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building a low noise pc, need advice

Last response: in Components
May 10, 2007 11:11:22 AM

I'm aiming to build a low noise pc, i'm useing:
1.heat pipe graphics card, (8600GTS) - [Gigabyte - GV-NX86S256H]
2. zalman CNPS7700-AlCu cpu fan
3. psu - Zalman - ZM460-APS OR ThermalTake TR2 Power 470W
4. Gigabyte Poseidon case (2 fans included)

my specs are:
1. 2GB Ram 800, [PQI DDR2 2GB 800MHz PC6400 CL5 DUAL PACK 2 x 1 GB]
2. E6600
3. 2 HDD (250+320 seagate Barakuda),
4. Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3

what do you think? can you recommend any different better (without a big difference in price - it already will cost me around 1200$) specs that will suit my requirements - i don't plan on playing games very much - as you can tell from the GPU.

Thanks a lot!!!!


More about : building low noise advice

May 10, 2007 2:09:03 PM

silverstone psu's are known to be very quiet. and they're amazing psus powerwise. umm zalman 7700 is good but maybe look into the scythe katana or the scythe brand in general. i have a seagate barracuda 7200.10 and a western digital aajs and i can safely say that the wd aajs hard drive is definitely quieter. i would also recommend the p180.
May 10, 2007 2:39:04 PM

what WD HDD is that? (aajs?)
And who's the p180?
also, Zalman PSU aren't known to be quiet?
Related resources
May 10, 2007 3:08:23 PM

Case fans:

Syche X-Flex - not only the some of the quietest but also probably the best engineered in the world.

67.CFM at 28db :

For lower airflow:

49cfm at 20db:

For cpu cooler, try the Thermalright Ultra 120 with a 69cfm Scythe X-Flex:

Best CPU Cooler in the world (apart from extreme version of same product).
May 10, 2007 3:15:27 PM

Good recommendations. I have 5 S-Flexs in my case (2 on a rad at full speed, others at 5-7v) and love them.

I wouldn't use the stock fans from the Poseidon as they are somewhat whiny from the two times I have built with that case.

Antec makes the P180 and it is very well designed to be quiet.
May 10, 2007 3:39:13 PM

the 180 is much too expensive for me and so is the sonata 2.
also, a friend of mine has the Aurora from Gigabyte and he says it's quiet - and he's into audio.
the fans are different?

the Scythe look good, but they seem too big
May 10, 2007 3:43:53 PM

This is the 160 gig model. It is a one platter design so it runs pretty cool and quiet. The scythe flex fans will fit into any 120mm slot. I suggest getting the medium or higher rpm ones as I heard the lower rpm fan makes a slight whining noise because of aerodynamics. The noise vanishes at higher speeds though.
May 10, 2007 4:03:33 PM

I would recommend the Zalman 7000 over the 7700, it's lighter and very quiet when turned down. Seasonics are the quietest PSU's. I would also discourage using 2 hard drives if you are worried about noise - one 500 gig SE16 WD or Samsung 500 gig would be a better choice.
May 10, 2007 4:05:12 PM

i meant they seem big for attaching to the cpu. i know it's suppose to' but their big size fright me (that doesn't sound good at all..).

going by tom's' the WD are a bit slower then the seagate' is that why they are quieter? is it noticeable?

this is what it says on the WD in newegg: "have the lowest power consumption of any high-capacity, desktop-class hard drive which lowers the operating temperature for enhanced drive reliability. Whisper quiet"

and the segate also: "Whisper-quiet operation Enhanced G-Force Protection"

go figure what's best....(better)

the Seasonics are actually crosair? they seam a bit pricey.
i need 2 HDD i can't go around that.
May 10, 2007 4:19:25 PM

I'm aiming to build a low noise pc, i'm useing:
1.heat pipe graphics card, (8600GTS) - [Gigabyte - GV-NX86S256H]
2. zalman CNPS7700-AlCu cpu fan
3. psu - Zalman - ZM460-APS OR ThermalTake TR2 Power 470W
4. Gigabyte Poseidon case (2 fans included)

my specs are:
1. 2GB Ram 800, [PQI DDR2 2GB 800MHz PC6400 CL5 DUAL PACK 2 x 1 GB]
2. E6600
3. 2 HDD (250+320 seagate Barakuda),
4. Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3

what do you think? can you recommend any different better (without a big difference in price - it already will cost me around 1200$) specs that will suit my requirements - i don't plan on playing games very much - as you can tell from the GPU.

Thanks a lot!!!!


