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My Quest for Silence

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March 6, 2009 4:51:24 PM

Hello, I'm building a computer with one goal in mind, silence. Well, I want it to be fast in truth as well, but the one thing that annoys me to no end with my current box is the noise it creates when I'm trying to listen to music or watch a movie.. I'm in the military and as such, my room is small, and as such, my computer sits two feet away from my speakers and TV. Whenever I try to do anything more than use Word, it growls at me and sounds like a freaking fighter jet taking off. So, I've done some research on the basic components that I need (thank you proximon for your amazing threads), but I need some of your expertise on the major noise producers, the case, the PSU, the graphics card, and the cooling system. My budget is around 2k, which I think should cover my needs. I haven't built a system in 7 years so any tips or help you guys can suggest would be greatly appreciated. My last build had an AMD Thunderbird in it so that gives you an idea of my experience. Here's what I'm going for so far.

CPU: Either an overclocked Q6600 or a Q9400. Would a Q9400 be significantly faster than a Q6600, or should I save my money for other components?

MOBO: PQ5 Pro or the P5Q-E. Honestly, I can't much tell the difference. Like I said, it's been a while since I built a system.

RAM: 8GB G. Skill CAS4. 2GB*4

HD: HD sound is never that bad. Probably a WD 1TB or something similiar. I don't know how to link drives in RAID so one drive is preferable.

***PSU: This is where I need some help. I don't even know how much wattage I'm even looking for, or which ones are quieter.

***CASE: I'm going for a full tower case, but case fans I want to keep to a minimum without sacrificing cooling efficiency. OR, if someone could suggest some really quiet fans I guess that could work as well.

***COOLING: I'm not sure to go water or fans. I've heard some water systems are even as loud as fans kind of making them useless in this regard. If there are quiet systems, what are they, and what cases support them?

***VIDEO: I want to put two cards in crossfire if a silent solution can be found, or one super awesome card that could compete performance-wise, if something exists. I thought of the Saphire 4850*2 2G but reviews say it's loud as hell.

I will be using this computer for games and for multi-tasking cause I'm like retarded ADD and can't stop. So with my 2k budget, after the non-asterisked parts and monitor, I should have about 1000 bones to buy the other parts. I'd appreciate any help.

More about : quest silence

March 6, 2009 6:40:12 PM

Make sure you check out silentpcreview.com they have great stuff on case fans, psu's etc.

I also wonder if you could get an i7 build for the 2K budget. Or you could build core 2 duo for cheaper.

920 processor $290
Asus P6T V2 $250
4Gb of ram ought to do the trick, not sure what the going view is on this.

You might be able to find an aftermarket cooler for the 4850's. What resolution are you gaming on? Get a better judge of what cards you need.

I've got an enermax 625W psu which is a nice quite bit of kit, although more expensive than some of the others.

Jeremy
March 6, 2009 9:05:03 PM

I considered getting an i7 build but I read somewhere that it was not worth the money at this point. I refuse to build a core2 duo system because I need the multi-tasking support that a quad offers.

I only play a few games but I am buying a monitor that supports 1920*1080 (or whatever that highest is) because I like things tiny and detailed. Do you have any advice on water cooling. Whether it is more silent, for example?

Thanks for your help. And also, is 8GB of ram overkill?
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March 6, 2009 9:17:16 PM

^Depending on your budget (for the cooling), water cooling is an option. A good custom set up for CPU only will set you back about $200-250+ easily.

Another thing is, take a look at Scythe and Yate Loon fans.

As for PSU, I recommend a PC Power & Cooling 750 (over kill) but can't beat the price at $100 after MIR at Newegg. Or if on a budget, Corsair 650TX $70 after MIR, again at Newegg.
NEVER sacrifice the quality of the PSU for silence or anything else

As for RAM, that depends on what you do. With the cheapness of the DDR2 800 RAM, I personally would get 8GB and a x64 OS.

The i7 920 is not bad value esp, considering if you are planning to upgrade in 6-7 months.
March 6, 2009 9:19:58 PM

The cooler Master HAF is a great full tower case and is amazingly silent.
March 6, 2009 10:33:39 PM

Here's my advice. Check out these sites:

www.quietpcusa.com
www.silentpcreview.com

If silence is your goal, perhaps you should consider the Cooler Master Sileo case ($70) which comes with pre-installed sound dampening foam on the inside. Another option is the AcoustiCase 360 ($150) which also has pre-installed foam but takes it even further.

