My super-silent HTPC. Only 2 moving parts. Will it work?

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tkorsvold
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:47 am
Location: Bergen, Norway

My super-silent HTPC. Only 2 moving parts. Will it work?

Post by tkorsvold » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:27 am

Hello,

Is it possible to build a very very silent HTPC with decent performance?
I want my HTPC to be inaudible, let's see if that is possible.
So I'm planning to have only two moving parts, the hard drive and the PSU. CPU and GPU will be passively cooled. Everything will be undervolted as much as possible.

(I'm not counting the bluray drive as a moving part since I'm not going to use it much).

Main question: will this work, or will the components get too hot?

CPU: Athlon II 240e (when it becomes available)
Mobo: Don't know yet
RAM: Don't know yet
Case: Silverstone SG02 (case fans off)
Hard drive: Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB (only one platter, minimal noise)
PSU: Nexus Value 430 (blows cool air onto CPU)
CPU Cooler: Stock or Scythe Big Shuriken (without fan)
Graphics card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 Ultimate (it's passively cooled)
Bluray-drive: Aopen BDR0412SA.

I'd like to undervolt the RAM and the CPU as much as possible.
My goal is to cool the CPU passively.
What would be the best Motherboard for the task?
And which RAM runs coolest / needs the least voltage?

Any help appreciated!

Thorstein

frenchie
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Post by frenchie » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:02 am

Hi,
my 2 cents : the PSU takes air from inside the case and blows it out. Not the other way around. Unless you're planning to reverse the fan.
Also, I'm not sure a passivley cooled video card with no airflow will stay within reasonable temperature limits.
You might want to search "cookie jar" in the forum and it might give you ideas as to what setup you could be looking at.
Hope that helps.

tkorsvold
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:47 am
Location: Bergen, Norway

Post by tkorsvold » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:00 am

Your're right about the direction the PSU fan blows, obviously. My mistake.

Anyway, I was thinking I'd replace the Nexus with a PicoPSU:
http://cgi.ebay.com/PicoPSU-150-XT-150W ... 286.c0.m14

The Nexus is impossible to find in Norway and 150 Wats should be more than enough anyway.

Since the PSU goes away, I'll have to add a silent case fan.

Thorstein

doveman
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Post by doveman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:10 am

I haven't heard the F2 but my WD5000AAKS makes much more idle airborne motor noise than either my 120mm Nexus intake fan (which cools my HD and graphics card) or the 92mm fan on my Minja, both of which are inaudible (running them at reduced volts with fan controller).

So unless the F2 is so quiet that it can't be heard over a couple of low-RPM fans, I can't see that it's worth the hassle of trying to run passive. In fact, as you can run a couple of fans inaudibly, it doesn't seem worth it even if the F2 is that quiet. I very much doubt that the stock 240e cooler will be sufficient without a fan, so you're looking at buying a 3rd-party heatsink and you might as well just stick a slow running fan on it.

trandy1001
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Post by trandy1001 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:28 am

What is your definition of decent performance?

For some people it is simply a computer that is responsive and doesn't take more than 5 seconds to load up most of their word processing programs.

For others it is crysis or nothing.

What I'm trying to say is it would be easier to help if we knew the aims of your system. If media content is your only goal, hit it with a good Ion platform ITX board or even a 78xG board with a low wattage processor, a pic-psu and be done with it. Otherwise it might get a little more complicated.

RoGuE
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Post by RoGuE » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:52 am

if you're serious about having no system fans besides your PSU, you have another thing coming if you think u can run your CPU and GPU passively in a little HTPC box.

More realistically, start looking at integrated graphics. That will cut down on heat generation of a whole seperate card. Secondly, why is it that everyone's so obsessed with going fanless? Running fans at very low rpm's will be completely inaudible at your couch, and will open up a world of performance that you couldnt get if you NEED to run fanless. The fact is, forced air convection, as weak as it might be with slow fans, is much MUCH more effective at dissipating heat than idle air. In fact, stagnant air is an insulator in most cases. not. good.

I would re-evaluate your approach here. Start making compromises between cooling and quietness.

PS: have you considerd that most optical drives make a decent amount of noise? certainly more than a couple low rpm fans....

tkorsvold
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Location: Bergen, Norway

Post by tkorsvold » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:00 am

Thanks for all the advice.

I guess I should have been a bit more specific about the use of the PC.

I mainly want to play music and watch movies (in 1080P). A bit of surfing around on the net as well. So I guess integrated graphics might be the way to go. That would leave me with only one serious heat source: the CPU. I'll probably need a case fan or a slow-moving CPU fan.

I'm aware that the optical drive makes a bit of noise, but I probably won't be using it much.

Thorstein



Oh, almost forgot:

Will this picoPSU plus AC/DC adapter be enough for my setup?
http://cgi.ebay.com/PicoPSU-150-XT-150W ... 286.c0.m14

Or this one, with a 10A power adaptor?
http://cgi.ebay.com/picoPSU-120-DC-DC-1 ... 286.c0.m14

xan_user
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Post by xan_user » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:18 am

If you plan on putting it in a home theater A/V rack with amp, TV tuner and a receiver you will need more cooling. Constricted airflow and high ambient temps are the norm inside most entertainment centers. The NB will cook without airflow.

tkorsvold
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Post by tkorsvold » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:20 am

It's not going into a rack with other A/V components, so no extra hot air from those :-)


T

b_rubenstein
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Post by b_rubenstein » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:16 am

I question the objective of building an inaudible HTPC. To begin with the computer is generally located close to the monitor/TV and a meter or two away from where one is sitting. The other thing is that aside from near silent parts of a movie or a piece of music, the audio of the material will swamp quite a bit of noise from the computer.

Just as in the case of a computer used for gaming, a reasonably quiet computer is all that is really needed. The quieter you try to make a computer the more difficult it becomes with little, or no tangible benefit.

ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:09 pm

frenchie wrote:You might want to search "cookie jar" in the forum and it might give you ideas as to what setup you could be looking at.
Hope that helps.
I don't get it. I tried doing a search but my search skills must be seriously lacking. I got a bunch of cookies and a bunch of jars but no cookie jar...

jhhoffma
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Post by jhhoffma » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:02 pm

Try selecting the radio button for "Search for all terms" below the search box.

frenchie
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Post by frenchie » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:04 pm


tkorsvold
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:47 am
Location: Bergen, Norway

Post by tkorsvold » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:23 am

Thanks for the input, interesting threads.

I'm changing my mind on the case, btw.
Going for a Lian Li PC-V351 now.
http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=17293


Now I just need a nice undervolting mobo and RAM.

And a media center remote for Windows 7...


Thorstein

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