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New Fractal Define R4 Question + Noctua fan recommendations

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July 3, 2014 4:53:41 PM

Just picked up my fractal define r4 I ordered awhile ago, I won't be building until August. Is there anything I should do to check the everything works/no damage? I hear the fan controller is prone to break, just want to get some advice on what to check for when opening it up.

Also not sure what Noctua CPU Cooler/fans I should be getting for it in the future, I'll use stock for a while until I can dig up cash for them but will get the cpu cooler at the start. I'm confused on what to get, my main purpose to as quiet gaming as I can get within reasonable $$. Just a heads up I don't want to remove the moduvents in the case to add more fans so I guess It's really only the front and back that I can add too.
July 3, 2014 6:30:20 PM

I have the R4 and have two NF-A14s in the front, two NF-A14s in the back (rear, and top rear), and an NH-D14 with two NF-A15 fans attached and temps are very good. The only time the fans are really noticeable are when I have them maxed out for benchmark runs, and by noticeable I mean just that - not annoying or overpowering, just noticeable. If you're running a single GPU, I'm sure having just one 140mm in the back would be fine. I have 770 SLI and having one exhaust let things get too toasty.

As for the integral controller, the thread linked below discusses it:

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2176674/define-b...
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July 4, 2014 2:35:55 PM

You have the fans connected to the fan controller? Whats the difference between the fans like PWM and yours? Aren't the DH-15's the new ones, should I get those instead?

Main worry is about getting ram that fits with the cooler as I hear its a biggy. Main worry about the fan controller was if it would work or not :p  Good to know that I shouldn't change fan speeds while its on tho!
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July 4, 2014 7:42:20 PM

The issue with the fan switch, as far as I can tell, is not very common, but frankly the fact that it happens at all I find disturbing. Taking it out of play seems the simplest and most common sense option. Running the fans off of the mobo or a fan controller solves this potential issue (and gives the option of a much greater degree of control, which appeals to me).

I have a Hero VI board and currently have the rear and top/rear fan on a y-splitter connected to the fan channel #3 header, the front two fans, also on a splitter, connected to the fan channel #1 header, and the two cooler fans plugged into the CPU_Fan and CPU_Opt headers. I'm running all of them off of Fan Xpert 3 on custom profiles that provide positive case air pressure up to 85%, then negative pressure above that. When I toggle my custom Turbo mode, I have the front fans running at 85% and the CPU and rear fans at 100%. For my SLI setup, based on several months of experimentation, that gives me the best balance between cooling and dust protection during normal use, and max cooling when I'm stressing the system. (This is all with the front panel closed.) When I installed a side fan (directly opposite the GPUs) as exhaust, that dramatically reduced case temp, but the harmonics created between the fan and the grill were more than I could handle. The temp difference was 8-10C. The absolute noise level increase wasn't that bad, but it was a buzzing noise that I couldn't stand. The side fan set as intake also reduced temps but only by 2-3C. Not enough for me to keep it in place. I picked up some Akasa PWM splitters and an NZXT Sentry 2 fan controller to experiment with different control options, but haven't installed or played with either yet, so I can't say whether they're better or not.

All of the case fans that I'm currently using are Noctua PWM NF-A14s. I bought them before I learned that only the CPU fan headers are truly PWM (the CPU_Opt is slaved to the CPU_Fan header). With my current setup, I could have gotten FLX fans and gotten the same results. As it is, I have the option, via the Akasa PWM splitters, of having them all powered from the PSU, but having PWM control through the CPU header. I'm also considering running them from the GPU fan controller by adding a mini-PWM adapter - that way they'll spin up based on the GPU temp rather than the CPU temp. With my NH-D14 on the CPU, left on software profile, the CPU never heats up enough that the fans go above 50%, even when the GPU cards are screaming hot, unless I manually turn them up.

The NH-D15 has been modified to be more RAM-friendly. You'll have to check the Noctua compatibility chart to see which RAM fits, but I think most RAM can fit. I have Snipers under my D14, but you can slide the push fan up to create more room for higher RAM. I switched the stock cooler fans for the NF-A15 PWM fans - I think they look cooler, but I honestly can't tell the difference temperature-wise. If I didn't already have the D14, I would buy the D15 just to have the increased RAM compatibility, but performance is comparable.
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July 5, 2014 7:14:25 AM

Alright so I'll defiantly get the D15's. Don't really want to mess around with fan controllers so hoping to get by with the stock, which noctua should I get if I'm doing that? And have any PSU recommendations? I threw a random one with as a price holder for the pcpicker but no idea what to get, I heard corsair RM series have coil whine which I want to avoid. D:

Also know anything about the Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB DirectCU II in terms of noise levels? researched alot about it back when I was setting up my pclist and it was apparently the quietest 770, I rather take quieter noise levels and have a performance hit, Should I be looking into any others?

