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Need advice on quiet gaming build

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June 5, 2007 6:51:50 AM

Budget: ~$2500 after taxes.
Hi, i need advice on what parts to buy. I did some research 2 months ago but i have tried to update the list alittle since then. I will not overclock at first but i will later on when i need more speed. In the budget i also want a good LCD monitor.

Introduction
I use my computer for all entertainment, i dont have a television or stereo. I watch alot of movies and also play games. I am studying at the university now so my gaming is sporadic, i have periodes
where i dont play at all and then i have periods where i dont do anything other than play games.
I mostly play FPS and MMORPG (looking forward to Unreal Tournament 3, Crysis, Quake wars among others).

One problem with my current system is that it is too loud and i dont want that to happend again so i have tried to pick quiet components. I would like to be able to sleep 3-4 meters from my computer if possible.
Also i live in Sweden so my prices will be different. My budget is set to about $2500 after taxes, i want to get as much performance/price as possible.

Parts that i possible could reuse
These are the things i can salvage from my current computer if i want.
Old soundcard: Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital
Old hard disk: Seagate Barracuda 200GB IDE

My new computer system
Monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 226BW $500
Case: Antec p182 $170
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-620HXEU 620W $160
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 $144
Should i buy a P35 motherboard instead? costs 50% more. Or is there some other motherboard that is good for me?
Graphic card: Asus GeForce Extreme N8800GTS/HTDP 640MB $500
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2,4GHz $290
RAM: Corsair XMS2 Xtreme TwinX DDR2 PC6400/800MHz CL5 2x1GB $130
should i buy CL4 instead, costs 20% more
Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer $100
Hard disk x2: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 16MB 500GB or Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 16MB 500GB $255
They cost about the same and i am not sure which is best for gaming (faster loadingtimes...) and overall performance.

other:
Case fans x3: Noctua NF-S12-1200 Sound-optimised 17dB(A) 81m3/h 1200RPM
CPU Heatsink: EDIT: Scythe Infinity
CPU tp: Arctic Silver 5 Premium Thermal Compound 3.5g
Im not sure about this, dont know anything about thermal paste.
DVD/CD: Samsung SH-S183A $50
im not sure about whats good but i want a sata drive
Media Reader: Sharkoon Media Reader 2 30in1 Intern 3.5"/5.25"
EDIT: Im thinking now that i dont need this...
Mouse: Logitech MX518 $50
OS: I'll stick with XP for a while since i needed to lower the price.
Sum: $2450 (i have converted swedish prices to USD)
June 5, 2007 7:08:18 AM

Looks pretty good.
As far as PC noise goes, you want to keep 2 things to a minimum.
FAN NOISE and HDD noise.

Fan noise can be reduced to a minimum by choosing a well ventilated case with 120mm low speed fans.
Avoid motherboards with dinky 40 or 50mm fans on the northbridge.
BIg heatpipes are the go..

For you i would probably steer towards the GA-965P-DS4.
better passive cooling than the DS3.

CPU cooling... anything big with heatpipes and a 120mm fan.
Ninja, TT biy typhoon. u get the idea.


Graphics cards also be choosy. double slot solutions are probably better due to larger (quieter) fans.

PSU's, also look at ones with 120mm fans underneath rather than 80mm on the back.

And finally Hard drives.
Get em mounted on rubber washers, and look at www.storagereview.com for quiet drives, possibly avoiding the 10000rpm SATA WD drives.
June 5, 2007 7:30:12 AM

Don't forget Silenx... the quietest fans you will find.
Related resources
June 5, 2007 9:23:13 AM

I have Antec P180 and it's a good way of starting the building. I have not so quiet graphic card X1800XT, and its even with it quite tolerable.
You have to check that PSU though. Does it have long enough wires?

I don't know your cpu cooler well. look for:
http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?i=300...

I by my self have Zalman 9500. It's not the best overclocker, but it's very quiet, if you can run it slow speed. Your E6600 should be ok. But if you are going to overclock, then ThermalRight Ultra 120 Extreme should be better. Just don't expect it be extremely quiet anymore. The case help though...

For hard drive, take the quiest. The performance difference is not that big. I have raptor, but raptor is no quiet, even thouh it is speedy. The P180 helps to keep it down, but it's not silent!
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2949&p=...

Have you considered passive cooled graphic card? There should be some NVid based around.
Those new ati 65nm graphic cards should be very good at movie use. Very low wattage, so very low noise level. But who knows when you can get any from local shops...

The hard part is DVD player. There has not been so many revies that consider the noice that is produced. If you are making movie machine, it can be really hard. They can be really noisy! I have BenQ1540. It's ok, but even it, is not very good for looking movies...

If you are using Vista you have to have X-fi sound card to have anykind of 3-D sound. Not all X-fi cards are real X-fi, and does not be supported in Vista! You should take Extreme music or better...

