Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless options?

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awitko
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Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless options?

Post by awitko » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:37 pm

I am planning a silent build for use in an office. Having it be as silent as possible for general office work is very important to me. Would also like it to be as quiet as practical the load scales and the GPU gets loaded. Would welcome input and suggestions on anything. I am not that sensitive to price as I see this as being a long term investment -- there will not be a need to replace this PC in quite some time. I am not interested in overclocking.

Planned Configuration:

Fractal Design Define S
Xeon E3-1275 V5
Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have)
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. It seems this is passively cooled to 60 deg C. Seems to be the best quiet GPU reviewed so far...
Waiting for Seasonic PRIME Fanless 600W. Seasonic rep said it should be available in August.
Samsung 850 PRO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD
Samsung 950 PRO 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- Data
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- O/S, Programs
2 x Kingston 16GB 2133Mhz ECC CL15 DIMM
Windows 10 Pro

For fans I am thinking Noctua NF-A14 PWM.
For CPU cooler, I am trying to decide between NoFan CR-95C Black Pearl Fanless CPU Cooler and Noctua NH-U14S. Open to others suggestions.

I like the Define S, but interested in the Thermaltake F31 and other potentially silent cases. Also like the Bullet BH7 but it does not have the headroom for a nofan or tower cooler, but is sized nicely for top down cooler. Also may be a tight fit for GPU. I welcome comments about these cases and suggestions as to suitable alternatives.

On one hand, I saw Mike Chin's comments that fanless isn't always the best when there will already be some case fans and associated noise. However, I also noticed the point that made sense to me is that CPU coolers tend to create more resonance since they run up against a heatsink. Also passive coolers tend to run hotter and may impact reliability and longevity. The test published here for the nofan was in a system without case fans. It seems there is a heat rise delta of about 20 deg C compared with the Noctua CPU coolers. I wonder how much that delta changes when there are case fans included in both systems? I would think with just a little airflow the performance of the nofan should be much better and the delta should be reduced and the cpu cooler options can be compared apples to apples in the context of overall case noise. Any data or comments about how they would compare from idle to 100% load with case fans?

I was thinking of putting fans at the rear exhaust and a top front intake (this should create nice air flow across nofan cr95c), a bottom front fan for more air intake, and either the middle front or middle bottom fan for bringing air in for the GPU (perhaps driven by GPU fan header if there is one on the MSI GPU so that most of the time this fan can be off except when GPU needs it).

As an aside, ECC is important to me as I see it being a small price to pay for more reliability. The following observation is for an analysis of server systems but even if one scales back for a desktop - I believe the same conclusion applies: they are common enough that one should try to prevent them if possible...
"Our first observation is that memory errors are not rare events. About a third of all machines in the fleet experience at least one memory error per year (see column CE Incid. %) and the average number of correctable errors per year is over 22,000."
See https://static.googleusercontent.com/me ... /35162.pdf

Thanks in advance for your comments suggestions...

CA_Steve
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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:10 pm

Here's some comments and questions...

What are your office apps?

Fractal Design Define S - good case. One front and one rear fan is fine (see cooler comments). You might opt for a 2nd front fan for positive pressure. (less air/dust sucking in from non-filtered locations).

Xeon E3-1275 V5 - ok. 80W CPU

Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have) - Guru3D likes the board. Downside to Gigabyte is primitive UEFI fan controls. Have to use Windows s/w app to control fans and they are ok.

MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. It seems this is passively cooled to 60 deg C. Seems to be the best quiet GPU reviewed so far... - ok. Do you have applications that'll make use of the horsepower?

Waiting for Seasonic PRIME Fanless 600W. Seasonic rep said it should be available in August. - Your stressed load with these components is under 330W and closer to 280W under heavy CPU/GPU load. So, you could go with a lower power passive PSU or go with a 500-650W class fanned unit and never hear the fan.

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD - ok. If just storage, no performance benefit over 850 EVO.

Samsung 950 PRO 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- Data
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- O/S, Programs - ok - if your apps can make use of the speed...and if they can thrash the SSD, note the controller is known to thermally throttle...especially if there isn't much airflow. You might consider sticking RAM heatsinks on the controller chips.

2 x Kingston 16GB 2133Mhz ECC CL15 DIMM - ok

Cooler: I'm not a proponent of massive passive cpu coolers. I don't see a benefit over a decent/silent fanned air cooler. Your CPU is only 80W. So, Noctua 14's are also a tad overkill. Something like the Scythe Kotetsu would work fine. Or, if you wanted bigger, there's the Ninja 4. Note that Scythe may send spacers for socket 1151 builds. You may/may not need them depending on your motherboard/socket build.

awitko
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:17 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Here's some comments and questions...

What are your office apps?

Fractal Design Define S - good case. One front and one rear fan is fine (see cooler comments). You might opt for a 2nd front fan for positive pressure. (less air/dust sucking in from non-filtered locations).

Xeon E3-1275 V5 - ok. 80W CPU

Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have) - Guru3D likes the board. Downside to Gigabyte is primitive UEFI fan controls. Have to use Windows s/w app to control fans and they are ok.

MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. It seems this is passively cooled to 60 deg C. Seems to be the best quiet GPU reviewed so far... - ok. Do you have applications that'll make use of the horsepower?

Waiting for Seasonic PRIME Fanless 600W. Seasonic rep said it should be available in August. - Your stressed load with these components is under 330W and closer to 280W under heavy CPU/GPU load. So, you could go with a lower power passive PSU or go with a 500-650W class fanned unit and never hear the fan.

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD - ok. If just storage, no performance benefit over 850 EVO.

Samsung 950 PRO 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- Data
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- O/S, Programs - ok - if your apps can make use of the speed...and if they can thrash the SSD, note the controller is known to thermally throttle...especially if there isn't much airflow. You might consider sticking RAM heatsinks on the controller chips.

