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Hardware Technology

AMD Aircooling Round-Up of 2003 217

JMke writes: "If you want a silent AMD system you almost always have to get yourself a higher-class heatsink. Thermalright and other manufactures have brought out updated products that can keep your CPU cool while keeping the noise down, hardware geek site Madshrimps has published a roundup of the best heatsinks from 2003 that money can buy in 2004, read it here."
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AMD Aircooling Round-Up of 2003

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:06PM (#7904955)
    The CPU fan is both more important and, generally, quieter than the power supply. It seems quite an unreasonable risk to jeopardize your CPU for a few extra decibels when there are easier, safer ways to quiet down a system.

    Usually something as simple as moving the case can make a significant difference.
    • by GuyinVA ( 707456 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:12PM (#7905030)
      One thing I found to help keep it quite is to actually clean the dust off the fan blades.

      • Indeed. I've found that my PC runs quiet and stable when I clean it every month or two. I just take the tower out the back door, open the case and use either a hair dryer or reversible vacuum to blow out the excess dust. (nothing too powerful, just a large stream of directed air.) Takes every bit of five minutes of downtime, then it's back up and running, usually a degree or 2 cooler than before. I think the key is don't let it get to the point where you have to physically scrape the crud off the fan b
    • My problem is not the CPU fan, it's that my case fans could drown out a Steerman bi-plane. Even with them I still need a portable fan pointed at the case to keep providing cooler air for them to draw. Having an ATI RADEON 9800 in the box doesn't help with cooling, either. It would only be as simple as moving the case if I considered placing the case in an adjacent room.

      I wish their site wasn't slashdotted already, I really have need of a better solution. (Yes, I know, I should shut up and subscribe al

      • For the parent and the parent's parent i have one word for you .... Enermax.

        I find their fans to be of superior quality. So much so that I use the Enermax Fans [newegg.com] too cool my case and of course an Enermax Power supply [newegg.com]. Since I upgraded my noise level has dropped significantly.
        • I use an Antec TruePower 430; it has fan outputs that slow down/speed up based on temperature. My box is nice and cool, and quite quiet when I slow my CPU fan down.

          I'm looking at getting a nice Thermalright heatsink, thought. A slow 92mm fan would do much better for cooling and noise than my 60mm fan with shit heatsink that I have now. (I wrote a small script to throttle the CPU fan based on temperature. lm_sensors includes a similar script)
          • I'm looking at getting a nice Thermalright heatsink, thought. A slow 92mm fan would do much better for cooling and noise than my 60mm fan with shit heatsink that I have now.

            If you have the mounting holes and clearance for it, Zalman CNPS7000* coolers are quiet and effective. With the fan running at slow speed, you can't hear it (20 dB @ 1350 rpm). At full speed, it's still fairly quiet (25 dB @ 2400 rpm). You'll need to be careful when moving the computer in the future...but the same can be said for

      • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:31PM (#7905216) Journal
        Did you try to balance the flow? The air mass going in has to equal the air mass going out, so if you are trying to push more air in then you take out some of your fans are not being used efficiently.

        I also remove the sheetmetal plates that block off unused slots, and try to use only every other slot.. That lets air blow out in between the expansion cards, preventing a dead air zone.

        I use only one 7 inch or 4 inch AC case fan (in a hole cut right thru the face of the case, with a guard on it made out of hardware cloth) at low speed to blow air into the case (I reduce the speed with a small AC capacitor (like used for AC motor running) in series with the AC fan). I blow the air into the case, not draw it out, because I don't want to fight against the powersupply fan.

        If you have a lot of fans, the tone from each fan can work together to create what is called a beat frequency, like the complex tones you get if you pluck two or more guitar strings at the same time.

        • I also remove the sheetmetal plates that block off unused slots..

          While removing the expansion plates may allow more airflow, it can also (potentially) let vermin into your computer case. A former coworker's home computer stopped working, when he opened it he found a family of mice had nested in there and chewed the cables. :)

          • by Anonymous Coward
            While removing the expansion plates may allow more airflow, it can also (potentially) let vermin into your computer case.

            A couple cats solve this potential problem quite nicely, and are fairly quiet.

            • You must have got lucky...my two cats tend to make more noise than our server room.

              Still...I like the idea...might have to give it a try, seeing how I can never find extra slot-covers anyway!
          • Wouldn't some thin pieces of foam rubber wherever bare plates meet (such as the expansion slot covers) dampen the vibration noise they cause?

