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Seeking advice on new build - noise reduction is paramount

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September 7, 2012 8:13:55 PM

Hello all

I am reluctantly entertaining the thought of a new build (this will be my third), as I last upgraded six years ago and my current system is beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

Approximate Purchase Date: 30-45 days

Budget Range: ~$1,500 before taxes

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (World of Warcraft only), surfing the web, basic M/Office applications

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Everything except the PSU (I have a Corsair AX750 which seems workable) and the case (I have a Lian Li PC-62 case which I'm happy to keep, unless you think it is too small for current GPUs or too noisy)

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: There is a TigerDirect just down the road from me. I would prefer to buy directly from the store.

Location: Toronto and surrounding GTA, Ontario, Canada

Parts Preferences: I have always used Intel, but if an argument can be made for AMD I'm all ears. I prefer ASUS m/boards also.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments/Why am I upgrading:

1. My main priority is noise reduction. At peak load, my current system sounds like a 747 ramping up for take-off. I would consider (for example) a less potent GPU if it meant a much quieter card. Ditto for everything else.

2. Notwithstanding the above, I believe there is considerable room for improvement on what I have. I am running an Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.4 Ghz on an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe board, with an NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT GPU and 4GB of memory.

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions.

September 7, 2012 10:41:54 PM

Are you sure you will only be running WOW?
You could build a computer for less than 800 to run WOW.
I would get a phenom iix4 965, You could get a 7850, and I guess 8gb ram
September 7, 2012 10:45:05 PM

I'm not much of a gamer, and WoW is the only one that interests me. I've thought about SWTOR or Eve Online, but don't have the motivation to switch out (and it would be a switch rather than an addition, or I'd be staring at divorce papers).

As I mentioned, noise reduction is the primary motivator here. If there are any suggestions as to components that would offer a helping hand with this, that would be great. Equally, if my current Lian Li case and/or PSU don't do the job from either a noise or room perspective, I'd happily swap them out.
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September 15, 2012 5:45:52 PM

Hi guys

So I have narrowed things down a bit, and have this proposed build in mind:-

CPU - i5-3570K
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

M/Board - Asus P8Z77-V LE
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

RAM - Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 16GB (2x8GB)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

SSD - Crucial 256GB SSD m4 2.5" SATA 3 6GB/s
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...

HDD (storage) - WD Black 1000GB (1TB) SATA3 7200RPM 64MB Cache
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...

GPU - Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition - 2048MB
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

CPU cooler - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Direct Heat Pipe CPU Cooler R2
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=8...

Question 1:- Can you please evaluate the build above for compatibility concerns and/or general appropriateness?

Question 2:- I read elsewhere on Tom's Hardware that Sandy Bridge-E CPUs drive additional performance in processor-bound games like World of Warcraft or the multiplayer component of Battlefield 3. Is it the case that a Sandy Bridge-E processor is necessary for WoW play at highest resolutions? Or is the i5-3570k sufficient to achieve this end with no impact on performance?

Question 3:- Again, a principal concern for me is noise. Any ideas on whether this configuration will create any concerns here?

Thanks!
September 15, 2012 9:06:08 PM

1) Yes that build looks compatible to me. However you don't need 16GB of RAM, you would be better off getting 4/8GB and either saving the money or re-investing it in the build.
You should only get the i5-3570K if it is a cheaper than a non-K processor, if you are not going to overclock.

2) No a Sandy Bridge-E processor is not necessary to play WOW. 1080x1920 isn't that high of a resolution either. Even if it did, it would take a lot of extra cooling, and therefore be a lot harder to keep quiet.

3) Yes I have some concerns about noise with your build.
The Hyper 212 Evo has the following fan specs:
600-1600/2000RPM, 9-31/36dBA. Depending on whether it is the NA version or the EU version. Apparently Canada Computers is selling the EU version, which is a bit strange as Canada is in NA rather than EU. Even if you are getting the EU version I think you can/should get a better cooler if you are interested in noise reduction.

SPCR has criticized WD Caviar Black HDDs for their poor noise performance. So I would suggest changing that for something better (Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003).
If you are not going to be running programs off the mechanical HDD then you could get a 'green' model; one which spins at less than 7200RPM as these produce less noise.

The case is a bit of a concern due to using 80mm fans. But if they don't bother you then that's good.
September 16, 2012 1:58:42 AM

Silvune, many thanks for your thoughtful response.

I will amend my build to incorporate 8GB of RAM as opposed to the 16GB.

I have noted your comment on the i5-3570k, which is a view shared by others on the forums. I'll compare prices and, assuming that there isn't a vast price point difference, stick with this CPU as I may be courageous enough to tackle overclocking in future. As you mentioned, if there is an enormous difference in price, I may reconsider.

Do you have recommendations on a more appropriate cpu cooler? Apologies, but tonight's investigations have revealed a number of coolers that advertise themselves as 'whisper quiet' with little to separate them for the layperson (myself).