The Antec p180 is completely inaudible (at 1meter or more) when the fans are in low speed and at that speed it still has god airflow. And I have a Scythe Infinity and two WD 160 GB Hard drives that ads no noise whatsoever thanks to the awesome case.
May 10, 2007 4:22:54 PM

if you want quiet dont use any fans over 25db incuding psu/cpu
try and keep them under 20db

my case use
4x120 fans 18db
1x225 drum fan 22db
cpu 92 fan 14db
and the only sound other then a very fait hum is the dam psu
May 10, 2007 4:23:36 PM

You won't notice any difference between the speeds of the Seagate or the Western Digital.
May 10, 2007 4:31:49 PM

On the Case deal. AMS makes some very nice cases for the money. I have the silver G-Mono with a side window and the metal is very thick and makes it nice and quiet. With my ASUS x1950, Stock AMD, and 3 case fans all turning at 100%, it is very quiet. Also, I use Apevia fans and love them for the price. The are very quiet, but not made for super air flow.

Just thought I would through that out there. I am pretty budget conscience and like quiet as well. This case isn't made to run extremely cool though, but can with slight modification.
May 10, 2007 4:36:07 PM

the 180 is to expensive.

so if i go for the WD' should i take the SE series or SE16:

i'm getting confused with the PSU's, i think that at the moment the Zalman 460 is good and quiet option, it will cost me 140$ (where i live so you can guess the other prices i have to pay).

as for the scythe, i have yet to decide if to buy it - considering availability, model, price and size.
a b ) Power supply
May 10, 2007 4:53:46 PM

Reference to Case Fans - Received a Silex IXrema Pro yesterday. Installed it last night. Lives up to Specs. 72 CFM at 14dBA - Very Quite, But also expensive. They also have a model rated at 90 CFM at 18 dBA; However it is 38 mm thick vs standard 25 mm
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 10, 2007 7:08:54 PM

I don't doubt that they're quiet, but I seriously doubt they actually meet the specs in the way that the average person would anticipate. There are three major specs that most people will look at when considering fans: RPM, dBa, and CFM. It's not uncommon for the marketing bubbas to take the best specs from different data sets and present them in such a way that it looks like they are from the same test. The perfect example is what you just said: "72 CFM at 14dBA." In no place on the mfrs website did they say that the fan produced 72CFM while only emitting 14dBa - you inferred that from the stats they listed. I would be interested in seeing the white papers that gives their testing procedures and that document all the fan stats at each phase of testing.

I'm not disparaging your choice in fans and I'm sure the fans are quiet. I just hate that mfrs feel the need to inflate their products stats to sell product at ridiculous profit margins. If you've got an extra $5, then I seriously recommend you try out this Yate Loon D12SL-12. You could even get 4 of them for around $8 less than the cost of one Ixtrema. Test them back to back on a fan controller in your case and measure temp differences. I think you'll be surprised at how quiet the D12SLs are and the relatively small difference in temps - even compared the Ixtrema.
a b ) Power supply
May 10, 2007 8:06:26 PM

Your Right about getting 4 fans, and 8 bucks in change. They are too expensive. It replaced a "Listed" 76.4 CFM at 30 dBa. I Just checked the LED to make sure it was running (almost - It is that quite); And my temps are the same as the loud one it replace. I would replace the back fan with this one.
May 10, 2007 9:56:56 PM

I have to say I'm sceptical about those claims, especially as sites such as Extreme Overclockers and Anandtech don't seem to recommend them from what I've seen.

I'm also even more sceptical when I've seen thsi report on their PSU, it seems it doesn't deliver anywhere near the power claimed:

I'd be inclined to pick Scythe or Noctua fans as they're proven favourite with the Overclock market.
a b ) Power supply
May 10, 2007 10:06:31 PM

You are probably correct - I needed a fan, went to newegg - no reviews, should have checked a liitle further, may not have bought them. Not sure about reliabilty - but they are quite, and APPEAR to move the advert. air. Have DVM, Digital o'scope - but nothing to measure air flow.
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 11, 2007 7:25:53 AM

Was that meant for me? If yes, then thanks for the backup. :p  :wink:
If you haven't tried them already, then I really suggest taking a look at the Yate Loon D12SL-12 fans. The Nexus Real Silent Case Fans - tied with the Scythe's on SPCR for their number two 120mm fan ranking - are rebadged Loons.
May 11, 2007 7:56:13 AM

How am I the first to wholey recommend the Noctua fans? They run 1200rpm at 17 dba. Thats pretty much silent, i'm putting five of these in a antec 900 case which will run virtually silent, aka, less than 25 dba's.