            I took apart an eMac once (violate the warranty and risk electrocution on day one of ownership, woo-hoo!), and discovered that Apple used this sort of trick to reduce a lot of the noise their systems could make. Since the guts of the eMac are nested right under the CRT on your desk, they were pretty hard-core about keeping the machine quiet. The only fan is a huge (

        • removing the plates is not always a good idea, the point of having them blocked is actually to increase air flow past the items needed. If you remove those plates then the air will rush out past your cards as apposed to passing your processor. anywhere their is a whole in your case their should be a fan pushing or pulling. This is more important than just letting lots of area for air to enter or leave your case. For instance, blow air through a straw and that air moves very quicly through the straw, now cut
        • Did you try to balance the flow? The air mass going in has to equal the air mass going out, so if you are trying to push more air in then you take out some of your fans are not being used efficiently.

          As an accomplished system builder, I will have to both agree and disagree with this statement.

          While the airflow should be reasonably balanced (to keep from underutilizing the fans), you should have slightly more CFM from fans blowing in than you have from fans blowing out, and intake fans should be filtered
        • I use only one 7 inch or 4 inch AC case fan (in a hole cut right thru the face of the case, with a guard on it made out of hardware cloth) at low speed to blow air into the case

          I've always thought this would be a great idea (one big, high CFM, low-velocity intake fan) with an easily-removed filter - supposedly pantyhose is good and cheap. You'd have to rig up some kind of frame with a quick release for the pantyhose, but hey, since you already had to create the hole and mount the fan, a bit more custom w
      • Take a look at the Antec Sonata case (part of their LifeStyle series). Comes with a quiet power supply and a quiet case fan (and you get a 2nd Panaflow 120mm for the hard drive area). Those cases are only around $100-$120.

        The bigger the fan, the less RPM it needs to push a given volume of air... this usually means less noise.
    • Not always (Score:2, Informative)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) *
      I'm using the AMD supplied fan/HS on my XP2600/333 and it's louder then the PS fan, or any other fans for that matter. There was something useful on a review site some time back, where they reviewed the individual fans. Once you found a sink you liked you could usually go quieter with an Oryx or somesuch fan. That info would be welcome. Which fans are quietest, without sacrificing CFM/RPM.
    • Guide to getting modded up:

      1. Post early
      2. Make sure at least one word is on topic
      3. ???
      4. Profit!

      Anyway, in response to the AC - the article was supposedly about heatsinks, not CPU fans. Although some heatsinks come with a fan permanently attached, the better ones let you pick your own fan.

      OTOH, this is said without having RTFA so YMMV and IANAL.

    • by dslbrian ( 318993 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:24PM (#7905146)

      The CPU fan is both more important and, generally, quieter than the power supply.

      Not in my experience, usually the CPU fans are 60mm and higher RPM, whereas the power supply is generally larger with a slower RPM. To the first order RPM == noise...

      These days there isn't much jeopardy to run a couple degrees hotter for several dB quieter operation. I know that Intel CPUs will throttle down if they get dangerously hot. Frankly I'd rather save my hearing and sanity than the CPU anyway.

      One additional annoyance is that most motherboard manufacturers go to the added length of putting unnecessary fans on the board chipset as well. These tend to be small (40mm) and run at stupidly high speeds (6000+ RPM) given the amount of power dissipation they need to counter.

      One system I have, a shuttle XPC, doubles up the task of case fan and CPU cooler. I pulled the fan off the board chipset, and also the graphics card (replaced the graphics one with a Zalman passive), pulled the 80mm 5000 RPM Sunon dustbuster fan off the CPU heatsink and replaced it with a 2500 RPM much quieter fan. Now it runs with a total of two fans, CPU and PS, much quieter even at full load. How is this possible without having the thing cook itself ?? simple by underclocking - running the FSB at 190MHz instead of 200MHz. Performance difference is incremental and it runs stable at full load (and its much much quieter).

      • The fan on the Northbridge that you state as unnecessary is, in fact, quite necessary with the high front side bus speeds we see in chipsets for the P4 and Athlons. These chips get quite hot and require a significant amount of airflow to cool them under any serious processor load that involves memory access. Not cooling this chip will cause system instability.
        • Why do so many motherboards get away with slapping a heatsink on the northbridge? Not just old ones too, motherboards with the newest chipsets do this too. I don't like the tiny, unreliable, noisy motherboard fans so I always opt for the ones with the heatsinks, and have not had any problems.
      • Not in my experience, usually the CPU fans are 60mm and higher RPM, whereas the power supply is generally larger with a slower RPM. To the first order RPM == noise...

