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A Few Hardware Bits 76

Zygo writes "Most people seemed to like the hardware bites so here's another edition: A small HD @ GideonTech, the VapoChill PE @ [H]ard|OCP, a big GPU cooler @ OCAddiction, PSU Relay Timer guide @ Virtual-Hideout, a water cooling kit on OverClocker Café, Heat spreaders on OCIA , and to end a PSU at Exteme Overclocking"
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A Few Hardware Bits

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  • Umm. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mehfu ( 451236 )
    Looks like a bunch of articles from the most well-known hardware sites. They wouldn't be too hard to find, and IMHO they're not very newsworthy.

    NEXT: Dell sells computers.
  • by pardasaniman ( 585320 ) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @12:08PM (#4891915) Journal
    For +5 Moderation, insert text of article here
    • The fact that this post actually gained this person +5, and I'll admit it was funny....but only funny because he actually got the +5. This should tell you people something......
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @12:13PM (#4891931) Homepage Journal
    Heat transfer is proportional to temperature difference. If our processors were running at 500 degrees, the heat (assuming equal power) would be dissipated much better. Unfortunately the chips don't like high temperatures.

    I dunno about the details of VapoChill, but in principle a refrigerator could have its 'hot end' glowing red, thereby increasing heat transfer rate. Remember that the refrigerator only moves the heat around, it doesn't eliminate it. The hot end must be cooled somehow. But unlike the processor, its temperature is not limited by the silicon.

  • by thopo ( 315128 ) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @12:16PM (#4891947)

    Perhaps they should have named the story: A Few Hardware Sites in the Arena, from the slashdot-effect-as-a-benchmark dept.
    And after only 10 posts the Overclocker Cafe was already kicked out of the ring! Whos next? Stay tuned!
  • Ram coolers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    WTF? That thing only reduced the tempreture by half a centigrade!
    • Re:Ram coolers? (Score:3, Informative)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 )
      Heat spreaders do absolutely nothing but look good inside a windowed case. They run no cooler or hotter, and noone has gotten ram to perform any better with or without them.

      Your DIMMs will actually run better with a little bit of a breeze moving stale air off of the chips than it would with a piece of aluminum stuck on with a length of sticky 'thermal' tape.

      It's just something to sell to the 'eXTreMe l337 p00ter h4xorz!'
      • Lets see you take the heat spreaders off of the memory in a system that uses RAMBUS. Wanna see what happens then? Oh, it might not fail immediatly, but there is a reason manurfacturers ship RAMBUS ram with heat spreaders onboard.
      • Re:Ram coolers? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hitzroth ( 60178 )
        I'd suspect that a heat spreader has a greater surface area than a few RAM chips. Greater surface area + decent heat conduction = better cooling. Albeit, most memory probably doesn't run hot enough for this to matter, but it is the rough equvalent of running your CPU without a heatsink. You wouldn't do that with a modern CPU, would you?
    • Re:Ram coolers? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      WTF? That thing only reduced the tempreture by half a centigrade!

      My GEIL DDR 256MB came with a spreader, it's kinda odd, as I don't think it's going to do much of a job as a heatsink, but it does afford a bit more surface area and that ram does get warm. And overclocking memory, from what I've heard, does make it run hotter, just like when you OC a CPU. Sockets being as close together as they are, I don't think there's much else that can safely be done to heatsink your memory. Many something vertical with a few blunt spines which won't cut into cables.

    • To be fair, a far better way of cooling RAM is to buy a bulk pack of stick on finned heatsinks for SOICs (or DIPs). They would need to be low profile to fit, but the finned area would be far greater than with these heat spreaders. They are also normally black, and although this will reduce the amount of heat transferred to moving air (which is essentially conduction at the surface), it will allow heat to be radiated quicker, so without forced air cooling they will be better.

      I've thought about doing it for a while because my RAM gets fairly hot. It's PC133 and it's going at 145Mhz now, but I think I could get it up to 155Mhz if I tried.

      There is still a point in overclocking as well - as my computer gets older, it's more and more economical for me to push it further just by spending £10 on a few cheap heatsinks....