2 x Kingston 16GB 2133Mhz ECC CL15 DIMM - ok

Cooler: I'm not a proponent of massive passive cpu coolers. I don't see a benefit over a decent/silent fanned air cooler. Your CPU is only 80W. So, Noctua 14's are also a tad overkill. Something like the Scythe Kotetsu would work fine. Or, if you wanted bigger, there's the Ninja 4. Note that Scythe may send spacers for socket 1151 builds. You may/may not need them depending on your motherboard/socket build.
Just standard office apps like Office and Visio. Nothing that would tax the system in my typical use.

I would like to see alternative Skylake boards with ECC (C236) but also have at least one M.2 slot that is compatible with NVMe to take full advantage of the 950 Pro performance. I don't see anything like that from Asus (which apparently has much better BIOS fan control), Supermicro, etc. Maybe we will see something better in refreshed motherboards when Kaby Lake comes out - I like the fact that Intel will integrate Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 too. Do you know of anything similar?

Definitely don't have a need for the GTX performance but I want it - especially if for nothing else than power efficiency - being able to do as much as possible with passive cooling. I expect to do some video editing but any video card will do that. I am not a computer game player, but want to explore VR and gaming some and don't want to run into limits.

Yes I think about going for the fanned Seasonic Prime 650W or even the 750W to leave open the possibility of me one day being crazy enough to run two GPUs. But I think that's unlikely and 270-330W is in the sweet spot for a 600W PSU operating efficiency (94% efficiency at 50% load). I have thought about a PSU with a fan for a security blanket just in case, but at 300W or so the heat generated by this ultra efficient PSU will be about 18W. At typical usage of under 100W, it will generate less than 10W of heat. The efficiency is impressive! Also if it is face up in the bottom of the case as Seasonic recommends, the positive pressure in the case will force airflow thought the PSU. And when the GPU is pulling air it can pull that air though the PSU (not fight the PSU fans - I understand won't happen until at ~50% load) thereby providing easy access to air for the GPU and cooling the PSU when it is under load at the same time. The GPU can also pull air through the bottom opening of case.

I was thinking that the 850 Pro is more reliable - it has longer warranty. But I will look into that further.

I will look into the heat issues of the 950 Pro and potentially heatsink fix. Maybe there will be the promised nextgen SSD from Samsung before I build this PC.

I will be spending a lot of time running this computer 5-6 days a week all day long at work for who knows how many years so its worth the investment to have the PC be as quiet and reliable as possible.

I guess if the CPU cooler can be dead quiet during typical office PC load, I don't care whether it is fanless. I don't have any recent experience with doing a PC build so don't have a good qualitative understanding of the sound differences with the various options. I don't mind overkill and spluging on the CPU cooler or any of the components, if it will get me the absolute best noise performance while doing a reasonably good job cooling the CPU (and surrounding components would be a bonus), and case. I am not sure, but I suspect that one advantage of selecting a CPU cooler that is for a much larger TDP device (maybe some would consider overkill) is that may mean the heatsink is larger and can cool passively over a higher load of this TDP 80W CPU, and that the fans can have that much lower RPM (noise) to cool it when they are turned on, and for a shorter period of time. In terms of price, the difference between the Noctua and either the Ninja 4 or Scythe Kotetsu is $20, so on a $2500+ PC that's insignificant. Is there some reason besides cost that you suggest that over the Noctua.

As far as the case fans, Noctua 14's may add about $10 per fan x 3-4 fans to the build over another less expensive fan. I don't mind doing that if there is even a little bit better, or even if it might be better.

What I am more interested in is making this PC as quiet as possible throughout the range of loads, but especially from idle to heavy office type load - office, visio, video playback, document/disk searching, web browsing, etc. and light to medium GPU use. So if there is something better than the noctua coolers, even if more expensive, I'd like to know...

I think the idea of 2 intake and 1 exhaust sounds right for normal operation. I am just wondering whether it might make sense to have another fan feed the GPU with cool air when the GPU fans starts up. Or to have the whole front of 3 intake fans on define S running really really slowly for low sound even during normal operation. I think I saw a post by Mike Chin that suggested more, slower running fans often are quieter than less, faster running fans.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Curious to hear your thoughts on this. And anyone else's thoughts?

CA_Steve
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Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:21 pm

For your basic office tasks, a midgrade CPU from 3 years ago and a middle of the road SSD will offer the same apparent performance as what you've spec'd out :)

video editing can make use of 4/8 core CPU. Might also make use of the gfx card for GPU based acceleration - but depends on the s/w.

Gaming and VR can make use of the gfx card...but unless you are running 4k resolution, the GTX 1080 is a little overkill.

ECC requirement: I don't see a need for this given your use case. Go for it if you want to.

SSDs: I don't see a need for the 950 Pro's unless you are doing a LOT of video editing/rendering.

cooler: It's just an 80W CPU. So, it'll always be running with lower fan rpms. Read the Kotetsu review and take a look at the comparison table where with a 130W CPU, the Kotetsu runs a degree cooler and a dB quieter at the low rpm end of the table.

fans: 2 front 1 rear is all you need.

Abula
Posts: 3628
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by Abula » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:38 pm

