SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
Lawrence Lee
SPCR Reviewer
Posts: 1115
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:07 pm
Location: Vancouver

SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Lawrence Lee » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:33 pm

The first of a new series of Silent/Quiet Gaming PC Build Guides, in which we consider the best component options for a given type of gaming PC and then assemble and thoroughly test it to ensure it satisfies our high standards for quiet performance. A GTX 980 is the centerpiece of this build.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/SPCR_2014 ... ild_Guide/

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:38 am

Thank you a lot, Lawrence, and thanks to Mike too! :mrgreen:

Btw, to be picky, IMO a gaming system still deserves a gaming enclosure! :mrgreen:

Traciatim
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 8:28 pm
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Traciatim » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:20 am

What's the advantage of the multi-rail design on the PSU you picked? I've run in to a few issues previously with lower powered units where an upgrade of one piece would be very questionable even though the entire unit would be able to handle the load I was unsure if any single rail would be highly overloaded. Since then I've always stuck with single rail designs and there are plenty of those around with quiet similar features like fan cut-off at low load and the like.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:35 am

Traciatim wrote:What's the advantage of the multi-rail design on the PSU you picked?

Mostly safety: broadly speaking germans are somewhat obsessed by it, and as be quiet has an about 40% market share in Germany, it is very sensitive to what people ask for there.

On the other hand, I guess the main E10 advantage for the SPCR folks is that it's one of the most quiet fanned unit out there.

Traciatim wrote:I've run in to a few issues previously with lower powered units where an upgrade of one piece would be very questionable even though the entire unit would be able to handle the load I was unsure if any single rail would be highly overloaded.

Set aside that, on properly designed units, OCP are set higher than the rated output, so that there is about no issue to be worried about, but broadly speaking you may read something basic but still interesting and about exhaustive here. For less basic info, Google is your friend.

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7492
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:38 am

Lookin' good!

lm
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1251
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:14 am
Location: Finland

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by lm » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:42 am

Quite close to what I have been planning for myself for Christmas, so this article was highly interesting for me.

I'm going to go with SSD-only and have the quieter fans. Can this be made more quiet when gaming (without sacrificing longevity of the GPU) or does it then require physical modifications to the GPU already?

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:02 am

lm wrote:Quite close to what I have been planning for myself for Christmas, so this article was highly interesting for me.

I'm going to go with SSD-only and have the quieter fans. Can this be made more quiet when gaming (without sacrificing longevity of the GPU) or does it then require physical modifications to the GPU already?
It's already pretty darn quiet under the max load we applied, and in a real game, we expect it will be quieter because a game has a less constant high load, varying more with action. Since there is some hysteresis (read: delay) built into the VGA fan controller, so short dynamic peaks tend not to ramp the fan up. In contrast, our Furmark+P95 load is pretty much constantly high.

Having said all that, you can further reduce noise under load by about 2 dBA in this system; I've already achieved this. Basically, it requires more outside airflow into the VGA card area, which will allow the VGA cooler fans to run slightly slower while maintaining similar GPU temp. The trick is to achieve this w/o increasing the case fan noise. This can be done with a 2nd intake fan, either at the bottom or the front -- the front is probably better unless you raise the case up off the floor by another inch to create a more open intake area for the fan. If using the front, the bottom drive cage should be removed -- you can mount 2.5" SSDs just about anywhere that there's a free crew hole, it takes only a single screw to hold one firmly in place. The unnecessary front grill should also be removed to improve intake. The latter requires popping the entire front bezel off and undoing the screws that keep the grill hinged.

dragonfire
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by dragonfire » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:09 pm

Fantastic article -- I love seeing results from experimenting with different strategies for noise reduction. Very excited to see future articles in this series. Wanted to offer my thanks, as I'm considering a very similar build!

One question. When you adjusted the GPU fan profile using Afterburner, could you still run the card fanless at low load (similar to the stock profile)? Also, any issues with coil whine?

Tzupy
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1561
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:47 am
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Tzupy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:27 pm

Thank you for the review. For me the most interesting part was the 10C drop after modding the Define R4.
While it is regarded as a very good SPCR-class case, it's obviously still far from optimal.
A case that would dampen noise like the stock R4 (or better) while providing less resistance to airflow waits to be born.

Joxx
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:54 am

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Joxx » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:02 pm

Hi Lawrence, thanks for the review.

Just one thing. Are you sure you can't create a fan profile with GPU Tweak?
See this review:
http://www.overclockers.com/asus-strix- ... ard-review

yakuman
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 am
Location: Canada

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by yakuman » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:06 pm

For me the most interesting part was the 10C drop after modding the Define R4.
While it is regarded as a very good SPCR-class case, it's obviously still far from optimal.
A case that would dampen noise like the stock R4 (or better) while providing less resistance to airflow waits to be born.
Something like the Fractal Define R5 with front bezel gone and amongst other improvements?
Last edited by yakuman on Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:37 pm

MikeC wrote:The unnecessary front grill should also be removed to improve intake. The latter requires popping the entire front bezel off and undoing the screws that keep the grill hinged.

