First quiet build, tips are welcome

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Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:57 am
Location: Italy

First quiet build, tips are welcome

Post by Shornaal » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:05 am

Hello guys, first time poster here. This might be a quite long post in a non perfect english, you've been warned... :mrgreen:

My goal: a quiet pc with good cooling, without modding too much (or at all, i'm definitely not that good at it). Main use would be gaming, internet and CAD programs. I dont' need a completely silent pc, nor a freezer, i'm sure you get what i mean. Budget is kinda limited, but if an hardware component is reusable in a future build (~3 years) while costing a little bit more is ok.

At the moment this is my wishlist:
Case: Fractal Design Refine R2
PSU: Enermax Pro82+ 625W
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3
CPU: Intel i5-760
Heatsink: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B
RAM: 2x2Gb Corsair XMS3 1600MHz 7-8-7-20
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500Gb
GPU: Sapphire HD5770 Vapor-X 1Gb

Now please follow me in a few considerations, and correct/reassure me if needed:

- Case: is the HD bay a problem for airflow? I mean... it's put in the other way round as how i'm used to and i'm worried that would reduce airflow a lot. I was considering Antec 300 too, but i'm not that sure about it: fans don't seem that silent even at low setting and i'm not sure it is a silent case without modding a bit. I realize it's cheaper than R2, but if i have to spend a bit here and a bit there to make it similar to the R2, it would be better for me to get the R2... or not? Consider my budget can't go higher than a R2, if you have other cases to suggest i'm all ears.

- Fans: i know stock fans are not that bad on R2, do you think overall cooling will be ok for my sistem? Replacing those 2 with 1200rpm slipstreams and adding another 1300rmp on the mugen 2 is easily doable... but it's still ~30€ and i'm trying to find a good compromise between silence, cooling and cost. Might buy them later though.

- PSU: modular/non modular question: the case has a sort of side panel which should keep all those cables away from the airflow, thus reducing the advantage of a modular psu by a lot. Does that work or modular is significantly better? Any chance 625W might be enough for my next build too? I'm a bit worried that having a PSU getting air from below would get too much dust, i'm used to PSUs staying on top of the case so i don't know how good air filters are.

- Heatsink: judging from the review here on SPCR the Mugen 2 seems a really good HS considering its price. I was wondering about two things: first, as i mentioned before, if keeping it with its single fan is ok for my system, considering that i won't overclock anything. Or maybe a double fan in push/pull at lower voltage is worth the 10€...? In that case do you suggest getting a second fan immediately or getting it later is ok? I don't know, maybe if one is newer their sound might differ and create more noise than usual... Second, it seems quite huge, i'm not sure i could fit rams with heatsinks like the corsair dominators. The latter is just out of curiosity, as the rams in my wishlist have no heatsink so they should fit for sure.

- MoBo: i'm a complete newbie regarding mobos, you can tell me whatever you want about the one i've put in the wishlist. Consider that i have no need of extra ports, double GPUs or whatelse. Even the latest SATA (3 i think it is, the one that goes at 6Gb/s) i don't feel that useful for now. Sure, i might add a SSD in the future but SATA2 seems enough for those.

- Fan controlling: complete newbie here too. I have no idea if i need a controller for the fans or not. Once i find a good voltage i think there's no need to have a switch somewhere to modify fan speed, i might just shut down the pc (let's say on summer when temperatures rise) and touch whatever it's needed inside to get fans spin faster/slower. I say this also because the case has no room for fan controllers outside in the 5.25" bays, those things usually are quite high and the front panel wouldn't close (maybe the front bitumen panel can be cut a bit to make room? Not sure it would be enough though). Do you think it's possible (if needed of course) to put one of those controllers deeper in the case so the front door can be closed? I realize i'm probably saying random things here, but the more i say the more you understand how much i know (in this case i'm very close to nothing).

- HD: from what i understand, the Blue version is close to the Black regarding performance, while being closer to the Green regarding noise. That seems a very good compromise for me since i'm going to run with a single HD for now, so i "need" something not as slow as a Green.

- GPU: i've heard Vapor-X is slightly cooler and quieter than the standard version, am i right? I wouldn't adventure into an aftermarket cooler for my GPU, so i'm looking for a quiet and cool stock one. ATIs seem to be cooler than nVidias and that should help reducing the noise of the cooling fan. Another thing: i fear the GPU might not get enough airflow, can you reassure me a bit about this? I have no idea how high GPUs can go, but i've seen a 8800gts going up to 85°C and i gotta admit i wasn't happy about it. Sure it was in an old case with no extra fans, but still i'm a bit worried.

