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Silent Gaming PC

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March 3, 2007 9:44:55 AM

Hi!

I'm looking into building a new PC! My goal is to have a silent but powerful gaming system. I'll be keeping the system in my room and I'll prob leave it on during the night so I musn't hear a sound coming from it ;) 

Anyways the specs I've come up with are:
CPU: E6600
Motherboard: Asus P5B Deluxe/Wifi
Memory: 2x1Gb DDR2 PC800 Corsair XMS2
Graphics Card: Power color x1950 PRO SCS3 (fanless) 256Mb
Hard Disk: 320Gb 7200rpm 16Mb Buffer - Seagate SATA2
Monitor: 20" widescreen samsung 204BW 6ms
DVD Writer: LG black
ATX Case: Antec P180B
Power Supply: Antec Phantom 500W
UPS -> to decide

Any comments/suggestions will be greatly appreciated! As regards the case I was considering the Sonata II and nine hundred too but from reviews it appears the P180 is the quietest of the 3!

... and any suggestions as regards any items which I will need for a first-time PC builder? I'm planning on ordering stuff this coming week :)  (had originally planned to build a system last year but had to postpone it so now I can't wait till I get it going! ;) )

Thanks :) 

More about : silent gaming

March 3, 2007 11:03:10 AM

all i can really imagine to add, is a 3rd party CPU HS+F, to quiet your cpu even more, beyond stock... and possibly a low rpm NB chipset fan (or just reduce the voltages going to the stock fan, which should quiet it down a lot too)... NB chipset fans can be fairly loud otherwise
March 3, 2007 11:04:28 AM

choirbass brought up a good point: aftermarket cpu hsf. The quiestest active cooler would be:

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...

A very good start for a silent gaming rig. You can go further by replacing the 3 bundled 120mm case fans with 3 silent fans with less than 10 dba, & adding some sound-proofing material to the side of the drive bays.

Make sure you get this:

LG 18X DVD±R Super-Multi DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black IDE Model GSAH22N-BK

Antec NeoHS is of better quality than Phantom:

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10...

& here's a list of good ones with prices:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...

UPS - I love APC. I used some other brands, but they died on me under the same conditions as the APC. The one hooked up to my pc is a APC BR1200 1200 (12 mins at 780 Watts). Never needed their software. XP has a basic built-in power saving feature in the screensaver tab. Just set up to pop-up a warning when battery is low & force-shutdown when battery is below a certain %.
Related resources
March 3, 2007 11:32:21 AM

Very good start so far. I'd make a few suggestions that wont hurt your pocket too much. Again, your parts are good but these might allow you to reach your silent goals. Personally i do this for a silent PC:

Change The Stock Heatsink. Some people have had good experience with stock heatsinks but to me they have always been too much on the loud side for my tatse. I'm just like you, i have my PC running all night and I dont want to hear the hum of the PC all night long keeping me up. I'd go with either these two heatsinks/fans:

Zalman 9500 Heatsink/fan
Zalman 9700 Heatsink/fan

Case wise, your is about what $120 bucks from what i seen. I'd upgrade that to a Thermaltake Armor Case for around the same amount (New Eggs has them on sale now for $120). It's a full ATX case, very VERY roomy inside and will help with allowing good airflow inside your case which helps your fans not have to burn the midnight oil to keep your PC running at good temps. It has good fan placement and there is another version of it that has a 25cm fan attached to the side panel door for added airflow in and out of your machine.

For the neat freak in me, PSU wise I always go with a modular design. Basically you plug in whatever cables your gonna use or need and you leave out whatever your not using. This makes for great cable management and less clutter inside which helps the airflow in your system alot better and your system will run very cool and silent because there are no obstructions inside. There are so many of them to choose from so i'd just go to NewEgg or something and select Modular as a choice in the search criteria (the very last option) and choose from there according to your budget. But this type of PSU is totally optional. Again its for the neat freak in me that likes a clean inside of all my PC's to create better air flow
March 3, 2007 11:47:01 AM

if that seagate is a barracuda 7200.10, then take that out. its loud as a dog bark, not to mention how loud is when is spinning at full speeds.
March 3, 2007 11:53:31 AM

There is a small but important distinction between quiet and silent. Silent is gonna cost you a lot more than quiet. For most of us, silent = less than ambient room noise.

