My Giant Heatsink Fetish

One side effect of building quiet PCs is that you tend to develop a giant heatsink fetish.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/10/my-giant-heatsink-fetish.html

“Quiet PC” is an oxymoron. If you need a quiet machine, buy anything Apple. It runs Windows these days, too, you know. Nothing else comes close. Zalman-Shmalman, phttt.

Hello Jeff,

As far as I’m concerned the cpu, the graphics card and the north bridge are a no-brainer to cool silently. However one big source of noise I’ve consistently failed to suppress is the power supply. I’ve now got a BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 430W, and despite its excellent review on silentpcreview I still find it to be the loudest component of my system (besides the hard drive). So what do you use? Or do you face the same issues?

Macs run Windows, TRUE STORY. And high end Mac is cheaper than a high end Dell, also TRUE STORY. And if you tell me that you can build a PC that’s quieter than, say, Mac mini or iMac, I’ll call bull$hit on that.

Of course there’s certain segment of the market that can’t live without huge heatsinks, blue LEDs and side windows. To that segment Apple does not cater. Fortunately.

It’s possible you don’t even need to overvolt the CPU. I’ve got my E6600 running at 3.06GHz while actually being undervolted by .025 V compared to stock. Mem voltage is up, but that’s because that’s the spec on the RAM sticks.

As for a PC that’s quieter than a Mac mini, I can get a fanless Mini-ITX system that will be quieter. And that’s without any work at all, really. If I was going to put some work into it, I’m sure I could get a more powerful system that could be run silently.

“Quiet PC” is an oxymoron. If you need a quiet machine, buy anything Apple. It runs Windows these days, too, you know. Nothing else comes close. Zalman-Shmalman, phttt.

A knowledgeable hobbyist focusing on silence can fairly easily create a much quieter PC than any Mac will ever be out of the box.

And that’s not even going into the realm of hobbyist with money, knowledgeable hobbyists with money and time can actually reach the realm of “silent PC” (a PC less noisy than the ambient noise level).

I’d like to see you guys try to beat my PowerMac G4 Cube in the silence department, it’s not really stock anymore, but it still manages to stay cool enough to not need any kind of fan. the only times i hear it is when it’s spinning up a cd or dvd, can’t even hear the harddrive during normal use unless i put my ear to the machine.

I am planning on putting a fan in sometime next year, along with upgrading from 450Mhz to dual 1.7Ghz, it won’t become very noise, but it will be loads less quiet when that’s done.

crikey, mac users are really insecure, aren’t they?

Sorry, “Dell” and “high end” don’t go in the same sentence, not even if you’re talking the latest XPS. Everyone knows the Xeon Quad is the most powerful machine marketed to prosumers today, but it also costs more than a number of current quad-core servers. And servers go up waaaay higher than puny mac quads, so I’m not sure what the point is.

Back on track, it’s amazing what a few dollars and a little fiddling around can do to quiet down needlessly noisy systems. Up until a few years ago I didn’t care, but I can hear so much better now that I’m out of that environment, it’s amazing.

Mac hardware + BSD Unix vs. Wintel? Pffft. Thats no kind of contest.

Mac 1984 = PC 1995

Nerdy Tossers.

wow that looks like the inside of my Mustang GT cooler. it’s so huge! :wink:

I still find [the power supply] to be the loudest component of my system (besides the hard drive). So what do you use? Or do you face the same issues?

I’ve had some bad/noisy PSU experiences, too. The Zalman power supplies are pretty quiet. The good news is that PSUs are pretty easy to modify; you just drop in a new fan, and maybe put a resistor inline to reduce the fan RPMs.

Here’s the SPCR guide to power supplies:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page1.html

try to beat my PowerMac G4 Cube in the silence department

The G4 cube is completely passive. But it’s also quite old by today’s standards, isn’t it?

So the P5B, if you had a choice - would you go for this Mobo again?

Yes, but you have to replace the northbridge cooler for sure… or else just be absolutely certain you have directed airflow over the northbridge.

I work in a rather large datacenter from time to time, pretty much any computer sounds quiet after being in there. I suppose it’s all just perspective. I used to have a large and noisy fan on my CPU, but it was mostly drowned out by the crappy old hard drive on my girlfriend’s computer clicking away. With my upgrade (almost identical to yours, by the way), I have done away with the noisy fans and the old hdd, so my computer area is practically silent in comparison. So, as I said, relative, but I’m sure I’ll want something quieter down the road.

Thanks for this post, I hadn’t even looked at the northbridge for heat issues.

Hey, guys, I have a Mac and it shoots cool lasers out of its case, has time-travel capability and can detect a Cylon/Klingon/Imperial Fleet invasion from three solar systems out!!! Oh, oh, and I bought it for 12 bucks, I’ve had it for 10 years and it’s faster, quieter, and cooler looking than any PC on the market today. Plus, it drives the chicks crazy. And my dad can kick your dad’s butt! Narf.

You know, I think I might just go live in the woods and spend my days talking to the squirrels or something.

Yeah, run a server in your office/cubicle - that’ll be fun. It sounds like a hairdryer under load, so what. A huge heatsink here, a blue LED there and it’s all fixed.

Mac Pro is a freaking work of art, inside and out.

I hadn’t even looked at the northbridge for heat issues.

It’s not something you normally need to worry about. I only looked at after my computer mysteriously turned itself off and I caught a whiff of that “burning electronics” smell.

First time that’s ever happened to me in 10 years of building computers…

The last PC I built, I tried to make it quiet.

That was no fun.

So I bought a Mac.

TRUE STORY.

Since the topic is quiet PCs, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the option of stripping out all the fans and submerging the PC in oil. (I consider myself an obsessive compulsive but this still seems a step too far to me).

Article on Tom’s Hardware:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/01/09/strip_out_the_fans/

and the inevitable link to a YouTube vid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8shVDvMdo4

-john

Liquid inside of the heatpipes meant to boil near the HOT cpu and condence in the COOL radiator, thus cooling the cpu. Most of the heatpipe-based heathinks have 4-10 L-shaped heatpipes sticking in all directions from the copper base.

Therefore, If you’ll put the heatthink on it’s side (or install it into a tower-cased PC, coolan liquid in the - northern? lower? - heatpipes will drain down to the condencer part of the pipes.

Seems like heatpipes of a retail heatsinks are designed to be mounted onto MB installed into old-school desktop case. What do you think? Try to put the box on it’s side, or just incline it for 30-45 degrees and see if CPU temperature will decrease.

Hi. I was wondering if i could see some more pictures of this setup. I want to see how “tight” the HR-05 and the Infinity go together on a P5B Deluxe.