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Q: ATI Radeon 9700 fan is causing a LOT of vibration ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: ATI Radeon 9700 fan is causing a LOT of vibration
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: mxnmatch-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 30 May 2003 17:20 PDT
Expires: 29 Jun 2003 17:20 PDT
Question ID: 210950
I have a Chenbro SR101 case (see
and an ATI Radeon 9700 video card. The motherboard is mounted in that
case on a removable metal panel. However, that video card has a fan on
it and it's causing the metal panel to vibrate an awful lot which
generates an annoying noise. I put a little plastic motherboard spacer
under the metal plate and that helps, but I'm worried that all that
vibration isn't too good for the motherboard and the cards on it.

I'm wondering what I should do. I was thinking that maybe I should get
one of those PCI slot fans and put that in next to the video card and
then just disconnect the fan on the video card. Of course, if that fan
causes vibration as well then that won't fix the problem.

Perhaps I could put some padding under the metal panel that the
motherboard is mounted on? That would at least dampen the vibration so
it doesn't affect and of the hard drives. If I need to do that then
what should I use to dampen the vibration?

What else can I do to dampen or eliminate the vibration cause by that
fan? Will PCI slot fans cause a lot of vibration?
Subject: Re: ATI Radeon 9700 fan is causing a LOT of vibration
Answered By: haversian-ga on 31 May 2003 13:08 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi again!

If this is the case you're having problems with IDE cables in, I can
understand why!  That's a *lot* of space for drives.  Have you
considered serial ATA for its dramatically superior cabling

The hard drives are far enough away that vibration shouldn't be a
problem, but I'm sure it's extremely annoying.  With a motherboard
tray, you don't have to worry about causing static shocks to the
motherboard by mounting padding behind it, and that may be a very
effective way to mechanically isolate the motherboard.  A solution
which addresses the problem rather than covers the symptoms would be
to replace the heatsink on the Radeon.  Do you have room in the
adjacent PCI slot to install a larger heatsink?

If you do, then you may be interested in a more innovative (read:
expensive) cooling solution than is shipped with the Radeon 9700, such
as one of Zalman's coolers.  In general, replacing the small heatsink
and small stock fan with a larger heatsink and larger but slower fan
will dramatically reduce vibration and noise.  I'm not 100% positive,
but comparing this image of the Zalman 80A-HP heatsink (
) with ATI's image of the Radeon 9700  (
), it sure looks like they're the same card.  Although expensive, a
heatsink like that would completely eliminate vibration, and would
make use of airflow provided by the Chenbro chassis' large 92mm fans.

Zalman heatpipe heatsink: (no fan at all!)

Directron's list of video card coolers:

As before, don't hesitate to ask for more information or a
clarification.  Best of luck making your computer easier on the ears!


Request for Answer Clarification by mxnmatch-ga on 31 May 2003 19:25 PDT
That looks great!

I'll add another $3 to the tip if you can also solve my problem with
my CPU fan. All the fans in my system just make what I think of as fan
noise (meaning, I only hear airflow and not the fan itself). I
actually like the sound of airflow. But, my CPU fan wines. It makes a
high pitched noise that is tolerable but unpleasent. I'd like to buy
another CPU fan, but I don't want to waste my money without knowing if
that fan will also wine. (I have an AMD Athlon 1.2GHz CPU.) Given the
high amount of airflow in my system, perhaps there is a heat sink only
solution for this as well? Actually, the CPU fan I have is sitting on
top of a heat sink which is mounted onto the CPU. With all the airflow
in my system would it be safe to simply remove the fan but leave the
heatsink on the CPU?

Also, if I remove the side of my system while it's still on, that
obviously dramatically reduces the airflow in the system because the
side of the system isn't there to channel the airflow from front to
back. Would my CPU or video card suddenly burn up if I just used a
heat sink and then removed the side of the system? I'm not too worried
because my BIOS is set so that the system should shut down if it gets
over 55 Celsius, but it's better to be safe then sorry.

