Well, after much digging and research I found the options aren't that complicated. The options I found are heatsink, heatsink with fan, fan alone, and watercooled jacket.
Now water and circuitry don't mix and I can just see some sort of leak wasting my entire system so that was an immediate NO.
A regular heatsink doesn't cut it. I want active cooling. So it came down to a heatsink/fan combo or just a fan. What I'm trying to cool is a small but very important chip (part of the VIA KT133A AGP chipset). There wasn't enough height in the box to get a heatsink/fan combo so I opted for the fan alone.
Now, of course, there are all sorts of fans including ones that glow in different colors. I don't use a transparent case so I opted for one that had excellent cooling. When it comes in I'll let you know how well the installation went.
You might look for a Peltier module. Noiseless, efficient, and smaller that a heatsink. Still need your fan though, since the module will be HOT on one side and cold on the other.
|A regular heatsink doesn't cut it. I want active cooling. So it came down to a heatsink/fan combo or just a fan. What I'm trying to cool is a small but very important chip (part of the VIA KT133A AGP chipset). There wasn't enough height in the box to get a heatsink/fan combo so I opted for the fan alone. |
I would go for a heatsink over a fan:
1) A good heatsink will work _far_ better than a fan alone.
2) It's more reliable and quieter
Also, if I remember correctly the KT133A chipset was not that big a problem as far as heat was concerned - some manufacturers did put heatsink/fan assemblies on it, but others just had a small heatsink.
Thanks jam13. I actually had to use a heatsink instead of a fan because of the location of a capacitor too close to the chip to allow the fan. Copper straight fin - for now.
It's not so much the heat the chipset generates that I'm worried about. My office isn't cooled and does get pretty hot on certain days. If I'm sweating I can only imagine what it's like inside the box!
So, I've also decided that I'm going to do the obvious and buy a better case with more cooling capacity. The PS in my current case has only one fan and AMD recommends two (one directly over the heatsink on the ATX motherboard). I don't think there's enough airflow in there at this point.
See if you can get a case with nice, big 12cm fans. Antec makes some. I've got one with just one fan, but if it's getting real toasty where you are, the two could be better. Be careful though - two fans not properly placed / gauged can cause turbulence, and create worse airflow than just one fan. I think you want the fan blowing out to be pushing more air than the one blowing in.
You can get a rheobus for your fans, or a couple of Zalman fanmates. Turn those 12cm fans way, way down whenever it's not real hot. 12cm pushes a lot of air and is still real quiet when it's going at low rpm's. The variation on the fans can also help you tune your fans to get the best airflow combo.
Tiny fans make a whole lot of noise and aren't worth much. Probably better just having good airflow in your case and passive heatsinks than a lot of tiny fans blowing a lot of air every which way - if that air doesn't find its way out of the case, it just gets hotter, and hotter, and you box always sounds like 'szzzzzzz'.
I actually had my eye on a SuperFlower that would hold up to 5 fans. Plenty of room for expansion, air flow, and easy access to RAM and other items. It allowed for a 120mm fan in back, 2 80mm up front, plus 1 side fan. I was considering using an Antec 120mm with a thermistor speed controller built in. The front end is going to have 2 80mm super quiet (< 26 dba) fans. Then one final side case fan (blowing down on the chipset or out).
Just my luck it'll sound like an aircraft carrier or simply do a vertical takeoff.
A couple ideas to consider before you buy a case:
1. Install Motherboard Monitor [mbm.livewiredev.com] and learn a little more about what's going on inside your box. If necessary, add a fan or two. Fan noise varies a lot. Selecting your fans based on the spreadsheets offered here [silentpcreview.com] has worked well for me.
2. I recently replaced a decent Sparkle 300 Watt supply with an Antec PP-303X and both case and CPU temps dropped 3-4 degrees C (KT133 based system). The Antec is noticably quieter too.
That's a sweet util DaveAtIFG! Thanks. Looks like I definately need to get some cooling going as the CPU temp is already above spec!
After a bit more research (actually a lot more research) I ended up going with an above average case: the Antec P160. Reasons for choosing this case were largely based upon user reviews touting the excellent air flow cooling and case quality and features - like sideways mounted 3.5" bays right smack in front of the air intake offering easy installations, places cable out of the airflow stream, and puts the drives themselves right in the airflow stream.
The case, combined with an antec SL350 PSU (dual 80mm fans - also very quiet) ran about twice as much as I wanted to spend but all in all I think it was the right decision. A little extra $ for better quality and longevity for the components.