Quiet cooling advice needed :-) (1 Viewer)

sirdandric

Portal Member
February 23, 2006
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Well, still thinking about a HTPC, and i'm now thinking about the Ahanix MCE-302 case.

First i need some advice about Power Supply. I would like a real quiet PSU, but probably not fanless, since everything will become too hot the inside (and they are quiet expensive). I've been looking around and now came down to these 3:
- Zalman ZM300B-APS, 300W
- Tagan TG330-U01, 330W
- Nexus NX-3000, 300W
Anyone has any advice about which to choose or about other PSU's that are even quieter/better? (since i want to use the MCE-302 case, i can't use PSU's with a 120mm fan on the top/bottom of the cooler. I think 300W should be enough for what i want).

And second, any advice about the CPU cooler. Since this is a low-profile case, it can't be too high. I will need a cooler that fits on a 939 socket (Athlon 64 3000+ or 3200+ processor). And it should be quiet. The ones i found that could be used and should be quiet:
- Cooler Master Susurro
- Thermaltake Silent 939 K8 CL-P0200
- Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu (but this one is incompatible with the motherboard that i wanted to use)
So you guys have any advice about this? Or suggestions? (keep in mind the low-profile case).

And one more question: There is a 80mm fan on this case. Maybe i will pick a replacement fan if this one makes too much noise. Any advise about real quiet 80mm fans?

Thanks for the help!
 

ASiDiE

Retired Team Member
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  • January 14, 2005
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    I have been using www.silenx.com in my computer and HTPC. They are very quite... around or under 14 dBA. Like niekh said... check out silentpcreview and see what they recommend.

    I also use silenx fans... they are super quiet. One thing I need to point out... my case is PRETTY hot. There is a trade off when going super quiet. Everything is working pretty good accept my skystar 2 card. Some of the cards are known for basically just shutting down. I used to have a PCI Slot fan, but it was cheap and started to make noise. To solve my skystar 2 problem, I run a program that resets it every 30 minutes. This way it is always ready to record when I need it to.
     

    Tech Geek

    Portal Pro
    January 29, 2006
    354
    0
    Denver, CO USA
    sirdandric said:
    And second, any advice about the CPU cooler. Since this is a low-profile case, it can't be too high. I will need a cooler that fits on a 939 socket (Athlon 64 3000+ or 3200+ processor). And it should be quiet. The ones i found that could be used and should be quiet:
    - Cooler Master Susurro
    - Thermaltake Silent 939 K8 CL-P0200
    - Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu (but this one is incompatible with the motherboard that i wanted to use)
    So you guys have any advice about this? Or suggestions? (keep in mind the low-profile case).

    And one more question: There is a 80mm fan on this case. Maybe i will pick a replacement fan if this one makes too much noise. Any advise about real quiet 80mm fans?
    I have a Thermaltake Silent 939 and I really like it. In a cramped install it's nice having a protective grill over the fan. The heatpipes seem to make the cooler more efficient even though it isn't large. And it's very quiet. I really don't see a need to use something huge like a Zalman.

    Thermaltake has another model you should consider. It doesn't have heat pipes or a protective grill but if you can deal with that it's even quieter.
    http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/cooler/retail/cl-p0296/cl-p0296.asp



    As for 80mm fans... the only way to really quiet them is throttle the speed though some are quieter than others. On quiet models you'll notice that most of the noise savings comes from running them slow.

    To throttle fans you can get a power supply that does it, can control them from the motherboard, buy a fan speed controller, buy a fan with a built in controller or just solder a resistor into the power feed line to the fan.


    Manually throttled fans or permanently throttled fans (resistor method) don't ever speed up the fan when the case gets hot. At least it's not automatic. But that may be the least expensive. If your case runs cool they are fine.

    If the fan is on an intake a fan with a built in thermal sensor won't be any better than a cheaper method since it will only sense the cool intake air. But as an exhaust fan they are great. If your power supply or motherboard has fan speed control you don't need it built in.

    In theory, controlling it from the motherboard would best because with the right software you could sense what application is running and increase cooling *before* things get too hot. If you had a high performance graphics card and were an avid gamer this could be an advantage. But I'm not sure if such an application exists and most HTPCs aren't built for high end gaming.