Clarification of Answer by haversian-ga on 01 Jun 2003 14:23 PDT
The CPU heatsink I use in several of my and my customers' computers is
the Zalman CNPS-3100CU.  It consists of a "flower" of copper fins and
a large but low-speed fan to blow air over it.  The fan comes with a
resistor that you can add to decrease the fan speed even further.  I'm
starting to sound like a Zalman ad, but they really are worth the
higher price, and the 3100 is an old product now so it's relatively

I currently have an Athlon XP1700 CPU running with that heatsink and
no fan whatsoever (just sitting on a shelf.  It's almost painfully hot
at the tips of the heatsink but hasn't crashed once in about 2 months
like that), and my main computer runs an XP1700 overclocked to XP2300
speed on the low fan speed setting.  This does make the chip run a bit
warm (~50C) but given the mediocre airflow in the case, it's pretty
darn good.

I can't say whether you can safely remove your CPU fan or not, as that
would depend on the heatsink design.  The Zalman flower HSFs do quite
well with no fan because they are designed to run with low airflow in
the first place.  Other (usually older) heatsinks are designed to have
a high-speed fan sitting right atop them and do poorly with little

If your system is working fine and you remove the side panel, it will
almost certainly be OK.  The reduction in airflow is mediated by the
decrease in ambient air temperature, as case temps are usually warmer
than the room temperature.  Removing a CPU fan and opening the case to
compensate might be OK, but it's far from a sure thing.  If you
download something like MBM (motherboard monitor - ) you can watch the CPU temps in realtime
to see how your tinkering is affecting your equipment.

Request for Answer Clarification by mxnmatch-ga on 01 Jun 2003 17:34 PDT
Serial ATA looks promising. I recently added 2 more hard drives to my
system and I can't get the stupid things to be recognized. I'm
absolutely tired of messing with putting the cables in different
cards, changing the hdd to master then slave then cable select, etc.
If SATA will eliminate those hassles then I'll convert everything to
SATA and then take my current IDE cables out and burn them in a big
bonfire. *smile*

Anyway, I don't have any SATA hard drives, so I can just buy a SATA
converter for each one. However, I only have 2 serial ata connectors
on my motherboard. Do I need to have 1 connecter per hard drive or is
it possible to connect more than one per connecter somehow. The cables
apparently can be up to 1 meter in length, which is great, but do I
need to run another cable for every single hard drive? I've done a few
searches, and SATA controller cards seem to only have 2 connectors on
them. If I need a separate connector for each drive then I'd really
like to buy a controller card that has at least 4 and preferably 10 or
even 20 connectors on it (unless I don't need 1 connecter per drive of
course). I don't want to waste another PCI slot for just 2 drives. I'd
run out of slots pretty quick that way.

Also, is there such a thing as SATA RAID?

Clarification of Answer by haversian-ga on 02 Jun 2003 00:50 PDT
Serial ATA, eh?  We've strayed a bit from noisy video cards:)

SATA removes the master/slave/CS crap and goes to a simple
point-to-point.  The cables can be 1M long, 1 per drive.  Serial ATA
also has a hot-swap-friendly power interface, but many drive
manufacturers are including a standard molex power connector for

Yes, there is SATA RAID.  3Ware's Escalade 8500 series offers 1-12
port RAID cards for serial ATA ( ).  You should know that
3Ware is redesigning their ASICs for native SATA, removing the 2TB per
array limitation, and incorporating online capacity expansion (drop in
a new drive, hit some buttons, and magicly your array gets bigger),
among other things.  I was originally told products based on the new
chips would be out about now, but the release date seems to have been
pushed back to 1H04 or so.  You may or may not want to wait.  SATA
drives currently carry something of a price premium and do not come in
many sizes.
mxnmatch-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $7.00

Subject: Re: ATI Radeon 9700 fan is causing a LOT of vibration
From: haversian-ga on 11 Jun 2003 12:43 PDT

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