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HTPC is noisier than it should be

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mr.D, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    LMP case
    TUSL2C
    P3 1.4
    512M
    Zalman flower cooler and 92mm fan
    Nexus PSU
    x2 seagate barracuda HDs ( 40Gb and 120Gb)
    pioneer slot dvd drive

    That should cover all the essential spec and relevant noise makers.

    The machine used to be pretty quiet in operation. Recently it seems a lot louder ( low frequency droning).

    Initially I thought it was the recently installed second 120Gb HD. However I spun down the drives and although I can hear the drive noise dropping out the objectionable droning continues.

    I've ruled out the pioneer as again its fairly obvious when it kicks in.

    I stopped the zalman fan briefly and the noise continued.
    I assumed it must be the PSU but it was insanely quiet when it was installed.
    Sticking my ear close to it I still can't say for sure its coming from PSU. If anything it sounds as if its coming from the HDs. I disabled the 120Gb version (again made no difference).

    So I'm flumoxed!. It must eithet be the HDs or the PSU . Does spinning down the drives make them totally silent? I would assume so in which case its not the drives.

    If it is the PSU I'm well peeved as the Nexus is not a cheap bit of kit and I can't even remember where I bought the thing!

    I've damped the case as much as I can even going so far as to stick some acoustipack into the case ( cheap upgrade I suppose but its not all that effective as far as I'm concerned)
     
  2. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
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    So your Radeon is fanless?
    If so you seem to have eliminated most things by trail and error.
    Most odd.
    Unless installing the second HD or something else has triggered a rise in temperature which in turn has triggered your fans to run faster.
    The only item on your list that I'm not that familiar with is the PSU. Everything else seems reference quiet. Hmmm
     
  3. KraGorn

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    As Alex notes, you don't mention the video card. Apart from that the Nexus PSU has a good reputation but I've not had one. Most PSUs are easily opened, you could try doing that and un-plugging the fan, it won't hurt for a short time. If it turns out to be this then you could try using an in-line fan-speed limiter.

    I have a QuietPC with the padding which I find very effective, but only if done as a complete unit, rather than just adding to an existing case.
     
  4. GrahamC

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    Check to see if all drives and fans are fixed in the case securely as a loose fixing can cause a drone.
     
  5. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Graphics card is a radeon VE ( fanless).
    Everything is tightly fixed in the case. I even went to the effort of packing and padding most fastenings to isolate any vibration. All cables are tied or taped to stop any rattling. The case itself has 4 additional pads on its feet to better isolate it.

    It must be the PSU : maybe its become worn but to be honest I haven't had it a year yet and its not as if its on 24hrs a day.

    If it is the psu I'll be doing a fan replacement on it rather than buy another one ( I've gone through 3 different PSUs over the life of the machine in a quest for quietness as it is).
     
  6. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Just had a thought!

    I upped the cpu from a 1.13 p3 to a 1.4.
    I suspect the 1.4 needs a bit of juice to power it as it certainly runs hotter than the 1.13 it replaced . If the cpu requires more juice would it kick the PSU into a higher fan speed?

    I wouldn't have thought so but...
     
  7. KraGorn

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    The increased voltage would obviously cause the PSU to work a little harder, the main temp. increase though would be in the CPU. However, if the heat in the PSU was just below a threshold of the thermal probe controlling the fan .. assuming the fan is temperature-controlled .. then it could kick the fan a bit harder.

    As I say, I have no experience of Nexus, my PSUs are from QuietPC these days.
     
  8. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    The fan does not appear to be controlled on the PSU unless it can communicate over the main power bus. No additionally connections to mobo.

    The Zalman fan for the flower is certainly not temperature controlled.
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Sorry, I was presuming the fan in question was the PSU ventilator in the PSU enclosure.
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Just ordered a 300W SilenX to replace the Nexus.
    It was the nexus making the noise.
     