Code: Select all

Fractal Design Define S
Fine choice, i would grab an extra fan to end up with positive pressure and avoid somewhat dust entering through not filtered spots like PCI brackets, PSU openings, etc.
For CPU cooler, I am trying to decide between NoFan CR-95C Black Pearl Fanless CPU Cooler and Noctua NH-U14S. Open to others suggestions.
The Nofan95C will go over two pcie slots, you can probably be fine with the 8x below, but just a warning in case you do want the 16x. Now if you already introducing fans, i dont see much point into going with fanless CPU cooler.
Xeon E3-1275 V5
Fine CPU.
Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have)
Personally i value to much fancontrol to consider gigabyte, even over thunderbolt3. But if thats important to you go for it. I like more AsRock, they even have very good server grade motherboards like ASRock C236 WS ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1151 Intel C236, but ASUS P10S WS LGA 1151 Intel C236 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard seems like a very nice option also, with NVME and ECC Support,
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. It seems this is passively cooled to 60 deg C. Seems to be the best quiet GPU reviewed so far...
Are you gaming? or is it for editing/encoding? Check the following video GTX 1080 vs GTX 980 Ti - Worth the Upgrade? (Gaming + Video Production)
Waiting for Seasonic PRIME Fanless 600W. Seasonic rep said it should be available in August.
That makes it two of us =), hope they dont coil whine =P
2 x Kingston 16GB 2133Mhz ECC CL15 DIMM
I had very good experience with Kingstron ECC, but try to crosscheck your mobo QVList to see for compatibility.
Samsung 850 PRO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD
Samsung 950 PRO 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- Data
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- O/S, Programs
Why so many SSDs? i would go with 850Pro for OS/Programs, and Intel 750 PCIe or M.2 instead of the 950Pros. But there should be a replacement on 950pro soon, and that will not heat as much, Samsung 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD: SM961 Ships Next week, but you will need to contact OEM sellers, like laptop sellers, i had a few friends get some 951 in the past, i would think the 961 wont be too hard to get.
For fans I am thinking Noctua NF-A14 PWM.
I like more the tone of the older NF-P14S 1200 PWM that work pretty good and are cheaper, specially if your mobo can control PWM fans, else the Noctua NF-P14s redux-900 is very good for 3pin / DC control.

quest_for_silence
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by quest_for_silence » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:51 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have) - Guru3D likes the board. Downside to Gigabyte is primitive UEFI fan controls. Have to use Windows s/w app to control fans and they are ok.

I know a bit how Gigabyte SIV works on the expensive GA-Z170X-Gaming G1: IMO/IME it's terrible, literally unusable. I don't think the X170 may be anyhow better, an external, programmable fan controller would be advisable (aquacomputer aquaero LT maybe? I dunno).

vishcompany
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Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:46 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by vishcompany » Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:52 am

awitko wrote: For CPU cooler, I am trying to decide between NoFan CR-95C Black Pearl Fanless CPU Cooler and Noctua NH-U14S. Open to others suggestions.
I am running a 6700K with an NH-U14S inside an R5. While gaming the CPU fan runs between 230-300 RPM, with occasional spikes to 350RPM, all of which is inaudible. The case fans run 400 and 450 RPM to provide enough fresh air for CPU and GPU. The CPU cores reach ~55°C with these settings. (I am running my own fan curves with SpeedFan).

I never tried the NoFan cooler, but I am more than happy with the Noctua and one hears a lot of good things about the Kotetsu around here. In your setup the case fans will very likely be more audible than the CPU fan, as long as you strive to provide enough fresh air for the cooler.

It depends a little on the placements of the case, but I have bad experience with an open top (Solo 2 case). It just is a direct path for any kind of noises, if the case is sitting on the floor. The front intake fans are hidden behind a door and the back exhaust fan is directed away from the user (in most cases). I would advise to keep the top of your case closed. Your parts and use cases are not that demanding, you should be able to cool them easily with three fans as Steve suggested.

quest_for_silence
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Location: ITALY

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by quest_for_silence » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:04 am

vishcompany wrote:While gaming the CPU fan runs between 230-300 RPM, with occasional spikes to 350RPM, all of which is inaudible. The case fans run 400 and 450 RPM to provide enough fresh air for CPU and GPU. The CPU cores reach ~55°C with these settings. (I am running my own fan curves with SpeedFan).
Albeit he likely can't have such rpm figures with a Gigabyte board.

awitko
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:15 am

CA_Steve wrote:For your basic office tasks, a midgrade CPU from 3 years ago and a middle of the road SSD will offer the same apparent performance as what you've spec'd out :)

video editing can make use of 4/8 core CPU. Might also make use of the gfx card for GPU based acceleration - but depends on the s/w.

Gaming and VR can make use of the gfx card...but unless you are running 4k resolution, the GTX 1080 is a little overkill.

ECC requirement: I don't see a need for this given your use case. Go for it if you want to.

SSDs: I don't see a need for the 950 Pro's unless you are doing a LOT of video editing/rendering.

cooler: It's just an 80W CPU. So, it'll always be running with lower fan rpms. Read the Kotetsu review and take a look at the comparison table where with a 130W CPU, the Kotetsu runs a degree cooler and a dB quieter at the low rpm end of the table.

fans: 2 front 1 rear is all you need.
I know an older PC would be fine for my office tasks. I would say a 6-10 year old PC would probably be indistinguishable for Word, etc., if one updated the disk to SSD... I think few people really use the performance of modern CPUs except perhaps when editing videos or playing games. That is why desktop sales are so slow. I also understand GTX 1080 is overkill. Its my first GPU - I like the fact that I will have so much headroom to do anything and the power efficiency will cause it to be quiet up to a reasonably significant load. Older GPUs may not be as quiet for the more intensive tasks.

I agree that 950 pro is overkill and the SM961 is even more overkill. But it is only about 25% more expensive than the 850 PRO. I prefer to have the headroom for whatever tasks I might throw at it. The 512GB SM961 has 6x the nominal throughput of the 850 PRO for $280 vs $220. One place it might make a noticeable difference is searches through large volumes of documents on the disk.

I included an article about correctable error rates in servers in the first post here. I understand desktop use would not face the issue as frequently, but these kinds of errors happen not so infrequently. Even if it occasionally prevents a system slowdown or crash due to corrupted code that would require reboot, or cause an unreadable file or erroneous text that might require some time to recover the backup, bring the backup current, and/or recreate the file from scratch, it would seem ECC is a no-brainer. I frankly am surprised it is not more commonplace for people that value their time, or that deal with high value documents and other office processes. How much more does ECC really cost when all is said and done? And how many times does it have to prevent an issue like the above to pay for itself? Once in the lifetime of the PC?
Last edited by awitko on Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

awitko
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:33 am

Abula wrote:

