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One-fan computer, quiet, clean, cheap, few mods.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:41 am
by Bluefront
Can you do it? IMHO....yes, right now, with the right pieces. Start with this case from Directron:



Add this PSU from Newegg:


Get a reasonably cool-running CPU...say a P4 northwood 2.4.

Find a MB that will allow you to construct a duct blowing the CPU heat out the rear case opening.....using a suitable HSF.

Use a laptop hard drive to survive limited airflow conditions.

There you go, quiet with one fan, clean with all the case openings filtered, and cool with a completely ventilated case. Check the case photos. The top of this case is well ventilated, allowing heat off the fanless PSU to vent right out. I'd probably remove the top filters, allowing better natural convection. Bet it would work great.... :D


Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:26 am
by glyphin
Umm, a $160 power supply is not what I'd call cheap...

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:52 am
by Bluefront
Yeah well....compared to most of the super-quiet rigs around here, with their expensive water cooling, or the really expensive cases, the cost of this PSU is well worth the price, considering you might be able to cut your fan noises in half, maybe more. And all that without many mods.

I suppose you should be prepared to spend a little more to approach that "silent computer" we all long for. :) And this case looks like a perfect complement to a fanless PSU.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 1:20 pm
by josephclemente
That is a nice looking case in the pictures. Hopefully very little of it is plastic. There is a huge generation of cases I've seen lately with wild styling but excessive plastic. Those little knobs on the outside of the case holding in the filter and the completely different mesh pattern is already bothering me.

Hopefully the bezel mesh is metal, and the sides holding the bezel mesh are metal or well-painted. The bezel covers look like the usual cheap plastic style but I guess that can be fixed...

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 1:38 pm
by Tibors
Except the little LCD on the front bottom, the V-Tech EC-7105 is the same case as the Mercury Midi-Tower Aero One. It is mentioned in this thread about the Scythe NCU-2000 cooler. Maybe it is possible to create a zero fan setup with that cooler and the Silverstone PSU :?:

The Mercury Midi-Tower Aero One is the same as the V-Tech EC-7104.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:16 pm
by icancam
More pictures of the V-Tech EC-7105 case:

My only question is who will be the first to take this case and install a fanless power supply such as the Silverstone, an Athlon 64 with the Scythe NCU-2000 heatsink, an NVIDIA 5900xt video card with the AeroCool VM-101 passive cooler, and a 7200 RPM notebook hard drive? A quiet fanless air cooled high performance computer that many people could afford seems to be just around the corner!

PS - last time I checked, the Silverstone SST-ST30NF was available for $124.99 at xoxide:

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:33 pm
by Bluefront
I have doubts an NCU 2000 would survive in a completely fanless setup. I have the original NCU 1000 in a setup running two fans, an intake and a Fortron 120mm PSU fan. After many mods the P4 2.66 runs ok, not too hot. But run an NCU 2000 in any case w/o fans......I don't see it happening safely.

I can see a one fan setup running ok....not too hot. This case could be the basis for a neat, quiet computer.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:01 pm
by icancam
One can still hope?

You're probably right, especially if a high performance video card, that's also passively cooled, is added to the mix of components. In my own system with an NCU-1000 and Seasonic Super Tornado combination, although the heatsink is barely warm to the touch with a 2.0 Northwood, I was still paranoid enough to install a second bottom mounted fan to cool the hard drive down to 5C above ambient room temperature. My case is mostly open at back and bottom and running the computer with one side open makes at most one degree Celsius of difference. Although it is not silent, my system is quiet and certainly well ventilated.

Still, a single fan system is now a distinct possibility with the mix of components that I listed in the post above. The air from a bottom mounted fan would serve to cool down the hard drive, video card, motherboard components, and CPU heatsink as it rose upwards to strike the bottom of the Silverstone PSU (where the majority of its heat sinking seems to be concentrated) before exiting out the back of the case. Even better, perhaps the fan would only turn on at a predetermined temperature threshold?

But whatever happens to be the best solution with these new components, I'm sure that you, Bluefront, could and will (?) come up with a creative solution to inspire us.

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:05 am
by Bluefront
I suppose if you used an A-Open board with Silent-tec, you could build a system that was essentially fanless part of the time....with the fan(s) only turning on at higher temps. I did try that technique for a while, but the cpu fan was always turning on/off at normal usage. That was distracting....maybe with quieter fans and an NCU 2000 it would be better.