Just ignore the silentx crap, go for the enermax fans before getting that silentx stuff, they've been accused numerous times of false advertising, the noise created by 70+cfm's of air alone would be more than the dba's they advertise. As mentioned by another toms member, silentx are a prime example of false advertising and misleading marketing, except its not misleading, its all out lies.

Just go for Noctua NF-S12 fans, its a sure thing as far as how quiet they are. Here's some metric for ya, they move 81 m^3/h.

Oh yeah, the enermax ones look intriguing, they have the actuator floating in a magnetic field, so their is zero motor noise, as far as flow noise i dont know. Either way, everyone here will recommend the Noctua being the best silent fan out there.

No i dont work for noctua. If they didnt work do you really think they'd get away with "salmon" colored holdings? :p 
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 11, 2007 8:18:00 AM

I think the Noctua's are probably great fans. I just can't justify spending $20 on a fan when I know how great the $5 Yate Loons are. Do yourself and your pocket a favor: Get four Yate Loon D12SL-12 fans for $15.96 - less than the cost of one Noctua - and try it. If you like it, then you can put the rest of the money towards another upgrade. If not, then you only spent $16.
May 11, 2007 8:31:59 AM

The Noctuas are great fans but don't confuse Cubic Metres per hour with Cubic Feet per minute

According to here (CPU cooler test with Noctua fan):

The Noctua fan moves 47.7 cfm per minute = 89 cubic metres per hour.

Point is its quiet but you can't compare this to the 1,600 rpm Scythe directly as the Sycthe does 69 CFM whereas the Noctua does 47.7 CFM - far less which is why its quieter.

Both are great fans, but the Scythe is shifting 1/2 as much air again which is why its noiser.

You need to be careful to distinguish between CFM and CMH.

If comparing it you need to compare it to the 47cfm Scythe which is the 1,200 rpm model.
May 11, 2007 8:41:35 AM

I just built a PC with the same objective, see my signature. What bears mentioning? Here we go:

The Antec Solo is based on their P150 model, a bit smaller and cheaper than the P180. Airflow is very good, I also have a passively cooled graphics card and it's heatsink is noticeably cooler after just opening the case than if it's sitting there with the case open. A sign of good airflow, wouldn't you say? I only have 2 fans, the stock Antec case fan and the PSU fan. Of these the case fan, which I keep on the lowest setting, is perhaps slightly louder, but the hard disk is still the loudest of the 3 noise-making components, if only by a smidgeon. Cooling appears completely adequate, I even have the machine overclocked to 3.2GHz (VCore 1.35V nominal), with which I get the following temperatures:

CPU junction temps (idle): Low to mid 30 degrees C.
CPU junction temps (sustained full load with TAT): Below 60 degrees C.
Motherboard (Northbridge?) temps: Around 40 degrees C.

The case fan is constant, not temperature controlled and I have not noticed the PSU ever ramping up it's fan in this "modest" system. So it's quiet even under load (gaming). It cannot be heard in an office environment, where I have it at the moment, but only slightly late at night. It makes a "pleasant" low hum, no whining.

The Thermalright heatsink bears mentioning. It is passive (no CPU fan), but comes with a fan duct, which attaches between the case fan and the heat sink. This makes all the difference, the heatsink remaining completely cool to the touch, even under load. Without it, the heat sink does warm up over time.

What else? I can't complain about the The Corsair / Seasonic-built PSU. Perhaps also check out the "ZeroDba" PSU recommended by Tom's Hardware in their recent mid-range marathon-built system article.

Finally I went with the DS4 motherboard instead of DS3. Bought it for the features (Firewire) really, but it's got those extra radiators and heatpipes. Don't know how important that is, but I figured it must be a good thing in a quiet system with potentially lowish airflow.
May 11, 2007 10:31:40 AM

hmm, i think the DS3 has a firewire connection.
also, which Scythe fan (for CPU) is recommended? i'm looking for some think not too bulky.
so what do you think about the HDD? WD or Sea'?

wanted to add' I'm not planning to OC my comp' so any suggestions doesn't have to take this into account.

edit - i think i'll go for the Scythe but i'm debateing which, i don't want something to heavy (well relatively speaking...) and not to big (again...)
i was thinking between the ANDY SAMURAI MASTER or KATANA Cu, what can you tell about the KATANA Cu?

thanks a lot!!!
May 11, 2007 4:29:14 PM

Dude, i said HERES SOME METRIC FOR YA, i was copying the noctua packaging and didnt feel like converting it to cfm. I'm fully and well aware of the differences between cfm and cm/h. I didnt confuse anything.

