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"final" build list - opinions/critique please

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April 5, 2007 6:48:13 PM

Here's my "final" build list continued from this thread.

Priorities:
1) Gaming. Mostly RPG, MMO, and turn-based.
2) Quiet. I had a previous PC that sounded like a wind tunnel (and hated it) whereas my current PC is very quiet.
3) I will be overclocking some with air cooling. My goal is to get 400MHz FSB (3.6GHz CPU and 800MHz RAM).

Case: Antec P180B $129.99
PSU: Seasonic S12 Energy+ $159.99
Mobo: Gigabyte DS3 $115.99 ($129.99-$10 instant)
CPU: C2D E6600 $308 (~$220 April 22)
RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-6400 $138 ($168-$30 mail-in)
-or- 2GB G.Skill PC2-6400 $129 ($169-$40 instant)
GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX SC $579.99 ($599.99-$20 mail-in)
HD1: 2x WD Raptor 150GB $169.99
HD2: Seagate 7200.10 500GB $145
CD-ROM: Lite-On LH-52N1P-185 $12.99
DVD-RW: Lite-On LH-20A1H-186 $38.99
Sound: Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer $59.99 ($89.99-$10-$20 instant/mail-in)
OS: Vista Ultimate 32-bit $189.99 ($199.99-$10 instant)
-and- XP Pro $139.99 [dual boot]
Keyboard: Logitech G15 $71.99
Monitor: Samsung 226BW 22" Widescreen $299.99 ($329.99-$10-$20 instant/mail-in)
CPU Cool: Tuniq Tower 120 $64.99 -or- Thermalright Ultra-120 $48.99
NB Cool: Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II $23
Misc:
[*:35a47c6850]MASSCOOL G751 Shin-Etsu X21 & G751 $14
[*:35a47c6850]Belkin F8E093 Anti-Static Wrist Strap $7.99

Total: $2653-2725ish

I know the G.Skill RAM will overclock much better than the Corsair but is it worth the extra $40 when I'm only planning to hit 400 FSB?

I was considering the 8800GTX KO but the difference is only 5MHz core and a few people said the ACS3 cooling on the KO doesn't really help so I switched to the SC. Thoughts?

I've seen a few posts suggesting sound cards other than Creative. Would you recommend a different sound card? If so, why?

I know the Tuniq is the current "standard" for good CPU cooling but I like the ability to install a quiet fan in the Thermalright. Too bad NewEgg doesn't carry any of the fans I want. Thoughts?

I've read the DS3 Northbridge tends to run hot. Any recommendations for a Northbridge cooler that is quiet and cools well? I've gotten recommendations for the Extreme Spirit II (but NewEgg doesn't carry it) and the Thermalright HR-05 (but it is out of stock).

I recently ran across the SilenX IXTREMA 120 fan. It claims to be a 120mm open-post (not sure what that means except some CPU coolers require it) fan that does 78CFM at 14dB. Does anyone have any experience with this fan or this company?
April 5, 2007 7:08:52 PM

Great specs there, only a couple of comments that are burning......

-Northbridge cooling needed. That Thermaltake is what I have....highly recommended. If the Egg doesn't have it, can you just pay a few bucks more and buy it at a local computer shop? That's what I ended up doing, definitely worth a few bucks extra to keep that NB cool on the DS3

-"only" 400 FSB isn't "only". Hitting 3.6 ghz on air cooling is very aggressive. So don't think it's peanuts....that's definitely pushing the upper limit on air. Tuniq isn't exactly quiet, so you can replace the fan. The Ultra can be better for noise with a quiet fan....HOWEVER, you definitely compromise some performance for noise reduction. So achieving 3.6 ghz and quiet might be unattainable. Just something to keep in mind.

-that Corsair should do fine for OC'ing.

-GTS KO or SC. Stock GTX kicks A$$, plain and simple. You can easily OC it yourself and save some money. If you're not comfortable doing that, however, then the SC will do fine. It'll kill any game, so don't fret much about performance differences.....I'd look at the price differences instead, to be honest.

