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Quiet build for 24/7 rendering @1000 watts

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July 3, 2011 12:04:00 PM

Hello,
I am a Blender user (www.blender.org) and will be using GPUs to render 24/7. This new build will draw 1,000 watts continuously. I am also aiming for a quiet case; less than 30db. Without monitors etc.. I hope to keep the price below $2,500. A tall order. I understand that I must use high quality parts. Can I use an Antec 183/193 with stock fans? Do two slot silent GPUs really work or do they just blow noise as well as hot air? What third party parts ie. fans should I buy?
Thanks in advance for your time and knowlege.

Allan
July 4, 2011 6:40:40 AM

^ Which GPU do you have in mind ?? Also have you chosen any other parts apart from the CASE ??
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July 4, 2011 7:46:16 AM

Obviously you could go with water cooling to keep the noise down but that would eat up a lot of your budget just for getting the cooling down and you would be missing out on a lot of performance. So probably your best bet is indeed selecting quality components that run reasonably quiet.

I would go with Noctua Fans. They are quiet and move a lot of air.
Such as NF-S12B FLX - 120mm fan has 3 settings and the highest one is about ~18 Db while still moving a lot of air.

GPU's are often the noisiest component in your system. Looking at blender you will probably be looking at multiple GTX 580's to run your system and they do get hot so a lot of cooling is needed for them. The stock cooler options at full load from 100cm range go up to about 41db. Which obviously can be dampened by the case. However I would recommend getting ones with non reference heatsinks. Asus DirectCUII GTX580 is really quiet but it does take 3 slots, so you have to get a MB that is able to accomodate 2 of them with ease. ~$500 each for the GPU's

As for your case, the antec cases can be made quiet, but overall cooling might be better handled in Silverstone Raven 02 or Fortress FT02.

One possibility for a build:

Case: Silverstone Raven 02 $180
PSU: Corsair AX1200 80+ Gold $260
CPU: i7 2600k $315
CPU HSF: $80 ( not sure which is the best here, generally something sizeable with good fans gave a hefty budget for it anyway )
Memory: 4x4GB GSkill RipjawsX Cas9 1.5V 1600Mhz Memory $165
MB: Asus P8P67 WS Revolution $260
GPU: Asus DirectCUII GTX580 $500 x 2
DVD: Asus 24x DVD+/- RW

~$2300

Leaves about $200 bucks for a storage solution, and it should be pretty quiet as is.
Not sure if SSD was desired of if a reguar HDD will do the trick.

If you can find a nicer case that's good, but this would probably be decent as is.



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July 5, 2011 3:04:53 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Which GPU do you have in mind ?? Also have you chosen any other parts apart from the CASE ??


For now I'm holding off on my CPU, Motherboard choice since AMD and Intel are both bringing out new products. When 8 cores are widely available I will make a choice. Since fans and CPU cooling can be purchased with @20db noise; I'm thinking that a new PSU might be the big noise maker. I'm also concerned that a quiet case may also be prone to overheating.
Thanks so much for taking time to reply.

Allan
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July 5, 2011 3:43:40 PM

rvilkman said:
Obviously you could go with water cooling to keep the noise down but that would eat up a lot of your budget just for getting the cooling down and you would be missing out on a lot of performance. So probably your best bet is indeed selecting quality components that run reasonably quiet.

I would go with Noctua Fans. They are quiet and move a lot of air.
Such as NF-S12B FLX - 120mm fan has 3 settings and the highest one is about ~18 Db while still moving a lot of air.

GPU's are often the noisiest component in your system. Looking at blender you will probably be looking at multiple GTX 580's to run your system and they do get hot so a lot of cooling is needed for them. The stock cooler options at full load from 100cm range go up to about 41db. Which obviously can be dampened by the case. However I would recommend getting ones with non reference heatsinks. Asus DirectCUII GTX580 is really quiet but it does take 3 slots, so you have to get a MB that is able to accomodate 2 of them with ease. ~$500 each for the GPU's

As for your case, the antec cases can be made quiet, but overall cooling might be better handled in Silverstone Raven 02 or Fortress FT02.

