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Computer Room Hot? 481

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 Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:15PM (#5027428)

    I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
  • by Fastolfe ( 1470 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:17PM (#5027450)
    90% of my excessive volume and heat generation comes from various rack-mount appliances (like Cisco switches), not pee-cees. It doesn't look like these things are very friendly towards that type of environment.

    The basic concept might still be sound, though. Turn your rack into an enclosure, add some intake fans, and vent the entire rack's exhaust somewhere else. (I wonder what the exhaust temperature for an entire rack would reach?)
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:32PM (#5027604) Homepage Journal
    In the new Emery building in downtown Portland, Or. there is no furnace. The entire building is heated with the waste heat from the computers and server rooms.
    It works well.
  • Re:the tradeoff (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:36PM (#5027649)
    I disagree completely. While PC's generate a lot of heat, the trick to keeping them alive is moving that heat to another location...not turning the heat into sound. With my own daily driver, a P4 overclocked by more than 600Mhz, the loudest noise I hear is my hard drive head seeking...and even that is barely audible. Why? Planning! Rather than plunking down some cash for a small diameter, extreme RPM, LOUD series of fans like so many overclockers do, I mounted three low noise, high pitch 120MM fans with some very carefully planned (and custom fabricated) internal ductwork. The end result is the same airflow as the smaller, high RPM fans, but at a noise level that won't wake the baby.

    Choosing your poison just gets you killed...I'd rather engineer a solution that'll get me what I want at no cost.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:37PM (#5027664) Journal
    Of course this isn't going to work. And in colder climes, if the air did circulate, you're going to get warm, moist room air being pushed past the vapor barrier and ruining the insulation. At this point, you don't have to worry about excess heat anymore - since your insulation's R value just dropped to zero.

    You WILL have to worry about mold and mildew, as well as condensation ruining the wall panels, or running along the framing before pooling somewhere and causing more damage.

    Stupid product that has less than zero value. Hope they have good product-liability insurance to cover all the health claims from asthmatics, etc.

  • Better idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by ScannerBoy ( 174488 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:38PM (#5027676) Homepage
    A better idea might be to vent it into the cold air return if you have forced air heating/cooling. Otherwise the fellow who commented about the walls being relativly sealed is correct. This wouldn't do much but hurt the fan.
  • Re:My house... (Score:2, Informative)

    by isj ( 453011 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:44PM (#5027742) Homepage
    When I switched off my old dual pentium 100 the temperature in my living room dropped 2 degrees celcius. Fortunately, I still have my alpha-500 :-)

    I have more-or-less deliberatly used my computers to heat my apartment this winter. But I don't have enough hardware to completely switch off the regular radiators.

  • by endoboy ( 560088 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:45PM (#5027749)
    venting heated MOIST air into an enclosed space, on the other hand....

    it's got to cool off eventually, and when it does, it can condense-- thus the vapor barrier on your walls
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:55PM (#5027841) Journal
    Depends which studs you vent between...

    In lots of construction around here (my home included) the return vents to the furnace is just the space between the studs (no ductwork). I don't see the problem with venting the warm computer air straight into the return - heck it'd even make my 25 year old oil burner 0.000000001% more efficient.

    I had a variation of this idea - building a 'false wall' 6 inches out from the normal wall, with (quiet) bathroom type fans at the top to draw air straight out into the attic. It'd be ok to dump warm, moist air up there because my attic is *extremely well* ventilated, in many many homes this would promote rot, ice dams, etc etc..

    For the most part, you're right.. You'd either be doing no good at all (trying to force air where it has nowhere to go), and at worst doing harm - dumping warm moist air into exterior insulation or attic space, or overheating your PCs as the fans spin and spin yet dont move any air.
  • by gordie ( 139287 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:00PM (#5027884) Homepage
    If the excess heat is all from your monitors, then invest in a KVM switch, so you only have one Keyboard, Video (Monitor) and Mouse. While KVM's were once very expensive and seldom seen out side of computer rooms or NOC's, the prices have dropped. Also you can take the money saved on multiple monitors and invest in that nice flat screen you've been drooling over, but could not cost justify! Currently I have one very good 19" monitor, rather then 4 cheaper ones and much more "room" in the room!
  • Zalman coolers (Score:2, Informative)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:02PM (#5027898) Journal
    >> 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?

    Because that VGA cooler weighs 400 grams (almost a pound). The sunflower CPU heatsinks are twice CPU mfg specs as well.

    They work great, and are fine if your PC is generally stationary, but I wince thinking of the damage one of those suckers would to my machine if it broke loose while transporting.

    Thats why more companies dont do the 'silent' thing.

    Besides, I can hardly hear my new P4 rigs stock CPU fan and 4 7-volted 80mm's. Point being that quality fans are virtually silent anyways.
  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:19PM (#5028043)
    On a side note, some supercomputing center in Minnesota, or somewhere like that where its really cold in the winter, pipes out their heat into the parking garage to help the cars start. Also, the Pittsburg Supercomputing Center's heat output is equivalent to 169 pounds of coal [] an hour!.
  • by kmellis ( 442405 ) <> on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:34PM (#5028172) Homepage
    I want to kill whomever started this retarted trend of making companies and organizations plural!
    This is standard British English usage. It is not a "trend". American English does not set the "world standard" for English, and neither does British English. And, contrary to assertions made on the East side of the pond, neither (in their current incarnations) has any convincing claims of priority. Some of our American usage is archaic from the British point of view, and vice-versa.
  • by Greedo ( 304385 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:50PM (#5028280) Homepage Journal
    A quick search [] on the anonymous poster's email address [mailto] eventually leads to this page [] which includes:
    BACKGROUND: We're starting up a new company, Computer Exhaust Systems, wh ...

    So instead of "Here is a cool PC ventilation product I ran across", he should really be saying "Here is a cool PC ventilation product that my company makes."

    Sure, it's kinda neat. But I hope /. got some ad revenue for this.

  • by vthome ( 21702 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:14PM (#5028478) Homepage
    This is called an economizer... Commercial HVAC uses it more or less, but they claim it's impractical for the residential installations.

    I'm slowly approaching this, see
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:38PM (#5028679)
    This product is a scam, that can destroy your computer. The fan that comes with so many computers are known as axle fans. They are designed for high CFM (cubic feet per minute aka the AMOUNT of air flowing though the machine). Axle fans are not designed for high static pressure (aka air resistance). A centrifical fan (like the fan blowing cold air from an air conditioner) is designed for high static pressure (aka duct work) but typically blow less air the an axle fan. There is a trade off. More air, less pressure or less air, more pressure.
    Computers are designed for free air discharge, hence the use of an axle fan. Placing a duct over the axle fan WILL reduce air flow, causing less air to flow over your CPU and that fancy video card. There will be an increase in temperature.
    If you were to use this product, you are pulling air from you computer room (creating negative pressure, though very little), pushing it into a wall. Eventually that air will come out somewhere. Positive pressure "hot wall air" will go to negative pressure cooler air.
    Basically you're risking your computer for something that doesn't work.
    Hey read the "reviews" link. Coming Soon.....
    This product is an engineering hack. If things where this simple, it would of been invented a long, long, long time ago for other things. Can't fool with physics.
  • by Greedo ( 304385 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#5028706) Homepage Journal
    Hrmm ... my understanding was that the AC was the "buyer" of services from two freelancers: logo design and website design.

    That's what this page [] seems to suggest.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:50PM (#5028764) Homepage
    I won't deny that that's possible, but in all my reading I don't recall ever seeing it until about two years ago - here online.

    Your parent poster was right - I'm British, and that's standard usage here.


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