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can a computer case be made into a big heatsink?

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:05 pm
by hexen
i guess the closest thing to this would be the zalman tnn500 but even that seems to have really big heatsinks on the outside of the unit.

what about designing a case to be made entirely out of copper/aluminum and
have heat pipes running from all heat producing points simply into the case itself?

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:34 pm
by ultrachrome
Copper might be a little expensive.

People of have done what you suggest, both DIY and commercially.

HFX supplies both complete systems and DIY parts.

It's a neat idea, just not cost effective.

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:36 pm
by ultrachrome
A better link: mCubed

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:39 am
by EndoSteel
what about designing a case to be made entirely out of copper/aluminum and
have heat pipes running from all heat producing points simply into the case itself?

IMO, a midtower sized case doesn't have enough surface area. Furthermore, thin aluminum sheets do not conduct heat well, you'll have to make the case out of ~40mm thick panels to make it warm up evenly.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:35 am
by angelkiller
For an more extreme example, the Zalman TNN series

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:41 am
by jaganath
IMO, a midtower sized case doesn't have enough surface area
mCubed seem to make it work, I would guess that they have similar surface area, although the mCubed does have big fins on the side.
thin aluminum sheets do not conduct heat well
yet they are used in virtually all heatsinks?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:55 pm
by thejamppa
jaganath wrote:
IMO, a midtower sized case doesn't have enough surface area
mCubed seem to make it work, I would guess that they have similar surface area, although the mCubed does have big fins on the side.
thin aluminum sheets do not conduct heat well
yet they are used in virtually all heatsinks?
I heard that Aluminium-copper is best combination as Copper conducts heat well and alumnium id better in giving heat in air than copper. Copper has good heat conductivity and alumnium has good heat dissipation... I almost flunked physics and chemistry myself so I can't be sure this myself...

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:05 pm
by ronrem
The missing link is some form of aftermarket heatpipe setup,either bent to the layout of specific mobos or flexible/adjustable. Getting the heat from the CPU--etc,to the heatsink (case or whatever) is the hangup.

Thermaltake's Tai Chi uses a aluminum finned door as a watercool heatsink.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:11 pm
by jaganath
alumnium is better in giving heat in air than copper. Copper has good heat conductivity and alumnium has good heat dissipation
Um, I think heat dissipation is just a function of the amount of air/water/whatever flowing over a hot surface; I'm almost certain it doesn't vary between metals.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:54 pm
by thejamppa
jaganath wrote:
alumnium is better in giving heat in air than copper. Copper has good heat conductivity and alumnium has good heat dissipation
Um, I think heat dissipation is just a function of the amount of air/water/whatever flowing over a hot surface; I'm almost certain it doesn't vary between metals.
You might be right, but some shoudl check chmistry and physics guru. As it was in Skenegroup where I probably read that. And Skenegroup usually doesn't make mistake in such things.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:24 pm
by ~El~Jefe~
this was old ideas. I too thought that Al was best for air and copper for contact.

turns out:

Copper is better than Al in anything by a landslide. We have a lot of Al as it is much lighter. I use an xp-90C by thermalright. It is the all copper one. According to reports, it cools better than an xp-120 regular aluminum! I wish they made more coolers like it. The price of copper is very high at the moment and it is very heavy so I think no one is making big copper boys liek they once did a few years ago. Shame really, you can have a much smaller design and cool the same.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:10 am
by Aris
you could probably do it if you made the case out of this stuff:

http://www.novelconceptsinc.com/heat-spreaders.htm

you'd still need custom made heatpipes to move the heat from the cpu/vga/HD/NB/PSU to the case walls.

Ive seen people get custom bent/cut heatpipes before, but i dont know where they got them from or how much they paid.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:43 am
by wussboy
I once saw an article about a guy who made his own heatpipes. It was a surprisingly simple process.

I'm not saying you can do it in an afternoon with a hair-dryer, but it's certainly not impossible.

In this, as in all things, Google is your friend.

http://www.fossilfreedom.com/manifolds.html

http://www.benchtest.com/heat_pipe1.html

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:32 am
by jhhoffma
~El~Jefe~ wrote:this was old ideas. I too thought that Al was best for air and copper for contact.
This is probably a common misconception from most people's knowledge that the surface layer of a copper object readily oxidizes in air (which is why the Statue of Liberty is green). Since people don't see the same effect with aluminum, the assumption is that the surface is "cleaner", and hence, more conductive (thermally and electrically). However, most metals oxidize in air (including aluminum) and it really has little or no effect on conductivity unless it builds up as corrosion.