      • hmm?

        i kinda thought it would be more economical to overclock on the instant you buy the computer, since price differences at that point tend to be huge(of course, assuming one does not break anything).

        i mean, old puter, it doesnt matter that much if it is 400mhz or 500mhz, it's just few bucks on the imaginary price, but when they were brand new it could easily be 200$ difference...
        • If I break a new XP2200+ chip by overclocking it, that is a lot of money. If I break my Athlon 700, it isn't, they can be picked up at under £20 now. I don't mind pushing the chip to it's limits, because of that.

          Also, now I can buy PC133 or even PC150 ram very cheaply. It's easy to push the bus further and further. I can put 1.5GB of memory in my computer for less than £150 and make it go very fast.

          To be fair, this computer I am using at the moment goes better than most others because I have a lot of memory which goes quite quickly. Not as fast as DDR or RAMBUS, but because I have more of it, no swapfile....

  • by phoxix ( 161744 )
    Am I the only one who doesn't like this over clocking stuff??

    I think what slashdot needs to do is create an "over-clocking" topic. This way for those of us like myself, we can simple block this new "over-clocking" topic, but still see nifty news in the hardware topic.

    just my 2 cents

    Sunny Dubey

    • You are not the only one who doesn't like the Over-Clocking stuff, but I was quite interested in the Water Cooling kit.

      I have a dual-Athlon MP system which has 4 fans in it:

      1 fan to inject air into the chassis (front)
      1 fan to eject air from the chassis (back)
      and 1 fan for each CPU.

      The system makes a lot of noise, and if you were to look at the Thermaltake kit you'll find that it is not designed to be an overclocking kit at all, in fact it's benchmarks did not beat fan comparisons at all.

      Unfortunately I'm still waiting for a 2 Cpu kit, so that I don't have to mess about finding a 2nd Waterblock and extra tubing for my CPUs and then worrying about whether the water pump / radiator is inadequate for cooling two CPUs...

      Even more unfortunate is that none of the Kit Manufacturers I have seen so far cater for dual CPU systems, which to me seems to be a niche in the market where Water Cooling would provide a great advantage in reducing noise levels and/or for the overclocking enthusiast.

      • Re:Count me out ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sawilson ( 317999 ) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @03:00PM (#4892729) Homepage
        My simple way of dealing with case cooling is:

        Vantec stealth 80x25 fans. They are cheap as sin,
        and really quiet. Also, I don't pull air out of the
        case at all, other than what the powersupply fans
        do. I push air into the case, and mount filters in
        front of all my fans. You can usually fit two fans
        in the front of the case pulling air in, and wedge
        a 1 dollar air conditioning filter in between the
        front fascade and the front of the case. If I need
        more cooling, I'll do a side or top fan with an
        aluminum mesh screen and trimmed air conditioner
        filter over the mesh blowing in as well. If all
        the air is blowing into the case, and it's all
        filtered, you have a lot less dust. You can get
        60mm to 80mm fan adapter kits for your processors
        and use the same vantec stealth fans to keep them
        cool. Piggy back all this with a thermaltake
        silent 360w, remove your rear fan that pulls air
        out of the case, and you have very quiet system
        that blows air out the back like a hair dryer.
        • Back in my Transport Phenomena days, we did a HW assignment on the heat transfer situation within a case. All things being equal, its usually better to blow air out of the case rather than such it in.

          It's better to have cool air sucked through over everything then really fast air pushed through a small part of the case. You're more likely to develop hotspots (dead zones) by pusing air in.

          I set the ones on the back out, and have one towards the bottom of the front pushing in. This is primarily to pull air past the HD on its way in. In the back, a 60mm & 80 mm coolmaster for the drives and the heat that rises off the PS.

          With this setup, and a coolmaster CU CPU cooler, my 1.1 runs cool. The dual 60 GB HD's are fine, and the case temp is seldem more than a few degres above room temp.

          If I switch to pushing in, I get at least 5 degres above room temp. Under heavy load, this quickly jumps to about 10+.

