Silent PC with No Moving Parts

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MikeC
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Silent PC with No Moving Parts

Post by MikeC » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:53 pm

Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
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guises
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Post by guises » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:28 pm

It might not be quite as well suited to running tests, but you can get miniITX boards with mobile chipsets that take socket M mobile processors.

I've got an MSI Fuzzy 945GM2 with a core solo and a compact flash card as hard drive - power consumption is right about 24 watts. I've had it running as my router and it's perfectly stable, it's telling me 118 days uptime, and the CPU heatsink never gets more than lukewarm (this is a Scythe Ninja 2 - way more than necessary, and it works fine despite having fins horizontal to the ground).

The only bits that really get warm at all are the little north and south bridge heatsinks and they never get to the point where I can't put my finger on them and leave it there. And remember - mobile parts are made to be able to run at higher temperatures anyway, so the whole deal works really well.

It's another suggestion anyway. Thought I might bring it up as an alternative to the AMD X2, since Core Duos are 31W.

mattthemuppet
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Post by mattthemuppet » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:43 pm

very nice set up you have there mike, just goes to show how far things have advanced even in the last couple of years.

One Q though - I'm a little surprised by how high you power consumption is. For want of being borish (my rig, blah blah blah), I have an X2 with more ram and a mechanical hdd that idles and loads at ~10-15W lower than that - any idea why the discrepancy? I'm guessing you haven't undervolted, but even so, I can't imagine a single core processor using up that much juice. Just curious, I doubt the extra power draw will bankrupt you any time soon :)

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for a case...

Post by cordis » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:24 pm

How about an Antec Skeleton with the fan shut off? You'd get good air flow and still have something reasonably solid. Although I have heard that the top fan can limit cpu heat sink height. Might work out.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:01 am

mattthemuppet wrote:very nice set up you have there mike, just goes to show how far things have advanced even in the last couple of years.

One Q though - I'm a little surprised by how high you power consumption is. For want of being borish (my rig, blah blah blah), I have an X2 with more ram and a mechanical hdd that idles and loads at ~10-15W lower than that - any idea why the discrepancy? I'm guessing you haven't undervolted, but even so, I can't imagine a single core processor using up that much juice. Just curious, I doubt the extra power draw will bankrupt you any time soon :)
Yes, I've been awaiting SSDs for a while. It's the single most exciting that Intel or anyone put out last year -- their X25-M. But these Samsung's are sweet. Not as fast as the Intels; the difference is unnoticeable in general use.

The main reason your X2 system idles lower is probably because you have CnQ engaged. The 53W I cited was with CnQ off; I've made a quick correction/addtion. It's 41W with it on. At such AC power levels, we're at the declining end of the Silverstone PSU efficiency curve. It never even reaches 80% on this system; it's probably around 75% at full load and probably under 65% at idle.

At idle, the only PSU that would provide any significant power reduction would be the picoPSU with a high efficiency AC/DC power brick. That might save 3-5W -- 10~15%. At maximum load, it would save us maybe 8~9W. But this would mean paying closer attention to sags in the 12V line if multiple drives were connected -- which we do sometimes in drive testing. I'd rather have a robust, flexible system here than one that's a total miser. Since the system isn't on except when testing, little energy is wasted.
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Post by ACook » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:31 am

I want that samsung ssd, it looks so sleek and must feel lovely with that brushed aluminum...
[size=75]Antec P182 | Seasonic S12II-380W | Asus EAH3450/HTP/512M
Asus M3A-H/HDMI | AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E @ +5% | Ninja Rev B
Sony-NEC AD-7200S & Lite On LH-20A1H | Samsung HD501LJ & 4x F1 1TB.
Toshiba Satellite 1900-102.[/size]

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Post by 35712 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:50 am

Nice short note you dropped us there.

May I ask how you fit your Nightjar into the Antec NSK3480? I have this combo here and didn't manage to squeeze the cables through the little hole that's left due to the extensive length of the power supply. So I had to modify the case a lil bit - widen the whole to the left and cut another one into the right to get the chance of storing all the useless cables behind the mainboard tray.

Anyone else got into this trouble?

Btw: My new computer is gonna look pretty much the same. SSD, Nightjar 450W, 5050e, passively cooled motherboard with a ATI3200 and Display Port to fire my 30" monitor, one or two 120mm fans, a fairly big heat sink (Ninja 2), DVD Drive. I might add a 4750 at some stage but I am not too sure about this idea yet. Could work together with a Musashi and some good fan management (like the Aquaero from Aqua Computer).

