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Professor
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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

Here is a more detailed post arising from a recent question regarding how to add a front cooling fan to the xw workstations.  There has always been room for adding a front fan and attaching it to the adjacent front fan header on the motherboards for the xw6400, xw6600, xw8400, xw8600, and others.  There is the official way to go, and a Ghetto Mod way.

 

Front case fans for the xw workstations are nice to have in place for extra cooling, and HP had optional black plastic dual purpose cage-like devices that one could buy to mount a fan inside the cage.  The other face of the cage has plastic retainer slots to stabilize long heavy PCI/PCIe cards.  For the xw6200, xw6600 and xw6400 the part numbers are 349571-001 or -002, which look identical and are interchangable.  These also have been known as "PCI card guides" and they snap into the inside of the front of the metal case once the fan is inserted properly.  Here's a xw6x00 series version without a fan attached (which would be located beneath) inside the cage.  You can see the retainer slots easily.  The fan holder that works in both the xw8400 and xw8600 is different from this one, but only holds a small 80x80x25mm cooling fan, and for those workstations I'd always do this ghetto mod instead of using that holder because then I'd be able to run a 92mm front cooling fan.  Here's the xw6x00 series holder, view from its top:

 

349571-002 top view.jpg

 

You can do a search on that first part number in this forum and you'll find some pictures that I've posted on the install process from the past.  For this version the fan has to be 92mm, and its thickness 25mm, the standard size.  It's a bit of a hassle to mount the fan in the black plastic holder properly, and be sure to mount it so it blows inward (fan label on the hub facing inward, which is towards the retainer slots).

  

Those holders are pretty hard to find now, and not cheap.  For the fan I personally like the Noctua 92x92x25mm non-PWM case fan (NF-B9), and I've been using the included Noctua Ultra Low Noise Adapter attached to the fan lead, and thereafter from that junction the ULNA attaches to the bottom front motherboard 4-pin fan header (both a LNA and ULNA come with the fan).  These fans are virtually silent, and last a very long time.  You shave off the very small lip on the yellow wire side of the ULNA's 3-wire plug end, and then it will slide properly onto the 4-pin motherboard header (leaving one pin exposed).  Keep the lip on the black wire side, and the hookup will make sense.  The pictures from the older posts you can find here show the shaved side nicely.  The 3 ULNA wires that end up attached to the motherboard header are ground (black), power (red), and rpm sense (yellow).  That 4th unused pin is the PWM control, which you don't need for this approach.

 

With the ULNA and the 3 wire method you get 1000 rpm..... if you want to use the LNA you get 1300 rpm.  If you want 1600 rpm use no adapter.  In contrast, the PWM version of this fan will run way too slowly because HP applies a baseline PWM throttle signal even with the fan setting in BIOS at the lowest value.  As a result you would have a normally slow fan run quite a bit slower than you'd expect or want.  Plus, the standard PWM 4-wire fan plug does not slip onto the type of front fan header that HP uses on those motherboards.  The shave trick noted above lets the 3-wire fan plug slide on easily.

 

Now, on to the unofficial modification that I've used with these same 92mm non-PWM fans, which works equally well on the xw6200, xw6400, and xw6600 because they use the same front metal case perforation pattern.  This concept also works with the xw8400 and xw8600.  For some odd reason HP designed for an 80x80x25mm fan to fit in the optional black plastic front fan holder that clips into both of those larger workstations (part number 398296-001).  I would advise not using that fan holder unless you need its PCI card retaining feature because it forces you into a 80mm fan, which is unnecessarily small.  You want the 92mm fan instead.

 

The pic just below shows one of the 92mm Noctua fans mounted in the xw6x00's 349571-001 holders behind the metal face, and the blue line intersections with the 3 round metal perforation holes are where the 3 machine screws will go through to match up with 3 of the 4 fan mount holes...... no drilling needed this way.  You don't use that bottom right perforation.  With the fan screwed in place you can see that it will produce great airflow, second pic below:

 

1 Ghetto fan screw positions.JPG

 

2 Ghetto outside view.JPG

 

The following step usually is not necessary.  You can use a nail clipper to trim off about 3/32 of the tip of the black plastic post pointed to below so it can't touch the fan blades.... the shoulders of the post proximal to that tip rest against the outside of the metal frame hole, also pointed to.  Do that only if the fan blades rub against the post tip when you put the front face back on and fire up the workstation.  I've only had to do that once.

 

3 Ghetto post to trim.JPG

 

You'll want to add on a 92mm fan grill on the inside face, as you can see below, to protect internal cables.  The fans alway blow towards the label on the hub, so point that label inwards when you mount it.  The exact size of the machine screws and washers is important so you get just enough wiggle room to mount the fan using the 3 round case perforations shown above.  They're #6-32 Philips bit wedge head fine threaded stainless 1.5" long machine screws, with #10 fender washers on the outside face of the case so the wedge can nestle deep but not pull through, and matching Ny-lock #6-32 nuts (don't over tighten) with a #10 regular sized washer beneath the nut against the fan grill.  All shown are stainless from Ace Hardware, but stainess is not necessary.  If you can't find the #10 fender washer try a metric fender washer.... you want that wedge head to nestle down into the washer's hole so it is near-flush and thereby does not interfere with the front case grill going back on.  You can see in the images that I have used a single normal fan grill screw to hold one of the 4 corners of the grill in place as all gets put together.  It stays that way, and position that one grill screw down at the bottom corner that won't have the three total longer through-screws.