          It's loud, but safe.

          I'm still trying to work up the gumption to run it with some custom heat pipes and referigerator coil getup I concockted. 9 meter copper coil with a aquarium pump and a modified tt Dragon Orb heatsink.

      • you actually can get two CPU coolers on any watercooling system. all you need to do is buy a 2nd waterblock, and splice it in when setting up the system. I don't know if either of the systems mentioned here sell CPU waterblocks on their own, but I do know that koolance [koolance.com] does (that's what I'm using right now).


    • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @01:17PM (#4892204) Homepage
      What puzzles me is the way these sites all seem to be 'Extreme Overclocking' or 'Overclocking to the Max'. Where are the sites promising Moderate Overclocking or Careful Now Overclocking or Just A Little Overclocking? This area isn't provided for by current sites. I expect there is a whole mod community competing to get the smallest possible overclock.
      • If I had a site like that I'd call it "Quantum Overclocking". It sounds all cool and futuristic but it really means "overclocking by the smallest possible amount".
      • I expect there is a whole mod community competing to get the smallest possible overclock.

        Um... I wouldn't count on it. A lot of these guys seem to be engineering types. You know, "see how far it can be pushed before it breaks" kind of people. Doing "just a little" goes completely against the game plan. And is of no value whatsoever. It's like changing to high-performance spark plug wires on your Honda. Bragging rights of a sort, I guess, but doesn't really do anything useful on its own, and tends to be more hassle than it's worth.

        I don't care much for overclocking and the associated case modding, but it's great to see that there are people out there who love this kind of stuff. I'm more than happy just to marvel at the occasional inventivness and artistry.
      • A great example of eXtreme overclocking is the 4GHz P4 hack with a jar of liquid nitrogen, by the Finns at muropaketti.com (muropaketti = cereal box :). It's not something you can sustain for anything except quick penis-enhancing benchmarks.

        I'd call it moderate overclocking when people make sure the system is stable, even if they do overclock. This happens quite often, but of course it doesn't half the hype.

        • The liquid nitrogen should be under software control, so when the load average gets really high some of it pours out and the processor is overclocked to 4GHz. Perhaps a hard real-time operating system could manage this best, or a web server could do it when getting Slashdotted, or a game when there is a lot happening on screen.

          And the marketing term is ready-made: Nitro Boost.
    • Yes! You are the only one.
  • I was watching TechTV the other night and they mentioned that only XP and XP Pro will support HyperThreading. True? Seems W2K would work too.
  • I don't think you've measured the maximum capacity of a PSU until you hear a BANG!

    Nah, I hate to see electronics head for the landfill as much as the other guy. I picked up the PC Power and Cooling PSU they reviewed last time. It's doing a fine job and is quiet. Actually the loudest fan in the case is that tiny little stock AMD CPU fan, what a racket! Seems to keep the CPU cool enough (XP2600/333), but I'd like to know where I can get a quieter fan for the stock HS.

  • There are quite a few of these mini hard drive cases available. Be careful if you're buying a USB2.0 one, however.

    There are a few cheaper models which don't come with a power adapter, expecting to be powered off the USB bus. The thing is, they report their peak load demand to the system's USB power manager, which is the hard drive spinup wattage. This is higher than most USB power busses can deliver, and the result is a current over limit warning and the inability to use the drive.

    The fun comes in, because several of these use nonstandard power jacks (and in at least one case, the model hasn't an external power jack at all). You'll be left modifying the case yourself, trying to find the nonstandard power adapter, or trying to find one of the cheaper USB 2.0 cards without limit protection.

  • Is it "bit" or "bite"? It doesn't make much of a difference, it's just that one's past tense and one's not. "I'll bite your new improved video card." "I bit your new improved video card back when it was good."
  • IMHO, this is not a story that I want to see on Slashdot. There are already 343,225,988,332,112 hardware sites (most seemingly run by 13-year-old computer prodigies that have a rough time spelling), ALL of which carry the same collection of heat sink and other "enthusiast" hardware reviews. Use of Slashdot's bandwith for such redundancy is unnecessary, unless it's all part of an evil scheme to take out all 343,225,988,332,112 sites by slashdotting...leaving Slashdot to take over... If this is the case however, I'd like to note that I'd rather read about ESR (!!!) than the latest in static-lump-of-copper-with-a-noisy-ass-fan-on-top technology.

