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The Neverending Silent PC Project

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This began as a simple project to quiet my screamingly loud PC. The end result was a completely different beast than I started out with. It was alot more work, but I'm quite happy with the results.

This site is a temporary measure. I'm in the process of writing an in-depth review of the construction of my system, but given my complete lack if free time lately this is going to serve as a stop-gap measure. (I'm currently working on my Master's of Architecture Thesis, while working full time)

So for now I'll just post some pics for feedback. Any comments, questions, or ideas are much appreciated.

The problems I had with my original computer were twofold. It was way too noisy, and it took up valuable desk space.  I tried moving it to the floor under the desk, but that didn't help the noise any, and it seemed to trap much more heat when it was down there.  So I came up with the idea of moving it onto the printer shelf of my desk.  This was a useless little sliding shelf, only 14" wide, nowhere near wide enough for the printer that I have.  But the space is also only 14" tall, too short for almost any ATX case.  After searching in vain for a case that would fit, I decided I would just build my own.


And here's the result.


This is what it looks like outside the desk.  The front and back are 1/2" MDF, and the bottom is the 3/4" particle board of the orginal shelf.  One immediate benefit of this case is the natural noise dampening of the wood.


Here's a profile shot showing how the internals relate to each other.


And one of the back. The back plate, motherboard tray, drive rack, and power switch were all cannalbalized from an old case.


The drives up front are a Pioneer DVD-rom and a Teac 40x CD burner.  The hard drive is a Maxtor D740x 40Gig, with liquid bearings, that I've sandwiched, sidesinked and suspended.  Hanging the HDD below the drive cage is a fairly new mod.  It puts it right in the airflow path and reduced my hard drive temps by about 8C.


The graphics cards are pair of geforce2's. The AGP one on the right is a Ti.  Its been modded with an old celeron heatsink.  The fan above it is an 80mm Papst at 7 volts, blowing upwards so as to not fight against the natural convection.  The PCI graphics card on the far left is a Geforce2 MX, stock with its passive heatsink.  Both cards are running overclocked. 
In this pic you can also see the modded Enermax PSU.  I removed both the stock fans and replaced the 92mm with a Papst, also running at 7 volts.  I closed off the other vent holes to prevent warm air being recirculated back into the case.  (Since this picture was taken I've replaced the ghetto-tastic masking tape with a sheet of aluminum mounted inside the PSU housing to block the vents)


But the most important part of this silencing project has been the CPU cooling.  The processor is an  XP1900+, undervolted to 1.6 volts.  The heatsink is a Zalman 6000Cu.  The big fan is a 120mm Panaflo.  It's thermally controlled, with the thermosistor being epoxied to the top of the heatsink. When the machine's in standby the fan runs at about 4 volts or so, and cranks up about 7 under full load.  The key to making this work is the duct.  I made it from acrylic.  It forces the air to move parallel the surface of the fins, increasing the efficiency of the heatsink.  The 120mm and the 92mm in the power supply are the only fans exhausting air from the case.



The temperature specs are:  (assuming 24C ambient)
 CPU: 42
 Case: 33
 HDD: 38
 CPU: 60
 Case: 35
 HDD: 43

Questions or comments? You can send me e-mail at: