Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

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Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by banthracis » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:11 pm

Hi everyone, I'm currently trying to put together an eyefinity gaming PC, with a twist. I want it to be effectively silent at idle (so no more than 20 dba) and under 40dba at full load.

I've got some idea's and listed some additional info below, please let me know if you guys want any other information. As a bit of background I've been building PC's for family, friends and myself for ~7 years, averaging about 8 systems a year. I've got a lot of experience with gaming PC's, OCing, tweaking, troubleshooting,etc, however, this is my first time building an ultraquiet PC, so I'm a little lost.

Location: US, New York City
Preferred Vendors: Newegg, Tigerdirect and Amazon (also a microcenter nearby).
Budget: $3000 Including Tax(if amazon or microcenter) and shipping
Parts not required: Optical drive, mouse, keyboard, speakers, OS.
Resolution: 3 1080p monitors in portrait mode.
System Use: eyefinity gaming, video and graphical editing in CS5 and media storage.

Parts so far:
Case: ~$250
I'm considering between a Fortress 2 and Raven 2 Evolution. My main question here is whether the FT02 will be quieter, or I should go with the RV02-E and add Acoustipack or mass loaded vinyl myself. ... 0005CC-54F

Cost is pretty close for either option, so my question for you guys would be which would be the better option (if there is even a difference) and whether I'd run into any space/won't fit issues adding either material to a RV02-E case.

CPU $330
I'll be pushing as high as I can w/o a v increase. I also do video editing and other graphical work in CS5, so it's worth getting the 2600k over the i5-2500k for me.

Mobo $190
GA P67A-UD4 or Asus P8p67 PRO ... -_-Product

Both boards are same price and have same combo with the CPU so, I guess my only consideration would be whether either of these have any known coil sound issues? I may also end up getting a z67 board if they come out soon.

HSF $40-70
Megahalem Rev B, or scythe Mugen
I read an interesting article from benchmark reviews about using the FT02 and AP181 fans to passively cool the CPU w/ a megahalem, and wanted to give it a try, especially since SB CPU's are so much cooler running than the Gulftown used in that article. ... &Itemid=62

Anyone have thoughts on which one might work better? (greater height/surface area in front of airflow from megahalem), but overall more surface area to vent heat with the scythe mugen.

RAM $105
G Skill Sniper DDR3 1600 Cas 9 1.25v 8gb 2x4gb kit ... -_-Product

I'm hoping to get the latency down to cas 8 with a small bump in voltage. I really don't feel it's worth it to pay $50 more for the 1.6v cas 7 8gb kit. (yea I know, saving $50 in a $3k build is kinda silly, but I don't like spending money unnecessarily).

PSU $160
Seasonic x-750. ... nic%20x750
Either this or the identical Corsair AX 750, w/e I can find for less. Can't really get better than silent at low load.
Based on Anantech's numbers, the system should be around 169 at idle, 509 under furmark (xfire 6950's i7-920@ 3.33ghz). Given this, the 750W fits the max efficiency curve of a PSU better than an 850w. ... hd-6950/24

Intel 120gb 320 $235 ... -_-Product

HD $80-100 each $320-$400 total
1x Spinpoint F3 1TB drive (reusing from another build) for programs
4x 2tb Samsung spinpoint F4 in Raid 5 or 4x 2tb WD Green EARS in Raid 5 for storage ... -_-Product ... -_-Product

Not sure which set would be more quiet, though the EARS does seem to have a higher failure rate, so I may just go with the F4's even if they are slightly louder. I actually have 4TB of stuff I'll be transferring over to this PC, so I figure 2 TB of additional space should last me for a while.

Xfire 6950 2gb $270-$300 each $540-$600 total
Here's where I'm kinda stuck. Should I go with shroud type cooler of the reference design? or a blower such as MSI twinfrozen III's. ... -_-Product

I Imagine that the top card would be better cooled with a shroud design since it has limited space to draw in air from, while the bottom card would be better off with 2 blowers like the MSI. I'm also not sure how 90 degree rotation in the Silverstone cases would affect cooling in either design type.

I'm also not sure how much better going aftermarket would work, especially since the hotter card on top would have limited space, making most aftermarket coolers less effective.

Monitors $230 each $690 total
I was going to grab 3 Dell 21.5" 1080p Ultrasharps mainly for the IPS screen and stand with built in portrait mode pivot. ... u=320-9271

I've also considered going with TN monitors and using an aftermarket stand, though I've got no idea which 1080p TN monitors are the quietest, or if it's even a factor.

Total Cost as above ranges from $2860-$3030 before shipping costs.

Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far, and I hope some of you guys have suggestions, comments and recommended changes. None of these parts are final yet and I definitely welcome alternative suggestions.

