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Best Budget Quiet Gaming Rig... More of a Discussion

Last response: in Systems
April 13, 2012 1:17:53 AM

Hey guys,

So I'm just interested in a quiet, budget gaming build. I've got the basics fleshed out, and I want this to be more of a reference to other people.

So... for the header (custom ;)  ):

Budget: $800ish

Parts not required: This is important... I have OS, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and 256GB SSD!

When buying: We'll say early May... after IB

Microcenter? Well... yes, but not necessarily. I CAN do microcenter, but motherboards (like Z77 vs Z68) shouldn't be decided on what's available at microcenter

Uses: Gaming... duh... I'm gonna say BF3, CoD, GTA, and Skyrim. Preferably max, by the way

Resolution: Well... mine is 1680x1050, but we'll keep 1080p in mind

Note: It's supposed to be quiet/silent...

So, here's the build I have so far:

pcpartpicker site:
note: It doesn't have the IB CPU

Here's the list broken down:

CPU: i5-3750k - $220
This is an obvious choice... new favorite

Motherboard: Either ASRock Extreme4 or Pro3 - $140 or $110
I'm still deciding... I think the gold caps on Extreme4 don't do all that much, but I'd like some input on this, actually.

GPU: MSI Twin Frozr OC 7850 2GB - $260
MSI Twin Frozr is cool and quiet, from what I've heard. 7850 is a great card.

PSU: Silencer Series 750W Silver Rated - $90 or $110
Great deal, but not modular. Do you suggest the 600W modular version? It's bronze rated, though. Also a little cheaper.

RAM: 2x4GB DDR3-1600 1.5v CAS 9 generic G.Skill RAM - $45
Nothing special... 1.5v because that's the most i5 can handle. Prices on RAM are rising, by the way people!

Case: Fractal Design R3 - $105 - $120\
After a LOT of deliberation, I thought this was the tested and true case. It's not ULTRA quiet, but it is quiet enough and has good airflow. I'll be going with two intakes in the front and one exhaust in the back, leaving my side panel and top panels covered (I'm afraid the GPU will cook, though... no HDDs blocking airflow is a plus!)

I think that's it... if I missed anything, let me know!

What do you think? Anything to change? I'll be adding the one Cougar fan at about $10. Total comes out to $895 maximum... a bit over what I would have wanted. What do you guys think?

a b 4 Gaming
April 13, 2012 1:21:02 AM

Great build!
April 13, 2012 1:28:48 AM

I know ;) 

Actually, do you know any forum member who is good with quiet/silent builds? I'm not going for fanless, but I'm sure there is someone (I don't know members well enough...) who is experienced with quiet builds.
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April 13, 2012 5:27:12 AM

actually it's quite unless you overclock things up and turn up the fans, go for quite fans too as they are quite unless you turn them up 100%
April 13, 2012 5:42:10 AM

I would go with a closed loop cooling system, it'll help your airflow out tremendously, and you'll have some headroom for a good OC.

Even if you don't plan to OC, it's going to help with your temps, nonetheless.

That's just my opinion, although I'm aware there are better air cooling options, but some can be very noisy. There's always the amount of stress and aftermarket cooler puts on your MB
a b 4 Gaming
April 13, 2012 12:12:30 PM

The Silencer MK II 750W uses a Globe Fan RL4Z B1352512H, 0.33A, which has a maximum fan speed of 1500RPM and noise rating of 29dBA. However PCP&C state that the maximum noise level is 34dBA, so don't know what's going on there.

The Silencer MK III 600W uses an ADDA AD1212HB-A71GL, which has a maximum fan speed of 2200RPM, noise rating of 39dBA. While PCP&C state 35dBA, so probably cap it's maximum speed a bit lower than 2200RPM.

So IMO the larger and slower fan on MK II 750W would be the better choice if going for a quiet build.

If I was you'd I'd be prepared to put one of those Cougar fans on the Hyper 212 Plus as the maximum speed on it is 2000RPM.

I think the Gold Caps on some of Asrock's motherboards are as much a marketing gimmick as anything else. They maybe useful, but they definitely serve a marketing purpose.
The Extreme4 has fewer USB2 ports, more USB3 ports, an eSATA port, 5 fan connectors (one more than Pro3), a D-Sub video port (they both have an HDMI and DVI video port), a Broadcom BCM57781 ethernet controller (versus a Realtek RTL8111E). Also the PCI expansion slot arrangements are the only differences I can see between those two motherboards.
a b 4 Gaming
April 13, 2012 1:23:44 PM

Higher wattage PSU's tend to be noisier than the lower wattage ones because the fan is designed to cope with larger loads and you don't need anywhere near 750W anyway. 500W would be more than enough even with heavy overclocking. I would also go for 80 plus gold if possible. ~90% efficiency means only ~10% is wasted and turned to heat rather than ~20% with a standard 80 plus PSU.

