A Seasonic or fanless PSU for both air AND water cooling?

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:22 am

You're safer with a fanned PSU. Assuming the Tornado is the most recent Rev.A3, it is a good choice. With your components, don't go lower than 400W to ensure you have enough current headroom on all the voltage lines.

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Post by icancam » Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:19 pm

I have a Super Tornado whose fan never speeds up even though my system uses passive heatsinks for CPU, northbridge, and video card. Even so, I still found it best to add a bottom mounted fan to increase the overall system's cooling and avoid any possibility of overheated components.

If you proceed to cool your CPU with the Zalman Reserator, which could also be used for your video card in place of the Super Silencer, then there would still be the heat generated by the hard drives and the motherboard components. Since your case is not particularly well ventilated, and you have a potential for ambient room temperatures as high as 40C, I would definitely follow Mike's recommendation and stay away from a fanless PSU. I think you would find that the noise emitted by a single fan system using a Super Tornado to be inoffensive, especially if the case is not in a direct line with your ears.

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Post by acaurora » Thu Sep 23, 2004 1:41 pm

Just to give you a word of caution: Try cooling your CPU only with the Reserator first. I'm not very knowledgable about the heat output of P4s, as I am an AMD person. From my experience with my 3200 Athlon running @ stock speeds, (Athlon XP, not 64), it provides pretty much the same air-cooled temperatures without the air-cooled associated noise. As for putting something such as a 9800, I am not sure about that. My Reserator got pretty hot after having it folding for about a week. Don't get me wrong, it's silent, and cools reasonably well. However, in my opinion having a high end GPU/CPU on the Reserator is not a very safe idea. Also, do not get the GPU block from Zalman, unless you like dealing with clamps that require you to use pliers to tighten them, rather than the simple screw-on types that Koolance offers.

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Post by icancam » Thu Sep 23, 2004 2:00 pm

Thanks, acaurora, for the cautionary remarks.

There are some people in love with silent watercooling who use two Reserators, one for the CPU, and the other for the GPU. But IMHO, even if one also had a watercooled PSU and hard drives, it would still be advisable to ventilate the components on the motherboard. To have a large margin of thermal safety would require at least one low revolution fan.

Thinking of the complications and expenses of an all-out water cooling system, as well as being skeptical about the wisdom of having liquids in close proximity to electronics, I will, at least for now, stick with system solutions that use air cooling. :)

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Post by acaurora » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:21 pm

Well what I am doing is that I have an EXOS Aluminum that I am testing wtih my 6800 Ultra and the Reserator is cooling my CPU. If you want to go cheaper, and am willing to invest some time in research, you can try a DIY. However I highly recommend you consult the WC experts in these forums as well as other places - failure to do so can result in catastrophic consequences.

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Post by icancam » Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:20 am

Just tap into this thread when you're ready. There are many ways to go about cooling and quieting a computer system and you have chosen a path that will be of interest to many of us. :)

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Post by icancam » Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:49 pm

Despite the lure of a fan less PSU, and the Antec may be the best yet, the Seasonic is probably still the safer and certainly cheaper alternative. But if you're feeling adventurish, and you are confident about properly cooling the rest of your system, then the Antec would get you closer to the ideal in terms of noise. The relatively poor airflow of your case, and those potentially hot summer days, would mean that your thermal safety zone would be narrower. You have to decide if that is a risk worth taking. Either way, you'll end up with an enviable system. :)

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Post by icancam » Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:56 pm

Sorry, but I'll have to pass on commenting on your proposed air flow changes. I have no personal experience to back me up. Furthermore, I've been in mortal fear of falling into that dreaded category of opinionated individuals whom Ralf Hutter considers to be "internet blowhards". When he made that observation he went on to state that nothing replaces direct experience. I do have a Super Tornado and so have felt reasonably confident about making a comparison between it and the Phantom PSU. If I've learnt anything, it is that each case and mix of components has unique characteristics. However, if you were to search the Forums, you'll find that people have reported on their experiences with your particular case and various experiments with reversing fan flow. Perhaps their hindsight can be your foreknowledge?
Last edited by icancam on Wed Sep 29, 2004 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Sep 29, 2004 12:07 am

Rather than making the back case fan blow in, just open the top CD bay to turn it into a passive intake. That case fan will pull in air via the shortest path -- if the HDDs are choking the bottom intake flow, then the top CD bay becomes the main intake for the back exhaust fan. This would benefit the CPU & PSU both. Reversing the back case fan will certainly mess up the flow through the case.

