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Thread: Old Skewl Air Cooling

  1. #1
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Detale's recent inquiries about watercooling and the subsequent replies- including mine- got me ruminating about air cooling.

    Before I fell into the watercooled abyss I had spent quite a bit of time exploring the nuances of airflow and it's implementation in PCs.
    Turns out, I still had quite a bit of that stuff mouldering in storage and today spent some quality time rummaging through it all.
    Looked there was enough stuff to assemble a working machine, so...

    Concurrent with my aircooling experiments I developed a fondness for old style server cases, specifically the highly architectural Gateways.

    Beige, bulky and built like brick shithouses, these cases are built to a standard we don't see anymore.
    The exterior skin, a clamshell design (sides and top all one piece), is considerably thicker gauge than currently fashionable and once removed, exposes an interior structure strong enough to stand on-literally.
    At one time I probably had ten of these but sold off/gave away all but one.

    If these cases have a downside (we'll ignore the styling and weight, since neither issue bothers moi) it's the proportions.
    This one is a whopping 23" tall but only 17" deep, which makes it difficult to watercool- at least internally.
    Furthermore, back in the day, 80mm was the fan size of choice (which is odd given how much room there is), so a bit of hacking is necessary to bring it up to today's snuff.

    The front bezel actually has a functional intake setup so there will be two 120mm fans there.
    One side of the clamshell is going to be cut and filled with mesh and hopefully, airflow will be sufficient for a semi-modern CPU/motherboard.

    I like to apply the airflow as directly as possible to the needful components...we'll start with the hard drives.

    Using a 120mm fan, a 120 to 140mm adaptor and some hard drive mounting brackets, we get this...



    Such an amalgamation will allow one (of two) drives to be mounted on the front of the case...


    The second drive (identically dressed) will have to go up in the optical bay area.

    The motherboard (Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe w/ Opteron 148 CPU) gets a Zalman HS...a relatively old design but still quite effective and definitely skewed towards silence...a good thing, IMO.
    The southbridge loses the whiny stock fan and gets a Thermalright heatpiped unit to which I've strapped a Zalman low-profile 80mm fan...




    I dislike using a small fan like this and we'll see how it sounds in practice...might end up losing it later.

    We definitely don't want to plug all these fans into the motherboard, nor do we want them run at a straight +12v off the PSU- too noisy- so a fan controller is needed.
    Oh look, just happen to have one.
    A very good one actually, a Sunbeam, capable of pulling 20A through each of four channels and variable from 0 to 12v linearally.

    Don't really want it mounted up front though...it's not particularly handsome, I need the room in the optical bay for the second hard drive and really, once you've set the fans it's not that often it needs to be accessed.
    So in the back it goes...


    Above the PSU is a dead space where the original hard drive cage was mounted but since I've otherwise provided for the drives this area will be unused and the fan controller fits nicely...out of sight but accessible when needed.

    So now we have this...


    More to follow.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Damn I feel like you just cut to commercial and you're not coming back

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Sorry to leave you hanging, D. but it was time to fire her up and see what happened.

    So, what did happen?

    Well, the southbridge fan was unbearably loud, probably a function of it's small size (80mm), being clamped directly to the sink (lots 'o turbulance) and being run right off the mobo header (full speed, all the time).
    It's gotta go.

    I'm using SpeedFan in conjunction with the Asus nVidia Monitor to check temps (they agree on most specs so far and since SpeedFan gives me a tray display that's what I'll be using from now on) and logging the temps overnight was interesting.

    The CPU has been bumped from the stock 2.2GHz speed to 2.4GHz- just cause it was easy and didn't require any adjustments to voltage or memory timing (provision for which are sadly lacking on this Asus compared to the DFIs I'm used to).

    Now keep in mind, the PC was only idling for this "test"- the clamshell skin (with the perforated mesh "window") was in place but the grill for the optical hasn't been fabbed yet- what I was looking for was an indication of even, consistent airflow.


    Looks pretty good.

