AOpen EY855 + Celeron M - First impressions

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

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sdc
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:05 am
Location: Munich, Germany

AOpen EY855 + Celeron M - First impressions

Post by sdc » Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:50 am

Hi everyone!

I have been using the new AOpen EY 855 together with a Celeron M, and as no-one here has ever described such a machine, I thought you might be interested in my impressions.

The configuration is the following:

AOpen EY-855
Celeron M 1.4 GHz (Dothan, 1 Mb L2 cache)
512 Mb Infineon DDR400 CAS 3
Sapphire Radeon 9600 Atlantis (fanless)
NEC-3520A DVD writer
Seagate Barracuda IV 80 Gb

The box is very similar to the EX915, so you can have a look at the review. I would add that I find the aluminium case way too light, and that is not so good for vibrations.

The VGA card is located next to the left air intake, blocking part of the airflow to the CPU fan. On the other hand, this is quite a good position for the GPU (especially a passive one), as the heatsink is nearly in contact with outside air.

One big problem with this box is that you can only see temperature in the BIOS (only CPU temperature). If someone knows of any tool that can measure temperature for this box, please tell me. The BIOS only provides a "Smart Fan" feature that increases fan speed from the default 2000 rpm when the CPU reaches a temperature threshold (default and minimum 60C). I have never reached that threshold.

I was able to overclock the CPU to 1.96 GHz without a problem (after 1h30 Prime95, the temperature is 40C after rebooting in the BIOS, a couple of degrees more than when not overclocking). At 1.97, I start getting lockups in 3DMark, at 1.99 it won't POST. Blocking the airflow doesn't seem to cause major cooling problems.
For comparison, when leaving the machine idle for 30 minutes, the temperature is 33C in the BIOS after a reboot.

Contrarily to what I read in other reviews, the CPU voltage cannot be modified. Maybe this is because I am using a Celeron M instead of a Pentium M?

Regarding noise, there is lots of room for improvement.
First, I find the hard disk vibration atrocious, much worse than my MSI Hermes (with the same disk). It gets even worse with the case on. Fortunately, there is enough room for suspending the hard disk, so I think I will try that.

Apart from the hard disk, the noise is acceptable, but can certainly be improved given the temperatures. The PSU and CPU fans are moderately noisy, but the real problem is that they are running way too fast for a CPU that has problems reaching 40C.

In conclusion, this machine doesn't look like it has been designed with noise in mind. It is essentially an i855 in an EY915 box, and to me, the goal was to be the first vendor releasing an i855-based SFF.
The machine runs very cool, and could have been made much quieter with little effort. Hopefully, we will see a BIOS upgrade lowering the CPU fan speed for example.

If you want benchmarks, I reach 9839 at 3DMark 01, with default settings, and the CPU running at 1.96 GHz. Please tell me if you want to run other benchmarks!
Please tell me as well if you have questions about the machine, I will do my best to answer!

Regarding mods, what would you think about removing the CPU fan or even the PSU fan?

/sdc

tay
Friend of SPCR
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Location: Boston, MA
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Post by tay » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:58 am

I'm lazy, could you post some links please :) along with prices etc. Looking to build a quiet SFF box for my parents sometime soon.

The lack of vcore adjustments is usually a MB problem but might not be in this case since the P-M changes its v-core/speed dynamically so I dont see this as a real problem.
Phenom II 555 (3 cores unlocked) 1.275v - 4GB - Xigmatek 1293 Cooler - WD 64 GB SSD -CM Mystique - Antec NeoHE 550 - Saphire 6870
e6300 - 2 GB DDR - P180 - Scythe Mine - Samsung 400 GB - 3 120mm fans
imac 7,1 C2D 2.0, 3 GB 250GB.
macbook C2D 2.4 3 GB 320GB Samsung M7E

sdc
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:05 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Post by sdc » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:48 pm

Hi tay,

I don't have any links or prices in Canada unfortunately. For your parents, the best choice is probably a Shuttle Zen, as long as they don't need a fast graphics card.

Meanwhile, I did some modding on my machine:
- Suspending the HD makes a huge difference, as expected. The main noise is now coming from the PSU (much vibration as well). The CPU fan is barely audible as well.
- CPU fan now on 5V, this lowers the rpm to 1500, which is apparently more than enough.

I opened up the PSU, the quality of the build is much lower than the rest of the machine. The fan is a 80x80x15, a 80x80x25 would probably fit but there really wouldn't be any space left.
First thing for the moment is to move the fan outside the case to reduce that vibration noise, and it did the job (but it is quite difficult to work inside that PSU).

The fan was still very loud, so I lowered the voltage to 7V, then 5V. It is still going way too fast for my taste, although the "whoosh" noise is much acceptable without the vibration. I haven't cut out the grid, would that make much of a difference for the noise?

Even with these changes, I still can't get the CPU temperature over 40C. I wonder why I am bothering with fans at all :roll:

I think I am now going to replace the fan with something like an Arctic Pro TC (a shop had it for €4 in Munich, I guess you can't beat that).

Any comments? (wake up, guys, I know there's people listening!)

/sdc

vdorta
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:39 pm

Post by vdorta » Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:12 am

I have a few questions:

Are there two models, 855 and 855-II?

Did you read this review? It appears their sample was very quiet.

Are you using Aopen's SilentTek II software? That would certainly help with fan control and noise. You can download the latest version at Aopen and try it.

Val

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