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Computer Room Hot? 481

Posted by timothy
from the temperature-control dept.
Anonymous Coward writes "Here is a cool PC ventilation product I ran across. Like many faithful on here, I have multiple computers in a small room which really heat up the place. My office is a good eight degrees warmer than the rest of the house This product called R.A.C.H.A.L (Reduce Annoying Computer Heat And Loudness) vents computer exhaust into the wall, not the room. Might cut down on the electricity bills during those hot months.." Another approach: An anonymous reader writes "If your 'puter is getting to loud, you might want to consider some silent cooling. And the gang at OverclockersClub has just that. A three page review of the Zalman VGA Heatpipe Cooler. This thing is pretty nice looking, and with no power, no noise, what else could a guy ask for? Check out the review here. How come more companies don't do the "silent" thing?" Borked link fixed.
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Computer Room Hot?

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  • by mccalli (323026) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:17PM (#5027444) Homepage
    I rate ambient noise as being important to me when buying a machine, and I usually pay extra for after-market fans to keep the noise down.

    I would love manufacturers to start taking this issue more seriously. Choice of fans is important, but also the hard drives as well. Apple fans can look smug here I think - Apple do take this stuff seriously. The PC world? Not so much, and it's a real shame.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • appealing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by redtail1 (603986) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:18PM (#5027455)
    How many exhaust ports can you drill into your wall before the wallpaper starts peeling off?
  • I don't get it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:19PM (#5027467)
    Where does the heat go once it is in the wall? Won't it eventually radiate back out into the surrounding environment? That might be ok if your goal is only to reduce the temperature gradiant between the computer room and the rest of the building but overall I don't see how this is going to reduce the amount of heat inputted into the building.

    Unless we are talking about an exterior wall, in which case it SHOULD be well insulated but you never know.

    Hmmm... wonder how those roaches and other critters living in the wall are going to enjoy a blast of heat from my power supply fan? KFC (Kentucky Fried Cockroach) anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:22PM (#5027498)

    Hey Ian, speaking of loud and hot kinda reminds me of last night, right "Tex?" When I woke up this morning my heair was stuck to the sheets from all out sum flying around! Looking forward to this weekend - I bought a new tub of anal lube.
  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:23PM (#5027500)
    The cavity at any given point in your wall, if it's to code, is about two cubic feet, surrounded by wood and plaster. Unless you had a magically powerful fan in your PC you won't be getting any circulation at all, because you're pressurizing a fixed cavity. Furthermore, the tube isn't insulated. This is a really silly idea. However, if you vented it *outside*, then you're talking something useful.

    --Mike
  • by guido1 (108876) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:40PM (#5027698)
    Agreed. My work machine is a Dell tower, and I can't hear it above the background noise of the office. Heck, my keyboard makes more noise than it does.

    However, you can really hear my home-built machine wind up.

    So did sound actually make it indo Dell's design considerations (the GX150 is targeted towards corporate settings), or is the background noise of my office too loud?
  • Re:My house... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kendric (634134) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:54PM (#5027832)
    My computer that I am typing on is in my bedroom and I love it. My room is on the north west corner of the building and so the wind just tears through it, making it colder then usual. We have a water heater that puts warm water through pipes, and my room is last on the line so I get very little heat from that. It used to be that in winter my bed sheets would freeze to the wall, and the ambient temp was about 15 celcius. Now I got a P4 computer and that made my room a nice cool tolerable temp. Even now I run seti to keep the computer cycling and creating heat.
  • Re:My apartment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shepd (155729) <slashdot.org@ g m a i l . com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:55PM (#5027836) Homepage Journal
    >What are you running there to generate that much of an electric bill?