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:41 am
by rperezlo
I'm also trying to have fans stopped most or at least part of the time. Right now 2 out of 4 fans are stopped 100% of the time (intake and one exhaust), even when gaming. I can safely stop the third one (second exhaust) when not gaming without any impact in stability, but then the CPU temps raise and so the CPU fan speeds up and it makes more noise than with two slow fans.

I've been monitoring the fans with MBM and sometimes all 4 fans do stop, but it usually lasts only for a few minutes, because soon the CPU gets hot again and its fan kicks in again.

I don't know how the A-Open fan control works. With the mCubed the transition is not disturbing (from 0 % jumps to 10% and then it increases gradually).

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:44 pm
by Bluefront
Here's a link to the SPCR article on the Silent-Tec fan control system of many A-Open boards. I've got the MB reviewed in the very well.

My problem with Silent-Tec is the location of the temp sensors. They are fixed to the MB.....not movable. This ok for the CPU sensor, but the second sensor is near the Northbridge. I'd prefer to see both sensors attached to wires, allowing placement where you want.

Other than that, Silent-Tec has worked great for me.

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:34 am
by rperezlo
I've read the article and it's very interesting. SilentTek is vastly superior to the Smart fan control in my Asus MB.

Regarding the limitations, from the noise point of view I think the worst is the minimum speed of about 50% (or 5/6 VDC at 0%). This fan on/off bouncing is one of the reasons why I gave up with Speedfan. As you said, it's distracting to have fans jumping from 0 to 50%. It is a lot better when the jumps are from 0 to 10%.

Having two fans is not an issue for me. You probably don't need regulation in all your fans, if you need more fans you can let them fixed at 5 VDC.

And I have mixed ideas about having temperature sensors fixed. From one side it is nice to have the temperature of several points in the PC (I use the CPU, GPU, HDD and intake), but at the end I do most of the regulation based on the CPU temp. The reason is that it is the best indicator of PC activity and of PC heat. The other sensors are nice to have but really not used for controlling the fans.

Does your Aopen MB have another Temperature sensor header? It is worthed to check. My MB has one and you can connect a regular thermistor and place it wherever you want, although it is not used for fan control.

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:47 am
by Linus
A Radeon 9600 would complement this kind of system nicely. NewEgg has a good deal on one today (see this thread).

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:02 am
by sthayashi
I don't know about other variants of Silent-Tek (it's my understanding that there's a version 2 out there), but my Silent-Tek didn't like me undervolting on my Aopen AK79D-400VN. It crashed, and kept crashing until I reinstalled it. Not the most reliable piece of software I've used.

My single-fan system

Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:02 am
by Jools
I built a quiet PC a few months ago, and can vouch for the components, temps & noise level for anybody else interested in building a similar one. Here's the spec, along with today's prices and upgrades:

Chenbro Gaming Bomb / Xpider case £44
Nexus NX-3500 350W PSU £38 (Nexus NX-4090 400W £49)
Vantec PSU Dampener £5
Nexus Noise Absorption Material £23
Quiet Feet (medium) £8 (low profile £4)
Gigabyte GA-8TRS300M w/ ATI 9100 GFX £47 (GA-8TRS350M £??)
Intel Celeron 2.4 £47
Kingston 2x512MB DDR333 (transplanted)
Nexus RAMsink Heatspreaders £6
Scythe Heatlane Zen NCU-1000 (NCU-2000 £53)
Samsung Spinpoint SP1604N 160GB PATA (P80 160GB w/ 8MB £63)
SilentMaxx HD Enclosure £38
Plextor 4x DVD+RW (transplanted)
Black Spiral Wrap (assorted sizes)

Tom's Hardware recommended the Gaming Bomb. The price was reasonable, it wasn't too big (unlike some cases with removable trays), and it could take a 120mm rear fan and 92mm front if necessary. It came with nasty hard plastic feet, which caused horrendous resonance with my desk top. The Quiet Feet may seem expensive, but they made a big difference. (Tip: put electrician's tape across them in an X to stop them sticking to the desk).

The Nexus NX-3500 had glowing reviews, and positive feedback in the forums. It's well designed and built, and - though not silent - it is very quiet. Importantly, it had a 120mm fan. Some people have questioned the relatively low 18A available on the 12V line for high-powered CPU's (preferring Enermax or similar with 33A), but my first NX-3500 ran an Asus K8V Deluxe / A64 3000+ quite happily for months.

