New here, but not a newbie, looking for suggestions.

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Kaishi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:09 am
Location: Annapolis, MD

New here, but not a newbie, looking for suggestions.

Post by Kaishi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:30 am

Hey all. I'm new to SPCR. I'm an IT Pro by trade, university student during the year, and passionate computer builder.

I'm looking for some advice on my current build. Here's what I'm using:

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 @ 2.66GHz (333x8)
4GB (2x2) OCZ Reaper DDR2-800 @ 4-4-4-15
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB @ 790/1100
Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB @ 10kRPM (SATA)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB (SATA)
Samsung 22x DVD+/-RW DL (SATA)
LG 16x DVD-ROM (IDE, sadly)
Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion (PCI-E)
Zalman ZM600-HP 600w Modular Power Supply
Antec P182 (using all 3 stock 120mm, added spare thermaltake [ick] 120mm to front-upper bay)

I'm no stranger to reducing noise in a box, and I've done a pretty good job keeping things quiet on this one. I'll post photos tonight to show the wiring job I did (I took my time and did it right rather than rushing it).

I really love all the silicone rubber mounting points used in the P182's design, as well as the general layout. It has made my cabling job very easy, much moreso than other cases I've used for previous builds.

My problems are that the machine is still audible (I'd like to minimize this, that's why I'm here), the GPU runs a little hot (unless I use the .XML hack to crank the fan speed to 30%, which make sit quite audible), and the northbridge seems hot too.

I'd like to bring my chip's FSB up to 400 if possible, to take advantage of the RAM I picked. To do this, I'll be adding a Noctua NH-U12P with a second NF-P12 in push-pull configuration. I'm concerned that my northbridge may need a bit more voltage along the way or may just become more hot than it already is. My motherboard has it set up using a passive heatpipe cooler which works fairly well at stock speeds but I'm thinking I might want to add a dedicated low RPM fan to keep it cool.

I've noticed that the back of my 4870 tends to be very hot (77C idle unless I use the fan hack to 30%, which leaves it at about 63C), and I feel like if I were able to keep it cool, my GPU temps on the whole would be lower. I've considered sticking a fan near it, or trying to come up with a way to mount additional heatsinks on the back, but i haven't come up with a hard conclusion yet. I'm looking for advice on that one.

The one other thing I'd like to do is to add an additional fan to the front-lower chamber of the case, right in front of the 4-bay HDD cage. That cage will eventually be full, but for now my HDD temps are just fine. I feel like additional airflow is always a good idea when possible, however. I've heard about Yate-Look 120x120x20mm fans that can fit into that space with modification, and 92x92x20/15mm fans that will easily mount there, but I don't have links for either of these. I'd rather not dremel up my case if I can prevent it, though it wouldn't be the first time.

As for noise-killing, I'm thinking about adding a fan-controller to the 3.5" front bay, re-mounting all the TriCool fans with rubber washers between them and the mount-points, and / or replacing the TriCools with something better (maybe more NH-P12).

psiu
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Post by psiu » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:26 pm

If your HD temp's are fine, no need to add a fan in the lower chamber, just use the PSU to generate airflow down there, you can also tape around the grill around the PSU to make sure it doesn't pull any heated air in from the back. Did you remove the VelociRaptor from the cooling sled? Are either of the drives suspended?

The Antec Tricool fans are just noisier than others. Get some fans off the recommended list and use the rubber fan mounts (short ones for open corner fans, the looong ones for closed corner fans. I personally just go for the Yate Loons and undervolt as needed, but I'm cheap ;)

Video card, you will get the Accelero S1 recommended to you. I've only used the S2, but judging from that thing you won't need anything better.

Find a CPU cooler off the recommended list, though I think the Ninja is the *classic* P180 cooler. You have a quadcore so you will probably want to check in the forums here to see what anyone else with them is having to do--I think usually most here would try to block the top vent and just use the rear exhaust, possibly an upper chamber intake (whether in the designated fan area or with a Kama Bay for example). I just don't know what the current amount of cooling is needed for those.

Another thing to remember is that you will have to face the decision between noise and temps--you will have to account for a certain amount of increase in temps to get a corresponding reduction in noise.

Good luck and
welcome to SPCR!

Kaishi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:09 am
Location: Annapolis, MD

Post by Kaishi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:34 pm

psiu wrote:If your HD temp's are fine, no need to add a fan in the lower chamber, just use the PSU to generate airflow down there, you can also tape around the grill around the PSU to make sure it doesn't pull any heated air in from the back. Did you remove the VelociRaptor from the cooling sled? Are either of the drives suspended?
The PSU I'm using has a single fan design, it doesn't evacuate terribly much hot air. Then again, it is exceedingly quiet and not very hot at all. The tape idea is a good one, though I'd probably use silicone caulk instead as I prefer non-adhesive solutions when possible.

