Efficient and silent home office PC

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Daox
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Location: Wisconsin

Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:13 am

I've been discussing this upgrade for a bit in my other thread. I've started a new one to discuss the components a bit more and narrow things down. I'm upgrading from my last build in 2011 which is an Athlon X3 455 (detailed specs in my other thread). I'm hoping this next build will be massively more efficient (this is a focus), but also quicker, and quieter. The most taxing thing this PC will see is some 3d modeling with Solidworks, other than that, its lots of browsing and multitasking office apps.

So, lets give it a shot:

CPU
Intel Pentium Kaby Lake G4620 3.6 ghz

Motherboad
This is where I could use some help. I'm pretty happy with the Intel B250 chipset's features. I like the idea of micro ATX or mini ITX. 4 ram slots would be nice, but I'm wondering if/when I'd need to upgrade from 8gb. My current short list is:

MSI B250M PRO-VD
MSI B250M PRO-VDH
ASRock B250M-HDV
GIGABYTE GA-B250M-DS3H

Ram
1x8gb or 2x4gb? Not sure if there is performance penalties going to a single stick anymore. PC2400 whatever brand.

Storage
Samsung - 850 EVO 500GB M.2 500 gb
I currently have a USB 3.0 SSD / HDD dock that I can use for excess storage.

Power Supply
Reuse my Rosewill Green 530W 80 plus. It is pretty quiet, though it does spin the fan at my current idle load of 120W. Maybe it won't at a much lower idle load?

Optical Drive
Reuse old one(s). I'll temporarily look these up as necessary. I almost never use them.

Case
I am planning on running caseless. This will make a fun project for me and my 3d printer. I plan on mounting the motherboard on the rear board of my hutch behind my right monitor. The PSU will either be behind this board, or sitting on the desk behind the monitor.

Image

OS
I am planning on putting win 7 on this machine. Its what I got and it works fine. I don't see a need to replace it with 10, but if you have any ideas I'm all ears.

I think thats about it. I appreciate any feedback!
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CA_Steve
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:45 am

The first warning flag is the video outputs on these motherboards. You need support for two DVI connections. Either a mobo with two DVI (rare) or a DVI and another port you can convert to DVI with a cable (displayport, HDMI). You don't want to use the D-Sub connector because it means the PC is taking the digital signal and converting it to analog, and then the monitor is digitizing the analog signal for the display. In other words, you are degrading the picture quality.

RAM: You'll want to do a test case using your existing system - pop open the Win Task Manager and run your worst case 3D model along with whatever apps you typically have running. See what the in use RAM total is. If you are well below 8GB, then no reason to worry about it for the new build. As far as single channel vs dual channel: if the tasks are heavily memory intensive, then dual channel can provide a performance bump.

PSU: there's nothing in the product features that mentions any passive fan during low load operation..so, you got what you got.

CPU cooler: you could try the box fan that comes with the CPU and see if it meets your needs for temps and noise. If it doesn't, you can always get a suggestion for a decent one here.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Daox
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Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:04 am

Thanks for the suggestions Steve! I never would have thought of that. The VGA issue eliminates the MSI B250M PRO-VD. Thats too bad, its currently only $38.50 on amazon for an open box! I'd have given it a shot for that price. This leaves the other three which do have an HDMI output as well as a DVI. I'll have to check what cables I have though and what inputs my monitors have.

As for the ram, I did your test the other night. I max my usage out around 4-5 gig it seems. For now I seem to have plenty of overhead. If a single slot is not going to hinder me much, I might as well go that way just for the option of future upgrades.

No real worries on the PSU noise. I can mod it if its a problem, or replace it later on.

As for the CPU cooler, I was hoping to reuse my Sunbeam CR-CCTF. It handles the current setup with ease and not a ton of airflow. With the 3d printer, I imagine I can make up a new mount for it. The only question in my mind is finding a way to get the correct pressure on the CPU. In the mean time I was planning on seeing how the OEM cooler was for noise. I suspect I will want something quieter though.

CA_Steve
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:32 pm

Another thing - it's worthwhile to download the prospective motherboard manuals in order to see the BIOS functionality...sometimes, bottom of the stack boards don't have the same level of fan control that higher priced ones do. Also want to make sure the board can control the 3-pin voltage controlled fan on your Sunbeam cooler...many only allow PWM fans for the CPU.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:35 pm

I'm not currently planning on using a fan for the CPU cooler. As it is now, I just have the CPU fan in the place of the rear case fan. The slight breeze it makes (its dialed all the way down with the included fan speed adjustment / potentiometer), and the PSU fan pulling air through is all the airflow the cooler ever sees. I also run with the case sides off. See the pic below. I figure with the new CPU pulling a fraction of the power, I was thinking that I won't even need a fan. It'll also be out in the open and on its side, so natural convection can do its job. Is this faulty thinking?

Image



I love the idea about checking the manuals. I will definitely do that.
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CA_Steve
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:52 pm

fanless: with your expected cpu loads? somewhere in the maybe to probably range :)
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:27 am

After a bit more reading, I think I am going to go with the G4560 instead of the G4620. The price difference doesn't seem to be worth the performance increase.

CA_Steve
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:44 am

ok
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:08 am

And, now I'm thinking again and perhaps the G4600 is a better go just for the slightly better integrated graphics...

