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 Post subject: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 52
This is my very first PC build. The budget was $850 (United States); my focus was to buy the best price to performance part in each category. This build is used for home recording studio, general day-to-day productivity, 3D modeling for engineering applications, photoshop, light gaming and video editing. My goal was to make it silent. Unfortunately, it is not silent, but I can still, in all honesty, refer to this as a quiet and powerful PC.

Cable management took me some time to figure out. This is why it's important to watch a full-length tutorial video in advance and map out what you're doing before you install the parts. The cables in the very back are still messy (and visible on the bottom). I don't feel inclined to rewire re-connect every single component to untangle the wires. More tips: Place the IO shield from the inside before mounting the motherboard, and the standoffs on the case before you mount the motherboard. Put the RAM and Cooler onto the motherboard before you mount it. Disassemble the case as much as you can before installing the parts so that you have more room. Save the video card for last. I made the mistake of installing the video card early and I had to build around it the entire time because I couldn't detach it without unmounting the motherboard (not fun). I removed the hard drive cage and the shroud cover to allow an intake fan on the bottom and more airflow in general. The hard drive and SSD are in the back, held in place by the cables themselves.

[Processor] Ryzen 5 1600 ($195) -- 6 cores, 12 threads, 3.2 GHz base (can safely overclock to 3.8 GHz). Best value for a performance-end CPU at this time. Handles all of my tasks exceedingly well, and I expect it to have good longevity for demanding tasks over the next 6 years. Readers should be advised that Ryzen requires a dedicated video card. Recommended.

[Air Cooler] Scythe Mugen 5 ($45) -- Stock cooler performed well but was too loud. Mugen 5's large heatsink and very quiet fan are as good as it gets for reducing noise. Installation is easy apart from flimsy fan clips. CPU is lightly overclocked to 3.5 GHz, but not any more to ensure quietness and long lifespan. Recommended.

[Motherboard] ASRock Pro4 AM4 M-ATX ($60) -- Micro ATX. Good temperatures. Plenty of USB-3 slots. Supports overclocking. No wifi or bluetooth. Audio quality is bad (but the FXSound program or an Audio Inferface can fix that). BIOS is easy to navigate but any adjustment to the settings crashes the computer unless the 3.0 update is downloaded and booted via USB, which is stupid. Flimsy IO shield. It only has 1 chassis fan input, so I bought a splitter for $5. Overall positive because it works, but I recommend that consumers a little bit more on something better (though over $120 is excessive for most people).

[Video Card] Asus GTX 1060 3GB Phoenix Edition ($199) -- The best value for a mid-range video card (the 6GB costs significantly more for marginal performance increase). This card handles any Photo/video editing or 3D modeling that I do with ease. At mid to high loads, the fan is noisy but not abhorrently loud. At low loads, the fan is very quiet. Recommended.

[Memory] G.Skill Aegis 8 GB 3000 MHz ($75) -- Ryzen likes fast RAM, though no more than 3000 MHz is needed. It runs stable at 2933 MHz in this system. I would've liked 16 GB, but RAM prices doubled recently and I don't feel like spending $150 on RAM. I'll upgrade when I find that 8 GB is not enough.

[Hard Drive] Dell 1 TB 2.5" ($0) -- I took it from my old dead laptop, formatted it and it works fine. I use it for media files. If I had to buy a hard drive, I would go with 2TB because it only costs a little bit more for double the capacity. I would also go for an external USB drive (instead of internal SATA) because of portability, ease of installation, less cabling and the ability to turn it off for silence. I would like to eventually forgo a hard drive completely (they add noise), but high capacity silent storage is very expensive still.

[Solid State Drive] Intel 120 GB 2.5" ($37) -- Found a great deal on it on Ebay, used, and it works well. Recommended. As far as speed goes, any SSD from a reliable company is good. I use it for the operating system, applications and documents. It's just enough storage with 10 GB to spare since I don't store any media files in it.

[Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C ($70) -- Windowed version. This is not a compact or light case by any means, but it has an appealing minimalist aesthetic, much ventilation, sound-dampening material on the panels, dust filters and is well designed for building. This is all around great case, but in hindsight, Micro ATX was not a good size choice because it's not much smaller than a full ATX build. This case has a removable top and comes with a magnetic dust filter to be placed as an alternative. Beneath the top is a grill with smallish/medium vent holes. I decided to leave the top on because there's plenty of exhaust in the back and I want no risk of water damage. Overall, great case. Recommended.

[Case Fans] Be Quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm + Antec Truequiet 120mm ($33) -- The stock fans which came with the case were too noisy. Pure Wings 2 fans (both in the front) are silent and have great airflow. Recommended. The Antec is at the exhaust. It has a mechanical switch: option 1 is audible and option 2 is very quiet. The downside of the Antec fan is that it requires a molex connection (I'll have to replace it when I go molex-free eventually). I may get a third fan to put at the bottom of my case. The stock fan is on the bottom of the case in the pictures, but I removed it.

