silent pc, modding

Silent computer

Remodel standard power supply unit into a fanless one.

    Power supply unit is a headache for lovers of silent computers, second to hard disks. It’s not a big problem to cool a processor or a video adapter: there is much space – you can mount massive radiators and big fans. Power supply units cooling causes much more difficulties: the radiators area is limited with the box size; this, in its turn, constrains the ability of manipulations with the fan turns. To say more simply, for most models with the 80 mm fan slowdown to total noiseless (~700RPM) will mean, unfortunately, lingering death. Death can be quick, depending on the subject pedigree :) New generation of power units with 120 mm fans improve the situation but, unfortunately, they don’t solve the problem completely. Not every model has temperature factor of safety, not every 120 mm fan (more precisely almost no fan) can start at voltage lower than 4V which is necessary to provide rotation at the  700RPM... The assembling itself, with a big fan placed inside power unit case, is also questionable as it leaves less space for radiators. All these factors lead to such situation that anyone who wants to get a good and silent power unit has to wander throughout the city in search of the appropriate component parts at first, then get into the inside of the device and work with soldering iron, mount it into the computer, adjust… In short, it causes a lot of headache. It’s not surprising that more and more lovers of silence think about solving the problem at a stroke: to buy a power supply unit with passive cooling. However at the moment the dreams about silence in most cases crash against harsh reality: the cheapest power unit of such type costs near 150$, not to mention that it’s extremely difficult to find it on sale. What can be done in this situation? Do we have to return to the bother with fans? To solve the problem I strain my mind of a modder: if the standard power unit has to be modified seriously in any case to provide its silent operation, why not to make some more efforts and get it rid of the fan at all? Well, the idea is good, but there is one difficulty. All customary methods of transforming a standard power unit into the passive one implies an extremely unpleasant operation – unsoldering of active elements out of the card and carrying them over with the help of wires to the place of the new radiator location. Apparently those people who are not very handy with soldering iron can easily ruin their power supply unit, that’s why there are no many people who wish to try this means: successful modds of such type can be counted on the fingers of one hand. There it is… What concerns me, till recently I, like many others, have been in a suspended state named “honey is sweet, but the bee stings” – until finally some circumstances led me to an idea how it is possible to get power unit rid of the fan by means of purely mechanical work. This is the main object of the article.

    To begin with, there are two news: bad and a good one. The bad news is that there is only one definite model of power unit of all models in the market which is appropriate for such modding. The good news is that the device is of high quality (i.e. you don’t have to run the risk of damaging the hardware for the sake of silence) and of moderate cost. Moreover it is well available.

    So, what we need:

- The power supply unit proper: 300 watt Inwin Powerman IW-P300A2-0 (30$)

    If you are going to use another power unit, set it going at first and try radiators with a multimeter – they can be alive. If they are really alive I must disappoint you: pacification procedure is much more difficult in this case and recommendations contained in this article are inapplicable to it.

    Namely this 300 watt model with 80mm fan is right. Even the 350W version is inappropriate, not to mention the models with 120mm fan: their radiators are of another type. The radiators which suit us look in the following way..

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Non-constructive thoughts about modding...

    All began when one day my neighbour, he is Automatic Control Engineer, came and started to beg me to give him one diode. When I asked him why, he typed modding in a search engine. And it had a great effect on me. I was sick about it. Maybe there is nothing accidental in the world and this modding seed fell into good soil. All my life I was interested in design.

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