But the fact that copper has a better conductivity constant makes it the best choice for thermal dissipation. However, it softness, price, and weight, make it less desirable for a heat sink, but usually not enough to counter it's thermal properties.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:14 am
by Tzupy
Dudes, this copper versus aluminium has been discussed on SPCR forums before. Cu has about 2 times the conductivity of Al, but it's 3.3 times heavier. For heatsink fins that go no further than 1.5-2 cm from the heatpipe contact, Al is not much worse than Cu (at the same thickness), but it's a lot lighter. And there is very little difference between Al and Cu when transferring heat to the airflow.
I thought about the 'heatsink case' about a year ago, and there are two problems: 1) the large 'Ninja-style' heatsinks would be bulky and prone to damage, being on the outside of the case; 2) the heatpipes from the CPU, GPU, chipset(s), etc. would have to make contact to the case in 'heat-holder' joints, that would probably have to be copper, thus heavy (or water filled and sealed reservoirs).

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:36 am
by EndoSteel
jaganath
mCubed seem to make it work, I would guess that they have similar surface area, although the mCubed does have big fins on the side.
The fins are the key element.

yet they are used in virtually all heatsinks?
Have you ever seen a sink with fins the size of a midtower side cover? :) Thermal conductivity is just like electrical conductivity: the thicker the material is, the less resistance it has and the longer is the distance it can transfer heat at. It's ok to make 0.5mm fins if they are not larger than, say 10x10cm, but if they are - it's a waste of aluminum.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:39 pm
by sareiodata
"Pure silver has the highest thermal conductivity" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver) ... so if you can afford it ... an Al - Ag alloy could become an effective heat sink. However... with the use of a heat pipe and an increase in size of the Al heat sink (let's say the side panel of the computer case), using low power CPU's and components, the job (heat sink-case) would be solved fast. The issue is the price. When you can buy a case for 30 $ (including shipping) or even less the mass production of a "heat sink case" with a weight of 14 KG (that is the weight of the Zalman 300), shipping such a case form China ( cheep labor and cheep mass production ) would increase the cost significantly.
Also I believe that the time for such a case hasn't come yet , because low-power processors and components (an GeForce 6600 GT uses around 70 W ) are not main stream yet (the cheapest dual-core's are still the Pentium D - not exactly low power! ).
By the way ... Zalman Totally No Noise Computer Case TNN 500AF costs $1,095.95. (My entire computer+19'' lcd monitor+keyboard+mouse+2.1 audio costs around 900 $ ...give or take :D ).

PS: you could always try to build you're own heat-sink case.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:20 pm
by EndoSteel
sareiodata
Also I believe that the time for such a case hasn't come yet , because low-power processors and components (an GeForce 6600 GT uses around 70 W ) are not main stream yet (the cheapest dual-core's are still the Pentium D - not exactly low power! ).
Actually the cooling capacity of such cases (thoughtfully designed) is greatly underestimated. This one houses a 3.6Ghz Pentium D (!) and it runs very cool - 35c under full load.

Why I said "thoughtfully designed" - because the Zalman isn't. It's relatively thin (6mm) walls fail to distribute heat evenly and nearly half of the fin surface does not take part in heat exchange at all. That's why the case is not suitable for hi-end systems but this doesn't mean none of them are.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:47 pm
by jaganath
I believe that the time for such a case hasn't come yet , because low-power processors and components (an GeForce 6600 GT uses around 70 W ) are not main stream yet (the cheapest dual-core's are still the Pentium D - not exactly low power! ).
6600GT is like two generations old; 7600GT uses much less. Here in the UK AM2 X2 3600/3800 is only slightly more expensive than Pentium D, very low power.

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:47 pm
by hexen
EndoSteel wrote: Actually the cooling capacity of such cases (thoughtfully designed) is greatly underestimated. This one houses a 3.6Ghz Pentium D (!) and it runs very cool - 35c under full load.
i read that article, too bad its using a translator cause u can barely understand what the guy is saying alot of the times, but stil, he did it.
(so much for the nay-sayers)

but i guess the process would be a lot more approachable with the invention of flexible heat pipes (ones that could be moved around like microphone goosenecks) - then it wouldn't be such a hard thing to do (route heat to aluminum case) for the average modder

add solid state hd-drives to a case like that, and all u got to worry about are the optical drives to hold us back from the concept of 'true silence'
(i wonder how long the optical disc will be around for)

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:59 am
by ronrem
hexen wrote:
EndoSteel wrote: Actually the cooling capacity of such cases (thoughtfully designed) is greatly underestimated. This one houses a 3.6Ghz Pentium D (!) and it runs very cool - 35c under full load.
i read that article, too bad its using a translator cause u can barely understand what the guy is saying alot of the times, but stil, he did it.
(so much for the nay-sayers)

but i guess the process would be a lot more approachable with the invention of flexible heat pipes (ones that could be moved around like microphone goosenecks) - then it wouldn't be such a hard thing to do (route heat to aluminum case) for the average modder

add solid state hd-drives to a case like that, and all u got to worry about are the optical drives to hold us back from the concept of 'true silence'
(i wonder how long the optical disc will be around for)
It seems-in theory,a heatpipe could be done with the type of ribbed copper pipe like used for gas lines to a stove or heater. That's not as flexi as a mic gooseneck,but it is airtight. One obvious issue is the ribs-which provide the flex,make the outer diameter much greater. They also might need some new technology to do the lining effectively. Without a mass market-mass production,it may be something that is possible-but not economically practical.