(Note: I always intended to have just one hard drive and one optical, to keep the noise down and reduce generated heat. So running a mid-range Pentium on a 350W PSU shouldn't be a problem.)

I originally bought a 2.5" Toshiba 40GB 16MB hard drive, principally for it's quietness. It was a great little drive, but a little low on capacity. Rather than upgrade to a more expensive 80GB model, I bought a Samsung Spinpoint 3.5" instead with twice the capacity at almost half the price. The Spinpoints are among the coolest running HD's going, because they only consume about 8.5W, as compared to the Seagate Barracudas' 13.5W - so it's less heat to dissipate.

I recently placed the Spinpoint (encased in a SilentMaxx enclosure) at the bottom of the case, because I couldn't find my drive rails at the time. As it turned out, this is a good thing. My other PC's Seagate/Spinpoint SATA drives are also in SilentMaxx's, but in the regular 5.25" bays - and they seem to run a lot hotter. I can now barely hear the drive defragmenting late at night. Do NOT buy the SilentDrive, which is rubbish. The SmartDrive 2002C would be a good alternative, but you'd have to import it.

Dtemp has never reported a drive temp greater than 35C for the encased Spinpoint PATA, which is good going during summer. By comparison, my Barracuda V SATA builds steadily up to a borderline 48C.

I chose the Gigabyte board over the similar Asus P4R800, as it came out slightly ahead in the reviews. Plus, it just looked better. 8) I wanted modern on-board ATI graphics, so it would have enough grunt for some light 3D work (not games) without requiring a separate GFX card - to save money and also improve airflow.

I was going to transplant my P4 2.4C Northwood, but thought it might run too hot. A customer review I'd read said the Celeron he'd bought ran fairly cool. Many forum messages debated whether this was indeed the case or not (being the same 130nm as a regular P4), but I think it's true. The BIOS CPU temp sits rock steady at 38C.

Unfortunately, I can't get a reading in XP, as none of the regular monitoring software works. I've tried Sandra, SpeedFan, Hardware Sensors monitor etc. but they all insist I have two CPU's! CPU1 always reports 25C, CPU2 74C idle, 94C load (which must be on-die or something). I've scoured the net looking for reasons why, and even written to Gigabyte technical support - with no reply.

Of course, there is a performance hit between the Celeron and Pentium, but not so you'd notice in general use. In SETI or Folding you would, but that's not what this PC's for.

The NCU-1000 had just come out at the time, and it was a bit of a gamble because many people doubted it was up to the job. (That's partly why I chose a Celeron 2.4 over a Pentium 2.4). I'm glad to say it's an extremely efficient device, and I've no doubt the new NCU-2000 is even better. It gets warm to the touch, but never hot.

I'm sure it could quite easily accomodate a faster Pentium, though there's no point getting one much above 2.8 as you'd never be able to use all that power for very long (without your temps climbing). The single 120mm fan in the Nexus PSU is situated immmediately above the NCU-1000, and does an excellent job of quietly expelling warm air.

Fitting the Nexus insulation material took quite a long time, but I sealed everything up as much as possible - including the 120mm rear grill, PCI slots, and unused 5.25" bays, to make sure it was drawing as much cool air from the front intake as possible. I definitely think it was worth installing it, even in a single fan PC.

The Nexus RAMsink heatspreaders weren't really necessary, but they did make the aging Kingston memory look more modern. 8) They were an absolute nightmare to fit, though!

I hadn't used spiral wrap before, so I was surprised what a difference it made. It not only tidied everything up neatly, it let me direct the wiring easier. There is no clutter whatsoever, and it only costs a couple of quid.

I leave it on during the day, but switch it off at night. I can comfortably watch TV from only a few feet away without being able to hear it. And it's plenty fast enough for every day general use.

You could save time - though not money - by looking at the new Nexus Breeze case (which admittedly uses two fans). It comes with the NX-3500 PSU, 120mm case fan and acoustic material already installed.

I'm now planning on modifying my gaming rig (MSI K8T Neo FIS2R, A64 3000+, Zalman CNPS7000AlCu, Enermax 465P) to have just two fans: one 120mm on a NX-3500 or NX-4090, the other a Nexus 120mm Real Silent case fan. I want to try running the NCU-2000 fanless heatsink while playing Far Cry and Thief. I'll let you know how I get on...

Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:24 pm

having a PSU with a 120mm fan is not an important thing, in fact, i think it is not good at all for a "quiet" system.

