Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 12, 2014 - 10:56 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: fanless, passive cooling, noctua, NH-D15
Sure, humans may disagree that 67C (153F) is cool, but it is for a semiconductor. More impressive, it was the temperature recorded on a CPU with a 150W TDP attached to a fanless Noctua NH-D15. Does that mean it was noiseless? Nope. The test kept each of the case fans maxed out at 12V input DC (100%).
This, without the fans.
Hardwareluxx does not specify how much air gets blown across the passive cooler. Their claim is that the case fans just ensure that the ambient temperature is as low as possible. That seems fair, but I could also, for instance, blow cool air through a 3-inch drier hose attached to a bathroom suction fan stuck out the window. That would certainly keep passive coolers chilled while only being technically fanless.
Theoretically, of course. I'm not saying it's something I did in high school or anything...
Depending on how long of a hose is used, it could even be noise in a different location (rather than case fans in the same PC). Still, cooling 150W is a feat in itself. Then again, with over two pounds of heat fins, it makes sense.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 2, 2014 - 02:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: passive cooling, maxwell, gtx 750 ti
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti is fast but also power efficient, enough-so that Ryan found it a worthwhile upgrade for cheap desktops with cheap power supplies that were never intended for discrete graphics. Of course, this recommendation is about making the best of what you got; better options probably exist if you are building a PC (or getting one built by a friend or a computer store).
Image Credit: Tom's Hardware
Tom's Hardware went another route: make it fanless.
After wrecking a passively-cooled Radeon HD 7750, which is probably a crime in Texas, they clamped it on to the Maxwell-based GTX 750 Ti. While the cooler was designed for good airflow, they decided to leave it in a completely-enclosed case without fans. Under load, the card reached 80 C within about twenty minutes. The driver backed off performance slightly, 1-3% depending on your frame of reference, but was able to maintain that target temperature.
Now, if only it accepted SLi, this person might be happy.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2014 - 05:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: passive cooling, cooling
Somewhere in the world, someone is developing a passively-cooled desktop made up of copper water pipes. Thirty-six (36) of them pass through what looks like an aluminum block attached to the socket LGA 1155 heatsink mount. As the copper pipes heat up, it passes to the air within it. Convection forces this to exhaust upward through the copper chimney and replaces it with cool air from below.
All Images, Credit: "Monster", CoolEnjoy.net Forums
From the 3D prototype, it looks like two passively-cooled discrete GPUs are intended to fit just above the elbow in the chimney. Even from the rendering, it is clear that quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into this project. I cannot tell how they intend to access PCIe slots from up there, be it a larger motherboard or an extension adapter, but options probably exist.
Initial testing with a Core i5-4440 (stock frequencies) show around 65 deg C at full CPU load. This should be in line with a typical air-based cooler.
Either way, this is the most impressive "SuperPipe" cooler that I have seen.
Your move, MSI.
Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2013 - 08:50 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thermalright, hr-22, air cooling, heatsink, passive cooling
Additional photos have hit the Internet via Chip Hell of Thermalright’s upcoming HR-22 CPU cooler. The monstrous heatsink is the successor to the HR-02 with improvements to improve cooling and compatibility with tall memory DIMMs.
Thermalright has not released any formal specifications, but judging from the teaser photos the HR-22 pairs eight “U” shaped 6mm heatpipes with what appears to be a nickel plated copper base plate and an absolutely massive aluminum fin stack. The fin stack has notches along the sides and the heatpipes hold the cooler up high enough so as to not get in the way of memory modules with tall heat-spreaders. The fin stack itself is about as tall as a 140mm fan. Users can use the HR-22 as a passive heatsink or with a single 140mm fan that is attached via two retention clips on either side of the fan.
This cooler is going to be heavy and while it is rated to support LGA 2011 platforms, clearances may be tight depending on the particular motherboard and case used. There is no word on pricing or availability, but it should be available later this year. Pricing will definitely be on the high end for air coolers and approaching that of AIO liquid coolers such as the Corsair H100i.
In the mean time, more teaser photos (showing the HR-22 installed in a system) can be found over at TechPowerUp.
I am looking forward to seeing this cooler benchmarked!
Subject: Systems | May 28, 2013 - 03:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF case, SFF, passive cooling, nimbus, heastink, fanless, cpu cooler, cirrus7
German PC manufacturer Cirrus7 has launched a new small form factor (SFF) PC called the Nimbus that uses slices of aluminum that do double duty as both a case and a passive CPU cooler (heatsink).