-Sound card. Not a clue.

-lastly, SilenX. Garbage. They make inaccurate claims as to the performance specifications.....they are simply false. There is also some proven documentation of their false claims being made over at Silent PC Review. Seriously consider another brand of fan: Scythe S-Flex, Nexus, Noctua. These are proven, reliable fans that accurately achieve their quoted performance specifications. I understand that Noctua's are quite expensive in the U.S. (they're MUCH cheaper here in Canada), but they are the BEST fans. However, if the price is too steep, then the Scythe and Nexus fans are a cheaper alternative. But stay away from the SilenX.
April 5, 2007 7:43:48 PM

with that kind of overclock and your need for silence you should look into watercooling. although the e6600 is a very good overclocker, that is a seriously ambitious oc on air. at that speeds its almost impossible to create a silent system without watercooling.
Related resources
April 5, 2007 8:13:24 PM

Get a DVD-ROM instead of a CD-ROM. It'll make things simpler if you copy DVDs.
April 5, 2007 8:14:08 PM

Quote:
with that kind of overclock and your need for silence you should look into watercooling. although the e6600 is a very good overclocker, that is a seriously ambitious oc on air. at that speeds its almost impossible to create a silent system without watercooling.


Near silent is more important to me than 400 FSB. This is my first time doing overclocking in a long time so I want to keep it simple (and not have to worry about the potential extra issues with water cooling). If I can't do 400 on air and remain quiet, I'll back off on the oc amount.

Based on what I've been reading, 3.6GHz is doable on air (depending on specific CPU of course) - not many people mention the noise level of their oc though. I figured 400MHz FSB was a "safe" goal as others have done it on air and it wouldn't require overclocking the RAM at all. If temps or voltages get too high, I'll back off on the oc goal and "settle" for a more modest overclock on the CPU.

[edit to add response to watercolling suggestion]
April 5, 2007 8:15:57 PM

Quote:
Get a DVD-ROM instead of a CD-ROM. It'll make things simpler if you copy DVDs.


I have yet to have a desire to copy DVDs but I do rip CDs (couple hundred more to go).

In the past, I've always gotten much better audio ripping from a simple CD-ROM (rather than a burner, combo, or DVD). I might have just been unlucky with my previous experiences, but I'll stick with the simple cheap CD.
April 5, 2007 8:25:49 PM

Quote:
-Northbridge cooling needed. That Thermaltake is what I have....highly recommended. If the Egg doesn't have it, can you just pay a few bucks more and buy it at a local computer shop? That's what I ended up doing, definitely worth a few bucks extra to keep that NB cool on the DS3


I knew you were a fan of the Extreme Spirit II... You're the one that previously recommended it to me. ;) 

That's probably what I'll do (unless the Thermalright ends up back in stock by the time I order). There's a Micro Center and one semi-decent local store (plus the usual assortment of crap national and local chains).

Quote:
-"only" 400 FSB isn't "only". Hitting 3.6 ghz on air cooling is very aggressive. So don't think it's peanuts....that's definitely pushing the upper limit on air. Tuniq isn't exactly quiet, so you can replace the fan. The Ultra can be better for noise with a quiet fan....HOWEVER, you definitely compromise some performance for noise reduction. So achieving 3.6 ghz and quiet might be unattainable. Just something to keep in mind.


Yep. I knew 3.6GHz was aggressive on air. Sorry if I made it sound like I didn't think it was. As I said in another reply, that's the goal and I'll happily back off if temps/voltages/stability get out of hand.

Quote:
-GTS KO or SC. Stock GTX kicks A$$, plain and simple. You can easily OC it yourself and save some money. If you're not comfortable doing that, however, then the SC will do fine. It'll kill any game, so don't fret much about performance differences.....I'd look at the price differences instead, to be honest.

