Intel Core i7 920 2.67Ghz (not OC'd) with Noctua NH-U12P cooler
Asus P6T motherboard
6gb OCZ Gold 1600 mhz, 7-7-7-20
Gainward GF GTX295
Corsair TX850W PSU
Antec P182 Performance One case with 3x Noctua NF-P12 120mm fans
I have just bought myself a new system. However, this particular setup is VERY loud. I 'tracked' this to the GPU fan being extremely highpitched and noisy.
So, i went and bought a Noctua NH-U12P CPU cooler, 3x Noctua NF-P12 (the same as on the CPU cooler) for the case (Antec P182 performance one), and stripped the GTX295 of its bottom casing.
I "modded" the case, so I could fit 2x fans at the front, i bought a Zalman HDD cooler -so i could put it in the optic drive bay (out of the way for airflow) and set all fans to middle speed (L.N.A), incl. the one on the CPU.
Now, i figure "I have bought somewhat expensive, silent, quality fans for the whole cabinet, silent CPU cooler, heatsink for the HDD, case made to remove cable airflow-intrusion - everything should be icecold and silent."
Granted, I didnt expect it to be watercooling-cool or oil submerge-silent, but a good in between. I have to say, I have NO intention of OC'ing anything, other than maybe in the future take the CPU to the "auto" 3.33Ghz (by putting the values manually ofc).
Now, my problem is, that everything is running extremely hot. "What is extremely hot?" and "What are youre ambient temps?" you might ask. I actually have no idea what the ambient temp is, but it sits in my room and shouldnt be more than 23-25 celcius. The CPU idles at 44-47 celcius (which i guess im OK happy with?) but the GTX295 has a whopping 61-63 celcius idle (@30% fan workload), which i find to be quite hot!
I've tried to fiddle around i RivaTuner to make a step-profile so that the PC would be quit on normal use (surfing, texteditors and so forth) and then kick in the cooling in games. I sorta got this to work, but in games (such as Crysis, which i use tio bench) the temp rises to around 85 celcius and then freezes. I fiddled with the RivaTuner again and kept it on 83 celcius, with no crash, but the fan is now on 90% workload which is LOUD. Really, annoyingly, you-cant-hear-voices-in-the-game loud. Kinda makes me feel I have wasted the money to buy the expensive fans and coolers.
So my question is: seeing as I DONT want to OC anything, should I really watercool my PC to get it to shut up? Cant i run a stock, silent PC - even with the cooling upgrades?
Maybe i should spring for a closed watercooling system for the GTX295 only, and keep the rest on air cooling? Or maybe its an airflow matter?
One of the problems associated with modern video cards is the necessity to cool the gpu. Typically a heatsink and a very high rpm fan are used to solve the problem. Those high rpm fans can be quite noisy. The same holds true for the cpu heatsink. Those are the two fans which are usually the loudest due to the high rpm, high volume nature of the fans. You've already discovered that. Some enthusiasts deal with the problem by reducing the rpm. That's okay for case fans but not a good idea with the gpu since ventilation, airflow, and cooling will be reduced and temperatures will increase.
If the video card is brand new I would suggest an RMA or a refund. However, you mentioned you stripped the bottom casing of the GTX295. That pretty much rules out an RMA, a refund, or a warranty claim.
Ambient temperature is just a fancy phrase for room temperature.
I built my pc to be as silent as possible, but you have to be realistic, its not possible to have total silence plus the performance you are after....
I have an antec P180, Intel 975XBX2 M/B (passive) E6600 with Arctic cooling Freezer Rev 2 (with no fan) antec neoHE 550W, two 250gb samsung spinpoint HDD's and 2x XFX 7950GT 550 (passive). I have three of the antec tricool fans all running on low and its almost as quiet as it can get. The temps are Ok'ish the processor hits 58oC under load and ive never had any sort of crash at all in 2-3 years.
If i could build it now, i'd definitley pick an antec case again, probably some samsung SSD disks and ive seen ATI4850's running passive with an arctic cooling Accellero S1 Rev 2 so two of them in crossfire - another alternative may be the new 4770 if you could get that passive in crossfire.
The important things are ambient temp, internal cable routing and postioning the case once its done, plus a but of trial and error with fan direction and positioning to mazimise airflow. Also, remember a setup like this is far more succeptible to dust build-up.
Also - lose the HDD cooler - more fans equaly more noise - you will always have to trade-off to some extent between price and performance, noise and temperature. My rig cost me probably 10-20% more than a similar stock spec. but 3 years on it seems like money well spent.