And just curious, My current comp has a EVGA 9800GT that runs at 100% no matter what which proves to be loud ( probably why I am being so cautious that I don't make the same mistake ) How would this rig perform? quiet when idling and speeding up when doing more intensive things?

Just realized I never posted my build yet, here it is: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/C3JFK8
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July 5, 2014 11:17:50 AM

What's your budget? I can make a couple of suggestions that will get you comparable performance for less money, or better performance for about the same price.

Do you plan to overclock or add another 770 down the road? Will you be upgrading frequently or do you want a system that will be good as-is for a good long while?

I didn't realize you are in Canada, so some of my pricing assumptions (like the difference in price between the D14 and 15) are not valid. If you can give me a better idea of what you plan to do with the system, I'll make suggestions based on your local pricing.
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July 5, 2014 11:57:28 AM

Budget wise its 1K before taxes, I got the fractal for $90 so we can take the case out of the price. I put in the K edition just for futureproofing, Might overclock in the future when it's dying down performance wise, but noise level is my main concern. Not really interested in SLI as I hear games have problems with it and not interested in the extra heat or noise. I had my current pc for 6 years only upgrading the GPU and PSU as the old ones died so I run them to the ground, I would say I'd keep it for atleast 4-5 years I'm not really one to resell. At that point I would debate starting to save up more for a new build or upgrade.

I'm trying to get quiet gaming out of this, I don't want to build it and have all this noise and be like damn now I'm stuck with it. Basically as quiet as I can with the cash I got.

Not sure if you familiar with Canadian stores but I have a NCIX, Canadacomputers, Tigerdirect and I can order from newegg.ca if necessary but rather not because they charge shipping.

NCIX is having some motherboard + i5-4670k bundles on sale

http://www.ncix.com/category/bundle-deals-d2-1265.htm

Should I be looking at i5-4690k's?

For some reason the 4690k is $259 and the 4670k is $268, apparently they have some sale that you can get a DH-14 for $70 if you buy the 4670k, not sure if that deal works with a motherboard combo but I can find out.

Only components I have so far for this computer are the case and old drives from my current pc.

Really appreciate the help.
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July 5, 2014 8:25:40 PM

Okay, try this on for size: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/TedT/saved/spH8TW

DRAM: upped speed and bandwidth to 1866/9 for slightly lower cost. Will scale better with CPU.
CPU: better temp rating and will OC better for $10 more
Mobo: much higher quality board, better features and support. Will need bios update to run 4690K, but no big deal.
PSU: lower wattage but ample for build, much cheaper, high quality, will handle any OC for CPU and DRAM
CPU cooler: cheaper, same performance, compatible with Ripjaws X
SSD: more expensive, but faster and better reliability

These prices include any shipping, so I don't think retailer selection is an issue, but you'd be a better judge of that. I've got more input, but let me know what you think. This is slightly over your budget, but not by much. If you can stretch it another $100-$150, you can up the performance significantly. Have you already ordered fans, or are you planning to go with the stock fans?
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July 6, 2014 9:26:44 AM

Good to know that I should go the the 4690k, I'll defiantly add that and the ram into it.

Mobo: Really worth the cost? Never bios updated before so a little worried about that.
PSU: more importantly for me is noise level, the PC will be as quiet as the loudest fan so for this and the GPU I need to heavily research before deciding.
CPU Cooler: already in the build, good to hear we are keeping it.
SSD: can't find it listed in the list

I'm willing to spend a bit more if the performance justifies it, I pay 13% tax so I would like to save where I can as I only have the 1k right now so the taxes will be making delays on when I buy other parts. I'll be using the stock fans until I save up to get the noctuas after the build but just add them to the list so I know what to look out for.
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July 6, 2014 10:28:20 AM

The SSD fell off - have added back in here: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/TedT/saved/spH8TW

For a quiet good quality PSU, you can get the Corsair RM650 for $105. I always hesitate to recommend it - whenever I do, people jump up to yell about bad capacitors and overheating problems. After the RM series was released, there was a rash of issues with them, although from reviews over the last year or so and from personal experience, Corsair seems to have fixed the problems. I have an RM750 running dual 770s that I run 24/7 and have since January. Frankly, if the computer lights weren't on, you wouldn't even know it's there. People who are knowledgable about such things point out that the capacitors are not high-quality. I believe them, but can't say that its made a bit of difference to me. So, bottom line is, if you want a PSU that is quiet at worst, and silent 98.5% of the time, get the RM.

