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Full Version: Project: Silent Xbox (passivly cooled heatsink replacements, etc.)
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i have a (xenium modded, but otherwise stock) xbox that i only use to play music and movies with.  i don't play games at all, and do not intend to use the xbox for anything other than mp3/video/dvd playback in xbmc.

my goal is to make the xbox entirely free of moving parts (besides the dvd drive).  first, i am going to repalce the hard drive with an ide flash drive, then i am going to simply unplug the cooling fan.

my question is:  since i am running off of flash ide, and there is no hard drive, there will be less heat in the case.  the flash drive also takes up less volume than a full hard drive, so there will be slightly more air in the case.  i will also be adding a heatsink to the i/o chip, which does not come with one standard.  finally, i will not be gaming at all, or utilizing 3d in any way, etc.

so the question is, what will happen when i pull the plug on the fan ?  will i burn out my chip ?  or will the fact that i am not doing any heavy cpu, and the fact that i have slightly lowered the temperature by removing the hard drive cause me to be running at safe temps ?

if this sounds _unsafe_, what further suggestions do you have ?  there will probably be slightly more vertical room for the existing heatsinks, which means i could put in slightly taller ones.  further, i am not opposed to spending some money on some larger heatsinks that that cover a larger area of the motherboard.

the point is, there can be no moving parts of any kind (to meet my requirements), and i won't be doing anything outlandish like external case mods, etc., etc. - i simply want to know just how much more (if anything) i need to do to the inside of the xbox to run it safely with no fan, considering there is no more hard drive heat, and that i won't be gaming or pushing the cpu at all.

thanks.
xbmc is very cpu intestive and the cpu (central processing unit) producess the most heat, second is the gpu (graphic processor unit) even though no 3d is used, ...no garantee but if you insist on trying i would recommend upgrading both the cpu and gpu heatsinks (and installing one on the northbridge) plus replacing the original plastic-xbox-case with one in aluminium or steel to increase it's heat-releasing capacity.

...though i have to say find this all too extreme, much cheaper would just be to replace the crappy-fan with a ultra-quiet one of good quality, ...and maybe put a heatsink on the northbridge (and at the max replace the heatsink on the gpu to one of better quality, like zalman)
playing mp3s and divx/mpeg movies is as main-cpu-intensive as a complex videogame ?

that surprises me ...

so if i do this, it will be a first ? nobody else out there is running a passively cooled (no moving parts) xbox ?

thanks.
(gamester17 @ may 09 2005,11:05 Wrote:... plus replacing the original plastic-xbox-case with one in aluminium or steel to increase it's heat-releasing capacity.
steel is an extremely poor conductor of heat - try it sometime. in any case, simply making the case out of something like aluminimum won't help. you'd have to line the inside with heatsinks to transfer the heat from the air to the case.
a simpler way would be to open up the case to allow more airflow over the existing or upgraded heatsinks.
i've replaced the hdd with a laptop one (the fujitsu ones are the quietest i've used out of those/toshiba/ibm/hitachi), and used an 80mm zalman fan.

you need to cut about 3 of the corners off the fan, plus a small part of the drive tray and it slots right in - the connector simply slots onto the motherboard.

the fans were pretty cheap -about £6 ($10) each in the uk.

the result is an almost silent machine .. not totally silent but not very far off and not too expensive either.

turning the fan to blow into the case also helped.
i don't think running the xbox passively is feasible at all, certainly not without some serious modding (i.e. massive heatsinks, heatpipes to transfer heat out of case, massively ventilated case etc). they run pretty hot even when idle.

to achieve passive cooling you are relying 100% on convection (i.e. hot air rises), which means highly efficient transfer of heat from the heat sources to the air (really big heatsinks) and totally unrestricted airflow around heatsinks to allow the hot air to move.

i've modded mine with a quiet low flow panaflo fan (highly recommended), which i run at 50% because any less and it was hitting 70c on a warm day (in a well ventilated cabinet), which is very quiet and essentially inaudible if you are playing any kind of media. check out my web page here

you will find that even a tiny amount of airflow will make a big difference over no airflow at all. running anything passive is much more difficult than running with low flow, very quiet fans.

is your goal silence, or going passive for the sake of it? if it is silence, there are easier ways. if you goal is to run it passively purely for the sake of it, then you are in for a real challenge! good luck!
you can try turning the fan right down in xbmc, and then watching the temperature rise, even when not playing video, i don't think removing the fan completely will be a good idea.

