We began by installing the AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE in the ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 motherboard. The Scythe Mugen 2 went on after the OCZ memory sticks were installed, as the fan on the heatsink blocks the RAM slots closest to the CPU. Then the AMD HD 6870 video card, OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD and Seasonic X-650 power supply were connected to the motherboard on an open bench test platform to rough-test the hardware, and install the OS. It's faster and easier to do this and sort out potential problems before installing it all inside the case.
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and its updates were duly installed, along with the latest drivers for all the components, including the BIOS for the motherboard. The Mugen 2 cooler's 120mm PWM fan was run off the CPU fan header of the Asus motherboard, with the BIOS fan controller set to Silent mode. The speed of the fan is tied to the temperature of the CPU. This setup worked very well without any further tweaks, keeping the CPU under 50°C under any kind of load on the open bench. The Gelid Icy Vision fans are not PWM, so they were plugged into the motherboard's 3-pin header for the Case Fan, which was also set to silent mode.
Initial testing at high loads for both CPU and GPU were very promising, as the overall noise level was quite low, in the order of 20~25 dBA@1m. It was clear that the Gelid Icy Vision fans on the voltage controller in the motherboard set the limit to how quiet the system could run; they were the loudest noise sources in the system. The GPU was kept unbelievably cool, much cooler than necessary at well under 70°C, so there was room to slow and quiet the Gelid fans down some more. That's where the Zalman Fan Mate 2 came into play. But... it was time to install everything into the case before fine-tuning acoustics and cooling.
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