Until the introduction of fast-and-capable CPUs with low-power requirements, fast and quiet could often pose conflicting goals when building a PC. We put a fast mobile dual-core and a fast desktop quad-core CPU to work in a super-quiet case and measure sound output from both systems to prove that fast and quiet are somewhat simultaneously achievable.
Is it possible to use, say, a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, without a fan with the QX6800? (Instead of the Thermaltake TMG i2 CL-0372) Wouldn't the rear fan draw enough air across the large 120-Extreme?
Since you were building a media PC, did it occur to you to guess how far away most people building one of those systems would be from it? I mean, the noise measurement behind the fan is great and all, but... I don't sit there to watch a movie.
Perhaps a more standard viewing distance measurement is in order. I propose 6 feet away from the front of the system. And let's put the cover on. That seems like a more conventional setup.
I know this article had a video focus, but did you record the max power consumption for a task other than 3DMark (which you say addresses the graphics capability)? I'd like a rough estimate of how much consumption was due to the graphics card at full load, and how much was due to the rest of the system.
Also, I assume that the power consumption measurement involved only the computer and not other peripherals such as a monitor?
I have a TOTALLY silent PC, in a manner of speaking, I put the PC in my bathroom and ran the wires through the wall. Only monitor, usb hub, and external dvd burner are in my room. It's kind of nice having my room dead quiet again without even a minor hum to spoil the effect.
I do realize this is not a practical solution for all.
As far as quieter, well a 3ghz retail C2D cpu uses the same fan as a 1.8ghz C2D cpu, so why would faster be louder??
The faster CPU will output more heat and require the fan to spin faster to keep it cool; faster = noisier.
Also if you want a quiet system one of the first things to do is to replace the stock Intel cooler. With a high end cooler that is optimized for low airflow performance such as a Scythe Ninja, you can still run a pretty fast CPU and cool it with a 12” fan running silently at ~600 RPM. Provided the rest of the system is suitably optimized I don’t see a problem in cooling a Q6600 G0 silently up to about 3GHz provided you keep Vcore at stock or below. If you keep a Q6600 G0 at stock speed it will undervolt very nicely (1.1V or less) according to this thread at OCForums. The lower voltage significantly reduces power consumption and therefore makes cooling easier.
What about temperature inside ? With asus boards you are able to reduce fan speed (Silent mode), but of course it will have impact on the inside temperature. What's for example the normal operating temperature for a Q6600 Quad Core ? Mine is at 58 degrees Celsius (average core temp) while MB temperature (Asus P5KC) is 45 degrees during normal Windows use. GPU temp (NVidia 8800GTS) is 60 degrees. I'm not overclocking and the noise coming from my PC case is very low, but I'm not sure if that has a negative impact due to the high temperatures.
I was a bit disappointed with the components chosen, as usual.
That case allows heat from the PSU to go up and over all the rest of the components, which is a step backwards in design. Sure the fan blows out the back, but still quite a bit of heat dissipates off the top. This is why cases have had the PSU at the top of the case for years.
Then they used the stock 80mm CPU fan (after pointing out that 80mm fans should be avoided for noise) on both CPUs. For around $35, a much better 120mm CPU fan would reduce that noise and cool better. Since money was no object for the RAM and CPU, why skimp on the CPU cooler?
Who cares about DDR3 now? The memory used in both systems was quite expensive. Some Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 would have matched most of those results on both systems (of course using the P35-DQ6 instead of the P35T-DQ6) for about half the price. I don't understand the reasoning behind the memory they used, other than it's what they had laying around at the time.
Overall I think the review totally missed the plot and the results were less than impressive.
To Nukemaster: I assume you mean we should have gone with passive cooling rather than active, which means of course letting things run hotter. Given the expense of the gear and the parts we had to work with, that really didn't seem like much of an option. But if Tom's were to give me an unlimited budget, I would like to try to build a completely passively cooled high-end system. I own an older Hush (Socket 478) box and have worked with a couple of Niveus units, all of which are completely passive in their cooling approaches. Helps keep the heating bill down in winter but makes AC cost more in the summer!
To Notherdude: glad you noticed: we inverted the predictable order to see if anybody really paid attention to our article titles! And indeed, had it been completely serious, quieter should go before faster.
To darklife41: the Cosmos 1000 has a fan at the top that exhausts hot air from the case. Heat producing elements near the top with this kind of arrangement lets the warm air escape quickly without over-warming other components. We observed normal in-case temperatures in the 32-34 degrees Celsius (90-97 F) range. As for the memory, it is what we had on hand, and we did mention in the story that it was a case of expensive overkill. Clearly, memory in line with the top end for the mobos makes most sense.
Lots of cases have top fans now. Like I said "That case allows heat from the PSU to go up and over all the rest of the components" including the chipset and CPU while on it's way to the top exhaust.
32-34C isn't very impressive and would probably drop 5-10C if the PSU were at the top. I'd expect better for a system that was going to be overclocked regularly.
I've been more impressed with cases that have top fans plus put the PSU and hard drives at the top rear AND have a separate hard drive exhaust. Ambient temp in our Thermaltake Armor and Kandalf are 24-26C with that set up under full load. I've got a micro case (X-Box) which uses a single exhaust fan in back, but because the PSU and hard drives are at the top the ambient temp at the motherboard is 29C under full load.
The Cosmos 1000 has rails that will scratch a solid floor. It also has very limited cable space. It will require a separate USB hub if you store it under your desk, but I have the same problem with the Thermaltakes.
Anyway, I'm probably more picky than most in this regard. No biggy.
I still don't understand the use of the 80mm CPU fans though. :-)
The nice folks at Puget Systems can build you a custom PC that is VERY quiet, as well as fast, and with your choice of high performance components. It's a lot easier than building your own, and they are very much personally attentive to your requirements.
(unsolicited testimonial from a satisfied customer)