        Eh, noise is really related to the amount of air being moved (CFM) and the path the air takes. Air through the PS is very turbulent, while air off the CPU (& other flat surfaces) is fairly smooth. Turbulence == noise.

        One additional annoyance is that most motherboard manufacturers go to the added length of putting unnecessary fans on t
        • ...Time is the best teacher, unfortunately it kills all of its students.

          Now I know why my English teacher was so terrible, her students survived...

        • Like the little 40mm fan that was cooling the northbridge on my KT7A-RAID, until it stopped working (dust). Now the board only sees one HD.


          Hmm, my northbridge fan broke down on my KT7-RAID too. I just threw the thing away and the board works as usual. Guess I am lucky, eh? ;-)

          OTOH, I have a power supply with a 120mm fan, another 120mm fan in the case, and the CPU is quite slow (Duron 800) with a 80mm fan (PS and CPU fans are temperature controlled), so it might be that those three fans are big enough t
      • Here is how I quieted down an athlonXP 1700 system to the point that I got driven nuts instead by the motor noise of my hard drives:

        Power supply: antec TRUEpower 380w. This unit puts out plenty of nice clean power, and also has a dedicated 3.3v rail as opposed to being a fork from teh 5v rail. This just means it's a more robust unit. Also runs incredibly quiet.

        CPU Fan: Zalman flower (I think 3500). This clip on unit has a bracket fan and a speed knob. I echewed the speed knob and replaced teh 92mm
    • I will have to disagree here. I have spend a good amount of effort trying to quite down the tree systems I have in my small 'office' at home.

      By far the loudest thing in the cases are the CPU fans and I don't even have 'quite' power supplies. I've started the ran the system for 10 seconds or so with the CPU fan unplugged. I have bought 3 or 4 Athlon CPU fans which were supposed to be quiet but I haven't been happy with any of them.

      My wife but a new Shuttle XPC and those are damn silent. My next system will
    • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:33PM (#7905238)
      Usually something as simple as moving the case can make a significant difference.

      You know that forest people keep talking about where there's nobody around to hear things? I put my computer cases there, and now they don't make any sound at all.

      (Unfortunately, one my systems did get destroyed when a tree fell on it.)

    • I replaced my PS, blindly assuming that it was the source of the extremely loud fan noise on a 1.4Ghz Athlon system. There was almost no change, so I tried the machine with the case off, and determined that the CPU fan was loud. I replaced it with a Thermaltake, and immediately noticed a huge drop in noise.

    • by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @04:01PM (#7905530)
      Usually something as simple as moving the case can make a significant difference.

      It can make a difference in cooling as well.

      Last month, while I was visiting a cousin upstate for the holidays, I asked if I could use his computer to check work email. While I was using it, he told me that he had to send it back to Dell twice in 3 months (he had only had it since July) due to a total failure to do anything upon powerup. He then started to go into a rant about how Dell sucks (he does that about every company that fails to meet his ridiculous level of expectations - while I was there, he refused the five large pizzas we ordered one night because the driver forgot the pizza sauce for the breadsticks.)

      Anyway, I replied that I had no clue what he was talking about as I had 2 Dells myself and the entire environment at work was Dell and I had never heard of such accusations of bad service and poor quality. He stated that Dell "lied" that the computer was overheating and suggested he may have it in a bad location. I looked at where it was sitting - didn't seem so bad to me, under the desk by a window. Then the furnace kicked on. In between the wall and the computer was a vent for the furnace. He had it there to keep his feet toasty while he was using the computer. I knew my cousin was dumb, but I didn't know he was that stupid.

      I felt like taking the computer into protective custody. I don't care if it's an emachines, at least give it a chance to work right before you abuse it.
    • PS's aren't as loud as they used to be. There are quite a few modern Power Supplies with variable speed fans controlled by temperature sensors to regulate the speed. Antec has a wide selection. There are also case fans with temperature sensors to dynamically adjust RPMs. Those are nice for the low-end kiddy systems that aren't o/c'ed. For my power rig, I have a knob rack in a 5.25" drive bay to tweak all my fans (except the PS).

      Your comment about the moving the case is valid, but your options are of
  • AMD Air Cooling (Score:2, Informative)

    by KewlJedi ( 738594 )
    Zalman 7000-Cu!!!
    • Agreed!