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by flemeister » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:44 pm

Check out the Corsair AX850, it should have a less aggressive fan speed curve:

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by tim851 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:27 pm

The 5 mechanical hard disks will be the loudest thing in idle. This is NOT gonna be a silent built at idle. I'd get rid of that Spinpoint F3. Your programs should fit onto the 120gig SSD, shouldn't they? If not, consider getting the OCZ Vertex2 180gig.

MSI's Twin Frozer is a really good and quiet solution - although they value temp over noise. However, with two hot graphics cards, I'm not sure if having the heat exhausted isn't going to be beneficial after all.

Without a doubt, the noise of the TFT monitors is not going to be a factor. Your build will not be that quiet, sorry. ;)

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:41 pm

I think this is one of the few instances where I would call for water cooling. There is just too much heat that needs to be removed. Do it with water.

Then use Gentle Typhoons on your radiator to help transfer that heat from the water to the air.

There are different brands of radiators, pumps and water cooling parts. Some are quieter than others by a lot. Go to the water cooling forum and get some tips there.

You have so much heat, and so many sources of noise. If you want real quiet, put the machine in one room and the keyboard and monitors in another.

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by Deucal » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:47 pm

Those two GPUs are going to be the main source of heat and noise in any system. With the 90° flip you have less of a worry about the bottom card heating up the upper card. And heat convection is slightly better.

Now going water cooling will net you lower noise, with the right setup, but will push the price up by a fair amount.
I'm not much into graphics works but do you need two of those GPUs? If one can do the job very well then you could use the price difference and go water cooling on the GPU and CPU and bye bye loud noise :).

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by lodestar » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:38 am

It might help to pick a motherboard with more than two PCI-E x16 slots to enable you to position the two cards further apart. An example is the Asus P8P67 WS Revolution board ... 6813131714, currently priced at $259.

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Re: Help Building a Quiet Eyefinity Gaming PC

Post by banthracis » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:27 am

Thanks for all the replies so far!

I'll switch it over to the AX 850, that looks like a good bet noise wise, thanks for the rec! I've just considered it silly in the past to use a much more powerful PSU than needed, but in this case I guess it's warranted for the decreased noise.

Re: the mechanical drives, yea I guess that F3 is gonna be pretty loud, ok out it goes! I was hoping though, that the f4's would be similiar performance to the WD 2tb EADS tested here at 13dba at idle.

I'm not going for full silent, but I was hoping that those 4 drives idling wouldn't bring the noise over 20dba. If you guys think it won't be possible between rubber mounts and acoustic foam then I might just turn an old PC into a server and dump it in the basement. I'd prefer not to though.

Re: the GPU's I'm really looking for cooling potential rather than default fan settings since I setup up my own custom cooling profiles in Rivatuner anyway.
As for needing 2 6950's, yea, unfortunately since I'll be gaming at 3240 x 1920 I've got not other real choice, we'll technically a 6990 or gtx 590 would work, but they'd only be more noise and heat.

I was hoping that the 90degree flip would make air cooling of the GPU's possible. Which is why I went the Raven/Fortress 2 route. At idle, they only use 171 watts, 2 more than a single gtx 570, so I was hoping they wouldn't be an issue noise wise at idle.

At load obviously it's a different story, but I saw in the GPU forums some guys talking about getting "silent" with a GTX 580. The xfire 6950 are only 19watts more power under furmark (509 w vs 490 w), so I was hoping that it would be doable. Again, I'm not hoping for silent at load, but under 30 dba if possible.

That's a good idea, it didn't even occur to me to grab a 3 or 4 PCIE 2.0 slot mobo to give myself more space btwn the cards /fail hehe =P

I've actually did consider water cooling. Last year I did a gaming system for a friend with 2x SLI gtx 470's and i7-930 with:
Apogee XT CPU water-block
MCW60x2 VGA water-block
MCW30 chipset water-block
MCP655-B x2 pump
2 x MCR220 RADS
4 Scythe Slipstreams on the Rads.
All in a HAF 922, rads hanging out the back and side.

Was a double loop system with 1 loop to GPU's, 1 to CPU, dual reservoirs.

It worked great and cooled like a monster, but boy was it loud. Granted it was complete opposite philosophy (OC the CPU and GPU as high as I could, 830W of power according to my UPS on furmark), but btwn the 2 pumps, 4 slipstreams, and 2 HAF 922 200mm stock fans, that thing was anything but quiet.

The big issue was probably the 2 rads hanging outside the case with 2 fans on each, with nothing to block the noise. I was hoping that using the silverstone cases with the fans at the bottom of a heavy steel case + sound insulation + passively cooled CPU, it would end up quieter. Of course if the GPU fans end up having to run at high speeds most of the time, that'll defeat the whole purpose.

Hence why I'm pretty much stuck at GPU's >.<
If water would be the better option I guess I'd have to rethink from the case up. Any advice on case choice for a quieter water cooling setup?

Besides that, I also personally don't like water cooling that much, always considered it a PITA to maintain and transport =P

If I stick to air, anyone have any thoughts on FT02 vs Rv02-E + my own soundproofing?

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