I build quiet PCs as a business/hobby (I don't charge nearly enough for it to be a business/business
- and the "hobby" part is where I get to play with PC gear I can't afford "just to play with".
Anyway, the way I've worked it is
- person wanting the PC speaks with me
- I try to talk them into a Dell
- we figure budget, system requirements, etc.
- I order the parts at the best price I can find on the web (avoiding resellers with a resellerrating below 5 or so as I've been burned and am now shy)
- I assemble the parts into a working (quiet-ish) PC
This all started because PC noise really really
bugged me - and even the Dells weren't so
Freinds hearing (or, really, not-hearing) my PC asked me to do the same for them and it got out of hand to the point where it didn't make sense for me to do it for free. So I charge 1/2 my developer-contractor rate of $120/hr (so $60) and try to take as little time as possible.
Anyway, this doesn't make sense unless you're in the Boston area (local to me) - but you might find someone like me (builds PCs for a business/hobby and hates
PC noise) in your area (wherever that might be - it's not in your posting nor is it in your profile).
With that said, I take it you are building a game
system? You want a quiet PC so you can better hear the sounds of gunfire as you frag the other players?
The fans on the 9700s are kind'a loud (and unpleasantly pitched). You could either use one of those Zalman heatpipe coolers, or...go to water cooling. Either way, removing the 9700 heatsink will void your ATI warranty - unless you get it back on before returning it to ATI, if there's a problem.
I haven't heard the current Maxtors - they used to be noisy, so I'm a bit suspicious.
The A7N8XDlx is a really good m-board (if you're overclocking, they won't go over ~190MHz without active cooling, but you don't care about that, right?). This is not
the board for underclocking/undervolting, though (all the BIOS voltage adjustments go upwards
Oh - I'd avoid dual-fanned power supplies. They're louder than necessary.
I've been using Zalman supplies, but even those are a bit louder than I like and require the "22Ohm fix" to get 'em quieter. Voltages on the ones I've played with have been spot-on, though.
The Chieftec cases are fine - but they're not set up for 120mm fans. You will get less fan noise (and lower pitched at that) with larger diameter fans (run more slowly but pushing the same amount of air).
Have a look at the 8000/OEM case on coolercases.com.
As far as CPU coolers (assuming you're not using water), look for the ones with a solid center section and fins that radiate out from that - and that can mount an 80mm fan. This design does a very good job cooling with a slow fan (dead airflow spot in the middle anyway, so better to use this area to conduct heat upwards). Can't remember any brand/model names at the moment - sorry.
Speaking of can't-remember, as I recall, you add noise somewhat as follows - a second source of noise exactly the same as the first adds about 3dB to the total. The dB scale is not linear (neither is our hearing, BTW) so addition doesn't work the way you'd think. You can
convert to absolute sound pressure, do a simple addition, then convert back - see F. Alton Everest's The Master Handbook of Acoustics
for more details than you probably want (great book, though).
Guess that's it - have fun!