It took alot of time, and energy,(and $$ for cooling) to tweak every drop out of this rig, but I feel that short of a vapochill, this rig is at its limit. It was alot of fun, and took alot of time, and research, but all the work was worth it, when my rig was benching 19k in 2k1, when all my friends were stuck at 8-9k...I LOVE BLEEDING EDGE HARDWARE!!!! w00000t!!!!
BTW: there should be fields for video card specs/temps. here they are:
1st gen 9700pro! YEAH!
OCed to 437/395(passively cooled with a duct, and a barton 2500+ cooler. Temps are 105/115F on the video card, and 44/53 on the CPU. not bad, but silence does have a price....
You can view the original work log here(warning, its messy, and just a random text/image dump of the entire undertaking)
Ok, So one rainy day,(one of the few rainy days we have in the desert), my father brought home an old computer he found in a dumpster behind his workplace. It was a circa 1995-96 compaq server case, packed full of then-cutting-edge hardware. I fell in love with the old skool look that the case had. It was really a good looking case and I liked it alot, which is rare with older cases, before asthetics were considered in case design.
Anyways, it was an AT case, which I later converted to ATX, by cutting out the entire back panel, and welding an HP ATX backpanel into its place.
After converting the case, I set out to design something cutting edge, that I hadn't seen anything like before, because its all about originality folks. So, I combined ideas of socket head cap screws, as used in projects such as Orac3, and LiquidBlue. I also liked white, since everything else it black, black chassis, black case, etc etc... and I liked the purple color of duplicolor metalcast paint, since it seems most other colors are pretty common on cases. I took the idea of windows, and the pieces one would be left over with, after cutting a window, and instead of cutting a window, I chose to cut the pieces out, and bolt them on the case itself. Also, silence was the biggest factor in designing this computer. I HATE NOISE!!! It is the most awful thing in the world, and noise was beginning to get to me, with all those 80mm case fans in my first project, ATi:Ressurected. So, I researched, and read countless articles on noise, and its related factors, as well as ways to counteract it.
Silenceing a 21db rig.
As if it needed any...but instead of beefing up on the fans, I chose to use every ounce of the 40-50CFM total circulaton that runs through the case, and it works, very well I might add.
The HDD, is actively cooled, using a ducty dealie, devised from rubber bands, and a peppermint jar, and some tape, and a fan and other random items, the video card was cooled passively, by the intake fan in the HDD box, and that airflow then goes up around the CPU area, where it is then exhausted out the top and rear of the case. This makes for a very silent, efficient computer. Also noteworthy, is the power supply, this was probably the biggest issue when I was initially designing the case, since there wasnt room in the conventional rear mounting area. I mounted the PSU in the 5.25 bays, and the air is sucked in the top intake vent, and exhausted through the front panel vents, which gives the PSU its own seperate airflow, which adds to efficieny, as well as subtracts from noise, since the air intake is much cooler, the fan doesnt have to move as much air to cool the PSU effectively.
The paint job was also a major part of this project, and looking at the pictures I took, they arent very flattering of the real effect achived by the 5 step, 10 layer paint process, which took over 35 days from primer to clearcoat, plus another 30 days, before waxing.
Heres how it was done:
First, all parts to be painted, were sanded down, not to the metal, but just so the finish was completely flat, Then, all parts were primed, 2 times, sanded with 400 grit paper in between coats, then 3 layers of black base coat were applied, 3 days apart from each other, all sanded with 600 grit in between coats. Next, a silver gradient was applied, which faded to a midnight(lightly sparkled) black, this coat was not sanded, because that would ruin the silver paints refraction properties. Next, 2 layers of purple tinted clearcoat was applied over the silver gradient. Each of which was sanded with 1000 grit sandpaper, then 4 layers of clearcoat were applied, after a 5 day drying period for the purple clearcoat, the clearcoats were 2000 grit in between, then rubbing compound to finish it all off, and give it that auto showroom shine. Once again, not seen very well in the pics, the pics honestly dont do any justice to the finish, I might reshoot them at a later date.
Accents and other aspects:
man, Im getting tired of typing all this, heh. Ok, the accent pieces. These were all DREMELED. Yes, there are lazer cutters, and waterjets, that could have done all that work in 15 minutes, but I enjoy dremeling, and I like to do things with my own 2 hands, the only parts of this entire project, that were not my doing, were the accent pieces, as they were powder coated in smoke chrome, after I had cut them all out. But everything else was all my work, including the fan controller, which was custom made, with purple LEDs, and an acrylic faceplate, held on with 4 6/32 socket head cap screws. The power button, salvaged from an old PC, was a CMOS battery, in its previous life, but it has a new home in the front panel of this case now. All the LED fans were custom made, and all the leds in my speaker system, and keyboard, were changed to purple, and my keyboard was painted with the same purple/black treatment as the case. Thats about all i can think of At the moment. Thanks for reading!!!!
Thanks for your comments. In fact, just this morning I removed the fan from my CNPS7000, and built a duct out of clear plastic, so the heatsink is only cooled by the rear exhaust fan, it works very well too, I just hope I never have to remove it. There was only about 3C rise in temps, but that should drop by about 1-2C after the AS5 settles a little more.
oOo, silence is golden. have you ever thought about going into water cooling? its possible to have an almost inaudible system. the only noise would come from the PSU (get a silenx psu) and the harddrive. you could use a big passive radiator or run 120mm fans at 7v.
Funny you should mention that, as soon as I have more available funds, (my wallet is a bit empty ATM), im considering using a positive pressure configuration, and mount a radiator in an exhaust, so that air would be passively forced through the radiator, that would cut down even further on fan noise, eliminating 2 of the existing 4 fans. thats one step closer to 0db. thanks for your comments :D