 

This mod works great, and is very cheap.  Again, that NF-B9 non-PMW fan with the ULNA is the key... not too fast and not too slow.  The PWM version of that will run too slow even without any LNA or ULNA adapter.... I have tried it.  And here's how it looks from the inside.  You can see how I've run the 3-wire fan lead around under the machine screws and out to the adapter junction.  The ULNA end now is blue, instead of black:

 

4 Ghetto 1 fan screw.jpg

 

Of interest, HWMonitor from CPUID.com does not see the front case fan, but SpeedFan from almico.com does, assuming you're using it in a xw6400 or xw8400.  SpeedFan does not work for fans well at all in the xw6600 or xw8600, but detailed fan info for those can be seen in BIOS, under the first tab.  Overall I like HWMonitor best for system temps/fan speeds, etc.

 

Here's a few pictures of the way it is put together before bolting it in place.  Note the one bottom fan grill screw used to hold the grill in place while you're putting all the other parts in place.  Than helps things come together quite nicely:

 

5 Ghetto amount of slack.JPG

 

6 Ghetto front before in case.JPG

 

7 Ghetto in case view.JPG

 

 

 

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GruntSplatter Honor Student
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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

I drilled a hole for the fourth corner fan mount. It may not be a problem but I didn't want to chance fan/case vibration. Otherwise the mod is great!

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Professor
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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

There is room to drill the hole you mention there, but I was a bit worried about getting metal shavings in the case.  The 3-attachment method has never vibrated, and I have done a bunch of these.

 

With the xw4600/Z400 families, a second post in here is dedicated to that, you can just barely fit in 4 total attachments, and that also snugs up nicely.  No vibration from those either.....

 

I'm pretty much running the fastest processors available in all my builds now, two of each in the xw6400 and xw6600 builds, and having the extra cooling is quite nice.

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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

I had the machine apart and I had an anti-static 3M field tech Vacuum to pick up the shavings. I guess maybe it's a little overkill to fuss over the fourth hole.

 

It is a great addition to my xw8600 with Dual 3.16Ghz processors and the tall dual fan heatsinks.  I have full memory slots, full hdd bays, 2 CD/DVD drives, an HP media card reader and two Nvidia 8800GTX's. I also have the 1050w power supply. Everything was way too hot before the mod. Now I no longer see a flame beside the RAM in the monitoring software. All other temps are down as well.

 

Thanks!

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Professor
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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

Grunt,

 

That is great news, and a great way to avoid metal shavings.

 

Let me know if you want more info on getting a HP USB3 card in there, a combined HP Parallel port/Serial port card in there, or a dedicated HP Serial port off the motherboard header.  Plus, I very much like the eSATA solution which on the xw8400/xw8600 can actually be done without taking up a rear PCI bulkhead slot.

 

If you could post a couple of pics of your solution on the xw8600 with the front cover off I'm sure many would appreciate that.

 

Scott

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Razer Honor Student
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Hi, i have just carried out the fan mods on my 6400, but on start up im getting a error 512 message, and have to start by using F1.  the fans i used are arctic F9. canyou help please.

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Professor
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Ghetto Mod: xw6400 xw6600 front case fans

I have done this mod with a number of 3-wire fans (non-PWM) and 4-wire (PWM) fans, and have never seen a 512 error.

 

The Arctic F9 fan you mention is a 3 wire fan, and the normal fan wiring for that is ground, power, and RPM sense back to the motherboard.  Because the motherboard has a 4-pin header you need to only use its first 3 pins.  The 4th pin is not used in the case of a 3-wire fan, and that approach works just fine if you have a slow fan to start with.

 

The trick in your case is to cut off the ridge along the yellow wire side of the fan plug..... assuming you have normally colored wires.  Leaving the ridge along the ground wire side of the plug makes it easy to remember to put on the plug only over the first 3 pins of the 4-pin PCI fan header on the motherboar (bottom far front corner header).

 

With the xw6400 there is a setting in BIOS to ignore recoverable F1 errors, but it will be better to make sure your wiring is right before resorting to that.

 

When I set up these front fans I like to aim for about 1000 RPM or a bit less to get good air flow, but maintain quiet.

 

 

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Thanks for getting back to me. the wires coming from the fan are coloured Black , Red ,and blue. there is a yellow, but thats on its own with a small plug on the end. i did follow your  first post about installing fans, and i have cut the tab off one side, the fans work, its just the error , and the F1 thing that bugs me.

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All sorted, the yellow lead should have been plugged into the other block that come off the main plug.

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