Is fanless possible?

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Tobias
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Is fanless possible?

Post by Tobias » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:59 pm

Hello all!

It has been a long while now, since I found my Nirvana. But lately I have found myself itching. I want to build a new system, not because I need, not because I want better performance, but simply because I want to build and because I can. And to set out for a new challenge.

As I have understood it, if one can undervolt far enough just about any chip today can reach far below 10W in idle. So the biggest powerdraw becomes the Motherboard. As it seems AMD chipsets seems to have the advantage, is this correct? And if so,which chipset? I've read MikeCs reviews on both 740 and 780, but I can't really decide. I think 740 might be the one for me, due to more idle time than anything else. Then again, 790 is here, but the verdict doesn't seem to be in yet. Any chance of a sneak preview of the review I'm sure is in the works at the lab?

Also, dissabling unused funtions in BIOS, will that affect powerdraw? Or is the powerdraw of the periferal chips (extra network, sound card etc) negligent? So if the powerdraw isn't insignificant and BIOS settings will not change it, then one is limited trying to juggle undervolting potential and extra features which isn't needed.

oh, and the challenge? Well, on the rest of my wanted list there is an SSD drive, a picopsu or similar, a thermalright IFX14 with the HR-10 addenda and a spacy chassi with an empty PSU mounting bracket at the top...
This will be an interesting build :D If I can find my mobo, that is:)

Any tips and ideas, and most of all, any good mobos, please let me know. (oh, and I'm a bit weak towards AMD, but not a fanboy. If it can be proven that an Intel CPU with mobo will total lower power, I'm open to the idea:)

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:04 pm

I sometimes think of doing another fanless build, but it just never seems to really make sense. The problem I always run into is that electrical buzzing, whining, and chirping is already the dominant noise problem even with just one undervolted 80mm fan. Besides being much louder than the fan, the electrical noises are far more irritating than the low pitched whirrr of a good 80mm fan.

At least the computer case mitigates this noise. But if I went fanless, then I'd need to open up the case more which would let even more noise out.

What I really need is some idea of what modern motherboards and power supplies are truly silent. I need a truly silent motherboard and PSU before it makes sense to get rid of that last fan.

robb99
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Re: Is fanless possible?

Post by robb99 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:36 am

Tobias wrote:Hello all!

Any tips and ideas, and most of all, any good mobos, please let me know. (oh, and I'm a bit weak towards AMD, but not a fanboy. If it can be proven that an Intel CPU with mobo will total lower power, I'm open to the idea:)
Hi Tobias,

I built a new system this past spring for exactly the same reasons as yourself, with the specific goal of building a totally silent system.

IMHO, the case is probably more import than the mobo for keeping the system quiet and cool - I used the Antec P182 case for it's 2-chamber acoustic silencing properties.

I chose an MSI P35 Platinum mobo because of its all generous heat pipe layout designed for passive cooling solution (MSI calls it Circu-Pipe) that is entirely made of copper and has several heat-pipes. While it is an older board, its specs are still competitive unless you're into gaming.

I'm using an Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 LGA775 CPU that is totally passively cooled using a Scythe Ninja Mini CPU cooler - the only fans in my system are the 3 case fans that come stock in the P182 case. My MSI GeForce 8600CT video card is also totally passively cooled using an Artic Cooling Accelero SI vga heat sink.

I use stock clocking on both CPU and VGU and my temps are well within acceptable maximum temp limits on all elements:
  • CPU core 0: 44 C (111 F)
    CPU core 1: 39 C (102 F)
    GPU: 44 C (111 F)
    HDD 1 (SATA): 35 C (94 F)
    HDD 2 (SATA): 35 C (94 F)
    HDD 3 (IDE): 42 C (107 F)
hope this is some help.
Cheers

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Post by Esben » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:35 am

I use an E8200 passively cooled with a Scythe Ninja Mini. Motherboard is a standard Gigabyte P35-DS3R rev 2.x, with standard cooling. Graphics card is an Asus Radeon HD 3450 with passive stock cooler.
The case is an older Dign 3SE HTPC case, and the PSU, with the only fan in the system, is a Chill 450W, with a 135mm fan, sucking air from the direction of the CPU heatsink. It spins at 900 RPM, and even without a duct it keeps my CPU below 60 deg.

