Anyway, my old socket A Athlon XP rig was getting a bit long in the tooth, so over the course of the next year I bought the components piece by piece to fill the P182 from scratch:
- Abit IP35-Pro w/heatpipe mod
Intel Q6600 G0 @ 3GHz w/Ninja Rev. B, both lapped, plus Thermalright bolt-thru kit
Corsair Dominator 2 x 1GB (wasn't planning to buy anything of that calibre, it just happened to be going cheap at the time)
GeCube Radeon X1550 (aka X1300 - the cheapest card in the shop - to be replaced when funds allow)
Samsung Spinpoint 500GB x 2, suspended, w/Xilence Iceboxes for cooling
Antec NeoPower Blue 650W (too much power, but I didn't have a choice - this was a warranty replacement for a failed Phantom)
Cooling is all soft mounted and temperature controlled 1,200rpm S-Flexes, idling @ 6V. I currently have no fan on the Ninja but that is going to change (more on that below).
If you're interested, there's lots more photos and descriptions: here if you're on broadband, or here if you're not.
Thoughts: It's not perfect, but overall I am pleased. The system sits on my desk less than 2' from my head and I hear only a faint fan whoosh, except for very early morning, by which point the most noticable noise in our house is the geriatric refridgerator pump anyway. The NeoPower's fan is noticeable and adds a rough, grinding character to the noise, so I am going to swap it - something I should've done from the start. It's not a showstopper though and I'm only conscious of it if I'm being really critical.
From a silencing perspective, the HD chamber works perfectly. I use P2P quite a lot so the drives are more frequently active than idle. I have not enabled AAM but I can't hear the drives unless I put my ear to the front panel, or ambient noise is exceptionally low. As I suspected, from a cooling perspective the push/pull fans plus heatsink brackets are overkill - neither drive has ever gone above 28ÂºC (ambient is in the range 15-25ÂºC). For that reason I plan to ditch the fans, but keep the foam and heatsink brackets, and do what everyone else does by using only the PSU for airflow.
As for the upper chamber: I'm going to remove the top fan, block off the top vent and put the fan on the CPU HS. I've attempted using the Ninja fanless initially for the simple reason that the Dominator's heatspreaders obstruct the normal placement of a 120mm fan. Unsurprisingly the CPU idles quite hot (around 40ÂºC) and under everyday heavy loads, such as video transcoding, it peaks at around 67ÂºC - a little too close to thermal throttling for my liking. Under synthetic load (CPUburn) it goes over that 71Âº boundary. Since the the Dominator will obstruct any fan I want to put on the Ninja, I'm toying with the idea of changing the HS for something narrower - probably one of Thermalright's models. I'm keeping the intake fan as it is though, because it will be needed for airflow once I put in a more powerful GPU, which will be cooled with an AC Accelero.
Since I took the last pics I have added a bracket with a coaxial S/PDIF output, driven off the IP35-Pro's electrical S/PDIF header pins. If anyone is interested I have photos of this too. I'm very pleased with that little upgrade as it means I don't have to spend money on a decent sound card. I'll not go into detail here, but I find FLAC files played via this output almost indistinguishable from the source CD (both played through the same DAC).
I've been toying around with silencing and modding for a few years, but this is my first attempt at a "proper" quiet PC. I've gotten loads of information and inspiration from SPCR and the forums - some of which is credited in the pages linked above - but I want to say a general thank you to everyone - thanks!
Comments, criticism, suggestions all welcome.