after years a 0dB silent fanless HTPC is here (with friends!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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For the last 5 years ive been building different HTPCs with a focus on SILENCE which for me is very important.
I love having a dead silent living room (when no music/movies are playing), i HATE hearing a fan buzz in the background.
For the last 3 years ive been running a P4 with a big Ninja heatsink (no fun) with a fanless gfx card, plus a power supply with no fan (yes ive got it working) and only 2 little almost silent case fans BUT I STILL HEAR the fans!

So i was just about to buy a Dual ION (ION-ITX-D or F) in a M350 or T3500 case, add 4GB of ram, and a slimline DVD/Blueray case, and Windows 7. This config can run totally fanless with low power consumption (60W case). (pretty similar to the MythTV box or the ASRock box (but this has a fan))
Total cost is about $500USD (with Windows7, without it is $399).

Doing this and paying this (more than i wanted to) i would finally succeed in my dream! a SILENT low power HTPC HD capable (nice looking, ports galore) machine!!! HURRAY!

And then the Dell Inspiron Zino HD comes out! and it's even better performance (upgrading to the top model). Read avsforum dot com thread 17535427

NOW the problem with this system is it has FANS. I HATE FANS!

Does anyone know a way to make this system work totally fanless? Or can point me to a equivalent fanless setup?

Many thanks - love this forum - love you guys

Thanks so much!
Jed
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 03:33 PM
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Perhaps it would be better to learn how to run your fans at 5 or 7v. They are then silent and most of the cooling effect is still there.
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 03:52 PM
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is it really that loud?

i cant even hear my htpc when the tv is on... hell i cant even hear the xbox when a movie is playing...

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 04:40 PM
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Here you go... totally silent right out of the box.

http://atechfabrication.com/heatsync...order_form.htm

Cheers, Tp

"No lawsuit ever fixed a moron."
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far.
My current case runs with 2 5V fans but i still notice it :-)
Reason, wooden floors and quite house/room.
I like to leave the computer on and use my HTPC for webbrowsing/etc.
When i do this I want my computer to make as much noise as a cup of tea :-)

Teeps - thanks for the link to that site - i had not seen that one. I love it but the price tag is a bit steep for me $2500

Im very keen for any other links or suggestions that anyone has.

Thanks kindly
Jed

PS i also use NAS so that the media HDD are not in the living room
PPS it's nice to have a usb wakeup system as well which the IONs are.
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 06:46 PM
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I had the same objective you did, so here's something you could try:
  • Antec Fusion Max Case-It's big (4U) but very handsome IMHO. It's beautifully built inside and out, and was designed to serve as a HTPC. ~ $190
  • Budget $150 at the high end for mobo with IGP or mobo-fanless VC
  • $75 for CPU (you're not going to want an expensive, high performance, HOT CPU)
  • $60 for Bluray/DVD drive
  • $40 for Scythe Mini Nina CPU Heat Sink (without its included fan)
  • $50 for a quiet power supply (I use a 450W Cosair that is completely silent)
I didn't add this up but you should be around $550. Add some extra coin for the amount of storage you want and you'll have a near-silent PC. Though the Antec Fusion Max has two big case fans, I only use the rear 120mm fan set to slow. In a totally quiet room I have to be within 3 feet to hear this fan and even then, I have to really strain to hear it. If I'm more than 3 feet away from the case or encounter ambient noise at even very low levels, my HTPC is effectively silent. I could probably get away without even using the single case fan, but my board's IGP heatsink (fanless) does get toasty so I thought it best to be on the safe side (and again, the system is practically silent). Upon reflection, if Antec offered a perforated top for this case, I think it could be run safely with no fans.

Though a lot of HTPC users like smaller cases, I prefer my larger Antec for the following reasons:
  • It's spacious interior is much easier to work with
  • There's a lot of air in the case to serve as a heatsink
  • There'a a lot of room for stoarge (4X 3.5" bays plus a spare 5" bay)
  • Despite its size, it still fits in my AV cabinet.
Oh, one more thing. The Antec comes with an IR receiver (Win MCE compatible), remote, imon IR control software and Imerdian MC software.

In short, I'm very happy with my Antec-based HTPC, and it didn't break the bank to implement.

Eric
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Eric
What sort of CPU do you run?
It sounds similar to my current setup but with a better case and PSU (my case is quite noisy)
Jed
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-15-2009, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjed View Post

Thanks Eric
What sort of CPU do you run?
It sounds similar to my current setup but with a better case and PSU (my case is quite noisy)
Jed

In the example I provided, an Intel e5200 (living room). I have another Antec Fusion Max in the bedroom that uses a AMD 4850e.

Hint: I definitely wouldn't put a HTPC in my bedroom if it wasn't quiet.

Eric
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

Perhaps it would be better to learn how to run your fans at 5 or 7v. They are then silent and most of the cooling effect is still there.

That is what I did. Run all your 12v fans of 5v. I removed the graphics card fan as I was not playing games.

I also coated the inside of the tower case with a a thick coat of automotive sound deadening bitumen. This HTPC was nearly completely silent.

That was 10years ago. Now I run a laptop for HTPC - even quieter !!! (and cheaper).
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 06:02 AM
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I don't see hard drives listed, that's the noisiest part of my HTPC.
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post #11 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

I don't see hard drives listed, that's the noisiest part of my HTPC.

+1

Mount your 3.5" drives in a 5.25" bay using a rubber mounting system. Use an SSD or 2.5" drive for your boot disk.

Apply some type of sound deadening to the large flat area on the PC case. Simply apply foam tape it is easy, cheap, and very effective. Using a damper such as this will dramatically reduce resonant sound.

As suggested buy a high quality low RPM fan, if needed lower the voltage to further reduce the RPM. Note you should only need two fans; a CPU fan, and a case exhaust fan, neither should ever need to run at greater than 1000 RPM.

Use a Mini-ITX motherboard and the associated split power supply so you will not need a fan in the PSU.

Make sure your PC case has rubber feet.

Buy a 45nm CPU with enough power to do what you want that has a proven record of low heat output, such as e5400 or e7400.
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post #12 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjed View Post

For the last 5 years ive been building different HTPCs with a focus on SILENCE which for me is very important.

www.silentpcreview.com is been around at least that long. All this stuff is well known. Am surprised ur still asking questions.

Solution: FREE. Explanation: I will have to charge$ you.

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post #13 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 10:15 AM
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I ought to use my rat shack SPL meter and see just how much noise is being added to my room from my HTPC. Like you, I have a living room with hardwood floors. Plus the machine is out in the open only 1 foot from a wall which gives noise plenty of opportunity to reflect. But even with 6 total fans in the system, it is extremely quiet with everything else shut off.
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post #14 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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i must have super hearing or something
Responding to some of the helpful posts.
HDD - yes are very noise.
You are spot on with this advice, i've tried both these things (SSD is best, the 2.5", then rubber mounting).

Silentpreview is great website but most of their computers (CPUs or cases) have fans. The few that dont are $$ expensive.

Thanks again
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