Help in quieting a new build around Antec P180

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Help in quieting a new build around Antec P180

Post by MoonMusic » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:06 pm


I've been reading the reviews and forums on SPCR to gather information on building my a desktop which I haven't done in over 20 years.

Partially based on recommendations here, I bought and put together an Antec P180 case, ASUS P5B-E motherboard, Corsair 520hx power supply, Saphire Radeon 1950 Pro 256mb video card, Intel E6400 Core 2 Duo 2.14Mhz cpu, 2GB DDR2 800mhz Patriot memory, Western Digital Raptor 150Gb startup drive, 2 Western Digital 500GB RE2 drives and a LiteOn Sata DVD burner.

Though it was a bit difficult managing the cabling in the P180, I managed to assemble everything and load Windows XP SP2 on the Raptor and raid the two 500GB drives. I love the speed but I'm frankly disappointed by the noise of the system. I'm running the 3 fans in the Antec case on low and I still hear a constant whirring which I don't think are the fans anyway. I had the same build in a Raidmax Smilodon which was light years easier in assembling due to the dual pulldown sides, but I ordered an Antec P180 because I found the whooshing sound of the Smilodon something I didn't want to live with.

I tried running the Antec build without the case fans as a noise test and I still hear a irritating whirring. My initial sense is that it's the Intel fan or the Radeon card fan but I didn't hear these within the Smilodon because when I turned the Smilodon fans off, the system was almost silent. So my fear is that it's the fan in the Corsair, which would surprise me due to the rating it received on SPCR or the way the location of the case fan holes and the power supply on the bottom of the case may not favor my putting this under a desk on a hard floor near a wall.

Meanwhile, I received a Dell Optiplex 745 at work with 2 hard drives and their top of the line graphics card and it's dead silent. That's what I would love to have on my Antec build but I admit I'm getting a bit discouraged.

Can anyone help me and recommend how I can best troubleshoot this and hopefully silence this beast? I need the machine for audio recording and this just won't do. I haven't tried this yet but can I disconnect the case fans, video card and disconnect the fan on the Intel chip just to hear on startup if the noise is coming from the power supply? Is there a most likely candidate from this that someone who has built an Antec P180 could suggest? I'd like to avoid sending this all back to NewEgg and buy a Dell.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


P.S. I am not overclocking this currently.

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Post by Atmosper » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:07 am

Try stopping the fans with a finger/pen/whatever for a few seconds. Then you will notice which fans are the noisiest. My bet is on the Radeon and possibly the CPU fan.

Those Antec Tri-cools aren't that quiet. I have an Antec SOLO and the tri-cools were among the first things I changed.

Fans aside, 3 harddrives aren't going to be quiet unless they are in an enclosure. I think that is the whirring sound! Try making the Samsungs spin down and see if the sound changes.

Good luck!

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Spinning down drives

Post by MoonMusic » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:42 am

Thanks for the reply, Atmosper

I'll try your suggestion on stopping the fans on the cpu and graphics card.

As for the hard drives, I haven't really heard them much in either the Antec case or the Smilodon case. Nonetheless, is there a way I can force them to spin down so I can see if that makes a difference?

It's hard for me to locate the exact place of noise with everything running but it seems to me that it might be the cpu or graphics card fan. What bothers me is that the sound seems to be amplified by the positioning of the 120mm fan holes on top and upper back in a case that is supposed to be a silencer.


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Post by Sylph-DS » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:44 am

Well, in general, high-end (alright, anything that isn't meant for office work) VGA cards are noisy buggers, with the exception of fanless ones, of course.

Before buying an aftermarket cooler though, you could perhaps try stopping the fan of the VGA card for just a bit and then letting it go again, and listening carefully to the difference.

By the way, not to damage yourself or the fans, you should stop the fans by touching the center of the fan, rather than the blades. This way you can make it stop gradually, rather than all of a sudden, and of course there's the off chance of damaging the blades if you stick something in it just like that.
[size=75][b]Idiot. Geek. Sylph.[/b]
[i]Now, where did I leave my motivation?[/i][/size]

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Re: spinning down drives

Post by MoonMusic » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:41 am

Thanks for the fan spinning-down technique, Sylph-DS

I suspect your hunch on the VGA card might be right but what I don't understand is why it wasn't noticeable within the Raidmax Smilodon case. I also just tried it on my Dell Optiplex 745 mid-tower at work and I don't hear any added noise.


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Recommendation for Radeon 1950 Pro fan

Post by MoonMusic » Sun Apr 08, 2007 10:11 am

Well, I have the fans on the case on their lowest settings and with the side open I stopped the cpu and vga card fans. The loudest culprit by far was the Sapphire Radeon 1950 Pro. The Intel fan for the 6400 Core 2 Duo was also a touch noisy but livable.

So it seems that I'll need to get a fan for the 1950 Pro. Would anyone have recommendation? The card is sitting in a PCI-16 slot on an ASUS P5B-E motherboard. I've heard the Zalman VF700 is good and quiet though I also see on NewEgg that there is a Zalman VF900 that seems made for Radeons.


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Post by psiu » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:19 pm

Depending on your cooling setup also, you might consider laying something thick and sound absorbing over that top vent. I stopped using that top vent eventually and have it covered with some Acoustipack.

One more thing, I would recommend taping up the ventilation holes on the rear of the psu chamber. This will force the airflow to come from the front of the case (and not get pulled back in) and also pass over the HD's (assuming you put them in the lower chamber). Remove the Antec fan if it's down there and just let the PSU fan do the work. A couple of hard drives as the only source of heat for the PSU incoming air shouldn't do to much to the temp.

The P180 is definitely not magic....but it does offer a lot of variety for making a wide range of systems quiet.

One last thing...the Dell, do you keep that at work, and if so would you say your work environment is louder than at home?

...Okay...this is really the last thing...20 years! :shock: :lol:

edit: the VF900 would probably be better for that card.

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