The whole system uses 70W idle, with an Hitachi T7K500, 320 GB harddrive, X-Fi Elite Pro, and a Pioneer Blu-ray drive. Full CPU load 91W and an extra 9W if the GPU is loaded with rthdribl.

I would like to control the PSU fan speed through connecting it to the motherboard. During periods of low activity, the fan could run slower, maybe even be turned off.

ST
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Post by ST » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:44 am

This is my u-ATX Core 2 Quad system running in a semi-passive configuration with a Ninja Scythe Rev. 1 HSF. By semi-passive, there is no direct CPU fan, however there are 2 adjacent system exhaust fans (as you can see from the pictures). I run my Q9300 undervolted to 1.08V, but at 2.9GHz without a hitch in this configuration. I have only 1 intake fan (cooling the my 4 HDDs primarily), so it's a negative pressure arrangement and works great. Temps max out around 55C for the CPU, so the newer 45nm Processors even in quad-core configuration can definitely be "passively" cooled.

Image

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:02 pm

This is Silent PC Review and the OP is talking about fanless systems. The first reply addresses this but the rest does not. A system with three TriCool fans is not a fanless system; it's not even a quiet system by SPCR standards. Many people here have systems with just one or two very quiet fans. You could almost call that the norm here.

So please, stay on topic people. :)

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Re: Is fanless possible?

Post by ryboto » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:42 pm

Tobias wrote:Hello all!
Also, dissabling unused funtions in BIOS, will that affect powerdraw? Or is the powerdraw of the periferal chips (extra network, sound card etc) negligent? So if the powerdraw isn't insignificant and BIOS settings will not change it, then one is limited trying to juggle undervolting potential and extra features which isn't needed.

oh, and the challenge? Well, on the rest of my wanted list there is an SSD drive, a picopsu or similar, a thermalright IFX14 with the HR-10 addenda and a spacy chassi with an empty PSU mounting bracket at the top...
This will be an interesting build :D If I can find my mobo, that is:)

Any tips and ideas, and most of all, any good mobos, please let me know. (oh, and I'm a bit weak towards AMD, but not a fanboy. If it can be proven that an Intel CPU with mobo will total lower power, I'm open to the idea:)
I think you could go AMD or intel, the difference being your budget. You'd probably be best to get a single core brisbane, or the cheapest X2 brisbane with a 780g, or 740g board. For Intel, I'm not sure. Maybe a E5200 and a G45/43 board. .

As for the BIOS, disabling things might help, but it might be immeasurable. I disable devices I'm not going to use just so the system doesn't have to load a hardware driver.

An SSD and PicoPSU will be a must for silence. Why have you chosen the IFX14? I know it's gigantic, but I think a Ninja or HR-01+ would be much better suited for fully passive use.

ST
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Post by ST » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:03 pm

Vicotnik wrote:This is Silent PC Review and the OP is talking about fanless systems. The first reply addresses this but the rest does not. A system with three TriCool fans is not a fanless system; it's not even a quiet system by SPCR standards. Many people here have systems with just one or two very quiet fans. You could almost call that the norm here.

So please, stay on topic people. :)
Funny, who was talking about 3 Tri-cool fans? More to the point, maybe instead of quibbling over other suggestions, you could add your own? If you are referring to my system, posting about potential possibilities with two working fans that easily deleted is well within the norm of "SPCR standards" especially when they were of the YL variety (not sure where you got the 3rd one from). :roll:

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Post by frenchie » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:29 pm

Totally fanless is not possible IMO with a ''normal'' build. I'll need some kind of device to move some air around the components.
With a Ninja or an HR-01 and a bottom intake PSU you could probably get away with an almost fanless system but you'll have a fan... :?
There was a discussions somewhere on this forum about this... try searching for bluefront's posts... I think he tried going totally fanless using just convection...
I also remember some other posts about this around the web... Most included a MASSIVE home made heatsink (not sure how low clocked the systems were...)

