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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after tripling the cost of my KS780 case, I've finally made it silent! I made the mistake of getting the Enermax 365PE PSU, that thing was a turbine. I thought it was amazing when I first turned it on, but as soon as it warms up you might as well wear some earplugs. I put that in when I added the Zalman flower CPU cooler to my Athlon 1.4GHz CPU. That's an incredible difference from the stock AMD HSF. I ended up putting an Enlight stock PSU from another chassis in, it was much better, but still not completely inaudible. Today I got my Power PC & Cooling Silencer 80mm fan in, took the original PSU fan out and attached the Silencer fan to the outside of the PSU instead of the inside and finally, my HTPC is silent! Granted I can still hear the HDD head chatter, but that is only on boot and for a second when the DVD player starts up. Maybe I'll go ahead and get the HDD Silencer, but I don't think I need it or the extra heat on the HDD. This IBM 60GB 60GXP is quiet!

Here are the steps I've done:
  • Ordered KS780 chassis with Enermax 765VE PSU - wrong choice for Quiet PSU, great PSU otherwise...
  • Replace Radeon HSF with a 486 heatsink w/o fan
  • Line chassis with Dynamat Extreme - questionable results for the money.
  • Replace Northbridge fan with the passive heatsink from QuietPC
  • Replace stock AMD HSF with the Zalman Flower from QuietPC
  • Replace 104S Pioneer DVD with 106S Pioneer DVD
  • Replace Enermax with an Enlight PSU
  • Replace stock Enlight fan with PPC&C Silencer fan

Result: Absolute listening bliss! I can't hear it at all from my couch. I can hear a slight hum when I'm right on top of the system, but that's only from about two feet away. Finally, I did it!


-will
 

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I also have the Zalman Flower in my KS780. I'm using the Zalman 300 watt ps which is made to be quiet. This ps is a good 2x heavier than the ps that came with the KS780. I was at a local computer show and was told by a Zalman rep (the company had a booth) that they make the ps so it requires less cooling. Well at the time it sounded good ;) I have a Power PC & Cooling Silencer 80mm fan in the front of the case blowing air in. Compared to my other boxes this one is pretty darn quiet but I can still hear it from 14ft when the audio is low/off.


I'm wondering if you're running your flower in silent or quiet mode ? Also do you know what temp your mb and cpu run at ?


Thanks for your time,


Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm running in Quiet Mode, the manual said that was fine for 1.4GHz CPUs. I just checked the temps, and they were 55C for CPU and 41C for Ambient.


-will
 

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Glad to head you've been able to make your HTPC quiet Will!


I went through the same thing about 10 months ago, and detailed what I did here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ght=quiet+HTPC


The biggest difference is that I really didn't buy anything special after the fact - simply picked some parts from the start that were (supposedly) quiet and worked from there. All the noise was from vibrations and airflow turbulence. Minimizing both of of those gave me something. I've had a bunch of people from here comment on how the thing makes absolutely no noise at all.


Kal
 

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Yeah, that Enermax is a turbine. I've been playing around trying to get mine quieter.


I've noticed that if I 7v the rear fan then it is much better, but then the case temps soar - I think because the 92mm internal fan is recirculating hot air back into the case through the PSUs internal vents.


I tried powering up the PC when I had the PSU cover off (I've studied electronics....Don't try this at home otherwise...). Anyway, the PSU with the cover off *is* extremely quiet, which suggests that a lot of the noise is turbulence.


I've got a couple of ideas to try:

1)Cover the internal vents on the PSU, and see if this kills the turbulence.


2) As (1) but 7V the external fan and see what happens to the case temps.


3)Remove the metal vents and replace with a fan filter assembly to kill the turbulence.


4)Replacing the fans with Panaflo or Pabst.


