[Mplayer-users] Re: DVR box - how much CPU

Anssi Saari as at sci.fi
Tue May 1 17:28:09 CEST 2001

On Mon, Apr 30, 2001 at 01:36:02PM +0100, Stephen Davies wrote:
> But with all this I don't want a box which needs heaps of whirring fans to
> keep it running.  Looks like could easily end up with PSU and case fan,
> chipset, processor and graphics chip fans... !  Be a shame if the movie
> was drowned out by the noise of the box playing it.
> Does anyone have any experience, suggestions or insight?
Not really for your project, but I've managed to make my PC rather quiet.

- Quiet PSUs are available from Q Technology
- Molex makes a "Radial fin cooler" which is supposed to be a quiet CPU cooler,
  but isn't really unless you slow the fan but then the cooling power may
  be inadequate for a fast CPU. A big heatsink and a big quiet fan seems a better
  solution. Or water cooling. 
- Hard disks can be put in special boxes (SilentDrive for example) to dampen the noise, 
  but if the disk is a hot model it may turn into a crisp... Look at 5400rpm drives 
  and see storagereview.com for their comments on the sound level of different models
- Nvidia Geforce2 MX based cards don't usually have fans and work well with MPlayer
- Some motherboards even have a fan for the chipset, avoid those
- My case is a usual big tower case, but I put some sound dampening material on the
  sides and front panel, the kind meant for cars. There's glue on one side and it's easy
  to cut 

> How important is cpu power relative to bus speeds, memory speeds?
I'd guess decoding and encoding are both mostly CPU intensive, so CPU speed
would be most important.

> Should I consider a dual processor system?
Probably not.

> Can I underclock and lower cpu voltages to reduce heat and eliminate fans?
Yes, but then there's a good chance you don't have enough CPU power. This
could work for hardware decoder and encoder cards. I think I just read
about someone who had an underclocked Celeron 300MHz without a CPU or
PSU fan in a small box and it didn't overheat.

> Which chipset/processor puts out least heat for the performance?
Apparently Intel CPUs are a a little better there. Since this interests me
too, thinking of upgrading my CPU, I recently tried to compare the power
dissipation of PIII, Celeron, Duron and Athlon. From my studying the data sheets,
at 800MHz and nominal operational voltage the maximum power dissipation would be this:

Athlon  Duron   PIII    Celeron
42.6    29.8    20.9    20.9

However, apparently Intel's figures don't include power for the cache
and AMD's do, so probably Duron is closer to PIII and Celeron than
would appear and PIII is probably higher than Celeron due to its bigger cache.

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