The Fan, oh the Fan

Gary was the first to get this board and he called me one night around 12:30AM and said “can you hear it?”. I, of course, could not hear “it” but he shipped me the motherboard and I heard what he was talking about.


ASUS uses a smaller heatsink and much smaller fan than Zotac:

The fan spins at nearly 6000RPM and is annoyingly loud. The first fan we had on the board would make an annoying high pitched sound at times, enough to drive Gary’s dogs crazy. I duplicated his results in my lab. NVIDIA sent us a replacement fan that didn’t exhibit the same behavior. While the new fan didn’t whine/moan/groan, it still spun very fast and it was still quite loud.


The ASUS fan (left) vs. the Zotac fan (right)

We went to ASUS with our complaints and got the following response:

“We currently have implemented a running change of the fan, the fan will be replaced with another fan that is a quieter. I am currently attempting to get part information for your reference. Although I do agree with Gary's statement that in many cases 40mm fans tend to have a shorter life I have asked HQ to please ensure we try and place a fan that has been validated to not only operate quietly but ensure the best lifespan ( hopefully by ensuring a high quality bearing is present )”

Don’t ever say we’re not looking out for you :)

At 3AM this morning, just 6 hours before this article was due to be published, ASUS sent us the specs of the new fan that they will be installing on all AT3N7A-I motherboards. The new fan is still a 40mm unit but it should run at 3500RPM instead of 6000. Cooling efficiency will go down, but so should noise.


Doesn't it just look loud?

ASUS insists that the fan we tested won’t make it onto production boards. We’ll have to wait and see what the new fan sounds like, because what we tested was unacceptable for an HTPC.

Index Sidebar: ASRock Ion 330
POST A COMMENT

62 Comments

View All Comments

  • jwinckelmann - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - link

    Hi,

    at least here in Germany the AT3N7A-I is officially sold with the noisy 6000 RPM fan. Totally unacceptable...

    Bye,
    Jan
    Reply
  • nachtgeist - Sunday, September 06, 2009 - link

    Very usefull rewiev, but i don't understand where is diffenrent between Asus and Zotac board for the 20% power consum diffenrent.
    Asus Express gate looks very good. But the power consum and noise fan is terrible.

    When is poblem? Same CPU, same Chipsets and Asus takes 19W(?) more.
    Reply
  • Abby - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    A thousand Thaanks on effort writing this article and all the troubleshooting and also all the great help on sending bck faulty reports on behalf of us.

    Your enthusiasm on technology and service were greatly appreciated.
    Thanks again.

    best regards,
    Abby

    THG S**Ks hard~!
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, September 01, 2009 - link

    Why not just use a celeron E1400 for $40, and maybe even overclock it?

    And yes, I would still trust my $50 ebay P4 865g system over one of these things. 166MHz FSB isnt just stupid, its like a sick joke.
    Reply
  • deegee - Tuesday, September 01, 2009 - link

    > Why not just use a celeron E1400

    The Atom CPU's lower power is the point of these.
    You can also purchase the ITX boards with socket LGA775 or AM2 if you want a faster processor, but at a major increase in power use.

    > I would still trust my $50 ebay P4

    Trust? These are the same components as found on ATX boards, just a smaller form factor at 17cm x 17cm. ITX is designed for smaller size and lower power. Compare it to like buying a Mac Mini.

    > 166MHz FSB

    The Atom units are 533 FSB. Look at the "Rated FSB" value on CPUZ. The Bus Speed will be 1/2 for a two-way and 1/4 for a 4-way interleaved memory system. The regular ATX systems are the same for their FSB. You may wish to dl a copy of CPUZ and run it on your own system to see what the numbers mean.
    Reply
  • deegee - Tuesday, September 01, 2009 - link

    Sorry, fingers working faster than brain and no post edit... :-)
    DDR = double data rate, so 133 clock = 266 DDR freq, 2x interleave = 533 FSB, if I recall.
    Reply
  • deegee - Tuesday, September 01, 2009 - link

    I've been using an Atom PC for my surfing system for quite some time now. It has the Intel 945GCLF2D, 2GB RAM, Kingston 64GB SSDnow, in an Apex MI-008 case. On sale all the parts cost me about $300CDN. The case is 8.5"W x 12.5"D x 5"H (just slightly larger than an APC ES750W brick UPS), supports 2x 3.5" and 1x 5.25", and includes a 250W internal PS. It would work for a HS or HTPC since you could fit an SSD OS drive, a 1-2TB HD, and a DVD.

    I pulled the noisy fan off of the mobo and put a Noctua 80mm fan with the silencer connector (970RPM) blowing across the board from case vent-to-vent. It's so quiet you can hardly tell the system is on (it's half as loud as just a 3.5" HD's noise). The CPU runs at 25C, mobo at 40C. Temps go up by only ~5C under full load in Everest etc.

    I'm running Windows 7RC and Kubuntu on it. Ubuntu (Gnome) is just too slow on the video. KDE performs not bad. But W7RC in Aero performs well, even on the GMA950. It is not as fast as my C2D or C2Q workstations of course, but it does ok for surfing. I also have a HS and HTPC but both of those are using C2D ATX, I personally wouldn't use an Atom for those since I prefer more performance, but for general surfing and a low-power system that I can leave on for downloading I don't care.

    I'll probably upgrade the mobo sometime in the future to get the better video. I really recommend the small size and low noise of the Atom.
    Reply
  • lordmetroid - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    I want to build a server/HTPC combo, thing is it will have to be in my home and I can't get proper rest with a fan humming in the background.

    I was thinking, would it be possible to build a completely fanless system using the IONITX-C-U? Using an SSD and the external power brick would give me a system without any moving parts. But what kind of temperatures would such a system generate?
    Reply
  • snarfies - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Asus and Asrock have repeated the exact same mistake that prevented me from considering the Zotac - Only three drive connectors. My MiniITX file server requires four: One for the SD Card reader, one for the optical drive, and two for the RAID1. The only Ion-based board that I know to support four drives is the Point of View Ion 330. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    There are USB headers that can be used for a card reader Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now