Fanless(non-watercooled) HTPC possible ?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by DennisVR, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. DennisVR

    DennisVR
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm considering rebuilding my HTPC. Would a fanless motherboard+videocard be an option ? No water-cooling

    required features:
    - 720p HD playback
    - DVI out
    - also doubles as a NAS storage

    nice to have:
    - BlueRay and/or HDDVD
    - SVHS in

    what motherboards/videocards would qualify ?

    I'm doubtful but you never know ;)
     
  2. Sy4

    Sy4
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    106
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +7
  3. Razor

    Razor
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Messages:
    37,726
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,503
  4. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8,855
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,187
    From what I have read the motherboard shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    You can easily just buy a Thermaltake HR05 Passive heat sink to cool down the northbridge as opposed to using a fan. (It does a very good job from what I have read too).

    The graphics card you can also buy passively cooled graphics cards too. (but from what I have read you wouldn't really want to play games using one)

    However you are still going to need some sort of fan system inside your case to cool everything down.

    Especially as with the passive Graphics card it will get very hot.

    The thing you need to do therefore is to buy the biggest sized fans fittable inside your case. As the larger the fan the less RPM's it will need to get the air around your case and thus the quieter it will be. It will also be a deeper noise as opposed to an irritating high pitched noise (i.e Xbox360) if you use an 80cm fan.

    I believe if you can replace your standard case fans with some premium 13.5cm or 12cm fans this should quieten things down quite a bit.
     
  5. Razor

    Razor
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Messages:
    37,726
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,503
  6. PAH

    PAH
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    1,130
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +63
    There will also be a massive difference in hard drive surface temperatures with and without any airflow around them.

    Without airflow from a nearby fan they get very hot (almost too hot to touch), which must affect their long term health and lifespan.

    With only the smallest of airflow they will be much cooler.

    For this reason, along with the noise that several hard drives make, I seperated my mass storage into a seperate system I could place out of earshot and made sure it was cooled properly.
     
  7. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +51
    I have actually done it already (as have a few others), using an Mcubed HFX case and a Fanless power supply, heat-pipes attached to the case for the CPU and GPU. It isn't hard to do, just expensive - the result is worth it though.

    Using rubber silencer heat-sink caddies for the disks. It makes no noise at all - a feint whirring noise during boot and that's it.

    PM me if you want the build list for it.
     
  8. meansizzler

    meansizzler
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    7,892
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +343
    Check my blog for my HFX planned build..... you can borrow my idea if you want, and I will list for you every part to make it silent, eg.. Laptop drives in 2.5" Enclosures, Tv Tuner, graphics, sound card...
     
  9. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +51
    I posted this back in September2007, excerpts:

    I wanted my HTPC to be silent - that means no fans or at all. To do this you need to find a case that is most probably made out of aluminum of sufficient thickness to act as passive heatsink using heat-pipes to draw the heat away from the toasty components - silently.

    In the research that I did I found two companies that manufacture heat-sink cases:

    Atech Fabrication in the USA - http://www.atechfabrication.com/HTPC_cases.htm

    and Mcubed in Austria - http://www.hifiatx.com/hfx.php?lang=EN

    The Atech stuff looks lovely but is expensive by the time you add all the desireable options - everything is an option, even the reset button is an extra, it isn't hard to configure a £750 case... Do check out the external disk cases too for a future upgrade....you can never have enough disk!

    Mcubed do a heat sink case called the 'Classic', which can take full size ATX components and they can supply heat-pipe kits for CPU, GPU and Chipset cooling along with silent disk caddies.....and I ordered this little lot:

    1 x iMon VFD and IR (530) = 89,00EUR
    2 x Vertical Silence Rev.2 - black/black (325) = 58,00EUR
    1 x BorgFX VGA - Heatpipe GPU Cooler (521) = 65,00EUR
    1 x BorgFX CPU classic - Heatpipe Processor Cooler (520) = 79,00EUR
    1 x HFX® classic - black/black with front connectors (503) = 434,00EUR
    1 x VFD Filter blue 2x16 (619) = 4,96EUR
    1 x HFX Safety Control System (532) = 25,00EUR
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Sub-Total: 754,96EUR
    German Logistics Systems (4-6 days) (Parcel (1 x 17.875 kg)): 20,11EUR
    incl. VAT (MWSt.) in EU (16%): 129,18EUR
    Total: 775,07EUR

    By the time Paypal have had their slice it was £538, the iMon VFD and IR bit is the display that goes in the front of the case and the IR receiver/remote control - the Vertical silence components are the two silenced disk caddies.

    Now for the PC components, Nvidia published a recommended spec - http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_pvhd_build.html They also produced a PDF suggesting that a Dual Core CPU AMD 4200+ was one of recommended CPUs for decoding HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    I bought a desktop Acer PC from Ebuyer (they are £250 inc vat and delivery now Jan 08) an canabalised it for bits (had a Foxconn Mobo) If you add up all the bits that make the Acer up including Vista Home Premium and the extras and factor in the peace of mind that you know it all works together before you start it is hard to buy this much PC for the price….. A Silverstone STNF fanless PSU and I was in business.

    To get to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD I need a drive and and HDCP compliant video card - I have held off thus far because there is hardly any HD music material which is all I want and the drive costs are still falling rapidly.

    If I did it all again I wouldn't bother with the remote control as I ended up using a Keysonic wireless KB to run it all - the remote works but it is fiddly to use.
     
  10. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +51
    A picture of the HFX internals without the lid on.....
     

    Attached Files:

  11. SeanT

    SeanT
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,156
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Coventry
    Ratings:
    +368
    Mine is practically silent - it has a large zalman copper cpu cooler, with C'n'Q running through the fanmate controller turned down to minimum - fan turns very slowly, and a couple of fans above the HDD running at 5V, and a temperature controlled fan in the psu (a "silent" model) - it is possible to build a silent HTPC, but the tradeoff is size - you can't have a 2U high / DVD recorder sized HTPC and have it silent, it'd have to be bigger like the ones above.
     
  12. Phoenix_TT

    Phoenix_TT
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
  13. heathen666

    heathen666
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,457
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +1,538
    Tom's Hardware did an article on a near silent HTPC in November.

    Link

    I'm currently looking at updating my old Shuttle box which as been ok up until now. When i tried to update the graphics care I realised how tight on space it is.
     
  14. iSix

    iSix
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Easily possible. Got 2 here without any issues. Both only have a single laptop HDD (less heat and noise) in them for the OS and essentials which is suspended using bungee cord to avoid vibrations. Everything else is stored on several NAS boxes in my rack in the understairs cupboard :)

    They're silent from ~3cm away (the spl meter I got for my sub can't pick up any noise when it's right next to them)
     
  15. Razor

    Razor
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Messages:
    37,726
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,503
    My HTPC is totally silent but it is watercooled. One of the best moves I ever did as most HTPC cases are pretty average to poor for cooling.
     
  16. DennisVR

    DennisVR
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the replies! I decided to make things easy for myself and got an Apple TV. Together with my cable set-top box for HDTV reception and recording it's currently all i need.
     

Share This Page

Loading...