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Scythe e-Otonashi Review
By Larry Matter, Posted on July 9, 2004 Jump to:

Introduction

When I acquired my first Via EPIA M 9000 mini-itx motherboard I was very excited. I was already using MythTV on my AMD-based server and was looking forward to building a small computer for the family room. This was in November of 2002. Since that time I have been searching for a way to make that system, and the EPIA M 10000 I acquired later, quiet.

I tried different fans, like the Papst 412FM, which is supposedly 19db. But I have since learned that anything that tries to push a lot of air through a 40mm x 40mm hole is going to make noise.

I then purchased an EPIA ME 6000, which has no CPU fan, but rather a larger CPU heatsink. I crammed it in my Morex 2688 case and turned it on. It was nice and quiet but, sitting in my "entertainment center" on top of other equipment, the CPU soon became alarmingly hot and I had to put a fan inside the Morex case to keep it from overheating. While I don't hear the fan when I'm watching TV, I do hear it other times and find myself turning the system off when I'm not using it. Which means I have to wait one and a half minutes for it to restart when I'm ready to watch TV again.

I'm not the only one that has been frustrated by the noisy EPIA M CPU fans. Here and here are two threads in my MiniMyth forum that talk about the great lengths to which others have gone to silence these otherwise very desirable motherboards. None of the approaches really worked out for me. The EPIA M 10000 became relageted to the garage where I use it as a test system for my pet project, MiniMyth. It is shown here sadly encased in the bottom of a cardboard box.

A Ray of Hope

Then I heard about Scythe's e-Otonashi fanless case for EPIA M 10000 systems. Using a Heatlane heatpipe, this case is designed from the start to take the heat from the 1 GHz Nehemiah CPU and disappate it silently (interestingly enough, it takes the heat from the top of the CPU, and pumps it out the bottom of the case). This seemed like the perfect solution. But would it actually work? The CPU in my fanless EPIA ME 6000, when doing graphically intensive programs and sitting on top of other warm equipment can get pretty hot, in excess of 70 degrees C! And that is with a small fan in the case. Would this new case, with a faster processor and absolutely no fan, be able to handle a real world situation?

I acquired one of these cases and decided to give it a try.

Next: Inspection -->


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