      I use the CNPS6000-Cu for my Tualatin core Celeron, and I can say nothing but good about it. I don't even need to turn on the fan to keep my computer running. After overclocking, I now have a 1.5Ghz processor running at stock voltage. The only other fan in my system is the PSU fan, and it runs at an easygoing 1500RPM. Since I have a Seagate harddrive and a passively cooled graphics card, I can barely hear my computer. If I'm more than a few meters away, I can't tell whether or not my computer is ev
  • Alpha PAL 8045 (Score:2, Informative)

    by chadw17 ( 308037 )
    Best Heatsink I've ever owned. Solid, and frosty.
  • try Vapochill [overclockers.co.uk].
  • So I guess we are testing the heatsinks right now, as we pound the shineola out of their webservers?

    Friends don't let friends post.
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:11PM (#7905019) Homepage Journal
    /tongue-in-cheek

    After hearing of many AMD processors popping louder than a lobster in a vat of boiling water, I considered a little liquid cooling [lockheedmartin.com] to keep my rig from becoming an expensive piece of sand...
    • I think it would be a tad expensive to run this rig.

      "... pressure-fed at a combined rate of 1,035 gallons per second through 17-inch diameter feed lines to the ..."

      I could probably purchase a few hundred athlons a day for the cost to cool just one on that setup.

      Disposable Athlons! Now there's an idea.

      /* ---- */
  • by cubyrop ( 647235 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:11PM (#7905022)

    This reminds me of the time a couple months ago that I upgraded my heatsink, and for whatever reason absentmindedly left my old copper block on my toaster oven. Weeks later I noticed the toaster was not working quite as well as it used to, and I realized the heatsink was to blame!

    Then I realized that the toaster was just fucked up and that I was just an idiot.
    • <humour> You should have upgraded your toaster with an AMD. Not only could you remotely schedule toasting jobs with WiFi, but it toast faster too! <humour>

      Seriously though, there are a lot of cool case-mod projects, and a lot of cool heatsinks, but nothing that makes use of heat dissipation. Isn't there some way to conduct all that excess heat into a useful application. Maybe an EZ-bake attachment for a drive bay. A lava lamp? You could always still have a small temperature-activated fan for w
      • The instructions that came with my lava lamp, at least, say not to leave it on for longer than a certain number of hours at a time (10?). It gets weird if you fall asleep and do that (many small globules floating around).

        I've been thinking about the other major source of involuntary heat in my house (aside from the computers, I mean): desert reptiles and tropical fish. I wonder if a large body of water kept above 70 degrees which tends to cool down could help out a small piece of silicon which tends to h
  • AMD noise hell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:11PM (#7905026) Journal
    I've been stuck with a really noisy AMD system as my desktop for the last 6 months or so... It's sufficiently bad that I have to shut 2 doors between the workroom and the bedroom (not the room doors, ones in-between) so it can't be heard at night...

    I kept telling myself to get a new chip/fan/mboard, but I've been waiting for the 64-bit ones to come out (not because they're 64-bit, but because they're simply faster and better designed). Now at last, I can reduce the noise-level, at least once I've sent in and paid my tax return ....

    Simon.
    • Intel noise hell (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:26PM (#7905163) Homepage
      Well my work desktop runs at around 60 decibels from ~2 feet away. Yes, that's loud. And it's an Intel P3 system from IBM. I want a new desktop PC purely because it's so damn loud... I don't actually need more CPU, memory, or disk.

      My home PCs are all AMD, all with the stock fan/hs. The stock AMD fan/hs isn't incredibly noisy, but it certainly isn't the quietest thing out there. The loudest system is really quite bad -- but it's because of a very loud PS fan and several case fans. I'll eventually take some steps to quiet it down, because it is ungodly loud (at least to me).