Actually any of the CD bays with a reasonably clear path to the back fan will do. I'd try this first.

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Post by GB Joe » Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:46 am

I may be being dim here, but won't opening up a front drive bay tend to make things noisier?

I'm currently trying to decide between the exact same two PSUs myself, so am curious to see how this pans out... Just bought an Acousticase but my old Seasonic SSF300 seems to have got really noisy - thought it was just the cheap case vibrating, but the new one doesn't seem to have helped. :cry: *sigh*

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Post by MikeC » Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:13 am

GB Joe wrote:I may be being dim here, but won't opening up a front drive bay tend to make things noisier?
Depends how much noise is in your system to begin with. With my systems, it makes virtually no difference at all -- they are on the floor under or beside by desk. None measure higher than 23-24 dBA/1m; opening the top CD bay makes max 1 dBA/1m diff. Subjectively it sounds about the same.
... my old Seasonic SSF300 seems to have got really noisy
Why not try swapping the fan out? Maybe it's bearings are worn out.

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Post by GB Joe » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:50 am

See, that kind of confirms what I had been thinking about rackmount cases. I chickened out and went the traditional tower route because opinion seemed to suggest racks were noisier, but if the innards are quiet then where's the problem? Ah well, maybe one day...

Re the PSU, I think I jumped to a hasty conclusion - I think it was the CPU fan that was making the noise, so I've ordered a Zalman 7000 AlCu to replace it. Cheaper than a new PSU, but you're right, I'll certainly consider replacing the fan if it becomes a problem.

BTW, would you believe I'm an industrial fan acoustics specialist by day?!? :shock:

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Post by GB Joe » Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:22 am

Chancellor Martok wrote:So how often do you find fans that are inaudible at 1m or 1" in the industry? Or undervolted to 5V? Or make MP3s of the sound so we can listen to it? :wink: :D
Well, our smallest standard fan is 315mm diameter - that'd probably keep the overclockers happy, but it's not really much use to most of us here! In terms of CFM, we have units that'll shift over 250,000 :P

One thing's for sure though - plenty of the stuff we do with fans inside our PCs is completely against basic best-practice principles for airflow and fan installation. I guess you have to sacrifice something if you want your case to fit in your house...

Back to the topic ( :oops: ), do you find the Tornado gets loud too quickly under load? I used to have a big problem with my Seasonic doing that until I sorted the case airflow out, but it's behaving itself very well now. I still think there may be a problem with its sensitivity - it used to go up and down as if someone was just constantly messing with the voltage control!

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Post by ascii » Mon Oct 11, 2004 5:58 am

Chancellor Martok, if you hit 40C ambient, I'm pretty sure you'll be happy you didn't go fanless! My fanless setup uses a Reserator to cool the following components:
  • Athlon 64 3000+ @ 1.3 V
    Northbridge
    Geforce 5400
    Seagate Barracude 7200.7 160 GB HDD
    Silverstone Fanless PSU
At idle, the Reserator water temperature is about 14C above ambient, CPU temperature is about 18C abode ambient and the motherboard is at about 22C above ambient.

If your ambient temperature hits 40C in the summer, your motherboard will hit about 62C at idle if your results are similar to mine. Not a good idea. :wink:

I think you made the right choice in not going completely fanless.

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Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:22 am

GB Joe wrote:I still think there may be a problem with its sensitivity - it used to go up and down as if someone was just constantly messing with the voltage control!
That's a telltale sign of some of the pre-rev.A3 versions.

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Post by GB Joe » Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:14 am

I think it's older than that! I got it before they started calling them names, it just has a number - SSF300, I think, but I'm not sure.

Anyhow, it's been okay since I got the new case and a couple of Nexus 120mm fans, I think I just need to make sure it doesn't get too hot... The Nexus fans are only on at 600rpm, cartainly can't hear them at the moment, but that may all change - I've got a Zalman 7000 sitting at home waiting for me to have time to fit it!

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