I have been lurking for more than a year now, thanks for all the good information on this site!
My build was done from scratch in 09-2012, in the meantime I changed a few things (will mention the original part in brackets):
- Antec Solo II
- Seasonic X-400 FL (replacing a bequiet! Pure Power L8-CM 430W, which replaced an L7, both started whining under load)
- Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3
- AMD FX-8120 125W, 8x 3.10GHz, boxed
- Noctua NH-U14S (replacing a be quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1, which handled the 8120 nicely; the NH-U14S is a bit better under high CPU loads)
- Corsair Vengeance DIMM Kit 16GB (2x8GB), DDR3-1600
- Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB (replacing an Intel X25-M G2 Postville 80GB, which I took over from my very old build)
- Seagate Barracuda Green 5900.3 2TB, SATA 6Gb/s ST2000DL003
- Sony Optiarc AD-7280S DVD Drive
- ASUS GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 DirectCU II OC (replacing a fanless ASUS ENGT520 SILENT/DI/2GD3)
- Noctua NF-P12 PWM as rear exhaust (moving the Antec TrueQuiet 120, 1000rpm to the front, which came with the case; it's nice in the "low" setting, but barely moves any air)
- 2x Noctua NF-S12A ULN 120mm, (right, the Antec fan is out of work for the moment)
- Scythe Kaze Master II (to dial down those front fans when idling)
- BenQ GW2460HM 1920x1080, 24" (replacing a Samsung SyncMaster 226BW, 22", now sometimes used as secondary screen; it's humming quite awfully)
- win7 pro 64
The CPU and exhaust fan are controlled by SpeedFan, which does a much better job than the BIOS of this board.
The PC used to be placed on the floor right of my desk, which happens to be a room corner, so I always could hear the exhaust fan. At the moment it is sitting under the desk, which makes it inaudible when idling, but it does restrict my leg & feet space (the desk having drawers left and right). I live in a quiet neighborhood, at night it is dead silent. Ambient temp in this room is about 20-23°C throughout the year.
As you can maybe already see, I like tinkering, so here are a few observations:
- The Noctua CPU cooler sounds different, the bequiet Dark Rock Advanced had a very gently signature, even at max RPM, however, the Noctua can take higher loads without ramping up (and thus staying inaudible) and it also improved the "Temp2" reading (in SpeedFan).
- The Seasonic PSU is a blessing.
- Ever since I mounted the Barracuda HDD in the rubber suspensions, it is quite good, there is a little airborne noise coming from there. I tried the rubber grommets in all three HDD trays, they all sounded different (the lowest being the worst).
- The front fans hardly make any difference at all for temps (1-2°C when gaming), but still create a lot of whoosh when dialed up all the way.
- The NF-P12 in the back is very efficient but very well audible when ramping up. I got used to it's sound signature, but don't like it too much.
- I once turned the bequiet PSU so, that it sucked air out of the case. This improved temps a lot. However, the PSU itself would heat up after a while and start whining
- Handbrake ramps up the CPU fan a little, but it is not disturbing
- Temps when gaming: CPU ~58°C, GPU ~68°C
- Power consumption when gaming: ~320W (reading a Voltcraft Energy check 3000)
1. The loudest part is of course the GPU. It is absolutely inaudible when idling but under load it is plain loud. Reading the forums I can see, that some ppl replace the GPU fans & shroud with 120 or 140mm fans. The heatsink of this card seems to be not so bad. Is there anybody around here, who replaced the fans of a recent ASUS Direct CU card and got better results?
Another possibility would be to replace the whole cooler with something like an MK-26, but does it even fit this card, being a non standard design?
2. As much as I like the Solo 2, it has only one 120mm exhaust. When gaming there is a lot of heat, which needs to get out of this case, so the NF-P12 will ramp up to 100% eventually (not that it matters much at this point, the GPU fans already being hysteric). I am eyeing an R4, everybody seems to be so fond of, but wouldn't I just get a lot of openings , so the CPU fan and HDD will be audible even when idling?
Sorry for this long post, thanks for reading.