Using a FD Arc instead of the Define wouldn't be a more straightforward way?

dcuccia
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:56 pm

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by dcuccia » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:00 pm

Great post, thanks! Would be very cool to someday see an SPCR configurator w/ noise levels changing as you toggle components. I know it's not easy...things are nonlinear, etc...but still, would be cool and you have so much spectral data.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:24 pm

yakuman wrote:Something like the Fractal Define R5 with front bezel gone and amongst other improvements?
You guys are too much on the ball! :shock: 8)

A Fractal R5 is in fact the case I've been working with. Got our sample late last week, transferred the entire ATX gaming setup to it on the weekend, played with different configs, and managed to get 14/17 dBA@1m idle/load with 3 fans, w/o any significant change in temps. Will try the Antec Truequiet 140 fan swap next. It is a great case, btw.
quest_for_silence wrote:
MikeC wrote:The unnecessary front grill should also be removed to improve intake. The latter requires popping the entire front bezel off and undoing the screws that keep the grill hinged.

Using a FD Arc instead of the Define wouldn't be a more straightforward way?
Don't think so -- leaving the door open does cost a couple dB.
dcuccia wrote:Great post, thanks! Would be very cool to someday see an SPCR configurator w/ noise levels changing as you toggle components. I know it's not easy...things are nonlinear, etc...but still, would be cool and you have so much spectral data.
Yeah, this would be v. cool but it is unlikely to happen until one of us turns into a master coder -- and that's never going to happen! :lol:

Also, dB data isn't not intuitive to understand, even when you work with the measurement gear all the time. "Calibrating" one's perception to "hear" 20 dB vs 30 dB vs 15 dB (ie interpret what we hear to SPL #s) is almost impossible for me (or Larry), even after all these years. So we'll stay with the combination of measured data and lots of subjective descriptions to keep people on firm ground on the acoustics.

For example, the change from 15 dBA to 14 dBA I mentioned above is impossible to actually hear clearly without an A/B comparison; it's only by listening to recordings closely and looking at the data that we know it's there. Even 17 vs 19 dBA is not too obvious. Side by side, no problem but before and after an hour or 2 later? no way.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:09 pm

Joxx wrote:Hi Lawrence, thanks for the review.

Just one thing. Are you sure you can't create a fan profile with GPU Tweak?
See this review:
http://www.overclockers.com/asus-strix- ... ard-review
You're right, it took a while to find the particular screen on GPU Tweak, but I have it running now. Looks like the minimum speed the fan will run at on AUTO even with user defined fan profile is 35%. So it is set to turn on at 65C @ 35%, then 38% at 80C. and 50% at 100C -- the last just in case. Now there's no need for any manual switcheroo at all, whether gaming or web browsing.

Joxx
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:54 am

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Joxx » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:16 pm

MikeC wrote:You're right, it took a while to find the particular screen on GPU Tweak, but I have it running now. Looks like the minimum speed the fan will run at on AUTO even with user defined fan profile is 35%. So it is set to turn on at 65C @ 35%, then 38% at 80C. and 50% at 100C -- the last just in case. Now there's no need for any manual switcheroo at all, whether gaming or web browsing.
Thanks.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:21 pm

MikeC wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
MikeC wrote:The unnecessary front grill should also be removed to improve intake. The latter requires popping the entire front bezel off and undoing the screws that keep the grill hinged.

Using a FD Arc instead of the Define wouldn't be a more straightforward way?
Don't think so -- leaving the door open does cost a couple dB.

You're so much more experienced, Mike (and Lawrence), neither I have a sound meter, nor a suitable chamber just to play by myself (to see what happens if)... nevertheless, despite the door, SPCR scored the Arc Mini 1dB lower than the Define Mini... we'll see with that R5.

I hope to read your upcoming system build guides as soon as possible. :mrgreen:

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:26 pm

quest_for_silence wrote:You're so much more experienced, Mike (and Lawrence), neither I have a sound meter, nor a suitable chamber just to play by myself (to see what happens if)... nevertheless, despite the door, SPCR scored the Arc Mini 1dB lower than the Define Mini... we'll see with that R5.

I hope to read your upcoming system build guides as soon as possible. :mrgreen:
Well, it's actually not consistent, the results depend on the particular mix of cooling created by the more open venting & the actual level of noise inside. If, for example, the system needs a lot more cooling -- ie, the components are hotter -- then keeping the vents more open and turning down the fans might end up being quieter overall for a given set of temperature targets. The score difference you refer to, for example -- was this at full tilt? at what SPL? What were the fan speeds? All those fine details matter when you're dealing with such small changes. 1 dB, as I've said many times, is difficult to perceive even in direct A/B.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:10 pm