      If you really want to reduce system noise, then check out Silent PC Review [silentpcreview.com]. They do some real testing of sound levels and give some pretty solid advice on how to quiet PCs.
      • In the transistion from P3 to P4 Intel did one of the smartest things they could, replace the former's small high-speed fan with a large sink and a bigger, lower-speed cowled unit. The end-of-line P3s were AMD loud, the P4s whisper in comparison.
    • Or you could just change the fan. Even looking at the cheap and nasty products there are some very quiet ones and the same for power supplies. 10 on new cpu fan and 30 on new psu. reather than 200 on new system. (Hint. anything below 27dB is good enough).
  • Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Captain Beefheart ( 628365 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:13PM (#7905043)
    It runs almost completely silent and keeps things impressively cool. Didn't have to buy special thermal grease, either. It's also compatible with Pentium 4's and the Athlon 64. It really is teh uber, and comes with a free fanmate to manually adjust fan speed. However, it is huge and doesn't fit on all motherboards, so buyer beware.
    • by md81544 ( 619625 )
      Agree entirely... not sure whether this figures in the review (Cannot RTFA as it's /.'d). I stuck one of these Zalman "Flowers" on an AMD in one of my servers (also with an Enermax PSU, again with fan control). A friend came over and couldn't believe the machine was actually turned on (the fact I hadn't hooked up the case LEDs also contributed to the illusion...:)
  • by chadw17 ( 308037 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:16PM (#7905070)
    :edit: Site appears to be slowing/not responding :/edit:

    Conclusion :
    Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of the reviewed products

    Swiftech MCX462-V
    (Provided by: Bacata)
    PRO
    Plug&Play installation
    Easy attachment of both 80&90mm fans
    Top end performance in both silent as loud categories

    CON
    Higher price

    The MCX462-V is a true engineering beauty, combining functionality with top performance, the helicoid pin layout allows for very low noise production when using different types of fans. The full copper block provides excellent thermal conduction making overclocking possible even with very silent fans!

    Thermalright SP-97
    (Provided by: Thermalright)
    PRO
    1st class performance in all categories
    Secure installation
    Efficiency increases with the CPU overclock thanks to the heat pipes

    CON
    Installation requires motherboard removal

    The successful formula from the SP-94 Intel heatsink has been brought over to the AMD side of town, and the performance is stunting, providing excellent results no matter what fan is used, it edges out the competition by a comfortable margin!

    Thermalright SLK947-U
    (Provided by: Bacata)
    PRO
    Good overall performance
    Secure installation
    Competitively priced

    CON
    Installation requires motherboard removal

    The "older" SLK947-U still delivers very respectable results, although its performance has been surpassed by the SP-97, it manages to provide the best performance/price ratio in this roundup. If you are on a budget but still want top end air-cooling for your AMD setup then look no further then the latest SLK from Thermalright!

    Scythe Kamakaze
    (Provided by: Bacata)
    PRO
    Includes a Fan + Rheobus
    Decent performance

    CON
    Installation method far from perfect on all motherboards

    I had a lot of installation issues with this heatsink but that was due to the socket/capacitor layout used by the board on which we did the test. The performance is average, edging out the old PAL8045 by a very small margin.

    Evercool MAG-01 & CUF-715CA
    (Provided by: Evercool)
    PRO
    Very easy installation
    Decent performance
    Silent 70mm fan included
    Very competitively priced

    CON
    Not "strong" enough for overclocking your AMD

    Both Evercool heatsink proved to be worthy replacements for the Stock AMD cooler, providing better cooling at lower noise levels while being priced at only ~20! My preference goes out to the MAG-01 as it can be installed on almost all popular Sockets out there from Intel & AMD. The copper/alu mix does have an impact on the performance when compared to the full copper CUF-715CA, but the difference is minimal.
    • Thanks for posting that...I'm afraid he was /.'d way before I got to the site. I'm going to agree that the Thermalright SP-97 is the best air cooled heatsink out right now...for overclocking or silent pc operation. If you want to go extreme overclocking, toss some ridiculously loud/high CFM fan on there...for silent PC run a slower RPM, quieter fan. Either way this heatsink will do its job. I just upgraded from an XP 2800+ that I bought last December to an XP 2500+ Barton...I took the Barton and changed
    • Swiftech MCX462-V

      This is the very same heatsink that I use, and I've been *very* happy with it.