One possibility for a build:

Case: Silverstone Raven 02 $180
PSU: Corsair AX1200 80+ Gold $260
CPU: i7 2600k $315
CPU HSF: $80 ( not sure which is the best here, generally something sizeable with good fans gave a hefty budget for it anyway )
Memory: 4x4GB GSkill RipjawsX Cas9 1.5V 1600Mhz Memory $165
MB: Asus P8P67 WS Revolution $260
GPU: Asus DirectCUII GTX580 $500 x 2
DVD: Asus 24x DVD+/- RW

~$2300

Leaves about $200 bucks for a storage solution, and it should be pretty quiet as is.
Not sure if SSD was desired of if a reguar HDD will do the trick.

If you can find a nicer case that's good, but this would probably be decent as is.


Wow. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
I looked at water cooling and using SSD as well but considered the price is too high as you pointed out.
I'm looking at the Asus/Nvidia solutions for several reasons. Nvidia has good drivers for linux, Blender 'likes' Nvidia better than AMD/ATI (something to do with Open Gl). In addition the new (still in development) render engine (Cycles) will use CUDA first, then be adapted to Open CL. The suffix 'Ti' would be a better card for me since the primary goal is to render ie. crunch numbers.

<cut/paste> For now I'm holding off on my CPU, Motherboard choice since AMD and Intel are both bringing out new products. When 8 cores are widely available I will make a choice. Since fans and CPU cooling can be purchased with @20db noise; I'm thinking that a new PSU might be the big noise maker. I'm also concerned that a quiet case may also be prone to overheating.
I noticed that the Antec P193v3 has a large side fan that blows directly on the Video cards and has a baffle/'muffler' covering this side port but I don't know how much case noise might escape through this hole. Front fans are muffled by the door. This extra dedicated cooling might help bring the heat/noise down on the GPU's.
My biggest concern now is that I may get all of my noise generating parts down to @20db only to hear my PSU loud and clear. I'm going for a kWatt+ PSU hoping that I will in fact draw a smaller % of it's full capacity to lessen noise.
Now I'm off to look at the case and PSU you suggested.
Thanks again,
Allan
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Best solution

July 5, 2011 4:13:15 PM

Yeah I looked up cycles when I doing the suggestion for the build and it pretty much pointed a finger at "go with nvidia & cuda".

Check out Enermax 85+ series they are said to be amongst the best in sound profile.
Also Silverstone Strider ST1500 is worth a look, since it's reasonably quiet and the power intake wouldn't take it even close to the max output.

Seasonic is coming out with some new PSU's this fall, which might have one in the range you are looking at. Generally Seasonics are really quiet and highly efficient. Supposedly they are coming out with 80+ platinum PSU's. But also expect to pay a hefty premium for their units, but then they are pretty much the best there is so you get what you pay for.
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July 5, 2011 10:43:18 PM

@rvilkman
I think you nailed it. 1500 watts is at least 50% over my estimated needs and it is a high quality PSU. When I am considering putting an 'oven' in a case it would be foolish to go cheap. As you said new products are planned in all areas. Heck; most case makers are just catching up to USB 3.0 as an example. The 8 core CPU's that I want won't be on the market until 2012. You have helped me a lot. I am confident that a powerful machine can be made quiet.
The Strider ST1500 is $365 here in Canada. Expensive but only about %15 of my build. I will look out for Seasonic's new PSU's since I have time. BTW I have seen an Asus MB that includes an on board SSD.; perfect for booting Ubuntu. I don't trust SSD for the continuous read/write cycles that are involved in rendering. Newer HDD have large cache and RPM. RAID can also speed things up.
I'm getting excited:) 
Thanks once again.

PS: This beats the hell out of so called professional workstations and a render farm. I hope others will read and believe that a fast and quiet build is possible. Blender is impossible but it exists in spite.

Allan
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July 5, 2011 10:48:14 PM

Best answer selected by dolittle85.
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