The Nimbus PC features an Intel DQ77KB motherboard and low-power Intel processor along with configurable DDR3 and mSATA storage options. The base model will come with 4GB of DDR3 and a 60GB mSATA SSD. CPU options include the Intel G1610T, G2020T, Core i3-3220T, i3-3470T, i5-3570T, and i7-3770T. From there you can add up to two 7mm 2.5” hard drives (or SSDs) and increase the amount of RAM (for a higher price, of course).
The Intel DQ77KB board supports vPro and KVM over IP on systems with the Core i5 or higher processor. It has the following external IO options:
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Intel Gigabit LAN
- 2 x Audio jacks (green jack is dual purpose, mini-TOSLink compatible)
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
The SFF PC comes preloaded with either Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 12.04, or Windows 8 (depending on your choice at checkout).
Check out more photos of the Nimbus at FanlessTech.
In order to keep the hardware cool, Cirrus7 has opted for an all-aluminum enclosure that is built around and over the motherboard in a fin-spacer-fin pattern. Each aluminum fin is 12mm high and the height of the system can be varied by adding or reducing the number of fins used. For example, using all fins allows Cirrus7 to support higher TDPs like the Core i7 3770T. Alternatively, if you are just using an i3-3220T, you could get by with a smaller (and lighter) case/heatsink. Notably, judging by the hands-on photos over at FanlessTech, the Nimbus does not use a copper CPU block which may have reduce the heatsink's effectiveness. That, or maybe Cirrus7 expects that they have slapped enough aluminum fins on the system that it doesn't matter much (heh). Also note that the case is not completely sealed, so although it is passively cooled, it is definitely not water or dust proof. Beyond that though, the case looks nice and the system would make a nice silent backup server, router, or HTPC!
The Nimbus will be available towards the end of June in Germany and Europe, with worldwide shipping available upon request. The system starts at €499 for the base model which is approximately $640 USD (before shipping). That price includes the case, processor, motherboard, RAM, and mSATA drive. Cirrus 7 has stated that Haswell-based models of the Nimbus will be available at some point, but are not expected until around the end of 2013 at the earliest.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | October 2, 2012 - 01:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, silent pc, passive cooling, asus, APU, amd
AMD officially launched its desktop Trinity APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) today, and along with the new processors are a number of new socket FM2 motherboards to support them. One of the cooler motherboard and Trinity APU pairings was shown off today in a completely silent PC by ASUS and AMD in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan.
The silent system is nested inside a Streacom FC5 chassis that does double duty as a case and heatsink for the AMD APU. Inside the system is an unidentified power supply, two DDR3 DIMMS, Corsair Force SSD, ASUS F2A85-M PRO motherboard, and – of course – the AMD A10-5700K APU that we recently reviewed.
The APU is covered by an aluminum and copper block that is then connected to the metal case via four heatpipes. Then, the outside of the case has a finned design to provide more cooling surface area (but likely just to make it look cooler, heh).
This passively cooled system would make for a really nice home theater PC case, and the GPU prowess of the Trinity APU is well suited to such a task. You can find more photos of the fan-less Trinity system over at FanlessTech.
What do you think of Trinity, and will you be using it in your next build?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 24, 2012 - 06:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: silentmaxx, passive cooling, hsf, cpu cooling, cooler
Having a silent system without fans is a noble goal, but CPUs generally need at least one. A new heatsink from Silentmaxx called the TwinBlock is designed to passively cool processors up to approximately 100W. Supporting sockets 774, 775, 1155, 1156, 1366 on the Intel side and 939, 940, and AMD 2/3 for AMD processors, it is compatible with just about any processor. The TwinBlock is, in a word, massive. Weighting in a just over 3 pounds, the heatsink measures 210mm (B) x 135mm (D) x 160mm (H) mm. It features a copper base with 10 heatpipes that connect to two aluminum fin arrays.
Interestingly, FanlessTech pointed us to a new computer build – the Fanless I-850 Gamer – that the company is planning to use the passive heatsink with to create a silent gaming PC. The PC can be equipped with up to an Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E processor and up to either an AMD 7970 or NVIDIA GTX 670 graphics card. The processor is cooled using the TwinBlock cooler while the GPUs are using custom coolers that should only kick on the fans over long gaming sessions or folding. The Fanless I-850 starts at 1279,00€ for the base configuration.
It is possible to buy just the heatsink, however. The Silentmaxx TwinBlock cooler can be yours for about $120 USD (€ 99.90 inc. VAT). More photos of the cooler are available below, and you can read more about the cooler on the SilentMaxx website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 2, 2012 - 03:53 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: passive cooling, nvidia, kepler, gtx 680, gpu
Chinese graphics card manufacturer Colorful recently showed off a massive NVIDIA GTX 680 GPU. Massive may even be an understatement, as this card uses not one, but two heatsinks – and more heatpipes that Josh can shake a GPU at – to passively cool the fastest single GPU graphics card that NVIDIA has.