Silent is going to require all passive cooling components and be tricky to cool some of the motherboard components they seem to assume case and CPU fan airflow to keep them cool.

Quiet can be achieved much more easily with a few basic modifications, some of which you've already done with your component choices (i.e. passive cooled GPU).

1. Replace the stock CPU heatsink/fan with 3rd party (Scythe Ninja seems to be top choice according to silentpcreview.com, things to note are potential mounting issues on some motherboards [680i comes to mind] and that its huge, although it will fit in a p180. You can run the Ninja passive or with a 120mm fan

2. Replace stock Antec tri cool fans with 3rd party fans (I, like many people are partial to the Nexus 120mm (orange or b&w) running at below 12v, 7v or even 5v are practically inaudible.

3. The Phantom is going to be quieter than just about any other PSU, as the fan included doesn't spin up until you hit a certain wattage threshold. The cables are also long enough to fit in the P180b, something you need to check with every PSU in a p180 as the PSU sits in the bottom.

Good luck with your silent build!
March 3, 2007 7:34:47 PM

Silent performance? Check my sig ;)  Silence does not mean fanless. Quite the contrary.....it is easy to get fans that are silent, you just have to get the right ones :) 

-DO NOT GET THE ZALMAN HSF. They are not quiet at anything but the lowest fan speed. I had to mod mine to get quiet. Get the Noctua or the Scythe Ninja.

-Get an Antec P180 case. Then replace the Antec Tri-Cool with Noctua 120mm fans @ 1200rpm's. BEST fans on the market and the quietest. Absolutely silent, can't even hear the whoosh of air. Ferrari of fans.

-Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II Northbridge Heatsink. Awesome performer and silent as well. If you use the Noctua CPU HSF, then rotate 180 degrees to exhaust out the top vent and then it won't interfere with your NB HSF

-For quiet and good PSU, there is nothing better than the Seasonic Energy Plus. 550w or 650w.....550w should do you just fine. Dead quiet and highly efficient. Best PSU I've every owned, bar none.

-8800 graphics card fans are already quiet, no need to change them

-Samsung SH-S182 is a rather quiet DVD drive, I'm very impressed. Far quieter than my LG.

And there you have it. Peformance on a whisper. Buy cable ties, don't leave a mess of wires. Tie them down, take your time, open the airflow. And the end result will be amazing.
March 4, 2007 4:03:12 AM

Quote:
if that seagate is a barracuda 7200.10, then take that out. its loud as a dog bark, not to mention how loud is when is spinning at full speeds.


Yep.
March 4, 2007 4:11:13 AM

Not in the P180 ;) 

But yes, they're not the quietest drives.....Hitachi's are nice, decent quality too. Not blistering fast, but that's the tradeoff.

Personally, I'd give up a decibel or 2 for better performance. But I still can't hear the Seagates unless I put my ear up close. DVD drive is certainly louder. Even my modded 9500 Zalman is louder than the hard drives. I suspect at that point you're looking at silent, not quiet....suspending the hard drives and/or putting them in their own isolated case, noise dampening throughout, etc, etc.....I think that's far too over-the-top, since the "returns" aren't worth the "investment" at that point......you're working with miniscule discrepancies that most of the population couldn't even hear the difference.

My previous suggestions are fairly easy and inexpensive, and definitely quiet. To go those extra steps for silent.....well, good luck. Won't really make a difference unless you're in a silent room, with no outside noise, no gaming sounds, no speakers, no headphones, no coughing, no TV......because ALL of those things will be way louder than your computer by far.....so I don't really see the point of going overboard.

It's a question of balance ;) 
March 4, 2007 6:46:25 AM

i saw below "get a zalman" well they are total junk - research it want u want is a thermalright (ultra or xp-90). zalman is so poorly designed - research it!

i have been build near silent pc;'s for years - how do i do it? lots of fans at very low speeds.


large fans at low speed - by using a speed control you can tun the fan right to that small range (rpm) were its near silent - use 12cm fans both for intacke and exhust

2nd - use 12cm fans on the cpu cooler

your case should have 12cm fans in and out plus a door fan
March 4, 2007 9:50:34 AM

Thanks for all the replies! :) 

Quote:
NB chipset fans can be fairly loud otherwise

Part of the reason I'm choosing the P5B Deluxe/wifi is also for the cooling. The NB is passively cooled in this case so I need not worry about the fan... at least according to what I've read!

