Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

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ListysDad
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Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by ListysDad » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:38 am

I'm looking to build a PC that will do anything I can throw at it.

It will be a minimum of dual monitor, maybe three, have at least 6 HDs, and be required to do complex 3d rendering and video editing work so teh last thing I want to do is have to sit in front of the blessed thing watching the egg timer!!

I've always used AMD but happy to go for any as I have decided that reliability, sheer power and abolute silence are my goals with this baby so I've NO preconceptions.

Suggestions folks please from cases, fan arrangements (or not) right the way through... ENLIGHTEN ME. :twisted:
Last edited by ListysDad on Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Fire-Flare
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by Fire-Flare » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:30 am

I can't speak for traditional cases, but I imagine you want the following hardware in it:

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair IV Formula; because it has 7 or 8 PWM fan headers, all of them are BIOS controlled, 3 have connections for temperature probes. Lots of fans running slowly can cool as well as a few at full speed.

Any AM3 CPU, the board can overclock any of them and turn on disabled cores. (Unless they're renumbered ones that didn't work in the first place)

Scythe Mugen 2 CPU cooler, I highly recommend using 2 fans on it with vibration dampeners.

RAM: G-Skill's 'Ripjaws' series. Check the packaging to make sure it works with AMD processors.

Video Card: Asus' Direct CU 6870. The cooler uses direct touch heatpipes and the back of the card has a cooling plate for the memory.

Power supply: Seasonic's X series

HDD: Laptop drives hands down. Smaller so there's less vibration and the motors don't work as hard. They're also easier to suspend.
My build: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=69018

Swiftech MCP35X review: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=65287

quest_for_silence
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by quest_for_silence » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:31 am

ListysDad wrote:ENLIGHTEN ME. :twisted:

Have you tried yet to pull some AC from the socket by your own fingers? :evil:

Out of metaphors, I mean you have not given any clue to let us help you.
Such things as actual apps, available space, budget, previous experience with quiet systems, and so on.

However, a thing is sure: for (somewhat serious) CPU-based rendering, currently AMD has become sort of a siding rail.
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Luca

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johnniecache7
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by johnniecache7 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:13 am

Possible but not easy that will be expensive and a lot work.

ListysDad
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by ListysDad » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:46 am

I do realise it's not going to be cheap but, if all works out, money will not be the issue.

I currently have an Antec Solo case (slightly modified) with 7 HDs in all with each suspended by bungie cord so the only sound one really hears if I listen hard is them spinning up and then the seek clicks on the older drives. With a case fan, a cpu fan, PSU fan and two fans cooling the HDs it sits approx 350mm from my right ear and my typing is MUCH noisier. All are 120mm and modified and all are controlled so that the flow/noise ration is just about spot on. The CPU cooler was only ever designed for an 800m fan so I built a reducer for it and soft mounted it.

I built my first computer in 1979 out of individual components (well before PCs) so I'd say I'm reasonably confident.

What I'm not today, is up on the latest technologies or models so thats why I'm seeking opinions.

In a perfect world, the system would be all passive but that's not realistic or cost effective.

David
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by MikeC » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:16 am

Why do you mention # of drives instead of total capacity? 6 HDDs: If they were all 3TB WD Greens, that would be 18TB.

Power & silence is no problem. Just look through some of our recent Silent PC Build Guides, and at the Puget Serenity Sandy Bridge SPCR Edition... then come back with a more specific plan & build list for us to comment on.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Serenity_ ... _Bridge_PC
http://www.silentpcreview.com/section21.html
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silentplummet
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by silentplummet » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:50 am

These days the only really problematic element in a modern computer system is the GPU because it generates so much waste heat in such a small and inconvenient-to-cool area.

Data storage can be offloaded to another machine with a high bandwidth link (for local storage use flash SSDs) and CPU efficiency is so great that mainstream modern CPUs like the Sandy Bridge desktop processors are on the threshold of passive cooling. We even have fanless and semi-fanless power supplies capable of operation in the 400-700 watt range. We're spoiled these days.

So the question becomes, how much GPU muscle do you need to "handle anything you can throw at it"? You won't be able to build a silent system capable of running the newest 3D games at 1080p and 60 fps. This is not possible today as far as I know. The best you can do on truly silent (passive) cooling and keep system temps sane is the mid-range AMD 5770 GPU from last year. Even then you have to get your hands dirty and hack an aftermarket cooler onto them. Forget any of NVidia's cards or anything from the AMD performance line.