Code: Select all

Fractal Design Define S
Fine choice, i would grab an extra fan to end up with positive pressure and avoid somewhat dust entering through not filtered spots like PCI brackets, PSU openings, etc.
For CPU cooler, I am trying to decide between NoFan CR-95C Black Pearl Fanless CPU Cooler and Noctua NH-U14S. Open to others suggestions.
The Nofan95C will go over two pcie slots, you can probably be fine with the 8x below, but just a warning in case you do want the 16x. Now if you already introducing fans, i dont see much point into going with fanless CPU cooler.
Xeon E3-1275 V5
Fine CPU.
Gigabyte GA-X170-EXTREME ECC (important features for me ECC, m.2 with NVMe --- Thunderbolt 3 nice to have)
Personally i value to much fancontrol to consider gigabyte, even over thunderbolt3. But if thats important to you go for it. I like more AsRock, they even have very good server grade motherboards like ASRock C236 WS ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1151 Intel C236, but ASUS P10S WS LGA 1151 Intel C236 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard seems like a very nice option also, with NVME and ECC Support,
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. It seems this is passively cooled to 60 deg C. Seems to be the best quiet GPU reviewed so far...
Are you gaming? or is it for editing/encoding? Check the following video GTX 1080 vs GTX 980 Ti - Worth the Upgrade? (Gaming + Video Production)
Waiting for Seasonic PRIME Fanless 600W. Seasonic rep said it should be available in August.
That makes it two of us =), hope they dont coil whine =P
2 x Kingston 16GB 2133Mhz ECC CL15 DIMM
I had very good experience with Kingstron ECC, but try to crosscheck your mobo QVList to see for compatibility.
Samsung 850 PRO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD
Samsung 950 PRO 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- Data
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD -- O/S, Programs
Why so many SSDs? i would go with 850Pro for OS/Programs, and Intel 750 PCIe or M.2 instead of the 950Pros. But there should be a replacement on 950pro soon, and that will not heat as much, Samsung 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD: SM961 Ships Next week, but you will need to contact OEM sellers, like laptop sellers, i had a few friends get some 951 in the past, i would think the 961 wont be too hard to get.
For fans I am thinking Noctua NF-A14 PWM.
I like more the tone of the older NF-P14S 1200 PWM that work pretty good and are cheaper, specially if your mobo can control PWM fans, else the Noctua NF-P14s redux-900 is very good for 3pin / DC control.
I guess I don't have first hand experience as to how quiet coolers like Noctua NH-U14S can be. I just wonder whether that occasional whirr of a cpu cooler can be avoided altogether at the lower load end with the nofan, and that even a very low airflow can have significant effects on the cooling of the nofan. BTW for many motherboards the nofan does not block the first PCIe slot. It does not block it for the X170 - the issue for that motherboard is the plastic cover on the back - and that can be removed. You can check motherboard compatibility on the nofan site.

I also am concerned about lack of fan control but don't have first hand experience in the controls for various brands. I do not think the Asus motherboard has M.2 NVMe. I believe many M.2 slots only offer Sata and PCIe without NVMe protocol. I am not 100% sure whether the NVMe protocol is optional or implied under PCIe protocol. I would love to be mistaken about that but if you read the M.2 specifications closely for motherboards, I think you will see many make the distinction or at least don't explicitly confirm NVMe. Case in point is the Asus board. I guess I should contract the vendors to confirm, but welcome more explanation on this.

Thanks for the news about SM961! I will definitely use those. I am in no rush as waiting for the Seasonic PSU in August.

I wouldn't mind getting an Asus or Asrock, but I would like 1-2 M.2 NVMe slots especially now that SM961 is available. Why pass up on 3200 Mb/s when it is not really more expensive. Yes, I understand for most cases I won't be able to tell the difference, but may make a difference in some cases.

This is my first GPU and the first desktop in a long time. No GPU to upgrade from. I figure I might as well start with the GTX 1080. I think power efficiency attracts me more than anything - that it should be able to do quite a bit before the fans even begin to kick in.

I definitely want PWM fans. The noctua person I was emailing about this also suggested the NH-P14 as the one with the tone he personally liked the best although he acknowledged it can be a personal thing. He suggested the P14s for the intakes, and the A14 for the exhaust. I may try both configurations. I am biased towards A14 because it seems that is the latest and greatest model and given how much I will spend on the rest of the components, a few dollars cost savings is irrelevant. It all comes down to sound, both level and tone.
Last edited by awitko on Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

awitko
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:43 am

vishcompany wrote:
awitko wrote: For CPU cooler, I am trying to decide between NoFan CR-95C Black Pearl Fanless CPU Cooler and Noctua NH-U14S. Open to others suggestions.
I am running a 6700K with an NH-U14S inside an R5. While gaming the CPU fan runs between 230-300 RPM, with occasional spikes to 350RPM, all of which is inaudible. The case fans run 400 and 450 RPM to provide enough fresh air for CPU and GPU. The CPU cores reach ~55°C with these settings. (I am running my own fan curves with SpeedFan).

I never tried the NoFan cooler, but I am more than happy with the Noctua and one hears a lot of good things about the Kotetsu around here. In your setup the case fans will very likely be more audible than the CPU fan, as long as you strive to provide enough fresh air for the cooler.

It depends a little on the placements of the case, but I have bad experience with an open top (Solo 2 case). It just is a direct path for any kind of noises, if the case is sitting on the floor. The front intake fans are hidden behind a door and the back exhaust fan is directed away from the user (in most cases). I would advise to keep the top of your case closed. Your parts and use cases are not that demanding, you should be able to cool them easily with three fans as Steve suggested.
Thanks. I plan on keeping the top of the case closed. I don't have a need for the drive cages so plan to go with the Define S. But I wonder whether the R5 would be more quiet when using the NH-U14S with the slightly more closed front. Any thoughts on that?

What is the GPU you are using? And what rpm is necessary when the CPU/GPU at heavy load? Would an additional fan help in that situation?

awitko
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:45 am

quest_for_silence wrote:
vishcompany wrote:While gaming the CPU fan runs between 230-300 RPM, with occasional spikes to 350RPM, all of which is inaudible. The case fans run 400 and 450 RPM to provide enough fresh air for CPU and GPU. The CPU cores reach ~55°C with these settings. (I am running my own fan curves with SpeedFan).
Albeit he likely can't have such rpm figures with a Gigabyte board.
Why not?

