Addendum - Silencing the X1900 XT
The first thing that stuck us about the ATi
X1900 XT card was the noise: lots of it. It could range from
a mildly-annoying base whine to a high-pitched scream, exacerbated
by the fact that the fan on our test unit had a tendency
to rattle a bit as well.
After a few weeks putting up with this we decided
that we had to do something about it. A search of the relevant
sites turned up the ThermalRight
HR-03 cooler (www.thermalright.com).
This appealed simply because it was a fanless design. No
fan equals no noise. We ordered one at a very reasonable
$44.99.USD, and set about installation.
cooler itself is extremely well made -- all heatpipes
and machined aluminium fins. To fit it, you simply detach
the supplied cooler (loosening six small screws in the
process), apply new thermal paste to the GPU and re-fit
the new cooler. (see image 01).
- Installing the Cooler
- Installing the Cooler
Well, that's the
theory. In practice, fitting was a very fiddly business,
made fiddlier by having to reach underneath the fins to get
at the bolts that attach the clamp that secures the cooler
to the GPU's board. A simple set of longer, allen-headed
bolts that go through the heatsink body itself would make
everything easier. Also, while it's claimed that the cooler
can be fitted in two different ways, we couldn't get it fitted
in the more space-saving 'wraparound' configuration. We're
sure it can be done – we just didn't have the patience.
Another problem is that when fitted, there
are four knurled thumbscrews sitting 1/4" / 5mm proud
of the underside of the card. This will obviously preclude
the card sitting in the double-height slot – the thumbscrews
will foul on the Mac Pro's RAM housing. Also, the height
of the cooler will cover up some PCI slots as well.
- Cooler Installation on Card
- Cooler installed in Mac Pro
The problem is where to put it: it won't go
in the first (16x) slot, so where do you put it? The answer
seemed to be the second, where it sits nicely, leaving the
double-height slot open for another card. The drawbacks are
that the second slot can't run at 16x, and you're losing
a slot, covered by the new cooler. To configure the slots
we used Apple's Expansion Slot Utility (in /System/Library/CoreServices)
and set the first two slots to run at 8x speed.
- ATI Displays app (click on thumbnail)
You may think that
this would cause a slowdown, but we re-ran all our tests
and can report no slowdown at all. Even with its high throughput,
the X1900 XT can't saturate an 8x PCI slot. And we can report
after two weeks intensive use, the card / cooler combination
is doing sterling service -- in complete silence. The
fans in the Mac Pro have never once in all that time risen
above their base idling rate. Bliss. --- TIM DANAHER, Associate
Published: 2 July 2007.
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