Catching the FanBus

Back on the subject of noisy PCs, I have become less tolerant of the lower level of noise that my PC is putting out. Unfortunately the lovely VGA cooler that I installed only a week ago has started to rattle. The sad thing is that it was probably due to my crappy installation hackery invloving polycarbonate and a soldering iron, so I’m not even going to try for a warranty replacement. Additionally, I discovered that particular VGA cooler does not permit another card to fit into the PC when running SLI, which is something I intend to do eventually.

Zalman Multi-fan Speed ControllerSo back to the store to order a Zalman VF700, which is specifically SLI capable as mentioned in their FAQ (under the suitably engrish title “Does VF700 can be installed on both graphic cards when in SLI mode?”). I’d also like to get the front case fan up and running, preferably at something less than its standard 12V high-speed Pratt & Whitney volume levels. I do possess the requisite soldering skills to create my own fan speed controller (or at least a hacked version of one). However for marginally more cash, and infinitely less effort, I can grab a pre-built jobbie, again from Zalman who seem eminently competent in this arena.

Update: I’ve installed the fanbus. Very cool because it has allowed me to tweak various fan speeds to the point that, even with the additional front case fan running, the overall volume level is lower than before. I think this is because the 120mm fans have a distinct step up in noise above about 1200rpm, and prior to installing the fanbus the rear extractor fan was running at about 1350rpm on thermal control:
Before Fanbus
With the fanbus installed, I was able to tweak the rear fan down to a barely perceptable 850rpm. Overall cooling doesn’t seem to have been impacted, probably because it is helped by the front intake fan that is now running.
After Fanbus
The front fan RPM isn’t shown because it’s an el-cheapo two-wire fan with no RPM sensor output. That also means I had to install it on one of the 0/5V/12V switches rather than the variable dials. No problem, because it looks like I’ll be running that fan at either 5V or nothing at all. It adds a certain class to the PC though. Switching to 12V lights up a bright red LED and the noise level goes insane – perfect for a LAN game: “right, now I’m going to get serious” <switches to 12V high-cooling mode…>

6 Replies to “Catching the FanBus”

  1. I really enjoy the articles about creating a slient pc. It is great inspiration for my own upcoming project. Keep up the good work!

  2. Cool. Be careful because you’ll turn into a fetishist like me 🙂
    At the moment I’m typing this at the PC in the middle of the day and can’t hear it over the sound of the birds outside, but I still want to quieten the hard drive some more 😀

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