In the continuing fight for silent computing, ABIT
have announced an innovative weapon in the Battle of the Buzz: Silent OTES. Building on their previous OTES (Outside Thermal Exhaust System) which vented hot air outside your system, ABIT have employed a heatpipe to channel Northbridge heat out of the case.
Over the years, as bus speeds have increased, the humble Northbridge chipset has gone from bare chip, to passive heatsink cooler, and to the present day where a fan is required. Anyone who has worked in a Returns Department will know these fans are real pain in the ass: never exactly quiet to start with, these cheap 40mm fans build up dust & grime over the years generating yet more noise, and in the worst cases, stop working completely, causing overheating and system instability.
Silent OTES does away with all that, championing the theory that the fewer moving parts something has, the less likely it is to go wrong. The copper-based aluminium Northbridge heatsink transfers the generated heat via a heatpipe to pure copper heat exchanger or mini radiator next to the PS2 sockets (pictured), where the airflow from the CPU heatsink will blow the heat out the back of your PC.
Interestingly, this design is only possible thanks to the dumping of legacy connectors such as the age old trio of 1 x Parallel, 2 x Serial ports that have adorned the ATX backing plate since the dawn of time. Production models have yet to be announced, but early shots show a board featuring dual LAN, four USB and one Firewire port. No on-board sound is present, though it could easily be added by using a PCI backing-plate.
No pricing information has been announced and while Silent OTES is clearly a more expensive solution than a traditional cooler, low-noise advocates will no doubt be more than happy to pay a premium for a motherboard that sports it.