- - - - - - - - - - - -
The beta implementation of ALchemy relies on the presence of DSP capability found in these products:

Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro
Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty
Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro Series
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic
Note: The Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio uses a host-based DSP architecture, and will not work with this implementation of ALchemy.
June 5, 2007 9:52:29 AM

Looks to be agood spec, I'vr recently done something very similar recently.

Antec P180 case - very decent cooling a sound dampening
Antec NEO HE power supply - v. v. quiet.
Intel 975XBX motherboard - fanless! + v. good smart fan control
E6600 CPU - good heat/performance ratio and stock cooler is fairly quiet
2GB Corsair Memory
2x Samsung Spinpoint SATA HDD's - noise/performance ratio + cheap
XFX 7950GT - fanless and runs everything i've tried at high res...
Samsung DVD and Samsung DVD +/-RW DL drive - the only noisy bits!
Using the on board sound


I also have a netgear wireless lan card

cost me about £100 6 months ago
June 5, 2007 11:01:53 AM

Hi,

I have build a similar pc, very silent.

However, I have buy an Asus P5W DH Deluxe motherboard, no fan! Dead silent.

I have the P180b case with four Antec 120mm on a zalman fan controller. On low speed, silent.

I suggest the evga 8800gts 640mb.

I buyed this one after I heard the silent of it in a friend's pc.

I prefer seagate for hd, very silent.
June 5, 2007 6:05:36 PM

Quote:
Looks pretty good.
As far as PC noise goes, you want to keep 2 things to a minimum.
FAN NOISE and HDD noise.

Fan noise can be reduced to a minimum by choosing a well ventilated case with 120mm low speed fans.
Avoid motherboards with dinky 40 or 50mm fans on the northbridge.
BIg heatpipes are the go..

For you i would probably steer towards the GA-965P-DS4.
better passive cooling than the DS3.

CPU cooling... anything big with heatpipes and a 120mm fan.
Ninja, TT biy typhoon. u get the idea.


Graphics cards also be choosy. double slot solutions are probably better due to larger (quieter) fans.

PSU's, also look at ones with 120mm fans underneath rather than 80mm on the back.

And finally Hard drives.
Get em mounted on rubber washers, and look at www.storagereview.com for quiet drives, possibly avoiding the 10000rpm SATA WD drives.

GA-965P-DS4 costs $43 more than DS3, is it really worth it? Any other benefits other than better passive cooling?

So you think the Miné-cooler is to small, to little cooling so the fan will run at high rpm all the time maybe?

And about the PSU, i think the Corsair HX620W has the fan underneath, doesnt it? I read a review on silentpcreviews and they said that it is quiet but that is the only review i have read though so i am not 100% sure.

Quote:
I have Antec P180 and it's a good way of starting the building. I have not so quiet graphic card X1800XT, and its even with it quite tolerable.
You have to check that PSU though. Does it have long enough wires?

I don't know your cpu cooler well. look for:
http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?i=300...

I by my self have Zalman 9500. It's not the best overclocker, but it's very quiet, if you can run it slow speed. Your E6600 should be ok. But if you are going to overclock, then ThermalRight Ultra 120 Extreme should be better. Just don't expect it be extremely quiet anymore. The case help though...

For hard drive, take the quiest. The performance difference is not that big. I have raptor, but raptor is no quiet, even thouh it is speedy. The P180 helps to keep it down, but it's not silent!
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2949&p=...

Have you considered passive cooled graphic card? There should be some NVid based around.
Those new ati 65nm graphic cards should be very good at movie use. Very low wattage, so very low noise level. But who knows when you can get any from local shops...

The hard part is DVD player. There has not been so many revies that consider the noice that is produced. If you are making movie machine, it can be really hard. They can be really noisy! I have BenQ1540. It's ok, but even it, is not very good for looking movies...

If you are using Vista you have to have X-fi sound card to have anykind of 3-D sound. Not all X-fi cards are real X-fi, and does not be supported in Vista! You should take Extreme music or better...


Hmm i dont know if the cables are long enough, i havent thaught about that. How long do they have to be?

Yea i am still very unsure about the CPU-cooler, i got interested in the Miné-cooler when i read about it here and they say it is good and it is also light which i like and it is also cheaper.

About passive cooling: I have heard alot of bad things about passiv cooling, that they often have worse performance than fan-cooled once. I also have read that the 8800 GTS is supposed to be quiet.

I think X-fi gamer is supported in Vista, from what i have read it is supposed to be one of the best of the X-fi cards.
June 6, 2007 6:52:34 AM

I read about Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD5000YS 16MB 500GB on www.storagereview.com and it got very good reviews but it costs $40 more. It is quiet and has good performance, is it worth the extra $40? From what i have read WD5000AAKS (which i think has the same sound-levels as WD5000KS) is also quiet, but it doesnt have as good performance as RE2 WD5000YS.

