This is my first effort at modding. I built the original rig last spring with my tax refund, and then did the mods last August. Haven’t been posting for awhile, since I’ve been swamped with both school and work since September. Pics can be found here
With the stock Sunon fan and the Shuttle heatpipe, Motherboard Monitor reported the cpu at about 58-60C under load (heavy gameplay, video encoding). While this is technically within spec, it’s too warm for my peace of mind, so my goal was to make my Shuttle SN45G cooler, both in temperature and looks.
Current specs: Athlon XP 3000+ running @ 400 mhz, 1 gig of PC4000 Kingston HyperX, NEC dual format DVD burner, Seagate 160 gig HD, Radeon 9800 Pro.
The first order of business was to replace Shuttle’s “innovative heatpipe solution” with a real heatsink. I wanted to use a Thermaltake Silent Boost that I had already purchased, but it was too big for the case, so I took a quick trip to my local CompUSA and got the Mad Dog version of the Thermaltake TR-2, which is a smaller heatsink with a copper core, aluminum fins, and a tip magnetic driven fan already attached. Also, the TR-2 came with a 3-way speed controller, which I put to good use. As you can see from the pics, the heatsink fits like it was made for the board. The only drawback with the new heatsink was that it sits much further up on the board than the fins of the heat pipe...I had to cut away the bottom bay of the drive cage to get it to fit back on, so the HD occupies what should be the floppy bay. No big, since I wasn’t planning on installing a floppy, and I wanted to stealth the front anyway.
Step two was removing the punched hexagon grill in the back to increase airflow…ugly business since I don’t own a dremel and I didn’t want to remove the mobo (too lazy). I used tinsnips and cut it with the back of the comp facing downwards so little metal bits would fall away from the mobo. For a little cooling overkill, I got not one, but two, Vantec Tornados from newegg. Installed front to back in a “push-pull” configuration, it covers up the ugly hole nicely.
For beautification, I wanted to do something eye-catching. I am a terrible painter…I don’t have the patience for endless coats and sanding, so I thought of doing something like a case skin. I found the Matrix art online and it fit almost perfectly on the side and top panels of the case (attached with aerosol photo glue). Stealthing the DVD drive required attaching a strip of wood to the back of the face plate, in order cover the bolts that stick out the back (I used Gorilla Glue to bond the wood to the aluminum). I then attached the wood backing to the DVD tray with double sided foam tape, leaving the DVD drive intact for possible swap out later. A push on the corner of the faceplate opens the drive.
Putting it all back together, I used long bolts (purchased from Lowes) to attach the Tornados, with Antec silicone fan gaskets to dampen vibration. I used a y-splitter and connected the two Tornados to the fan speed controller that came with the heatsink, which occupies my unused pci slot. Full speed is obnoxiously loud, literally like a hair dryer. I set it on low and forget it.
New temp: CPU is 38C (on quietest fan setting) after about a hour of playing Halo or encoding home movies.
P.S. Recent changes…this rig has become more of a bedroom movie server than a lan party box. I replaced the 160 gig drive with a new 400 gig Seagate HD. Even on low the Tornados are too noisy for enjoyable movie viewing, so replaced them with two Panaflos. At low speed they are almost inaudible…I run them at the medium setting most of the time and set them on “full” for divx encoding. Temps run around 43-45C.