If you compromise for a system that can handle anything you can throw at it, except 3D accelerated games at high detail settings, then silence (even systems with no moving parts at all) is easily within your grasp.

danimal
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by danimal » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:56 pm

i agree that the video card will be the biggest noisemaker, especially if you are using it for video rendering, ala premiere pro cs5, or photoshop cs5, which can also take advantage of the gpu... it's an intel/nvidia game, running anything amd in that scenario would mean more noise, more cpu heat, and much less rendering power.

silver arrow for the cpu cooler, and maybe the ft02, if the gpu usage is going to be serious... cut out the two front fan grills on the bottom, and fashion a big air duct that funnels fan air from below right into the gpu fan intake/cooling area.

the gpu card to get would be a gtx 480 Zotac AMP!, which uses the zalman cooler; or get the gtx 580, and mount your own zalman, since zotac didn't put the zalman on their gtx 580 AMP!.

wrt premiere pro cs5, there is a formula for the frame size of the video, that determines how much ram is needed on the video card... make sure that the 1.5 gigs of ram on the Zotac AMP! gtx 480 is enough to cover what the formula says that you need... i'd look up the formula for you, but i don't know what kind of video you'll be shooting.

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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by Tim S » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:50 am

Of course, if you want REAL power and silence, then do what the "pros" do:

1) build the most powerful (and probably noisy) PC you can
2) put it in a remote room (let's call it a server room)
3) network it via gigabit ethernet to your quiet PC/netbook/whatever (let's call it a desktop)
4) use your favorite remote desktop protocol to access it (RDP, Xwindows, NX. VNC, etc.)
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ListysDad
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by ListysDad » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:00 am

Some sound advice people and I thank you one and all.
As for doing what the pros do, I have to sit with it in my home so if I put it in another room I'd get even more noise - in my ears!!! :?
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andymcca
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by andymcca » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:07 am

Will you be doing any hardware assisted encoding (using CUDA or the like), or will the encoding be done mostly by CPU? What sort of encoding will you be doing (ie how well does it multithread)?

If you will not be using hardware acceleration for encoding (and are not obsessed with high-resolution gaming), the video card may not be all that important.

My current favorite AM3 CPUs are the 1090T (6 core if your application multi-threads well) and the 965BE (4 core, high clocks possible). I know there are newer editions (1100T and 970BE), but I don't know that they are worth the price premiums.
If cost is not a huge issue, the new (Intel) Sandy Bridge chips are (surprisingly) competitively priced, and probably your best bet for best-case CPU performance. Too bad they don't have a 6-core model yet, or it would wreck the competition. Sandy Bridge also appears very power efficient. Lower idle power == lower idle fan speeds required.

Edit: Not sure that there are enough SATA connectors by default, but the Seasonic X-650 power supply should be mostly inaudible. Saw that you mentioned PSU noise! If you need more SATA connectors, it is modular, and I believe additional connectors are available (not sure about details).

Edit2:
danimal wrote:it's an intel/nvidia game, running anything amd in that scenario would mean more noise, more cpu heat, and much less rendering power.
Do you mention nvidia over AMD/ATI because of CUDA, or some other reason I'm not seeing. Just curious.
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ListysDad
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by ListysDad » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:22 pm

If it helps, I'll be using premiere and photoshop to create/edit and manage videos. Does anyone know how core aware Adobe products are? My, limited, understanding was that they are core aware.

I didn't make myself clear in my OP. I'm NOT tied to AMD I've just always used 'em. From whatI've been advised here Intel seems to offer slightly nbbetter performance at pres. They always leap frog though I guess. As its my business, I would appreciate teh benefits of reduced power consumption offered by sandy bridge but the drives and graphics cards are going to the teh hungry beasts.
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quest_for_silence
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by quest_for_silence » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:03 pm

ListysDad wrote:If it helps, I'll be using premiere and photoshop to create/edit and manage videos. Does anyone know how core aware Adobe products are? My, limited, understanding was that they are core aware.