-lastly, SilenX. Garbage. They make inaccurate claims as to the performance specifications.....they are simply false. There is also some proven documentation of their false claims being made over at Silent PC Review. Seriously consider another brand of fan: Scythe S-Flex, Nexus, Noctua. These are proven, reliable fans that accurately achieve their quoted performance specifications. I understand that Noctua's are quite expensive in the U.S. (they're MUCH cheaper here in Canada), but they are the BEST fans. However, if the price is too steep, then the Scythe and Nexus fans are a cheaper alternative. But stay away from the SilenX.


I'll probably stick with the SC - no need for me to overclock it then and <10% more than a stock 8800GTX (KO, on the other hand, is about 20% more than stock EVGA 8800GTX).

Thanks for the info on SilenX. I'd never heard of them before but ran across a review of a HSF using one and they loved it (though I don't think they actually measured the CFM of the fan or the dB of just the fan). I'll stick with Scythe or Noctua for fans - it's really too bad Noctua aren't more readily available (only found a few places online that sell them) and cheaper ($20-25) in the US.
April 6, 2007 10:26:00 PM

bump for final comments/critique. I will probably order either tomorrow or April 22 - depends on if I feel like waiting 2.5 weeks to save ~$100. Currently, there's $170 in mail-in and instant NewEgg specials so I may just order tomorrow.
April 6, 2007 11:33:04 PM

Sometimes, quite frequently, the P180B gets a Rebate until it goes to around $75 in total, so hold on for a while - that's anoter $55 right there.
April 7, 2007 1:20:02 AM

Quote:
Sometimes, quite frequently, the P180B gets a Rebate until it goes to around $75 in total, so hold on for a while - that's anoter $55 right there.


Good idea. I'm impatient but have no real reason to rush. Ordered some parts tonight (GPU, monitor, RAM (Corsair), sound card, and mobo). I'll wait and see if other components drop or get rebates/instas.

Has anyone had experience with getting the Samsung 226BW (or any other LCD) from NewEgg? Has anyone had any dead pixels? Has NewEgg stuck to their crappy return policy? Unfortunately, I read their LCD return policy only after I ordered (basically, it's not defective unless there are 8+ dead pixels). I'll be very pissed if there is even a single dead pixel and NewEgg refuses to do an exchange.
April 7, 2007 2:42:38 AM

Overclocking on air and you want quiet? Stick with the biggest possible fans all around and hope for the best, is all I can say. Moving more heat off the CPU will require more fan speed for more CFM, which will create more fan whir and (here's the bigger noise component...) more turbulence noise through the heat sink fins. The bigger fans at least save you a lot of the fan whir component.

Fan size and noise will also be an issue with those Northbridge coolers. The 40mm fan on the Extreme Spirit II is rated 19dB, 4500 RPM max. I'm more than a little skeptical about the 19dB claim. Probably a level at the lowest fan speed.

I see someone plugged the Noctua fans... In my experience their air flow gets flaky behind poorly designed grilles (i.e. the honeycomb deal on my Mystique case) or with any nearby obstructions or tangential air flows. Not personally having the hardware to test static pressure I can't make any conclusions, but others have pointed out exactly that as their shortcoming. In my opinion, not worth the dB or two difference over a Scythe S-Flex for example which in RPM vs CFM vs dB ratings measure up very favorably.

-Brad
April 7, 2007 12:24:09 PM

Overclocking on air and quiet is VERY possible......you just have to pick the right components.

Check my sig.....highly overclocked on air and very quiet ;)  Only thing I wouldn't recommend is the Zalman 9500....too loud. I modded mine so it's quiet now though.

Definitely possible for performance and quiet......I know, mine is :) 
April 7, 2007 1:01:50 PM

Quote:

I've read the DS3 Northbridge tends to run hot. Any recommendations for a Northbridge cooler that is quiet and cools well? I've gotten recommendations for the Extreme Spirit II (but NewEgg doesn't carry it) and the Thermalright HR-05 (but it is out of stock).


The Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II is in stock at CrazyPC, along with Shin-Etsu X23 which is supposed to be better than the G751.
Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II Northbridge Chipset Cooler
Shin-Etsu X23 Thermal Compound 1 Gram
April 7, 2007 5:55:43 PM

Thanks for the pointers. I ended up ordering the Shin-Etsu X23 from Ajigo (CrazyPC doesn't have the X23-7783D which is supposed to be easier to apply and almost 33% better thermal transfer than the "old" X23). I also ordered some G751 from the same place for use with the Northbridge cooler (found several articles that recommended G751 for chipset coolers and AMD cpus but X23 for Intel cpus).

I'll just pick up the Extreme Spirit II at Micro Center (as they also have Raptor 150GB retail cheaper than NewEgg has OEM).
April 8, 2007 4:45:33 PM

Quote:
Overclocking on air and quiet is VERY possible......you just have to pick the right components.

Check my sig.....highly overclocked on air and very quiet ;)  Only thing I wouldn't recommend is the Zalman 9500....too loud. I modded mine so it's quiet now though.

Definitely possible for performance and quiet......I know, mine is :) 

How'd you mod the 9500?

Here's my big question though... can you run TAT with both cores at 100%, and maintain safe CPU core temperatures without the CPU cooler's fan spun up beyond "quiet" settings?

From what I've experienced the biggest noise component isn't just the fans themselves but turbulence through the coolers (and grilles). I'm seeing 6dB increases in noise (120mm fans at 1600RPM) between unmounted tests and when the test fan is stuck onto heat sink fins.

-Brad
April 8, 2007 5:43:37 PM

Quote:
Here's my big question though... can you run TAT with both cores at 100%, and maintain safe CPU core temperatures without the CPU cooler's fan spun up beyond "quiet" settings?


Does anyone know of a good reference that lists safe temps for various components (cpu, gpu, chipset, etc)? I would assume some of the better temp monitoring programs sound alarms if you get above certain temps - I'm more just curious if there is a "list" somewhere for reference.

How often, in practical use, do you see both cores hit 100%? On my old computer (P4 3.2GHz), I rarely saw the single core hit 100% and, when it did, it was rarely for even 1 minute.
April 8, 2007 6:30:03 PM

Quote:
Does anyone know of a good reference that lists safe temps for various components (cpu, gpu, chipset, etc)? I would assume some of the better temp monitoring programs sound alarms if you get above certain temps - I'm more just curious if there is a "list" somewhere for reference.

How often, in practical use, do you see both cores hit 100%? On my old computer (P4 3.2GHz), I rarely saw the single core hit 100% and, when it did, it was rarely for even 1 minute.

There are references for CPU temps in the CPU Forumz here. And of course if you wear a really cool pocket protector you can probably understand Intel's documents right there on their web site. Answers about GPU, bridges, etc. are probably slightly less clear but I'm sure someone sufficiently well-versed will pipe up about it soon enough.

In practical use both cores would probably never hit 100%, but the engineer in me always wants to plan for worst case scenarios.
Especially with all the weird crap I'm likely to be running.

As for monitoring and alarms, that depends on the motherboard and graphics card you chose. And then there's the way C2D handles overheating, which is to simply throttle down and cheat you out of performance potential. Without monitoring in place you may never even realize it's happening!

TAT actually disables throttling when it's running, since it's designed to assist with engineering worst-case scenarios.

Using TAT at 100%, in a room with an ambient temp of about 25C, C2D X6800 with a Zalman CPNS7700Cu, 667MHz ECC RAM running at 533MHz speed but with the timings manually tightened up to 4-4-4-12, NO overclocking, the 120mm fan on the Zalman fan has to run at least 1500RPM to keep under throttling temperatures (70C IIRC). At 2200 RPM it can get core temps down to 65C. Since the motherboard really wants to keep CPU core temps under 60C or so I'm sure if I put a faster fan there, the extra RPM potential could get used.

120mm fans are all generally pretty inaudible up to around 1000RPM or so. Inaudible being relative of course, since the noise floor in a New York City apartment with four computers running in the room is quite a bit higher than the noise floor of an isolated cabin in a pine forest where the whump of the water heater's flame coming on would be enough to startle the deer wandering through the property.