    He probably lives in the US. I got flamed last time for discussing the old "is it cheaper to leave the lights on?" idea because it was so hard to believe that I only pay $0.0275 US / kwh... IIRC, a "normal" computer only costs about $2.50 USD per month to run in Canada.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomhudson (43916) <.moc.nosduh-arab ... .nosduh.arabrab.> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:56PM (#5027855) Journal
    You can buy a dryer exhaust kit and vent your box to the outside world, for less. And the dryer exhaust kit comes with a little flapper valve that will keep the cold air from coming in when the box is down, and also keep the birds out, etc.

    Or you can open a window :-)

  • by jhoffoss (73895) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:02PM (#5027899) Journal
    These are generally designed for closets, enclosures etc. anyway though. And all our racks at my employer are in our server room which has it's own [very large] air conditioning unit. (At least large for 5 racks and 2 SANs.) So the sound from the fan in our Cisco switches are negligable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:14PM (#5027988)
    Don't most houses (unlike my apartment) have an air intake inside of each room? Instead of hooking it up to the wall, attach it to the intake inside the room, and spread it over the rest of the house.

    In fact, I wonder if you could use something like a central vaccuum system to be the cooling fan for all of your machines, just make sure you have dust filters on the front of the machines.

    At least the noise would be out of the room.
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:14PM (#5027989)
    "The only valid application I can think of is for some commercial office space, where usually cheap extruded steel studs hold up sheetrock and the wall tops are open to the space above a drop ceiling."

    Nope.

    I'm a project manager for a construction company (full time) and this concept doesn't pass the laugh test.

    Any space used to move air is considered a plenum space, and as such there are various code requirements involved - fire rated cabling, etc. Not to mention mold problems and totally screwing up the air balance.

    Besides which, commercial spaces already have air returns, and the air flow is (supposed to be) calculated to compensate for all the office equipment.

    I can say with a perfectly straight face that if a client offered to pay extra to have these installed, I'd refuse. If my hand was forced, I'd do it under written objection and refuse to warrant the installation.

    As for home use, don't make me laugh. Not in my house.
  • by MallardDuck (543832) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:20PM (#5028056)
    I actually thought about this since my computer has been warming the room and there is a central vac opening very close to the computer. What you need to do is to have a flapper valve that requires a greater amount of pressure to operate than the computer fan creates. When you aren't using the central vac, the flap stays out of the way and the PC air goes into the vacuum system. In my case, out into the garage. When the vacuum kicks on, the increased pressure differential causes the flap to close so you don't suck the computer's guts into the vacuum canister. The key is to have a properly sized hole in the flap so that you get the same amount of airflow with the flap closed and the vacuum running as you do with it open and the vacuum turned off.

    It never got important enough to me to mess with it, especially since I can fairly easily vent my air out into a part of the attic and still leave the vacuum port available for actual vacuuming.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:41PM (#5028221)
    Some old style apartments, like mine, used to have centralized vacuuming. Basically instead of purchasing a vacuum cleaner, a tube would be inserted into a wall socket and it would activate a vacuum located in the laundry room.
    The entire place is like this...I wonder if I could use my pc's to heat the building..heheheh...(they are all linked so it could be workable.)
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:49PM (#5028277)
    What we really need is a total ventilation system for the computer, in which both the intake and exhaust vents are connected to the outside or inside by ducts with motorized doors, and controlled by a microcontroller with inside and outside temperature sensors. When the temperature is cold outside, the system draws air into the computer from outside, and exhausts it into the house; allowing the computer to stay very cold but also help heat the house. In the summer it reverses, drawing cooler air-conditioned air from inside the house, and exhausting the hot air outside.

    The case needs to be redesigned a little though, so that air intake and exhaust are both on the back; a hose attached to the front of the case would look pretty ugly.
  • as a home owner... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:54PM (#5028316) Homepage Journal
    this is woefully unimpressive, and uninspired.

    first off, with 16" on center stud walls, constructed of 2x4s, and an average studheight of 92 and 5/8ths inches, you can see that the volume inside a stud wall "cell" is pretty piss poor - roughly 5800 cubic inches.