Regarding the aftermarket CPU HS and fan I'm looking into the noctua NH-U12F and it looks good - thanks! ... from what I've read the Zalman aren't too great...
... and I'll also consider replacing the P180 fans with the NH-S12 ... would you suggest the 800rpm ones for lower noise or the 1200rpm for better cooling?
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=produkte&lng=en

As regards the power supply ... I was inclined to the NeoHE first but the semi-fanless design of phantom won me over...

re the case I think I'll stay with P180B as reviews point it out as being very good to building a silent PC + having a filter to avoid dust entering as much as possible!

and the hard drive... what would you suggest instead of Seagate Barrauda? ... from the case reviews I've read the P180 manages to dampen the noise coming from hard drives! (confirmed by Skyguy it seems ;) )

as regards DVD - I'll see whether I should go for Samsung or LG...

... and another question ... do any of you have an idea about any stores which ship internationally? (to the EU)
March 4, 2007 10:54:16 AM

Another great addition to a silent build is to make yourself (or have made) a silencing cabinet.

I built one three years ago from 25mm thick MDF, acoustic foam, with a two-chamber system that draws air in at the front/bottom and exhausts it out the top/rear with 120mm silent fans.

The great thing about this approach is that because the two chambers are sealed around the PC case, all the intake air has no choice but to pass through the PC case.

Good temps, low noise, worth the effort to build it (and it was a lot of effort!). Good one for the Weird & Wonderful PC section :D 

Jest
March 4, 2007 5:53:17 PM

Quote:
Get the 1200 rpm Noctua fans. Seriously, you cannot hear them AT ALL. They also push about 63 cfm for airflow....that's ALOT for near silence.


Agreed.

Ancale, I bought a couple and wished I'd got two more to replace my old Vantec Stealths. Highly recommended! :D 

Mark
March 4, 2007 8:46:10 PM

Quote:
Thanks for all the replies! :) 

NB chipset fans can be fairly loud otherwise

Part of the reason I'm choosing the P5B Deluxe/wifi is also for the cooling. The NB is passively cooled in this case so I need not worry about the fan... at least according to what I've read!

Regarding the aftermarket CPU HS and fan I'm looking into the noctua NH-U12F and it looks good - thanks! ... from what I've read the Zalman aren't too great...
... and I'll also consider replacing the P180 fans with the NH-S12 ... would you suggest the 800rpm ones for lower noise or the 1200rpm for better cooling?
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=produkte&lng=en

As regards the power supply ... I was inclined to the NeoHE first but the semi-fanless design of phantom won me over...

re the case I think I'll stay with P180B as reviews point it out as being very good to building a silent PC + having a filter to avoid dust entering as much as possible!

and the hard drive... what would you suggest instead of Seagate Barrauda? ... from the case reviews I've read the P180 manages to dampen the noise coming from hard drives! (confirmed by Skyguy it seems ;) )

as regards DVD - I'll see whether I should go for Samsung or LG...

... and another question ... do any of you have an idea about any stores which ship internationally? (to the EU)

Many boards in this days come with big heatsinks which sometimes are annoying to take out since they are connected to SB and sometimes the voltage regulators.

But you can always get those that are fanless which perform better than those rollercoasters heatsinks.
March 6, 2007 1:16:45 PM

Just a couple remarks on the p180 case. I used it in my latest home build for exactly the reasons you stated. It's quiet and has great airflow, but there were some detractors that made it less than perfect.

The biggest one for me is the positioning of the PSU. It's in the bottom of the case, which is great from a heat perspective, but it is a really tight fit for some of the larger PSUs and very difficult to reach the 4/8 pin connector on the top of my motherboard. I just BARELY squeezed the Silencer 750 quad in there (scratched the paint on the PSU getting it in there) by threading all the power cables through the tiny opening between the PSU chamber and the main body of the case first and then kinda twisting it into the chamber. It may never come out. :p 

As for the top power connector, the 8 pin connector simply would not reach, so I used the thinner 4 pin connector cord, which I had to thread under the video card and underneath the bulk of the CPU heatsink. If you do use this case, you might consider getting an extender of some sort for the 8 pin power.

