Silence At Last: The Taterworks Reference PC

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Rory Buszka
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Silence At Last: The Taterworks Reference PC

Post by Rory Buszka » Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:29 pm

This is my latest system build, which I've named the Taterworks Reference PC. Silence was the number-one goal, but maintaining competitive performance was second on the list.

Parts List
============
Case: Antec P150
PSU: Antec NeoHE 500 (bought to replace original first-run NeoHE 430)
Motherboard: Abit KN9 Ultra (NF570; MCP55 single-chip, Silent OTES)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 90nm Windsor core
Memory: 2GB OCZ Gold PC2 8800 (@ PC2 6400, dual-channel; this was given to me)
Video Card: HIS X1650XT 256MB iSilence
Sound Card: Razer Barracuda AC-1
Hard Drive: Seagate 7200.10 320GB SATA2 3.0Gb/s
Optical Drives: Samsung DVD-RW and DVD Combo drive
CPU Cooler: Scythe Ninja
GPU Cooler: HIS stock iSilence cooler (works just like ABIT SilentOTES)
Front Fan: Evercool Ever Green 92mm
Rear Fan: Panaflo FBK-series 120x38mm
CPU Fan: Evercool Ever Green 120mm
Fan Control: MCubed TBalancer BigNG (mounted in 3.5" bay)

Front of Case
Image

Back of Case
Image

Side Panel Off
Image

Looking in the side (major weird fish-eye effect, oops)
Image

Front-to-Back Cooling of X2 5200+ with Ninja
Image

Passively-cooled HIS X1650XT and Razer Barracuda AC-1 Sound Card
Image

The "pièce de résistance": an MCubed TBalancer. Also the front HDD fan (which never runs).
Image

So, there it is, my new machine. It is indeed silent (inaudible over any background noise in my quiet room). Another thing I've found is that the Evercool Ever Green fans are excellent low-cost fans for those seeking a silent solution.

Also, in stupidity while wiring the rear case fan, I didn't test for short circuits first, and I blew out one channel of the MCubed TBalancer. The other three work just fine, and the transistor on the channel I smoked still works, but I don't trust it, so I don't use it. I only need three of the channels.

All in all, this rig is inaudible, and even under extended stress I haven't been able to make the fans ramp up beyond a quiet level. I'm insanely happy with how the whole thing turned out.
Last edited by Rory Buszka on Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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jhhoffma
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Re: Silence At Last: The Taterworks Reference PC

Post by jhhoffma » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:28 pm

Rory Buszka wrote: The "pièce de résistance": an MCubed TBalancer. Also the front HDD fan (which never runs).
If that's on purpose, why not take it out?

If not, maybe step 2 should be to figure out why. :wink:
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Post by Rory Buszka » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:40 pm

It never runs because I've set it to activate if the HDD breaks 40 C, which it hasn't yet. The hard drive seems to simply rise to a temperature, and then hold steady at that temperature.
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Shukuteki
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Post by Shukuteki » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:36 pm

I just noticed your rear case fan. Isn't that one of those OEM Panaflos that no one can ever find?
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Rory Buszka
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Post by Rory Buszka » Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:06 pm

Yeah. I bought it sometime last year from Thermalfx.com back when they had about 20. I think they may (still!) have a few left.
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Shukuteki
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Post by Shukuteki » Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:58 pm

Rory Buszka wrote:Yeah. I bought it sometime last year from Thermalfx.com back when they had about 20. I think they may (still!) have a few left.
Is it worth 20 bucks?
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Post by Rory Buszka » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:16 pm

I'd say if it isn't worth the full $20, it's close. It's one seriously high-quality part. It's not three-pin, though. Much more notable is the Evercool Ever Green series of fans, which proved themselves serious silencing contenders in my application.
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Post by frankgehry » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:27 pm

You're kidding about the fbk? I looked it up in wikipedia and it's a ball bearing model that's been out of production for years. No wonder it costs so much.
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Post by AgustF » Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:31 am

Very nice rig ... Good work

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Re: Silence At Last: The Taterworks Reference PC

Post by HammerSandwich » Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:27 pm

Rory Buszka wrote:It is indeed silent (inaudible over any background noise in my quiet room).
Well, good enough then! But seeing a naked 7200.10 & the FBK, I'm thinking your ambient is relatively loud. I played with an FBK a few years ago and was always plagued by bearing rattle.

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Post by tempeteduson » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:43 pm

I knew I saw that setup from somewhere. :lol: Great job.
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Post by Rory Buszka » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:04 pm

Typically, the FBK case fan is running extremely slowly, where almost nothing is audible, even with my ear straight up to the motor hub. Its speed is actually controlled by the temperature of the HIS iSilence video card cooler and ABIT Silent OTES heatsinks. Both of them depend on the rear case fan to generate all their air flow. Bearing hiss from the fan in the NeoHE power supply is more audible, but still only at close range.

