VECT: Scratchbuild cool, quiet case.

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Zeroignite
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VECT: Scratchbuild cool, quiet case.

Post by Zeroignite » Sat May 30, 2009 3:23 pm

Hello,  SPCR.
Recently, I've been looking into building a new rig. While I'm there, might as well go and try to do better than the manufacturers design-wise!

I had thrown around some ideas for a quiet ATX case for gaming hardware, but nothing really seemed perfect. However, after reading the review of the Silverstone Raven, I figured it out. My case, VECT, is based upon their design, but is smaller than standard ATX and offers lower impedance to airflow. It will house gaming-grade hardware. The name is either an acronym for 'Very Efficient Cooling Tower' or comes from Convection, take your pick.

The outside dimensions are 18x15x6.5 inches. Photo of integrated build:
Image

And here's the innards:
Image
Mobo is top-left, with ports top. HDDs are bottom-right, elastically decoupled with room for up to 2. Above that is the PSU, which will be removed from the housing and fan. ODD is very front, vertically mounted.The CPU cooler is a passive Scythe Ninja Mini. Three 120mm casefans go along the bottom of the box. They will be undervolted by a ramping thermal circuit.

There will be no top (back) panel in the strict sense. Mobo ports "float" in space, and the expansion cards will bolt onto a small rail. Rather, the top of the case will be covered in a hinged mesh hemibox, while the cables are ducted towards the rear. See below:
Image
Red/blue is airflow, green is cable alignment.

Hopefully, this will allow very quiet operation. The only fans in the build will be the three at the bottom and the GPU fan.

Questions:
Do you think this can cool a 95W TDP CPU effectively?
Is it OK to mount the HDDs in that orientation?
Overall, is this layout conductive to silent operation?

bonestonne
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Post by bonestonne » Sat May 30, 2009 5:10 pm

I'm not really a design engineer, but i can tell you that everything will work fine for the most part. the only things you'll have to worry about are dust settling into the machine when it's off, and the bearings of the fans. Some fans have bearings that wear out in horizontal orientation, others have bearings that wear out in vertical orientation.

the hard drive will be absolutely fine in any orientation really, the Antec P18x series has a 4 drive cage in the bottom designed to hold drives like that, and it has no adverse affects whatsoever.

The only flaw i would see is the optical drive may encounter some issues, i've had problems with regular optical drives mounted on their sides like that, because nothing really holds the media in place, whereas a laptop or slip type optical drive holds the media in one place preventing any problems.

a 95W CPU may still get toasty in an environment like that, however if you make a duct from the center fan in the bottom to the heatsink, it will cool much more effectively. I have a Pentium D 940 which is 95W cooled by a Scythe Ninja (rather, i had one cooled like that) and if i ran the heatsink passive, it was much warmer, going beyond what i was comfortable with running. I found that having airflow pushed through the heatsink worked much better than air pulled through the heatsink in terms of cooling because the air was more focused and generally a lot cooler.

my only suggestions would be adding cable channels, or cable holders, the kind that a cable would snap into, it would make it appear much neater, and keep the cables out of the way, and using a power supply with an 80mm exhaust fan might prove quieter and cooler in that case, following the path of airflow, rather than pushing it in a new direction, however, i don't think that it would make a difference either way, but that's my suggestion.

I do like the idea though. I thought of converting a small box i have into a very small itx style case, but the cooling would be much different, given the nature of the Via C3 866mhz CPU, which runs passive on a little aluminum heatsink.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat May 30, 2009 7:46 pm

Not sure what you are planning for the fan control specifically but looks like a good opportunity to use the Noisemagic NMT-2 or 3 controllers. Extend the sensor leads to desired areas and should give you pretty pinpoint control.

Zeroignite
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Post by Zeroignite » Sun May 31, 2009 12:10 am

bonestonne wrote: using a power supply with an 80mm exhaust fan might prove quieter and cooler in that case, following the path of airflow, rather than pushing it in a new direction
I should have phrased it better. The PSU will be "naked" and passive as well.
psiu wrote:Not sure what you are planning for the fan control specifically but looks like a good opportunity to use the Noisemagic NMT-2 or 3 controllers. Extend the sensor leads to desired areas and should give you pretty pinpoint control.
I can't find a circuit diagram right now, but it's basically the same thing as you listed, only homebrew. Just a thermal diode as part of a voltage divider, fed into an op-amp. Easy.

edh
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Post by edh » Sun May 31, 2009 1:09 am

This is similar to a concept I have in my head too. I also find the Raven to be far too big. What I was thinking of though was putting the PSU at the rear, just to move the source of noise further back and so that power cable access was nearer where you'd expect it.

I would think it would be better to ditch the standard optical drive format altogether and use a slimline laptop drive, perhaps even a slot loader so that the disc just drops into the drive.

Looking at the size of the fans and the width requirement to get tower coolers in place why not go bigger than 120mm? Those Silverstone 180mm fans don't seem available through retail channels right now but I hope they do become available.

Were you thinking of using any specific parts from other systems as a base? My idea has always been to take a removable motherboard tray and use this as the starting point of the system just so that you have a firm base that you know you can attach your components too.

pcy
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Post by pcy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:00 am

Hi,

That will work fine...

I know because it's basically the same design of the PaQ (Powerful and Quiet) case which I've been quietly selling for a couple of years in small volume while I get the manufacturing processes to work properly.

http://www.paqt.co.uk/documents.html

The documentation is way out of date. We have a new version, plus a bigger brother (%U) format shortly to be released, but the basic layout has not changed.



Peter

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