The gigabyte board has 4pin fan headers.

Are gigabyte boards really that bad for fan control?

Abula
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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by Abula » Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:08 am

I definitely want PWM fans. The noctua person I was emailing about this also suggested the NH-P14 as the one with the tone he personally liked the best although he acknowledged it can be a personal thing. He suggested the P14s for the intakes, and the A14 for the exhaust. I may try both configurations. I am biased towards A14 because it seems that is the latest and greatest model and given how much I will spend on the rest of the components, a few dollars cost savings is irrelevant. It all comes down to sound, both level and tone.
The A14 are great fans overall, just to me around 1000rpms have a sound that i dont see present on the P14, its like there is a space where it sounds bad, but dont think newer is better always, it should be, but not always is. P14 offer a very good design, that was liked by SPCR and many users here from the brown/tan days, and to be honest was P12 was the fan that placed noctua into the market, this gen was what made noctua reputation, and continues to be a good fan, but feel free to test it for yourself, all setups are different and we all have different hearing and preferences, and there is nothing better than to test and find the sweetspot of what you were looking.
I also am concerned about lack of fan control but don't have first hand experience in the controls for various brands. I do not think the Asus motherboard has M.2 NVMe. I believe many M.2 slots only offer PCIe without NVMe protocol. I would love to be mistaken about that but if you read the M.2 specifications closely for motherboards, I think you will see many make that distinction or at least don't explicitly confirm NVMe.
This is for you to research, i dont have that much experience on M.2, and i probably wont presue it for long time, i feel SSDs like 850Pro are enough for my needs, it stays cool, runs as fast as it can on sata III, and to the end user there are no perceivable benefits from high sequentials, at least the average user. If you do edit/encode a lot then yes there might be a benefit, but then again the 961 are TLC while the 950 are MLC, so if you use them to write a lot you will wear them faster.

Now the most important things is yous to decide into whats more important, quietness or features, etc. I personally will never peruse things like thunderbolt, i dont see a need for me, USB is enough for my needs, 3.1 v2 is something that i would like, but thunderbolt.... not for me. NVME or M.2 drives are faster, weather you need them and want to deal with the extra heat, its up to you, i personally prefer what intel offers with the 750, and if did in fact would benefit from it, i would buy it, but the fact remains that that 850pro is enough for my needs, ill wait for sata express to move on, if it ever happens.

Fancontrol is something that you will never be able to upgrade, Thunderbolt or USB you can get PCIe cards and be fine. But the ability to lower your pc to inaudible levels is why we hang here, we all have desires for quiet computing, and fancontrol and ability to do what you want for me its invaluable, more than any feature the motherboard might have. This time i build on a very cheap motherboard, but i wanted three things, great fan control which asrock is giving me beyond what i expected, and i wanted PCIe on the second slot to use Prolimatech Genesis and MK26 without interfering, and biggest key that i needed was a PCIe 1x on the bottom slot for my Omega Eclaro, all were on H170 Pro4, and tbh im very pleased with AsRock atm, to the point that i all my future builds will look into asRock first, but ill continue to recommend Asus for users that would like to a more easy to setup quiet PCs, AsRock do require more from the end user, but you are rewarded by a lot of flexibility in terms of fan control.

You can build an extremely quiet setup with an AsRock + Nocuta REDUX PWM fans, i would probably suggest you look into NF-P14R 1200 PWM for case fans (x3), and Noctua NF-P14R 1500PWM (1x) for the CPU cooler, this fans can drop extremly low, around 200-300rpms, they can even be stopped if the bios allows, but you do need a good fan control mobo to make this fan shine into how they can be driven. Coolers like Thermalright Le Grand Macho, while not as good as NoFan95 on passive, its the best there is for a hybrid build, as it does allow a fan to be placed, so if you want to persue a semi passive setup, that starts the fans on certain temperature your best bet would be the Le Grand Macho.

That said, you need to research to see if whats offered by asus is not as good, even from asrock to what you think you can do with Gigabyte, there always options like external fan controller, that will allow you to undervolt your fans and end up with a quiet seutp, just not dynamic.

Either way reserach, you got time, august is still far away, continue to post questions and look for motherboard operation, try to check or post on [H]ardOCP Samsung 950 PRO [Official Thread], check if there are AsRock, Asus and Gigabyte users, and ask them about your NVMe / M.2 setup, see if only gigabyte offers what you want.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by quest_for_silence » Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:37 am

awitko wrote:Are gigabyte boards really that bad for fan control?

On the Z170X-Gaming G1 we was able to comfortably set just the PWM slope, and that way there's no possibility to have those figures with those fans: the SIV software OTOH was totally unstable, and literally unusable (while Speedfan 4.52 beta proved to be not compatible).

As I don't think the X170 use a really different BIOS, relying upon an external, software managed fan controller like the aquacomputer aquaero LT is warmly adviced with those boards.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by vishcompany » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:52 am

awitko wrote:Thanks. I plan on keeping the top of the case closed. I don't have a need for the drive cages so plan to go with the Define S. But I wonder whether the R5 would be more quiet when using the NH-U14S with the slightly more closed front. Any thoughts on that?
I read, that the door of the Define S has less (or no?) sound isolation. My guess is, that it won't make much difference with the NH-U14S, but might make a difference with the intake fans. The NH-U14S will handle your CPU with ease, it is inside the case (as opposed to the intake fans directly at the front door) and will run slowly. The Kotetsu was tested by SPCR and scored even better than the NH-U14S.
The Define S has the advantage of offering 3 intake slots, so in case of need you could install a 3rd intake fan and run the three fans at slower speed. Looking at your use case and CPU/GPU numbers, my guess is, you won't need that.
awitko wrote:What is the GPU you are using? And what rpm is necessary when the CPU/GPU at heavy load? Would an additional fan help in that situation?
I am using an ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II. It had a horrible stock cooler, so I replaced it with an MK-26 with 2x120mm fans (Noctua). The GPU has a TDP of 170W. While gaming (1920*1080) it reaches 62°C at 400RPM.
You very likely won't need to install an MK-26, as the MSI Pascal GPUs are reported to be pretty silent, even under load.
I have a second intake fan, which has it's own fan curve in SpeedFan depending on GPU temp. I also installed a simple cardboard duct (just a piece of cardboard really) to keep hot air from the GPU away from the CPU cooler intake zone. The CPU cooler only gets fresh air from the top intake fan. Hot GPU exhaust gets directed behind the CPU cooler into the stream towards the case exhaust.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:20 am

