Better cooling for the Compaq XP1000 Alpha Workstation

I happened to notice that a friend's new XP1000 seemed to be blowing some pretty warm air out of the rear.. sure enough, we opened the case, and the CPU heatsink was very warm. I am sure it is within spec, but the cooler the better.. We found an easy way to make the unit run alot cooler, at no cost, and which is completely and undetectably reversible.

The only tool you need is a kitchen knife, but don't worry, you don't have to cut anything!! You can do this with the computer on, but unless you are well-accomplished, you may wish to power it down. Note that this might void your warranty, but only if the service guy finds out about it..

The XP1000
The XP1000, a fine Compaq Alpha workstation with 2 GB memory and about 90GB storage. (Shown here with cover off. Always keep covers in place for correct cooling air flow) This workstation is running VMS
Behind the door
Behind the door are not only two more 5.25 half height bays, but above the floppy disk are the intake vents for the CPU cooling fan.
On the right side, a tab can pe seen
On the right side, a tab can be seen. Press it inward to release the front panel.
A similar tab on the left
A similar tab on the left side must be pressed inward as well. You are looking downwards into the space behind the front bulkhead. The front of the machine is to the image's right, and the left side of the case is to the image's bottom. see big picture..
With the trim panel partially removed
With the trim panel partially removed, you can see the small thermistor. It just hangs there, in front of the intake grille of the CPU cooling fan. The fan lazily and quietly spins, as a far too-gentle breeze wafts through the CPU heatsink inside.
A better look
A better look at the thermistor. Be careful as it is quite delicate. You can tell this is a brand new XP1000, as there is no cat hair in the grille.
The small block
The small block holding the LEDs and switches has been loosened, and now the thermistor can be fed back through the hole into the main cavity of the XP1000.
The thermistor is then lowered
The thermistor is then lowered into one of the holes in the heatsink fin areas, where it comes to rest down near one of the bolts that attaches the CPU to the heatsink. Carefully place it in the bottom of the pit, using care not to scratch the thermistor's surface coating.
The thermistor is laid in the pit
The thermistor is laid in the bottom of the cylindrical pit created by the absence of fin material, and the excess wire coiled around the inner walls of the cylindrical pit. This will hold the thermistor in place as long as you dont turn the computer upside down and shake it or anything.
A special wire-tucking tool
A special wire-tucking tool insures that the twisted cable is properly placed in the hole, and that it also does not obstruct airflow through any inter-fin space. Just keep the wire coiled loosely in the hole, and don't let it slide into an inter-fin space. It should come straight up out of the top of the hole. You can use a bit of silicon glue to stick it in place. Notice the magnificently glowing |d|i|g|i|t|a|l| ASICs. The surface is diffractive, the color depending on the angle of incident light.
Now, a neat and tidy job
Now, a neat and tidy job has been done. Notice the 2 Gigabytes of main memory to the right of the CPU heat sink. Oh, yeah, by the way, the base of the CPU heatsink is cool now..hehe.. You can actually touch it without burning your toungue! (just kidding!!) Anyway, the box runs alot cooler, and more airfow is evident.

One would think that the price of over $10K of this machine would be enough to keep us out of it, NOT!!! heheheee! Happy Hardware Hacking!