Please read this thread


Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 2:23 am
by Bluefront
Jools' setup uses his 120mm PSU fan as the only fan in his setup. How this would work with a P4 rather than a Celeron is unknown. This technique routes all the CPU heat through the PSU.....a setup that can work successfully (my own "cookie jar computer" is an example).

However, I suspect a ducted CPU setup, blowing the CPU heat directly out the rear case opening, rather than through the PSU, could be quieter and cooler, particularly on the rest of the internal case components, and certainly on the CPU.

It's difficult, if not impossible to compare systems on paper, with the many variables. For instance....the system I propose in this thread, has filters on all the intakes. How that effects temps and noise is debatable. Somebody is going to have to try this new case to supply more info.

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 3:22 am
by Bluefront
FWIW....Directron has the 7104 version of the V-Tech case on sale for $56....

Of Temps & Ducts

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 3:49 am
by Jools
My PC has been on for over three hours (at 25C room temp) browsing, writing, file managing etc.

CPU: 38C
SYS: 31C
HDD: 33C

There is no ducting. There are no mods. All components run at stock.

The acoustic insulation seals it tight. I'm getting excellent through-flow from the single (passive) front air intake.

I don't believe it would be any better with a passive PSU and a 120mm case fan. The 120mm AcoustiFan in my gaming rig is noisy, even @ 7v. The NCU-1000 works best with convection flowing upward, not dragged out to the side.

The air rising from the NCU-1000 would be warm, but not hot enough to further heat up the PSU. The fan in it appears to be the same as the Nexus Real Silent, rated at 37CFM, which is plenty good enough.

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:02 pm
by Bluefront
Jools...I don't suggest to use the Sythe coolers in this setup. They are simply too tall to duct easily. And I don't suggest to use a 120mm rear case fan, because it's not necessary.

I think something like an AeroCool HT 101 with a single 80 mm fan blowing out through a short duct using the rear case opening, would be sufficient. The PSU would provide convection cooling for the case, and the HT101 would be getting practically ambient temp air to use, due to the open nature of the case.

So we would have the whole setup being cooled by a quiet 80mm fan....probably running quieter and cooler than your setup. Course this is just on paper so far...... :lol:

FWIW.....That ATI chipset board you're using cannot be hardware monitored by anything but the MB included software. I have the same problem with an Asus PR800 VM board.

Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 7:36 pm
by Noizz
RaNDoMMAI wrote:@jools

having a PSU with a 120mm fan is not an important thing, in fact, i think it is not good at all for a "quiet" system.

Please read this thread

i don't think that a 120mm psu fan would be worse than a 80....
you move alot more air to cool the psu...
and for you people who think that 2 120s adjacent to each other would fight for the air, that is true if your both 120s run at DIFFERENT speeds than each other.

my setup is super tornado 400w rev 3
nexus 120 case fan

both fans run at similar speed, nexus at 1000 rpm, psu at 800 rpm on idle.
there would be "some" conflict at this point at time, but my computer runs 800rpm idle and never ramps up. THe air coming out of it is cool believe it or not. when im at load, it goes up to around 900. even if you are concerned that they will conflict with each other you could always use a fan controller to level the 2 fans at the same speed.

without that nexus 120 my load goes up to 1000 rpm. dual 120 exhast, one on psu, one on case just simply OWNS :D

cpu idle 26C on XP-90 with 92mm nexus at 1500rpm, load at 33C
mobo idle 28 load 30

Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:51 am
by pony-tail
Tom's Hardware recommended the Gaming Bomb. The price was reasonable, it wasn't too big (unlike some cases with removable trays), and it could take a 120mm rear fan and 92mm front if necessary. It came with nasty hard plastic feet, which caused horrendous resonance with my desk top. The Quiet Feet may seem expensive, but they made a big difference. (Tip: put electrician's tape across them in an X to stop them sticking to the desk).
Soft rubber door stops make excellent case feet - they stop vibrations transferring to your desk ( I have had this problem myself as the case is right in my face on top of the desk ) and they cost less than a Buck($1) a piece.- but they are about 30mm high. I cut mine down with a sharp knife and buffed them off with a sander .
Yet another "povo" mod
Just a note :- this was on the AOpen case in my sig. which also had hard plastic feet and transferred HDD seek noise to my desk .

Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:10 pm
by Blappo
Soft rubber door stops
Are these the things the that the door handle bumps into instead of the wall?