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First time builder, how much should I worry about noise (non-gaming)

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July 3, 2012 7:28:38 PM

Here is what I am thinking about...

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K (stock fan)

Hard Drive: SSD or SSD + HHD storage

Case: Something around $50 like a Three Hundred or Challenger

Power Supply: Corsair 430W

Video Card: none

For those that aren't pushing their systems to the max, how much will noise will there be? My current system is 9 years old and it is very loud. There is no variable fan, it just constantly blows. I guess that is the case fan? I'm sure hardware has advanced greatly during that time, but since I don't have any experience building anything, I don't want to make a mistake and have yet another loud computer.

ETA Also, I ran a PSU calculator with all the parts I am thinking about and it came up with just 212W. Does that sound right? If so, that 430W corsair is overkill. Any suggestions for a 230-300W PSU?
a c 133 ) Power supply
July 3, 2012 7:39:15 PM

It is very possible to make a quiet computer, a lot of custom builds are done for just that purpose. An aftermarket CPU heatsink/fan goes a long way toward that (as opposed to the stock cooler that comes with most CPU's).
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July 3, 2012 7:44:56 PM

The stock cpu fan will be somewhat noisy. You may want to consider getting an aftermarket cooler like the hyper 212.

Outside of that, it shouldn't be too noisy, but that depends on personal preference.
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July 3, 2012 7:57:50 PM

Thanks for the quick responses. Yeah, I guess it is a loaded question because what I consider noisy someone else may consider normal. I guess what I am trying to figure out is if a machine like what I would build above would sound more like my 9 year old desktop or my 1 year old laptop. Even when my laptop is spinning its fan at the max, it isn't very loud, but my desktop, even at idle, blows hard and can be heard from the next room.

Now that I think about it, I have heard some modern desktops (vostro 200's) start up loud with the fans full bore and then back down to idle after a few seconds (I guess just a normal part of the initial boot?). My machine sounds like that all the time, it doesn't back off.
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July 3, 2012 8:14:54 PM

What motherboard are you going to use? It might be compatible with speedfan or similar software.

As of now, I'm running a computer with 5-120mm fans, a stock NVIDIA GPU fan, and a 200mm fan on top. The thing sounds like a tornado arriving when at full blast, but I modded my ASUS board so all the fans plug into a couple ports that I control using speedfan. I have it set to gradually increase with temperature based on the heat each area, like chipset, mobo, hard drives, SSD, and CPU. The only time they hit 100% is if a component is somewhat in the vicinity of its highest recommended temperature.


Most of the time, my components are so cool, that most of the fans are completely stopped. Just...off. And my HDD's turn off when idle for 20min. And using ASUS's software, the GPU shuts off when idle. The only thing moving in my system (when cool) is a slow-spinning fan in the back of my PC Power and Cooling "Silencer", which is, well, silent so close that you'll hit your ear on the fan before you'll hear anything.

My point being: even with all the fans and mechanical components that can potentially create tons of noise; by simply being smart about my speeds, I don't have to worry about overheating, but still run at practically 0db when idle.

If your motherboard supports it, speedfan is totally the way to go. Especially with their new "advanced fan control" which lets you control fan speeds based on any number of readings, using a graph-based method. It's a feature I use religiously.

[Edit: By "religiously", I mean "think about it and tweak it once a week, then don't put much though into it the rest of the week".]
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a c 133 ) Power supply
July 3, 2012 8:33:51 PM

whitenack said:


ETA Also, I ran a PSU calculator with all the parts I am thinking about and it came up with just 212W. Does that sound right? If so, that 430W corsair is overkill. Any suggestions for a 230-300W PSU?


Although the calculator is correct in your wattage draw (or near enough), you do not want to use your PSU at or near it's maximum draw (efficiency gets weird there). Figure 40-70% draw for the PSU which places the load on it in it's efficiency "sweet spot" which will make it run cooler and last longer. IMO (and experience) A minimum of 300W would work but 350W-450W is what I would recommend. The 430W should work fine, I would not call it "overkill".
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July 3, 2012 8:34:33 PM

Thanks for the tip Jonathanese. The motherboard I was thinking about was a Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H, but I'm certainly not married to it. I just kinda picked it out of the crowd based on price and compatibility with the i5. I don't want to get in to far over my head on all this modding stuff. I am already past my comfort level just building something. Then I find out I need to mod something after ever BSOD to get the SSD to work the best. I would hate to make a mistake and fry the machine.

I see that the "Silencer" PSU has a 400W version. Would that be overkill for my little 200-250W system? I'm not seeing a whole lot of good choices down in that size.
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July 3, 2012 8:38:21 PM

C12Friedman said:
Although the calculator is correct in your wattage draw (or near enough), you do not want to use your PSU at or near it's maximum draw (efficiency gets weird there). Figure 40-70% draw for the PSU which places the load on it in it's efficiency "sweet spot" which will make it run cooler and last longer. IMO (and experience) A minimum of 300W would work but 350W-450W is what I would recommend. The 430W should work fine, I would not call it "overkill".

Thanks. Disregard my last question about the Silencer, then. I was posting it as this response came in.
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July 3, 2012 8:53:15 PM

Since I am running a cooler system compared to some of these hot gaming machines, would it be better to find a case with less perforations to keep what little sound there is inside, or is it best to make sure it stays cool since there won't be much sound coming out if it stays cool?
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July 4, 2012 3:41:47 AM

whitenack said:
Thanks for the tip Jonathanese. The motherboard I was thinking about was a Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H, but I'm certainly not married to it. I just kinda picked it out of the crowd based on price and compatibility with the i5. I don't want to get in to far over my head on all this modding stuff. I am already past my comfort level just building something. Then I find out I need to mod something after ever BSOD to get the SSD to work the best. I would hate to make a mistake and fry the machine.

I see that the "Silencer" PSU has a 400W version. Would that be overkill for my little 200-250W system? I'm not seeing a whole lot of good choices down in that size.



My system probably draws 200-300W max, yet I'm running a 750W power supply tested and stable at up to 900W. YOu can't overkill wattage. It's merely a function of resistance and voltage, which are constants in said electrical system. Well, non constants, but the system draws only what it needs. It doesn't force 700 watts through the system. :o 
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a c 133 ) Power supply
July 4, 2012 3:55:13 AM

whitenack said:
Since I am running a cooler system compared to some of these hot gaming machines, would it be better to find a case with less perforations to keep what little sound there is inside, or is it best to make sure it stays cool since there won't be much sound coming out if it stays cool?


To that I can only say, either or... shouldn't make too much of a difference until you get into the big $$ cases with insulation and sound dampening materials.
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July 4, 2012 9:59:41 AM

Hi...Toms reviews on ivy bridges seem to suggest that they run a wee bit hotter than the sandy bridges (considering you are going for a K processor, you might want some overclocking)...in any case noise comes when fans run at their maximum speeds....in your case, if you stick with a lower power psu, you'd be pushing it toward its max load...which in turn would make its fan speed and noise high...go with a psu that others have already suggested they'd run cooler and will be more efficient....good luck :) 
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