antec sonata setup

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Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:21 pm
Location: Belgium

antec sonata setup

Post by nina » Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:00 pm


I'm a newbie, and a girl! I don't think that there are a lot
of girls here..but hi to them all!
I'm a composer, so I need some help on my DAW station.
I already spended two days on reading a lot of posts over here.
To much to read, my eyes hurt.. :)
Anyway first some specs

Antec Sonata 1 case, no mods, standard exhaust fan and psu 380W
Asus P4P800SE motherboard
Intel Prescott P4 3.0Ghz
Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu CPU cooler running on 1864rpm
2X Kingston 1 GB DDR400 RAM, dual channel
2X Apacer 512 MB DDR400 RAM, dual channel
1x Matrox G550 videocard (on 2 19" monitors)
1x Aardvark LX6 Pro audio card
1x Sony DRU-500 DVD writer
HD 1 and 2 - 2x IBM-DTLA-307030 30GB ATA HD's
HD 3 - 1x Maxtor 6Y160M0 160GB SATA HD
HD 4 - 1x Seagate Barracuda ST3160827AS 160 SATA HD
HD1 is in the bottom slot and HD4 in the top one

temps after 30 minute idle
cpu:39°C case:29°C HD1:37°C HD2:37°C HD3:52°C HD4:34°C

cpu:44°C case:30°C HD1:39°C HD2:39°C HD3:54°C HD4:36°C

Well, if you noticed, my HD temps aren't that great.
Specially the maxtor..I'm concerned about this.
Is this normal, or do I have to return the drive?

So I guess that my air flow sucks..
Would it make any difference if I add another 120mm fan behind
the drives? Or do I have to do some modding?
Like the bezel mod? Or others?
Is the standard PSU of the sonata heavy enough to support
all my gear?
Would it make a big difference if I change the standard exhaust
fan with a Antec Tri-Cool or Nexus?

Yep, a lot of questions. Any comments are welcome..

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Post by ronrem » Mon Aug 15, 2005 12:57 am

With a prescott a 4 HDs you have several heatmakers that somewhat limit silencing,but you seem to have a pretty good setup overall. Hard drives are designed to lose heat through the cast metal sides. If you find some copper plumbing strap.about 1" wide.and attach it to the sides using the screwholes normally used to mount to the case-you have a heatsink. While at the hardware store-get 4 eyebolts. Drill matching holes in the case floor so that the hot HD is in the middle-in it's position,with an eyebolt near each corner and abut 1" wider than the drive. Sit the drive on a pad of foam rubber and using small bungee cords or tied elastic cords,tie 'er down. Now that drive is heatsinked,decoupled from vibrating,and out where it gets airflow. If it still runs it goes-it'll live or die. I had a couple of older Maxtors that only lasted me about a year each,I have a Quantum that's been reliable for 3 years now.

Many years ago I had a temp job at Seagate building Hard Drives in a clean room. Only about 30% of assemblers were guys. If women can build hard drives-putting togather and modding a system is no trouble. Now Hard Drives are made in automated plants in Thailand or Malaysia,and women still do much of the work. :D

Not familiar with Aardvark soundcards. I plan to get an M-Audio revolution,nice price/performance for amateur digi- audio. I have a lot of analog stuff to digitize,some Soundforging,restoration.

A VERY important part of a DAW is good monitors. I got a very nice Stereo amp at a yardsale,a NAD,for $30. It's worth $150 or better,and built a pair of monitor speakers,sheilded,with Titanium Dome tweeters for detail. The boxes are small and mount about 30" from my ears. Further away I have a pair of older 3 way Bogens with JBL tweeters,10" woofers. They beef the bass,as the nearfield monitors are small. You don't need real high price speakers-but no "computer speakers" are adequate

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Location: UK

Post by vertigo » Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:18 am

I have a 3700-BQE, in this case they improved the drive cage slightly. It doesn't have those portholes, it has more space for the air to move.

Even then, the hard drive temps suffer. It must be far worse in a Sonata. On the one hand you can try to modify the cage to more like the 3700 cage, but that would be very difficult. I would try to put a fan there blowing over the length of the drives, if you have space for that.

Otherwise, read about what people have done to their Sonata's, perhaps you can find a nice solution there.

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Post by Shadowknight » Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:21 am

At the very least you should consider getting some metal snips from the hardware store and cutting out the grills over the exhaust and intake. This will reduce turbulance and increase airflow, which is terrible in a stick Sonata.

I don't know about the stock fans on the Sonata, so you might also want to post a question about other fans in the fan section; make sure you mention what country you are in as well in case people don't notice your location is in Belgium as that will limit the fans available to you.

Definetly get a fan controller.

Drives start dying at about 55C, so either airflow is really terrible at the position you have it in, or something about the drive is overheating on its own.

Otherwise, for a Prescott your temps seem fairly good, provided your motherboard is providing accurate temps. I've heard they've run pretty hot, so its possible the BIOS is reporting inaccurate temps.

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Post by nina » Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:34 am

I use Yamaha NS10M's as monitors.
And big Altec Lansings, but for the moment I use a Hifi amp
to drive the monitors.
I know it's not good (because the sound colors), but I don't have
the money for the moment to buy a descent flat amp.
And a set of Cambridge soundworks (wood) PC 2.1 (for fast listening).