    • "News for Nerds", friend. Since there's too many of these sites to sift through, having Slashdot pull a couple from the herd is nice every once in a while, and gives those of us who think this stuff is neat, but can't spend much time on it, an idea of what's going on.

      Someone else mentioned creating an "Overclocking" or "Hardware Modding" topic so people could block if they want to. Maybe the editors would be interested in creating a referenced sub-topic structure for the stories. E.g. [computers>hardware>overclocking] and [computers>hardware>cooling] would be topic types for this story. But then Slashdot starts to turn into Everything2...

      By the way, saying "IMHO" doesn't make arrogant statements humble. It doesn't even make them sound humble. It makes one who uses it sound like a jerk who can't courteously present a thoughtful opinion. And it's redundant: anything that's not referenced as fact should be taken as opinion.
      • Good lord, chill out man. I was OK with what you said up to the final sentences, at which point your post degenerated to flame-level. IMHO means just that - and should represent to the reader the idea that "If you think otherwise, that's fine by me. This is just what I'm thinking, and I make no attempt to speak for the community as a whole." This is always my intent when I use that particular four-letter-word.

        Any other ways you may take this, including making gross assumptions about what a jerk the author is, are your loss. IMHO, such assumptions have a jerk-like quality in and of themselves.

        As with any thread I get involved in that goes flame...this will be my last post in thread. And to reinforce the "H" in "IMHO", I am chosing to forego my +1 Bonus. Have a nice day.

  • Those 'heat spreaders' are completely useless! I know that a half degree can make a world of difference in the world of technology, but if your RAM is getting hot enough where that one-half degree actually means anything, may I suggest that you quit running memory benchmarking apps for ten straight hours?

    The kid who wrote that 'review' tips his hand at the very end, as despite being good for nothing in an actual sense, these 'spreaders' offer a whole new 'look' for your computer. You know, that grey box that site under the desk all the time.

    Oh, while I'm thinking about it, watch out for my review of those fancy new red-anodized muffin tins which, although offering nothing actually beneficial to the production of muffins, does provide a whole new look to the inside of your oven. Hurray!

    • to some looks matter. not everyone keeps their beige box under their desk all day long. some of us LAN every weekend with big crowds and like to show off our rigs and modding. Granted heat spreaders dont do much OC wise, but they can add a nice finishing touch to a themed/color coordinated case.
  • Rather than wasting all that time and money, and opening up your PSU, you could just do this.

    Buy a relay, one that is rated to switch the amps you need on the switching side at 120volts (or 240 if you are from a third world country :) ) Make sure the "coil" voltage is 5 or 12 volts.

    Simply wire the coil side to your power supply's +5 or +12 and ground, and run the hot side of the power to the pump through the switching side.

    Now, was that difficult? If you want it to delay when you turn it off, use a 5V relay and get a 1farad 5V super capacitor [allelectronics.com] (the kind they use for CMOS memory backup) and wire it in parallel with the coil side, noting polarity. This will hold the relay closed for quite a while when the power is turned off (up to a minute or two), assuming the coil on the relay has sufficiently high ohmage.

    Total cost: About $4 in parts, and 10 minutes reading about ohm's law if you don't already know it.
  • Anyone have experience with and/or links to tests regarding the noise level in VapoChill and water cooling kit systems?
    • I've used the Ahanix Iceberg I water cooler system. The submersible pump is indeed almost silent. However, the fans that blow air through the radiator are not silent. The noise level was the same with my big heatsink/fan as with the reservoir/pump/heatsink/radiator/fan. That is... until the radiator sprung a leak (see my other post [slashdot.org])
  • by trentfoley ( 226635 ) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @01:58PM (#4892360) Homepage Journal
    I am in the process of getting satisfaction from a vendor concerning a failed water cooler system. If you don't want to hear a rant, stop reading now.