NYC or not, I think 1500 RPM and up gets fairly noticeable on a HSF.

So my thoughts are that yeah, it's not tough to build a box that's quiet at low utilization, even if the voltages and frequencies are somewhat over stock. But for it the design to keep temperatures at survivable levels at high utilization and still be quiet on air cooling is probably a lot more challenging if not a bit unlikely.

Of course someone could still prove me wrong. Who knows. Quiet is a subjective term.

-Brad
April 8, 2007 6:38:17 PM

Ok, lotsa info there. I'll try to be brief......

-First off, I modded my Zalman 9500 like this:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article284-page1.html

The stock Zalman is NOT quiet at high RPMs. At all. It has a penetrating, whine/whirr sound when cranked up. The 92mm fan doesn't help either. I've replaced the stock fan with a 92mm Antec Tri-cool, connected to my fan controller, and now it's bearable.

-Yes, I can run TAT on both cores......however, whether the temps can stay safe at the quiet/low rpm's is another story. That entirely depends on 2 factors: ambient temperature and overclocking. If either of them are high, then the temps may go too high. I'm going to be publishing a review of 3 popular "quiet" heatsinks in the very near future here, and the 9500 is one I'm reviewing. I'll give you a sneak peak of info: to push them HARD, I'm using a P180, situated by the furnace vent, and highly overclocked. I wanna see how well these HSF's perform under real-world conditions, and how QUIET they are. At this point so far, let's just say the Zalman 9500 pales in comparison to the others. It not only is the hottest, but also the loudest. Keep an eye out for my upcoming review ;) 

-The only thing I don't have access to is equipement to measure exact noise. So my opinions will be based on extensive testing, and my experience will alot of hardware. But it will be "subjective", not hard numbers. But again, this is meant to speak to the masses, not some review on an open test bench, with a mic at 6" from the case. This is real world stuff.

-Even with my quiet mod the 9500, it still can't match any of the 120mm coolers I'm testing. Unfortunately, I have limited resources and can't test all the ones I'd like. So I'm just doing 3 right now. Again, my info will be slanted towards performance and QUIET. Not strictly performance. 99% of the sites only care about performance and temps. Personally, it's easy to plop a Silverstone FM121 (over 100 cfm) on a Tuniq or Ultra......of course temps will be great.....but your house will sound like an airport. Besides, most people that get the Antec P180 get it because they want quiet. So what's the point of putting in a loud HSF? Defeats the whole purpose.

So, to anyone considering getting a 9500: DON'T. Either go up to a 9700 or seriously look at some other options. There are cheaper options. There are quieter options. There are better temp-lowering options. There are sexier/bling options. So why bother? Zalman used to be the leader, now they're barely followers in CPU heatsinks. AND they're the most expensive to boot. No reason to buy Zalman anymore.

Here's to hoping they leap ahead in innovation in the near future again!
April 8, 2007 6:51:23 PM

Quote:
Ok, lotsa info there. I'll try to be brief......
-First off, I modded my Zalman 9500 like this:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article284-page1.html

Thanks for all the write-up.

Actually that's pretty similar to what I've done with my 7700. I've got a whole bunch of fans that have been cut and drilled, though I had to make an aluminum shim since the bearing plate on the stock Zalman unit is thicker than the norm.

Quote:
-Yes, I can run TAT on both cores......however, whether the temps can stay safe at the quiet/low rpm's is another story. That entirely depends on 2 factors: ambient temperature and overclocking. If either of them are high, then the temps may go too high. I'm going to be publishing a review of 3 popular "quiet" heatsinks in the very near future here, and the 9500 is one I'm reviewing. I'll give you a sneak peak of info: to push them HARD, I'm using a P180, situated by the furnace vent, and highly overclocked. I wanna see how well these HSF's perform under real-world conditions, and how QUIET they are. At this point so far, let's just say the Zalman 9500 pales in comparison to the others. It not only is the hottest, but also the loudest. Keep an eye out for my upcoming review ;) 

Looking forward to it. THG needs some good material nowadays...