If I understand it correctly, you suggest to place the Maxtor
at the bottom of the cage, on a foam rubber, with tied elastic cords
around it on some eyebolts. And to use a copper plumbing strap to guide the heat
to the case. Won't the foam rubber melt? Or is the strap enough for this.

I've asked at my uncle (he's an retired plumber, and still has the gear)
and he will help me with cutting the exhaust and intake grills.
So there will be more airflow.
But if the drive is sitting in the bottom, I guess it won't benefit from
the airflow.

I wonder if I can make four elastic suspensions in the drive cage
of the sonata.
I found pictures on this forum for 1 or 2 but never 4.

Well, I still have to do a lot of thinking.

I'm gonna order two nexus fan with the zalman fanmates.

When I start (with my uncle) with the modding I will take some pics.
Only I don't know where to find the elastic suspensions..

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Post by bomba » Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:37 am

Following are my opinions:

Your setup has some real negatives wrt silencing, the most glaring, the P4 Prescott and 4 Hard drives. With drives being pretty inexpensive these days, perhaps you should keep your quietest 160G drive and supplement it with a 250G - 400G drive, Maxtor, Samsung, Htachi or WD are all quiet, IMO. You could do the same with the CPU, swapping the Prescott for a much cooler running Pentium 4 Socket 478 Northwood.

That said here are my suggestions for your setup as is:

Your CPU temps are not high; don't be afraid of running hotter. If possible, keep the temperature just under the Thermal Throttling limit while running 2 instances of CPU Burn. Slow the CPU fan via speedfan for a variable speed solution or via the fanmate for a fixed fan speed.

Dual Nexus fans are a good choice, you may also be able to slow these fans for reduced noise, but they're pretty quiet even at 12V. I'd shoot for 45-50C max. for the hard drives under heavy load, i.e. defragging or large file copy.

The front fan on the stock cage will reduce your drive temps, and it does not need to spin fast to do so. If you are considering suspension, best bet for the Sonata seems to be to cut away the drive cage, leaving only the top sled. Then suspend the drives with bungee cord from the sled. Ralf Hutter posted this mod on his BQE with pics. Note that if you do this on the Sonata, you will lose the front fan mounts, requiring metalwork mod to mount the fan where it should have been in the first case.

Finally, irt your TP380, if your system is stable, and you're not annoyed with the amount of sound it makes, then you're good to go. If the PSU noise starts to bother you, choose a 400w model from the recommended section.

Many hard drives support acoustic management which reduces seek noise dramatically. Google for the Hitachi Feature tool, which seems to work on all brand HDD's whose firmware supports AAM.

Have fun on your journey!

Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:21 pm
Location: Belgium

Post by nina » Mon Aug 15, 2005 12:36 pm

For working fast with my sequenzer program, I really need
the four drives.
The small IBM holds the operating system, and a partition
with backups which I don't use a lot.
The second IBM holds my sequenzer data, songs and wavs.
The third one (the hot maxtor) holds all vsti plugins.
And the fourth one (seagate) holds the data of two major vstis which
stream their data from HD.
When I record or play a song, in fact all the drives are working.
Two are reading/streaming data and one is writing data.
This happens simultaniously, so with the four HDs I'm able to play/record
pretty much tracks at the same time.
With only two drives the maximum number of audio/midi tracks, would reduce

I already used the hitachi tool (read about this on this website),
and only the maxtor is able to use AAM (I noticed that it was already
on), the seagate and IBM's don't support AAM.

I had a northwood 2.4Ghz with a P4PE but was able to change it with the prescott
3.0Ghz with a P4P800SE for free with a friend. I couldn't say no to such an offer. (what a girl's smile can do with guys :D )
But I guess the temp of my cpu are fine.

I'm going first for the front bezel mod, the exhaust and intake mod,
going to try to find out some suspension for 3 drives and put
the hot one sandwiched with aluminium plates and copper plumbing
straps on the bottom.
I hope that I have place enough..
Otherwise I will have to cut away the drive cage like you suggested.

A big thanks to all your help, guys!
The computer shop where I order my stuff, is closed for two weeks,
so I can make good preparations for the modding.

Posts: 320
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:36 pm
Location: USA

Post by bomba » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:54 am

You're probably fine with the Prescott, but I think you friend may have gotten the better deal. That is, the Prescott is well documented as being less efficient when compared to the Northwood, i.e. less worked performed for equivalent processor speed. Also, the 2.4C Northwood processors can generally be overclocked to run at 3.0GHz at stock voltage or lower, if the extra speed is needed for your application. I believe your Asus board has an option to set a 3:2 memory to FSB divisor so you can run a 250MHz FSB and keep your memory at PC3200 speed.

As far as heat from your current Prescott, you may wish to run AIBooster, available from Asus. AI Booster allows pwm fan speed control, FSB manipulation as well as CPU, memory and AGP undervolting (or overvolting) in Windows. For a quiet PC, you may want to slow your processor as much as you can without impacting its funtionality, determine if you can undervolt the processor to reduce heat output and finally reduce fan speeds to quiet/silence.
good luck,

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