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486 March 30, 2009 09:02 AM

PC with Zero moving parts
Is it possible to build mATX FF PC with Zero moving parts (Zero noise)?
I guess 45W AMD CPU + mATX Gigabyte board + 300W passive PSU + SSD.
Is it viable? Or practical?

Oh, well, DVD-RW has moving parts, when in use. But lets exclude that for a moment.

sswilson March 30, 2009 09:12 AM

I don't know if I'd trust any modern day system to a SSF zero airflow platform. Doing away with fans completely would be (IMO) a recipe for disaster as the heat would just keep building up without dissipating.

I'd suggest at least one or two 800 / 1000 / 1200 rpm fans which would be almost silent. (BTW.... get an external ODD if you don't want the associated noise, that way you can install/rip whatever you need to the SSD).

Soultribunal March 30, 2009 09:19 AM

Nowadays Airflow is mandatory even to a small degree really.
You can get away with near silence on some fans, but you need to get some air circulating in there to save yourself from hardware failure.


encorp March 30, 2009 09:24 AM

Actually it's completely possible; we have computers in recording studios that are based off all our current technology and have zero moving parts in them (except HDD's as SSD's dont have the storage we need) but no fans at all and just a massive amount of very efficient heatsinks. I'm trying to find a link for you; I'll post it when I do.

Here is an example of a fanless PSU from silverstone:

Silverstone Nightjar Fanless Computer Power Supply

encorp March 30, 2009 09:32 AM

Here's one from my bookmarks used in the medical industry. I know these are not exactly practical but it CAN be done, I actually built a PC that was silent by using a horizontal case and putting heatsinks on absolutely every part, then if you want you can place a couple 120mm fans that are set EXTREMELY low and the thing won't overheat. It's definitely possible and is done all the time in recording studios as the sound from a computer is terrible in that environment!

Fanless PCs - The transtec AG - Customized Hardware & Complex IT Solutions

BrainEater March 30, 2009 09:36 AM


If you make the case one big heatsink , and thermally connect all the hot parts to it (heatpipes) convection can easily take care of the cooling.

It's something I've been considering fooling around with...copper milling aint cheap tho.


MpG March 30, 2009 09:45 AM

If you're serious about having zero moving parts, you may want to look seriously at an open platform, or at least an open top case, to make it as easy as possible for hot air to rise out of the case. Convection exists, but its ability to move heat from a computer is greatly overestimated by a lot of people. You'll likely want to stick some copper ram sinks on a few circuit hotspots that would have otherwise been okay with moderate airflow. And you'll need to clean it regularly, since it'll probably be a dust magnet. Also be aware that many 'passive' PSU's assume that you'll have another fan in the system handling airflow. You might also consider looking at underclocking and undervolting to give yourself a little extra headroom.

SKYMTL March 30, 2009 10:28 AM

25 Kilograms of Silence: Zalman TNN500A Case Review - X-bit labs

CMetaphor March 30, 2009 10:38 AM

I dont think you have to go as far as that Zalman case (which is super-expensive btw). Find a case with lots of grills... for free airflow (Antec 300/900/1200 perhaps?) and use an oversized heatsink for everything that you can, with as large a fin spacing as possible. I'd recommend against going the SSF route, because then there will be too much heat in one place, a larger case will allow the air to move more freely, and then convection will take over. For the CPU HSF, I'd suggest the Scythe Orochi, for RAM, try corsair dominators or get the Arctic-Cooling ramsinks. For the NB/SB and GPU, go Thermalright. If it doesn't have to be a true "0db" system then keep the top exhaust fan from the 300/900/1200 to pull the hot air out of the system and encourage even more convection. Just my $0.02.

SKYMTL March 30, 2009 10:46 AM

I was making a point that where there is a will, there is a way.

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