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Post by mond » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:59 am

What monitor is used in the chamber?
The one in the picture looks like BenQ, but it was my impression that they're quite noisy...?

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Cool :)

Post by Paul Colby » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:22 am

Looks pretty sweet. I'm actually building a setup that's very similar... using a 35W Athlon X2, with the Orochi. I've managed to fit the whole thing in to a Thermaltake Lanbox HT case - since I'm using a Pico-ATX power supply, the Orochi fits nicely. :)

The whole thing is completely solid state - using USB instead of SSD though (the large storage kept on a remote Linux server).

The biggest problem I'm facing at this stage is with keeping the northbridge cool... but some newly installed tower coolers should help (fingers crossed).

It's still a work in progress (ie not completed yet), but if you're interested you can see what I've done so far on my blog:Here's a couple of thumbnails from the last blog post to give you an idea...
Image Image Image

BTW, I hope this post is not considered inappropriate since it links back to my own blog... I've been a big fan of SPCR for quite some time (even mentioned this site in one the above blog posts), and just figured if anyone's interested in this article, then they'd probably like to check out my build too, since it is so similar.

Paul. :wink:

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Post by oakdad » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:16 am


honeymonster
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Post by honeymonster » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:22 am

I use the 300W nightjar PSU in a NSK3480. It's regular ATX size so it fits perfectly :-D

Who needs 450W in a non-gaming rig? ;-)
35712 wrote:Nice short note you dropped us there.

May I ask how you fit your Nightjar into the Antec NSK3480? I have this combo here and didn't manage to squeeze the cables through the little hole that's left due to the extensive length of the power supply. So I had to modify the case a lil bit - widen the whole to the left and cut another one into the right to get the chance of storing all the useless cables behind the mainboard tray.
...
Anyone else got into this trouble?
...

35712
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Post by 35712 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:32 am

@ honey: Just in case it becomes a gaming rig. You see, I am planning on putting a decent graphics card into this computer at some stage. So the extra power doesn't harm at all.

honeymonster
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Post by honeymonster » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:52 am

Yeah, fair enough :lol:

I *do* submit to the horror of fans in my gaming rig :oops: - the fastest video cards are a biyatch to cool without a fan...

The idea of nicely silent gaming rig is cool tho!

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Post by dhanson865 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:17 am

MikeC, I love you man,



even if you won't give me your Bud Light. :lol:
.
Please put a country in your profile if you haven't already.
This site is international but I'll assume you are in the US if you don't tell me otherwise.
RAID levels thread http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=388987

MoJo
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Post by MoJo » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:20 am

Really nice build Mike, thanks for sharing.

Keep us informed on the performance of the SSD please. All of them suffer performance issues after a while, and so far only the Intel ones seem to be any good but hopefully the Samsungs will prove usable too.
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guises
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Post by guises » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:24 pm

oakdad wrote:I be lazy.
Just get one of these.
http://www.advantech.com/products/UNO-2 ... MLJCC.aspx
Thought that looked really great 'till I clicked through and saw that they're $2,250.

My core solo router that I described above was about $250 (sans enclosure). I think I'll stick with that.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:24 am

ACook wrote:I want that samsung ssd, it looks so sleek and must feel lovely with that brushed aluminum...
This is a family forum bub.

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Post by wayner » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:24 am

Why does the setup described in this article have a floppy? For what purpose would you need a floppy in 2009, certainly your mobo can boot from a USB stick, can it not?

And since it does have a floppy it does have moving parts so isn't the title inaccurate?

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:57 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:
ACook wrote:I want that samsung ssd, it looks so sleek and must feel lovely with that brushed aluminum...
This is a family forum bub.
:lol: :lol:

I wonder if the Scythe Mugen 2 would work for this system in a standard tower case?
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by xan_user » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:18 am

wayner wrote:Why does the setup described in this article have a floppy?
And since it does have a floppy it does have moving parts so isn't the title inaccurate?
Reduce Reuse Recycle?
photo's caption from 1st page.
"...There are no moving parts except for the floppy; even that's silent once the Hitachi Feature Tool HDD utility is loaded."
NeilBlanchard wrote:
I wonder if the Scythe Mugen 2 would work for this system in a standard tower case?
Whos game to try it? sounds promising.

