Replacement PSU and case fans - quietness drive

I'm looking to quieten down my desktop system. I have a budget 450W power supply and ancient Cooler master fans along with a stock Intel CPU cooler. It's just too loud - it will never be a "silent system" because it is a gaming rig, but currently it is just excessive.

I'm looking for a new PSU and 3 80mm case fans whilst keeping costs down. £50-60 Total from Ebuyer.

The PSU must be capable of:

Q6600
2Gb DDR2 1066MHz, 2.2V
X1950 Pro, but with capacity to take a more powerful card - 9800 series for example.
2 HDDs - 7200rpm
3 Case fans
1 Optical drive
1 PCIe expansion card

Having used one of the PSU calaculators it recommended:

400W+
28.2A/338W on 12V
36A on 3.3V
36A on 5V

I am struggling to choose a power supply due to lack of knowledge regarding which make is best and what the above figures for each rail actually mean. I've read through the FAQ a few times and not understood any better.

Many Thanks
26 answers Last reply
More about replacement case fans quietness drive
  1. Thanks evongugg. I'll check those listings out.

    Have you got any advice on case fans?
  2. Silentpcreview did a roundup of the best fans. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article63-page2.html
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article739-page1.html
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article695-page1.html


    Fan controllers are a VERY good idea for those that want to lower the noise levels, especially some of the higher end ones... however, you should have one that controls the fan speed based on temperature, and does it automatically, so you're not constantly reaching down to adjust knobs... Also, this makes it to where the fans speed up (and increase in noise level) only under times of intense stress, like when you're gaming, when you won't really be paying attention to the fans at all. Check the THG reviews, they do review fan controllers from time to time, with the purpose of checking sensitivity of the thermostat, noise-reduction levels, real-world cooling performance, etc...


    For reference, read this:
    * Near total silence - 0 dB
    * A whisper - 15 dB
    * Normal conversation - 60 dB
    * A lawnmower - 90 dB
    * A car horn - 110 dB
    * A rock concert or a jet engine - 120 dB
    * A gunshot or firecracker - 140 dB


    Now with those levels in mind, try these:

    AeroCool 120mm Turbine 2000 Fan - BLACK $17.99 + Shipping
    Air Flow: 37.44 CFM
    Speed: 950 RPM +/- 10%
    Noise: 19.66 dBA (17.0 dBA background noise)
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/2466/fan-161/AeroCool_120mm_Turbine_2000_Fan_-_BLACK.html?tl=g36c15s518

    AeroCool 120mm Turbine 1000 Fan - SILVER $17.99 + Shipping
    (same as above)
    Air Flow: 37.44 CFM
    Speed: 950 RPM +/- 10%
    Noise: 19.66 dBA (17.0 dBA background noise)
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/2468/fan-163/AeroCool_120mm_Turbine_1000_Fan_-_SILVER.html?tl=g36c15s518

    Cooler Master 120mm Blue LED Silent Fan (TLF-S12-EP) $12.99 + Shipping (probably the best value)
    Air Flow: 42.734 CFM
    Speed: 1220 RPM ±10%
    Noise: 22 dB(A)
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/2440/fan-129/Cooler_Master_120mm_Blue_LED_Silent_Fan_TLF-S12-EP.html?tl=g36c15s518
  3. Thanks again evongugg. Thats really useful information. I'll be able to sort something out now. Hopefully stop my system sounding like an aircraft on takeoff each time it starts!
  4. For replacement fans, I'd recommend: Scythe S-Flex, Noctua, or Yate Loon (if you can find em) lastly Silen-X (look for all others first tho)

    the egg has all but the Noctua last time I checked. so for those, check coolerguys, or frozenCPU
  5. 120mm:
    Scythe Slipstream 500-800-1200 rpm
    Scythe S-Flex 800-1200-1600 rpm
    Scythe Ultra Kaze 1000 rpm
    Noctua (any)
    Nexus (low and medium speed)

    80:
    Scythe Kama Flex (if you can find them)
    Scythe Minebea (medium and low speeds)
    Silverstone (thermal or med-low)
    Nexus (at a premium)
    Noctua (at an even greater premium)

    One of the best sites for heatsinks and fans (better selection than Newegg IMO):
    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index

    Edit: To replace the stock CPU cooler - Xigmatek S963 or CM Hyper TX2
  6. I dont see any mention of Video card fan/cooler/heat sink.
  7. Thanks for that KyleSTL.

