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Quiet PC parts list: please comment

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February 23, 2007 1:12:17 PM

I want to build a quiet, fast, dual monitor PC.

I'm not a gamer. I'm a software developer.

I'm a first time builder.

I'm going to dual boot Vista Ultimate and Ubuntu.

I haven't picked a sound card yet.
I'll add another hard drive later.

Will it be possible to add another video card to drive a 3rd monitor?

Do I need a CPU cooler?

Thanks for any input. I've learned a lot reading these forums.


Case: Antec Performance One P180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Power Supply: ZALMAN ZM460B-APS ATX12V 460W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Motherboard: ASUS P5B Deluxe LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Video Card: GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Silent Pipe II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Monitor (2): UltraSharp 2007FP 20 inch Black Flat Panel Monitor
http://accessories.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us...
(I already own the 2 monitors)
February 23, 2007 2:19:20 PM

I have the same case and it is very quiet. I am quite pleased with it. It is big, and heavy, but very well made. You can adjust the case fans LO-MED-HI and on the LO settings they are very quiet.

I have a Corsair PSU, and it is SUPER silent.

I also got the Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro and am also very impressed. I wanted a quiet PC and was afraid of a loud HSF. This thing is QUIET, does a great job, and is very well made.

I have a WD drive too, I bought it after reading how quiet it is. I hear faint clicking sometimes, but otherwise its very quiet.
February 23, 2007 2:25:38 PM

Im using this case. I thought it looked ugly at first but havign it all set up it looks quite nice. The reason I got it was because of the cooling. The nice thing about 250mm and 120mm fans are that they can spin at slower speeds and still get the same cfs as 80mm fans. It has 2 250mm fans and then a spot for a 120mm in the back. I picked up the scythe Flex 120mm fan (~60 cfs) This thing is very quiet and Im amazed at the cooling. I actually catch a chill sitting next to it. I have cold air pooring out of my case :lol: 

http://www.maxpoint.de/en/pages/products/cases.php?pid=...

here is a review
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Apluscase/TwinEngine...

the review is correct...my abient noise outside the case is louder than this case even with the extra 120mm fan.
Related resources
February 23, 2007 3:07:46 PM

As long as you're not going with a 10,000 rpm drive, you're able to put a noise dampening sleeve around most drives without any sort of heat problem. Something like this...

http://www.quietpcusa.com/acb/showdetl.cfm?&DID=8&Produ...

I was going to get one to silence my WD Raptor 74GB, but after reading up on its thermal specs I opted against it... the drive you're looking at should be fine however.
February 24, 2007 1:34:32 PM

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
I've got more research to do now.

Thanks for the silentpcreview.com tip!
February 24, 2007 2:21:14 PM

Ditch the 6700. Get the 6600.

The 6700 is a HUGE price jump for extremely little performance increase. A waste of money there. Go with the 6600 instead.
February 24, 2007 2:29:41 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
I've got more research to do now.

Thanks for the silentpcreview.com tip!


The Seasonic S12 series is very queit. The S12 430 is the most quiet one out of the bunch. SPCR is a good resource.
February 24, 2007 9:24:17 PM

Quote:
I want to build a quiet, fast, dual monitor PC.

Quiet and fast will work against each other. The main approach is probably to avoid actively-cooled video cards, and to use large-diameter (eg 120mm) fans instead of smaller ones for intake and venting.


Quote:
I'm not a gamer. I'm a software developer.

Good. You won't need a very fancy card. Get a relatively low-end one to minimize heat generation; make sure it has a passive heat sink (no heat pipe) and no external power connector. It'll cost you $50-100. I think ATI has better multi-monitor support, but for Ubuntu Nvidia driver support may be better.

Quote:

I haven't picked a sound card yet.
You don't need a sound card; builtin sound is fine for you.

Quote:
Will it be possible to add another video card to drive a 3rd monitor?
If your MB has a PCIe x4 slot and the video card works in a x4 slot, probably. It might be better just to buy a PCI video card and use a PCI slot.

Quote:
Do I need a CPU cooler?
Yes, but one is included in the "boxed" CPU. Start out with it, and see if the noise is acceptable.

You can save a fair amount of money by getting something like an e6300 and just overclocking it. Your memory is too expensive, too. Even an overclocked e6300 to 400MHz FSB just needs DDR2-800 RAM, and you can find decent DDR2-800 2x1GB for $180 or so.

You should also think about going to a 64-bit OS, as you'll be able to have more than 3GB or so of RAM on a 64-bit system.
February 24, 2007 9:48:35 PM

Quote:
You can save a fair amount of money by getting something like an e6300 and just overclocking it.


My thinking was that a non-overclocked e6700 would run cooler than an overclocked e6300, letting me use a quieter (perhaps passive) CPU cooler. Am I offbase? Low noise is more important than low price to me. Thanks for your feedback.
February 24, 2007 10:56:55 PM

Contrary to popular belief and utter misconception, Performance and Quiet are possible at the same time. I know, because my system is. I have a highly overclocked 6300, 4 hard drives, and my system is very fast and also very quiet. But you have to choose your components carefully......

Building a quiet hotrod is not difficult, but it does cost some more $$ than the average system. I've spent ALOT of time building one for myself (and I'm my harshest critic), so I'm gonna give you the secret on how to easily build a fast and quiet system without breaking the bank. Here's how you do it:

-A CPU doesn't make noise, but an overclocked one will get hotter, so you need a good aftermarket heatsink. So you get one that performs well and will be quiet. A Scythe Ninja will do beautifully.

-But you need good airflow in your case. Fans will cause noise. So, to beat this you do 2 things: 1) buy a fan controller; 2) buy silent fans. Noctua 120mm fans @ 1200rpm are the BEST you can buy. Dead silent, and move some great air. They cost a bit more, but they're the Ferrari of fans. Forget Yate-Loons, Nexus, or Scythe....all of them are either louder or push less air....but not both. Noctua does. Get them.

-Next thing that will cause noise is your power supply. To beat this get a Seasonic. End of story, hands down, it's the BEST PSU for silence and performance on the market. S12 or Energy Plus is the way to go. Absolutely top notch product.

-Next thing is your graphics card. Cheap cards are loud, period. So you either get an aftermarket VGA cooler like a Zalman VF-900 and it's cool and deadly silent, or you get a graphics card that has a silent stock cooler, but these generally cost more money. So it depends on your budget. An 8800GTS, for example, is a high end card that is silent.

-Hard drives. These are generally quiet, especially in an Antec P180 case. However, Hitachi's are extremely quiet and run cool too. Not the fastest drives on the market, but very respectable. And good quality too.

-Lastly, your optical drive. These are loud no matter what. However, you can control the drive speed via Nero software. But you can also get a quietER one to begin with. Samsung SH-S182.....quieter than most and very inexpensive. It's noticeably quieter than alot of drives.

And that's it. Performance that's quiet. Not that hard really. Just need a bit of patience, and a bit of extra money for quality components mentioned above.

There, the secret is out ;) 
February 25, 2007 10:51:25 PM

Thanks Skyguy.
I wish I had known all this before I got started - it would have saved me a lot of time.
February 25, 2007 11:20:23 PM

If you want to overclock and keep things silent, all you need is a "fin tower" HSF, without the fan. Here are some:

Coolers

Just don't install the fan on the Scythes, the Thermalrights don't even come with fans. With those Noctuas Skyguy mentioned, there should be plenty of passive airflow around any one of those coolers to keep things chilly. I think Noctua makes a CPU HSF too, the U12. Google it, it's hard to find.
!