For quiet fans, look for Papst, Nexus, or Yate Loons... the bigger the quieter.
For power supplies, look for SeaSonic, PC Power & Cooling, or Corsair. Go to extreme.outervision to figure out how much power you will need.
For a video card, take a look at the HIS models with the ICEQ-4 aftermarket cooling solutions (like this).
For a CPU cooler, check out frostytech for a list of top-performing and low noise coolers. If you go for an Intel i7 (for a $2K budget you should), then you may need to do some research on which coolers will fit the new socket 1366.

Hope this helps.
March 6, 2009 10:43:43 PM

^ Just to add to that, after you calculate the needed wattage, use this formula to calculate Amps:
A=W/V

Amps = Watts/12 (for +12 rail) <== Most important!
Maps = Watts/5 (for +5 rail)

As for CPU coolers, pick a good performance cooler (ie TRUE 120 or S1283) and replace stock fan with a low noise and similer CFM fan. That's what I usually do.
March 6, 2009 11:24:05 PM

P182 or Coolermaster Cosmos Series are good options for quiet cases with sound dampening material.
March 7, 2009 12:51:17 AM

unless you NEED a quad core you will be better off with a core 2 duo . Since they have half the cores of a quad they make half the heat and need less cooling [ which makes less noise ]. An e 8400/e8500 is a very fast processor , and very few applications can use 4 cores any way .
A scythe Ninja cooler should be able to keep an e8400 cool without a fan in a well ventilated case . Watch temperatures though . A fan just clips on if you have too .
Its not the coolest cooler but is one of the very quietest

The antec p182 would be my choice of case too. Its built for noise reduction and still has excellent cooling .

Power supply : I have a corsair hx 620 and its very very quiet
March 7, 2009 3:36:12 AM

Thanks for all your help guys. I think the only hard thing now will be to find a fanless video card with some balls. I'm thinking of crossfiring up two of these.

Gigabyte ATI Fanless HD 4850 1GB GDDR3 PCI-E

Will that be a considerable amount of power? It's been so long since I studied up on GPU's, I'm not so sure...
March 7, 2009 6:10:33 AM

They'll generate a ton of heat inside your case, and you'll have to move the heat out with a lot of fans.
The only way to have power and quiet is to have a case like the HAF loaded up with quiet 120mm fans, running at half speed, or just silent rated fans such as Scythes.

Under the circumstances I think a water cooled rig is a great idea.

For powerful but quiet video, consider the Sapphire 4870 Toxic edition. The cooling is excellent. If you manually set the fan to run below 33% it gets fairly quiet yet still stays far under max temp. (At 50% it literally sounds like a hair dryer.)

March 7, 2009 6:33:59 AM

I have the HAF. It has 3 230mm fans and 1 140mm fan. The only sound I can hear is my raptor drive inside the case. It's amazingly silent with great cooling.
March 7, 2009 7:20:22 AM

I'm still slightly surprised we are talking about core 2 duo or quad for a $2K budget. I'd be after i7 and probably some watercooling.

Maybe you could also watercool the GPU(s)? If you can find a quite way to get the heat out of the cooling system you will be home and dry. Not sure what the options for this are though.

I'm running an Antec P182 case with scythe fans which is quite, though not silent. The real problem is the fan on the 4870, but when you are gaming then that doesn't matter.

Jeremy
March 7, 2009 8:37:05 AM

What about the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Rev. 2.
http://www.arctic-cooling.com/catalog/product_info.php?...

It's just a massive heatsink for a GPU. It says it works on 4870's without a fan but can a card that hot be trusted on something like this? Also, is one 4870 compareable with two 4850's? The two fanless 4850's I found were only about 100$ more than a good 4870 so would the performance jump warrant the price?

EDIT: As far as water-cooling is concerned, I don't know the first thing about it. I've found only one guide on these forums and it was fairly useless. Can anyone offer a viable water cooling solution as in a kit or a guide or even a place to start researching?
March 7, 2009 12:45:13 PM
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