I'll address the mobo next, but I have to go take a nap with my 2 yr old first :) 
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July 6, 2014 12:34:59 PM

I was thinking about that PSU before, my main worry is how loud is it with the fans on, and if it will overheat when the fans don't run during gaming. You said you have the RM750 with dual 770's and you wouldn't known its on without the leds on, your saying that even with the GPU's on, your rig is that quiet? O.o

No worries, had a little nap in the sun out on the backyard myself as well. ^^
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July 6, 2014 1:15:30 PM

Lol, I didn't say the GPUs are quiet. During benchmarking, they're not exactly quiet. Not obnoxious, but not quiet either. I should revise my statement on the RM750 though - I've never actually heard it. Ever. In fact, I can't recall ever seeing the fan spin up other than during startup. I'm sure it does spin occasionally, and it must make some kind of noise sometime, but I couldn't tell you when.
A couple of weeks ago I swapped it over to a CS6 build (with a single GTX770 and an OCed i7-4770K) and installed an AX860 that I have switched to Hybrid mode and I haven't heard a peep out of that one either. I would have considered the RM850, but I'd already purchased the AX for a different build that ended up not going anywhere. I, too, have a history with obnoxiously loud computers, so I share your sensitivity on the subject. (Which might be obvious, considering my R4, Noctua fans, Noctua CPU cooler, RM PSU, etc.)

As far as the mobo goes, there are cheaper boards that are just as good, but which one to pick really depends on the feature set you're looking for. You can skip or downgrade on the ROG features, and get a Z97 board which is a better fit for the Devil's Canyon chips (4690K and 4790K) and will support the upcoming Broadwell chips, but cost less than the Hero. You'll want one that can support overclocking if you're going to stay with a K chip, but there are lots of variations. If you're sure you won't be adding another GPU, micro ATX and mini ITX boards can get added to the mix without sacrificing performance and may cost less.

Do you need WiFi or BlueTooth? Do you want to use an M.2 SSD instead of, or in addition to, a SATA SSD? How many internal SATA ports do you want? Integrated sound or discrete sound card?
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July 6, 2014 4:02:02 PM

Well, you make a good argument for it :)  I'll throw it in for now, I just hope that it doesn't toast itself just because it doesn't want little ol' me to hear it spin.

Feature-wise I'm really easy to please. I have a prebuilt HP with a motherboard that has literally no features, anything is a step up.
I honestly wouldn't use all of the features from the ROG, main ones I would want are the easy CPU overclocking and the fan control. Anything else is a bonus, I'm pretty sure I won't SLI but if the difference between a Mobo that can and can't is a few bucks I rather pay more just to futureproof if I want to do it later.

Wifi is a positive but not necessary as I am hardwired and have an external wifi card I can plug in if need be, don't need blue tooth. Don't know much about M.2 if they are any cheaper then ssd's I'm interested but I don't mind having a full sized SSD sitting in my case as I can try to hide it behind the motherboard. Sound wise I can't tell the difference :p  right now I'm using a USB Sony wireless stereo headset for the PS3 as my main headgear, will upgrade later but even then I don't need audiophile level of quality, all I ask is that it has some shielding or something to prevent getting radio signals through the cables. I used to hear radio stations and city workers if I had nothing playing on my old headset. Not sure if it was caused from my case the HAF 912 or the motherboard.
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Best solution

July 6, 2014 7:58:21 PM

Okay, try this: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/TedT/saved/spH8TW

Switched the Hero with the Asus Z97-A. Bare bones, good performance, high quality. It'll work out of the box with the 4790K. (Although technically you don't have to keep up with bios updates, it's really a good idea. It's very easy once you figure out how to do it.) The Asus UI software is easy to use and in my opinion is the best available. It has a feature called 5-Way Optimization that is top-notch - basically a one button "find all of my optimal settings for all of my hardware, and OC my CPU while you're at it" program. I've used the 4-way version and it works really well. I'm looking forward to the 5-way when I install my new mobo next week.

There's a ton of reviews for the board online that give more detail.
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July 6, 2014 8:23:06 PM

I don't know if you've decided on fans yet. I think you'll find that the stock fans are fine at lower speeds, but get annoying at the upper end. If you decide to go with Noctuas, I recommend that you get the NF-A14 PWMs. They're usually the same price as the FLX version ($25 ea), but you can run them with voltage control through the regular mobo fan headers, or you can pick up a PWM splitter and run them through the CPU_Fan or CPU_Opt fan headers for true PWM control. The 140mm fans are big and push a lot of air, so you can set them pretty low to optimize the noise profile but still get great airflow. With only one GPU, I recommend two in the front and one in the rear fan slots. If that doesn't cool well enough for your taste, just add another in the top/rear slot. Less than three might work well enough (one in the top front slot, with the middle HDD rack removed, and one in the rear) but you'll probably have to run the fans at a higher RPM.

