Recently I began work on two servers for my brother.
Progress has come to a standstill because he is in China for two weeks, so I decided to do a little theoretical testing on Sprocket to keep myself occupied.
These servers will be operational 24/7 and, unlike Sprocket ( or your PCs too, I suspect), they will not be lovingly monitored and cared for.
Ruggedness and simplicity is the name of the game here and I'm trying to keep the cooling as minimal as possible- the fewer fans, the smaller the chance of failure and the less maintenance to perform.
Accordingly, I decided to see just how barebones I could make Sprocket and still maintain a reasonable cooling level.
My target was to keep full load temps under 50c.
We are seriously considering watercooling these servers as water offers not only a good cooling solution but also excellent noise reduction capabilities.
With twin Raptors in each unit there will be a lot of heat AND noise to contend with.
I have seen several methods of constructing water jackets for HDDs that I could easily make.
However, I have yet to watercool Sprocket's HDD, so just for a simple test I needed to add more heatload to my current waterloop. I have previously tried a waterblock on my northbridge, but I'm unconvinced that the bridge really gets very hot, so this time I decided to try the video card...a proven heat source.
It was pretty simple to attach the stock Thermaltake waterblock to the card and although the fittings were awkward ( I'd prolly change them were I to keep this setup, if not just get a purpose-built video block altogether), the loop was functional.
Prior to fitting the waterblock I was using a Zalman northbridge HS ( tall blue aluminum one) with a 120mm side intake fan to deal with the video card.
Temps were in the range of 28-30c with that setup.
Now I am aware that this is not a very accurate test of what the servers will be like...the Raptors are likely to put out a great deal more heat than my 9600XT card does, but then again, we won't be using a POS AquariusII water kit either and I was just trying out a concept here.
Last night was the first test.
I removed ALL the case fans.
The only fan ( excluding the PSU, which has two) is a 92mm working as exhaust on the radiator.
My CPU is slightly overclocked ( 210x 10.5) and also slightly undervolted ( 1.55v vs. stock 1.65v).
I ran Folding@Home to load the CPU.
Room ambient was in the 70's ( we are experiencing a heat wave here).
Here's what happened....
As you can see the delta v between the case (motherboard) temp and the CPU stayed consistent at around 22c and the CPU stayed below 50c.
The video card was at 36c when I checked this AM.
All in all, not too bad.
My next step is to prototype a HDD cooler and try that out.
That project could take a while, but I'll keep you posted.