Power, Heat And Noise
Moderating noise usually involves a combination of quiet case technology, large coolers, and low-speed fans. Steiger Dynamics tackles the fan issue using the knowledge that less power in means less heat to put out.
A low-voltage overclock helps the Maven Pure Custom demonstrate moderate power levels in spite of its high performance.
Large coolers help the Maven Pure Custom keep heat levels down in spite of its low fan speeds.
The combination of low power and high performance gives the Maven Pure Custom exceptional efficiency. But how quiet is this thing, really?
The Maven Pure Custom is so quiet that I had to measure its noise level from a fraction of a meter away! But what happened to the other machines?
Our System Builder Marathon tests don’t include noise because the authors don’t have matched equipment and environments, which means that our measurements wouldn’t be comparable. On the other hand, I do enough audio measurements to give a good estimate that my own Q2 System Builder Marathon $1600 machine was running in the low 30s and fighting in the mid-40s from one meter away. Because decibel levels are logarithmic, that means it has over 100 times the sound energy. And because of the way people hear, it also sounds over four times as loud.
One meter is an important distance to remember, since it’s the distance that many industries use as a baseline. Speakers are rated at 1 W/1 m. Fan noise is also usually rated at 1 m. Yet, three meters is also important because it’s roughly the industry-standard distance for large-screen TV viewing.
(UPDATE: At 35 dBA measured, my Q3 System Builder Marathon machine was quieter than my Q2 build.)