BTW a good sound meter sensitive down to 25dB - the Extech 407738 - can be had for about US$300. I think the anechoic chamber might be a little more costly though!

-Brad
April 8, 2007 7:01:00 PM

Dude, you should like an audiophile!!! :)  Maybe you should do some writing!!!

Like I said, this is more "mainstream", for the general masses. I'm no journalist. And not paid either LOL. My propsensity to "tell it like it is" also might scare off potential sponsors LMAO. I won't say a product is great if it's crap.....mind you, I have no vested interest here, so it's not like I'm gonna lose sponsorship advertising dollars ;) 

Speaking of which, you hear that Tom's is getting sold for $15-$20 million?!? I started a new thread in Homebuilt.

In any event, sounds like you know your stuff. My take won't be very "highbrow" I'm afraid......much more "meat and potatoes" for the newbies floating around really. 98% of the posts here are "What should I buy?" or "Is this stuff ok?"......so this will be meant to help educate some newbies and make their life easier: what cooler(s) will be quiet and still keep a performance rig cool? That's it in a nutshell, really. Nothing complicated, just straightforward and accessible to the rookies. ;) 
April 9, 2007 1:37:58 AM

Quote:
Dude, you should like an audiophile!!! :)  Maybe you should do some writing!!!

Thanks. Doing it for a living would take the fun out of it though...

Quote:
Like I said, this is more "mainstream", for the general masses. I'm no journalist. And not paid either LOL. My propsensity to "tell it like it is" also might scare off potential sponsors LMAO.

Fine with me, although I do tend to go looking for numbers. I've written quite a few reviews and pull absolutely no punches. I've actually had death threats from folks in the Phillipines who didn't like what I had to say about the quality of their support.

Anyway, reliance on specs is occasionally pointless, my background in electronics and engineering be damned.

Still looking forward to your stuff.

Have fun!

-Brad
April 9, 2007 1:50:36 AM

I would persoanly go with the corsair RAM, moresow because i tend to like there products a bit more.

Creatives is as far as I know the best in sound cards so I say stick with what you have selected. With the graphics card, I went right wth the base line Evga 8800 GTX i plan to draw a little bit more out of the coreclock once i actualy eside to order in all the parts for my new machine, if it starts to run hot, i'll just mess with the cooling on it till iget it right.
April 12, 2007 2:45:01 PM

Anybody have any other recommendations for CPU HSF? Tuniq and Ultra-120 seem to be out-of-stock everywhere. I looked at the Noctua but can't find any good comparison reviews (best I found showed the Noctua cooling a few degrees worse than the Inifinity (which, iirc, is a few degrees worse than the Tuniq)).

Any other recommendations for Northbridge cooler? I like the Extreme Spirit II but the easiest place to get it for me would be Micro Center but they pissed me off (I ordered online for in-store pickup and got an email back saying that they only do pickup for items currently in-stock at that given store (they won't ship from the warehouse which every other chain I've ordered for in-store pickup would do)).
April 12, 2007 3:52:01 PM

Well, funny you mention the Noctua.....I'm in the process of wrapping up my own test review of Peformance and Quiet: CPU Shootout. :)  Unfortunately, I only have resources to compare 3 at this point: Zalman 9500, Scythe Ninja, and Noctua NH-U12F. There are others, but these are 3 popular ones for Quiet (and my limited resources to obtain others).

The sneak peak?

If you want Quiet and cool (not BEST performer, but good AND quiet)........well.....let's just say I'm getting rid of my 9500 and the Noctua is my new HSF, no question ;) 
April 12, 2007 4:00:00 PM

Quote:
I recently ran across the SilenX IXTREMA 120 fan. It claims to be a 120mm open-post (not sure what that means except some CPU coolers require it) fan that does 78CFM at 14dB. Does anyone have any experience with this fan or this company?