i often wonder whats the highest temp i can run the processor at so i can slow the fan down, when the fan is at default 20% the temp seems to be around 55c, can it safely be run at 70c or is that too far?
since my xbox & xbmc has become the center of my multimedia center i decided to get myself one of the silent upgrades ( hdd frame & silent fan from arctic cooling ) - well its way better than before - but still not as silent as i wish it would be.

i have seen some alternative xbox cases made of metal and they look quite good - but are rather expensive ( for me ). Confused

now i am wondering if you know of any good sources for making the ultimate silent xbox not just a dream, but a reality Confusedaint:
i've seen xboxes water cooled and mounted in what would pass for a standard dvd case but would have to look up the links again (i just re-ghosted this terminal after replacing my pumps).

example:
link

xbtransformed has some really cool shots as well.
link

mind you, the limits are really your own imagination.. but like my computer case i'd put a drain on the outside (aside of the lower drain plag) to make any coolant replacement alot easier.

Image



would be great if you had some links.

btw, here is the case i was talking about ( xbcase )

[img=http://img153.imageshack.us/img153....th.jpg]

[img=http://img153.imageshack.us/img153....th.jpg]
a new case won't make xbox much more quiet, instead try setting the fan to temperature-controlled in xbmc settings, put rubber-feet on under it, plus line its inners with 'padding'.

if you however want to take some extreme measurements then you can replace the harddrive with a solid-state compactflash like this guy (link), ...but that is very expensive.

ps! i've replaced my fan with a 80mm 12volt one, replaced gpu heatsink with a copper zalman one, put a heatsink on the northbridge + replaced the harddrive with a 5200rpm one
the new case wasn't ment to automatically silent the xbox but rather give me more space for some better fans and heatsinks etc. just as you stated.

i already have a 5200 rpm hdd - which is not really the problem - the problem are the fans. i believe that underneath the dvd drive there is a fan which is the louder one of the two built in fans. but that zalman thing you posted seems to be the solution to that problem!

thanks for the information!
the case wasnt really an indicator of silence but the "center of my..." caught my attention so i figured "why not make it blend in Smile " the watercooling however was. its next on my "frankenbox" agenda since i have a full server tower that is and uses vantec stealth fans (1 exhaust & 2 intake)for the radiator when standing next to it you hear the systems 5 feet away over my own... as a matter of fact myself, wife & mother all had to get the ear @ 4 inches from it to hear it.

sorry if i got off track am just a modder at heart i guess.
(harshreality @ sep. 30 2005,14:12 Wrote:sorry if i got off track am just a modder at heart i guess.
hey, no need to be sorry. i am of course also looking for other cases - but just not as expensive as the ones shown by me ( simply cannot afford it ).

first thing for me is - get the box quiet - no matter how - just quiet to enjoy the xbmc to its fullest.

second make it look nicer - this could also mean another case and if my first objective gets fixed with the second one - even better :kickass:

your server sounds quite interesting - xbmc has got my buddies and me looking more and more of xbox modding. not really all those blinking leds and stuff but rather get more out of the box have it quiet.

once my livingroombox is finished i will do another box for my bedroom - the xbox/xbmc combination is simply cheap and just the best ( imho ) for watching/listening enjoyment :thumbsup:
i have a case like one mentioned before (click), doesn't make it more silent (nor noisier), it does have space for an extra casefan and you can place an extra hdd (but i'm planning to my hdd in the second rack and that way move it off the powersuply).

the main 'noice' thingie is my cpu fan (i have 1.0 xbox, which has a cpu fan) and the hdd. i'll probably put rubbers or something on my hdd to silent it and i'm looking to get rid of the cpu cooler (have to replace it probably).

the case fan isn't making lots of noice or is atleast not louder than the cpu cooler+hdd combined (because, if i stop the case fan cooler, the level of noice is the same). removing the case fan cooler is not very smart, btw, i had my cpu temp up to 70 degrees celsius after playing a divx movie.

right now the case itself isn't really resonating on other things, because it stand on a wooden table. but i'll probably put the rubbers from the origional xbox case under it, when i move the case to a new place (when i'm moving to my new house).

so you should look for a way to silent your cpu-cooler and your hdd and you'll probably be fine. maybe even replace the cdrom player for a more silent one (i actually hear my cdrom player 'searching', which is not very nice).

jochem
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