My HSF at this point is reasonably quiet. I got an Alpha8045 with an Enermax speed controllable fan, and as long as the case temps are ok, I can get the CPU down to 40C idle and 50C load. ([email protected] - Vcore +0.1)


Once I've quietened the PSU more I'll take another look at the HSF if need be - I might try a Panaflo/Pabst on it, or ultimately I could drop the overclock and reduce the fan speed further.


I'm also considering putting a vent in the side of the case just in front of the PSU for a quiet fan - the circulation of the KS780 is terrible once an AGP card is installed, and the front fan position is pretty useless as far as pushing hot air out - the 'hot' area around the CPU is barely affected by it.
 

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I have thought about placing an exhaust fan next to the PSU and DVD drive as well, but I am reluctant to make any solid mods until the fasci arrives and I can easily know where everything is going to be mounted.


I did remove the grill on the empty side of the PSU, and now regret it because, as genixia noted, the 92mm fan simply pushes more air than the exhaust fan. I'm curious what would be the effect of 7V the 92mm fan. I'd rather do that, then block off the grill/opening on the empty side of the PSU. I wouldn't want to restrict the air flow which is moving over those heatsinks, and I think blocking off the grill would do just that.


What would be the worst effect of taking the 92mm fan (if it fits) and putting it on the side which has the grill and blocking its current home? wouldn't this be the more sensible way to move air through the PSU? It would also remove more air from the CDRW/DVD drive area. At the same time eliminating the hot air spilling out of the PSU and back into the case. The benefits of having that 92mm fan next to the CPU area are not realized in my setup because my Silverado HSF uses a blower fan that faces opposite the 92mm fan. This is definitely not a benefit. With certain motherboards and case combos the socket is not right next to the PSU, so I can understand this notion. But with the Epox 8K7A and the 780B there are right next to eachother. Which really doesn't do a heatsink fan any favors, if it is blowing down on the heatsink. And I think most do.


What if you flipped the PSU over, and cut a hole in the side of the case for the 92mm fan , and flipped it around to blow out the case. Would this increase the air flow out of the case, or would the smaller fan just choke.


hmmm, If I wanted to put my HTPC in a closet I would, I just like messing with fans too much.:)
 

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The Zalman PSU is definitely the quietest on the market IMHO. At $75 it is expensive but I am very happy with mine. It is much better than the stock PSU's or the PC Power & Cooling Silencer PSU.


I've ordered the Zalman flower heat sink as well. Using a 92mm fan for a CPU is a great idea and it should cut down the noise substantially from the 40mm jet turbine that Intel supplies.


I am also experimenting with sheets of sorbothane to kill drive noise. With the Barracuda IV and the Toshiba 1102 DVD/CDR there isn't much noise to kill but it's still fun to mess with!
 

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Where do you buy the Zalman PSU in the US? QuietPC has some interesting products, but it seems silly to order from the UK - how did it work for you (shipping cost/time)?


I have been considering the Koolance water-cooled case (the PC-2 is much improved) as a quieter soultion for a hot AMD system, but I just checked the "specs" on their website, and they list 46db sound levels, which ain't so good... Does anyone know if the major source of noise is the 3 fans on top or the PSU? I had hoped that the large cooling fans would at least have a lower-toned noise - a "wooshing" rather than 'whining" - any experience?


I've been quite surprised by several mentions that the Enermax Whisper PSUs are too loud - could this be a major factor in the Koolance noise level? The case comes with no PSU, so if I have the choice, best to be quietest. What is the Zalman PSU's power rating (I would like at least 300W)?
 

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Update:


Blocking the vent seemed to make the PSU marginally louder, probably due to the 92mm fan having to fight a larger back pressure.


Blocking the narrow horizontal case vent above the CPU area has helped me somewhat - The problem with the low case airflow causes air to be sucked in this vent, which if your HTPC is near a wall or in an entertainment center, means that it is sucking in hot air that the PSU just expelled. By blocking this vent, the air has to come from the front of the case where it is cooler. Now when I run with the rear fan 7V, my CPU stays at 50/51C under load.


