Dorm-compatible Socket A

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Dorm-compatible Socket A

Post by Eyeless Blond » Wed May 10, 2006 4:53 pm

Hi. New here, and looking for advice, but please don't let that scare you away.

I'm about to send my little brother off to college, and want to give him something "dormroom-compatible", a computer that can be left on in the same room he's sleeping in. I'm not going to buy him something new as he'll use it to play games instead of study, so I decided to give him my current comp. Unfortunately the CPU fan is far too loud (using the stock AMD heatsink/fan combo I got with the CPU itself) so I'm looking for advice.
Relevant system details:

Case: Antec Sonata mid-tower
Motherboard: Shuttle AN35N-Ultra
CPU: AMD 2500/333 Athalon XP
Video: ATI RADEON 9200 128MB
Memory: 1GB PC3200 SDRAM
Cooling: Nothing extra; just using stock PSU/case/CPU fans and heatsinks.

As you can see, mostly geared toward word processing, web surfing and having a bunch of programs minimized on the taskbar at the same time. So, questions:

1) Should I bother trying to replace heatsink and fan on the current CPU, or buy a whole new one and attach a new heatsink/fan to that?
2) The Shuttle MB sticks the CPU pretty close to the PSU. (Pic) About how large can I go with the heatsink/fan without messing things up?
2a) Will any of the recommended HS and fans fit? I'd perfer to not have to mod the case that much; I'm only modestly adept with technology. :)
3) What is the best/easiest way to set up the fans and such to automatically speed up/slow down as necessary? I'm noticing that the Sonata case doesn't do much of that itself, though the manual mentions that it should.

Thanks for all your help.[/url]

NeilBlanchard
Moderator
Posts: 7680
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Contact:

Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed May 10, 2006 6:29 pm

Greetings & welcome to SPCR,

I've had good luck with an Alpha heatsink -- they fit within the allotted space, and paired up with a quiet 80mm fan (thermally controlled Enermax?), it is fine for the Athlon XP 2500+. I built one for my mother-in-law, and it has been running 24/7 for several years now.

The Alpha's work best if you pull the air up through them, and I rigged the thermistor to sit in the exhaust air flow.

You might want to consider the mod for the Sonata intake bezel -- they are fairly restrictive, and the HD's get warmer than in some other cases. The front fan is not all that helpful, either.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Wed May 10, 2006 7:54 pm

NeilBlanchard wrote:I've had good luck with an Alpha heatsink -- they fit within the allotted space, and paired up with a quiet 80mm fan (thermally controlled Enermax?), it is fine for the Athlon XP 2500+. I built one for my mother-in-law, and it has been running 24/7 for several years now.
Alpha... which one? I can't seem to find one that would fit Socket A, but then my search-fu is weak.
You might want to consider the mod for the Sonata intake bezel -- they are fairly restrictive, and the HD's get warmer than in some other cases. The front fan is not all that helpful, either.
Er, what mod exactly? And how technically complicated is it? I'm still looking through all the stuff on the SPCR website; there's a lot for someone new to most of this to digest. :)

Shadowknight
Posts: 1283
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA

Post by Shadowknight » Wed May 10, 2006 9:40 pm

Alpha 8045's not bad, if you can find it. It works best sucking instead of blowing, unlike 99% of heatsinks out there.
[size=75]Asus P4C800 Del., P4 3.0 Northwood w/Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja (fanless), Antec P180 black SPCR edition w/Acoustipack V.2 Deluxe; BBA X800 XT PE w/Zalman ZM80C-HP and 92mm Nexus; Samsung P80 120gb Smart Drive 2002 on foam; Raptor 74gb (turned off); Antec Phantom 350w; 2x120mm Nexus @ 670rpm, diNovo keyboard, Thanko Silent Mouse http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=24308[/size]

openwheelformula1
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:58 am

Post by openwheelformula1 » Thu May 11, 2006 12:38 am

Quiet computer in a dorm room? It doesn't even matter lol. I remember my dorm room and my super loud computer was considered quiet.
Heatware: openwheelracing

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Thu May 11, 2006 3:43 pm

openwheelformula1 wrote:Quiet computer in a dorm room? It doesn't even matter lol. I remember my dorm room and my super loud computer was considered quiet.
Heh, seriously. I remember my roommate had FOUR computers, all wildly overclocked, some with the case open and with four or more fans, one with the ROOM fan pointing inside to keep it even cooler (dedicated Unreal Tournament game server). Still, the fan's annoying, and I want to get some decent cooling in there before giving him the box.

An 8045? Any suggestions on where to find one? The usual places (eg. Newegg) doesn't stock it anymore, and I probably don't want to get it used.

Anyway what's this mod for the front of the Sonata case?

Trunks
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:58 am
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Post by Trunks » Thu May 11, 2006 5:24 pm

Depending on the dorm I don’t think he will mind the noise. So much noise comes from out side the room that some kind of white noise in the room is very very desirable.

But seriously…If your brother is going to university he will soon figure out how to tweak his own system.
Changing the fan speed depends on the motherboard, with some shuttles speedfan works well.
The simplest thing you could do is replace the fan stock HS with a 120 mm fan and plug that into the fan header on the PSU. Any of the recommended HSF combos here for socket A should do you well.

BigA
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Ohio

Post by BigA » Thu May 11, 2006 6:50 pm

Are you positive that the noise is coming from the CPU fan and not from the PSU fan? What PSU are you running?

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Thu May 11, 2006 7:04 pm

Positive. I opened the case and stopped the CPU fan by hand... and suddenly the noise cut by like 70-80%.

As to the 120mm fan, that's what worries me. Given that MB/case combo, will a 120mm fan even fit? The CPU socket is very near the edge of the MB, right near the PSU. How much room should there be between the two, or can they be touching?

dougz
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:03 pm

Post by dougz » Thu May 11, 2006 10:14 pm

I opened the case and stopped the CPU fan by hand... and suddenly the noise cut by like 70-80%.
True for me, too. Noise from el-cheapo Speeze Socket A cooler totally swamped the noise from the Antec stock PSU. Speeze had a fan that looked to be about 60mm and ran at constant high speed. Amazing amount of noise, and not a very good cooler.

Replaced with "Spire WhisperRock IV SPA04B4 80mm Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink - Retail" which should work for you, depending on which family the Athlon 2500 is from. Claims 21.0 dBA, 29.0 CFM at 2300 RPM, US$13 +$5 shipping.

More info in detailed specs --
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835151111
http://www.spire-coolers.com/fcc.asp?ProdID=105

Fat_bloater_dave
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 288
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 10:39 am

Post by Fat_bloater_dave » Fri May 12, 2006 1:59 am

Aparantly the Thermalright SI-97 is one of the best Socket A coolers, Here is a picture of it on a motherboard like yours Thermaltake SI-97
And if you pair that with a nice quite Fan like a panflow or a nexus then youd be rocking.

~El~Jefe~
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 2887
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: New York City zzzz
Contact:

Re: Dorm-compatible Socket A

Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Fri May 12, 2006 10:06 pm

My suggestion is that you get him some steroids, a small rosewood beating stick, assertiveness training and earplugs. That is the only way he will silence his dorm.

the fan might help to drown out the guy doing bubbles in his water bong next to him

Trunks
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:58 am
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Post by Trunks » Sat May 13, 2006 12:02 am

Eyeless Blond wrote: As to the 120mm fan, that's what worries me. Given that MB/case combo, will a 120mm fan even fit? The CPU socket is very near the edge of the MB, right near the PSU. How much room should there be between the two, or can they be touching?
If your brother has a refrigerator in his dorm room, the noise floor will be high to start.

They should not touch. It is ok if they are close.
A new heat sink fan combo is a good idea, but I think you should experiment with replacing just the fan, with a larger slower fan first. If you have an extra 80 mm fan around mount it on the stock heat sink (use wire/zip ties whatever) plug it into the PSU fan header. Is it an improvement? Use speed fan to watch the temps, and use a program like CPU burn to test the old fan, then the new. Compare the temps. If the chip is getting to hot, plug the fan into the MB use speedfan to control its speed. Is it still to hot. Buy at new HSF combo. I would think you could find a good one for less than $20. I found a AreoCool HT-101 for ~$12 discounted at compusa, worth looking around.

If you are considering spending more that $50 on a new heat sink, I would reconsider using that money to on another task/improvement.

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Sat May 13, 2006 1:05 am

My suggestion is that you get him some steroids, a small rosewood beating stick, assertiveness training and earplugs. That is the only way he will silence his dorm.

the fan might help to drown out the guy doing bubbles in his water bong next to him
:lol: You crack me up EJ.