Thanks for the heads-up on the WD Black drives.

The case is a cause for concern, as I believe it is a prime culprit on the noise front (you are absolutely right regarding the fans). Do you (or anyone else) have recommendations on a quieter case? Obviously I am a fan of Lian Li, so cases in keeping with their general style and quality would be preferred.

Again, many thanks for your most helpful reply.



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September 16, 2012 12:51:21 PM
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Looking at the manufacturer's specs for fan speed and noise is step one to finding a good/quiet cooler.
I'd say under 20dBA in idle and under 30dBA on load is a good cut off point.

Then looking at reviews to see if they perform well in both acoustics and temperatures is step two.

Sticking to manufacturers/brands (Scythe, Noctua to name two) who have a good reputation for producing quiet fans/coolers is an optional step which can also be helpful.

Some quiet coolers which aren't much, if at all, more expensive:
Scythe Ninja 3 Rev.B SCNJ-3100 ($35 @ Canada Computers)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/scythe-cpu-cooler-scnj3...
Fan speed range of 470-1340/740-1900RPM, noise rating of 7.05-27.3/9.8-37dBA.
160x120x120 (HxWxD).

Scythe Mugen 3 SCMG-3000 ($38)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=8...
Has a fan speed range of 300-1600RPM and noise rating of 9.6-32.15dBA.
158x130x108

Gelid Tranquillo CC-TranQ-01-A ($35 @ Canada Computers)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/gelid-solutions-cpu-coo...
750-1500 RPM, 12.0-25.5 dBA.
153x125x99

Those Scythe coolers definitely have to be paired with RAM without tall heatspreaders.

Some quiet cases:
Fractal Design Define R3
207x440x521 (WxHxD). 165/170mm HSF

Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl), (Arctic White), (Titanium Grey). There are also versions with windows.
232x523x464. 170mm HSF

Lian Li PC-9F ($120 @ Newegg.ca)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/lian-li-case-pc9f
I have this one and I've managed to make it okay in terms of noise; it would be better if I had put more thought into quiet internal components when I originally bought them. I've found that it's also quite good at keeping all but very fine dust out of my system, this is when its environment is quite dusty.
210x473x498. 165mm HSF

Lian Li Lancool PC-K9B ($110 @ Newegg.ca)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/lian-li-case-pck9b
210x472x505. 160mm HSF
There is a more expensive version with a window and black interior.

Antec P280 ($125 @ Canada Computers)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/antec-case-p280
231x526x561. 170/180mm HSF

Lian Li PC-8N ($83 @ Direct Canada)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/lian-li-case-pc8n
Much like your PC-62, but with two 120mm fans rather than 80mm.
210x450x490. 175mm HSF

Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B ($90 @ Newegg.ca)
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/lian-li-case-pck7b
Another one that has some similarities to the PC-62
210x460x489.

I have noted the dimensions of the cases and (where known) the height of CPU heatsinks that can be accommodated by them.

I believe Lian Li's 120mm fans spin at 1000RPM, at first with my PC-9F I didn't have a problem with this, but after a few weeks/months I had to slow them down to keep them quiet enough.

I have a Phenom II X4 955, and I would definitely buy something cooler and quieter than that if I was trying to build a quiet system. Like I said when I bought it I didn't have any regard for noise as it was my first system.

I imagine the fans in your current case are very old, it is possible that replacing them could mean you have a quieter case again. Some would suggest modding the case so that you could install 120mm fans.
September 16, 2012 2:09:26 PM

Fabulous, Silvune. Many thanks once again.

I will have a look at the cases you recommended. Thank you so much for the research you've done on that front.

I did replace the existing fans in my current case early last year, so I am not certain that replacing them again would help very much (you didn't know that, of course). I have no experience or inclination for case modding, so I'd prefer a stock case where possible.

Thanks also for your heatsink recommendations. I will report back shortly!
September 21, 2012 6:10:37 PM

Hello Silvune (and others)

For the CPU cooler, I have elected to go with the Zalman CNPS9500, which seems to have received positive reviews on Newegg and elsewhere - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683.... The Scythe coolers you recommended are quite difficult to locate, and I was concerned about the reported difficulty attaching the Gelid fan to its cooler.

For the case, I have been looking closely at the Lian Li PC-B12B. It seems to have everything I am looking for, although there is only one review (of sorts) online and no feedback on Newegg yet. The only issue appears to be the bottom intake vent - this machine will be sitting on low-pile carpet, but I intend to install the Lian Li wheel stand which should raise the chassis a bit more.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Anyways, those are my final thoughts. Many thanks again for all of your help.


EDIT: LOL! A change of heart on the case - I've gone with the PC-B10 instead.
September 22, 2012 2:32:29 PM

Best answer selected by sdym.
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