HTPC Cases. How warm?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by FruitBat, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. FruitBat

    FruitBat
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    After 3 years, I'm ready for attempt #2 at building a near-silent PC.
    First attempt was dominated by sound of 300W QuietPSU. I would like something smaller that Lian Li PC60 (attempt #1). There's no doubt that the HTPC cases look nice (the Strata260 in particular has a shallowness that I crave).

    But. How warm do they get? I have 2 DVB cards (Nova-T and Nova-S) which I would like to live in the same PC. In a traditional tower case, these would be at the bottom and (I would assume), the warm air would rise and exit at the top (rear case fan/PSU fan). The plan is: AMD64 (possibly underclocked), if AGP then one with no fan, 2 hard drives (or possible one hard drive and one compact flash thingy). Currently thinking about SLK2650-BQE as case (replacing fans and PSU), but HTPC case would be nice.

    Anyone got any temperature readings?
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    You could always watercool if temps are a problem.
     
  3. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles
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    How warm it gets will depend on (i) the components installed in it, and, (ii) the particular purpose you are putting the system to. In general, the more powerful the components and the harder they are working, the hotter the system will run.

    The optimal case for me may not be the optimal case for you. For me, it would be a good, heavy grade aluminium (but costly!), have potential for good air flow (front to back) and not be too cramped. If you want to go small that might be a problem. In general, a tower is easier to cool than a desktop (HCPC) style case because towers have more room in them and the heat can rise away to be exhausted (as you say). Nevertheless, I prefer to use horizontal cases with excellent 'thermo-acoustic' results. As MrD suggests, you could water cool, or you could even refrigerate, or you could use thermally controlled fans, of which there are many these days.

    If you are looking at an HCPC system, limit it to 1 HDD with DVD_whatever; you don't need more. Keep it simple. I don't know about the 64bit AMD (yet) as compared to the 32bit Athlon XP+ but the P4 Prescott runs very much hotter than the Northwood, for example, so you could make your selection of cpu accordingly. If you're not a heavy-duty gamer, you don't need a searingly hot, ultra powerful graphics card, so, again, make your choice accordingly, and if it's only for 2D stuff, a low power Radeon (even 7000 series for £20-25) would be adequate for TV, DVD etc and will run very cool. You need to do a very considerable amount of research into the different components on offer to find out (i) exactly what components you need, and, (ii) what their thermal characteristics are, before designing the system, selecting the case and then building it up (in that order). You don't necessarily have to have the latest, most powerful and fastest - just select what you actually need plus a bit of headroom for the near future, maybe.

    For example, How much grunt does your cpu have to have at minimum? Do you need 64bit processing (when can you use it?) if a 32bit equivalent cpu runs cooler? How much memory will you need, how fast does it need to be, how hot will it get and will heat spreaders make any real difference? You might also invest some time to learn about system cooling, ie the effects of air pressure on fan efficiency, whether to suck or blow (???) the cpu sink, how to design the air-flow through the case etc. Have a look on the Papst site; it's very good. Papst do know what they're doing.

    If it's a general purpose or specific 'other' application PC/workstation, that's a slightly different animal, but the principles are much the same.

    Hope this helps.............
     
  4. betamac

    betamac
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    Well as a guide heres my HCPC

    Shuttle SN95G5
    Athlon 64 3500
    MSI Geforce 6800GT 256MB
    1GB Corsair PC3200 TwinX Memory
    Maxtor Diamondmax 10 300GB SATA Hard Drive
    Pioneer 107 DVD Writer
    Net Gear 108MB Wireless PCI Card

    The PSU is a 240W Silent X Fan

    There is only 1 fan on this shuttle on the back and my temps are as follows

    Idle

    Motherboard 32C
    CPU 51C
    System 52C
    Hard Drive 46C
    GFX Card 57C

    Stressed

    Motherboard 39C
    CPU 64C
    System 60C
    Hard Drive 53C
    GFX Card (Not Sure)

    Now i have ran prime 95 for 12 Hours straight with no errors and its rock solid stable I Then Left 3D Mark 2005 Running Overnight again it was still running in the morning with no problems
     
  5. FruitBat

    FruitBat
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    OK, it looks like I'll have to clarify my question.

    1. I already have a Lian Li PC60 with Athlon XP1700+, Radeon VE (aka 7000) and 2 DVB cards. I diddled with quiet PSUs and quiet fans but never got it quite quiet enough (althought not far off). This set up is powerful enough for me (no extreme gaming or hidef required).
    2. Now it's 3 years later and there are more products on the market (e.g. 14dB SilenX PSU), so I thought I'd try again.
    3. From reading SilentPCreview & its forums, I fairly confident that I can build a quieter rig with a big(gish) tower (e.g. Antec 3700BQE) and an underclocked Athlon64.
    4. Ideally I want 2 DVB cards in the same PC. So Shuttles are out (I did at one point think of having 2 Zens).
    5. I don't want to do water cooling (just can't be @rsed).

    Now, there's no doubt that the "HTPC cases" (by which I mean the cases designed to look like HiFi, like the Strata or Accents) are going to look better than a tower case, but I would think that they would be harder to keep quiet without overheating.

    The question is, how warm do they get? Is anyone using one with 2 DVB cards? How about 1 DVB card? How warm does the left hand side get? Do you have to compromise running silently to achieve safe temperatures?
     

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