Quiet ATX Gamer, R5 Version

Do-It-Yourself Systems | Silent PC Build Guides
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Assembling the system was very straightforward. The Define R5 is spacious enough, the cable routing is great, and we already had the CPU cooler mounted on the motherboard from the first Quiet ATX Gaming rig. Here are photos of the finished build. As in the original build, the 2TB Seagate HDD was suspension-mounted in the optical drive bay using the same elastic cord.

Hard to tell it's any different from the R4 in this pic.

The SSD was mounted behind the motherboard.

One minor change was a piece of closed cell foam to block the intake vent below the single front fan so that the fan would only draw air in from outside the case. The filter/grill was put back on afterwards.


System Configuration:

  • Intel Core i7-4770K processor - 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz with Turbo Boost), 22nm, 84W, integrated HD 4600 graphics
  • Scythe Kotetsu CPU cooler
  • ASUS Z97-PRO motherboard - Intel Z97 chipset, ATX
  • ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 980 graphics card - 2048 CUDA cores, 1178 MHz clock (1279 MHz with GPU Boost), 7010 MHz memory
  • Kingston HyperX Genesis memory - 2x4GB, DDR3-1600, C10
  • Kingston HyperX 3K SSD - 240GB, SATA 6 Gbps, 2.5-inch
  • Seagate Desktop SSHD hybrid drive - 2TB, 7200 RPM, 8GB NAND Flash, SATA 6 Gbps, 3.5-inch
  • Fractal Design Define R5 case - ATX
  • be quiet! Straight Power 10 power supply - ATX, modular, 600W
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate operating system, 64-bit

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Media Player Classic - Home Cinema to play H.264/VC-1 video.
  • TMPGEnc Xpress video encoder for stress testing.
  • Resident Evil 6 standalone benchmark for stress testing.
  • Prime95 processor stress software.
  • FurMark openGL GPU stress software.
  • CPU-Z to monitor CPU frequency and voltage.
  • GPU-Z to monitor GPU temperature, load level, and fan speed.
  • AIDA64 to monitor system temperatures and fan speeds.
  • ASUS Fan Xpert 3 to monitor system temperatures and monitor/change fan speeds.
  • Extech AC Power Analyzer 380803 AC power meter, used to measure system power consumption.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower

Baseline Noise

Before any stress testing, we examined the noise of each part by leaving the system on idle, and stopping/unplugging all the other fans (and the hard drive) to isolate individual components.

GTX 980 + Define ATX System
Component Noise Levels (PSU on idle)
Fan Speed
PSU (Baseline)
11 dBA
11 dBA
14 dBA
14 dBA
GPU fan
740 RPM (min)
16 dBA
16 dBA
CPU fan
340 RPM (min)
11~12 dBA
11~12 dBA
650 RPM (~5V)
12 dBA
12 dBA
900 RPM (~7V)
14~15 dBA
14~15 dBA
1120 RPM (~9V)
19~20 dBA
19~20 dBA
1400 RPM (max)
25 dBA
25 dBA
Case fans
500 RPM (min)
14 dBA
<14 dBA
620 RPM (~7V)
17~18 dBA
15~16 dBA
740 RPM (~9V)
21 dBA
20 dBA
920 RPM (max)
25~26 dBA
24~25 dBA
Mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case. Ambient noise level 10~11 [email protected]

A simple fact: The new fans in the R5 are a bit quieter. Holding them up close, at full speed, the new ones feel like they might have slightly less airflow, they spin a touch slower, and they have much less buzzing noise. As speed is reduced, the 1~2 dBA noise advantage holds till the ambient floor of the anechoic chamber is approached. There's still an audible difference at 400 RPM, the new fan sounds smoother, but it can't be measured any more, the ambient noise begins to intrude. This is promising.

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