Silent Convective Water Cooled PC

It's Fan-less* and Pump-less and most of the stuff came from Home Depot.

*Well, it's got half a fan, sort of - read on!

So the other day I'm sitting in my home office and the GPU fan in my PC decides to start doing the dry-bearing death rattle. Just great, more noise. With the bad GPU fan, the inefficient CPU fan, PSU fan and two case fans the thing sounds like a garbage disposal ingesting a hand full of TTL logic chips.

Oh, and the external chassis for the pair of SCSI changers I use for CD ripping has it's own really loud fan.

About this same time, I acquired an old DELL PowerEdge 4200 server which came in a huge double wide case that could hold all of my drives plus some.  But what to do with the empty half?  A second motherboard?  No! Water cooling!  But not just water cooling, there's plenty of room so let's see if we can water cool an Athlon 2400+ with no fans and no pumps, let's see how quiet a PC can be.

Now, I'm a cheap bastard so I'm not going to pay for a bunch of fancy-ass water cooling swag from Koolance or Zalman or some such.  Nope! I'm off to the plumbing section at Home Depot!

This is my current PC.  It has several drawbacks, but the two biggies are the lack of drive bays and the fact that it's kinda noisy.
current pc case
The system is an Athlon XP +2400 with an nVidia graphics running Scientific Linux 4.2.  Specs are modest with 1/2 GB of RAM, 120 GB IDE HD.  Plextor 708A DVD Burner, 2 Nakamichi SCSI CD-ROM changers and a DLT tape drive.
This is my new case, formerly the earthly vessel for a Dell PowerEdge 4200 and soon to be my totally silent completely passive water thermosiphon air convection cooled PC.
Dell Power Edge 4200
The Dell PowerEdge 4200 has a proprietary motherboard.  Fortunately Dell made their cases to be flexible so the MB carrier is easily removed by drilling out a few pop-rivets.
Power Edge 4200 with MB carrier removed
Unfortunately, the dual-redundant power supplies are also proprietary and I can't get even one to fire up when not connected to the Dell MB.  Oh well, 700 watts would have been nice.
Dell Power Edge 4200 PSU power supply
Here is the case all stripped and ready for the new drive bay and ATX motherboard plate.
Dell Poweredge 4200 PSU cages removed
And here is the ATX donor PC, a venerable Gateway 2000.
Gateway 2000 ATX donor case

I widened the SCSI bay with an angle grinder fitted with a cut-off disk.
Cutting the Dell PowerEdge case

Here's the case with the new drive bays and the ATX MB pan installed.  The near side will contain the motherboard and drives and the far bay will be for the passive cooling heat sink and the PSUs.
installing the extra drive bays into the poweredge

Passive Water Cooling CPU components including Swiftech block

And here's what I found in the plumbing section of the local Home Depot with the exception of the Swiftech Athlon CPU water block a buddy gave me.


More Projects . . .

The Steampunk Workshop

See me on PBS Make:TV!


Passive Water Cooled PC Project:

Stripping the case and adding drive bays

Water Cooling the Power Supply

Cooling the Video Card

Water Cooling the CPU


Final Assembly