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Sat May 13, 2006 7:14 am

Okay I think you people are exaggerating the noise level he'll have to put up with. I live in a university residence and I can hear the fan on my Scythe Katana turned down to 30%.

As for the heatsink itself... Scythe Katana works for me; $30 shipped at newegg. I think there were also a lot of good Thermalright heatsinks for socket A, but I'm not sure if they're still sold retail.
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Sun May 14, 2006 12:30 am

Hm. Okay, so measuring the interior of the case there is 5.5cm between the top (PSU) wall and the center of the fan, meaning the best I can hope for is about a 100mm fan, giving myself some room for error.

Unfortunately I don't have a 80=92mm fan to strap into the CPU to test it, but that's a good idea anyway, thanks.

Okay, so I've got recommended so far:

Spire WhisperRock IV SPA04B4 (at Newegg $12.99 fan+HS... seems suspicously cheap, but may work. Reviews very promising.)
Alpha 8045 (can't seem to find anywhere.)
Thermalright SI-97 ($34.99 for just the HS, and not in stock anywhere... probably not worth it, but certainly sounds like it'd be good.)
Scythe Katana (at Newegg $24... reviews not very encouraging but may work.)

Looks like the Spire is the best of the above, but I'm still open to suggestions.

Also should I bother with getting Arctic Silver? I'm assuming that if I do, the compound will stay good if left "open" for awhile? I'm going to be building a new system in September or so.

Cerb
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 6:36 pm
Location: GA (US)

Post by Cerb » Sun May 14, 2006 1:52 am

The WhisperRock is fairly good (I've used the IV a few times), and you can swap fans if you want/need to. Not quiet by SPCR standards, but not bad, and with the ability to go with any 80mm fan, it's a versatile cheap option. The 80mm fan bit is also nice, because several of my buddies in dorms have needed new fans after using the same PC for a year or so.

Newegg is not the place to buy a HSF, unless you're already getting a whole system/upgrade from there. For small orders, SVC, Case-mod, Jab-tech, etc. tend to be cheaper, and have a better selection of cooling and cabling parts.

SI-97A ($25): http://www.svc.com/si97-amd-21.html
WhisperRock V ($10): http://www.svc.com/spa04b4-u.html

You could get some AS. It wouldn't hurt. I'm fond of Ceramique, being thick, easy to use, and not harmful if you get sloppy (the underside of my video card's RAM chips now have plenty of it in there :)). It can just be left out.

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Sun May 14, 2006 6:02 am

Eyeless Blond wrote:Scythe Katana (at Newegg $24... reviews not very encouraging but may work.)
This one is from a familiar source and slightly more encouraging :wink:
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

~El~Jefe~
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 2887
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: New York City zzzz
Contact:

Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sun May 14, 2006 8:42 am

jaganath wrote:
My suggestion is that you get him some steroids, a small rosewood beating stick, assertiveness training and earplugs. That is the only way he will silence his dorm.

the fan might help to drown out the guy doing bubbles in his water bong next to him
:lol: You crack me up EJ.

Thanks!
:D

autoboy
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Post by autoboy » Sun May 14, 2006 10:56 am

Is the motherboard undervoltable? If you check the bios is there a way to lower the CPU voltage any? This can lower the cpu heat output considerable as the power goes down with the square of the voltage. This would enable you to run the spire with a slow spinning fan. I run my athlonXP at 1.2 Volts and can run it passive with a spire heatsink...but only in the winter.

Another option in the aerocool 101. It is fairly compact and accepts 80mm fans. I have one cooling a Sempron64 2600+ with my panaflo L1A at 5V. It works very well for me.

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Tue May 16, 2006 3:35 pm

Okay, so I decided on the new HS (the Whisperrock, as the Scythe was a bit rich for my blood) and got a small tube of that Ceramique stuff as it'll also help with my upcoming project. While I was mucking around I realised the MB was underclocking my FSB to 99MHZ, so I fixed that. I was wondering why CPUBurn never got my CPU to go above 50C! :P

Now for the hard part: slowing the fan down. I guess Speedfan's the best way to go here as it'll ramp the fans up automagically if the processor gets too hot, and I don't want to force my brother to regulate his own fan temperature. The question is what temperature to shoot for? SF doesn't seem to have a configuration for my board, but I'm pretty sure that temp2 corresponds to CPU temperature and fan1 the CPU fan, with fan2 the rear system fan. But there are two other temperatures coming from the AN35N (temp1 & temp3); should I be paying attention to those, or just link the CPU temperature to both fans?