And also, about the RAM, should i go for the CL4 instead of CL5? Will i notice the differance? Corsair XMS2 Xtreme TwinX DDR2 PC6400/800MHz CL5 2x1GB vs Corsair XMS2 Xtreme TwinX DDR2 PC6400/800MHz CL4 2x1GB
June 6, 2007 8:43:22 PM

Would i be totally insane if i used my old sound card (Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital) in the new computer or used the itegrated card from the motherboard? It would save me almost $140, would be nice. I dont know if i would benefit from the x-fi gamer with my old speakers (Altec lansing 2.1-system).
June 7, 2007 2:37:05 PM

4 responses from me in a row :) 

No more comments?

As it turnes out i need to shave some money of since when i put together everything on a net store it got about $200 over my budget.

How about me using my Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital instead of X-fi gamer? Is it better to use the onboard card on the motherboard? Or do i REALLY need the X-fi?

Anyone know how long my PSU-cables need to be to reach everything in the Antec 182?

Necessary to buy the GA-965P-DS4? Is the cooling not good on the Gigabyte GA-965P-S3?

How about the CPU-cooler, anyone heard anything bad about Scythe Miné?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 2:44:29 PM

I have an older LG burner (16x, I think it's model 6237 or something like that). Have watched hundreds of DVDs on it, can't hear it. I don't know if the newer models are so quiet too, but according to reviews I've read they are.

The P180 and P182 cases are very quiet. The Silverstone TJ09 is better but it costs twice as much. Lian-Li cases are also quiet but expensive.

Seasonic makes some of the quietest PSU's. The Corsair 620W is actually made by Seasonic, btw.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 2:49:08 PM

Quote:
Would i be totally insane if i used my old sound card (Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital) in the new computer or used the itegrated card from the motherboard? It would save me almost $140, would be nice. I dont know if i would benefit from the x-fi gamer with my old speakers (Altec lansing 2.1-system).


It would be smart, IMO. Assuming of course that the motherboard you buy has a free PCI slot for it. The X-Fi has somewhat better sound quality and support for setups with 6 or 7 speakers, but you can always buy it later along with some fancy new speakers.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 2:53:30 PM

Quote:

How about the CPU-cooler, anyone heard anything bad about Scythe Miné?


Never heard of it, is it a new product? Scythe Ninja and Scythe Infinity are very popular and high quality, so I'd trust this company in general. I'd probably stick with the Ninja or Infinity because with them I know exactly what I'm getting. Zalman 9500 or Zalman 9700 are excellent too, but more expensive.
June 7, 2007 3:01:44 PM

For a quiet computer I would definately be submerging it in mineral oil.... :lol: 
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 3:34:31 PM

Ah, you're thinking outside the box here :p  Earplugs would also work :D 
June 7, 2007 3:39:35 PM

but... building a computer that is submerged in mineral oil not only looks better than earplugs but is also cheaper.

Maybe... :wink:
June 7, 2007 3:50:35 PM

A bit price, but you said quiet.
Here is an interesting option for the Video Card.................

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


For the PSU, I would recommend the Seasonic.
They actually build the one you recommended, but their own brand tends to be the quietest based upon reviews at jonnyguru.com
June 7, 2007 3:59:44 PM

Need to save some money?

Perhaps this monitor?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hanns-G monitors tend to cost less but never get less then stellar reviews.
I have two 19" ones I sit in front of 9+ hours a day for work and they are awesome.

You can also likely save a bit on the CPU.
I would look at the E6420.
Based on some reviews it appears to have better thermals then the E6600 and may OC better but cooler than the E6600

This may just be because you are gaurenteed to get a very recently manufactured CPU since they are fairly new.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 4:04:17 PM

...and definitely not Home Basic, especially for gaming. Until Vista is updated at least once, stick to XP Pro. If/when you do go Vista, get Home Premium at least.

For a 965 mobo, make sure your RAM will operate at 1.8v; it's a chipset requirement.

You could drop the CPU down to the E6420 (iirc) for similar performance somewhat cheaper, especially if you o/c.

Expensive case. Can you save money here? I know this is a huge personal choice item, but $170 is a lot of money for a case. My last three were low-cost CoolerMasters with front and rear 120mm fan openings and front ports, and they were maybe $50.

Look at the 8800 GTS/320 for similar performance for at least $100 less.
June 7, 2007 4:36:30 PM

Thanks for the tips.

I am considering now to change the CPU to a e6420, i have to read some more tests first.

I really dont want to change my monitor to something smaller, i have been using 17"-19" all my life and i want something bigger so i cant save money there.