vishcompany wrote:
awitko wrote:Thanks. I plan on keeping the top of the case closed. I don't have a need for the drive cages so plan to go with the Define S. But I wonder whether the R5 would be more quiet when using the NH-U14S with the slightly more closed front. Any thoughts on that?
I read, that the door of the Define S has less (or no?) sound isolation. My guess is, that it won't make much difference with the NH-U14S, but might make a difference with the intake fans. The NH-U14S will handle your CPU with ease, it is inside the case (as opposed to the intake fans directly at the front door) and will run slowly. The Kotetsu was tested by SPCR and scored even better than the NH-U14S.
The Define S has the advantage of offering 3 intake slots, so in case of need you could install a 3rd intake fan and run the three fans at slower speed. Looking at your use case and CPU/GPU numbers, my guess is, you won't need that.
awitko wrote:What is the GPU you are using? And what rpm is necessary when the CPU/GPU at heavy load? Would an additional fan help in that situation?
I am using an ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II. It had a horrible stock cooler, so I replaced it with an MK-26 with 2x120mm fans (Noctua). The GPU has a TDP of 170W. While gaming (1920*1080) it reaches 62°C at 400RPM.
You very likely won't need to install an MK-26, as the MSI Pascal GPUs are reported to be pretty silent, even under load.
I have a second intake fan, which has it's own fan curve in SpeedFan depending on GPU temp. I also installed a simple cardboard duct (just a piece of cardboard really) to keep hot air from the GPU away from the CPU cooler intake zone. The CPU cooler only gets fresh air from the top intake fan. Hot GPU exhaust gets directed behind the CPU cooler into the stream towards the case exhaust.
I will look at the Kotetsu - but I think the numbers are only different by a degree or two, so unless there is some more significant difference I think I will stick to my newfound loyalty to noctua.

I was wondering to myself about directing airflow with some kind of duct. I was especially thinking about it in light of the nofan option - imagining the GTX 1080 dumping hot air on the heatsink when under heavy load. I will think about that some more too. Thanks.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by bonestonne » Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:53 am

If I may lend some $0.02 into this discussion, you could accomplish all of this using an i7, a 512gb SSD and a GTX980 with a particularly quiet cooler.

You're welcome to take a look at my build thread, and Ill freely admit that while the machine is not absolutely silent, when the central air is running, you cannot hear my computer over that.

If all youre running is MS Office and Visio, you could use most laptops today in a dock or even put the laptop in a drawer of your desk and get more than adequate performance. I used to use Visio to make wiring diagrams, so Im no stranger to how demanding it can sometimes be, but I would once again revisit the old train of thought that a couple of passive coolers and low speed fans will perform perfectly when compared to a fully passive system.

What other tasks might this machine require an i7 for? In the end, ECC memory will set you back a lot, and will you take advantage of using thunderbolt devices?

Also, cases are inherently silent, its your choice of components that will determine how much noise your machine will make. I would opt for slow fans over no fans. Just simple insurance.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:29 am

bonestonne wrote:If I may lend some $0.02 into this discussion, you could accomplish all of this using an i7, a 512gb SSD and a GTX980 with a particularly quiet cooler.

You're welcome to take a look at my build thread, and Ill freely admit that while the machine is not absolutely silent, when the central air is running, you cannot hear my computer over that.

If all youre running is MS Office and Visio, you could use most laptops today in a dock or even put the laptop in a drawer of your desk and get more than adequate performance. I used to use Visio to make wiring diagrams, so Im no stranger to how demanding it can sometimes be, but I would once again revisit the old train of thought that a couple of passive coolers and low speed fans will perform perfectly when compared to a fully passive system.

What other tasks might this machine require an i7 for? In the end, ECC memory will set you back a lot, and will you take advantage of using thunderbolt devices?

Also, cases are inherently silent, its your choice of components that will determine how much noise your machine will make. I would opt for slow fans over no fans. Just simple insurance.
I don't know how to find a build thread here. What is fundamentally different about your PC except that it is i7 instead of Xeon? They are basically the same CPU. 16GB of ECC Ram is less than $100. Not much more that non-ECC Ram. So I can't understand why people even hesitate unless there main use is gaming.

My office is very quiet. I can't hear the central air.

I have a lenovo t440s notebook which I am using now in a dock running a dual monitor system and it works ok for what I do. Only thing mildly annoying is the fan kicking in from time to time. I'd like to be able to eventually use a desktop with higher res monitors, video editing, explore VR and gaming although I haven't done any in the past.

I am more interested in having the m.2 NVMe for the outrageous SSD performance if just so that I can future proof the motherboard. Thunderbolt 3 is a nice to have as a tiebreaker between two similar motherboard - can't think of any reason to use it on a desktop right now. For a laptop the idea of a external high performance GPU over thunderbolt 3 sounds interesting though not something I would probably have a need for. I think thunderbolt will eventually be the standard for monitor connections, but displayport and hdmi connectors will likely be around for a long time too so this is not a big deal.

More important than thunderbolt is USB 3.x Type C connections - they seem to be the beginning of a new era of connectors and the speed will probably be more than enough for almost any external device. It would be nice the more that is integrated into the motherboard and PC I build. Type C connectors will replace Type A over the next couple years. I could always add a card or two later with such ports, but all things being equal it would be nice to have some of that integrated on the board so that my internals can have cleaner airflow. One of the reasons I might wait for Kaby Lake which will integrate both on the chipset.

