After using my htpc for 4 months I sometimes became annoyed of the noise being produced by the system. It varied from day to day, so I decided to do something about it.
There were only 4 fans in the system, one on the cpu, two on the side of the case to get airflow going and one to cool down the psu. The loudest one was the stock cpu cooler, closely followed by the psu fan. The two 120mm fans are already quite good. After searching on the internet for a passive cpu cooler it seemed that the Scythe Mini Ninja was quite popular and ideal for the system that I have assembled. No computer parts shop in Belgium had it, or they were quite expensive, so I purchased one on eBay.
In the package you find: thermal paste, 3 mounting systems (meaning universal socket support), screws, one fan, clips to attach the fan and one big heatsink.
When removing the stock cpu cooler I noticed that there was not much of thermal paste on the standard heatsink, so removing any residue was quite easy. I also ignored all the advice of installing the Ninja outside the case, which would mean dismantling the htpc. In the end it didn’t save me that much time, since I had to remove the ram and some of the power cables to install the heatsink, also if you’ve got thicker fingers than me you probably won’t be able to reach all of the pins used to attach the Ninja to the motherboard. Make sure to apply an even layer of thermal paste on the cpu, you won’t need to use all of it since too much is as bad as too little.
I powered the system back on again, changed the bios to allow the absence of a cpu fan, and off it went. With the top of the case screwed back into place I first thought the upgrade didn’t change a lot, but I was sitting at 20cm from it. When I had placed the htpc back into it’s normal habitat and sat on a normal distance (2 meters) the psu fan was still audible but any ambient sound can overcome it. When I start a movie the system can’t be heard now.
To test the heatsink I started two instances of cpuburn and watched the result with speedfan. After 5-10 minutes the temperature reached around 50 degrees which is quite good, especially if you keep in mind that the two cores will never be under that amount of load under normal use.
So overall a great product.