AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC

SPCR Certified Silent PCs | Complete|Mobile Systems
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ACOUSTIC & THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is the core of the SPCR certification for a PC. Many tools were used to analyze the system:

The basic approach is to assess the noise, thermal and power characteristics at idle, and then at full CPU and GPU loads. The testing was conducted entirely in the SPCR anechoic chamber, with the door open to ensure adequate room ventilation when noise measurements or recordings were not being performed. Measurements at load were performed approximately 10 minutes after complete thermal stability was achieved in each state; i.e., no changes in power or temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Test Results: AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC
Criteria
idle
1080p play
Prime95
Prime95+
Furmark
AC power
58W
65~105W
125W
325~345W
CPU
41°C
43°C
69°C
70°C
GPU
49°C
51°C
49°C
83°C
Mainboard
37°C
38°C
45°C
55°C
HDD
41°C
41°C
43°C
44°C
SPL - dBA@1m
18
18
19
26
SPL - ISO 7779 Seated User Position (~0.6m)
20
20
21
28
Ambient conditions: 30°C, 10 dBA - Sleep Mode Power: 4.3W
Max safe temps - CPU: >80°C, GPU: >90°C, HDD: >55°C

1. Noise

This is a quiet computer system at low or moderate loads. The measured sound pressure level of just under 18 dBA@1m at idle and during HD video play is very good. High CPU load had virtually no effect on the overall noise; the dual-fan cooling system handles the increased load with barely any increase in noise. The CPU temperatures may seem a little high, but this is characteristic of Ivy Bridge cores, which run hotter than the previous generation (Sandy Bridge) counterparts. There was no CPU throttling or visual video misbehavior at any time. From up close, there is a bit of audible intermodulation or pulsing, most likely due to the two graphics card fans running in tandem.

The noise rises smoothly over time when full GPU + CPU load is applied. Almost all of the noise gain, to 26 dBA@1m, comes from the video card fans, which reached ~2500 RPM maximum. They might be set a trifle aggressively, but this is a factory-preset. In any case, the overall noise signature at maximum system load is smooth, mostly broadband noise, with some tonality. No rapid up/down changes in fan noise/speed were noticed with the video card; the ramp up to 26 dBA took about 90 seconds after the load was applied. The PSU fan may have kicked in at full system load, but its effect was entirely masked by the video card fan noise.

The ISO 7779 computer noise standard's defined "Seated User Position" SPL places the microphone about 0.6m away from the top/front of the PC, which explains the 2 dBA higher readings. This is an unrealistically close distance for a PC in a case as large as the NZXT H2, which is designed for placement on the floor; few users would put it on top of the desk.

When accessed, occasional chatter from the the hard drive can be heard, but at a very low level, with peaks getting no higher than 1 dBA@1m above the norm. Placed on a carpeted floor under a desk, any noise from the PC at low or moderate load is very unobtrusive.


The frequency spectrum of the AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC shows a tonal peak at ~230 Hz. The overall level is modest but there is a touch of intermodulation pulsing audible from close up.


At full system load, the tonal peak is at ~500 Hz, caused by the GPU cooler fans.

Audio Recording

This recording was made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to a LAME 128kbps encoded MP3. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. It represents a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

The recording starts with 7 seconds of ambient noise, followed by 10 second segments at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is barely audible, back the volume control off a touch to make it just inaudible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

2. Cooling

The temperatures of the various components stayed within safe limits throughout the testing. This PC is very well cooled, particularly the GPU. All the components would remain cool enough to keep running at full load at even higher ambient temperatures. Under such conditions, both CPU and GPU fans can be expected to run a bit faster than measured here. Exactly how much louder it will get is not possible to determine without a hot room capable of 35°C.

3. Power

The idle state AC power consumption of 58W is very modest for a system with powerful components utilized. The maximum CPU/GPU load power of 345W is apropos for a system with these components. The Seasonic X-660's 80+ Gold efficiency helps keep the power consumption down. In sleep mode, AC power dropped to just 4.6W.

4. Performance

No conventional performance benchmarks were run on the system. The high performance characteristics of the Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core , the nVidia GTX 560 Ti graphics card and the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD are well documented elsewhere on the web. There were no performance problem of any kind encountered during our testing. Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit provides a mature, smoothly operating environment, with full access to the 8 GB of installed RAM. The boot time of 32 seconds (from power button press to actual usability at the desktop) made possible by the SSD is excellent.

PDF Copy of SPCR Certification report on AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC

CONCLUSIONS

The AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC is a new type of SPCR-certified PC. While not as quiet as the Certified Silent PCs offered by other SPCR partners, AVADirect's offering addresses the serious gamer who wants both high performance gaming and low noise for other tasks. Placed on a carpeted floor next to or under a desk, this SPCR certified Quiet PC from AVADirect system should fill the niche nicely.

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Quiet Gaming PC page at AVADirect
The SPCR-certified PC Program

20 July 2012: Slashgear review of AVA's SPCR-Certified Quiet Gaming PC

"You have to get up within a foot of this device to hear it make a sound – it’s that quiet. This device has SPCR Certification for quietness. This means that it must run under 20dBA at idle as well as under 27dBA under maximum load. Check out more about SPCR Certified PCs to get an in-depth idea of what this means for your own gaming room. Don’t expect to be lulled asleep by the hum of this machine – there really isn’t any."

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