There are other fans that are cheaper that are comparable (according to performance and sound tests), but the Noctua build quality is the best, support is outstanding, and they come with 6 year warranties, so I don't bother with anything else.

Between the build components in the last PCPartPicker list, the R4 and Noctua case fans, it's going to be a very quiet but powerful PC.
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July 7, 2014 5:47:09 AM

I was looking at the SSD - while I still recommend the 840 Evo as the best quality SSD without a ridiculous price point, if you wanted to go with a 256GB SSD, you can get this one for $22 more, which is pretty reasonable:

http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/crucial-internal-hard-d...

256 would give you more freedom from having to triage programs and the contents of your normal C: drive folders (My Documents, Downloads,etc) for transfer to HDD for storage. Kind of depends on your usage. I have a 256GB, and it's currently sitting at 180 GB used, even though all of my bulk and long term files are stored in HDD.
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July 7, 2014 5:08:59 PM

Ahh, what a sweet rig. I am saddening as our time is coming to a close slowly. ;( Watching a video explaining the 5 way optimization and other motherboard features, It's an hour long so I got a bit to go into it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y79pSiaR2dg&app=desktop Just wanted to ask, so if I use this to "OC" the cpu do I have to do something to the CPU cooler so it doesn't overheat or will it automatically set that to work together?

I'm defiantly set on getting noctuas as I might as well get all the fans matching :p 
SSD wise, I basically only want the OS on it so size doesn't really matter, the extra gig would come in handy tho. Just curious if I make that the OS drive, does everything I download from the web and just put on the desktop get put onto the ssd? or do I have to make a download folder on a seperate drive and keep redirecting stuff there?
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July 7, 2014 6:22:46 PM

If you use the 5-way, it will tie all the hardware (minus SDD/HDD) together. All you have to do is pick the fan mode. I can't remember the mode names, something like Silent, Normal, Turbo, and Hurricane. Each mode has a profile for each fan - it will all work automatically. The mobo will automatically detect the fan type for the case fans, but in the UEFI/BIOS you'll need to select "Advanced" for the CPU fan (I think it calls it Fan Q), which tells the mobo that the D14 fans are not PWM. When you run optimization, in the Fan Xpert tab it will remind you to do that. You'll also want to enable "XMP" for the RAM, otherwise your RAM will run at 1333 or 1600 by default.

You'll need to copy and paste all the usual dump folders (My Docs, Pics, Music, Downloads, etc) from C: to D: or whichever is your storage drive, then redirect all the traffic either by mapping the new folder in Properties for the old one, or in your browser settings. There's a ton of tutorials online on how to do it. Any programs you install will try to default to the C:, so if you don't want it on the SSD, you'll need to redirect it during install.

I think that's it! I'm pretty sure that you're going love it. You should select a best answer so the thread shows completion, and mission accomplished and all that, but feel free to PM me or repost with any additional questions. PM me when you've got it all put together and let me know what you think. Good luck!
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July 7, 2014 6:58:34 PM

Hmm, I'll just contact you when I get to all that techincal stuff as I'm sure I'll forget by then. I guess it controls GPU fan speeds as well? I'll just drop off my last questions, noticed the NF-A15's only 2 dollars more in price, are they any better then the 14's?

Thanks a ton for all the help!
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July 7, 2014 7:13:00 PM

I forgot about that, lol. Actually, no, it won't. The GPU will come with a pre-programmed fan profile that's pretty conservative and will work out of the box with no input from you required. It will come with a CD with GPU Tweak and GPUZ-ID on it, or you can download them at the Asus website. With those two programs (you can link them so they run together) you can adjust the fan settings, clock, memory clock, etc, and monitor it. If you want to.
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July 8, 2014 5:47:42 PM

Alright, Just making sure its not like my stupid 9800GT that you can't control its fan speed :/ 

I'll defiantly get back to you when I'm building to optimize all these special little settings, just watched two 22 minute videos about the 5 way optimization and I'm lost~

Thanks for all the help mate, cya around!
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July 9, 2014 8:31:48 AM

01philip01 said:
Alright, Just making sure its not like my stupid 9800GT that you can't control its fan speed :/ 

I'll defiantly get back to you when I'm building to optimize all these special little settings, just watched two 22 minute videos about the 5 way optimization and I'm lost~

Thanks for all the help mate, cya around!


You can make it as complicated as you want (some people like that...like me), but it can be very simple. Just let me know when you've got it put together and I'll walk you through it. It'll take all of 10 minutes if we include coffee breaks.
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