Sunday, March 22, 2009

Replacing the Chassis Fan in the CoolerMaster Wave Master PC case

Sometime during 2005 I bought a Wave Master chassis. Seduced by its brushed aluminum and cool blue LEDs I figured, "It's a CoolerMaster, they make great cases, so it's worth the extra money."

The case is very sturdy but has some flaws that, in hindsight, would have prevented me from buying it. One of the most annoying is the swiveling door on the front of the chassis. The elegant wave must have distracted my attention away from its colossally impractical design. Everytime I burn a DVD I'm reminded of my oversight when the ejecting DVD collides into the beautiful but totally annoying front swivel door. Sometimes the door wins, sometimes the DVD tray wins but no matter who wins I would LOVE to end this little war by removing the door.

But that's not the topic of this post. With 2 Nvidia GT 6600 video cards (remember this system was built in 2005) and all of the "Cool N Quiet" options of the ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard disabled, this baby was quite the audible beast. So loud that I can hear it a floor away; it's easily the loudest "ambient" (and I'm using ambient loosely) noise source in the house.

This was tolerable back whilst wiling away the hours hacking and slashing through World of Warcraft. Now that most of my non-work related computing is done from the comfort of my couch via laptop, having a rarely used PC that noisy was too much to take.

So we're off to the races. First, a few before shots:




This is a front view of the chassis. Who wouldn't be seduced by wavy Aluminum? And with the lights off the soft blue backlight is a geeks dream.





After removing what has to be the most inconveniently placed hex screw (top) in all of Chassis-dom and a philips head screw (on the bottom) the wavy front bezel glides, like a crypt, on its hinges revealing 2 80x80x25 chassis fans.













Unfortunately these fans had cosmetic surgery performed on them making them much louder than necessary. Instead of being powered by the standard 3 pin (or 4pin) arrangement that would allow a properly nTuned/AMD Cool'n'Quieted system to slow the fan speed, these fans were wired directly into the molex power connectors. And they always ran at max RPM!!! These two fans, coupled with a poorly placed sound card (I stupidly put an Audigy 2 right below the bottom GT6600 - not much space for airflow there) pumped out enough noise to wake the dead!




The odious fan connector wired into the molex power connector is right below the needle-nosed pliers.





Out comes those ridiculous fans:


In goes the fan with the standard 3-pin connector (connected to CHA1 on the motherboard):



After a little cleanup the system hums along MUCH quieter. After all, a hum isn't a yodel. Or a rumble. It's a hum, hardly noticeable. The way an unused PC should be :)

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