Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

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Greg_R
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 1:23 pm

Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by Greg_R » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:59 pm

I'm building a workstation that will also be used for light gaming. I want 4k video for work but gaming @ 1080p would be fine. Typical workstation use is heavy parallel CPU tasks (hence the 8 core). This workstation is also used as a media server that performs transcoding duties for multiple simultaneous streams. Finally, I want a case with USB 3.0 ports on the front or top (add in 5.25 bay is fine if the slot exists) and that supports a lot of drive bays.

Case: Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 (or 6)
GPU: Asus 960 GTX Strix
CPU: i7-5960X
CPU cooler: Prolimatech Genesis CPU cooler
CPU cooler fans: 2x Prolimatech Red Vortex fans
MB: midrange Asus or Gigabyte 2011-v3 board
Memory: Kingston HyperX 32GB
Drives: 2x 5.25 optical drive (yes, they are needed)
Drives: 8x Mix of Seagate ST4000 NAS and WD Red drives 4TB <-- mix of earlier build and new. Having a 9th slot would be really nice when I need to swap out dying drives.
Drives: Intel SSD <-- Scratch disk, from an earlier build
Drives: Samsung 950 Pro M.2 drive <-- O/S

My main problem is finding a case that seems like it will be quiet while handling the required drive capacity. I read through the recommendation guides and none of the cases supported a lot of drives (Nanoxia is not mentioned). I could go even crazier with something like a Lian Li PC-D8000 but the drive mounting seems like it would be very prone to vibration noise. Other alternates are Mountain Mods or similar cases that have the drives bolting onto the fans w. an adapter (noise would travel through the fans).

Questions:
- Any thoughts about a case solution? I could squeeze by with 8 3.5" and 2 5.25" bays but would prefer 9 3.5" if possible.
- Will the Prolimatech handle the 5960X at stock freqs? At what amount of overclock will it choke? Keep in mind that most folks are seeing 160W max draw at 4Ghz. Should I consider a AIO WC solution instead?

quest_for_silence
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by quest_for_silence » Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:50 am

Greg_R wrote:Questions:
- Any thoughts about a case solution? I could squeeze by with 8 3.5" and 2 5.25" bays but would prefer 9 3.5" if possible.
Nanoxias are nice options, regardless of whatever Mike & Lawrence say. Among others with at least 9 bays I'd say: Antec P183v3, P193v3, Nineteen Hundred , Twelve Hundred V3; Fractal Define XL2, Arc XL; InWin Dragon Rider, GR One; but I'm sure there may be further ones.

Greg_R wrote:- Will the Prolimatech handle the 5960X at stock freqs?

Yes.

Greg_R wrote:At what amount of overclock will it choke?

We don't have any crystal ball, but it mostly depends of specific chip and ventilation (particularly case ventilation), given it is able to dissipate in excess of 300w.

Greg_R wrote:Should I consider a AIO WC solution instead?
No, it won't be any better noise-wise: alternatively you may look for a custom loop with a 280/360mm radiator.

Gunbuster
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Location: Scotland, UK

Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by Gunbuster » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:16 am

Also maybe consider the FT02, it has 5x 3.5" and 5x 5.25" and 1x 2.5". Realitically three of those 5.25" bays could be used with 3.5" drives. Maybe even hotswap them, if you need that.

CA_Steve
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:23 am

Have you considered splitting this into two builds, where one is a work/gaming build and the other is just a server/disk box in a closet/another room? It would open up your case choices and be much quieter.

Greg_R
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by Greg_R » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:43 am

CA_Steve wrote:Have you considered splitting this into two builds, where one is a work/gaming build and the other is just a server/disk box in a closet/another room? It would open up your case choices and be much quieter.
Steve, yes I was considering that but had some concerns about the bandwidth between the workstation and the disks when I was transcoding or copying files around. If I need to serve 4 HD or 4k video streams at once, would I be able to pull from the remote disks on the network, transcode them, and then serve them w/o any problems? The numbers seem to work out (esp. if I do link aggregation between the NAS, workstation, and router) but will it work in the real world?

I agree that it would greatly simplify my design problem.

baii
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by baii » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:11 am

Typical 1g nic can push close to 100MB/s which is close to single 7200 drive. If you mostly work within the scratch disk, would that be enough?

Otherwise, 10g nic seems to be a justified investment for you. I am not sure if 10g nic can do direct client to client, if it does, then you can just get 2 adapter and direct link them without switch.

Greg_R
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by Greg_R » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:27 am

baii wrote:Typical 1g nic can push close to 100MB/s which is close to single 7200 drive. If you mostly work within the scratch disk, would that be enough?
For file copying that should be OK.

What kind of sound level difference are we talking about between having 8-9 5400rpm drives in a chassis versus 1 (keeping in mind the better case options)? Is this a few dB or a major difference?

quest_for_silence
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by quest_for_silence » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:08 pm

Greg_R wrote:What kind of sound level difference are we talking about between having 8-9 5400rpm drives in a chassis versus 1 (keeping in mind the better case options)? Is this a few dB or a major difference?

It mostly depends of drives of choice: MikeC wrote a while ago
Effect of the Number of HDDs - Much of the impressively quiet performance can be attributed directly to the sterling acoustic properties of the Western Digital Green Power hard drives. It's hard to imagine any other stack of six HDDs measuring just 18 dBA@1m. To explore the acoustic summing effect, we tried listening and measuring SPL with different numbers of WD GP drives. Removing a single drive, so that the total number of active drives was five, resulted in virtually no difference in perceived or measured noise. With two drives removed, the SPL@1m dropped by only 1 dBA, a barely noticeable difference. When just three drives were running, the difference was a total drop of 2 dBA, which is a surprisingly small improvement and less than the theoretical 3 dB difference expected. (Editor's Note: The A-weighting probably had an impact due to the relatively high proportion of lower frequencies in the total SPL of the HDD. In effect, our system with three hard drives on a wooden table was acoustically indistinguishable from the same system with six hard drives, but sitting on foam. The latter, in some subtle way, may actually be more benign to hear, perhaps because it is slightly less tonal in the lower frequency range.

Some figures for 9 drives:

Image

CA_Steve
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Re: Quiet workstation - case and cooler?

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:06 pm

Greg_R wrote:Steve, yes I was considering that but had some concerns about the bandwidth between the workstation and the disks when I was transcoding or copying files around. If I need to serve 4 HD or 4k video streams at once, would I be able to pull from the remote disks on the network, transcode them, and then serve them w/o any problems? The numbers seem to work out (esp. if I do link aggregation between the NAS, workstation, and router) but will it work in the real world?

I agree that it would greatly simplify my design problem.
Ah, more details. :)

So, if I get this right, you have 4k video stored in the (unknown) format on HDDs. You then transcode up to 4 at a time on the fly to (unknown) 4k format and serve them as streams. If you were doing the transcoding and then storing the work on drives for later streaming, then separating into two PCs makes sense. This doesn't. Luca's advice is a better direction.

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