I can't definitely help, but maybe you might have some clues (broadly speaking) from some articles (while not strictly Premiere related):

For a more wholearthed picture, perhaps you may give a further look even to Anandtech and also Xbit Labs.
Regards,
Luca

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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by danimal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:09 pm

andymcca wrote:
danimal wrote:it's an intel/nvidia game, running anything amd in that scenario would mean more noise, more cpu heat, and much less rendering power.
Do you mention nvidia over AMD/ATI because of CUDA, or some other reason I'm not seeing. Just curious.
mostly cuda, but also better drivers.

danimal
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by danimal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:15 pm

ListysDad wrote:If it helps, I'll be using premiere and photoshop to create/edit and manage videos. Does anyone know how core aware Adobe products are? My, limited, understanding was that they are core aware.
i assume that you'll be editing native avchd? you'll want to throw the most cpu horsepower you can at it, because cuda is not yet implemented, when playing back off of the premiere pro cs5 timeline... it's only used for rendering.

the real sandy bridge isn't coming until later this year, so it's a tough call until then... i overclock the cr*p out of an i7-920 for editing avchd, but even some of these early sandy bridge cpu's are very overclockable.

Strid
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by Strid » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:17 am

MikeC wrote:Why do you mention # of drives instead of total capacity? 6 HDDs: If they were all 3TB WD Greens, that would be 18TB.
Just a note; For a work station/server application this is not entirely true. More HDD's can equal more bandwidth in a RAID0 setting. My homeserver has 5x 500 GB WD Blue 3.5" HDD's in RAID0, which gives me around than 650 MB/sec sequential write speed. I could never fill all 2.5 TB with data, but I frequently run applications which max out the I/O bandwidth to disks. Sorry to sound like a nitpick, but I just wanted to add that there are more than space to hard drives, and this is also worth considering! :)
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by Erelyes » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:39 am

ListysDad wrote:From whatI've been advised here Intel seems to offer slightly nbbetter performance at pres. They always leap frog though I guess.
I think that's an understatement. Pretty much anything AMD offers that isn't a bargain-price part now looks obsolete. Except perhaps the 6-cores, which look agricultural. Heck, the first generation Core architecture looks like a deer in the headlights.

I think that out of well-informed consumers, 90% will be buying Sandy Bridge. As to whether AMD has an answer - part of me hopes they do, but it's the same part of me that hopes the Panthers do well next season.

Also, my near-venerable C2D E8400 started playing silly buggers pretty much the day Sandy Bridge dropped. This is indisputable evidence that it is shaking in its boots for fear of being replaced. Which it will be, but keep it quiet, I don't want to petrify it :lol:

andymcca
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by andymcca » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:43 am

Strid wrote:5x 500 GB WD Blue 3.5" HDD's in RAID0
Just curious: What method of implementing your RAID did you use? Sexy Linux kernel RAID? Or some fancy controller?
Currently running Mint 14 MATE on all machines.
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by MikeC » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:35 am

Strid wrote:
MikeC wrote:Why do you mention # of drives instead of total capacity? 6 HDDs: If they were all 3TB WD Greens, that would be 18TB.
Just a note; For a work station/server application this is not entirely true. More HDD's can equal more bandwidth in a RAID0 setting. My homeserver has 5x 500 GB WD Blue 3.5" HDD's in RAID0, which gives me around than 650 MB/sec sequential write speed. I could never fill all 2.5 TB with data, but I frequently run applications which max out the I/O bandwidth to disks. Sorry to sound like a nitpick, but I just wanted to add that there are more than space to hard drives, and this is also worth considering! :)
What isn't true? Nothing but simple fact in my 2nd sentence above.

I know you mean to say the OP mentions # of drives because he may have a specific RAID config in mind... which is fair enough, tho he has not addressed this. I would also suggest that if you were using newer, higher density HDDs, you'd get the same speed with fewer drives... and less noise. (We won't bother with issues of reliability vs speed in RAID.)
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nutbar
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by nutbar » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:23 pm

If money truly is not an issue:

http://www.fusionio.com/products/iodriveoctal/

This is a solid state hard drive replacement in the form of a double wide PCIe x16 2.0 "card", though "contraption" might be a better word. This would be many orders of magnitude faster than any array of physical hard disk drives you could ever hope to piece together. From what I understand about working with video, this could be extremely useful to you. However, it's many thousands of dollars, some lesser models (not the "octal") sell for $14,000-$20,000. I can't find a price for the octal 5.12TB (8x640GB).

Also, regarding processor choice: Currently, Intel's i7s are significantly faster (as opposed to "slightly" or "a bit" faster) than AMD's offerings for most uses. (But not all, try to find benchmarks specific to the applications you will be using to be certain). It's a safe bet to get a Sandy Bridge CPU to be secure in having a great processor for your needs.

ListysDad
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Re: Is it possible to get POWER and silence?

Post by ListysDad » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:32 pm

OMG!

When I said not an issue... thats not an 'issue' its off the scale! Can totally see where you're coming from though and thanks for depressing me :cry:
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