      In fact, I've done a bit of work on silencing an AMD [slashdot.org] myself...
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:18PM (#7905080)
    Dan's Data [dansdata.com] has amazing heat sink reviews. Dan tests each heat sink with a heater simulating the Pentium or Athlon CPU. He publishes the R-theta values for each sink tested and has a very straightforward scientific view of the whole process.
  • by Larry David ( 738420 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:24PM (#7905145)
    I vote the Coolermaster Aero 7 as my top cooler pick of 2003. It's cheap (under $20), and keeps my XP2000+ 10-15 celcius cooler than the stock heatsink did. I've also read of many people overclocking 2500+ Bartons to 3200+ levels, and the Aero 7 keeps it cool. The best part is you can adjust the cooling at any time, with the dial you can put in any 3.5" bay. I keep mine really low, but if I needed mega cooling, just turn it up (although on max cooling it's loud!) It uses a really weird fan, [pcabusers.com] and I think that might be the secret of its success. Instead of the usual 'sucks from above, blows downwards' type thing, it spins on the same plane as the motherboard, meaning it sucks in air from both sides, and blows it all down. So you get far more air throughput. This means you can turn the RPMs down, and I can cool my overclocked XP2000+ with the fan running at 1600RPM! My old AMD stock cooler was almost 3000RPM, and far noisier. If anyone wants to get one, get the cheaper aluminium one. It actually cools better than the copper one! Why? Because it's a lot bigger than the copper one.. so make sure you have the room ;-) Anyway, a bargain. I hope they come out with one for the 64's. Then just turn down the fans in your PSU, and you have near silent cooling up to a decent speed :-)
  • Is a custom solution. No company would dare make such an air cooling system.

    What you need:

    1) Bore a large hole on the plate behind the where the CPU is behind the motherboard, and drill a hole in the left side of the case and mount a SUNON 120mm fan on it, blowing out.

    2) Get an ALPHA heatsink with a 80mm fan mount, it'll cost you about $50. It requires that you have those 4 holes around the CPU to mount it, since it's so huge.

    3) Get an 80mm-120mm fan adapter and mount a 120mm SUNON fan on the alpha heat
    • 15C on air? You must live at the North Pole, since no amount of air cooling will lower the temperature of the CPU below the room temperature.

      Or else maybe you're trying to save on your heating bill.
      • 15C on air? You must live at the North Pole, since no amount of air cooling will lower the temperature of the CPU below the room temperature.

        Amazing. It is possible to grow up without ever being exposed to the concept of wind chill factor [nasa.gov]. Admittedly, getting it to work inside a computer case is going to create a significant amount of noise, but if that's a tradeoff you're willing to accept...

        • Amazing. It is possible to grow up without ever understanding that the concept of wind chill is only a subjective perception by a human being, and that the temperature of an inanimate object exposed to even hurricane-strength airflow will never go below the temperature of above mentioned air...

          I suggest you to read the link that you so helpfully provided.
  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lateralus ( 582425 ) <yoni-r.actcom@com> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:30PM (#7905203) Journal
    Can anyone explain why thermoelectic coolers (Peltier coolers) are not the standard accessory to any cooling kit?

    My guess is current draw.
    • I think one reason is that they tend to have a minor problem when they do fail (which is not at all uncommon) and that is they act like an insulator.

      If your PC didn't have some sort of active warning system (my Barton 2600 does) or you switched them all off you could damage the cpu and or board.
  • by Mipmap ( 569611 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:34PM (#7905242)
    I like this site because it reviews all kinds of PC silencing stuff, not just heatsinks/fans. Seems to be modeled on the popular www.storagereview.com site.

    Has reviews of...

    DIY Systems
    Prebuilt Systems
    Cases & Damping
    Power Supplies
    Cooling
    Fans & Controls
    Storage
  • Zalman (Score:2, Informative)

    by MrEnigma ( 194020 )
    If you are concerned about noise, and still want a good heatsink, get a Zalman.

    I have the new copper flower, which has ~400 fins on it. And a 92mm fan sitting in between them...at max rpm's it is 25dbs. And it keeps my 2500+ oc'ed to 3000+ under control easily.

    It weighs about 2 lbs, and instead of hooking into the socket, it has mounts that screw directly into the motherboard.

    Another plus side, it comes with a free controller that can take the fan down to 21bs.

    That paired with 4 vantec stealth fans, a
  • ...then go for Nexus's range of PSUs, heatsinks and fans.

    Without a doubt they are amongst the best I've come across, and I'm including the likes of Zalman, Q-Technology, etc when I say that. You can see there range of products on their website [nexustek.nl]. Definitely worth checking out.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#7905404) Homepage
    Well, three really.

    I wanted a very quiet PC. I bought a huge, solid, steel case, customized with a 120mm fan on the back (theory: big and slow == quiet). I got a Zalman "flower" heatsink/fan (HSF), and mounted the big Zalman fan to blow over it. I got an Enermax power supply with a speed adjustment. It's pretty quiet; I hear a fan, but I think that's the GeForce 4 card's fan.

