I've made a couple of attempts over the last 3 years to put together a near silent computer, but the best I have been able to manage was a quieter computer than anything prior.
Thankfully, my latest attempt has proven to be a real winner. When the leaves rustle outside they drown out the computer instead of the other way around. Thanks to this website I've finally have a reasonably fast machine that doesn't irritate the crap out of me.
As I use my rig mostly for business, I opted to use a slower but passively cooled 800XL Radeon. It's been lying around for awhile and it is proving a decent choice. Temps are way within reason in the case and nothing is anywhere near its limits.
Here is the list of stuff that make it up:
1 x (10005312) GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R Intel Core 2 Duo (Desktop) Socket 775 1333MHz FSB DDR3 1066MHz ATX Motherboard Retail @ $149.99
1 x (10006490) ANTEC SonataDesigner500 Sonata Steel/Plastic Mid Chassis Silver Mid Tower Case Retail @ $149.99
1 x (85026-3) Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 2GB Kit DDR2-1066 XMS2-8500 Memory Retail @ $155.00
1 x (10005522) INTEL Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz FSB1333MHz 4M LGA775 Retail BX80557E6750 Processor Retail @ $194.50
2 x (101018) Samsung SpinPoint P SP2504C 250GB Serial ATA II 7200RPM Hard Drive w/8MB Buffer @ $82.59
1 x (10005168) ASUS DRW-1814BL-R 18X IDE DVD Burner White DVDÂ±RW Retail @ $40.99
Above ordered from Zip Zoom Fly about two weeks ago. Installation was pretty straightforward except had to remove PS to fit MB.
ASUS sounds like a freight train when spun to the max, but is otherwise tolerable, and I don't use it much anyhow.
CAn hardly tell the spinpoints are there.
The case is very well built - better than the p180 IMO, and I really like the fact that it is a bit smaller. And aside from having to remove the PS and fan to fit the motherboard, everything was great and roomy - the case has a lot of nice touches. It does have some minor weaknesses, but they are easy to overlook, and overall I like it better than the P180. I also like it better than my Lian LI PC 6070A case. I am very satisfied.
The Tri-cool fans from Antec are a real disappointment at anything over low speed, but fortunately low speed works just fine here. The included PS is almost entirely inaudible too. I also purchased one of them newfangled Noctua Fans -NF-S12-1200 120mm 80298 @ 19.99 - in case the tri cool was'nt going to make the grade, but turns out I do not need it. I may install it sometime in the future for the heck of it, but I'm not sure it would be significant enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.
Also purchased a couple of Scythe Ninja 92mm for the front, but it doesn't appear I'll need those either - everything in the case is cool as a cucumber.
I'm using a OCZ Vindicator CPU Cooler 80757 @ 39.99 from xoxide. This turns out to be a great product IMO. Did not need the fan at all and CPU1 temp is never above 68*F and CPU2 hovers around 31*F(can this be right?? -seems low) so far. In most of my other rigs no matter what cooler I used, the fans were always a problem. Not even an issue here.
The thing is stable as any computer I have ever built, and I usually try not to skimp on components as they are for my business after all, and I require stability and reliability. I believe I succeeded in getting all this plus quiet for a very modest cost.
Anyhow, for me this is as close to the Holy Grail as I've been able to get. It is not completely silent, but for the money and the fact that is whisper quiet and pretty fast AND I can hear myself think finally, I believe this rig is pretty tough to beat. If anyone wants to quiz me about it be my guest.
Again, thanks to the site owners and participants who have been feeding me info over the last few years. This is truly a great resource!!