I just got done putting together my first quiet PC and I'm thrilled by the results!
My old computer was like a noisy server by comparison. Granted, I'm not a sophisticated PC audiophobe yet, but here are my impressions:
- Case - Evercase GC4292R
I really like this case. I don't care about looks (see pics), I just like the low price and great ventilation.
- Case fans - 2 120mm Nexus case fans.
Front intake & Rear exhaust. The front of this case is actually designed for 2 80mm fans due to the placement of the front USB/speaker ports. But I had already purchased the fans, so oh well, I mounted the 120 anyways with 1/2" spacers. (Would 2 80mm fans be quieter?)
- PSU - Seasonic Tornado 300. Awesome! Very quiet; the fan never ramps up on me.
- Cable wraps - I wanted to mention that using the spiral cable wraps included with the Seasonic (see pics) appeared to lower my temps 1 degree or so, with the caveat being this was a very unscientific test.
- CPU - Athlon64 3000+, Zalmon 7000 Cu (@5V), cool air duct from side of case (see pics)
Idle temp: 49 C (CoolnQuiet is disabled)
Max temp: 62 C
- GPU - nVidia 6800 (base) with stock cooler (@5V) (eVGA brand)
Idle temp: 64 C
Max temp: 71 C
Using the stock cooler at the standard 12V was unacceptably loud for me, but it was about 10 C cooler at idle. I tried removing the stock blower and using a 80mm Nexus case fan, but I couldn't match the stock performance at 5V. (Incidentally, the Nexus 80mm had a lot of vibration, so I didn't want to use it. The Nexus 120's have none, by comparison. Anyone else noticed this?) I'd like a better cooling solution here at some point - any opinions?
- HDD - my old Western Digital 60GB, suspended with StretchMagic. NOW that I actually have a quiet PC, I can really hear this HDD. Hard mounted was unacceptably noisy; the suspension mount really improves things. (see pics)
Overall I think my loudest components are the HDD and the GPU, so those will be my future areas to work on. For now, I'm very happy with what I have.
One interesting note on airflow: I removed the 2 PCI-slot covers adjacent to the GPU, and kept the stock case blowhole (see pics) unplugged, and found air is actually being sucked into the case from both positions. Opinions on what to make of this are welcome.