AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC

SPCR Certified Silent PCs | Complete|Mobile Systems
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AVADirect Custom Computers is the latest vendor to offer a SPCR-certified PC. This US system integrator, based in Cleveland, Ohio, is a ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer that maintains ANSI/ESD 20:20 compliance for correct handling of ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) sensitive components. You can read more about AVADirect on their about us page.

The system AVADirect submitted for SPCR certification has a fairly high performance graphics card, one fitted with thermally controlled cooling fans. It is the first PC for SPCR certification I've examined that does not feature a passively-cooled video card. Here's a summary of the system components:

AVADirect Core i5 / i7 Z77 Low-Noise Custom Gaming System
Motherboard
ASUS P8Z77-V LX
CPU
INTEL Core™ i7-3770K Quad-Core
RAM
CRUCIAL 16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR3 1866MHz SDRAM
Video Card
GAINWARD Phantom GeForce® GTX 560 Ti 2GB
Solid State Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB
Hard Drive
WD 1.5TB Caviar® Green™ encased in
Smart Drive NEO Silent HDD Enclosure, 5.25"
Optical Drive
SONY AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW
Case
NZXT H2 Classic Silent Black Mid-Tower
Power
SEASONIC X-660 Power Supply
CPU Cooler
PROLIMATECH, Megahalems Rev. B w/ Dual 120mm NB SilentPro PL-1 Ultra Quiet Fan, Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
Fans
1 NB-SilentPro PK-1 140mm Ultra Quiet Case Fan
4 NB-SilentPro PL-1 120mm Ultra Quiet Case Fan
Assembly
Standard Wiring: Precision Cable Routing & Tie-Down
OS
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit w/ SP1
Warranty
Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Ltd Parts & Labor)
Price
As tested, June 2012: $2075

Most of the primary system components are well known to SPCR. The NZXT H2 case is a newer version of the one we reviewed back last year, with significant improvements to overall airflow, our primary criticism of the original. It remains a very hefty, solid, low-noise oriented case. The Prolimatech heatsink, the WD Green hard drive in the Smart Drive enclosure, the Seasonic X power supply, the Noiseblocker fans — all of these potential noise sources have been well-received in SPCR reviews. They are identifiably quiet components.

The exception is the Gainward Phantom GeForce® GTX 560 Ti 2GB, which we have not tested, and is equipped with two fans. The GPU itself is a 822 Mhz clock version of the nVidia GeForce 560 Ti core, which lies somewhere in the mid-high end of gaming GPUs at this point in time. The card offers performance close to that of the AMD Radeon HD 6950 and a small step down from the GTX 570. The GTX 560 Ti is a card whose Thermal Design Power (TDP) can run upwards of 210W; this is higher than any desktop CPU on the market today, and a reason for concern in a quiet PC. The only way such high power can be dissipated effectively with current technology requires active fan cooling, and at full power, the two cooling fans on this card will most likely be the loudest noises in the PC.

AVADirect says they experimented with six different 560 Ti models from different brands before settling on the Gainward. They felt the Gainward card gave the system the best chance of meeting SPCR requirements for the newly established "Quiet PC" certification, which calls for maximum SPL levels of 20 dBA@1m in idle, and 27 dBA@1m during maximum system load. This certification was designed with gaming enthusiasts in mind, for those who want their PC to be very quiet in normal use but don't mind a bit of noise in exchange for very high performance during game play when headphones or speakers are sounding gaming effects.

The sample system came in a large box, with the PC inside a second carton, the original carton of the NZXT H2 case. A large quantity of foam chips filled the space bwteen the two cartons. Finally, the interior of the PC was also stuffed with anti-static closed cell foam to ensure that no internal components could get loose in transit.


Large plain brown shipping carton...


...contained the PC in a the NZXT H2 carton, the box for the motherboard holding unused accessories, manuals, disks, etc, and a whole lot of foam chips.


Judiciously wedged pieces of anti-static closed cell foam ensure none of the components can get loose and turn into a wrecking ball inside during shipping.

Quiet Gaming PC page at AVADirect



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