When Skyguy talks about SilenX, he's referring to a previous generation of their product, with which I have no experience. However, I do have a couple of their new line, the ixtrema pro ones. You can see what Anand thinks about them here. My impression of the fans has been good. The bearings are silent, and the fans are near-inaudible when free-standing. Noise does go up as there is restriction to the airflow. The fans are significantly weaker in terms of blowing air than an equivalently sized SilverStone, but then the SilverStone ones make a lot more noise as well.

If you're using either 120mm or 80mm fan sizes, my recommendation would be for Noctua, as I haven't read a single bad review of these fans. If you want 92mm, then you can't get a Noctua this size, so I would recommend the SilenX. Just make sure you shop around, because I paid CAN$17 or so for mine, while some stores charge well over $30.

Oh yeah, and the performance claims by SilenX are unrealistic. You're not going to get that airflow at that low sound, period. That doesn't make the fans junk. They should be required to fix their stats, however.
April 12, 2007 4:43:16 PM

Good points there. You are quite correct.

A few things about the SilenX though I should clarify......I'm primarily offended by their ongoing unsubstantiated and unfounded specifications that have no scientific evidence to back up their claims. That's not only stupid, but I find it unethical. So I'll never buy from them, period. However, other people are welcome to.

The thing is, depending on your locations, prices between the SilenX and Noctua can vary greatly. I was able to pick up Noctuas for $13 each. Now they've jumped to $19!!! However, the SilenX are in Canuckland (at least that I can find) are consistently OVERPRICED BY ALOT. I'm not spending $30 on a fan. EVER.

That being said, if someone wants silence then Nocuta is da shiz. Absolutely top notch quality and performance. But depends on the price you can get them at. But if you want sheer performance then the SilenX can work (there are others like the Silverstone FM121), but they are by no means silent as the company claims. That is quite simply a LIE. And they know it. So why buy an overpriced fan that isn't silent when I can get a performance Silverstone for half the price, or get a balance and get a Coolermaster for $5??
April 12, 2007 5:16:16 PM

There's certainly good fans to be had for $5.

As for places to buy in Canada, I used to frequent a chain of stores in Ottawa called PCCyber. They're pretty good for B&M, but there are cheaper places. I got my SilenX fans from Bigfoot. You can see at that link the 92mm fan I got was a little under $18. I've paid that much for a TT 120mm fan before.

For Noctua, I'd go to DirectCanada. The fans are up for $19.

People might be better off getting a Yate Loon and a FanMate 2. The fan/controller combination is half the price of either the Noctua or SilenX fans, and you should be able to find a sweet spot where you have decent airflow and very low noise.
April 12, 2007 5:54:38 PM

Quote:
If you want Quiet and cool (not BEST performer, but good AND quiet)........well.....let's just say I'm getting rid of my 9500 and the Noctua is my new HSF, no question ;) 


The Noctua with one fan or two? If two, what setup? I would assume push-pull but the one comparison I found also listed push-push (which seems weird).
April 12, 2007 6:12:31 PM

In a nutshell, I tried to approximate when a real-life scenario might be for most of the people around here: A quiet case (P180), a quiet HSF, and an overclocked CPU. I tried each of the 9500, Ninja, and Noctua, each with the stock fan included (Noctua has one) and all just happen to be in a push setting.

Then to make things more interesting, I put the closed P180 close to the furnace vent.....none of this open case, test bench crap. A real case, closed up, in a warm environment that someone might encounter in the winter, for example. All real world type of stuff.

Then I ran temps, at stock and overclocked, for each of the heatsinks. Noctua won, hands down. Not only was cooler, but also quieter than the others. AND a better mounting system, better clearances for the northbridge than the Ninja, takes up less space in the case, and isn't the most expensive either.

I really would have LOVED to test the Thermalright 120 with the Noctua fan on it for a nice low-noise, low flow comparison, but like I said I have limited resources, so it wasn't possible.

So, if you want quiet and cool for a real world use, the Noctua beats the other 2 for sure. It can't be compared to the Tuniq, for example, that's comparing apples and oranges. But for QUIET and cool, Noctua is where it's at. Best kept secret out there. If only I could have tested the Thermalright........
!