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 Post subject: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:37 pm 
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Hi All,

I hope you can help with this :wink:

I'm looking for a completely silent PC (no moving parts) and hope one or more of you here may be able to guide me as to what to look for. I intend to put it together and assemble it myself.

My use for the PC is audio recording which means that it also has to be very reliable in use (no audio streaming drop-outs using USB or PCI bus), yet it needs not be the fastest computer around.

Besides complete silence I would say that my requirements are these:

- small size and weight. I can build the cabinet myself including an external processor heatsink but I would like a tip for a “heat conducting bridge” that can be used from the top of the processor to the heatsink.
- Intel processor. I am considering an I5 at ~ 2.6 GHz. Criteria are low power consumption and that it is an Intel processor.
- overall very low power consumption also when loaded at ~ 50%
- should work with 32/64 bit win7/win 8, & new softwares. Driver support should be expected to be very good also in the years to come (Intel or Asus motherboards?)
- USB 2.0 and (just one) USB 3.0 ports
- provisions for gigabit ethernet+++ & PCIe
- Up to 16 GB RAM
- fast and reliable SSD harddisk ~ 128 GB
- a completely silent and small power supply. If it e.g. can be an external PSU that would be preferred but not necessary.
- the graphics card matters less as long as it doesn't "slow down" the computer (I never play games). HDMI output is desired.
- an onboard audio card is fine (I'll mainly use external audio devices).

I don't need Wi-fi, bluetooth or some of the other features around. What I really seek is a quite fast and reliable combination of a very well-working motherboard, processor, RAM, SSD HDD, PSU - and reasonably ok graphics & audio cards (onboard).

I'd also appreciate a tip for a ~10" portable monitor to be used with this PC.

Alternatively, it may be a laptop but since it needs be completely silent and have some speed I haven't been able to find such a model ...

I'll appreciate any tips you may be able to give.

Greetings,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:31 am 
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For portability, rather than build what you propose, I think I'd lean toward a quiet laptop with an SSD. Strip all the crapware out, tune it up for decent DPC latency, and be done. If all you want to do is record a few channels of audio, any current dual core CPU has the processing power to do the job. NotebookCheck.net is a great site to do a search for a low noise emission laptop with other features you might want. Here's another SPCR thread on portable recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:59 am 
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i5 seems like more than overkill to just record audio...or am i missing something?

edit:
evalon wrote:

- small size and weight. I can build the cabinet myself including an external processor heatsink but I would like a tip for a “heat conducting bridge” that can be used from the top of the processor to the heatsink.

how about a m350 with a hole cut in top to let tower heatsink stick out. there was an example linked on here a year or so back...but cant find it now. you could mount the whole rig on the back of the monitor so the fins maximize convection.

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Last edited by xan_user on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:04 am 
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IS it meant to be portable? Sounds not, as you mention an external power supply... but then why a 10" screen?

The only downside with a laptop is that none that I know of have a high quality audio input section; you'd need to use an external audio USB card, which adds some complexity. They can be extremely quiet/silent. I am currently using a Lenon X1 Carbon with TPFC.62 fan control software set to run fanless till CPU temp exceeds 45C; the fan is off >95% of the time. You could set it more aggressively so the fan stay silent even at higher CPU load/temp.

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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 5:16 am
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Hi,

& thank you all for replying & considering :wink:

As it is I've just tested the first version of the D/A converter I'll be using to monitor the recordings this evening & it works so I'm in a quite special mood about this :D

Courtesy amanero technologies (combo384) USB-to-I2S 384 kHz/DSD card & Texas Instruments DSD1794 D/A converter...

However, my energy is also used up now and I won't have time to reply during the weekend - so I won't get back until Monday.

But thanks again & best wishes for your weekend :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:22 am 
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Hi all,

Back again from a somewhat recreative weekend ... :) And now have more energy to consider your replies - thanks again!

First: The reason why I need a quite fast computer is that in time I'll be recording bit rates of up to 300-400 Mbps altogether. I reckon that for this to work without losing samples a quite fast computer is needed. Yet, I don't know how fast it needs to be which is why I'm considering an I5 processor...

I've also come to think of that I need the computer to be 64 bit based (or have the option) but maybe they all are already?

And then it seems to me that there might be two paths from here - a stationary or a laptop. I hope it's ok that I follow both paths below ...

@mikeC: This is very interesting not least that it apparently works on your laptop and that your processor temperature 95% of the time is below 45 degrees. Right now when I'm typing my Vaio's processor core temperature is ~48.5 degrees. Even though nothing else is going on, the fan is on appr 70% of the time at a room temperature of ~20 degrees. :( I've tried to use the RMClock software (undervolting) but it doesn't really help - I guess the laptop might be designed to the limit heat wise...

