I have wanted to build a fully passively cooled computer case since I had my first Athlon Thunderbird 800 MHz. That time the fan noise was amazingly high, and manufacturers didn´t much care about the noise levels, and didn't offer products for building a quiet PC. Nowadays a quiet PC is not much of a challenge to build, but totally silent? It would require that there were no moving parts at all. But of cource there has to be the compromise of a hard-drive. One could buy a SSD drive, but at least I don't have that kind of money to spend. :)
First of all, I have to apologize to our readers, as I have been extremely lazy writing this article. This project was well finished in the summer of 2007, and I have even built couple of computer cases after that. I hope this in partly explains the "old" components used in the project.
- Opteron 170 @ 2,4 GHz
- GeForce 6800GT
- Asus A8N-VM CSM
- Kingston 400 MHz DDR ECC
- Seagate Barracuda 320 GB
Through a friend of a friend, I got my hands on some very heavy-duty heatsinks, so I was ready to start building.
When designing passive cooling, first thing you have to have is lots of surface area to dissipate the heat that a modern computer produces. The second thing to take into account is the airflow. Without fans, the airflow rests solely on convection that is a very low force. This means that the places the air must go, must be open, and clear of obstacles. Convection means that hot air goes up. This would suggest that the heatsinks are lined vertically. This in turn, suggests that the case be modeled like a tower.
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