    Not sure which HDD is which here (the front mount or the optical bay mount) but one is running "hotter" than the other (although neither is remotely in danger) but I'll be looking into it.

    Have a few more experiments to try with fan placement as well- so far, the sound level (without the 80mm running) is quite good, so there's room to play around.

    Later.

    Edit:
    Ok, just determined that the optical bay drive is the hotter of the two...hmmm.
    Last edited by clocker; 11-04-2007 at 03:45 PM.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    I have a question with all my fans why is this core temp 44 degrees when the others are so much cooler? Is it okay?

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    Core usually IS the hottest thing in the computer.
    That temp is perfectly fine.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    SpeedFan- like any generic monitor app- comes preprogrammed to look at a wide variety of sensors, some of which are not applicable to (or present in) your particular setup.

    Sometimes this results in nonsense readings- your display is showing a 0C "ambient", for instance- other times the reading looks semi-reasonable but is clearly not consistent.

    I'd recommend you find another app to compare SpeedFan to...ofttimes your motherboard disk will carry a unit specific program.
    These are usually not as configurable as SpeedFan but by comparing the two you can eliminate SF's extraneous/nonsense readings.

    As for your particular question...I'd say the two core reads of 27c are correct and the 44c is just weirdness (possibly a mobo sensor used for a single core CPU).

    Detale, dl Core Temp and see what it says.
    Last edited by clocker; 11-04-2007 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Thanks again clocker I ran CoreTemp and I got this


    Now What the hell is that 85degree Tjunction? I will try and find a MoBo specific program, If anyone knows of one for AS rock that would be cool . Also dude I'm sorry to hijack your thread do you want me to start a new one so I can get back tour progress?

    On topic I am still quite a novice at building systems and I have 2 questions about your pics above.
    First how did you attach an 80mm fan seemingly over the CPU cooling fan ( if that is what is is ) I have seen similar setups but I don't know how its done.
    Second How did you attach a cooling over the southbridge? meaning how do you psyically attach these to the motherboard?

    @ rossco What temp isn't perfectly fine aprox?

    EDIT: I also used Everest and I got these could the warmer temps be the GPU and the other programs are reading it wrong?
    Last edited by Detale; 11-05-2007 at 12:53 AM.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    No need for a new thread (yet), D- HW world is slow enough that you're not hurting anything.

    This is Tjunction.

    About the pics...

    If I understand you correctly... that's actually a 120mm fan over the CPU sink. It's suspended from the crossbrace that traverses the l/h side of the interior (another component that helps strengthen the case by preventing racking).
    Since this fan is right next to the mesh sidepanel, it pulls outside air in and pushes it directly to the Zalman.
    Activating this fan results in a CPU temp drop of @2c across the board.
    I'm experimenting with a second 120mm fan to do the same thing for the (now fanless) Southbridge sink.

    As for the Southbridge...all of the s939 boards I've seen come stock with a cheesy little fan/sink combo.
    Typically, they are noisy and fail quickly (Abits were notorious for this).
    This aftermarket sink just uses the two holes of the stock fan to install. I didn't use the plastic pushpins, instead substituting screws and nuts to get a good, firm mount.

    About your temps...open Everest and SpeedFan together and see where they agree- you should be able to get an idea of what is what and ignore the oddball reads.
    Remember, all these apps are interpolating from software and are really only useful as a way to tell whether things are getting better or worse, not what the actual temp of a device is.
    Once you gather some baseline data you can implement a change (be it an all new heatsink or just repositioning a fan) and have a reasonably good idea whether you did good or not.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    AHA I was playing around with the config of speedfan and I can across this


    So the Core is my Grafix card right? If so 44 isn't a bad number right

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    AHA I was playing around with the config of speedfan and I can across this


    So the Core is my Grafix card right? If so 44 isn't a bad number right
    Yup and yup.
    BTW...if you highlight the names on that page and then repeatedly click (both right and left) on them you can trick it into allowing renaming.
    Like so...
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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