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Serves me right for building an el-cheapo machine... Can it

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:33 pm
by eelhc
Hi... new here... been lurking and browsing the forums for some time...

Late last year I built a PC. I had some components lying around so I just slapped a low-budget system together...

Case + PS + MB (bought a barebones kit)
ASUS Vintage V2-AE1

Athlon 64 3000+ Socket 939 retail box (stock heatsink+fan)

1 Gig (2 x 512MB Corsair PC2700 DDR)

Maxtor 300GB L01R300 16MB Buffer Ultra ATA/133

Video Card
Gigabyte Radeon R9600

Media+Floppy Drives
Mitsumi FA404M Floppy + Media Reader

Surprise, Surprise... The PC is far from quiet... Now I don't want to throw good money after bad but I'm hoping to improve this a bit. I've done some poking around and I would rank the "noise offenders "from the most annoying to the least like so:

1. Video Card Fan (very annoying high pitch noise, I think the bearings may be dying)
2. Processor Fan - This is the one that came with the AMD boxed processor. There is a perforated area on the side panel and an air plenum that guides the processor fan exhaust fan out the side
3. Chassis Fan - el cheapo 120mm that came with the ASUS barebones kit
4. Power Supply Fan - Not the best but it's bearable

Obviously the processor and chassis fan are relatively easy to replace (done this before), but is the video card fan a simple matter too?

I wouldn't mind throwing another $30~50 at this machine to try to improve it. Worth it? Fan recommendations?

One thing is for sure... My next PC will be built silent from the ground up!!!

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:39 pm
by BrianE
Hi, welcome to SPCR!

One utility that can help you (and costs nothing) is Speedfan. I don't know how the chassis fan is hooked up, but if it is connected to the MB with a standard 3-pin connector you can try and use Speedfan to slow it down. Same goes for the CPU fan if it's not already under some kind of automatic control.

The chassis air guide on the side of the case is meant to allow cool air to flow directly onto the CPU HSF. So unless you have the fan installed backwards, it's meant to draw air in normally, which can help by lowering CPU temps.

There are lots of good ways you could cool your video card. Simply replacing the stock cooler with an aftermarket one (Arctic Cooling, Zalman) would come under your budget and be quieter. Even if SPCR members might prefer even quieter (but more complex/expensive) solutions, you probably won't hear it over your other components.

Hard drive suspension is also relatively cheap, and grille cutting is also free. :)

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:51 pm
by StanF
I have used the Artic Cooling Freezer 64 on two Athon 64x2 systems and have been happy with the results. I paid $15 and $20 for them at Newegg - they seem to have them on sale from time to time. Regular price is $30, which is still cheaper than most other heatsinks. ... 6835185125

For the video card, consider one of the low-end Zalmann GPU coolers. ... 6835118116

Thanks... I took the first step...

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:20 pm
by eelhc
I ordered the following from Newegg tonight...

For the Video Card
ZALMAN VF700LED - ALCU 2 Ball Blue LED VGA Cooling Fan with Heatsink
I'm not into the tricked out PC thing but this one (with the blue LEDs) were ~$6 cheaper than the one without.

For the Case
KINGWIN F-09BB-4pin 90mm Case Fan
Not too many 90mm fans available. I picked quietest one... spec is 26dBA. Not sure if I trust the spec on a $4 fan but I figured I'd try it. Most case fans were the 80mm size and while somewhat quieter, they didn't move as much air. My case ghas holes drilled for both sizes but I went for the bigger fan. If it runs cool, I can always add a resistor and slow it down.

Total thus far is ~$30. I'll keep an eye out for a CPU cooler sale. But I think if the Zalman video cooler lives up to its billing I may be done (I removed the video card today and the noise was very acceptable).

I also download speedfan... looks like a slick little program but I'm not sure how to use it. It doesn't have an autostart option and each time I start it it loses the config data.

I'll come back and provide an update once everything is up and running.

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:26 pm
by psiu
I know it's too late for right now, but also add and to your list of stores for quiet components. Frozen is into overclocking more than quiet necessarily, but have loooooads of heatsinks and fans and cable sleeving/case accesories. EPCN has a much smaller range of products, but they are all definitely quiet.

Newegg....not so much the quiet, and heatsinks, case fans and the like aren't the big profit items.

EDIT: Only mentioned because I bought one of these at EPCN....probably quieter.

Got my stuff and...

Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:04 pm
by eelhc
As expected the Zalman VGA cooler made the biggest difference... The PC is much quieter than before. I should be plenty happy.


I think I'll take another step. Here's my thinking...

get a fanless graphics adapter and eliminate the graphics card fan altogether
put the original 90mm case fan in the rear
add my new 90mm fan to the front for a push-pull arrangement
remove the PCI tailstock from underneath the video card (for airflow).

Lastly I'll experiment with slowing down the 2 fans (resistors). I think this arrangement will drop the noise down to darned near nothing.

Have I got the bug?

Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:56 pm
by Atmosper
Have I got the bug?
Oh, you've got it bad...

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:56 am
by SebRad
Hi, the Radeon 9600 series are very lower power consuming cards and the Zalman heatsink you have is large. I think it may well cool the card OK with the fan stopped, certainly in 2D work, unless you have the 9600XT. If you look around for pictures of basic Radeon 9600s some of them have pretty poor looking passive heatsinks.
Welcome to the world of silent computers, eventually you have no money and you PC is so quiet you can't hear it over the anoying noise of the tap dripping. Downstairs. In your neighbours house. Accross the street :lol: