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Copper Heatsink Swap on MDD G4 TowerReturn to News Page

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PCI Slot Cooler in MDD G4 Tower
(Cheap way to help exhaust hot air from the case)
By Corey
Posted: 5/1/2003

(from a reader email last week)

"Hi Mike,
I recently got a MDD 867, and while I admit it's a little loud, I'm really bothered by hot how it gets in the case. I have 4 hard drives and a DVD-R drive installed, along with the stock CDRW/DVD. I can feel the heat escape when I open the case (like when you open an oven), so I figured that couldn't be good.

I decided the easiest thing to do was to stick a expansion slot fan in, and having it in there really makes a difference in internal case temps. I picked up a cheap temp sensor to measure temps before and after. I've read about how limited ventilation is with all the drive bays occupied, but hopefully now it'll run a little cooler.

The slot fan is a generic (PCI) slot fan rated at 42 cfm. I can't hear it over the rest of the fan noise, but it seems pretty quiet. I'm still waiting for my replacement PS and fans from Apple.

The results (all Fahrenheit):
(DP 867 System w/original PS/Fan)

Around the PCI slots and PS fans:

  • Before: 93.2
  • After: 86.7

Between the processor heat sink and hard drives:

  • Before: 112.46
  • After: 94.1

Front of case, at bottom between vent holes and hard drives:

  • Before: 74.12
  • After: 75.56

The temp rise at the front bottom of the case is curious, but it's still well within safe temps.
(he later wrote)

The fan I bought blows air out of the case. It's a cheap generic fan from 1coolpc.com. (these are fairly common and often available at many PC parts/computer stores for under $10.-Mike) I installed it in the PCI slot closest to the AGP card. The opening that air is drawn into is on the opposite side of the AGP slot. If I install it in the top most slot, then the opening would almost be completely blocked.

Even though the fan has a pass through power connector, it was too short to reach, so I used a Y power cable to split one of the Molex connectors off the rear hard drive power connectors, and routed the power cable between the heat sink and the rear of the case. "

For those not familiar with these low-cost PCI slot coolers, here's a photo of one I had laying around for a few years here (now installed in a MDD G4 Tower). I didn't have any HD's in the front bays (ATA/66 interface), so I used one of the HD power connectors for that bay and didn't need a "Y" adapter. I'd considered swapping the orientation of the fan (tabs secure it to the PCI slot bracket) and then moving it up to a higher slot, but not sure if that would really be a benefit.-Mike.

For other MDD System related articles, see the Systems page.

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