Core 2 Stacker, a few fans

Show off your quiet rig.

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Core 2 Stacker, a few fans

Post by MamiyaOtaru » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:07 am

None of you know me yet, but this site was a big inspiration as I assembled my new PC, so here's the finished product, crit welcome.

Core 2 6600 (Scythe Ninja)
Gigabyte ga-965g-ds3 (Thermalright HR-05 on NB)
leadtek px7900gt tdh
2x1gb Corsair ddrII-800
Aerocool Zerodba 620w
Western Digital Caviar 250gb @ 7200rpm
Diamond Xtreme sound 7.1 DDL
6 Scythe S-Flex FDB fans, 1200 RPM at full
Sunbeam Rheobus

The Zerodba has no Active PFC, which is too bad, but it is very quiet. There is a knob at the back that lets me decide at what temperature I would like the fan to turn on. It runs just above 60, and so is off if I select I higher temp, though I can't hear a difference. Having it suck air from the ground instead of the CPU helps keep its temps down.

All the fans in one shot. The 80mm fan at top has since been removed. It's cage is nice for routing cables. HR-05 visible under the Ninja.

Having that many fans lets them all spin at a slower speed, and are there anticipating a passive GPU cooler, perhaps from Aerocase (who are in my state :) )

The Core 2 is plenty cool. The fan on the front of the Ninja is controlled by the Mobo, and runs around 215 RPM, if at all. The rear fans provide plenty of cooling themselves, with the front Ninja fan there mainly in case some idiot plays with the fanbus and turns off my rear fans.

The temperature reported in the BIOS and by Speedfan/LM-Sensors is about 16 degrees cooler than that reported by Intel's Thermal Analysis Tool. According to TAT the CPU idles at 32-35 and around 50 under load. Here's a shot of the interesting bios reading. Note the CPU fan hasn't bothered spinning up yet.

The front of the machine, showing the three front intake fans. The bottom fan passes air over the hard drive, and is controlled by knob 1 on the rheobus. The other two are on knob 2, with the two rear fans on knob 3. Knob 4 is for the internal cold cathode [/rice]. The fans all run at around 7v, with the bus allowing a range of off to 12v. Speaking of the hard drive, its temperature (as reported by hddtemp) hovers around 29-31c.

The assembled machine. The front panel USB cables vex me. They weren't long enough to route around the back :( Here the Aerocool's modular cabling helps reduce clutter. I should have snagged an SATA optical drive instead of the IDE one I have. The smaller cable would have been nice, and it would have saved me a headache with the linux drivers (jm363 support only recently stabilized in kernel 2.6.18, released a few days ago).

The rats nest of cables around the fan bus. Pretty much the ugliest area of the interior. The heat from the fanbus (not PWM) exists in theory, but I can't detect it with the scientific method of sticking my hand in and seeing if the air feels warmer.

All the fan cables are relatively well tucked away though, and that area is not visible with the window on. I replaced the original side panel (the one with the huge circular vent) for noise and looks, and to keep the wind tunnel intact, without airflow being short circuited by an opening on the side.

I don't understand why the window is so far forward though: it hides half the PCI cards and the Ninja, and I don't really care about seeing the side of the drive bays ??

Still to do: passive cooler for the GPU. It's pretty quiet now (at least once the driver is loaded, before which, during boot, it spins full speed). It idles around 44 degrees now, without making a lot of noise, which isn't all that bad, so it can probably handle a passive cooler. Still deciding which one. I would have bought the Condor, but I worry about the weight, and so far they've been pretty unresponsive to emails. Are there other coolers with similar performance?

I may also add some dampening material, and try to find a way to suspend the HD. It would have to be sideways, there is no extra room in its cage, which also supports a front fan, making its removal tricky. Is sideways an issue? My external USB drive seems to do fine in that orientation. Anyway, the HD is now the loudest component, though acoustic management helps (and any ill effects on performance from the slower seeks aren't noticeable to me).

