A HTPC/Gaming Rig Part 3

I have earlier written about the first two stages (1 and 2) of my living-room-gaming-PC project. I am quite confident that this is not the last update either as the project continues to evolve.

After installing a new video adapter with a fan making more noise than a 747 jet engine I had to do something. The noise coming from the stock fan on the AMD/ATI HD4870 video adapters is just too loud for my living room.  The video adapter’s temperatures are extremely high as well with an idle temperature over 70 degrees Celsius and load temperatures far over 80 degrees.

Thermalright T-Rad2 - Image from thermalright.com
Thermalright T-Rad2 - Image from thermalright.com

The first step was of course to replace the cooler on the video adapter. The Thermalright T-Rad2 had got good reviews (Bjorn3d.com), it was small enough to fit within my Lian Li PC-C32B casing, and it could be fitted with two 92mm Nexus Real Silent case fans, which again could be connected to a fan controller. The installation of the cooler and the fans was fairly simple. Just make sure you have everything you need, a bit of time and some space. The results was really amazing! The idle temperature dropped to around 45-50 degrees Celsius and the load temperature reached just above 60 degrees. The readings are done with HWMonitor and they are probably not 100% correct. Nevertheless, they should give pretty clear indications of the significant temperature reductions. More interesting, the noise from the horrible stock fan was gone.

Ximatek HDT-SD946 - Image from ebay.it
Ximatek HDT-SD946 - Image from ebay.it

Reducing the noise from the video adapter did of course introduce another problem, the noise from the CPU cooler. When the noise from video adapter was gone, the CPU cooler continued keeping the neighbors awake at night. To mend this problem I got a Xigmatek HDT-SD964. This cooler received good reviews as well (spcr), it fits inside my case, and it can be fitted with one or possibly two 92mm fans. The noise was once more removed and the temperature dropped significantly. Idle temperatures were measured to 12 and 17 degrees on the two cores of my AMD 4850e CPU. I doubt these values are totally correct as my living room is warmer than that. Load temperatures while playing Far Cry 2 reached 25 degrees.

The problem now is that the PSU makes a bit of noise. It is nothing I cannot live with but I wish it was a bit more silent and I suppose I will do something about it one day. The computer is however fairly quiet, and the noise is a lot less annoying.

Current configuration

  • Lian Li PC-C32B HTPC casing
  • NorthQ Giant Reactor 1000 Watt power supply
  • ASUS M3A-H/HDMI motherboard
  • 4096MBs of OCZ DDR2 Gold
  • AMD Athlon X2 4850e CPU with a Xigmatek HDT-SD964 with one Nexus 92mm Real Silent fan
  • Sapphire HD4870 video adapter with a Thermalright T-Rad2 cooler and two Nexus 92mm Real Silent fans
  • Auzentech Prelude sound board
  • 2 Samsung F1 1TB hard drives in RAID 1 for data storage
  • Samsung F1 500GB hard drive as system disc
  • Samsung SH-S203B DVD player
  • Zalman ZM-MFC1 Plus fan controller
  • 2 Nexus 120mm Real Silent case fans