The Raptor is in the mount provided by Western Digital. I did not remove it, as I see no reason to do so. Is there something about it I haven't heard? What do you mean by "suspended"? My 2 HDDs are mounted in the lower cage, on the provided silicone rubber buffers. They aren't loud.
psiu wrote:The Antec Tricool fans are just noisier than others. Get some fans off the recommended list and use the rubber fan mounts (short ones for open corner fans, the looong ones for closed corner fans. I personally just go for the Yate Loons and undervolt as needed, but I'm cheap ;)
I've considered the Yate Loons but I'm told that the NF-P12 from Noctua will be able to move more air as their blade design allows higher RPM at lower audible volume. I think of them as higher SNR fans ^_^ if you haven't heard about them, I suggest you look into them. They're impressive, to say the least.

The only reason I'm holding onto the TriCools at the moment is that they came with the case, have variable speed switches, and work just fine for the moment. Eventually I'll replace them, and when I do, I'll mount them on silicone rubber in some manner or another. That said, they sound pretty good to me (audible but not obnoxious) when on Low. I'd like to get something more quiet but I wonder if just mounting them on a vibration dampener like silicone might help. Any advice there?
psiu wrote:Video card, you will get the Accelero S1 recommended to you. I've only used the S2, but judging from that thing you won't need anything better.
At the moment, I'm trying to avoid aftermarket GPU cooling solutions. This is only because I've seen their installations go horribly wrong and kill GPUs. I have considered removing the GPU's heatsink and apply Arctic Silver 5 rather than the stock compound, but I'm a little scared of even doing that. I wish doing it didn't void my warranty. I have heard that mounting a fan blowing against the backside of the PCB can drop temps 10 degrees even at a low RPM, so I'm considering that, but it'll cost me a PCI-E slot to do.
psiu wrote:Find a CPU cooler off the recommended list, though I think the Ninja is the *classic* P180 cooler. You have a quadcore so you will probably want to check in the forums here to see what anyone else with them is having to do--I think usually most here would try to block the top vent and just use the rear exhaust, possibly an upper chamber intake (whether in the designated fan area or with a Kama Bay for example). I just don't know what the current amount of cooling is needed for those.
The Scythe Ninja is a nice cooler, that's for sure, but the Noctua NH-U12P is superior. The only thing better than it at stock speeds is the cooler that is better than the Ninja, from Thermalright (I think). The nice thing about the Noctua unit is that it comes with their improved fan design which, as I said before, moves more air per unit noise than other 120mm designs. Two of these fans around the cooler will create a wind-tunnel effect that apparently cools the fins (and thereby the CPU) extremely well, while producing audible sound no higher than the average natural background noise present in a house. Add sidepanels to that and you've got one silent cooler. There's a review of it up on Anandtech.com if you're curious.
psiu wrote:Another thing to remember is that you will have to face the decision between noise and temps--you will have to account for a certain amount of increase in temps to get a corresponding reduction in noise.
I'm willing to have a little bit of noise in order to keep temps low, but at stock speeds the machine is pretty quiet as it is. I won't let it get louder, but I do want it to get (a) faster, (b) cooler, (c) quieter if possible. The only limiting factor is money, but I've budgeted myself a fair amount already so I'm not too worried. My power supply, for example, is 600w and completely silent. The loudest thing in the whole box is the 4870 by far.

psiu wrote:Good luck and
welcome to SPCR!
Thanks ^_^

jaganath
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:09 am

I've considered the Yate Loons but I'm told that the NF-P12 from Noctua will be able to move more air as their blade design allows higher RPM at lower audible volume. I think of them as higher SNR fans ^_^ if you haven't heard about them, I suggest you look into them. They're impressive, to say the least.
a triumph of marketing over substance. a highly respected SPCR member (Bluefront) compared the NF-P12 with the Scythe S-Flex and found it was actually inferior or at least no better when working against backpressure, so the static pressure capability is nothing special. given that the static pressure capability was its unique selling point, overpriced for what it does. Scythe S-Flex, Slipstream or Yate Loon DSL-12 be just as good.

psiu
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Location: Plymouth, MI
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Post by psiu » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:12 am

As far as caulk goes... :?
Just use electrical tape--the stuff barely sticks anyway ;) And I don't think you want to be picking caulk out of all those holes later :D

As long as you follow the instructions for a video card cooler, you should be fine--plus Ati has the shim around their cores already so you shouldn't be able to chip the core or anything. If you've built the rest of the system you won't have any problems.