    There are a few issues that make this "solution" stupid.

    1) the heat doesn't go anywhere. there should be a correspondingly large diameter cut out in the top plate of the wall, so that the air can escape in the attic (where it might do some good, as the attic is cold and properly ventilated, unlike the interior of a wall)

    2) there may be cold water supply pipes in wall. do you want to heat your cold water ? especially if they're copper pipes with a very effective heat transfer characteristic

    2a) there may be runs of NM-B (romex) electrical cable in that wall cell. The ampacity of electrical wire is a function of its rated capacity, and while most ampacity ratings are given up to 70C, if this thing were _seriously_ efficient at cooling a computer, then it would perhaps begin to cause problems with in-wall structures

    3) how does the national fire code feel about stuffing heat into closed interior walls (made of flame-retardant drywall, typically)

    4) if the excess heat it dispells isn't enough to cause any code violations, then it clearly isn't sucking enough heat to be worth installing

    5) this does little to eliminate the overall heat+noise of _systems_

    My idea for this was to find an abandoned refrigerator, or better yet, freezer, and just putting whole systems inside there, and then running flue-spec double-walled exhaust vent pipe elsewhere. Having all the PCs stuck inside a fridge/freezer (shut off, of course) that was properly vented should make things cool _AND_ quiet. Don't beleive me ? Try putting your battery powered alarm clock in your freezer, and see if you can still hear it once the door shuts. You want whole-system noise cancellation ? Then you need real insulation. Want to keep your office cool? then you'll need to do a lot more than putting a turbluent undersized vacuum hose on the back of your PC. ...if i ever find a fridge and hook this up, i'll be sure to post pictures :)

  • by zootread (569199) <zootread@@@yahoo...com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:08PM (#5028430)
    What, you've never been given a blow job while trying to fix a girls computer? Shit, it happen to me a few weeks ago. Granted, I was probably going to get one anyways. She was like "will you fix my computer problem?" and I was like "only if you get under the desk and give me some head."

    She was talking about coming to where I work and doing this before (one of her fantasies), but this worked out better for me and didn't cause me to lose my job. And no she wasn't my girlfriend/wife, just a hot crazy chick that likes to suck dick.
  • by tit4tat (255420) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:29PM (#5028608)
    Actually, I think it's even worse than you (Greedo) suspect. Elance appears to be a site where "freelancers" bid to provide services in response to project posts (i.e., reverse bidding). I think your google sleuthing uncovered that the anonymous poster [mailto] won the bid for this "Web Template & Graphic design" project from Computer Exhaust Systems. I wonder if submitting this Slashdot story was part of the deal and, if so, whether they got a success fee when it actually got posted!
  • Stupid Product. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:34PM (#5028644) Homepage
    Room is hot. Instead of using a large external fan or airconditioner to cool room, I will attempt to use the tiny little fan in my computer to redirect the heat it creates into a small, confined area. Nevermind that the fan was probably selected for its cheapness more than the it's ability and is probably barely capable of dealing with it's normal function.
  • Re:the tradeoff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrianH (13460) on Monday January 06, 2003 @07:43PM (#5029129)
    One of these days I'll borrow someones digital camera and throw up a website, but for now a description will have to do you:

    For the fans, I picked up a pair of Panaflo 120MM Ultra Quiets (PanaFlo L1A P/N:FBA12G12L1A). These are great fans for a low noise setup because they move a LOT of air with practically zero noise. I mounted these inside the front of my case (below the fdd) by cutting two large holes in the cases sheetmetal (many cases already have one fan mount here). Next, I picked up a 3*3 sheet of very thin sheet metal from a local HVAC supply store, and sat down with a pencil and paper to design the CPU vent. Basically, I designed a four sided, open-ended metal box that passed from the front of my case to the back. At the front, it's mounted to the fan and is the same width as the fan (this allows it to mount to the fan boltholes, and prevents air leakage. From there it tapered down to the width of my CPU heatsink at the CPU mount, and continued on to the back of the case at that width (picture an odd looking square funnel in your mind, with a few kinks to get everything to line up). Once I had my sketch, I glued it onto the metal, cut the sheet in the appropriate places, and bent it to create the finished box (take your time and do this right, sheetmetal is unforgiving if you bend it wrong, and it can be VERY sharp). I then cut a square hole midway down the vent for my CPU heat sink, and closed the seam with a few sheetmetal screws. This basically gives me a square tube running from the front of my case and out the back. The fan pushes cool air into the front, and because the heatsink sticks into the vent and the air is forced through it, the hot air passes out the back. The system works very well, and my CPU temps (P4 1.6@2333Mhz), never crack 55C under full load.

    Here's THE most imporant step to the project: After test-fitting the duct, I picked up a can of rubberized tool dip-insulator (PlastiDip) from the local hardware store (dayglow yellow). Mechanics and electricians buy this stuff to dip their metal handled tools in in order to protect against electrical shock or heat transfer, but I used it to keep the metal duct from shorting anything, and to provide a little extra sound dampening (keeps the vent sides from vibrating with the airflow). I'd suggest buying enough to dip the whole thing, but if you're short on cash you can just pour it over the outside (I've heard that there are spray-can versions, but I couldn't find them). After it has hardened, take a brush to the inside and make sure your seams and any protruding edges are also coated to smooth out any spots that might impede airflow (and generate noisy vibrations.)

    The second fan sits in a much simpler five sided sheetmetal box. This box just has vent flaps cut into it that direct the air to specific parts of the case. For spots further away from the fan, small tubes were fabricated from the sheet metal and pop-riveted on above the vents in order to "aim" the air at a specific spot. This targeted cooling means that the overall case temperature is a little higher, but that the items I'm really worried about (RAM, video chipset, mobo chipset) get all the air they need. After the fabrication was done and the second box was tested, it was treated to the same dip-insulation as the first vent.

    Couple this with an Enermax Whisper power supply, and you've got a silent computer that runs pretty cool. The whole project, BTW, it took me about a week to finish, and about $50 worth of materials. If you don't have sheet metal shears and a smooth faced hammer (for folding the metal) it might cost you a little more.
  • Re:My apartment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Monday January 06, 2003 @07:56PM (#5029219) Journal
    Welcome to California... The power went out twice last night alone, and that's while I'm paying $150 in electric bills (for two people).

    I'm on a mad dash to crop the power-usage in my home, and the first casualty was my Athlon desktop and 19" CRT, in favor of a notebook.

    Next, I'm thinking of replacing my lights with candles, and putting the frame of my TV around my window. I'll just tell everyone it's permanently tuned to the "Bird Watching" channel.
  • by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108@bellsout[ ]et ['h.n' in gap]> on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:35PM (#5030391)
    The problem is, most of the heat would probably have radiated out of the water on the long trip to the toilet (unless your comp is in the bathroom). It'd still heat up your house. Furthermore, the long distance the tubes have to travel increases the risk of failure. It would also make it harder to notice when something goes wrong. If your water supply fails you can lose your processor and burn out the pump. I see no benefits you wouldn't get from a very small radiator mounted out of sight on your desk.
  • by lukme (638428) on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @02:09AM (#5030840)
    Heat travels from hot areas to cold areas.

    This won't work for the same reason why you can't make an airconditioner with only an inside unit (you need the outside unit as the heat sink).

    Now, if your computer room/home office is in a basement, geothermal cooling could work.
  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @04:58AM (#5031223)
    One problem is going to be that the lukewarm water in the cistern will promote mould growth and possibly legionella bacteria. Additionally, if you live in a hard water area then calcite will foul the inside of the CPU water block, making it less effective. The big cold water cistern in your loft (if you have one) would be better anyway - there's about 80 gallons in mine and it would take rather a long time to heat that to any appreciable extent.

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