System Cooling

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We all know that a computer’s worst
enemy is heat…water isn’t too good for it either.  Anyway, I just built a new
Celeron system and found myself in need of some better case cooling.  The case I got
is an Inwin clone…a mid-tower that looks like these Inwins everybody is talking
about.  Mine is a D-Case according to the place I bought it from. Here’s what my case
looks like.

    

Well, I did a lot of searching and reading to get
ideas for improving the airflow through my case, but none really seemed to be a perfect
solution for my case.  I decided that there were probably several folks out there in
the same situation, so I thought I’d share my experiences with you.  Who knows, it
just might help you out.  Anyway, here’s the detailed history of my system and my
quest for cooling (if you’ve read this far, you must be interested, so keep reading).

My system consists of an Intel Celeron
464…er…300A with a generic single fan heatsink running on an Abit BH6
motherboard.  I also have a Creative Labs RivaTNT PCI video card (yehaw!).  The
rest of the system is pretty much standard stuff.  The big culprit here, as far as
heat is concerned, is the TNT board.   That joker gets pretty hot. 

When I put the system together, I did install a
80mm case fan at the front to pull cool air into my system.  I noticed that my power
supply’s fan was actually blowing air in, right over the processor.  I figured this
couldn’t be too good, so like everybody says, I reversed the direction of the fan. 
The power supply had some vent holes in the front and the back, so I covered up the ones
in the front with some clear tape so that I wouldn’t be blowing the hot air back into the
computer.  If you don’t think this was a good idea, email me and tell me so. 
Here’s a couple of pictures…

    

Well, this resulted in a system temperature
(according to Motherboard Monitor) in the upper 90’s degrees Fahrenheit.  I even saw
it peak at 102 after some serious Motocross Madness racing (you’ve got to try that
game…very addicting).  I figured this wasn’t too good either, so I kept thinking.

I came to the conclusion that I needed more
cooling for the TNT card.  The TNT chip on mine just has a heatsink with no fan.
  Someone suggested putting the fan from a 486 cpu fan on there, so I did.  I
didn’t notice a siginificant drop in system temp, so I began thinking of another solution.
  Here’s what I came up with.

I wanted to move a lot of air across the TNT
board, so what I did (and I did think of it before seeing that new Card Cooler dual fan
thingy) was to take a couple old slot covers and bend the tops over so they could be
mounted "upside down" and angled out over my TNT board.  I found that a
regular old 80mm case fan would fit really good on those things.  I drilled two holes
in each bracket and mounted the fan with some bolts.  This works out good since the
screw holes on the case are spaced just right (skip three screws in between the brackets).
  This fan does a good job pulling cool air in the vent holes that are located in the
back of the case along the slots. Check the pictures:

           

   

This was good and all, but I still needed to get
the hot air out of the top, so after a little more head-scratching, here’s what I decided
on.

I had read where people said to install another
fan (or two) at the top of the case to exhaust hot air out.  Well, since I have an
Inwin-style mid-tower case, I didn’t have a lot of room to add fans at the top of the
case.   Interestingly enough though, there is a place to mount a hard drive up there
at the top beside the power supply.  There are some exhaust holes drilled in the
back.   I had the bright idea to get one of those Nidec Gamma 28 blowers from Radio
Shack and mount it up top.  Now the question was how.  After several ideas, I
decided to use the shell off of a dead 3.5" floppy drive that I had laying
around.  The reason for this is it had the nice little holes to screw into already
there, so I wouldn’t have to fool with new nuts and bolts.  Anyway, after drilling a
few holes in the floppy shell, I mounted the fan where it is flush against the back of the
case, blowing out the holes.  This setup works pretty good and moves a lot of air.

   
       

So, with both of these fans added, I dropped my
case temperature down by about 15 degrees F.  It has been running around 77 to 82
degrees F this week with room temp between 68 – 73 degrees. 

The only negative about this setup is the noise.
 It’s not unbearable, but it could be a bit more on the quiet side.  I’m looking
to get some new 22dB 80mm fans soon, so that should help.  The blower fan is kinda
loud, but it is worth it for the heat it pumps out.  I’ve also heard that if you cut
out the openings for the fans it will help the noise level, so I may do that too.

In the near future, I plan to add some sort of
temperature sensor to measure the cpu.  I’m also thinking of adding some switches to
the fans so I can selectively turn them on and off.  I’m not too sure how safe this
would be.  I’ve always heard not to plug up or unplug a hard drive while the computer
is on, so I’m not sure that switching a fan on and off would be any different.  I
know it wouldn’t hurt the fan, but what about the rest of the system.  Send your
comments/suggestions here.

Another note, I took these pictures with a digital
camera, so they aren’t the best quality.  I took several with a real camera, so as
soon as I get them developed, I’ll post them.

Email me if you have any questions, comments, or
suggestions at agrose@mindspring.com

Oh, and for the record…

Week 42 SL2WM COSTA RICA…464 @ 2.1V

This article was written on February 28, 1999. For the latest updates and improvements, please refer to the original page
HERE.


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