MikeC wrote:Well, it's actually not consistent, the results depend on the particular mix of cooling created by the more open venting & the actual level of noise inside. If, for example, the system needs a lot more cooling -- ie, the components are hotter -- then keeping the vents more open and turning down the fans might end up being quieter overall for a given set of temperature targets. The score difference you refer to, for example -- was this at full tilt? at what SPL? What were the fan speeds? All those fine details matter when you're dealing with such small changes. 1 dB, as I've said many times, is difficult to perceive even in direct A/B.
I hope you didn't get me wrong, Mike: I am quite convinced of what you stated:
Also, dB data isn't not intuitive to understand, even when you work with the measurement gear all the time. "Calibrating" one's perception to "hear" 20 dB vs 30 dB vs 15 dB (ie interpret what we hear to SPL #s) is almost impossible for me (or Larry), even after all these years. So we'll stay with the combination of measured data and lots of subjective descriptions to keep people on firm ground on the acoustics.
So, when I say you're more experienced and that I haven't the equipment, I just mean something similar to the above thought: I cannot "prove" my guess about the capability of a more "open" enclosures to shave off a couple of dB at load (and at any rate I would do that just for the sake of doing it, not to achieve a really better "satisfaction").

Just FYI, the "not consistent" comparison was with the std SPCR mATX gaming (6850) rig at full tilt, and the more open Arc Mini let you spin more case fans slower than in the Define Mini setup.

Abula
Posts: 3628
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by Abula » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:27 pm

Thank for The review lawrance and mike, really nice approach.

What intrigues me is this talk about the r5..... Is there going to be a review?

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:39 pm

Abula wrote:Thank for The review lawrance and mike, really nice approach.

What intrigues me is this talk about the r5..... Is there going to be a review?
Yes. Kind of R5/R4 combined, fairly short and to the point. But not till after Nov 23. Freeze on media coverage till then. I expect R4 might remain available for a while till current stocks deplete, then be gone. It's the way they've done previous versions.

nagi
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:48 pm
Location: Outside the box

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by nagi » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:37 pm

Nice one. I have a slightly different rig, with a modded R9 290X, an i7 and a fanless PSU in my R4, (see sig) with that nasty front grille removed of course. What can I say: it works great!

ekerazha
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:42 am
Location: Italy

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by ekerazha » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:30 am

I don't really agree with the SSD choice: Sandforce-based SSDs have a bad reliability reputation (maybe with the only exception of the Intel variants). The reported alternatives are OK.

Also, I don't fully agree with the PSU alternatives, I think the Enermax Platimax would be a much better choice than the Corsair RM etc.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:25 am

ekerazha wrote:Also, I don't fully agree with the PSU alternatives, I think the Enermax Platimax would be a much better choice than the Corsair RM etc.

Since Enermax don't ever build their PSUs anymore, I wouldn't be that sure about the Platimax (even if I own a Platimax since last September): on the other hand, neither the E10 is sort of a winner, quality-wise, so all those options are roughly comparable, IMO. Take also note that currently italian Platimax pricing is among the lowest ones worldwide.

ekerazha
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:42 am
Location: Italy

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by ekerazha » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:26 am

quest_for_silence wrote: Since Enermax don't ever build their PSUs anymore, I wouldn't be that sure about the Platimax (even if I own a Platimax since last September): on the other hand, neither the E10 is sort of a winner, quality-wise, so all those options are roughly comparable, IMO. Take also note that currently italian Platimax pricing is among the lowest ones worldwide.
If it is built well, who produces it is essentially irrelevant.

If you want a silent 80+ Platinum PSU, the Platimax is one of the few choices available, since the Seasonic Platinum series seem to have coil whine issues.

Moreover, the Corsair RM suggested as an alternative doesn't look that good: http://www.overclock.net/t/1455892/why- ... air-rm-psu

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:27 am

ekerazha wrote:If it is built well, who produces it is essentially irrelevant.

IMHO you probably missed the point.

Here there's a big "IF": if it's built well.
Even if Enermax/Impervio had a long track on build quality, now that they no longer build their units, who can assure you that those PSUs are still well built? And did you see any recent, serious Platimax review? The known (to me) answers to those questions are respectively: "no one" and "no".

About your other remarks, Platinum units (and Platimax particularly, for us who live with a 230V power distribution) don't offer that much over the best Gold-rated ones, not to mention the performances are about very good but not quite top notch, as well as the RM.

So, definitely, the Platimax might be better, but actually it just might be.

ekerazha
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:42 am
Location: Italy

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by ekerazha » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:30 am


quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:00 am

ekerazha wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote: Here there's a big "IF": if it's built well.
Answers
All those reviews were made when Enermax actually built their PSUs at their Impervio factory (now sold), so IMO they don't answer to none of my remarks.

At any rate, I don't think you're playing with the right attitude, so let's stop here: have a nice time.

ekerazha
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:42 am
Location: Italy

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by ekerazha » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:16 am

quest_for_silence wrote: All those reviews were made when Enermax actually built their PSUs at their Impervio factory (now sold), so IMO they don't answer to none of my remarks.

At any rate, I don't think you're playing with the right attitude, so let's stop here: have a nice time.
Some of the latest Enermax PSUs are manufactured by CWT but you are saying that the Platimax series changed its manufacturer "on the road" and it's now a different product. Source? I can't find anything that endorses what you say.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: SPCR's Holiday ATX Gaming Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:29 am

ekerazha wrote:Source?

Benjamin Schäfer, head of the european Enermax & Lepa Public Relations department.

Post Reply