Some cases like the Define R5 are specifically designed to reduce noise - using for example sound absorbing materials to pad the internal surfaces of the case.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:51 pm

awitko wrote:Some cases like the Define R5 are specifically designed to reduce noise - using for example sound absorbing materials to pad the internal surfaces of the case.
Which are mostly marketing gimnicks. :wink:

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by bonestonne » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:52 pm

You can search for threads started by my username, or recent posts, as I just updated my thread. Im on mobile or I would include more links.

Now that we have a better idea of what you are looking to do with this machine, but I think theres still some things to address. Xeons arent good for gaming. Neither are workstation graphics cards. Quaddro cars are insanely high spec, but absolutely terrible for playing games. I would also like to clearly explain that Thunderbolt is not a monitor connection. Sure, if you walk into an Apple store, they'll sell you anything for your thunderbolt port (not really), but the monitors themselves are just Mini Displayport. I have a thunderbolt HD video capture device, and I know there are a lot of audio interfaces that now work with thunderbolt, but its important to know that there are actually few devices that I see most users needing on a daily basis that work over thunderbolt. There are tons of adapters for everything, but you dont see a large amount of devices using it. Just like Firewire, I dont see thunderbolt sticking around much longer.

I think you would be better off with an i5 or i7 over a Xeon for what you are looking to do. I am also not sure you really need to run ECC RAM for desktop office usage. You are not hosting a zero downtime Exchange Server, nor are you going to see RAM usage consistently over 50% for extended periods of time. Do what you want, but I do hardware break/fix for datacenters. Im not convinced you will see a benefit.

You could buy any case you want (I use an NZXT Source 210 Elite which was $50) and you can then add dynamat to it yourself. Its really up to you, but if youre going to be primarily running SSDs, your choice of fans will be what make or break any vibration in the case.

When it comes to onboard USB3.1, in a couple of months, or even years, its hard to say if a firmware update (provided there is one) will allow you to fully take advantage of future devices. A PCIe card may be the easier way to actually keep up to date on your hardware if you want to future proof. I would honestly not hold my breath over the future of thunderbolt, and thats saying it and owning devices that use it. Amazing concept, but too far forward for what it is. If thunderbolt really took off, you would get something with two ports, and never need an onboard USB 3.1 connector.

Displayport and HDMI are here to stay I would think. Thunderbolt just passes along Mini Displayport, thats why the connectors are physically identical. I could see DVI going away, even VGA on most machines.

All that said though, if youre looking to play games in this, youve changed the build completely, youre looking for a gaming PC. Theres nothing wrong with that, a good gaming PC will do office tasks with no problem, and you'll have the power of an i7 to render things out. It will do all of what youre doing well enough to not need an upgrade along the way. If you build a workstation machine and find that its very bad at gaming, then youre going to look at spending more money just to build a gaming computer, and we havent even established what kind of games you would want to try out.

Think over it, but an i7 with non-ECC RAM may not be what you want, but it will do what you want just as well. Some food for thought to consider at least.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by awitko » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:58 pm

quest_for_silence wrote:
awitko wrote:Some cases like the Define R5 are specifically designed to reduce noise - using for example sound absorbing materials to pad the internal surfaces of the case.
Which are mostly marketing gimnicks. :wink:
Are there some other cases that you think are as good or better in terms of silence as the define R5? What about the Thermaltake F31? Bullet BH7? Others?

I certainly would be interested in hard data that can separate out fact from fiction in terms of this and other sound proofing features. I think there is a video on the fractal design site showing sound tests being done on an R5 and there were tests here that were very positive.

On a larger scale, I have seen that concept work amazingly well. A few decades ago I went to AT&T Bell Labs in NJ where they has a sound proof room where they tested electronics not unlike they do at Silent PC Review. If you turned your back to me and spoke the sound waves would normally bounce off the walls to get to me but it was unreal how much of the sound disappeared into the wall instead. It was a long time ago so I may not remember correctly, but I think you could not hear them at all.

It was basically the same concept as these materials though much more elaborate - absorbing the sound rather than reflecting it. Only question is does it translate or not to these materials and scale.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by Abula » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:17 pm

It was basically the same concept as these materials though much more elaborate - absorbing the sound rather than reflecting it. Only question is does it translate or not to these materials and scale.
Cases dont play a huge roll in ending with a quiet computer as the marketing implies, its best to chose carefully the components than to expect a case to really dapen the noise. Personally i think with any case you can build a quiet setup, for example my FT05 can taken to inaudible levels and still offer a good air cooling setup, even though its not as restricted as the R5, but requieres much more planning, even changing fans, etc. But overall buy the case you like, the R5 no doubt offer a great package, its easy to build, it has a frontal door to help dampen the noise, dampening mat on the sides, etc, its very widely used here and recommended, and having build on the R4, i can see why its good.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by bonestonne » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:11 pm

Sound itself is nothing more than vibrations at the correct frequency to travel through air. As far as a silent PC goes, individual components are what make up the most sound. Fans and hard drives are the primary offenders, with whiney coils a close third. Overall, a computer doesn't have much else that can make noise. Keeping this in mind, why are certain cases considered "quieter" than others? When you look at a lot of builds, hard drives are typically just screwed directly to the case, as are fans. When you look at "typical" (non SPCR) builds for gamers, they run a ton of fans. More fans = more noise. How can certain cases help this? Material density. When thinking back to how sound is vibration, it's more difficult for the sound to travel through a dense material. Think of putting dynamat on the inside of your PC case, all you're doing is adding density, which in turn makes it more difficult for vibration to travel.

On the topic of anechoic chambers, those are designed to break up sound waves so they cannot reverberate or continue to travel. The sound simply is unable to travel/carry, so it dissipates significantly faster. The walls are also incredibly dense to reduce or prevent outside sound waves from entering.

So to entertain your question about whether some cases are better in terms of silence, sure. Cases like the R5 use very dense materials, and avoid having openings that directly face outward into a room. This further helps to break up PC noise at the source (the PC itself). Does it really scale down to something the size of a PC? Yes, but there are different factors in a PC that make it more difficult. In a PC, the worst offenders of noise are things that you can't really sound proof.