Overall, this machine is very very quiet. My sister could not hear it when I held my phone an inch from the back of the case. My old machine sounded like a jet engine. Unfortunately with the new machine, it's just me and my tinnitus. At least the old machine drowned it out a bit with white noise ;)

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Post by unimatrix0 » Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:39 am

Cool set up, I like the front 3 fans idea, which at first seemed like an overkill but there is some science I guess behind those. Since you took out the grilled covers, there would be no air resistance on the front, reducing the whooshing quite nicely. And I guess if you run them at 3-5v they should be no issue.

You can have the HD sideways, it's not a problem. It's not too elegant but doable :)

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Post by vitaminc » Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:09 am

holy cow

what's the acoustic level like at night? i would imagine 6-7 120mm fans will stack up quite a bit even at 5v. :o
Athlon 64 3200+ | ASUS M2A-VM | Corsair XMS2 | 3ware 9650SE 4LPML | Seasonic SS-380HB | Antec Solo
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Post by MamiyaOtaru » Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:28 am

unimatrix0, thanks for the advice. I guess I know what I'll be doing next.
what's the acoustic level like at night? i would imagine 6-7 120mm fans will stack up

It's not bad at all. Having more of them lets them spin slower and still move more air. Since 15 db + 15 db isn't 30 db (18 in fact, with 6 * 15db < 23) the noise doesn't stack up like one might think.*

I don't have a decibel meter, but going by this decibel scale, I'm going to call it ~= 20 (@ 1 meter)**, as it is quieter than a whisper. If someone was whispering at that volume I wouldn't catch a word.

Of course, I am also coming from another world than most of the SPCRers. My previous machine, using the same scale, would come out somewhere between 65 and 75 db.** I slept with that in the room for years, and this new machine is heaven in comparison.

In the quiet/cool balance, I probably tilt more towards the cool scale than some folks here at SPCR, but I am very happy with the performance and low temperatures that accompany the very soft, low pitched noise. To sum up (since they were scattered around in my first post) the temps I get are

CPU: 32 idle, 50 load (says Intel TAT)
HD: 30
GFX: 44 idle, 44 in quake4 (the fan spins up. In fact, after exiting quake4, with the fan still going, temps drop to under 40 sometimes).

Plenty of room to edge closer to the quiet side of the scale. Of course, when the GFX fan spins up (keeping it nice and cool) is when the machine is at its loudest, which is why I'd like to start with some passive cooling for the graphics. Then onto hard drive suspension, as the seek noise stands out (I couldn't hear it over the fans in the old box, so I never knew how distracting it was)

So, I have room to improve, and having all those (big, slow) fans won't keep me from doing so, they are ghostly still next to the spun up GPU fan and the seeking hard drive. And it certainly won't keep me awake, with the CPU speedstepped down and GPU fan at minimum :)

At any rate, I'd love to hear some reactions if any of the regulars here could hear it, I'd be interested to know how it sounds to the ear of a true sedatephile. You might be horrified, who knows? That'd give me opportunities to improve the setup at least. Might have to whip out a microphone sometime.
* forgive me for stating the obvious
** sad guesstimates. They should at least express the idea that one is quiet, the other very loud :-/
Last edited by MamiyaOtaru on Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jaganath » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:29 am

Of course, I am also coming from another world than most of the SPCRers. My previous machine, using the same scale, would come out somewhere between 65 and 75 db.** I slept with that in the room for years
:shock: Yikes! I can't get to sleep unless I close all the windows to block out the noise of the motorway 5 miles away! I honestly don't know how you got to sleep with that level of noise; I suppose all of us have different tolerances for what is an acceptable amount of background noise.

Welcome to SPCR! :wink:

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Post by NyteOwl » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:40 pm

What is the small tower heatsink next to the Ninja?
Obsolesence is just a lack of imagination!

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Post by qviri » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:42 pm

That's the Thermalright HR-05 on his northbridge.
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

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Post by MamiyaOtaru » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:34 am

jaganath wrote:Welcome to SPCR! :wink:
Thanks much! Even if I don't get to the levels of silence some here have attained, I'm moving in the right direction (not hard to do after that old machine), and SPCR was the inspiration.

Yeah, that's the HR-05. Gets some flow from the bottom back fan, but feels hotter to the touch than the Ninja. Glad I didn't go with an nForce chipset, from what I understand those are well hotter than Intel's stuff.

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