MiGMans Cockpits 2006: Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Rigged for silent running)
Silent PC cost summary
Arctic Cooling Power Supply $ AUD 200.00
CPU cooling fan with copper heatsink and speed control $ AUD 25.00
Slow case fan $ AUD 25.00
Acoustic foam $ AUD 19.95
Labour $ HALF HOUR to ONE HOUR - install the foam yourself

For a while I looked at small form factor PC's such as the "Shuttle" range and the similar pieces from "MSI". The marketing was convincing, as good marketing is, promising "silent running" and compact design. Well there was no doubt about the compact design. But that brought it's own problems - difficulty of assembly, more labour to upgrade - and in fact more limited upgradeability - and increased cost, with these cases running from AUD $300.00 to AUD $500.00.

In the end I managed to get together an almost totally silent PC in a $50.00 bog standard PC tower case - the same case that originally housed my incredibly noisy AMD 2100.

Check out this article at www.denguru.com which pretty much sums up what I believe about these small cases - Lessons learned from building small form factor PC's

The MiG-Puter looking rather 1960's Robot-sinister with the two external hard drives atop.

The main energy waster (i.e. electrical energy converted to heat) in the PC is the CPU, and the power supply.

There are 3 ways this energy is transmitted:

  1. Conduction.
    From the CPU, through the heatsink. Copper is a better conductor of heat than the usual aluminium alloy used in standard CPU heatsinks.
  2. Radiation.
    The heat is radiated from the heatsinks to the air which is - hopefully - moving between the fins.
  3. Convection.
    Via moving air - helped along by the fans. AIRFLOW is everything. The silent PC now has air flowing in at the bottom of the front face, and flowing up across the motherboard and CPU, out through the case fan (top - back) and the power supply - where more heat is added before expulsion.

    The addition of acoustic foam also plugs the leaks - and the useless vents in the side of the case. Since hot air rises - we may as well use the natural convection to assist airflow and bring cold air in at the bottom and evacuate at the top. This is why most PC cases have the power supply at the top. So some thought is given to airflow but since cheap cases leak like a sieve they are not very effective. Luckily this can be fixed cheaply with the acoustic foam.

MiGMans Cockpits

Lessons I learned from a harrowing Easter holiday upgrade experience were -


Thrustmaster H.O.T.A.S. Cougar Thrustmaster Cougar H.O.T.A.S.
Microsoft Game Voice
Logitech Game Pad Dual-Action-Gamepad
Connectland Illuminated Keyboard - which looks nice and very "cockpit-tech" but unfortunately doesn't work!
XYZ Brand USB keypad.
Yes... " X Y Z " brand! I would have gone for ABC or Ardvaark... but, whatever!
Mounted on the left it allows for example, radar and targetting without taking your hand off the joystick in Enemy Engaged: Comanche vs Hokum. Yes, I know the controls can be mapped to the Thrustmaster H.O.T.A.S. Cougaras well! Sometimes you just want to / need to fly with the joystick and use the free hand to hammer keys.
Microsoft Strategic Commander
And all of that housed on a simply constructed aluminium and plywood desktop console.
Thrustmasterrudder pedals.
Track IR
Voice Buddy
Daytime flying MiGMans Cockpits
Night Flying MiGMans Cockpits
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