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Post by Esben » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:11 am

Looks great! Though I'd recommend going for one of the smaller heatsinks, like the Scythe Ninja Mini. It cools the E8400 fanless without problems.
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Post by MoJo » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:24 am

xan_user wrote:Reduce Reuse Recycle?
photo's caption from 1st page.
"...There are no moving parts except for the floppy; even that's silent once the Hitachi Feature Tool HDD utility is loaded."
I know it's not exactly a big issue, but you can actually set up a USB flash drive with a DOS environment. I use one to load the Hitachi tool, as well as Ghost, memtest86+, BIOS flashing tools etc.

To do it use the HP tool from this site:

http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197

You need some basic DOS files (it prompts you for their location when needed), but you can easily get them by simply making a bootable DOS floppy disk in Windows and using those files.

Not only is it much faster than a floppy disk, you can store a lot more and it is of course completely silent with no moving parts.
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Post by MikeC » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:29 am

MoJo wrote:
xan_user wrote:Reduce Reuse Recycle?
photo's caption from 1st page.
"...There are no moving parts except for the floppy; even that's silent once the Hitachi Feature Tool HDD utility is loaded."
I know it's not exactly a big issue, but you can actually set up a USB flash drive with a DOS environment. I use one to load the Hitachi tool, as well as Ghost, memtest86+, BIOS flashing tools etc.

To do it use the HP tool from this site:

http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197

You need some basic DOS files (it prompts you for their location when needed), but you can easily get them by simply making a bootable DOS floppy disk in Windows and using those files.

Not only is it much faster than a floppy disk, you can store a lot more and it is of course completely silent with no moving parts.
I'm aware of this & the HP tool, used it in the past. But the floppy is not exactly a hardship...
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Post by xan_user » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:45 am

MikeC wrote: I'm aware of this & the HP tool, used it in the past. But the floppy is not exactly a hardship...
I have bootable mini-usb thumbs with dos drive tools too, but often the floppy/CD/DVD discs are soo much easier to find when you need it.
"Run what you brung":lol:

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Post by mattthemuppet » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:35 pm

MikeC wrote: The main reason your X2 system idles lower is probably because you have CnQ engaged. The 53W I cited was with CnQ off; I've made a quick correction/addtion. It's 41W with it on. At such AC power levels, we're at the declining end of the Silverstone PSU efficiency curve. It never even reaches 80% on this system; it's probably around 75% at full load and probably under 65% at idle.

At idle, the only PSU that would provide any significant power reduction would be the picoPSU with a high efficiency AC/DC power brick. That might save 3-5W -- 10~15%. At maximum load, it would save us maybe 8~9W. But this would mean paying closer attention to sags in the 12V line if multiple drives were connected -- which we do sometimes in drive testing. I'd rather have a robust, flexible system here than one that's a total miser. Since the system isn't on except when testing, little energy is wasted.
ah, okay, that makes a bit more sense. My X2 is actually undervolted using CrystalCPUID (0.825V idle, 1.075V load), which should help a bit, though I seem to remember that you're a little cautious of software undervolting. I do have the occasional problem (usually in v. hot weather, like >30C inside), so I would be hesitant to use it for a work PC like yours. I've looked into a picoPSU several times, but the economics just don't stack up.

when the smaller SSDs get a bit more affordable, I'd definitely bite for a system drive - not so much for the noise or power benefit, as my PC's effectively inaudible (especially when my children are awake :)), but for the speed 8)

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Post by tuleggi » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:27 am

Hi,
actually better solutions for silent PC quite powerful are here:

deltatronic[dot]de/int/pc/index.html

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Post by MikeC » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:24 am

tuleggi wrote:Hi,
actually better solutions for silent PC quite powerful are here:

deltatronic[dot]de/int/pc/index.html
huh? How is anything they offer "better?" They claim 0 dba but the stock solutions include a standard heatpipe heatsink for the CPU and an 80gb Seagate HDD.

The principle is simple enough, and really cannot be "bettered": Use components with no moving parts for a silent PC.
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Post by edh » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:39 am

Not forgetting that your solution is probably a 3rd of the cost Mike. Deltatronic prices seem very high.
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electronic whine

Post by charonme » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:30 am

my brick powering a picopsu whines more under less load. When I turn off the PC, the brick starts to whine and whines even louder a few seconds after I unplug it from the wall...

MoJo
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Re: electronic whine

Post by MoJo » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:35 pm

charonme wrote:my brick powering a picopsu whines more under less load. When I turn off the PC, the brick starts to whine and whines even louder a few seconds after I unplug it from the wall...
Aquarium safe silicone is the best solution, but in a pinch hot melt glue can also be used.
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