    I put an Iceberg I [ahanix.com] in my kids' Athlon XP 1900+ in the first part of September. It worked great for almost three months and then the heat exchanger (radiator) sprung a leak and fried my GeForce3 video card. I wrote that off since I was planning on upgrading it soon anyway. I also considered myself to be extremely lucky to have only lost something so easily replaced.

    However, what burns me is the response I have received (or, lack thereof) from exoticpc.com [exoticpc.com] (where I bought the fscking thing). BTW, their website is not working for me in Mozilla right now, but Konqeror seems to work.

    I originally emailed them telling them about the radiator leak and asked for a refund. They did reply the next day saying that they would not return my money. But, I was told that they would give me a new reservoir since I had apparently screwed mine in too tightly and ruined it -- which is not the case, the reservoir is not leaking.

    They apparently didn't bother to even read my complaint. I made it clear that the problem was with the radiator, not the reservoir. Here is my original message:

    I purchased this item on 09/03/2002 and installed it
    as soon as I got it. It has been running great until now. The radiator
    unit sprung a leak. Fortunately, all I lost was a video card which was due
    for upgrade anyway. I would like to return the entire product for a refund
    since I will not be using it again. I do not trust a replacement to be any
    better. It was cool while it lasted :)
    and, their reply:
    Hi Trent,
    Sorry to hear what happened to you. This is actually a rare occurence. This
    problem only seems to occur when someone screws in the screws too tight and
    the cracks form over time. Also, try to make sure the lid is screwed in
    evenly so the top is level and not at an odd angle. This may also cause
    cracks to form. Another precaution would be to use a regular screwdriver
    instead of a power drill. We could send out a new reservoir to you, but
    after 30 days there's no refund. Just let me know and I'll send a
    replacement reservoir out to you, Trent.
    At any rate, I then replied to their mail asking for a replacement heat exchanger or radiator or whatever you call it. It has been ten days since I replied to their mail and I have not received any response. I just sent off another email to exoticpc.com hoping that it will elicit a response. (in case this post doesn't ;) )

    Thanks for reading. I feel a little better now.

  • I have one of those densely packed Shuttle breadboxes with the heat pipe cooler. One end is attached to the CPU, and the other is in front of the fan. Works fine so far. All the plumbing is metal; no plastic tubing.

    This is probably one of the more practical uses of liquid cooling - the small-box desktop computer.

    I use this box to run QNX, and use the stock motherboard VESA graphics. Putting in a heat-generating high end graphics board might create problems.

  • I don't know what kids review these power supply units, but wouldn't it be nice to see some kind of output graph to actually prove the delivered power is stable? I've seen this done for Enermax units and that is why I bought one. Seeing someone prove they can use a multimeter doesn't impress me, nor does it strengthen my faith in a product that powers expensive and sensitive electronics.
  • arch ? What would be a great article, is a little background and some information on it and the changes that will be coming, if such info can be had without an NDA violation...
  • OK Am I the only one that is thinging about water cooling with external connectors so the ratiator/fan assembly can go somewhere else? I was thinging a couple diversion valves and and car radiator/fan attached with some Pex one outside the house and one in the attic/basement to get the heat and more importantly noise away from the user. This seems a lot cheaper than my current cat5 KVM extentions and a long run for the speaker wires (ok it could just be one but I havent gotten around to a speaker set that takes coax spdif in) But I could get the only moving part in the PC down to the local hard drives and i could ditch those and netboot if I went to GigE to the server.
  • am I the only one that noticed this?

    the article on overclocker cafe talks about a system that mounts into the case with strong magnets.

    so, let me get this straight: you want to put MAGNETS next to HARD DRIVES?!?!

    doesn't seem like a good idea to me...


  • Did anyone else read that as 'A Few Hardware Blts'? Maybe I've been coding too long...

  • The best equipment for your work is, of course, the most expensive.
    However, your neighbor is always wasting money that should be yours
    by judging things by their price.

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato