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 Post subject: Seeking advice for system upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:09 am 
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I've been reading this site for a couple of days now because my pc is really getting on my nerves. It came with a WD Raptor 74GB which was the first thing I replaced with an Intel 80GB SSD.

Here's the system:
Lian Li aluminium minitower PC-V600 (the Apple's Mac Pro lookalike but smaller).
Asus P5QL Pro
Intel E8400 with stock cooler
8GB (4x2GB) Kingston KVR800D2N5K2/4G
MSI N285GTX GeForce GTX 285 SuperPipe OC
Toshiba SH-S223C DVD drive
80GB Intel SSD
1TB Samsung HD103SJ
2 x 1,5TB Seagate ST31500341AS
1 x 500GB Western Digital WD500
Coolermaster Real Power 520W modular PSU

The case only has a fan in the front behind which the HDD's are placed. The SSD is mounted in the 5 1/4 inch bay, as is the 500GB disk.

the amount of noise this system makes is insane. The biggest one is the videocard, it defaults to 40% and luckily I've never heard it go up, but I can manually turn it down to 30% and that about halves the amount of noise it makes.

I realize 4 harddisks doesn't help, I think the PSU is virtually silent but the CPU and case fan are not, although their sound is easily masked by that stupidly loud videocard.

Now here's the deal. I need to upgrade my son's pc. He needs a case, PSU, mainboard, CPU and memory. I'm thinking of buying me some new stuff and pass him my old stuff. I have a S775 motherboard lying around he can use. I don't have a budget to replace my videocard so I need a case that is able to dampen the sound it produces.

Here's what I was thinking of getting:
Antec P183
Antec CP850 PSU
Intel Q9650
Noctua NH-D14
4GB memory

How will this do? Are there better options to consider?

I am not a fan of replacing cooling blocks/fans on videocards, but would that be an option?

Many thanks for any help you can give me with this.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:59 am 
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Hi,

Welcome to SPCR !!!!!!!!

Why not get a cheaper CPU heatsink (Ninja ?) and get an Accelero for the GPU with the price difference ? The Accelero is not hard to install.

I don't see any fans in your basket. Get a couple from the recommended list (Nexus or Scythe). The price tag will not increase by much and it will surely quiet down your build even more. You'll need one for the exhaust, one for the GPU (on the Accelero) and one for the CPU.

Also, do you need that big of a PSU (850W) ? if you're not going to use your computer at full speed all the time, a smaller PSU will do just fine (and with the price difference, you can get the fans !)

Hope that helps ! Good luck.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:08 am 
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Just a word of warning, once you lower the noise for everything else, you'll find the HDD and graphics card to be loud. ;)
If you're skilled enough to change the HSF for a CPU, I reckon you'd be find changing it for the graphics card. I'm looking to change my own card HSF atm, though at idle it is a bit below the loudest thing in my computer (the PSU).
I have the exact same Seagate drive as you, and with just one I think it is far too loud. I have a WD10EADS 1TB drive as well which I can't hear, so changing your drives may also pop up later on in your quest to silence.
I dunno what you use to control GPU fanspeed atm, but Rivatuner/MSI Afterburner is a good one. With MSI Afterburner you can't manually set the fanspeed below 25%, but you can set a temperature/fanspeed curve that goes all the way down to 0%. I've found with my ATI card though, anything below 20% (that is, ≤19%) is all the same anyway.
Ultimately, its about isolating and figuring out what part of the computer is the loudest, and working your way down. My ancient Noctua NH-U12F does a fine job of keeping my CPU cool while staying quiet, but my HDD and PSU at idle, and graphics during gaming are the loudest now, so I'll be eliminating those one at a time.

Edit: Damn, beaten to the punch ;)
@frenchie I've found a lot of people pair the CP-850 when they go with the P183, because of the review here at SPCR. The fact that it's not ridiculously expensive, and provides some headroom in terms of wattage is attractive as well I suppose.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:34 am 
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@KayDat : good point about the review ! The only thing I don't really like about this PSU is it's form factor... If tomorrow you want to upgrade to a non-antec case, it might not be easy fitting this PSU inside the new case.

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 Post subject: Re: Seeking advice for system upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:39 am 
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1. What kind of use do you put your computer to?

2. The PC-V600 provides good cooling for your cards. Even if you do gaming, you really should consider going fanless on the card.

3. If you don't do gaming, you should consider getting an i3 or i5 clarkdale. If you do away with the video card you can go to a low cost fanless PSU. (by the way if you go with a low cost external fanless PSU, you will have room in the Lian Li case for the Noctua NH-D14.

If you take a look at the benchmarks you will see that i5 clarkdale will outperform the Q9650 on most benchmarks on stock settings. And with the Noctua NH-D14, it will handily overclock well past what what the Q9650 is capable of.

4. If you have a loud video card, I don't think the P183 is going to quiet it down much. If you don't do gaming you should be able to live with the embedded video capability of the Clarkdale cpus.

5. I realize this might go over your budget, but the money you save on the CPU will buy you a new motherboard. An i5-650 costs $190 on newegg compared to $330 for the Q9650. That buys you a motherboard. And if you really want to use your current video card, you can still choose to do that.

The i5-650 should overclock to 4 to 4.2 GHz without juicing up the voltage. Probably going up to 5+ GHz if you like to play around with overclocking. People commonly report 5.5 GHz and higher on air cooling.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:07 am 
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wow that was quick. Thanks everyone 8) .

Let's see ....

frenchie wrote:
Why not get a cheaper CPU heatsink (Ninja ?) and get an Accelero for the GPU with the price difference ? The Accelero is not hard to install.


Good suggestion, the ninja is hard to get but the mugen-2 is widely available and is less than half the price.

I'll look into the Accelero coolers but I'm not convinced it will turn out better, my current cards' fans never goes over 40%.

ces wrote:
1. What kind of use do you put your computer to?


Games, games, some more games and then some :lol: I tend to run a few background processes for various stuff and I'm running virtual machines. Hence the upgrade to a quad core.

ces wrote:
2. The PC-V600 provides good cooling for your cards. Even if you do gaming, you really should consider going fanless on the card.


The problem with this case is the psu is partly over the cpu and leaves very little room for the cpu the suck air. To make things worse, the psu sucks air as well blowing it out on the back and I don't believe this works very well and is responsible for half the noise the system makes.

Last but not least, the fan in this case is at the bottom in the front. It blows air inside over the harddisk bay but none of the fresh air actually makes it into the case. The bay with all the drives fitted stops 99% of all airflow. This is proven by the fact that the front of the case (where the fan is and to the sides of it) the case is very cold to the touch. On top-front and to the sides however it is warm and on the top-back and to the sides it can even get hot. At the grated opening on the right side you can actually feel the warm air rising out of it. This case provides no airflow for the cards at all, and all the heat from the cards, memory and chipset rises up in the case to be trapped inside. This case's design defies all logic if you ask me, I don't understand how you can say this case provides good cooling to cards because there is none .... :?

Concerning the videocard, I've considered clocking it down to stock clock speeds (MSI overclocked it by default) so I could leave the fans at 30% but its not viable. The temps rise towards 90 degrees at which point the screen goes blank (the system still runs just no image).

ces wrote:
3. If you don't do gaming, you should consider getting an i3 or i5 clarkdale. If you do away with the video card you can go to a low cost fanless PSU. (by the way if you go with a low cost external fanless PSU, you will have room in the Lian Li case for the Noctua NH-D14.


If I didn't game I wouldn't have that card ;). Seriously getting a new mobo is not an option, I would be required to get new memory as well. I recently bought this Asus board because my previous board went haywire. I considered an I5 or I7 but its too expensive. Besides the new line of intels are going to get a new socket, so I'll wait for that instead.

I've had my share of low cost psu's, I won't ever make that mistake again.

ces wrote:
4. If you have a loud video card, I don't think the P183 is going to quiet it down much.


Hmm. That is not what I wanted to hear :) but I appreciate your thoughts. I was hoping the casing would do a better job of dampening the sound better than my current case does. The Lian Li vibrates (you can feel it when you put your hand on it) and it's audibly more quiet when I close the side temporarily.

ces wrote:
5. I realize this might go over your budget, but the money you save on the CPU will buy you a new motherboard. An i5-650 costs $190 on newegg compared to $330 for the Q9650. That buys you a motherboard. And if you really want to use your current video card, you can still choose to do that.


You're forgetting 8GB of DDR3 memory. That is the main reason why I don't want to upgrade because that makes it too expensive. There are a few i5 mobo's out there that accept DDR2 but I don't want to upgrade because as I stated above, the next cpu family upgrade is going to need yet another mobo. I don't really need more cpu power, I figured a quad would handle the multitasking better with background processes and running virtual machines.

ces wrote:
The i5-650 should overclock to 4 to 4.2 GHz without juicing up the voltage. Probably going up to 5+ GHz if you like to play around with overclocking. People commonly report 5.5 GHz and higher on air cooling.


I appreciate the suggestions, but I don't want to overclock. If I want faster, I'll dish out more cash. I guess I'm getting too old for that kinda stuff, I just want it to work, be stable and most of all, be quiet :roll:

so to recap:

Mugen-2 instead of Ninja?
Are new case fans that much better than the stock ones in the p183?
Passive cooler on a Gtx285/2G? Suggestions?

As suggested by KayDat, when this turns out succesful my harddisks will probably be the next nuiciance. Without having to buy new harddisks, is there anything I can do about it? Put foam around the bays without obstructing cooling? Change the way they are mounted?

Thanks again, I appreciate the responses.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:00 am 
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The Antec solo case will do the best job for quieting the hard drives. You need to replace the fans though. Put a Nexus in the the back. And either two 92mm nexus in the front (slow and quiet) or two 92mm noctua in the front (quiet, but with a lot more CFM). It is generally considered one of the quieter cases. But for hard drives, I think it is the best.

I suspect you do not have the option of not using an aftermarket GPU cooler if noise is an important issue for you. Seems like everyone here likes the Accelero. If you have a compatibility problem the Scythe Musashi is also well regarded.

If you are generally using 300 watts or less, consider the Seasonic x 650 or x 750. Their fan doesn't kick in until around 300 watts. So it is basically a fanless PSU while you are using under 300 watts. The extra benefit is that its cabling is 100% modular.

By the way, the 130watt Winmate is high quality and low cost. It is used in medical devices. You can hook two of them up in parallel for double the output. That is what would permit you to put a tower cooler in your Lian Li should you choose to do so.

I guess 4 real cores is better than 2 real and 2 virtual cores if you are running virtual systems. But the i5 660 chips are surprising fast. They out perform the 4 core i7-920 in audio encoding.
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009 ... ,1384.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009 ... ,1405.html

And are only about 10 or 12% slower than the QX9650 or a quad core i5-750 in gaming:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009 ... ,1403.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009 ... ,1401.html

But if a new board is not an option, it isn't an option.

"This case's design defies all logic if you ask me, I don't understand how you can say this case provides good cooling to cards because there is none" It looked like there was a fan pointed down at the cards. My error.

If you are not going to be overclocking, why don't you get a Megahlems cooler. The Noctua only comes into its own when you load it up with fans and a high thermal load. At all but the highest thermal loads the Megahlems is equal or superior to the Noctua. And it gives you some access to your motherboard. The ThermalRight Venomous X is similar to the Megahlems.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:38 am 
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I add a word of caution about the 92mm Noctua fans in the front of the solo : I think they have a howl to them when you close the door that I don't think the Nexus have. There is a thread somewhere on this forum about this.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:50 am 
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frenchie wrote:
I add a word of caution about the 92mm Noctua fans in the front of the solo : I think they have a howl to them when you close the door that I don't think the Nexus have. There is a thread somewhere on this forum about this.
That is disappointing. I was planning on using them that way. You don't happen to remember if the problem was at just top speed or at all speeds, would you?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:10 am 
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At full speed, you can't hear it because there is a lot of turbulence noise.
I think the worst was with the LNA. With the ULNA, this noise was about the same as a hard drive whine. If the case is on the floor, at least a meter away, it shouldn't be a nuisance.
I don't want to make it too dramatic, there are much worse fans around !! But given the choice, I'd go for a pair of Nexus fans !

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:57 pm 
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What you can do is hang a 120mm fan off one of the drive rails with some elastic or even twisty ties; that's what I did, since I don't have any 92mm fans. It's an alright compromise if you don't want to buy any more fans, and you have some extra fans laying around. Doesn't have as much coverage though, and is a little ghetto.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:27 am 
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KayDat wrote:
What you can do is hang a 120mm fan off one of the drive rails with some elastic or even twisty ties; that's what I did, since I don't have any 92mm fans. It's an alright compromise if you don't want to buy any more fans, and you have some extra fans laying around. Doesn't have as much coverage though, and is a little ghetto.

+1

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:04 am 
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Actually, you won't see the ghetto-ness, seeing as the fan will be behind the filter cage and front bezel anyway. IIRC, you hang it off the top rail. I think that's how I did it, since I had three drives in elastic, and I managed to fit one more drive in the top rail position. Running in a P183 now, so I'm working off memory here. =]
I can go and make an image/take a photo though, if anyone doesn't understand where I'm coming from.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:55 am 
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Phase 1 is a success, although with a few minor set backs.

I got the Antec p183 case, the antec cp-850 psu, the mugen-2, a fan controller unit for 4 fans that fits in a 5 1/4" bay with a display and half a dozen nexus pwm 120mm real silent fans (figured a few spares would come in handy :lol:).

Been busy most of the afternoon to disassemble my old case and reassemble the new one. The first challenge was the four pin connector labeled P4. It is located in the upper left corner. I fitted the Mugen, installed the mobo in the case, routed the rear and top fan wires to the back. I installed the psu and holding that p4 wire in my hand I thought ... isn't this supposed to go next to the cpu? :oops:

I had to remove the rear fan and with some fiddling and pushing with a long screwdriver I managed to get it seated properly, but not without breaking some sweat and swearing :lol:

The next setback was the fans. The shop I bought it all ensured me the 4-wire fans can be controlled by the fan controller. I asked specifically because the fan contoller is meant to take 3-wire connectors. I wanted the rear, top and front fan controlled by the unit, and possibly the cpu fan (although that works fine via the mobo). So no Nexus fans intalled except on the Mugen since I don't know how to connect a 4-wire to a 3-wire connector.

After all that I installed the harddisks and dvd drive and connected all the power cabling to the harddisks. I woudn't be myself I didn't forget something again, the power to the dvd drive. I found out after I had secured all the wiring in the back and closed the case. I'll fix that tomorrow :)

Yet another problem arose. The upper drive bay is right behind the videocard. I had to bend the left clip from the top harddiskmount because otherwise it wouldn't fit. Because of this placement it was also very hard to route the wiring without putting stress on the connectors (I have had a connector come loose from the pcb before due to something similar).

So, with the stock case fans hooked up and the mugen fitted with a Nexus to the mobo, it was time to fire it up.

First thing I always check is if all fans are spinning. I had to redo some BIOS settings and the harddrives are in the wrong order but that is easy to fix, I will do that tomorrow with the dvd-drive power cabling.

I closed the case and .... serenity :lol:

The system is still audible, but its a lot quieter and the sound has changed from a higher pitched whine to a low hum. When I put my hand on the case I feel something vibration and the sound dampens even more so I am asuming the case is resonating from the 2 case fans (or harddisks?). The fans are hard mounted. Once I figure out how to install the Nexus fans on the fan controller I will use the silicon (or rubber) mounting thingybobs and get rid of the resonance as well.

I've ran Prime95 for about 20 minutes in torture-mode, the core temps of the cpu didn't get over 50 degrees celcius :P In the past it would get close to 80. I've also noticed my videocard doesn't get as hot and those fans stay at 30% so even under load it doesn't get any louder. I am happy dude!

Now for a few more questions ...

Does anyone know how I can connect the 4-wire fans to the 3-wire connectors on the fan controller?

I don't think I understand what you (KayDat) is trying to explain about hanging a fan off one of the drive bays? Why would I do that and also, I'm not sure which drive bay you mean? There are 2 free fan spots in the front, one in the upper compartment in front of the upper drive bay and another spot at the bottom compartment, in front of the lower drive bay. Both bays are stuffed with drives. The only free space I have is below the dvd-drive in the 5 1/4" compartment.

Thanks again everyone, I'm happy with the results and I'm sure in the coming days I'll be able to quiet it down a bit more.

I'll raise a beer in your honor. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:15 pm 
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Ah, you got the P183. What I said about the fan doesn't apply then, I was talking about the Solo. The solo has two spots for 92mm fans instead of one spot for 120mm fan.

Edit: I also found it was cleaner and easier (well...that part is debatable) to route all my cabling behind the motherboard, instead of using the sliding plastic chamber door. Solves the problem of having a big graphics card in the way, and also looks much cleaner. I'll take a photo of my setup when I receive my Accelero S1 and install it.

You could probably also rig up an elastic suspension system in the 5.25 drive bay area for your HDDs. I plan on doing that, since my 5870 takes up all the space for my upper drive cage.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:51 pm 
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Thanks Kay, I did route most of my cables behind the mobo, but eventually they will have to come out and hook up to something :wink:

The Sata cables are not routed behind the mobo, doesn't make sense since the sata connectors are right next to the HDD compartment.

I've made a few pic to show you what I mean.

Sata & power fighting over space:
Image

HDD Clip bent (and yes, a bent expansion slot cover to support the weight of the videocard :shock: :
Image

Now concerning the 4-wire fans, I feel such a knobhead. The box contained converters. so I replaced the top and rear fans and hooked up the fan controller. It has 4 temperature sensors as well, didn't even realize that in the shop :lol:

The result: no more vibration in the casing and in room ambient noise, virtually silent. I am very very happy in that respect.

I'm somewhat less happy with a few stability issues. I've had some apps crashing for no appearent reason and 3 blue screens last 1 night. I'll figure it out though ...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:59 am 
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you can get right-angle sata plugs, but why not put the hdds in the bottom compartment?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:14 am 
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The angled ones don't work because it is too close to the disk below it. Bending the cable for that to work would put too much stress on the connector and pcb.

The bottom compartment is stuffed with disks too 8) .


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:03 am 
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it looks like the pcb is already under stress, judging by the way that the sata cable is bent.

how about flippling the ssd over, so that the right-angle bend is facing upwards?


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