The noise problem with this PSU is mainly due to the 92mm fan. I suspect that it is running full speed and creating a lot of turbulence in the PSU itself. When I put my hand next to the fan, I can feel air being pushed into the case, even though the net airflow is the other way - I think that the air is reflecting off of the other side of the PSU and coming back out somehow. Like Hmcgrath I am also considering the 7V option for this fan. I'm going to take a look at the PSU again (hopefully) tonight, and see how that fans speed is controlled. I'm also considering contacting Enermax about this, as I don't consider this PSU to be anywhere near a 'Whisper' when stock.
 

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bbordner,


I was lucky and Zalman had a booth at a local computer show I attended. The guy I talked to was a partner of the main guy of the company or so he said. He are some numbers off his business card:


Robert Jung

949.362.9305 Office

949.370.4585 Mobile

949.305.4678 Fax
[email protected]
www.zalmantech.com


Tell he you were referred by a gentleman who bought a ps/hs at the Pamona Fairplex computer show. You might ask if he would sell to you at the show prices. Probably not a huge saving but it might cover shipping.


Good luck,


Ken
 

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Another thought that might help with the KS780. I found a new design, or at least new to me, of IDE cables. Instead of wide and flat they are small and round. This makes for a much cleaner installation and helps with air flow. I replaced the cable for my two hard drives, my DVD drive, and floppy. You still have to play around a bit to organize the cables but it much easier to deal with. Go to http://www.zalmantech.com/products.html and look at the bottom of the page on the right hand side. I didn't buy from Zalman because I found a company at the computer show that saved me a few bucks. I think I paid $8 for a single IDE, $12 for a double, and $7 for the floppy. The IDE cables are rated up to ATA100. This was the first time I've seen this design but it sure seems like a good idea to me.


Hope this helps,


Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You can actually round your own cables. I used to slice my IDE cables into groups of 5 wires then bundle that. With the 80-conductor cables I've just been folding them into a W-shape then zip tie that together. A lot cheaper than buying specialty cables. May not look quite as professional, but who sees it anyway? When I get around to putting the window in my server I'll use some flourescent flex-loom on those.


-will
 

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Something to give all of you a few thoughs. With newer PC's comming equipped with USB and firewire there are a few even more interesting possibilities.


My PC stero component is loud but I don't care becasue it's in my basement. You could use USB KB/M along with a firewire DVD drive to have your PC avalilble up to at leat 20' from where it can hide. High quality sheilded A/V cables should be easy enough to come by. I'm guessing that the distance between PC and display could be even further, but have not done full research into it. The only noise you would have to fight with was the DVD/floppy drives that are local to your video setup. The further the PC can be from the center of your system the easier it is to place it completly out of earshot or place it under audio dapening ( hushbox ).


Cheers,

Eric
 

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I also found that the AGP card cuts off flow between the expansion card area and the CPU area. Worse yet, with the front fan blowing in, you tend to get a 'pooling' effect where air comes into the card area and swirls around, and gets heated by the G-PU; only when the air is hot does it rise over the AGP card and move into the CPU area.


My solution to this was to go ahead and treat the two areas as separate zones. I flipped the front fan so it blows outwards, and opened up the slot next to the AGP card to allow air to be sucked in. I then built an intake duct from the rear vent-holes to the CPU fan; the PSU exhausts the air from the HSF. This dropped my temperatures a few crucial degrees and allowed me to experiment with quieter fans, etc.


I'm considering attaching an exhaust air duct to the PSU output, too keep the exhaust air from being sucked back into the processor area. The AV rack sits in corner away from the main AC vents in the room, so the air back there can get pretty warm. Guiding the air away and over to the sliding doors should help this (and might even help with that glass-door cold spot in the room during the winter!)
 

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I ordered the 300w Zalman PSU from Zalmantech.com for $74.95 plus shipping. They offer overnight service. Mine arrived promptly.