In any case, I purchased the new motherboard last night due to an MSI rebate going on. I went with the MSI B250M PRO-VDH. It was $60 shipped with $10 MIR.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:12 pm

I got the rest of my bits ordered up on Sunday.

I nabbed:

Intel Pentium Kaby Lake G4600 3.6 ghz from Newegg for $87.
Samsung - 850 EVO 500GB M.2 from Newegg for $170.
GeIL EVO SPEAR 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400 from Newegg for $73.
and a HDMI to DVI cable for $3.


I also used raise.com to buy newegg.com gift cards at a discounted price. I bought $300 worth of gift cards for $265.

So, I'm now into the new system for $360ish and I have a $10 MIR coming, so total price should be ~$350.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:43 am

The old Rosewill power supply gave up the ghost last night. I have a SS-350GT on order.

Derek Semeraro
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Derek Semeraro » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:52 pm

Daox wrote:
CPU
Intel Pentium Kaby Lake G4620 3.6 ghz
good choice
Motherboad
I like the idea of micro ATX or mini ITX.
Micro ATX will be big. Mini ITX is significantly smaller.
4 ram slots would be nice, but I'm wondering if/when I'd need to upgrade from 8gb. My current short list is:
MSI B250M PRO-VD
MSI B250M PRO-VDH
ASRock B250M-HDV
GIGABYTE GA-B250M-DS3H
[/quote]

AsRock is a fine brand. Since it's not for overclocking or anything highly advanced, brand isn't overly important (so long as its compatible with the CPU) price and reviews are considerations.
Ram
1x8gb or 2x4gb? Not sure if there is performance penalties going to a single stick anymore. PC2400 whatever brand.
There's no significant penalty in performance for single-channel RAM.

An 8GB stick leaves room for upgrading, as you said.
Storage
Samsung - 850 EVO 500GB M.2 500 gb
good choice
Power Supply
Reuse my Rosewill Green 530W 80 plus. It is pretty quiet, though it does spin the fan at my current idle load of 120W. Maybe it won't at a much lower idle load?
Should be more than enough for an office PC.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:25 pm

I've already built and been running the new setup for a while now. I'm very happy with it. Thanks to everyone for the help!

Here are some pictures of the open case setup:

Here is part of the 3d printed mounting frame for the motherboard.

Image



The mounting points have legs that attach between and connect them.

Image



The frame is screwed to the motherboard.

Image



Here is the whole thing. There is a clip near the bottom of the picture that hold it against the back of the hutch.

Image



Here it is mounted and ready to have all the junk plugged in. I am surprised the OEM cooler is so quiet. The old power supply makes more noise than the cooler fan by far.

Image



I also found out today that the problem wasn't the old power supply, it was actually a bad ram stick. Both of my cheap Geil ram sticks have now died and I've replaced them with Gskill.
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NeilBlanchard
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:53 am

Nice! Having a 3D printer opens up a lot of possibilities.
Sincerely, Neil
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Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:50 am

I've been running this system for over a year now. I love it. Works great, frees up space. It could be a tad more quiet with the OE cooler, but its really not bad at all. You have to stop if you're walking through the room to hear if the computer is on or not. That is success IMO.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Mon May 25, 2020 8:08 pm

I've been revisiting the quietness of this PC lately.

I started off with the CPU cooler as it is the loudest in the setup. I unplugged the fan and watched the temps rise. But, they really didn't rise that fast at all. The power sipping G4600 pulls an absolute max of about 22W according to HWMonitor during a prime95 run. So, I dove into the bios to tweak the fan curve on it. I fought and fought with it in PWM mode, but it simply would not turn the fan off at lower temps. I finally ended up switching the fan control mode to DC mode vs PWM and finally it would stop the fan at lower temps. It starts spinning the fan at about 60C. During the prime95 run, it maxes out at 72C. However, for most normal office use, it sits around 55C. So it rarely turns on. If it does, its for a few seconds and then it turns off again. I am loving it!

This brings us to the only other source of noise in the setup, the power supply. The SSP-350GT has done an amazing job over the years and it is pretty quiet. However, it does not have a fanless operating mode so there is always a little fan noise. So, I cracked it open to take a look at the fan and the possibility of replacing it with a Noctua equivalent. It is a normal 120mm x 25 fan with a 2 wire lead. Upon reassembly, instead of using the fan screws I opted for some Noctua silicon fan mounts. Unfortunately, I am currently running my 3d printer behind me and thats much noisier than the computer (will be working on that too), so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how that worked out.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue May 26, 2020 5:01 am

Using the computer this morning I'm quite happy with the power supply fan mod. It was quick, simple and easy to do. There is still some fan noise, but it is quite acceptable.

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue May 26, 2020 5:16 am

I realized I never really posted pictures of the whole setup. Here it is. It looks messy, but there is a monitor that sits right in front of everything so you don't even see the power supply.
comp1.jpg


Here is the power supply with the silicone fan mounts.
comp2.jpg
comp3.jpg
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CA_Steve
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Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue May 26, 2020 6:24 am

cool. You could increase the hysteresis setting for the cpu fan profile to widen the on/off cycle.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Daox
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Efficient and silent home office PC

Post by Daox » Tue May 26, 2020 8:48 am

Yeah, that would probably be a good idea. I think its currently set to something incredibly low like .1 seconds. Thanks.

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