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Old 11-22-2005, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Proper Way to Cool an Aria

Out of all the sites I've seen, as well as the Aria reviews on newegg.com, the lowest CPU temps are idle/load about 40/60+ degrees C, and most are more like 45 or 50 idling and over 70 degrees under load! Even modified Aria cases such as this one or this one don't get temperatures nearly as low as they should be. I don't know all that much about processors, but I'm pretty sure 70 degrees is cutting it pretty close to shutdown temperatures. The Aria is designed to be cooled by sucking air in the through the PSU fan and out the included slot blower. This works fine with, say, a P4 Northwood and integrated video for you to check your e-mail and process words, but with a gamer's CPU, RAM, and videocard, things will get toasty inside the small form-factor (SFF) Aria, so these temperatures are understandable.

In my Aria--on an average day--the Prescott's CPU idle/load temp is 30/40 degrees C, with system temps of 21/24. However, on cooler days the temps drop as low as 22/36 CPU and 14/15 system (such as right now); on hotter days (house temperatures of over 75 degrees F or so) the temps are around 34/44C - system temps 23/26C. My cooling setup also lowered HD temperature by at least 5C (I'm pretty sure it's more like 10C). I am sure that as it gets colder this winter the temps will go down even more, and during the summer, they will get higher, but even so, there is much more room for comfort before it shuts down under load. I'm going to try to explain as clearly as I can how other Aria users can get these kinds of temperatures too, using this cooling mod I've discovered.

Lowet temp to date:




More pics (56K warning):
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a43.../fullflash.jpg
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a43.../leftflash.jpg
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a43...tsideflash.jpg
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a43...htsidedark.jpg
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a43...r/fanflash.jpg

So, first, my setup:

case: Antec Aria Case
CPU: intel Pentium 4 Prescott 3.0GHz s478
mobo: MSI 865GM2-LS Micro-ATX
vid card: Apollo GeForce 6800 vanilla w/ NV Silencer 5
HD: WD Raptor 74gb

and the cooling components:

CPU hs/fan: Zalman CNPS 7000B-Cu LED
this is probably the biggest, best CPU hs/fan that will fit in the Aria due to the overhang of the PSU; Antec was smart enough to make an indentation in it to create room for the hs/fan, but it's still tight. Zalman's 7700 series will not fit (at least with the mobo I have).

vid card hs/fan: Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 Rev. 3
At first I was using the stock fan, but it was small, and therefore fast, and therefore loud, so I bought the Arctic Cooling NV Silencer (despite the rumour that it doesn't fit inside the Aria because of the power supply; IT DOES), which sucks air from inside the case, blows it across a heatsink on the GPU, and out the back. I actually think it plays a large role in the cooling process; you'll see why later.

The Aria comes with a slot blower, which I had mounted next to my Firewire card. There are four slots in the Aria, one of which can be taken up by the AGP slot of the mobo (if you have one). So my PCI/AGP setup was (from left to right, looking at the case from the back): 6800, empty PCI, slot blower, Firewire card. I couldn't find a Micro-ATX mobo with built-in Firewire.

When I got the NV Silencer, there was no room for the slot blower anymore (I figured that the blower and the card fan would create turbulence or something anyway), so now the setup is: 6800, NV Silencer takes up a PCI slot, Thermaltake fan controller, and Firewire card.

case fan: 120mm Thermaltake Thunderblade A2018
I cut a ~120mm hole in the right side of the case with a jigsaw, filed it, and drilled holes for the mounting screws. I also had to cut a large (but unnecessary) portion of the drive cage away. drive cage before, drive cage after

This is the backbone of the cooling system. As long as this thing is on, the processor stays cool. Even if I completely stop the Zalman fan, this baby at full speed will keep the processor at 53C while it folds proteins. Conversely, if I stop the Thunderblade, even if the Zalman is at full speed, the idle temp jumps from 30 to 40C, and the load temp would probably reach 60C.

The principle behind my cooling rig is fairly simple; you suck in cold air from one side, through the RAM and past the CPU, across the HDD, off the other side of the case, into the NV Silencer, across the GPU heatsink, and out the back of the case. I'm not sure if this is actually what's happening, but hey, it works! If you look at this picture, you can see the little passageway that I believe the cool air travels through, whisking away heat from the CPU. It's designated by the blue light from the fan. The semi-cool air then gets sucked into the NV Silencer (black fan) and thrown out the back.

The nice thing about this is that I can control the Thunderblade not only with the PCI-slot controller, but also with SpeedFan. I can slow down the Zalman with Speedfan also, so the thing is practically silent at idle--40% power to the Zalman and 75% plus the controller all the way down for the Thunderblade, and then I can crank up the Thunderblade and the neighbors will know I'm about to game.

My new Raptor is much quieter than the old 5400-rpm Seagate (except during seek ), so now the noise culprit is the PSU fan. I plan on getting a Nexus for it, which should make the comp pretty much silent at low speed.

All heatsinks were applied using Arctic Silver 5. I also put some on the northbridge for the fun of it.

2.7.06:
Incidentally, the 120mm fan blows tons of dust into the case, and there's no room for a filter, so I'll be cleaning everything out and reseating the CPU heatsink every few months. I've already done it once and it's not too much of a hassle.
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Updated:

temps, added pictures
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Old 11-26-2005, 05:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Update

Linked one of the pics directly so the thread title would have the paper clip next to it. .. aww but it doesn't. Alright last bump and then I'll let the thread die ..
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Old 11-26-2005, 09:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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wow gj with that, i wish i could mod it like that but i have no idea how to cut holes into cases T_T
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Old 12-03-2005, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, thanks. I pretty much followed this guide, but I don't have a rotary tool so I used a jigsaw.

Update: new lowest temps at 6am (obviously, it was pretty cold in my house)
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Old 02-08-2006, 02:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Updated for new HDD!
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Old 02-08-2006, 02:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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hey thats a great idea, im gettting about 55 degrees celsius under load with a 2.8c and a 9800pro oced to XT. I definitely need more airflow as it gets pretty hot in there.....my friend is handy with a dremel...ill ask if hes willing to cut the hole in there for me.

Question: would a 92mm fan be small enough to fit on the side and not have to cut the drive cage? How bout an 80mm?
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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http://www.wizdforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=954

The guy who wrote that used an 80mm fan and had to cut the cage, but that was to make it possible to remove the drive cage while the sides were still on. I'd say an 80mm fan would fit without the need for cutting the cage; you'd just have to remove that side when you wanted to take the cage out. I just measured, and a 92mm fan will fit (it's just over 100mm from the rim of the side to the bottom of the drive cage), just probably not when you take out the drive cage. Of course, it also depends on how near/far you place the fan from the front of the case, since that changes the angle of the cage required to touch it.
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Old 02-09-2006, 06:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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thanks for the advice, im thinking of just using an 80 as close to the cpu as possible and possibly cutting a vent on the top where the space is between the optical drive and power supply. i just have to figure a way to reinforce the top cover so it doesnt break in half.
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can't edit my original post anymore, but I've added a 500gb Western Digital Caviar SE16. Right now it's just sitting on a PSU slot, but eventually I'll get some string and suspend next to the NV Silencer (a little higher than where it is right now).

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