In theory (also) some company like Gigabyte or Asus that does mobos,coolers,cases,could do a line of mobos where stuff is in a standardized location,then offer a dedicated case able to be a case-heatsink....and a heatpipe set that is made to interface from those mobos to that case.

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:38 am
by EndoSteel
ronrem
It seems-in theory,a heatpipe could be done with the type of ribbed copper pipe like used for gas lines to a stove or heater. That's not as flexi as a mic gooseneck,but it is airtight.
Won't work. Heatpipes require vacuuming - try to imagine what will happen if you pump air out of a bellow...

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:43 pm
by J. Sparrow
sareiodata wrote:(an GeForce 6600 GT uses around 70 W )
Not sure why you come up with the 6600GT when you think of a power-hog, however it uses ~48W at full load (3D) and about 19W in 2D. 7600GT is better, at 35/15W.

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:54 pm
by dream caster
EndoSteel wrote:sareiodata
Also I believe that the time for such a case hasn't come yet , because low-power processors and components (an GeForce 6600 GT uses around 70 W ) are not main stream yet (the cheapest dual-core's are still the Pentium D - not exactly low power! ).
Actually the cooling capacity of such cases (thoughtfully designed) is greatly underestimated. This one houses a 3.6Ghz Pentium D (!) and it runs very cool - 35c under full load.

Why I said "thoughtfully designed" - because the Zalman isn't. It's relatively thin (6mm) walls fail to distribute heat evenly and nearly half of the fin surface does not take part in heat exchange at all. That's why the case is not suitable for hi-end systems but this doesn't mean none of them are.
Along with quoted babelfish translation This one, have here a google translation of the account of this no fan case from
http://casemods.ru/section15/item210/. If you look at both translations side by side you can understand more; at least most numbers are translated okay in google (not in babelfish)

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:32 am
by EndoSteel
dream caster
They've finally got it translated: http://www.silentmods.com/section2/item210

The translation still leaves much to be desired, however...

Here's one I build for work:

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:15 pm
by alk630
Here's an A-Tech fabrication 2500 mini-client fanless heatsink case, power supply brick and assorted coolers which I imported into the UK for about £450.

http://www.atechfabrication.com/images/ ... 9-1024.jpg

It comprises of a Commell LV-677 motherboard with 2.33 MHz Intel Core Duo 2700 processor, 2Gb OCZ 667 MHz RAM, 32 Gb PQI solid state disk and nVidia 7600GT grahics card. The total build cost was fairly expensive but it's fast, runs cool (even under full load) and is absolutely (eerily) silent, apart from when the Panasonic optical drive is in use.

Not the cheapest build, but assembled it looks like this, only in black (although they will anodise in just about any other colour too):

http://www.atechfabrication.com/images/ ... 3-1280.jpg

The build quality of this case really is second-to-none, with every single piece precision machined. I wouldn't recommend for the amateur builders though, the building instructions were fairly difficult to follow.

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:44 pm
by jaganath
32 Gb PQI solid state disk
Is this like a flash drive? Any problems with running the OS (Windows? Linux?) from one of these?

The A-Tech case looks almost identical to the ones used in Hush PC's: http://hushpc.co.uk/ wonder if they are the OEM for Hush?

A-Tech Fabrication cases

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:36 pm
by alk630
Yes, the PQI drive is a flash-based drive. The drive behaves just like any other hard drive and boots Windows XP in about half the time of my old Pentium 4 based system with a 7200 RPM Samsung drive.

A-Tech do not supply cases for anyone else. In fact this is pretty much a one-man run business. The main man, Glenn, is extremely helpful and machines all the parts himself, down to the custom made heat pipes!

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:24 pm
by dream caster
EndoSteel wrote:dream caster
They've finally got it translated: http://www.silentmods.com/section2/item210

The translation still leaves much to be desired, however...
It is really readable, easy to understand; just two important errors: in several places they say brass and should be copper (and thermal conductivity of brass depends on its composition and it is LOW) and second, they did not care to preserve links present in original article.
I looked for any way in their site to give feedback about these mistakes, found none, so I posted them here.

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:43 pm
by hexen
wa wa we wow

that a-tech case is nice
do they make full-ATX versions?