Okay, so I'm pretty happy with my AMD64 box; it performs well, and is very stable (currently with an 11-day uptime, with constant bittorrent activity, a bit of gameplaying now and then, compiling and running stuff, transcoding DVDs, etc. - not just "idle uptime").

However, it is noisy. The 120mm case fans are silent, the harddrives are silent, the graphics card is silent (after I changed the cooling system)... the offender is the chipset fan. This pesky little fan rotating at an insane RPM. Unfortunately, because of the motherboard layout with chipset close to the PCI express x16 slot, I can't fit a big passive cooling block there, the max height is going to be a couple of centimetres.

I reckon an AMD64 chipset shouldn't need as heavy cooling as a P4 chipset, since the intensive task of memory control is handled by the CPU rather than the chipset. But I wonder what I can get away with?

Something really does need to be done, because the noise from that fan is really killing me.

NForce4 based AMD64 motherboard from MSI, by the way.
Posted on 2005-05-19 12:08:22 by f0dder
This is the fan I use and I have had no problems with it so far.
Posted on 2005-05-19 12:12:21 by SpooK
Isn't that a CPU fan? I need a chipset cooling solution...and max height is around 2cm because of the location of the chipset.
Posted on 2005-05-19 12:17:32 by f0dder
Posted on 2005-05-19 13:07:43 by SpooK
Hm, the box *seems* to run stable with passive cooling; I simply unplugged the chipset fan. Chipset heatsink does get pretty hot, though. But I managed to play Far Cry for a while without any problems.

I already purchased a Zalman ZM-47J Northbridge Chipset Heatsink, but there's no way I can fit it - MSI placed the chipset in a very stupid location.

Both my P4s are passively cooled, with heatsinks that are small enough to fit in my amd64 box. I'm gonna run some stress tests tomorrow with the chipset fan unplugged; if it turns out well, I think I'll put the zalman in one of the P4 boxes, and use the heatsink from the P4 box in the AMD64 box (those heatsinks are larger than the current one, since the fan takes up a lot of space). I guess with some arctic silver, it should work out okay.

If not, I'll target a papst 80mm fan at the chipset, it's a LOT more quiet than the crappy little fan it currently has ;)
Posted on 2005-05-19 13:40:11 by f0dder
You could always make your own heat sink in any shape that will fit the case/surrounding.  One cheap source of copper you could use to make the heatsink is your drawer full of pennies (everyone has one).  Get all the pennies coined before 1982 (after that they come will a little more zink) and use thermal apoxy or weld them in the shape you want.  Attach to chipset and you're golden... er, copper'en.

Posted on 2005-05-19 16:00:11 by Sparafusile
Only curiosity (I also supose that make you own will work ...), but how is that the MP only have 2 cm to put a cooler?? a pic a pic :D.
Posted on 2005-05-19 20:04:29 by rea
Something I have seen recently is a ducted fan so you can point it at the hotspot you are interested in. I think its targetted at the gaming guys but it did look reasonably slick. It did not seem to be all that noisy either.
Posted on 2005-05-19 21:04:20 by hutch--
f0dder, there is also a shorter (32mm high) zalman HS.

Also, some people have had to mount them rotated but they seem to work. I was considering getting one of the 47mm ones for my PC (an AMD64 3000+ on an Asus A8N-Sli mobo), as everything else is really quiet, but I need to measure the space and check that I'll get air-flow over it. They are supposed to be very good if there's air flow, and OK if there's not (on my mobo if I went SLI the north bridge is in the gap between the two cards, so it wouldn't get much movement).

There is something incredibly gratifying about a (near) silent PC, and I built my latest one with that in mind :)
Big old Zalman CNPS7000B-ALCU Super Flower Cooler for the HS/F on the CPU.
A quiet 120mm case fan (slowed down by resistor).
A quiet 80mm case fan (not slowed).
A 460w quiet PSU.
And a Gigabyte NVIDIA Fanless 6600GT 128MB PCI-E  - silent AND reasonably fast :D

The northbridge fan is one of the last sources of noise, except the DVD when it spins up (which is like a hurricane in comparison to the blissful peace of the machine when the DVD is idle).
I'd replace the northbridge in a second if it wasn't such a pain to get to!

Posted on 2005-05-20 05:56:57 by Mirno

The northbridge fan is one of the last sources of noise,

And by far the noisiest part in my entire box >_<

The space problem is because the chipset is located at a pretty lousy spot, near the PCI-e x16 port. Even if I hadn't replaced the GPU cooler with an Arctic Cooling one (to reduce noise to about nil), a taller heatsink would probably touch some of the RAM modules on the graphics card.

I think that the old (tiny) Athlon700 chipset heatsink will be enough; after all, I played some ~45 minutes of Far Cry without any crashes with the chipset fan detached, and the effective heatsink size is pretty small, because the fan takes a lot of space.

I'm probably going to do the "surgery" required to replace the heatsink soon; it's somewhat of a mess because I have to unplug the motherboard etc, but oh well.

If it turns out to be unstable, well, I'll get a duct as hutch suggested; I have a 80mm PAPST fan lying around anyway, and it's pretty quiet.

Btw, I don't really mind the noise the DVD drive makes, since I only use it "every now and then"... and I can enable quiet mode anyway, it's a nice plexot PX-716A.
Posted on 2005-05-20 11:09:08 by f0dder