Secondly, the OP is looking for a quiet/silent pc. Noctua are the quietest fans on the market, and will move more than enough air to keep the system cool. If anything, he should try out the yate loons for 4 bucks a fan, if he paired that with a p180/182 he could saved a bundle and get what he wants. But where silent fans matter, the noctua really are the best out there. Given the price per fan, the OP should just get the loons and spend more on a nice quiet case.
a c 148 ) Power supply
May 11, 2007 5:15:13 PM

You might want to research for quiet components. As to quiet cases, I use an Antec Solo which has some of the same sound deadening features of the P180, but costs less. The 8800GTS generates lots of heat, not all of which is expelled out the back. I mounted an adjustable fan slot cooler like this: under the VGA card where the four slots of the 8800gts are leaking hot air into the case. This has reduced my temperatures by 5 degrees or so, even with the cooler on a low fan speed setting.
May 11, 2007 6:06:25 PM

Checked at silentpcreview, got good recommendations for Scythe' so i will go for it.
the Antec got good rec' as well but i don't fancy their case (and their price).
what do you think about the 2 scythe fans i mentioned before?
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 11, 2007 8:33:34 PM

For a good balance between cooling/noise in the Scythe fans you should go for the SFF21E. I still recommend trying one of the Yate Loon D12SL-12's 1/3 the cost of the Scythe and will be comparable in noise/perf. Get one to test - it's only the cost of a Grande Starbucks coffee...
May 12, 2007 12:07:55 AM

like starbucks, we don't seem to have those here.
i really need your advice about the scyhe - which fan is better for airflow\noise?
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 4:37:08 AM

They are going to be very similar in performance. If you can't find them, then you will be very happy with the Scythes. Where are you?
May 12, 2007 10:12:40 AM

Israel. the price for the scyhe are cheaper then the Zalman.
will the ninja plus sit ok in my case?
will it disturb the airflow to other components? it's 15cm long and the case is around 20.
maybe the samuri which is a bit shorter but with the fan facing the motherboard will be better? generally' Intel motherboards support up to 500~ Gram of weight for the cpu fan' is it ok?

i checked to for Seasonic s12 430, but it's more expensive then the zalman, so i'll stay with it.
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 10:34:27 AM

I would lean towards the Ninja Plus. It should fit in your case and will not obsttruct you case airflow. The Ninja's great for low-flow cooling, so you can put on a Scythe fan with a fan controller and dial down the fan speed for extra quiet. Just be careful when mounting it on the CPU - be sure that it is securely in place. Scythe should have made a back plate for more secure installation.
May 12, 2007 10:52:12 AM

the new model doesn't have a back plate? i think the old one did (my friend has a BP)
they don't have a fan control? do they change their speed automatically? the andy samurai and ninja have the same 120 mm fan? do they both make the same noise? i was thinking because the ninja has a facing outwards fan its better for air flow then the facing down fan- even if its longer.
i read in silent pc review a great review of the andy but not on the ninja.
also it might be a weird question - did you hear about such a big fan\heat sink damaging the motherboard?
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 11:10:01 AM

Scythe Ninja review - it is updated for the Plus B on page 6. Yes, the mounting system for the Plus B was change and is now push-pins. SPCR thinks that the new mounting system is fine and won't damage your motherboard.
May 12, 2007 11:34:56 AM

i now noticed that the ninja's weight of 640gr is not including the 130gr of the fan which makes it 770 gr while the andy Samurai is 685 including the fan, it's a big difference.
the ninja cools better but i don't know if i need it, i'm not planning to OC it.
the thing is' is the ninja quieter the the samurai and is the samurai fan direction is better for air flow.
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 11:49:03 AM

The Ninja does not come with a fan. You have the option to put a very quiet or loud fan on the cooler, for example a Scythe S-Flex SFF21E. That combo will cool better and be quieter than the Samurai. If you're not comfortable with a larger HSF like the Ninja, then the Samurai is a good HSF that is perfectly able of cooling a non-overclocked CPU.
May 12, 2007 12:36:15 PM

thanks a lot!
i can get the ninja with the original fan included in the price so it will be around the same price.
the thing is, and i quote:
"the question is whether the straight down airflow design of the ASM suits overall component and case cooling better than the parallel-to-motherboard airflow design of the tower heatsinks"
(silent pc review).
this is my MB :

and my case (sorry' couldn't find an internal pic in Gigabyte):

judging by the pics' what do you think?
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 2:06:27 PM

the thing is, and i quote:
"the question is whether the straight down airflow design of the ASM suits overall component and case cooling better than the parallel-to-motherboard airflow design of the tower heatsinks"

Am I a murder suspect in an interrogation room with you as a questioner during the proverbial Spanish Inquisition? Chill out.