I would also go with the Hyper 212 Evo rather than the plus, it comes with a quieter fan.
April 13, 2012 6:53:56 PM

Hmmm... thanks for all of the input. Yes, I am planning to overclock (my GPU for sure, CPU as well, though not as drastically). I'll go in order:

aaron: A closed-loop cooling system involves liquid cooling, right? I'm pretty sure that'll add quite a bit more to the price. Do you have any suggestions for something that would keep the price way down?

Silvune and jmsellars: I do know that larger, slower fans are quieter, but still push air. I like the maker of the PSU (cheap yet good), and I'll probably go with the 750W because it's silver rated. They don't make gold rated PSUs that I know of. I do know that I don't need 750W, but... at least it'll last me :) 

Silvune: It's fairly simple to mount a case fan on a Hyper 212, right? Keep in mind it's my first time building a computer. Would the Evo have any other benefit besides being more quiet? What I mean is can I get an Evo instead of attaching a Cougar fan, or should I just get a 212+? Thanks for the input on the motherboard... is the ethernet difference noticeable?

jmsellars: I think gold might be TOO pricey. I do know that the fan on the 750W spins more slowly (thanks Silvune), and it's already silver rated... better than the Corsair bronze ones I could get. Also, I know that PSUs are more efficient at like 20-70% of load, so I think I'll be safely withing that range (this isn't the reason I'm getting 750W... I'm getting for silver rating, fan speed, and cheapness).

Also, what do you think about the second to last question I asked Silvune? Can I get an Evo instead of attaching a Cougar fan, or should I just get a 212+? Which would be better?

Thanks to you all! I hope that after I'm done, I can put this somewhere to be a reference to other people (along with an article on silentpc on how to silence your hard drives... I've got an SSD, but it'll apply to others).

By the way, I have an external 1TB hard drive on USB 2.0... is it realistic to store anything on it? Not like programs, but like documents, movies, music, etc.

Last thing: On my SSD, I have the operating system. Can I just pop out the SSD from my laptop and pop it in my desktop, and be okay? Or does it have to calibrate with the BIOS in the motherboard, or something...
a b 4 Gaming
April 13, 2012 8:02:15 PM

ddan49 said:
Silvune: It's fairly simple to mount a case fan on a Hyper 212, right? Keep in mind it's my first time building a computer. Would the Evo have any other benefit besides being more quiet? What I mean is can I get an Evo instead of attaching a Cougar fan, or should I just get a 212+? Thanks for the input on the motherboard... is the ethernet difference noticeable?

Yes it would be very easy to change the fan on the Hyper 212 Plus/Evo.

There are two versions of the Hyper 212 Evo (that I know of). The NA version and the EU version. The NA version has a fan with a maximum speed of 2000RPM. The EU version's fan has a maximum speed of 1600RPM.

So IMO the NA Evo's fan won't be a significant improvement over the Plus's fan. In which case there's no reason to pay more for the EVO versus the Plus, especially if you're going to change the fan because at ~$35 plus the cost of the Cougar Vortex PWM fan you're starting to get to the point where you could buy another heatsink which ships with an already quiet fan.

I don't know what differences there are between the Realtek and the Broadcom Ethernet controller, but I doubt they would be significant.

jmsellars1 said:
This (80 PLUS Gold) PSU is far cheaper and 500W is more than enough, even with overclocking.

Even the Seasonic X-560 isn't much more and that's one of the best PSU's around.

The FSP Aurum 500W uses a Protechnic Electric MGA 12012MF-A25 fan, which has a maximum fan speed of 2100RPM.
A review has measured the fan curve for this particular unit. I am not 100% sure which line represents the fan speed, but I believe it is the red one. In which case it varies between about 700RPM and 2000RPM.

The higher wattage FSP Aurums (600, 650, 700 & 750W) in general have been criticised for their loud fans/aggressive fan profile as well, so I think it is fairly believable that the lower wattage one has the same kind of problem.

So again IMO the FSP Aurum 500W is not a good choice if you want a quiet unit.

Another option is the Rosewill Capstone-550W which is $80 and comes with a 15% off promo code:
Which uses a Globe Fan RL4Z B1402512M, 0.30A, which has a maximum speed of 1200RPM.
April 14, 2012 3:21:05 AM

Argh... out of stock. I'm uneasy about the FSP because it's kind of vague about sound levels. How much better is a gold-rated than a silver-rated, anyway? I definitely don't want to get more expensive than the Mk II I have selected... I'll be buying early May, so a lot of promo codes that are good now (although the Rosewill is out of stock) won't be good until then.
April 14, 2012 5:22:30 AM

You won't be able to Max BF3 with that card. just saying that because you said "Preferably max, by the way" Unless you SLI you might be able to then But, I doubt it.
April 14, 2012 5:47:42 AM

The 7850? I know... wait... even on a 1680x1050 monitor?
April 14, 2012 5:50:48 AM

Oh.... Yeah probably lol I was assuming you had a 1920x1080 lol
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2012 9:51:33 AM

Isn't the HD 7850 better than the HD 6970? Or about the same at least. He should be able to max BF3 with it I think.
April 14, 2012 2:50:13 PM

7850 is better... I think I'd either come very close to maxing, or max it. I can always drop some AA, anyway