    Power supplies that control fan speed like my Antec work pretty well. Fans run slow unless things start to heat up and then it speeds them up. I also like the fact that if something goes wrong with a fan or it's wiring you aren't likely to ruin your motherboard.
     

    sirdandric

    Portal Member
    February 23, 2006
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    Thanks for you reply Tech Geek. I'm not sure about the Silent Boost RX K8, since it's height is 48+38=86 mm. I'm not sure how much room there is above the CPU in this case. I guess i have to check that somewhere.
     

    niekh

    Portal Member
    October 19, 2004
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    sirdandric said:
    Thanks for you reply Tech Geek. I'm not sure about the Silent Boost RX K8, since it's height is 48+38=86 mm. I'm not sure how much room there is above the CPU in this case. I guess i have to check that somewhere.
    Dunno if it's an option in your case (pun intended ;-)) but you could always open up a hole right above where the CPU sits (assuming a desktop style case here) and make some kind of duct on top of the CPU fan that seals against the case. This way your CPU will draw "fresh air" from outside the case (usually resulting in dramatic drops in CPU temp) and heightwise you will have a lot more options when picking a CPU heatsink and fan combo.

    Thermalright SI-97A fits socket 939 and accomodates a 92 or 80 mm fan. SI-120 can take a 120mm fan! Lots of tests praise the Thermalright so check it out!
     

    Tech Geek

    Portal Pro
    January 29, 2006
    354
    0
    Denver, CO USA
    sirdandric said:
    Thanks for you reply Tech Geek. I'm not sure about the Silent Boost RX K8, since it's height is 48+38=86 mm. I'm not sure how much room there is above the CPU in this case. I guess i have to check that somewhere.
    Oops... I knew that case was small but I didn't realize it was that small.
    Actually, they list it at 90.5mm on the diagram for the Silent Boost RX K8.
    The case height is listed as 85mm. So, no... wont fit! Unless you break out a dremel or metal shears! LOL But they do have the fan available separate for case cooling!!!

    The silent 939 won't fit either. Even if the case would close it wouldn't have breathing room. You'd need a case about 3 3/4" high inside to have a pencil width of room. You'll probably have to look at low profile coolers and live with a little more heat. Bummer.
     

    sirdandric

    Portal Member
    February 23, 2006
    16
    0
    The case does have air holes right above the spot where the CPU cooler is located (for fresh air intake) (see http://www.ahanix.com/images/Upload/Gallery/27_l_200561620627110966234.jpg)

    So you think that 'breathing room' is still needed then?

    And yeah, it's a small (low-profile) case.

    Hmmm, the silent 939 is 73.2 mm high, right (just saw that on the picture)? Since it also says that the heatsink is 39mm high and the fan is 20mm high... (which would add to 59mm) How much height would there normally be below a CPU-cooler? (so motherboard+processor?) Then i could have an idea which fan's would fit in this case...

    I saw on some forums that Zalman 7000b would fit in this case (and on zalman site it says that it has 62mm height, so that fits)... Maybe i should take that then and solve mainboard compatibility problems ;-)
     

    wortelsoft

    Portal Pro
    May 13, 2005
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    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Netherlands Netherlands
    I went for a cheap spire cpu cooler and replaced the standard 8x8 cm(3,2") fan with a papst 1500rpm fan (3 pin). I also replaced the power supply fan with the same fan (2 pin) .
    My graphics card has a zalman heatpipe cooler and now the whole thing is quiet enough for my taste. And I'm not willing to spend more money on passive cooled equipement.
     

    Tech Geek

    Portal Pro
    January 29, 2006
    354
    0
    Denver, CO USA
    sirdandric said:
    The case does have air holes right above the spot where the CPU cooler is located (for fresh air intake)
    The CPU "holes" are never above the CPU. Isn't there a standard for this??? If there is nobody follows it.

    So you think that 'breathing room' is still needed then?
    If the holes line up you just need enough clearance so the case doesn't hit the fan.

    Hmmm, the silent 939 is 73.2 mm high, right (just saw that on the picture)? Since it also says that the heatsink is 39mm high and the fan is 20mm high... (which would add to 59mm) How much height would there normally be below a CPU-cooler? (so motherboard+processor?) Then i could have an idea which fan's would fit in this case...
    My observation was by opening my HTPC case and by making a very rough measurment with a tape measure.

    I think allowing 20-25mm from bottom of case to top of CPU would be about right if the specs on the Silent 939 are correct.
     

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