I have also heard extremely good things about the Antec cases and they are so good looking, i really want the P182 :) 

About the downgrade on the graphics card, is it really wise going to 320mb when i will be playing at 1680 x 1050? I dont think i will upgrade in atleast 1.5 years time so i want as good graphics card as i can get for my budget.

About my CPU-fan, no one seems to have heard about Scythe Miné so i'll drop that one and get Scythe Infinity instead, i know that one is good for sure :) 

I have dropped Vista also, i can use XP for a while. I'll buy Vista later when i have enough money and when i really want to play at dx10.
June 7, 2007 4:57:46 PM

Quote:
For a 965 mobo, make sure your RAM will operate at 1.8v; it's a chipset requirement.


Hmm, i didnt know that. I just assumed the RAM would work, i will try to find that information.
June 7, 2007 5:00:45 PM

Scythe Mine sells on looks, not capability :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2007 5:20:30 PM

Here's a nice review about the P180, P182 and P190. I'm surprised that the P182 is actually quieter than the P190 - I had great hopes for the P190.
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2142127,00.asp

About the monitor, I switched to 1680x1050 (from 1280x1024) and I'd never go back. Now I can watch a movie and surf at the same time :lol: 
A 20" widescreen is a bit small though, unless you've got great eyes and can sit at the proper distance. I think 22" monitors are not much more expensive than 20" these days.
June 7, 2007 6:11:37 PM

Quote:
For a 965 mobo, make sure your RAM will operate at 1.8v; it's a chipset requirement.


It seems to be 1.9v for CORSAIR XMS2 CL5 and 2.1v for CORSAIR XMS2 CL4

:( 

Any recommendation on RAM?
June 7, 2007 7:34:11 PM

@Reos: Where do you buy your stuff? I also live in Sweden and some of your prices looks very promesing.
June 7, 2007 7:48:25 PM

Those will work just fine with those voltages and the Gigabyte board.

Much like it's possible to run memory faster than DDR2-533 even though 1066 is the fastest officially supported speed for the 965 chipset.

Some initial 965 boards had issues, but it has not been an issue for quite a while.
June 7, 2007 7:58:01 PM

Quote:
Those will work just fine with those voltages and the Gigabyte board.

Much like it's possible to run memory faster than DDR2-533 even though 1066 is the fastest officially supported speed for the 965 chipset.

Some initial 965 boards had issues, but it has not been an issue for quite a while.


Im glad to hear that, i like Corsair. So even the CORSAIR XMS2 CL4 with 2.1V will work, or just the CORSAIR XMS2 CL5 with 1.9V?

Edit: @zhaf: I will get most of the parts from datorbutiken.se but some of the prices are from prisjakt.se
June 7, 2007 8:06:53 PM

They should both work.

However, I would be leary of the chips with very high voltages.

1) They are going to generate more heat.
2) They may be less overclockable because there is not much extra voltage to apply. I think there is a +.3 limit on the Gigabyte board which would put the 2.1v chip at the max. I could be wrong, but I would need to reboot to check my bios to be sure.

However, you will also find the high voltage chips with the best timings because the manufacturer has tuned the settings to use the very high voltage to get those timings and are often the same chips listed with lower voltages and slower timings.

So, If you get a high-voltage chip, dont expect to OC the ram beyond what is listed, though DDR2-800 should not need to be OC'd.
June 8, 2007 11:35:49 AM

I found some numbers on cable lengths for the PSU: http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTMwMSwz...

Anyone knows how long the cables need to be to reach inside the Antec 182? The ATX 20+4pin cable is 20 inches (500mm)
other lengths acording to the article:
# 2x31.5in (800mm) 4-pin Molex
# 2x17.71in (450mm) Molex
# 2x21.65in (550mm) 6pin PCI Express
# 2x31.5in (800mm) SATA
# 1x25.59in (650mm) SATA

Some people seem to have trouble reaching everything in p180-p182 since the PSU is at the bottom so i want to make sure.

EDIT: I found another article about cable lengths at http://www.silentpcreview.com/article692-page2.html and it seems that there are a few short cables meant for fans and they will definately not reach since the PSU is at the bottom. This made me look at other PSU's, namely Seasonic s12 600W, it has shorter ATX 20+4pin cable (only 16 inches) but the rest of the cables are as long or longer than the Corsair 620.

Other seasonic s12 600W cable lenghts:
# 16" ATX 20+4pin
# 26" cable with two 6-pin PCIe video / SLI connectors
# 18" auxiliary 12V connector
# 19" auxiliary 4x12V connector (for dual CPU boards)
# 33" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy drive power connector
# 27" cable with two 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy drive power connector
# 2 x 24" cables with two SATA drive connectors each
# 21" cable with 3-pin PSU fan speed monitor connector for motherboard
!