[Keyboard] Apple Wireless 2007 ($30) -- For a keyboard, I couldn't go wrong with Apple's reliable build quality. It's a fantastic wireless AA-battery chiclet keyboard. Fairly quiet. Keys are firm but responsive. It's dense, metallic, premium looking and lightweight. It takes up extremely little desktop space and is very thin. It has no USB port at all, so I had to buy another generic wired keyboard just to get the BIOS working. My mouse is a small wireless Logic (unknown brand) that I've had for years and it works fine. Recommended.

[Power Supply] Rosewill Capstone 550w ($56) -- For performance purposes, this is excellent. It's received great reviews. It well meets power efficiency standards. The power supply is partially modular, which did save a considerable amount of bulk. The capacity is almost double the wattage I would normally use, which is good because power supplies are designed to run their fans when a certain percent load is attained. It's not a loud power supply, by any means, but I think it's the least quiet part of my machine apart from the video card at high loads. Recommendable for people who don't care about silence, but not up to SPCR standards. I purchased this part in a hurry. I would have bought a Seasonic S12 or M12, but two people advised me against buying a power supply made 10 years ago. Fanless power supplies are too expensive for the budget I was trying to attain, but in hindsight, I should've upped by power supply budget for $75 and research a bit more about near-silent power supplies.

[RGB LED] Deepcool 350 ($13) -- Mostly for aesthetic value, although it does allow me to monitor the parts very easily to ensure they're working. It comes with a controller, and two magnetic strips. Slightly annoying to install. It comes with a controller, but I just let it fade between colors.

[Adapters] Ac Wifi USB + Bluetooth 4.2 USB ($12) -- USB-2. Unfortunately, few AMD motherboards have integrated wifi or bluetooth. I purchases generic adapters on ebay because I wanted the connectivity without adding too much bulk or price. These perform as well as I can expect from wireless signals. Ethernet is superior to wifi

The overall silence factor of the build isn't too bad. Smartphone apps measure my system to be 30 db at low load (which it is at most of the time because Ryzen is very efficient) and 40 db at high load (which includes the video card load). I understand that this is not a precise tool. I also do not have a soundproofed office, but I suspect it would easily reach 27 db (which SPCR defines as the maximum loudness of a quiet PC) at typical loads in a noise-free environment. It's not a perfectly silent build because of the hard drive and the power supply. However, I'm at least happy knowing that it at least would at least narrowly enter SPCR's quiet threshold. Considering that this is a powerful PC built for an optimal price.

I love my current build, but for my next build (maybe 6 years from now), I would do things differently:
* A larger case (ATX) for more airflow or a smaller case (ITX) if processors get more efficient.
* Build when RAM is not inflated in price. I built in 2017 because I needed to.
* Motherboard with good wifi/bluetooth, USB-C and high quality audio (I hope these become standards)
* A high capacity M2 SSD for space efficiency and no internal hard drive. SSD prices will drop this decade thankfully.
* A silent fanless power supply that's fully modular. And cables which are not bulky. No molex or SATA.
* More case fans (I like fans)


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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:38 pm 
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If you are using Windows, you can go into advanced power options and set the HDD to spin down after x minutes of non-use. I only hear my internal HDD for a few minutes after boot up and then for backups.

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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 52
yes. i have that setting in place.

here is what i think is keeping my build from being purely silent.

1) power supply is audible.

1) the motherboard only has 1 chassis fan input. i have a splitter for two fans, but the other two fans i'm using are not controllable. even though the non-controlled fans i'm using are quiet, they are still running at full speed due to lack of control. i could always install a 4-way fan splitter if i ever deem it worth my time.


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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:46 pm 
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You could return the PSU and just take the restocking fee hit in order to get a better/quieter one.

fan splitter: you could...but if you have 3? different fan models, they are going to have different rpm profiles...

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Posts: 476
Location: Sweden
You can also use a separate fan controller to set each fan (or at least those not controlled by the motherboard) individually. That's how I do it, controlling the intake and exhaust fans.


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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 52
Would it be possible for me to just buy a better fan for the power supply?

I have two identical fans in my case, so the fan splitter works fine.


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 Post subject: Re: [Completed Build] The Quiet King
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:46 am 
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Derek Semeraro wrote:
Would it be possible for me to just buy a better fan for the power supply?

I have two identical fans in my case, so the fan splitter works fine.


You could. I replaced a noisy Enermax PSU fan 6 years ago with a slowed down 120mm noctua. Runs 24/7 and no problems so far.
Some PSU used to have a safety feature built in where the power is cut if the fan is disconnected... not sure this is done anymore.

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