Why don't you give me your opinion? There is some debate on this issue. Some believe that it is better to have the fan pointing at the mobo to provide better cooling to the VRM and capacitors around the CPU socket. Some believe that if your case has good airflow and exhaust fans in the vicinity of the CPU socket (PSU exhaust and/or rear exhaust fan), then you don't need to have the HSF fan pointing towards the mobo. What do you think?
May 12, 2007 3:01:08 PM

fist, i would like to say i'm sorry if i made it sound like an interrogation.
of course i am just asking for advice, that is just a quote that represents me debate.

i don't yet know the configuration of my case after installing the MB and rear fan' in order to say if it disturbs the air flow, maybe someone has the case or fan to give any advice.
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 4:41:21 PM

I probably over-reacted - sorry if I went high and to the right. has pics of the interior of your case, Gigabyte GZ-XA1CA. It has an intake 120mm up front and a 120mm exhaust at the rear. Good, simple interior layout with only one airflow restriction that I don't like: the bottom HDD cage. The way it is setup will restrict you intake up front. If you don't need the extra HDDs in the case, then I would remove that bottom cage. Not mandatory, but would improve your airflow.
May 12, 2007 5:14:10 PM

i think i will take it out and put the hdd in the 5.25 bays.
also, since the rear fan is 12cm and the case width is 20 cm' it actually leaves a clearing of 8cm in which to put the cpu fan without restrictions, anything more will interfere with the fan. also, i need to take into account that the psu is mounted on top and that too will limit the place for the cpu fan.
i think that the andy will reach to the middle of the rear fan, and i don't want to go past that.

also' i don't know about the HDD generally i get the impression that WD are quieter and cooler then the Seagate, is it noticeable? i checked in AnandTech ( and in that sense it was in favor of the WD' is the performance difference noticeable?
WD don't have NCQ is it bad or un-preferable?
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 5:43:05 PM

You don't have to mount the HDDs in the 5.25 bays - there is a bay for 2 HDDs in between the 5.25 and the bottom 3.5 bays. As far as HDD performance between Seagate and WD - as long as they are comparable generations/RPM of HDD, there won't be a noticeable performance difference. I'm personally using a Samsung Spinpoint HDD in my most recent build. It has comparable performance to the WD/Sea and it is a quiet drive. Don't worry about NCQ, I actually disable this feature in my HDDs that have it. It primarily benefits server types of applications.

since the rear fan is 12cm and the case width is 20 cm' it actually leaves a clearing of 8cm in which to put the cpu fan without restrictions, anything more will interfere with the fan. also, i need to take into account that the psu is mounted on top and that too will limit the place for the cpu fan.

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here. The CPU HSF won't have any issues with the rear exhaust fan. It also won't have interence issues with the PSU, unless it is some massive HSF.
May 12, 2007 5:51:55 PM

i see.
the WD\Sea' are from the same family class.
do you think it would be quieter to put the WD?

the psu is a zalman 460 and the fan is a Andy samurai - finally.
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 12, 2007 5:59:40 PM

WD/Sea are different mfrs. What I was trying to tell you is that a Sea HDD will have a WD HDD that is a direct competitor and those competitors will have similar performance. I can't comment on current WD/Sea noise differences. I would say that you would be happy with either drive. If you want to do some more research on HDD noise, then I would recommend taking a look at the SPCR recommended list.
May 12, 2007 6:27:58 PM

i know they are different comp', but the Caviar SE16 is the same class as the Barakuda 7200.10.

do you know if the Scythe Andy Samurai is compatible for the Gigabyte 965P-Ds3? i can't see it in the scythe website.
May 12, 2007 7:09:24 PM

I don't know what the Poseidon case would run you but Newegg does have a nice rebate on the P180B right now that brings it too only $90.
May 12, 2007 7:29:26 PM

Wow! great price!
Thanks, but i can't buy from them' they won't deliver....
I can only buy it where i live - and it cost 250$~

btw' do you know if the Scythe is compatible with the Gigabyte?