Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh all right - I'll tell ya...

Although the Shuttle SN78SHY comes with onboard Nvidea HDMI support, and that's a big reason I bought it, the playback capabilities are lacking in Windows Media Center (choppy). Also, gaming,well, this is no gaming machine as is. So I threw in an ATI HD 3850 which from my experience has modest cooling needs when playing modest demand games like WoW and Warhammer Online. The full length card fits just right in the provided space. However there's no room for a cooling fan as the PCI express slot is adjacent to the right side of the case. In the name of silence I thought I'd try out the fan-less Zalman VNF100 as the cooler tubes run to a heat radiator which sits behind the video card where there is plenty of room if one does not plan on using the remaining PCI slot. With the cover removed on the Shuttle I found idle temperatures of 50C and gaming temperatures over 70C. I tried it for a while with the cover installed and the Shuttle basically became a toaster oven. Interestingly Shuttle offers this model as a prebuilt with the ATI HD 3850 as an option. I wonder how that runs.

I thought a lot about cramming a fan somewhere in the case but the space between the video card and hard drive mount assembly was nil - plus - this was all done in the name of silence. Fan noise is not what I want more of. Speaking of fan noise, the Shuttle SN78SHY is very quiet. Fan noise is imperceptible when running idle. I have not been able to stress the Shuttle enough to raise the fan requirements to perceptibility.

So with the boldness imbued upon me by television and Jesse James of Monster Garage fame I considered reversing the Zalman VNF100 radiator mount on the ATI HD 3850 thus having the radiator exposed: outside the case. Mostly though, I wondered how cool it would look. If it did work, well, I knew I would at least get decent temperatures; 50C idle and 70C under load as when the case is removed.

Results would turn out way better than expected. But first, I had to make some nice clean cuts into the case with a hacksaw and drill...

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