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 Post subject: How to get the most value for a silent pc...?
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 7:15 pm 

Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 1:34 pm
Posts: 5
Location: East-Coast USA
Hi all,

There is a lot of helpful information about which components perform best, and how to isolate and replace noisy components, but I am not sure how to determine which combination of parts will give me the best bang-for-the-buck (or whisper-for-the-buck) for a reasonably quiet workstation/occasional gaming new build.

Here are the parts that I already have, sitting unopened:
-AMD Phenom X6 1055t (Most likely won't be OCed).
-Gigabyte 890GX AM3 (Might not be very quiet)
-Corsair DDR3 1333 Ram

Remains to be purchased:
-Some kind of SSD as the only drive.
-Video Card: ATI 4870/5770 or NVidia GTX 260/GTS 250
-Power Supply: Nexus Value 430(w) (is this enough?) or possibly Nexus 5000 (~500w).

Not sure about these:
-CPU cooler: I was wondering if this was necessary or not since I am not overclocking. The Phenom X6 is 125w so it's not light on power but it's not terrible either.
-Case: Based on the SPCR reviews, I was set to buy an Antec P182/183 or Solo but I've come across some opinions that argue that the particular case doesn't make or break a quiet system so much as the fans within.
-Case Fans: How many of these should I think about getting? Can they help a stock CPU heatsink perform well enough to render an after-market CPU cooler unnecessary? Obviously, I would buy a recommended 120 mm model from Nexus or Noctua or similar.
-Video-Card Cooler: I don't foresee having a dual-card setup or buying a top-of-line monster card so I am not sure that I would need this desperately.

Anyway, if I had deep pockets I wouldn't hesitate to buy all of the best items, but unfortunately I have to be at least somewhat frugal. So I appreciate your judgement on how to combine parts in a cost-effective way.

For example, if I spend more for, say, an Antec P182 case, can I choose a slightly less quiet power supply? Or, should I skip the premium case and focus on the case-fans instead? The end result doesn't have to be absolute silence but a least pretty quiet.

Thanks so far for the advice!


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 9:05 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 12281
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
1. Forget the stock heatsink, get a good tower heatsinks w/ 120mm fan. Something like the recently reviewed Coolermaster 212 will work fine.

2. Definitely get a good case.

3. Motherboards don't make noise unless equipped with a chipset fan. Few are these days.

4. You only need 1 or 2 case fans -- tho this depends partly on the case.

5. Don't skimp on the PSU -- pick one from our recommended psu lists.

6. If you're not a gamer, the onboard graphics might work perfectly well enough. We routinely use AMD 760/780/785/890G onboard video for photoshop at SPCR, w/o issues.

Welcome to SPCR, btw.

Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 9:10 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:18 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Illinois, USA
That's a whole lot of CPU you've got there. The best bang-for-your-buck is often the lowest-available component from the newest lineup or technology.

Some examples of that would be:
Core i3-530
Core i5-750
Athlon II X4 620

Picking this kind of modern-but-low-end CPU is also the best way to get a low TDP and low noise! For gaming, GPU power matters at least 10x as much as CPU power, and for general use, storage speed matters at least 10x as much as CPU power.

The best bang-for-your-buck in SSDs is also the cheapest available from the best technology, which is, in my opinion, either the OCZ Agility or the Intel X25-M, depending on which capacity (30 vs 40 vs 60 vs 80 vs 120 vs 160 GB) you need. The biggest waste of money on an SSD is to buy a larger one than you need, because the overriding factor in the price is still the flash memory itself.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:30 pm 

Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 1:34 pm
Posts: 5
Location: East-Coast USA
Thanks guys for your input. I'm sorry if my questions were all too common.

Also, thanks for the heads up on the Coolermaster 212. I think I will definitely pick one up based on the recent review.

The choices for hardware came down to whatever deal was available. I ended up with the Antec p183 as it was available for the same price as the Antec Solo with free shipping. It was a tough choice because the Antec Solo is the quieter case according to nearly everyone, but the p183 might provide more options down the road for upgrades.

Hopefully, the build will go ok and I will let everyone know the results.

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