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Our U-Buddie model comes shipped with an external power supply unit, which capacity is just 78 W. However, taking into account the CPU restraint, usage of notebook storage devices, and the impossibility to use a state-of-the-art video accelerator, this power limit seems quite reasonable. We had no problems with that during our tests. The problem of the cooling system noise goes the next in importance for many users. In this case the cooling system consists of one rather simple cooler with an air pipe.
The base of the cooler is a regular aluminium heatsink with thick straight fins, which is fixed by the screws through the holes in the mainboard to the lugs on the bottom of the PC case. The heatsink is covered with metal housing. After the cooler is installed, the housing beds the side of the case, right opposite to the air grating. Turbine blower with straight blades is located on the opposite side of the construction. It takes the air from both open ends (top and bottom) and forces it through the air pipe on the heatsink. In standby mode the fan speed is 2650 rpm, and though the noise was audible, it was intrusive neither in tone nor in loudness. It can be subjectively evaluated as "rather quiet". But at full system load the fan speed increases to 4000 rpm, and this is "loud" already, it's not very comfortable to work in this noise. It should be mentioned that the automatic fan speed control is carried out by the proprietary Fan SmartGuardian (it can be enabled in BIOS, it reacts to the CPU temperature).
For comparison purposes we took a recently reviewed barebone ASUS
DiGiMatrix and test results of several barebones, which we
over a year ago. All the systems used the same Pentium 4 2.53 GHz
processor, and they all used their integrated video. As a result you
can see how the cooling systems of these models coped with maximum
possible heat load (the CPU frequency is limited, the external video
card cannot be used in the majority of these systems).
U-Buddie cooler cannot boast of remarkable efficiency (it would have been strange, taking into account its performance attributes), but it does its bit keeping the processor far from the thermal deceleration border (71°C for this Pentium 4 model).
System cooling on the whole is still better – in case of full CPU load, U-Buddie is outscored only by the AOpen barebone with a powerful cooler designed for high end desktop systems. Temperature of the CPU voltage converter also remains within normal limits (up to 55°C), and the hard disk with its 38-39°C can be considered cool (this is in fact a merit of the miniature hard disk with low rotational speed). As you can see, the use of Fan SmartGuardian is quite justified.
Sergei Pikalov (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
Dmitry Majorov (email@example.com)
September 13, 2004