While there is no word on pricing, availability, or clock speeds, the iGAME NVIDIA GTX 680 is a silent GPU that is going to need a seriously large case. One heatsink attaches as you would expect, right over the GPU, GDDR5 memory, and VRMs. It uses 140 aluminum fins and seven heatpipes traveling the length of the PCB to distribute heat.
From there, six copper heatpipes transfer heat to a second heatsink with another 140 fins and seven heatpipes(!). This second heatsink appears to float over the top of the card, supported by the six heatpipes. The heatsink and PCB are black, with a blue piece covering the two heatsinks that features the iGame and NVIDIA GTX 680 logos. The back of the card features a single DVI port, a DisplayPort, and a full-size HDMI port.
For the PC gamer that values silent performance with the least compromises possible, this card is looking like the perfect solution – assuming it comes to market, of course. If you are interested in seeing more photos of this passively cooled GTX 680 graphics card, check out the EXPReview story.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | June 11, 2012 - 03:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Silverstone, SST-HE02, passive cooling
Olivier of FanlessTech notified us of a recent SilverStone passive CPU cooler. If you would prefer to jam your case with a giant piece of metal than hear a fan whine -- you should read on. I must say, this gets me interested.
I hope this will continue to be a trend of not needing to trade-off between performance and silence.
It is becoming very difficult to find passive cooling systems for PC parts and it becomes even more difficult if you actually want a good PC when all is said and done. The latest cooler from SilverStone will support CPUs up to 95W which is well over what is required for even the higher-end 77W Ivy Bridge processors.
If only there would be options like this for a GTX 680 or similar GPU.
It is a shame that passive power supplies seem to have not crept too far past 500W and that GPU coolers have been getting substantially less and less passive over time. But I guess someone needs to break the ice and I am glad that you will at least have an option for passively cooling higher-end CPUs and maybe we will see that trickle into other high-end PC markets.
The SST-HE02 is expected to cost $70 and will be available late in Q3 of this year.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 6, 2012 - 11:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video, sapphire, radeon 7770, passive cooling, graphics card, gpu, computex
Not to be left out of the Computex news, graphics card manufacturer Sapphire Technology unveiled a passively cooled AMD Radeon 7770 graphics card running at reference clock speeds. Following the release of the company’s factory overclocked Vapor-X 7770, the new Sapphire HD 7770 Ultimate 1GB card is the first to sport a passive cooler – other vendors are going in the opposite direction by using custom (active) coolers to push up reference clockspeeds for factory overclocked cards.
What makes the sapphire card neat is that the company did not have to underclock the GPU or memory in order to make a passive cooler feasible. With this card, you will get a silent GPU with the same specs and speeds as the reference 7770 we recently reviewed. The card looks to take up about two PCI expansion slots and utilizes a horizontal stack of vertically aligned (if that makes sense?) aluminum fins connected to the GPU via four heatpipes. Because of the cooler, the card is about 25% longer than a reference card, so keep that in mind if you are considering this for a HTPC build using a tiny case.
Beyond the cooler, which is arguably the most important aspect of the card, the Saphhire 7770 Ultimate 1GB is nearly identical to AMD’s reference design. The only major change is that Sapphire had to move the GDDR5 memory chips to the opposite (top, when installed in the case) side of the PCB in order to accommodate the cooler. With that said, the video outputs on the graphics card are a small improvement over the reference design with an additional DVI port (thanks to not needing a full fan grill in the second PCI slot) bringing the total to two DVI ports, one full size HDMI, and one full size DisplayPort. Otherwise, the GPU is stock, running at 1GHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory is likely running at 1125 MHz (stock speeds). The Cape Verde-based graphics card contains 640 stream processors, 1.5 billion transistors, 1.28 Teraflops of compute performance, and a Texture fill rate of 40 giga-transfers per second (GT/s). The full specifications of the 7770 GPU core can be found in our review.
The MSRP of reference AMD HD 7770 cards is $159 but expect the Sapphire card to come in a bit above that number thanks to the custom cooler. You can find more photos of the passively cooled Sapphire GPU over at AnandTech who managed to snag some good shots of the card at the company’s Computex booth.
In case you missed it, our video review of the HD 7770 card is embedded below in which we show off the (7770 and 7750) card also show off several custom 7770 designs from MSI, XFX, and others. It should bring you up to speed on what the 7770 is and where it stands in terms of performance with other cards from AMD and NVIDIA.
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