    I've found Hiper or Antec Tricool fans on Ebuyer. Any comments? Do I need to find some more pricy ones? These are ~£4 (Hiper) rather than £12 (Noctua).

    How do fan controllers work and are they worth the investment?

    With respect to the video card. I'm hoping to change it shortly for something with a bit more power. So at the moment the priority is to reduce the overall noise output of the case fans etc and then deal with the video card later.
  8. PC Power & Cooling PSU's and Silverstone FM-121 fans (comes with free speed controler...@ full speed moves 110qfpm of air also!)....fan RPM 800-2400.

    Best air CPU coolers are Thermalright.
  9. Having created myself a bit of a table, I think it's between these:

    - Hiper HFF-1N08N (With or without LED), 17dB, 20.37cfm, 2000rpm, £3
    - Antec Tri-cool, 18dB, 20.34cfm, 2600rpm, £4.50
    - Noctua NF-R8, 7dB, 22cfm, 1800rpm, £11.18

    Considering that 17dB is only just above a whisper then the Hiper fan is coming out on top. I think to invest £36 in case fans, 3 Noctua's, when I could spend £9 is probably not a good decision.

    Does anyone have comments on fan controllers? How do they work, how many fans can they support etc?
  10. I would get something with a better bearing design (see my 80mm suggestions above). They'll last longer without the grinding sound of bearing failure. If any of those are unavailable I would get the Hiper. Do not get the Antec (really cheap bearings historically). The Noctua is also good, but at that kind of premium, not worth it IMO.
  11. Thanks again KyleSTL. I've had more of a wander around the internet trying to find out what is avaliable.

    From your list I can find some SilverStone fans but generally they are rated at rather louder than the ones I have already found and sit at about £9 each. I have found Scythe Kase fans with a speed adjuster, but again £9 each and louder even at slowest setting, and at that point they move a very limited quantity of air.

    I think I'll go with the Hiper fans. I can replace them 3 times before I spend as much as many of the other suggestions.

    Do you have comments on a quiet power supply? Or the need for fan controllers?
  12. Take all dBA ratings with a grain of salt. Compare the RPMs of different models (to get an idea of sound output) and get one of the better brands (they will be quieter at the same RPM as their cheap counterparts.

    PSUs:
    Corsair VX450
    Antec NeoHE
    Antec Earthwatts
    XClio Greatpower (a personal recommendation)

    Fan controller, I have two (6 fans total), and I use them because I get higher CFM fans and turn them down (so I have headroom). If there's room in the budget, go for it!
  13. Thanks KyleSTL.
    I've found some Nexus fans at £2.83 from Novatec computers. Cheaper than the Hiper ones, spin slower. and hopefully longer lasting.

    I'll look into psu's if after I've put these fans in. Also I'll see how these perform before adding a fan controller.
  14. Just bought 4 Nexus fans, 3 for me, 1 for a friend. I'll see how they go on Monday.
  15. Just an update.

    I've installed the fans. The result it a much quieter system. Still some noise - which I now suspect to be the PSU, but overall a great improvement. Thanks very much for the advice. The only sight dissapointment is the mounting system. Whereas pervious fans habe screwed directly onto the case these ones use rubber "vibration reducers" to hold the fans on. It's not such a good system as the fans are slightly loose - but maybe I've missed the point of the things. It seems to be very quiet so thats great.


    I'm still interested in a new power supply. A quiet one preferably!!

    I've read about modular power supplies. It seems a very interesting concept. I'm running one HDD, one GPU, one DVD rewriter so I don't need all the cables that many systems are supplied with especcially in a midi tower case.

    The eXtreme power supply calculator suggested 387W. One of the others about the same. That was over doing the spec to account for upgrades later:

    9800GX2 GPU (currently: X1950Pro), QX6700 (Q6600), 4 sticks of DDR2 (2), 2HDD (1), 3 case fans (3), DVD (1)

    I found Enermax modular systems, reportedly very quiet according to silent pc review, from Ebuyer for £60 (425W). The 525W is £80 and 625W system is over £100, which seems a little excessive.

    425W: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/144086
    525W: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-038-EN
    625W: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/144095

    Questions:
    - Is 425W enough? Should I be looking for the 525W version especially as I hope the PSU will last.
    - Are Enermax reliable - are others making modular systems that are better?
    - How do others compare in terms of noise level?
    - Will the Enermax, for exampe, fit a midi tower case?