Additionally, with the PSU cables all coming out of a small slot in a pack, they are very inflexible and essentially block off my second PCI-e slot. I was hoping to try SLI somewhere down the line, but I'm a little apprehensive about trying to squeeze a second card up against those cables. We'll see.

Lastly, the case ventilation comes with 1 caveat. In order for the excellently placed fans to do their work, they have to be pulling air through the front of the case. Unfortunately, with the sleek and spiffy looking door closed, they just don't do that very well. Consequently, whenever I'm gaming I have to leave the door open, which looks kinda silly (oh well, it's under my desk).

Now, all that said, the positioning of the CPU up in the top corner with TWO fans blowing away at right angles is brilliant. With a tuniq tower 120 and a c2d e6600 at stock, I idle around 25C and rarely make it over 33C at load. That is with the fans on "medium" though, which are definitely not silent. All the cords in the case have got to reduce ventilation a bit, and my 8800gtx idles around 60-65C, but rarely goes over 70C even during intense gaming.

All in all, I am very happy with the temperatures I'm getting, but, as mentioned, the stock fans on the case do make some noise if they're above the "low" setting, and the confined area inside the case made the build more irritating than I would have liked. Now that I'm actually using it, I find I'd rather have the fans turned up and temperature turned down, which makes me wonder if I would have been happier using a more spacious and slightly less silent case.
March 6, 2007 2:49:00 PM

I hear what you're saying, definitely some good points.

I've posted pics, etc of my P180....take a look....might give you some ideas on how to fit that 2nd card without hitting the wires, how to fit the power cables better, etc....I struggled as well then decided to go a different route and I think the end result is pretty good:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...
March 6, 2007 3:37:40 PM

That is a damn sexy job Skyguy. I just don't have the time or nerve to start cutting my box now that it's finally all together! Impressive work though.
March 6, 2007 4:26:21 PM

:oops:  THX.

I'd do a few things different if I could do it over, or if I had the time. But I have neither........I'm pretty happy with it though, it's really quiet and very fast. Maybe it'll give other P180 owners some ideas......even if they don't want to do any cutting on their case.

Still upset about that IDE cable :evil:  Wish my DS3 swapped the floppy and IDE locations......I mean, who USES a floppy anymore?? So why put the IDE at the bottom?? Someone at Gigabyte was asleep on that one....oh well. Next time........LOL.
March 6, 2007 5:19:57 PM

Go water! I am using a Danger Den Mag II pump and 2 low cfm fans with 2 Black Ice GTS120 Stealth X-Flow. This computer so very quiet and temps are frosty cold. If you have the money to do liquid then its well worth it.
March 6, 2007 5:27:04 PM

This site might help you some. I found it a while ago and show it to silent pc people. endpcnoise.com :p 
March 6, 2007 6:45:02 PM

Get a WD cavair (or two) and then get one of the those vabration caddies that encase a HDD to stop it, as most of the irritating sound from the PC is the HDD
March 6, 2007 7:18:08 PM

Frozen CPU has some good components Frozen CPU

The dampning material works well and the harddrive cases too.
March 6, 2007 8:45:59 PM

Antec P180 comes with thick silicone grommets to suspend your drives ;) 
March 7, 2007 12:18:37 PM

The Noctua HSF are incredible! Their 120mm OWNS the Tuniq Tower and Scythe Infinity. I have owned both and with my 5200+ OCed to 2.9GHz I was running it at 45 idle with TT and 46 with Infinity and 55 load with TT 57 with Infinity. The Noctua keeps it at 50 under load and it is 6dB at MAX RPMS!
March 7, 2007 1:44:55 PM

Yeah, the new revision model lets you rotate it to exhaust in any direction. The older one didn't, and it would have interfered with my NB HSF, so I didn't get it. But I'm thinking a new Noctua HSF might be in the cards for a birthday present to myself later....... ;) 
!