I just checked the tpfc website and can see that besides the X1 Carbon (which is too expensive for me now) it should work with a whole range of other thinkpads as well. Might you recommend a reliable model that is maybe 1-2 years old and where the TPFC software could be used to make it silent? A not too big model is preferred.

@xan_user: You gave me an idea of raising the motherboard vertically so as to allow for vertical heatsinks with a large surface area without being too big. Thanks for the idea :wink: - will look into it if a laptop proves less feasible ... BTW what is an m350?

@CA_steve: Thank you also for suggesting and linking to the thread here on SPCR.

I've considered the SSD HD myself, however, since an SSD is faster than a regular HD, the tests I've seen indicate that it loads the processor more than a regular HD which I guess would mean that an SSD based laptop needs be already low in processor temperature to use an SSD silently. For this reason I skipped the idea with my Vaio ... but need an SSD if I can find it in another - silent - laptop. Do you know if there is a brand of SSD's that are considered more reliable and better working than others (Intel)?

Thanks for reading & possibly also replying again ;-)

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:54 am 
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A P.S.: I've just had some help in another forum on the options/challenges of 64 vs 32 bits for my purposes and I've decided to stay with 32 bits. So no 64 bits now - but the option to use it is desired...

Greetings,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:51 am 
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evalon wrote:
@mikeC: This is very interesting not least that it apparently works on your laptop and that your processor temperature 95% of the time is below 45 degrees. Right now when I'm typing my Vaio's processor core temperature is ~48.5 degrees. Even though nothing else is going on, the fan is on appr 70% of the time at a room temperature of ~20 degrees. :( I've tried to use the RMClock software (undervolting) but it doesn't really help - I guess the laptop might be designed to the limit heat wise...

I just checked the tpfc website and can see that besides the X1 Carbon (which is too expensive for me now) it should work with a whole range of other thinkpads as well. Might you recommend a reliable model that is maybe 1-2 years old and where the TPFC software could be used to make it silent? A not too big model is preferred.

The X-220 is very nice, discontinued now. I used one for a year -- replaced with X1 C only after it was stolen.
one review: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops ... -x220.aspx

You can find them for ~$700 (new or refurbished). Replace the HDD with an SSD, use tpfc. It comes with Win7-64, usually, so you might have to reinstall the 32-bit OS, but that should not be hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:03 am 
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Location: Germany
Your PC won't run any hotter because you use a SSD. It will run less hot because you do not have to cool the heat from the HDD, as SSDs do not heat up the same way. The cpu usage will not produce more heat, at least measurable.

In theory, the CPU would wait for data to be loaded from the HDD and this small waiting period could produce less heat, provided the CPU would idle down while waiting. But as far as i have gathered, no test showed more heat generated by the CPU if the HDD is switched to a SSD.

As to brands: To be on the safersafe side of things only two are to recommend: Intel and Samsung, nothing else has turned up to be more reliable than SSDs from those two, mainly because their pre-sale validation and testing seems to be superior to all other competitors.


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:56 am 
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evalon wrote:
BTW what is an m350?

minimalist, well ventalated case the size of an itx mobo, that bolts onto vesa mounting holes on the back of many flat screen monitors.
http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal- ... -enclosure

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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 5:16 am
Posts: 23
Hi all,

Just briefly back again as I have a cold that has had me coughing and being with low energy for some days now....

@xan_user: Got it :-) ... depending on which path I proceed along this might be interesting, thanks ;-)

@Pappnaas: Thanks for the tip on these two SSD manufacturers. I had heard about Intel but not about Samsung. Regarding the heat development you may know more about this than I do so I'll appreciate your info ;-)

@MikeC: the X-220 looks very interesting indeed. I'll check it out and see what'll become available - thanks for the tip!

Greetings,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:56 pm 
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A P.S. to Mike: Might you have any experience with re-installing WIN 7 & minimum drivers on the X220? On my Vaio I only made it because there was a helpful thread on the internet describing the sequence in which to install the drivers ... Otherwise it basically only works partly ...

Also do you remember if - when you powered on the X220 - it started up without the fan blowing? Would be very useful in my context ....

Best regards,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Seek advice for completely silent small size PC ...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:51 am 
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Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 5:16 am
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Hi all,

I've decided to go the "stationary PC" path. Will buy an Intel DQ77FB card and a low power processor with SSD harddisk. This way it can be completely silent no matter what ...

Thanks for your various inputs ;-)

Jesper


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