    Thanks once again especially for the fan comments.

    Jeremy
  16. Ignore the extreme calculator, it WAY overcompensates. However, a PSU is at it's maximum efficiency at 1/2 load (and it's also quiet there, too. I would suggest the Corsair 520HX, Enermax Modu82+ or Seasonic M12 (or M12II).

    From an earlier post (an indespensible resource):
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article699-page1.html

    And the best PSUs to go for are PC Power & Cooling, Corsair, Enermax, Antec and Seasonic (Seasonic and Channel Well OEM units).

    I have a Channel Well-made Xclio with a 140mm fan, and it's very quiet, if you're looking to get quiet and modular for a great price, that's the way to go IMO. When my case is closed and all my other fans are unplugged my PSU is inaudible even with my ear near the tower under my desk (even at full load). Any PSU with 30A on the 12V rail (combined) is big enough for any single GPU setup (more for the X2 units or CF/SLI). Here's the rail ratings for nearly every PSU you can imagine:

    http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=205763
  17. Thanks again KyleSTL. The links are great. Especcially all the rail ratings - superb info!

    Given that the extreme calculator over compensates what sort of power output should I be using as a guide?

    I would consider an X2 unit when I upgrade - do I need more than 30A on the 12V rail? (The Enermax, Seasonic and Corsair seem to fit this bill on brief inspection).

    Should I also be considering power supplies with multiple 12V rails, such as the Modu series?

    Jeremy
  18. Multiple 12V rails does not mean better. Corsair is one of the top (if not THE top) PSU brand. [Technically] they all have a single 12V rail (although the TX are the only ones listed as such). A single 12V rail has advantages over multi-rail designs in that you do not need to do load balancing across the rails in the event of stability problems. The major thing you need to be looking for is the combined 12V rail rating. As for how much you need for an X2/GX2, someone else will have to chime in.

    You can't go wrong with a 520HX or 620HX, honestly. I'm absolutely positive they're both appropriate for any GPU (and almost all SLI configs, barring the Quad/Tri solutions).
  19. Another update for you;

    Firstly the fans are still very quiet - I'm very pleased with them.

    Secondly on the PSU front, I've looked at a few more and found that the choice is probably between;

    - Enermax Modu82+ 525W/625W, very quiet, 25A on 3x12V rails, 40A max/50A max, £76/£105
    - P&C Silencer 750W, 60A 1x12V, not modular, £96?
    - Coolermaster M700, 4x12V 19A max. £78.

    The XClio has gone as I don't think it has the current on the 12V to run demanding graphics cards. The Corsair has also gone for the same reason, 18A on each, and I think the coolermaster may have to follow in their footsteps. That would leave the Enermax and the P&C. The Enermax system is seeming very appealing at the moment, especcially the low noise factor, as well as very high current rails.

    Comments?
  20. Xclio Greatpower is made by Channel Well (also: Antec TruePower/NeoPower, Corsair 550/750/1000, some Hiper, the good Thermaltakes, etc). The only difference is XClio does not include combined rail ratings. I'm not trying to sway you, but educate you on the brand.

    Don't eliminate Corsair, it truly is one of the best manufacturers out there. Please ignore the individual rail ratings because they mean very little. The combined rail ratings (when provided) should be the first thing you look at as well as the OEM manufacturer.

    The Modu82+ is an excellent PSU, however, you can get similar quality and acoustics for less money. The efficiency, however, I cannot argue with.

    Edit: Also if I may borrow from evongugg earlier. This is pretty much the gospel of good PSUs:
    Tiered PSU List
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
  21. Thanks for the advice again KyleSTL. I think I'm going to have to try and find the combined ratings - more internet trawling.

    The Corsair 620 is 50A max (520 40A max), or 18A over 3 rails. And quiet. So that, as you say, should still be in the running.

    I'll find out some more and then post again.

    Jeremy
  22. Just a quick note, I've started a thread here, http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/250611-15-power-requirements-graphics-cards#t1814680, relating to graphics card requirements.
  23. jpdykes said:
    I think I'm going to have to try and find the combined ratings - more internet trawling.

    See quote below from earlier in the post.
    Anonymous said:
    Here's the rail ratings for nearly every PSU you can imagine:

    http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=205763
  24. Thanks Kyle. I'd realised that after I posted! (For some reason I can't edit messages sometimes??)
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