  11. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Not in stock until next week.
    However because of the delay they are throwing in an 80mm silent fan by way of apology!

    nice
    http://www.soadvanced.com/
     
  12. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    I've got one on order also. :D

    Only thing that makes any noise in my PC is my PSU. It's running very quietly now, been modding it over the last year whilst at Uni, as it runs about 2 foot from my head in bed.

    I've got a Zalman Cu flower on my Athlon 2000+, a heatpipe/heatsink set on my Gf4 Ti 4400, zalman heatsink on MB northbridge.

    Running 3 fans, 2 x 80mm jobs (+PSU fan) and a 92mm fan for the CPU cooler.

    I can cut most of the noise now by stopping the PSU fan, so that's the next to go.

    Just need to find me a good 7"ish 16:9 LCD panel now for a project.:D
     
  13. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    It would seem I have a fan due with my PSU also. :)
     
  14. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    Just reread the thread and noticed your setup is pretty close to mine:

    Aopen midi tower case ('el cheapo for short term use)

    Athlon 1.7 (2000+)
    Abit X summit mobo
    512Mb
    Zalman flower cooler and 92mm fan
    Aopen PSU (until the newbie arrives)
    x2 Seagate Barracuda HDD's (80Gb & 160Gb)
    Pioneer 106S slot dvd drive
    GF4 4400 with zalman heatsink


    :)
     
  15. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I love my HTPC ! Its my favourite piece of kit. I'd dump my projector and plasma before I 'd loose the HTPC!

    In a further quest to improve quietness has anyone used that DVDidle software to good effect?

    Is it just as easy to rip the dvd to HD for watching?

    I'm not interested in ripping my dvds to HD other than as a sound prevention measure.
     
  16. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Just downloaded dvdidle: sees to work quite well. dvd drive spins for about 10 mins then it shuts down for the duration of the movie.

    Only problem is the trial version has a pop up every 20 mins and I suspect the 2nd time it pops up it crashes Theatertek. Although this may be down to me stting 9Gb of disk cache for ( hopefully) the entire disc. ( the manual recommends no more than 2Gb).

    Think I'll buy it : potentially makes a big difference to noise levels for $19.
     
  17. rod

    rod
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    Just a thought

    We have tried out Zalman flower coolers in development and found that the Zalman Flower cu cooler to be MUCH noisier than the Zalman 7000-cu and not nearly as efficient.
    Running a 3ghz P4 800mhz fsb the 7000 can be left on idle 1400 rpm and is barely audible temp: 34 degrees idle 48 degrees stressed, in our STRATA 390 enclosure.

    Incidently, the Seasonic power supplies we use are even quieter than the Zalman 7000 cooler. We have tried many better known psu's and a good deal of them start off really quiet (barely audible) but tend to ramp up in volume as the cpu and gpu are asked to work.
    Ambient temp in the case is everything as it rises if the case does not allow adequate throughput of air then the powersupply tends to be the thing to suffer as the internal fan has to work harder to keep things cool.
    Also, as a bonus the Seasonic supplies are less expensive, generally, than the competition in oem form.
    We may check out the SilentX range, as their heatsinks look especially interesting.

    Hope this helps
    Rod
    www.standsunique.com http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=107254
     
  18. probedb

    probedb
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    From reading the silenx website people should be careful about other brands trying to pass their PSUs off as silenx.

    I have 3 of their 80mm fans in my case now (just replaced GPU fan) and now I'm convinced it's the Zalman flower cooler making the noise will stop it to check.

    But if it is then I may have to get a silenx cooler :) Sigh, more money.
     
  19. azzo

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    Yep I have a Zalaman flower cooler and am NOT IMPRESSED.
    This thing is far noisier than the blurb on the packet makes it out to be.
    Azzo.
     
  20. ReTrO

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    I have a Flower Cu heatsink on my Althon 2000+ and am running the fan @ 1400 rpm, CPU typical temp is about 55c. The fan makes pretty much no nosie at all, I can't really hear it anyway. Quite happy with it.
     
