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 Post subject: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:33 am
Posts: 3
Hello everyone,
thanks for the great site.
I have always hated noisy pcs, and now that I am trying to run a hifi home, background noise is vital to kill off. Therefore, after spending some moeny on improving my current pc with (more) silent components, I am resorting to building a new pc.
I have dreamt of a workstations for my future tinkering with virtualization, but, since I am also an open source fan, I'm left with only the bleeding edge of linux virtualization (a pc with no windows PHYSICALLY installed, what a dream!). I have roamed the internet to find that one can only rely on previously tested hardware combinations.
Bottomline:
an Intel processor (4770 or 4770S if that helps with cooling)
an ASRock mothrboard (Z87 Pro3 or Pro4)
an AMD 280x video card for gaming and video postprocessing

My reading on posts show that 280x is a very tricky video card to silence:
1) all variations of this card, even the sapphire with three vents is too noisy for a silent pc build
2) all aftermarket cooling solutions (up to date) like the kraken, the two available kraken solutions are both not guarateed to fit (except the arctic cooling three vents solution, which has no whatsoever review with sound recording that I could find) because of a lack of reference design and are extremely bulky, so that I could end up with the card touching the ram slots which are placed low enough to create that danger

Could someone help me out with choosing the right solution for my problem?
My starting point would be to choose as many part from the SPCR ATX R5 build that was posted on the site and replace the parts I need to use instead (listed above).

One other thing concers the damn uefi world: if all 280xs have both BIOD and UEFI interfaces, can I set the video card thermal behavior using UEFI and then use it in all other cases with the BIOS setting with the same vent behavior?

Thank you very much for your help,

sweetsuicide


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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 5125
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR.

Are you going with the R9 280X because it provides better linux support or better GPGPU or some other reason? The easiest way to keep a card cool and quiet is to use one that draws less power at similar loads....and the Nvidia Maxwell cards beat the stuffing out of their AMD counterparts in this regard.

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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:33 am
Posts: 3
Hi CA_Steve,
you guessed correctly, I am forced to select the 280X because its drivers allow for the vga passthrough, which on nvidia consumer card is not allowed, plus it is the only I know which is tested and powerful enough (and recent). In addition to that, nvidia drivers are only closed source.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Bummer.

As far as I know, there aren't adjustable gfx card thermal settings at the UEFI/BIOS level...just at the OS s/w level....and I couldn't begin to tell you what is available under linux. Not my wheelhouse. Have you wandered the Phoronix forums?

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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3722
Location: ITALY
sweetsuicide wrote:
Could someone help me out with choosing the right solution for my problem?

Set aside there's the ASUS Strix R9 285 which is semi-passive, I was more than once told that Linux fancontrol/pwmconfig works: then you should be able to see the graphics pwm fan controller with it, and set it accordingly to your need (you should be able to run a 280X in a semi-passive mode, or with a custom fan profile).

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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:18 am
Posts: 1082
Location: UK
Hi, if you wish to use the 280x then I would suggest an Arctic Cooling cooler, e.g. xtreme IV 280x I've some experience with AC fans and have found them to be good, nice and smooth once slowed down. The massisve heatsink also gives you a fighting chance of keeping the card cool and quiet even under load.

You will want to choose a reference PCB card to be sure the cooler fits, as a bonus these are often the cheapest and the fact the factory cooler may not be very good is of no concern as you are changing it :)
You will also want to choose the case with this cooler in mind as it is long and wide and need enough room for it, and good case air flow to remove the heat the cooler takes from the video card and dumps in the case.

I would suggest connecting the new coolers fans to the video card so it can control the speed of them. Probably as the AC fans are only 2000 rpm full speed it's likely the card's BIOS will spin them at a quiet level at idle and increase when needed under load.
Under Windows utilities like MSI Afterburner (on any brand card) can alter the fan speed vs temperature curve, this can be helpful. Sometimes you can't set a low enough fan speed due to limits in the cards BIOS, in the past I've modded the BIOS of GT 610, GTX 260, HD5670 and current GTX 560Ti to get acceptable minimum fan speed.

Some people do prefer to set fan speed to the lowest level that provides enough cooling under extreme load and leave it fixed there, eg with fixed 7v or a "fanmate". This avoids any software control issues and any variation of sound that can be distracting. In case of a hot video card I would suggest the lowest level of acceptable cooling won't be silent, quiet for sure but enough that I would go with controlled fan speeds.

You will have to test it for yourself with your ears in your environment to know which is going to be best for you.

For the CPU just go with the standard 4770 or 4770k if you wish to overclock and can live with out VT-d (which might be important for your visualization needs)
Any half decent 120/140mm fan tower heatsink will keep a stock clock CPU cool and quiet, if overclocking lots then the bigger the better, either way look at the SPCR recommended list and pick one that's available from your preferred source at a price you like. E.G. Coolermaster Hyper 212 generally a sound and economical choice, I once used a Gelid Tranquillo on 3570k build and it was cheap, quiet and effective.


Regards, Seb

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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:33 am
Posts: 3
Hi everybody, thank you very much for your suggestions.
quest_for_silence : good catch on the strix 285 (it's a different chip from the 280x, but I think I can ask for a swap in case it doesn't work as expected). One review I saw, unfortunately, pointed out that it still runs at 35db at load and around 30 under normal pressure, which, I believe, doesn't satsfy spcr's criteria from what I can gather. I also heard the fancontrol/pwmconfig work under linux, which is a great if not wondeful news, thank you for confirming that.
SebRad : thank you very much for your insights. I saw the accelero for the 280x, and I both read that one should stick with the reference design (I will research furher, but for the moment it seems like the Club 3D Radeon R9 280X royalQueen *should* be reference) and that mounting the accelero is a bit of a PITA. In this case, could you point me out to a good resouce that I can inquiry regarding this?
Still you give some advice on case a cpu cooler: I was thinking to stick with SPCR's R5 design and parts choice (outside video card and mb). Do you think that that case could be apt and that the Scythe will be enough for a silent performance?
Thank you very much all again.

Regards,
sweetsuicide


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 Post subject: Re: AMD 280X silencing options and many, many other question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 5125
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
A short noise rant: You can't compare one site's SPL measurements with another's. Everyone uses different equipment, different measuring techniques and have different baseline noise levels. The best you can do with other site's measurements (especially ones measuring 30-35dBA in a 33dBA environment with equipment that has 30dBA self-noise) is to compare one card to another to see the relative performance rather than the absolute.

Go with the Scythe Kotetsu, if available. Best in class performance and resonably priced.

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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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