    I wanted to make a quiet PC for my wife. I bought a Lian Li aluminum case, an Arctic Cooling HSF, and a similar Enermax power supply. No fancy 120mm fan on the back, just a standard 80mm fan, but I used a very quiet one with thermostatic control so it is very slow and quiet when the system is cool. This computer, as it turns out, is almost completely silent! Much quieter than my computer. I did use a GeForce4 MX board in her system, because it has just a passive heat sink (no cooling fan), so perhaps that explains it.

    I loved working with the Lian Li case. It's a PC-60 model with USB. I also much preferred the Arctic Cooling HSF. I got my Arctic Cooling HSF form SVC.com:

    http://svc.com/arcoolsupsil.html [svc.com]

    P.S. About the quiet power supply: I got a 365 Watt power supply with two cooling fans, one with a speed control and one with a thermal control (automatically runs faster when hot). This power supply has "Active PFC", which I don't completely understand, but I gather it is a more efficient way to convert AC to DC and thus makes less waste heat. It has a 3-pin jumper to attach to the motherboard, so the motherboard can monitor the speed of the power supply's main fan, and also so that the motherboard can signal to the power supply that it wants all fans powered down for sleep mode. (I don't think either computer is ever really sleeping at the moment. I ought to play around with ACPI and get that working, but they are quiet enough that it hasn't been a priority.) I ordered the power supplies from Directron. This one isn't the exact same model but it has the same features:

    http://www.directron.com/eg465axve.html [directron.com]

    P.S. Why is it really a tale of three Athlon XPs? Because I crunched one trying to put on the HSF. With an Athlon XP, be very, very careful when putting on the HSF. You can make a very expensive mistake! I'm looking forward to Athlon64 and Opteron with a heat spreader protecting the chip.

    steveha
  • Cheapie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by helix400 ( 558178 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @04:06PM (#7905587) Journal
    I put this in two weeks ago. Thermaltake Silent Boost [royalbusiness.com] For under $30 (including shipping) it cools an Athlon XP at about 21 decibals. Very nice. Not 100% silent, but very very quiet for the price.

    • I put this in two weeks ago. Thermaltake Silent Boost For under $30 (including shipping) it cools an Athlon XP at about 21 decibals. Very nice. Not 100% silent, but very very quiet for the price.

      I've got one, it works very well in my system, so I'd have to concur.
  • Cheap is good (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First off, I'm not an overclocker.

    I've built 4 systems in the last two years, all configured with the factory heatsink with the fan removed, Antec TruePower power supplies (300 to 500 watts) with the Antec fans, and a single Vantec Stealth 80mm fan exhausting out the back of the case. Round cables throughout. Good quality cases, somewhat oversized.

    All these systems' CPUs would overheat with the fanless heatsinks, until I did one simple thing to each of them:

    Suspend a 120mm Vantec Stealth about two inch
  • Hard drive noise (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daverd ( 641119 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @05:40PM (#7906697) Homepage
    A couple weeks ago I bought a silent PSU and cpu fan, and after installing them, my computer made roughly the same amount of noise. Turns out that most of the noise had been (and still is) coming from my two hard drives and my cd-rom drive.

    If you use linux, you can find out just how loud your hard drives are by typing "hdparm -y /dev/hda /dev/hdb (etc)" replacing hda/hdb with the appropriate device names of your hard drives. The -y will put them into standby mode, making them spin down. For me, this makes the difference between lots of noise and hardly any noise.

    The moral of this story is: don't get sucked into the hype of silent cpu fans like I did... when there are possibly much louder components to work on.

    • Just a side note: I know for sure that both Maxtor and IBM/Hitachi have firmware updates for drives that decrease the drive's noise by slightly degrading the performance of the drives. Other drive manufacturers likely have similar abilities, but it isn't anything I've ever investigated.

      Also the type and construction of the case you're using can make a big difference in what you're hearing. My primary machine is an Antec full tower made entirely from steel. While it may weigh over 25lbs. without anything
  • I got fed up with the noise from my Athlon XP 2000+ a few months ago. It was so loud that it could easily have been mistaken for a vacuum cleaner. I was using a generic 6-fan case (4 in the front, one on the side and one at the rear) and a Cooler Master 6700rpm heat sink to keep the heat down.

    Having heard good things about the Antec Sonata, I went out and picked one up. After a bit of looking into what heat sinks were available at the local Fry's, and basically just wanting anything less noisy than the Coo

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