening.
This went on for a while. I have to do something so I look into dynamat. It was $25 at Circuit City so I purchased it and applied it. It helped some. My temps were still high and I found myself taking the sides off so that I could get it cool again rendering the dynamat useless as well as shoving fans in odd places to help move air away from the cpu, so I decided to get another case. It is my current case. Antec SX1030. It came with a couple of fans and seemed to mask some of the noise from the glaciator a little better. Maybe it was because I could put the sides back on the PC again. This case has plenty of room for fans already built into it and I used all of the fan mounts. While I was at it I went with a Seagate Barracuda. This drive is whisper quiet, but the Glaciator didn't care. It just kept on whining. At least the temps were better with all of that air moving through it. A lot better. Moved the PC off of the desk now since I didn't have to fuss with it as often to keep it cool. The noise was still irritating. Half of it was coming from the Glaciator and half was coming from the PSU. Another 1/3 of the noise was the case fans that I installed. The Antec PSU can be quite loud when the fan is running at full speed, although it's not as bad when the temp sensor tells it to slow down. That's good. At this point I purchased a dB meter. 55-60dB from my chair. I don't remember what it was next to the box but it was much higher than that.
I still wanted less noise and now want it to be inaudible. This time I wasn't going to mess with dynamat. It's too much hassle for little results. What's next? What else?



Watercooling. I read some of the articles and hadn't planned it out much. I had been thinking about it for some time and was chatting with one of my folding brethren one night and he suggested that water was a good way to go. He told me what he had and said that he was pretty happy with it although he thought his temps could be better. The setup? DangerDen Maze2, Eheim 1250, Transmission cooler, my 120mm fan, all of the other fans, except for the glaciator and silicon tubing for good measure............ next post.
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Old 11th March, 2002, 08:56 AM
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So I installed the system after testing it. Temps with the glaciator were floating around the 43C range according to the mobo.
Temps with my new water cooling rig were 49C full load. WHAT?!?!!? Ok. Somethings wrong. Checked out a few forums. Common problems are air and not enough pressure. Oh. I did spill the water out of the tranny cooler and it was making a tinkling sound. So I took it apart and bled it again and tried to make sure that I removed as much air as possible from the system before trying to run it anymore. After a day of running it temps were still at 45-46C full load(Room temp is 71F-I don't do conversions well). I was also making mistakes in reading temps because I turn the furnace down to 66 at night and it was showing me with temps of 39-41C Full load and it takes longer than air to react to changes in ambient temps. Figured that out eventually. The temps still didn't sound right so I piddled with fan placement on the radiator and it improved 1C. I was still seeing that my temps seemed high, especially considering that I had moved from air to water. At least that was the general concensus. More pressure was the answer. So I tightened down the block (The idiot thing should be readily apparent by now, but if it isn't then read on because it will scream at you in a minute ) making sure that the nuts were all even. No improvement. I loosened nuts thinking that maybe it just wasn't flat on the block and at one point my temps jumped so high and fast that I freaked out and pulled the plug. oops. Put everything back and started tightening again. No improvement. Tightened some more, and then some more... How tight did they need to be? A bunch of people said finger tight. OK. I found out that my fingers are pretty strong because as I was tightening them down finger tight I heard a very loud CRACK. uh oh. Turned around and saw the temps bios on the monitor and it was still displaying temps. THey weren't changing. Nothing was changing, but everything was still up on the screen. So I tightened some more figuring that I had knocked a molex connector into a fan blade. Temps weren't changing. I give up. Hit the escape key to back out and start up windows. Nothing. Stupid cordless keyboard. Hit the escape key again. ahhhhhhhhhh. They heard me down the street and called the cops. j/k. It took me a while but I eventually found the fracture in the cpu. My mini farm served up another AYHJA Y to play with until I get another CPU so every thing is back up and running. Temps were still bad and the noise is still too much so it was time to find another solution. The tranny cooler must not be doing the job as temps were spiking bigtime with it on. After calling around a bit I finally found an auto parts store that had a heater core for an 87 Chevette. If I have to redo this then it's all going to fit in the case. That heater core sat on the shelf in that auto parts store for 10 years. LOL. There was so much dust and rotten tape on the box it was scary. Tested it and solder the fittings onto it. It had 5/8 copper tubing which isn't the easiest thing to find fittings for so I soldered a 1/2" npt x 3/8 barbed fitting into it and checked for leaks. Good deal. Found a tupperware type of container with a plastic lid that was absolutley perfect for making a shroud. The wide part fit the heater core perfectly and the center indentation was almost perfect for a 120mm fan. I knock the rivets out of the lower drive cage tray in the case and set everything up. BTW. a dvd case is perfect for covering 2 80 mm holes and has that very nice template in the center for a 120 mm fan. Picked up a mammoth sized mouse pad from Staples and cut out the pieces that I needed to reduce vibrations. There is also mouse pad laying comfortably across the bottom of the case. I set everything into the case making sure that the heater core would be exposed to both 80mm holes in the front of the case so as to avoid limiting air flow too much and strapped the whole thing into place. There is only 1 120mm fan on it at the moment and I probably won't add another. There was just enough room for the Eheim pump to sit behind the fan/heater core setup. Now everything was in the case and a small notch was cut out of the bottom back corner of the case to allow me to route the pumps power cord out. Fired it up. Success. No leaks and everything is running. I let it run that way for a little while to bleed the rest of the air out of the system and then started the pc to see how things were going. Temps weren't stellar but there was a marked improvement and they do not vary as wildly as they were before. I removed some of the fans. The 120 on the rad is drawing air from the bottom front of the case through a blue hvac filter and there is the psu fan, 1 80mm in front and 2 80mm pulling air out of the back of the case. Case temps are higher 23-24C(they were around 21C before) but the cpu temps are hanging out around 42C now under full load. I even turned the furnace up some more to be safe and it's holding pretty steady. Those temps are from the sensor on the mobo so who knows how accurate they are, but they should at least be consistent with temps that I had before and they are slightly better than the glaciator temps were and don't fluctuate as much. The noise level has been dramatically reduced and is to the point that the needle on my cheapy Radio Shack dB meter doesn't even move from where I sit, but it only measures down to 50dB. dB measured directly in front about 1" away from the system reads 62dB. and dB measured just over the back of the case reads65-66dB. This is a major improvement.
I still want silence, or as close to it as I can get. The weak spot in all of this is the antec psu. It is where most of the noise is coming from and it's going to find a home elsewhere. This is where I am at at the moment. An Enermax Whisper Quiet 431 psu has been ordered, and I have ordered some PC power and cooling 80mm fans. They rate them at 28CFM and 20dB each so it should help.

This is not going to be over until I can't hear it anymore. It's turned into a crusade to find the quietest possible OC that I can get and will take out a second mortgage to pay for it Well maybe not a second mortgage. I hope this wasn't too boring. It will be continued, but I don't have any other way to measure sound and will have to rely on my ears to do it.
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Old 11th March, 2002, 09:35 AM
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mmm quiet watercooling.......
My pc has only one fan, a thermal controlled 8cm fan, running at 5v. It pushed about 15cfm, i cant hear it unless i put my ear about 6inches away from it.
I have watercooling all built into my case with that fan providing all the airflow, and by some miracle of science it keeps my duron under 45c on load (800@1000@1.9v)
The thing that annoys me a lot is the hdd, it whines like a *****! I've suspended it on rubber bands, it still whines but only half as much, and the click has totally dissapeared..
But i can still hear the whine! Its driving me nuts as I'm typing this!
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Old 12th March, 2002, 12:23 AM
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yeah. THrough all of that I managed to get everything inside the case. My cpu temps are currently 42C but it's 66F in the room at the moment and the cpu temps will rise when I up the room temps.

My 75GXP's were that bad. Really noisy and not worth it, especially since one of them lost all of its data (switched from RAID 0 before data loss occurred) The drive I ended up using was a 60GB Seagate Barracuda ATA IV st360021a that was getting some excellent ratings for reliability over at storagereview.com when they had that killer drive db. The Fujitsu was recommended but I found out in this forum that they were going to concentrate on SCSI and they proved to be impossible to find over 20GB. The Barracuda is almost completety silent.

The only thing that is left to quiet down is the psu and the case fans. I don't think that they need to move so much air anymore, just as long as they are moving it correctly through the case. The 120mm is pretty quiet and the air isn't too much warmer than the room air. The 80's that are coming should move enough air to do the job. I just received confirmation that the order was on its way, so that's good.

Remind me not to post blather after 1am when I'm ticked off and can't sleep. I even edited it last night and edited out something that I didn't mean to edit out which is now fixed, but that was too much. You can send someone over here to smack me upside the head for being so long winded. If you leave them up I will update on the results of the new fans and psu etc to see how much quieter they are and to see if I can achieve total quiet and decent temps with a tbird that is 40% overclocked and how much everything cost in the end as well as the winning ingredients.
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Old 12th March, 2002, 08:42 AM
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Your CPU temps are so high because you no longer have a HSF circulating air around the CPU's ZIF Socket. Position an 80mm fan near the socket and watch those temperatures drop 8C+.

The air coming off the HSF cools the motherboards VccCore power supply, as well as the memory, and even the northbridge if it has a fanless heatsink. All that heat has a way of migrating to the inside of the socket. Much of the heat is comes off the VccCore power supply, so I put an 80mm fan over that myself.

Just try it and be amazed . . .



Moral of the story: In socket thermistors lie like the devil . . .
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Old 12th March, 2002, 08:43 AM
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too much to read.
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Old 12th March, 2002, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dimmreaper
Your CPU temps are so high because you no longer have a HSF circulating air around the CPU's ZIF Socket. Position an 80mm fan near the socket and watch those temperatures drop 8C+.

The air coming off the HSF cools the motherboards VccCore power supply, as well as the memory, and even the northbridge if it has a fanless heatsink. All that heat has a way of migrating to the inside of the socket. Much of the heat is comes off the VccCore power supply, so I put an 80mm fan over that myself.

Just try it and be amazed . . .



Moral of the story: In socket thermistors lie like the devil . . .
Thanks. You were absolutely right, but you already knew that
It did drop dramatically. It's now reading 37C. My temps are always full load temps since the machine is never at idle. but that did change the reading. The only position that seemed to have that effect was directly over the waterblock blowing down onto it and some of the air is blowing between the block and cpu and behind the mobo even, but the fan is just propped up there for now.
Everything other position seemed to have the opposite effect for some reason. Oh well. Anyway. I let it run all night and all day and the result has been consistent.
It's still making too much noise.
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