Check the Velociraptor review here on SPCR, they took it out of the sled and if I remember right, it was much quieter.

Suspension--instead of physically attaching a drive, even with a dampened screw system, you have it *floating* in a string/elastic/rubber arrangement. Completely decouples drives from case.

All you need in that lower chamber is a whiff of air, that's the beauty of the thermal zones, HD's don't put out much heat, relatively speaking, and the PSU is getting air a lot closer to ambient than it would in a regular case.

Just keep browsing the site here and you will find lots of interesting and crazy ideas--some will apply to you, and some won't. Good luck!

Kaishi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:09 am
Location: Annapolis, MD

Post by Kaishi » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:59 pm

I've got a progress update:

System is now stable at 3.20GHz (400x8). In order to achieve this, I installed a Noctua NH-U12P with a second NF-P12 fan. Both fans are running at 1300 RPM, and I can't hear anything from them at all.

I've also added a GC-RAMDISK with 4GB of DDR1 to silently house my Swap file on a hidden partition.

On the downside, I became a little more concerned with GPU temps, what with my GPU basically bleeding hot air off of the back straight into my CPU. In order to deal with this, I added a centrifugal blower fan directly above it, which sucks this hot air and blows it out the back. This has done a good job reducing GPU temperatures, but the blower is now the loudest thing in my whole system.

This weekend, I'm going to try to install a potentiometer in between the fan and the 12v line so that I can reduce its RPM to a more reasonable level. Other than that, I'm very pleased by the rig on the whole. The final step in upgrading the machine's cooling will be to seal all the edges of the case and improve the filtration. After that, I just need more HDDs to finish the box off entirely.

I still need to take photos. I forgot to handle that this past weekend. I don't have my SD-card reader on me or I'd take some shots right now.

protellect
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Location: Minnesota

Post by protellect » Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:44 am

Aren't the ATI GPU's pretty happy being that hot? [70-100c?]

I understand it adds a lot of heat to the case, but.

I'm running a Q9450 at 2.66... I didn't really notice enough jump @ 3.2 to justify the ramp up. It's fast enough as is to play anything reasonable. [COD4 maxed, Crysis on high, Bioshock]

I also have GC-RAMDISK. they make quite a bit of heat I think.

Kaishi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:09 am
Location: Annapolis, MD

Post by Kaishi » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:07 am

The machine feels a lot more snappy at 3.20GHz than it did at 2.66GHz but that's not a huge concern. By and large, the speed is fantastic either way. I didn't overclock it for gaming performance, though. I do a lot of photoshop work as I am a digital photographer, and batch-processing 2000 10mpx RAW images can take some CPU power.

My GC-RAMDISK isn't making much if any heat. If it is, I haven't noticed, but I've touched the individual RAM chips on the outermost module before, and they weren't even warm.

As for ATI GPU temps, yes, they don't mind running even 90C, but that makes me a little concerned as the back of the card, which is uncooled, sits right below my CPU, and hot air rises. I've positioned a blower fan in between the CPU and GPU to suck hot air off of the top of the card and blow it out the back.

As of last night, that blower fan now has RPM control by way of a resistor, transistor, and potentiometer. It works very well. It doesn't make the blower silent, but makes the sound manageable once again. Before, it was just an upsetting roar.

tuz
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Post by tuz » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:03 am

I know you want to avoid aftermarket coolers for the video card however if you really want to get GPU temps down I thought I'd vouch for the Accelero S1. I just installed it to my 4850 with the turbo module (the 2 frameless 80mm fans) and it dropped idle temps from ~75ºC down to ~34ºC, and load temps from 106ºC down to 48ºC when running Furmark for 20 mins - I was impressed! At load with the stock cooler, the fan was starting to get very annoying, in comparison the turbo module cools the Accelero almost completely silently. AFAIK the 4870's thermal envelope is 20-40W higher than the 4850, temps shouldn't be significantly different but results will vary depending on the airflow in your case.

I don't know if the 4870 needs any additional ramsinks though, someone else might be able to help you out with that. For my 4850 I got some additional low profile copper ramsinks as I'd heard about some issues with one of the heatsinks interfering with a heatpipe; the extra ramsink helped there.

If you're worried about temps on the stock cooler, biting the bullet and jumping on the void-your-warranty train might be the only way to go! With a bit of care and some patience, it's hard to go wrong

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