I also hear that Athalon XPs have problems accurately reporting temperatures. How does that affect what temp I should look for? My guess right now is to shoot for 55-60C, and warn when hitting 65; that sound about right, or too low?

Oh yeah, and what's the best way to open up the front of the Sonata? That grill-thing they've got going doesn't look like it lets much air in.

mattthemuppet
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 618
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 7:05 am
Location: State College, PA

Post by mattthemuppet » Thu May 18, 2006 7:15 pm

easiest way to find out which temp is which - run CPUburn and as soon as you start it, you'll see one temp rocketing. Once you've got that one sorted, do a HDD defrag with the system idle - the other temp that increases (probably by 5-8C) will be the HDD. Then, the lowest temp is usually case/ MB temp and that's about all you need to worry about.

50C is a good threshold to set the fan to increase I think. I've never fully got my head round setting up fan speed adjustment on speedfan (both my CPU and case fans are set to 1% (~5V) and increase to 2% (~7V) over 50C!) but just fiddle til you find what works. You can certainly limit the max speed of the fan so that it never goes above a certain level of noise, as long as that provides sufficient cooling of course :)

there's stacks of threads on modding the intake of sonatas, but lifting the front of the case up and cutting out the material around the hole at the bottom of the bezel seems to be a good approach. You can use anything from a carving knife to a dremel, depending on availability of tools and desired finish!

BigA
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Ohio

Post by BigA » Fri May 19, 2006 12:07 am

Athlon XP's draw a fair amount of power (yours appears to be rated at 68W), generate lots of heat. Fortunately, these CPU's were designed to run a lot hotter than the current generation of AMD CPU's.

According to both of these sites, the rated temperature for your CPU is 85C (as apparently only a Barton-core Athlon XP 2500 / 333 FSB was made):
http://fab51.com/cpu/guide/opn-xp-e.html
http://balusc.xs4all.nl/srv/har-cpu-amd-k7.php

To be absolutely sure, read the OPN printed on your CPU and reference it against the tables in the above web links.

Setting your CPU temperature threshold unnecessarily low will cause the fan to run more than it needs to. At a higher temperature threshold, it will also be easier to undervolt the fan. Since your CPU is rated at 85C, I would play around with different temperature thresholds, but would not hesitate to go as high as 65C, with a warning at perhaps 70C. This allows some safety margin and provides for a margin of error in the motherboard reporting.

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Fri May 19, 2006 4:37 pm

Hm, well that's disappointing. For some reason setting the CPU fan speed doesn't seem to affect my fan's RPMs. Why do you suppose that's happenning? I have the fan's PWM set to "Software-controlled" and have I think everything else set up right; the Speed setting in the display goes up and down as it should, but the fan itself doesn't speed up or slow down. Even when the CPU fan (eventually) steps down to 0 the fan stays at the same speed. Is there something I'm forgetting?

Eyeless Blond
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Post by Eyeless Blond » Sat May 20, 2006 8:44 pm

Settings I have selected regarding fan1 and pwm1 (for fan 1):

-CPU temp is linked to fan1 in Temperatures window
-PWM1 has "automatically variated" checked; going between 0 and 100% at the moment because I can't get the fans to slow down at all.
-Under advanced the mode is set to "software controlled" Is that what it should be set at for this motherboard?

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Sun May 21, 2006 12:41 am

Sorry, I don't know much about software fan control, but if you really can't get it to work, maybe a hardware option will be necessary?Zalman fanmate

floffe
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 4:36 am
Location: Linköping, Sweden

Post by floffe » Sun May 21, 2006 2:02 am

I've got an Arctic Cooling Copper Silent TC2 on my 2500+ that doesn't make a difference in noise in my case, where I suspect the power supply's electrical buzzing to be the loudest thing. The computer also has two Papst 120mm fans, and the power supply is a HEC 300W that came with the case. I have no idea if the cpu fan ever spins down, since i can't hear it :wink:

Edit: Noone seems to still keep it around though.

Post Reply