First, you have hard drives. They vibrate physically due to the rotation on the internal motor, and pass that along to the case. Several years ago we had products like the Scythe Quiet Drive, along with many users here creating DIY solutions to de-couple the hard drive from the case. Having dealt with a couple of particularly noisy drives myself, this is a very significant step. The catch 22 today is that with a lot of new builds using SSDs, there's no reason to de-couple them. They don't vibrate or produce any noises.

Second, you have turbulance noise from fans. Companies like Noctua, Noiseblocker and Scythe are super popular to SPCR folks is because their fans are designed to produce less turbulance noise based on blade design. Not only that, but Scythe (I think) pioneered the newer fans with smaller central hubs. This meant more blade area to move a greater volume of air. You could get a slower spinning fan with a smaller hub and move the same amount of air. Slower fan = less turbulance = less noise. As a third, paired with number two, you have the physical vibration that would come from the fans, and resonate throughout the case just like hard drive noise would. Decoupling the fans from the case can have an equally profound effect on the noise coming from the computer.

Since a lot of users here will run fans below 12v (either through PWM adjustments or through hardware adapters), you can take nearly any case and significantly cut down on where noise will originate from. With that all in mind, you can't really compare layering a PC case with dynamat to an anechoic chamber because the PC has vents for airflow out of necessity. It would be like leaving a door open the anechoic chamber all the time, it defeats the purpose.

Without trying to re-enact the chicken or the egg scenario, it leads you to the question of how is the PC going to stay quiet? That takes you right back to the components that you put inside it. Stock case fans? Most of the time they're terrible. They go bad pretty quickly, they might not be well balanced, or they may run at way too high an RPM to be anywhere near quiet. So you swap in a couple of good case fans. I'm no fan running more than 1-2 case fans. Rear and upper exhaust only. Tape off any vents on the side of the case so airflow can travel from the front of the case towards the back simply motivated by negative air pressure. Choose the largest CPU cooler you can in order to dissipate the most heat with the least effort, and also select a high quality, quiet CPU fan. Finally, decouple any spinning hard drives, and you've reduced all of your noise generating components. You're left with just selecting the GPU and the PSU. PSU selection isn't difficult, I've never really encountered a particularly noisy PSU, but some have silent operation modes for the fan under a certain load. The GPU may be inescapable, depending on your needs, but there are aftermarket coolers for most GPUs out there. A big cooler that has an adequate amount of airflow is all you need.

Lastly, a difficult idea to really settle in your mind is "How much heat can this machine tolerate?" You don't need to ensure that your machine is running at a consistent 32C. It's okay for a machine to idle a little warmer. I can tell you that my pair of 10 cores throttle down very well, and if the machine is idling, it generates a surprisingly low amount of heat. When it gets under a heavy workload, it obviously generates a huge amount of heat, but that's what the PWM is there for. When temperatures rise, so will fan speeds. As long as you select fans that max out at RPMs that you find tolerable and are still moving enough air to keep the system cool, you're good to go. Obviously, that balance is not particularly easy to reach, but in a system build like this one, where the fans are the only parts that are moving and causing vibrations, the fan selection is the most important part. Take the fans out of the equation and the system wont generate any noise, and that's regardless of what case you use.

So I end up back where I started a bit, where with this build (and many others out there) where you're relying on SSDs specifically, the case ends up being an aesthetic choice. You choose the one you like the best, based on whatever you like, whether you think one looks better or arranges the hardware the way you want, and after all that, the only thing you really need to be concerned with is how to arrange the fans in order to maximize cooling while keeping overall noise down. If one fan operates at -15dB, then adding a second identical fan will raise that noise up to -12dB, because a second identical source adds 3dB. Do I have hard data on any one case, not personally, but from what I just went over, it explains why the R5 can be perceived as a "quieter" case compared to many others (the denser materials being used). Am I pushing you away from selecting the R5? Not at all, if you like it, by all means. I only want to make sure that yourself, and other readers take into consideration what actually makes the R5 "quieter" in the event that they want to use a different case, and are hoping to attain somewhat similar results. Not easy, but not impossible, it just comes down to component selection and fan configuration (speed, placement, CFM ratings).

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:24 am

awitko wrote:Are there some other cases that you think are as good or better in terms of silence as the define R5? What about the Thermaltake F31? Bullet BH7? Others?

No, don't get me wrong, the R5 is among the best you can buy, talking about that kind of enclosure.

Though the sound proofing on any enclosure is way less effective than the marketing pretends to be.
The effectiveness depends of an alpha coefficient which is specific for a given material, and depending on the frequency and thickness, so that one given layer cannot work for any phenomenon.
Particularly on lower frequencies you do need very thick layer, which you won't find in any enclosure like the R5.

About some figures of the effectiveness, you may compare both the Fractal Define Mini and Fractal Arc Mini (it's the same enclosure) in the latter SPCR review: with a discrete gaming card, their SPL was virtually the same (a bit better for the undampened Arc, but that doesn't matter).

So it's mostly depends on build quality and your parts selection.

ATM I don't recall where SPCR actually wrote about lining, but you might also read some sparse thoughts from our gentle host Mike Chin here, here and even here.

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Re: Feedback and Suggestions for Silent Build. Fanless optio

Post by BigKahuna » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:38 am

awitko,

I also wanted a quiet workstation and sprung for the X-170, Xeon E3-1275, Samsung 950 PRO M2, and 4 x Kingston 8GB ECC memory (the one recommended for the motherboard).

I used a Corsair RM650x PSU, and while it is overkill, the fan won't come on unless it is 50% loaded! Plus I picked it on real cheap.

As well as quiet, I want reliable! I have a lot of storage needs and SSDs would be too expensive. I can put up with a bit of noise while Android compiles :-). I can always go for a coffee and smoke :-).

Anyone have any familiarity with the X-170. I am having some problems with the RAID configuration. SATA3 ports that should be okay to use with M.2 installed don't seem to be correct in the manual.

Dave

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