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 Post subject: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:32 am
Posts: 28
Hello,

Since I lurk a lot and ask question when I need to replace component, I think it's time I share my experience for those interested.

I gradually lower the noise of my computer over the last 5 years, the research for silence is very long and you increase your standard at each upgrade, I should've went all in from the start...

Here is my milestones:
-I started by switching back to air cooling (From a Corsair H80 to Noctua NH-U12P-SE2). The H80 endup getting air inside the close loop, then the pump start to make a "blub" sound like an aquarium pump.
-4 year ago I was annoyed by a low "hum" sound when the PC were idle I bought 2 NF-S12A FLX to replace my tower 120mm (which were a Thermaltake Element S), I had to heavily reduce the input voltage to make them inaudible that was a let down, but I keep them since they were still better than what I had previously. My motherboard at the time didn't support PWM. I also switched from an HD6950 to an Asus GTX 970, second disappointment but it was still a straight upgrade.
-2 year ago I moved my HDDs out of my case, I had a WD black 2To that could not be shutdown automaticly.
-Last year I got a BitFenix Formula 80 Plus Gold 550W, it's the only PSU that did not stop its fan and silent focused. It's a Gold PSU it's cheap, and I didn't want to have heat stuck in my case when the PSU was passive.
-Also last year I switched to a Bequiet SB 600, If you consider this case beware one of the 2 from 140mm has a third of it's area obstructed by the lowest cover 5"1/4 slot which has no slot inside the case. One of the S12A FLX has been replaced with the stock Pure Base 120mm, and I kept it for bottom intake and I kept the Pure Base 140mm for lowest front slot. I strongly advice against having those on a silent build. At the "silent" level they give absolutely no airflow.
-I had enough of the Asus 970 noise, I switched to an used 1080 with the intend to replace the fan with the earlier released A12X25, the fan are driven by the NA-FC1, I put a 80% on the GPU PWM, but I removed the stop fan. The fan are at 400RPM for 32°C with low load, at they are at 1400RPM for 60°C in burn. I can post more picture of the mod and how I did it if you are interested.
-Last update, I replaced my motherboard with a MSI Tomahawk Z390 with a i7-9700 at constant 4.8Ghz since I wanted to keep a silent build i didn't want to go above 1.28V, front fan is replaced with a 1000rpm Silent Wings 3 140 mm and bottom fan with yet another A12X25. I also bought the new U-12A, to replace the U12P which were not quiet enough idle. As last effort a put some foam at the top, I will remove it at some point, not heavy enough to make any difference.

The PC is now below the noise threshold of the room idle, so "silent" by my standard, and very quiet while gaming (fastest fan is at 1500rpm) and temp are below the 70°C on the CPU.

To sum-up my experience:
-PWM is a must, I can't go below 600rpm with the S12A FLX, and it's the only fan I ever had which can reach the "silent" status while DC.
-Modding the GPU is a good option to shut the GPU at load, but it will cost you an extra 80 buck (2 fan + controller) and you will void the warranty.
-The foam provided by "silent" oriented case is poor at best, most of the dampening come from the fact that your air flow is indirect and partially obstructed.
-You can have a quiet setup if you spend a lot of time tuning the setting on the motherboard, but if you want silent you have to pay the premium price for the high end fan.
-Inaudible fan speed is better than passive component that end up stacking heat and having on/off duty on fan.


Couple pictures:
Attachment:
Shutdown

Attachment:
Low speed


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 Post subject: Re: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 3504
Location: Guatemala
Nice writing on your experience, thanks for sharing.

I'm interested on your mod that you did on the gpu, maybe you have some pics of it alone?

Also how are your 9700k temps on stress test? last week i tested with the Mugen5 and NH-D15s, and while its not as hot as the 9900k, its still a hot running cpu compared to 8700k/8086k delided. I leave you a couple of Aida64 runs i did, would be interesting to compare to yours running at 4.8.


