Components and Coolers
A complete HTPC was installed in the HD160 to test the ease of installation and see how well the Zalman ventilation system could keep all the internal bits cool. A Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 CPU cooler was used on the Athlon64 processor and a VF900-Cu LED VGA cooler was used on the video card. You can read our recent review of both these excellent Zalman coolers here.
CNPS9500 AM2 CPU cooler VF900-Cu LED VGA cooler
CNPS9500 AM2 CPU cooler
VF900-Cu LED VGA cooler
Along with the Zalman ZM460B-APS power supply and the two coolers just mentioned, the following components were used in the build. This is one of our older HTPC systems but it has the advantage of having lots of PCI slots for multimedia expansion cards and multiple PVR cards if desired.
- Asus K8N-E Deluxe nForce3-250 motherboard
- AMD Athlon64 3200+ (0.13 mm
- (2) Corsair CMX512-3200C2 DDR RAM
- ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
- ATI HDTV Wonder tuner card
- Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 sound card
- WD800JB IDE HDD
- Sony 16X DVD
46F500 HDTV Hitachi
The CNPS9500 AM2 CPU cooler was mounted prior to installing the motherboard. It uses a single spring-steel clip that attaches to the two center lugs of an AM2/K8 retention frame. I mounted the Zalman CPU cooler so that it was blowing towards the back, to take advantage of the HD160’s two rear exhaust fans.
After removing the previous VGA heatsink fan, the GPU was cleaned with isopropyl alcohol before applying thermal grease. The VF900-Cu LED VGA cooler is securely held in position by thumb screws on the backside. A PVC insulating washer and spring go between each thumbscrew and the video card’s printed circuit board.
Installing the Zalman ZM460B-APS power supply was simple and straightforward. The HD160 incorporates a power supply mounting plate that fits inside the case on short standoffs. The adapter plate is first screwed onto the face of the power supply and then the power supply slides into position from inside. There is plenty of room behind the power supply for all the wires and cables.
The ZM460B-APS power supply can be mounted with the large, bottom intake fan facing into the case or facing to the outside. When facing in, the power supply will assist the two rear case fans with exhausting warm air out of the case and enhance the overall case cooling. This can potentially make the power supply fan run a little faster and generate more noise but in my case it didn’t seem to make any difference. Positioning the PSU so the fan is to the outside, draws cool air directly into the power supply for the quietest operation.