good luck and let us know what you end up doing !! (and pics please ;) )

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Post by Vicotnik » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:48 am

ST wrote:Funny, who was talking about 3 Tri-cool fans? More to the point, maybe instead of quibbling over other suggestions, you could add your own? If you are referring to my system, posting about potential possibilities with two working fans that easily deleted is well within the norm of "SPCR standards" especially when they were of the YL variety (not sure where you got the 3rd one from). :roll:
It was not my intention to be rude so if I ruffled a few feathers then I am sorry. It's just that I find this thread interesting since completely fanless (and pumpless) in a way is the "final frontier" of silent computing. I did not add anything on topic since IsaacKuo already had pointed out the problems I see today with 100% fanless.

robb99 mentioned three Tri-cool fans. And if I'm not mistaken there is a total of three fans in your system (intake, exhaust and PSU).

And again, I mean no disrespect. Your system is very nice, just not relevant to this thread.

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Post by ryboto » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:14 am

frenchie wrote:Totally fanless is not possible IMO with a ''normal'' build.
You're correct, unless you have a case designed for convection cooling. The other option is going case-less, I remember one user around here mounting their system to the back of a desk.

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Post by jaganath » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:46 am

completely fanless (and pumpless) in a way is the "final frontier" of silent computing
fanless and pumpless, all you are left with is normal convection. this forces you into a very restricted thermal envelope (<20W), even with ingenious design and large heatsinks. I count heatpipes as pumps, so really it would be very difficult without heatpipes. if you search for "0dBA" in posts by the user Endosteel, you will see what has to be done to turn a "normal" computer fanless. if the pump is silent, why do we worry about it? for example the "bubblepump" in the Akasa Revo (SilentFlux) makes no noise AFAIAA, so excluding this kind of pump seems a bit perverse. that particular heatsink claims it can run fanless with moderate power-consuming CPU's, so there would be no reason to exclude it from a fanless, noiseless build.

Tobias
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Post by Tobias » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:46 am

Good to see there are some action in this thread:)

Maybe I should explain where I am comming from, to give you an idea of what I'm going for.

My current rig is an undervolted AMD X2 4200 (Newcastle I think) with a 7600GS gfx. To cool this baby I'm using an nexus modded Zalman 300A and a thoroughly undervolted 120mm fan doing some 600 revs. The loudest component in my system is by far my Harddrive. The powerdraw from the wall is some 60W at full load.

My challenge is to improve this:)

The aim is make it more quiet at idle. I don't mind some noice while I play a game or play some music.

The basis of the plan is to get low power components and only the necessities to keep the total cooling need down. Concidering that, for instance, a DVD player may be passively cooled while pulling 40+W from the wall, 30-something watts should be in the neighbourhood to cool passively.

The basic idea I have is to get the biggest baddest CPU Heatsink I can find (thus the IFX14, but don't forgett the HR-10 which will add extra fin area, but that can be used with the HR-01+ as well), a gfx fitted with an accelero S1 and opening up the PCI-slots at the bottom of the case and leave the PSU spot (in a normal case with top-mounted PSU) empty to let the air move in/out there. I'd also install some type of paper duct from the bottom vents to the gfx and from the two CPU-coolers to the PSU-exhaust.

And I guess I would install a rear end case fan operated by speedfan or other to start as soon as the CPU starts to heat up. (I want to install it out of the way for the convection air rising in the case as it would hamper airflow).

Frenchie: I'm aware of bluefronts work, although I have not seen anything recent. My main gripe used to be that I didn't have the time nor the tools to recreate his work.