I recently added the Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750GB to my setup. It's not totally silent -- a very smooth, almost undetectable whoosh can be heard while the drive is spinning. Seek noises are also somewhat audible. With the default settings, however, the drive goes to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity, so most of the time there is no contribution to the machine's overall noise. The drive's enclosure is fanless, so any noise at all comes from the drive itself, which I believe is essentially a Barracuda 7200.10.
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Post by Dan Buchanan » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:10 pm

Frank:
If it is still available, I'd be interested in visiting that link to wikipedia where you mentioned you found info about the FBK fans.
I'd like to have it for our own historical data to add to what we already have from Panaflo.

The Panaflo FBK12G12LH is a dual ball bearing fan.
Last production run was early 2001.
They were developed for use in heavy industrial environments with the ability to withstand continuous operation in high heat and dusty/dirty conditions.

While they do undervolt fairly well, they do not perform anywhere near as well or as quiet as the Sanyo Denki 109R1212H1011 fans.

The Sanyo Denki's are also a 3 wire fan with a tach sensor.

When used with an appropriate controller of the potentiometer/rheostat type, they are incredibly quiet at low speeds.
They will not start turning on 5 volts but will run quite smoothly when started at a higher voltage and trimmed back.

The Sanyo Denki 109R1212H1011 as well as the Panaflo FBK12G12LH, do not do well at all with any of the PWM controllers we have tried.
PWM controllers cause very noisy groaning, squealing and vibration at low speeds and high frequency tones and whines at full speeds.

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Post by Aleksi » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:53 am

Dan / Frank,

The last "normal" production runs of the FBK were in 1991 and 1993, the 40mm FBK was however made still in 2006 because it is a high pressure fan in U spec. Even that was replaced with 1608KL due to better performance and about three times longer life. It is possible that there have been OEM runs after the '91 and '93 dates, however even the manufacturing date of 2001 (as you stated in your post) would make the fans six years old and therefor well beyond the NMB-MAT's (former Panaflo and NMB) recommended age spec.

Although the date and production can easily be traced from the label/side of the fan if you choose to post it or send it through PM.

The FBK design dates back from the 1980s and it was always considered as a cheaper line against then superior FBX fans, which were big high quality fans. The FBX fans outlived the FBK and even the last FBX used by OEM were around 1987-1993. That should give you an idea on how old FBK are. The FBK were replaced around 1990 by the FBA, which were revised in early 2000-2001.

Laters,
Aleksi

PS. And to get back on topic, it's always nice to look at the gallery threads on other people's work and also to get some new ideas. Good looking build Rory. I used to have a T-Balancer in my old Sonata, it was very nice for monitoring temps and testing fan configurations.
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Post by s_xero » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:39 pm

Hmm...please leave your "Silent" out of your topic-header.

My system has less noisy, in both number and quality of the fans.
I can still hear my system - it doesn't get inaudible, neither does yours. :x

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Post by Rory Buszka » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:53 pm

Don't forget -- I'm running my fans at about 25-40% of their nominal operating speeds, using a microprocessor-based fan controller that adjusts fan speed based on cooling demand. I can usually see the individual revolutions of the fan, if the fan is running at all. Yes sir, it is indeed silent. The fan on the CPU heatsink and the other one in front of the hard drive are both simply there to deal with whatever cooling demand might arise.

Are you always so tactless? I'm glad I don't have to deal with people like you on a regular basis.
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Post by qviri » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:04 pm

I don't know what you're arguing about...

"Silent" depends on ambient noise. There is no way a 7200.10 in a P150, number of fans irrelevant, would be classified as "silent" in the SPCR test room. Obviously the background noise in Rory's room is higher. If he's happy, best for him.
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Post by frankgehry » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:22 pm

My reference to wikipedia was an inside joke; I never use it.
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Post by Rory Buszka » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:57 am

To be honest, the 7200.10 is the only thing in this system that's audible at all. A bit of motor whine can be heard if I put my ear up to the tower, and seek noises are audible. The fans, however, make no discernible contribution.
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Post by adam19xx » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:46 pm

Hello Rory.
I'm planning to buy computer with similar configuration and I have a question. Does Scythe Ninja block one of memory slot on Abit kn9 mainboard ? I checked what scythe claims on their website http://tinyurl.com/2d5w7n and they have written "Ninja may block 1st DIMM slot", but what does it mean "may": "may block or may not block" ? Could you answer that simple question ? :)

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Post by jaldridge6 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:33 am

I found the evergreen 9 and 12cm fans to be unacceptable. I purchased 4 of each and all 8 sounded really bad to my ears. I much prefer the scythe 12cm 800rpm s-flex fan, albeit its way higher priced.

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Post by Sylph-DS » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:06 am

A somewhat odd question perhaps, what do you imply with the name "Taterworks Reference PC"? Is it supposed to be an example to be used for reference by others? Or did you use a lot of reference from something or someone named Taterworks?