- CPU: not much to say here, at my store there's only 2€ difference between 750 and 760 that's why i'd choose 760. Correct me if i'm wrong, i got told AMDs (X4 955/965) are hotter and more power hungry than i5 750/760, so again here i'd go Intel to get closer to my goal of a quiet/cool system.

I *think* this is all for now, i hope you can help me a bit. Sorry for being a bit long but i'm not that good at condensating thoughts in english :wink:

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Re: First quiet build, tips are welcome

Post by bonestonne » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:07 am

1) In short, no, the Antec 300 is not going to be a quiet case without a lot of modding. The R2 gets good hype, and plenty of people have been opting for that case here since it came out. For what you're budgeting, the R2 might be the best for the money, unless you were to go for a case more like the Antec Solo, or even opt for a smaller form factor, like mATX, and then enter a world of smaller cases. For some users, going for a smaller case isn't an option, but plenty of users could more than get away with a smaller board/case and save room and power.

2) For silence, I would opt for the 800RPM slipstreams rather than 1200. They do move a surprising amount of air, so 1200RPM might be overkill for this. Constant airflow will help you keep quiet while keeping cool, it's a balance fans that are 1200RPM and up don't really allow.

3) Modular vs nonModular power supplies have no real benefits other than removing unused cables from the system. Antec has power supplies that have some cables permanently installed, and then a set of modular cables on the side. It really depends on your preference. Some people don't mind shoving extra cables behind the motherboard tray, others want them out completely. I actually used the Pro 87 600W version in a much more power hungry CAD build, so maybe if that model is cheaper or in the same range, it could be an option to look at. I also have no reason to suspect it wouldn't be good enough to power computers 3-4 years down the line, unless power connectors change again (like the jump from Molex to SATA).

4) Mugen 2 is pretty big, and keeps things pretty cool. A push/pull configuration isn't really going to give you a benefit over a single fan with this computer. You aren't producing a massive amount of heat as is, so you could save that 10euro and put it somewhere else. Also, I don't really think that RAM really needs heatsinks. I know most offer it now, but yes, it does conflict with the larger heatsinks. I think from what you listed, you should be fine with everything.

5) I used a similar gigabyte motherboard for an i7-960 build, and the motherboards are getting better and better. It isn't going to produce mass amounts of heat, and it's going to give you plenty of options for the future. In the future, just like SATA-I, SATA-II is going to be dropped. Since the interface is just about identical, you don't have to worry about anything, new drives will work just fine, and since you don't really need the speed, it's not going to be a damper for you.

6) I don't think people really need fan controllers. Sometimes they're convenient, but I could never call them a necessity. Plenty of users are happy enough doing older undervolting tricks with the molex connectors, or even using the Noctua adapters (or creating their own variation). If you really wanted one, the solution wouldn't exactly be pretty, but 5.25" drive bays usually have many mounting holes, you could just mount it deeper into the case. I'm not sure you'd like the look of that, but it would allow the case to close.

7) The Green drives have actually been giving many people trouble that I've seen. It could be the amount of use some of them see, however I can say that I've seen and heard of 4 WD Green Power drives dying in the past 2 months. As for the Blue series, they're definitely a good balance between noise and speed, so I think it'll do very good for you.

8) I think the MSI Hawk was touted as the quietest version of that card, but there are also PowerColor Go Green versions, which will actually draw less power and be passively cooled. For CAD work, I'm not sure if the Go Green version will be a good choice, but that's another thing to look into.

9) Intel vs AMD is a very close call these days. AMD is getting a lot of headroom, and in some cases it's cheaper (such as the 6 core options right now) but it is hotter. I wouldn't say it's not capable of running well, but AMD also has architectural differences over Intel that do cause some software issues (Pro Tools had plenty of issues with AMD a couple years ago). The i5 760 should do just fine, and have plenty of power on tap for you, I would expect it to get the job done. When I put together a CAD build, I used an i7 960 and a WD Velociraptor, and the honestly, it was much quieter than I anticipated. I wouldn't call it silent, but it was a very good system, but also not exactly built for silence.

Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:57 am
Location: Italy

Re: First quiet build, tips are welcome

Post by Shornaal » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:28 am

Thanks, i really appreciate your fast and exhaustive answer.

Regarding fans i checked again SPCR review on slipstreams and i agree with you, the 800rpm seem more than adequate for me, especially because they'd go at their full speed, so no need for a controller.

Pro87+ 600W is ~25€ more than Pro82+ 625W (134 vs 109€). If i weren't looking for a job i'd consider it, but for now it's a bit too much.

My two usual stores don't have the MSI Hawk, i just did a quick search on internet and it seems a good choice. I'll take a better look this evening, maybe i'll find a comparison with the Sapphire Vapor-X. They seem pretty close, both slightly overclocked and with better than average cooling, probably i'll choose the easier to get.

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