Jaganath: That is a very good question:) Why do it the hard way? Well, first off, let me just say that I'm fine with heatpipes. They are not moving, so therefore makes no sound:) Second, you have to remember that for me, it is a matter of the challenge. I really am happy with my current system, both the performance and the sound level of it. I simply have an itch I want to scratch:) Thanks for bringing up Endosteel, btw, to bad the links to the photos in his post doesn't work for me:(

What do you guys think of the upcomming Kuma core (X2 6500)? or, as this build will probably not happen until early next year perhaps, any educated guesses on how AMDs 45nm parts might perform?

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Post by Vicotnik » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:24 am

jaganath wrote:
completely fanless (and pumpless) in a way is the "final frontier" of silent computing
fanless and pumpless, all you are left with is normal convection. this forces you into a very restricted thermal envelope (<20W), even with ingenious design and large heatsinks. I count heatpipes as pumps, so really it would be very difficult without heatpipes. if you search for "0dBA" in posts by the user Endosteel, you will see what has to be done to turn a "normal" computer fanless. if the pump is silent, why do we worry about it? for example the "bubblepump" in the Akasa Revo (SilentFlux) makes no noise AFAIAA, so excluding this kind of pump seems a bit perverse. that particular heatsink claims it can run fanless with moderate power-consuming CPU's, so there would be no reason to exclude it from a fanless, noiseless build.
I don't count heatpipes as pumps and I don't know much about Akasa Revo. My experience with water cooling is limited to my own water cooled systems 5+ years ago. Eheim 1048 and the like. If a pump is completely noiseless (and extremely reliable) then I have no problem with such a pump. But then again I have no problem with a (near) silent fan either.

Completely fanless and "solid state" would be the dream though. No moving parts at all (excepting perhaps heatpipes).

Wasn't there some server or the like that was fanless or near fanless with normal convection as the main cooling? I don't remember the company that made them, will try to find the link.
Tobias wrote:My current rig is an undervolted AMD X2 4200 (Newcastle I think) with a 7600GS gfx. To cool this baby I'm using an nexus modded Zalman 300A and a thoroughly undervolted 120mm fan doing some 600 revs. The loudest component in my system is by far my Harddrive. The powerdraw from the wall is some 60W at full load.

My challenge is to improve this:)

The aim is make it more quiet at idle. I don't mind some noice while I play a game or play some music.
Sounds like you're not looking for fanless at all, but just a normal SPCR-like system. Your current system should be cool enough with just large heatsinks and a single controlled fan in the PSU.

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Post by Alpha60 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:31 am

As i posted in some other thread a while ago,I run a completely fanless system.

Antec minuet chassi. Simply disconnected the fan in the PSU... Outside is cool to the touch and still running almost a year later.

Gigabyte G33M DS2 motherboard.

E2160@1.4Ghz (0.85V bios, 0.80V lm-sensors), standard cooler without fan.

Western digital 6400AAKS drive and 2x1gb ram.

Since I use it as a server Im not going to power it down to measure power draw. IIRC it was something like 35W ilde 55W full load. Max cpu temp is something like 60C with mprime x2 according to lm-sensors. Guess convection cooling is enough.

hddtemp /dev/sda
/dev/sda: WDC WD6400AAKS-00A7B0: 49°C

sensors
in0: +0.80 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in1: +1.94 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in2: +3.34 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in3: +2.94 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in4: +0.00 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in5: +0.00 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in6: +0.05 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in7: +3.09 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.08 V)
in8: +3.15 V
fan1: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan2: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan3: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
temp1: +48.0°C (low = +127.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = transistor
temp2: +34.0°C (low = +127.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = thermal diode
temp3: -2.0°C (low = +127.0°C, high = +127.0°C) sensor = transistor
cpu0_vid: +0.000 V

coretemp-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 0: +42.0°C (crit = +85.0°C)

coretemp-isa-0001
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 1: +44.0°C (crit = +85.0°C)

Tobias
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Post by Tobias » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:54 pm

Vicotnik wrote: Sounds like you're not looking for fanless at all, but just a normal SPCR-like system. Your current system should be cool enough with just large heatsinks and a single controlled fan in the PSU.
I'm going for fanless alright:) I allready have an SPCR-like system, this is different:) I built it while I lived in Uppsala a few years ago (I registered to the forums more than 4 years ago). I thought that mentioning a PSU-mod using the infamous 80mm Nexus fan would be a dead give away:)

As I said, this build is different. I don't build because I'm going nuts over my system, I'm building for fun. For the challenge of going fanless :)

Alpha60
That sounds great! So then it is doable:) I take it that you run with the Integrated Graphics Card on that mobo?
Have you made any mods at all, or just cramed it into a case like normal and disconnect all fans? Are you running with the computercase intact? (All sides on?)

