Mod 1: Zalman NB Heatsink Upgrade
On Tuesday I was driving to my friend's house from work and decided to stop by Micro Center and pick up the Zalman ZM-NB47J
to replace the tiny stock heatsink. Was putting off this mod until I was bored because of the long downtime by taking everything out so I could take the motherboard out to access the bottom.
A lot of people have complained about the difficulty taking out a shuttle motherboard, but I found it pretty easy if taken the proper steps. What I did was obviously disconnect everything from the motherboard, but also the front connections on the panel were removed as well. If you tilt up with care you clear everything perfect and the back ports slip out without removal of the rear panel. The motherboard is then slid out of the PCI/AGP side of the case with ease.
So with the motherboard removed, I used needlenose pliers to squeeze and the push the plastic tabs holding the stock northbridge sink on
. With some light twisting to losen the thermal gunk, the sink was off
. Use isopropyl alcohol to remove the thermal gunk and the Nforce2 Ultra 400 chip said hello to me
and thanked me for fresh air. I said my good byes as I covered him with a thin layer of Arctic Silver 3. I used the old heatsink mounts to adjust the Zalman mounts and plopped the sink on with ease.
Here is the finished product on the board
I am happy with my $7 investment as extra cooling power at no sacrifice to noise levels is always a good thing.Mod 2: Grill Removal
Since I had my bare chassis sitting there, I figured I might as well dremel out the rear gril to lower temps and make it clean. Since I didn't feel like dishing out $60 on a Dremel I'll use a handful of times, I decided to make the poor man's Dremel where I went to the store and bought the cutting discs and the bit for them. I used this in my corded drill and the results were very good. After I cut out the grill, I used a file to smooth the sharp edges around the hole. I took a vaccum to the case to get rid of the bits of metal and then did a napkin soaked in alcohol for the large areas, and a q-tip dipped in it for the small areas and front switch circuits.
With everything cleaned up I put back in the motherboard and the pieces went into the case. To make the install clean, I used an old Thermaltake grill cover which is MUCH less restricting and pleasing to the eye and placed it on the back.
Here it is up close
the Tt grill did a nice job of looking like it should have been there in the first place.
, I still need to get some aluminum pieces to cover up that printer port and wi-fi hole (small price to pay when getting a refurbished shuttle).What about temps and noise?
I run my Logisys fan at 100% all the time. It's a 24db fan and by running it at a slower speed it is quieter, but the tone it makes isn't desirable and more annoying so 100% it is. My Evercool VC-RE is now the loudest thing in my computer which is run at 10% in speedfan.
Here was my sytem idle temperatures before the mod.
Idle temps after the mod
My full load temps were in the 52-55Â°C
range for the CPU but I have yet to do any full load tests. I'll be sure to post the after full load CPU temps. So for a total of $7 for a new heatsink and $5 in poor-man's Dremel parts I did some pleasing mods.