Serenity i7 Sandy Bridge PC, SPCR Edition, by Puget Computers

SPCR Certified Silent PCs | Complete|Mobile Systems
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Time flies in the tech world. Blink, turn your head for a moment, and today's greatest devices, gadgets and technology are yesterday's news. So it is with the Serenity PC, SPCR Edition. Less than four months after its initial June 2010 release, this model was updated with better, quietest components. The second edition turned out to be the quietest computer system we have ever reviewed or even laid our hands on, and probably quieter than any PC will ever be, short of one with no moving parts and zero electronic noise. Another 3.5 months later: The Intel Sandy Bridge processors and socket 1155 boards are here. So is the latest SPCR Edition of the Puget Serenity.

The table below details the changes and commonalities among the three versions of Puget Serenity i7, SPCR Edition. It is color coded, as per the key below.

Pale green
component appeared in v.1
Brighter green
v.2 originated component
Greenest box
components unique to v.3.

Puget Serenity, SPCR Edition
*
v3 (Sandy Bridge)
v2
v1
Motherboard
Asus P8P67 Pro
Asus P7P55D-E Pro
Asus P7P55D-E Pro
CPU
Intel Core i7 2600K Quad-core 3.4GHz 95W (Sandy Bridge, socket 1155)
Intel Core i7-875 (unlocked) 2.93GHz 8mb 95W (Socket 1156 45nm)
Intel Core i7-860 - 2.8GHz 8mb 95W (Socket 1156 45nm)
RAM
2 x Kingston Value DDR3-1333 4gb
4 x Kingston Value DDR3-1333 2048mb
2x Kingston Value DDR3-1333 2048mb
Video Card
PowerColor Radeon HD5750 1gb Silent
PowerColor Radeon HD5750 1gb Silent
PowerColor Radeon HD5750 1gb Silent
Hard Drive
Intel X25-M 34nm Gen2 120gb Solid State Drive
Intel X25-M 34nm Gen2 160gb Solid State Drive
Intel X25-M 34nm Gen2 160gb Solid State Drive
Hard Drive
WD Caviar Green 2.0 tb
WD Caviar Green 2.0 tb
WD Caviar Green 1.5 tb
Optical Drive
Lite-On 8x Blu-ray Player
Lite-On 8x Blu-ray Player
Pioneer 22x DVD-RW
Case
Antec P183
Antec P183
Antec P183
Power
Antec CP-850
Antec CP-1000
Antec CP-850
CPU Cooler
Gelid Tranquilo w/ Scythe SlipStream 120 fan
Gelid Tranquilo w/ Scythe SlipStream 120 fan
Gelid Tranquilo w/ stock fan
Fans
Quiet Fans Upgrade (Scythe SlipStreams)
Quiet Fans Upgrade (Scythe SlipStreams)
Quiet Case Fans (Scythe S-Flex)
Case Mods
AcoustiPack Acoustic Composite Sheets
AcoustiPack Acoustic Composite Sheets
AcoustiPack Acoustic Composite Sheets
OS
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Warranty
Lifetime Labor, 1 year parts
Lifetime Labor, 1 year parts
Lifetime Labor, 1 year parts
Warranty
Cherry picking of quietest components.
Cherry picking of quietest components.
No cherry picking of quietest components.
Price
Starts at $1250.00
As tested, Jan 2011: $2463
Starts at $1250.00
As tested, Sept 2010: $2692
Starts at $1250.00
As tested, June 2010: $2542

The fundamentals are the same, and there are only two real hardware changes from V.2: The processor and the motherboard. Puget has stuck with an ASUS board; the P8P67 Pro could be regarded as the socket 1155 version of the 1156 board used in the previous version.

Here are some notes from Puget about v.3:

A. The 160GB Intel SSD is no longer a very competitive SKU. We now recommend the 120GB version. While 40GB smaller, it is also $212.83 less. (120GB is still plenty for an OS/programs drive for most users, and there is no difference in performance.)

B. We’re also back to the 850W PSU for the Serenity. It is only $30 cheaper, so it isn’t about price. 1000W was just overkill. (850W is still overkill for this system, which does not even hit 25% of the PSU's rated power. But it is the lowest rated PSU Antec offers in the P183-perfect CP series.)

C. RAM is 2x4GB now. 4GB DIMMS have come down in price quite a bit, so they are now our default

D. The test system price is $230 lower than the v.2 sample. (And it's a better performer in every way!)

Here is a note from Puget about the changes from v.1 to v.2, which remain unchanged for v.3:

1) We've now made a custom plastic plate for blocking the top vent. It's just more polished, but also blocks the sound a tad bit better. We had to make a ton of them to make them economical, so we sell them now too!

2) We've updated all chassis fans to Scythe Slipstream 800rpm, at 5V. We did a LOT of testing, and we're very happy with the temperatures, and are confident that we're not going to find much quieter than this! Temperature logs are provided in the packet with the PC we're sending you, though I'm sure you'll be testing yourself.

3) We've updated the CPU fan to Scythe Slipstream PWM. We have gone through the BIOS, and instead of relying on the default "Silent" QFAN profile, we have custom tuned the fan ramping curve to provide the lowest noise levels while maintaining good temperatures. We also tuned it to prevent cyclic patterns of the fan ramping up and down. We keep it nice and smooth, and in fact, our full load speed is only 30% higher than our idle speed. We have this VERY well dialed in.

4) For the SPCR edition, we are now cherry picking components from our shelf that are the quietest. We've found that even with the same model of component, there are variations in noise level. Hard drive spindle noise, power supply fan noise, motherboard electrical noise (we're so quiet now that that's one of the loudest items!)... we set aside the quietest components for SPCR packages. We're branding this "Picked by ear." (Editor's note: This could be as significant as the change in fans!)

5) We've done some minor power management tuning in Windows 7. None of it is necessary to ensure quiet operation or good temperatures. We wanted to make sure customers get the same experience even if they reinstall the OS. Mainly, we're just decreasing the inactivity time before the secondary drive spins down.

Everything else about the system is the same as in the original Serenity, so there's no point going over those details again. Please refer to the original Serenity review for details on the great packaging, documentation, external cosmetics, etc.

Serenity PC page at Puget Custom Computers
The SPCR-certified Silent PC Program
Serenity i7 PC, v.2
Original Puget Serenity SPCR Edition Review



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