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Post by ST » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:32 am

Vicotnik wrote:
ST wrote:And again, I mean no disrespect. Your system is very nice, just not relevant to this thread.
I guess you misunderstand or do not comprehend the relevancy. I've played with a quite a few 45nm Intels now including 3 Yorkfields and 2 Wolfdales. They run very, very cool (especially the wolfdales) and when undervolted can be readily passively cooled via a nice HSF setup like a Scythe Ninja Rev. A. I posted my system to showcase this, but as you can see, I have a more complex system than normal with 3-4 HDDs, which necessitated more cooling. Run the same configuration with a single SSD or a 2.5" notebook drive and you would immediately alleviate most of the fan requirements. Swap out the actively cooled PSU with something like the new SST Nightjar 450W fanless PSU and you're in SPCR nirvana. So, it's not as difficult like in yesteryear to get a basically silent system, it just takes the right component, some tweaking of the bios, and $$$.

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Post by Alpha60 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:26 am

Tobias wrote: That sounds great! So then it is doable:) I take it that you run with the Integrated Graphics Card on that mobo?
Have you made any mods at all, or just cramed it into a case like normal and disconnect all fans? Are you running with the computercase intact? (All sides on?)
Using integrated graphics. Case more or less intact (had to create a soft rubber hd-mount), standing upright. If I hold my hand over the (now emtpy) 80cm fanhole, I can feel hot air rising through it. My guess is it could probably handle a really low power discrete graphics card if I needed one.

I could probably lower the CPU-temperature (or up the voltage and freq) quite a bit by exchanging the (half height) 2160 stock cooler for something bigger.

I did this fanless thing mostly for fun. I guess, in terms of actual noise, there wouldnt be much difference if I had one 80cm in the PSU<500rpm and one more in the case.

Tobias
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Post by Tobias » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:55 am

I am beginning to lean towards the conclusion that an Intel chip might be better for this, even though total power of CPU + Motherboard may be a bit higher.

Of course, Alpha60's build is a pretty good pointer, but I was also thinking that it is a question of how the power dissipation is spread out in the computer.

So with an Intel system the "power concentration" is lower. I mean that with AMD the CPU amount for alot more of total power draw than in an Intel system an thus the CPU becomes much more critical with an AMD system.

So with a good mobo with alot of HeatSinks, like the MSI boards suggested above, one can use more HeatSinks to dissipate the total power dissipation.

I think this is very doable, even for chips abit more powerful than the E2160 quoted above. It will be fun to try:) And to see if a discrete graphics card can be added as well. Maybe even a somewhat higher powered gfx if one lets a fan start spinning when gaming commence, perhaps :P

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:16 am

there are many things that make a system impossible to be fanless

one of them is an intel setup. yeah, there you go.

Video chipsets for amd use a 55 nm process. and, as far as I know, also the north and new 700 southbridges use them as well.

amd's have on die mem controllers so no extra taxing of the board.

dual core is not feasible for fanless.

amd makes some nice boards for dirt cheap and cpu's for dirt cheap that can be undervolted even further.

45nm single core intel's would draw very little but the total power sux.

It is EASIER to cool a cpu than chipsets. cpu's have a large square area to them, and have millions of choices for fanless cooling. a no fan system can get intel chipsets quite hot.

Personally, I dont think a fanless system makes any sense at all. one fan at 500rpm could make a system go from 55 C to 40 C or lower. I would have problems moreso figuring out HD silencing.

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