Eitherway, I kinda like the system, not sure about the evergreen fans, but other than that it's the same kind of choices I made on my Solo rig.
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Post by mLy! » Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:43 am

hi,
How are those optical drives stealthed? Are those eject buttons?

thanks

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Post by Sylph-DS » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:54 am

mLy! wrote:hi,
How are those optical drives stealthed? Are those eject buttons?

thanks
Those are the standard stealth plates that come with the P150. The eject button just makes mechanical contact with the eject button on the actual drive.
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Post by mLy! » Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:46 am

Sylph-DS wrote:
mLy! wrote:hi,
How are those optical drives stealthed? Are those eject buttons?

thanks
Those are the standard stealth plates that come with the P150. The eject button just makes mechanical contact with the eject button on the actual drive.


My Solo didn't have stealth plates :(
Any idea where I could buy these?

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Post by Sylph-DS » Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:25 am

mLy! wrote:
Sylph-DS wrote:...


My Solo didn't have stealth plates :(
Any idea where I could buy these?
The P150 comes with stealth plates, the Solo doesn't. The idea behind this is that the P150 has white bays, and white optical drives are really hard to find. On the solo however, the bays are black, and black optical drives aren't hard to find at all (mayority of drives these days is black).

I'm personally interested in this as well, I do have a black drive, but I just really hate the look of a big fat LG on my PC, when really the only LG thing in there is the optical drive.

Does anybody know if the P150 stealth bays are perhaps seperately available? Then all I'd need to do is spray em black :)

Edit: Did some research and realized I can probably make one myself, but I'm a bit of a clumsy feller, and I want to be sure not to damage my case or drive, so if the P150 stealth bays can be ordered seperately that would still be a better solution.
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Post by mLy! » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:57 pm

Sylph-DS wrote:
mLy! wrote:
Sylph-DS wrote:...


My Solo didn't have stealth plates :(
Any idea where I could buy these?
The P150 comes with stealth plates, the Solo doesn't. The idea behind this is that the P150 has white bays, and white optical drives are really hard to find. On the solo however, the bays are black, and black optical drives aren't hard to find at all (mayority of drives these days is black).

I'm personally interested in this as well, I do have a black drive, but I just really hate the look of a big fat LG on my PC, when really the only LG thing in there is the optical drive.

Does anybody know if the P150 stealth bays are perhaps seperately available? Then all I'd need to do is spray em black :)

Edit: Did some research and realized I can probably make one myself, but I'm a bit of a clumsy feller, and I want to be sure not to damage my case or drive, so if the P150 stealth bays can be ordered seperately that would still be a better solution.


Ye thats the same reason why I was asking, you could stealth with the standard black plates if you can move the optical drive a bit backwards. But than you don't have eject buttons....

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Post by Sylph-DS » Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:06 am

Well, you'd have to wreck the black plate in question :(
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Post by Rory Buszka » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:11 am

I refer to this PC as a 'reference' for reviews that I write for Techgage.com, both as a benchmark for a midrange system's performance (the X2 5200+ processor falls between the E6300 and E6400 from Intel) and for noise output.

Some of you still don't seem to understand how fans that run at 200-300RPM (I can visually count the revs), if at all, can be silent. My system uses an MCubed TBalancer BigNG to control all the system's fans, so the standard RPM ratings pretty much don't apply. The CPU cooler actually runs semi-passively, and the fan in front of the hard drive almost never runs (unless the machine happens to be set up in a hot room). The Antec NeoHE power supply is recognized as a silent unit by SPCR, so I don't think I even need to defend that choice.

I suppose it's to be expected that there's a lot of gear snobbery on here, but don't miss the detail that I'm using a highly-tweaked TBalancer BigNG to control my otherwise relatively ordinary fans. No, I haven't had my system measured in an anechoic chamber, but at the same time, if you can't perform those kinds of measurements, the only reference point you have is background noise. My Gateway monitor and my Cambridge Soundworks Microworks II speakers' power supply are both audible above my PC.

At this point, admittedly, the largest source of noise in my system is vibration noise from the Seagate 7200.10. However, I chose the Seagate drive for its great reliability, not necessarily for its superior acoustics. I suppose if I wanted to really be anal about it, I could suspend the drive and get rid of the vibration noise, but I have the first-gen P150 with the rubber rings, so there would be a danger of the drive falling if the rubber suddenly snapped. I suppose if I can get the bungee cords to replace the rubber rings, I'd suspend my drives, but this machine also travels a lot, to lan parties and the like, and I've been skeptical of the shock mounting system's ability to support the drive while moving the system around.

To answer your question, yes, those are stealth drive bay covers. They flip down to allow the CD tray to pass.
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Post by Sylph-DS » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:34 am

Ah, well, we don't mean to bash your system at all, apologies if it seems that way. But the fact remains that any PC with moving parts in it, and even pretty much any PC without moving parts in it, makes sound. Silence is the absent of sound. In that way, your rig isn't silent, it's just very quiet.

To be fair, even though I've never used the normal hard drive trays in my solo, I can only assume that they make for more resonance than the suspension, which probably does make this system noisier than several other systems shown on SPCR.
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