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
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  • Titanius - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    "While Acer offers the Aspire Revo, it only comes with a single-core Atom 230, a far less desirable option."

    What about the Acer Aspire Revo R3600? It has an Intel Atom 330, a 160GB HD and 2 GB of Dual-Channel RAM. Check it out: http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41924&a...">http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?...&man...
    Reply
  • Fietsventje - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    A pitty, no network interface benchmarks. Despite the overkill of the nVidia GPU, these boards would make the ideal start of a limited home server, and transferring files at gigabit speeds is no small feat for such a small processor ... Reply
  • mgrier - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    Do you have data to support this? Between DMA both to the drive and the NIC and TCP checksum offloading, the CPU overhead of disk transfers should be minimal with an operating system and drivers that support all of the above. Assuming a single drive configuration, you should mostly be limited by transfer rate of the drive for large files. For smaller files, you should be limited by the drive's seek latency. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 29, 2009 - link

    I'm not so sure it's the HDD CPU overhead so much as network drivers. I'd imaging these Atom CPUs could use a good 30-50% of the CPU for doing Gb transfers. However, as you are limited by the HDD to a maximum ~50MBps (unless you go SSD or at least a 7200RPM drive), you should probably only need 15-25% of the CPU. Would be interesting to see the results though. At least the Ion systems give you GbE, unlike all the netbooks I've tested. Reply
  • cliffman - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    I am interested in seeing the performance of a mini-itx board that can support a quad core system. You can build a modern system for $500 instead of paying $350 for an atom system. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    Considering those use any one of the regular LGA775 (atm - maybe we'll see some LGA1156 mITX boards) chipsets unless the board is just done poorly the performance would be the same as a full system with the same chipset and CPU. You'd just have the obvious tradeoff of expansion and possibly overclocking/enthusiast features. Reply
  • plext0r - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    You mention the Acer Aspire Revo on the last page. Any word when and if Acer will release this box in the US? A single-core 230 is plenty of CPU horsepower for XBMC or MythTV when using Nvidia's binary drivers. Thanks!
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    Hey, finally an Atom board with analog connections for more channels. Maybe I'll eventually replace the LF2 board in my carputer with this (and just keep the Scythe fan I already have). Reply
  • gipper - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    Why in the world can't people just use bigger fixtures and bigger fans?

    It's like the xbox 360. Who cares if it's smaller than my receiver, it's A FREAKING JET ENGINE. Why can't they just bump the size up a bit and throw in a 120mm fan?

    With these, what's wrong with bumping up the chasis to xbox1 size and going with a slower 80mm fan which will probably deliver more air flow at 800rpm than these 40mm fans at 6500rpm.

    I can't believe that project leaders haven't caught on to this issue yet. They must have their quality assurance guys working in different rooms than the products they're testing, or they're testing them in the middle of the factory.
    Reply
  • Abby - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    For Manufacturing, Transportation and profits wise, small is da key. Reply

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