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 Post subject: Re: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:32 am
Posts: 28
I ran AIDA64 for 20 minutes, the fan is running a bit faster ~1700RPM and 72°C package. Ambient temp is 22.3°C.
Attachment:
Capture2.PNG


I made some picture when I did the mod to be able to rollback to the default cooler if needed. It's the setup before my last upgrade with the 9700K.
Attachment:
h4nDwtc.jpg

It was straight forward, I used a tiny screwdriver(Philipps 0 size) to remove the 3 screws between the fan blade, 2 screws each side of the plastic shroud. I had to remove the IO Shield to access it on the exterior side.
Attachment:
Bt1qKzn.jpg

Once the shroud removed, connect the 4 pin converter cable (like this one), then use cable ties to secure the fan with the heatsink by wrapping behind the card. The fan are connected to a controller which is powered in 12V and the PWM from the converter.
Attachment:
tAt1wtA.jpg

The SATA connector blocked the video card, I had to move a bit the cable tie location to mount the GPU back to the motherboard.


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 Post subject: Re: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 3504
Location: Guatemala
Thanks for taking the time and sharing the Aida64 run, very interesting, and nice temps =), maybe ill give a shot to some undervolting, btw in your undervolting your vcore voltage is still dynamic or one value?

About the GPU, thanks for sharing also, very interesting mod, lots of NF-A12x25 you have now, seems very nice build. About the NA-FC1, how does it work? i though was a dial to control PWM, but from what i read from your post, is like limiter, you still can control the fans via pwn?

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 Post subject: Re: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:32 am
Posts: 28
Abula wrote:
btw in your undervolting your vcore voltage is still dynamic or one value?

I'm not able to find the right settings for dynamic, the best i had was "Adaptive Auto" with an offset of -0.180 and LLC8. I had roughly the same voltage while burning, but the voltage idle drop below 0.65V and sometime I had idle crash (like when you shutdown a game, or stay too long on desktop). If i just stick to "Adaptive Auto" the CPU endup at 1.4V+, I could go to 5Ghz with that, but the extra noise is not worth it.
I'm sticking with the next best thing, which is a "Override"(so static) with an LLC5 and 1.290V. As you can see from the AIDA run, the VID still drop to 0.680V while idle, and i'm rising slowly the C-State level until I'm no longer stable while going out of idle, i'm C6 right now.
I have a fairly cheap motherboard (MSI Z390 Tomahawk), you might get better result with an higher end one or another brand.

Abula wrote:
About the GPU, thanks for sharing also, very interesting mod, lots of NF-A12x25 you have now, seems very nice build. About the NA-FC1, how does it work? i though was a dial to control PWM, but from what i read from your post, is like limiter, you still can control the fans via pwn?

The NF-A12X25 is really a breakthrough of noise vs performance but it requires a lot of extra cash. It's still far less expensive than watercooling though.
I see 3 possibles use case for the NA-FC1:
    -If you only put the 12V(from a SATA power), you can use the potentiometer to output a PWM ranging from 0% to 100%
    -If you put only a 4 pins connector without connecting the 12V, it's used to reduce a single PWM signal scaling from 0 to 100% of the input PWM. There a little on/off button("no stop") that prevent the PWM from going below 10-20% I don't remember the exact number. The manual state that you should make sure you don't go above the maximum 1A of the fan header.
    -If you connect both a 4 pins connector and the 12V, you can add as much fan as you can feed up to 3A, only a 3 way splitter is provided, but you can put them in chain.
One of the tachometer of the controlled fan is feed back to the header, so RPM monitoring still work (same as a simple splitter).

I added a picture of my previous build when I was benching the NA-FC1. The extra wiring can make a setup messy.
Attachment:
HC8WTbB.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: My journey to madness
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 12:53 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:15 am
Posts: 55
Location: Poland
These are great fans, but they are extremely expensive. As with any pricy cooling solution, there is always this problem, that instead of investing in cooling, you can upgrade hardware, get better selected cpu, or higher model, undervolt it, and get better performance/noise ratio out of it, than your old hardware with expensive cooling. Admittedly this is more hassle (selling old hardware), than just buying fans.

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