I'm not convinced the round IDE cables are such a great idea, esp with ATA100 drives where introduced noise in the unshielded cable can be a real issue. I've read articles that claim problems due to the way the flat cables are rounded so I've kept clear of them. Here is one such article:

http://www.dansdata.com/rcables.htm


I can see where they would be of use in my tower system but in my HTPC desktop case (780B) the short IDE cables don't appear to obstruct much airflow. I am sure the Zalman flower heatsink and it's 92mm fan will do the job, flat or round cables!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I cursorily read through the article on round cables, and it seems the only thing addressed there is length. The rounding itself shouldn't matter. In fact some time ago (no data to actually back this now) I read an article on testing that was done that showed an (albeit minute) improvement in performance when an 80-conductor cable was rounded. Well, squared to be more precise.


-will
 

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I'm not afraid of a cable. I'm using all rounded cables (5) for air flow improvement, as well as for the fact that I find them much easier to place where I want them. In my 780B case the HDs and floppy are right on top of the IDE connections, with the DVD&CDRW not too much further. Flat cables can be easily folded, but when you tuck them down under an HD you are blocking a lot of air flow.


The best thing to do when using round cables is to change them with flat cables when troubleshooting. And make them the first suspect in quirky drive behavior. I have seen plenty of users of my particular motherboard (Epox) that have noted problems using round floppy cables. Important note that there is more than one manufacturer of round cables so there is your answer.
 

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Actually the article claims it isn't just the length but also the arrangement of earth wires on an 80 pin cable:


"A ribbon cable with interleaved earths has easily characterised impedance - you can put your finger on how much it will resist the passage of alternating current, like a data signal. It's much easier to send an electrical signal from one device to another if the impedance of the devices, and of the connecting cable, is known. It's possible to design a setup that adapts to impedance mismatches, but it's much cheaper and simpler to match the impedance properly. Well, it is if you've got a decent cable design, anyway.


With interleaved earths, each signal wire interacts very little with the signal wires on either side. The electromagnetic and electrostatic fields from the signal wires get eaten by the earths in between them. Remove the earths, and the cable impedance can vary tremendously - apparently, by a factor of two or three - depending on what wires are and aren't energised at what moment.


IDE device designers don't know how the cable's going to be routed - whether it's going to be hanging in the middle of a case away from the chassis metalwork, or tightly clamped to the side of the case, or some mixture of both. This determines the cable's capacitance to earth - since the PC case is earthed - and that also influences impedance.


In brief, if the impedance is lower than the "driver" circuitry that's trying to send a signal expects, then the driver will be unable to deliver enough current at full signal voltage, the signal strength will thus fall, and you're on your way to data loss. Data-signal drivers have much less trouble feeding high impedance loads - but when the impedance of a 40 wire cable rises for whatever reason, the impedance of the drive on the end of it doesn't. That creates an impedance mismatch at the end, which causes signal reflection problems. Ideally, you don't want the impedance of the cable to vary at all. And interleaving earths among the signal wires does a pretty good job of squishing the impedance fluctuations.


So what happens when you take an 80 wire interleaved-earth ribbon cable, split it into individual wires, and bundle 'em up?


Look under the rubber boot on one of these things and the wires are bundled in neatly enough, but the mixture of data and earth wires is all higgledy-piggledy. If you want to reduce the nasty gang-of-wires effects that happen when particularly inopportune combinations of wires are energised and not energised then mixing the wires up all over the place may well help. If you want a tightly characterised cable, though, I can't help but think that explosion-in-a-spaghetti-factory wiring like this is not going to give you one."
 

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another possibility: passive cooling of the cpu.

I have a P3-500 Slot1 and this thing runs at a maximum of 58°Celsius with all active cooling shut down (full load temp measured during Mpeg2-conversion after 12hours). And this baby is enough to decode picture and DTS without a hitch under WinDVD3.0DTS (no hw-accel whatsoever) so what do you need more?
 
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