  21. rod

    rod
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    ReTrO

    Just as an example based on your 2000+ Athlon at 55 degrees typical, if a Zalman 7000-cu were used it should run at least 10 degrees lower than this. This is more relevant if a more powerful cpu were employed and temperatures were getting too uncomfortable (65%+) that extra 10 degrees is vital and keeping the fan at minimum rpm (1400).

    This is based on our 'try it and see + hear' experience.

    Hope this helps, the 7000 series is newer and seems to perform more efficiently that's all. We run flower coolers in our older less demanding machines.
    if anyone has experience of how the silentX heatsink preforms please let me know.

    Cheers
    Rod
     
  22. ReTrO

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    Now I have more money I'm quite tempted to give another heatsink a spin. I'll stick with my 92mm fan though, unless the heatsink needs one that's attached to it.
     
  23. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    PSu arrived this moring and is now resident in my PC.

    Blimey its quiet so far, brilliant!

    Only bad thing, I got a free 80mm case fan and its making more noise than the PSU did so I may disconnect it.

    Also I managed to unseat my RAM upon changing PSU and get the dreaded BEEP on startup. Fortunately I've done this a few times before, so did the usual checks and it's all running fine now.


    More reports on the PSU and fans when I've run a few CPU/GPU hungry games.

    :smashin:
     
  24. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Dang!!

    I was just about to cut an 80mm blowhole in my LMP case glad I didn't/ I have a spare 92mm zalman fan that, and I agree with retro on this, is pretty much silent.

    I'll use that instead.
    I have a little no-name 80mm thats practically silent too.

    My PSU has also arrived...unfortunately I'm still at work.
     
  25. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    Give the 80mm fan a run and see what you think. It's got a little temp resisitor attached to control speed, but never seems to go silent speed, it nt oo moisy now though, same as me old PSu was.
     
  26. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    I've disconnected the 80mm SilenX fan now, and am just going to add some Dynamat to the arm of my Zalman 92mm fan to stop it buzzing, as it's the next noisiest thng. (Apart from the HDD or DVD when accessed).
     
  27. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    CPU fan now quieter, still noisest part of PC :D (it's very quiet, if I put the side back on my case I doubt I'd hear it).

    I have also lined part of the front of my case with Dynamat whilst I was at it, parts infront of the HDD etc. And stuck some to the inside plastic front of my DVD drive and to it's metal case. Seems to have helped a bit also.


    I have connected the SilenX fan to a spare Zalman fanmate and set it to half speed so i can't hear it at all now, and its temp sensor is wedged into the Zalman heatpipe heatsink on my GF4 4400 as the air flows past it to help cool it.

    So far, so good!

    :smashin:
     
  28. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    My latest tweakings.

    Installed 400w SilenX PSU replacing 300W Nexus.
    No real difference in sound level.

    Replaced zalman 92mm fan for a new one of same type for my cpu flower cooler.
    Improvement in sound level. Older fan seems to have developed a bit of a grind.

    Attached additional 80mm nexus fan to the zalman arm also has undervolt mod . Practically silent no increase in noise ..better cooling down about 10degrees at full load!

    SilenX 80mm fan attached to front blowhole on case to give a bit of positive pressure. Practically silent with undervolt mod and temp sensor taped somewhere cool.

    Zalman 80mm fan : rejected as it rattled straight out of the box.

    All available surfaces covered in acoustipak foam....no real improvement.

    Net improvement. Better temps with no noise increase but... I reckon the slave HD (120Gb barracuda) is a tad on the noisy side.

    I did want to cut a blowhole in the rear of the case but there isn't enough room . I may just swiss cheese the back panel with a suitable drill bit to let a bit more air out of the bacck of the case.
     
  29. ReTrO

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    My next 'mod' will be to build a proper case.

    Cooling wise I'll be looking at a Papst 80mm front inlet fan, 92mm Zalman, mouted side on to the flower to blow air across it, and the SilenX 80mm and PSU fans for rear outlets.

    Hopefully I'll be able to close away any noise from the HDD and DVD drive.
     

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