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 Post subject: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Location: London, UK
Hi,

I’m putting together a high performance but ‘silent’ PC build for image editing (Photoshop and looking forward to desktop browsing of image files including RAW preview with the latest Windows video codec update) and watching HD video as well on a screen such as the NEC Multisync PA271W 27" monitor (2560x1440resolution). Chosen the NEC because I'm a keen amateur photographer and want a large, very high quality, high gamut monitor that I can colour calibrate (I have a Monaco Optix Pro puck) so I can soft-proof photos prior to sending to commercial printers. No PC gaming.

The build I have in mind is as follows:
Case: Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4Ghz GPU 850Mhz, 8MB cache, 95W, LGA1155
CPU cooler: Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C + fan (Nexus 120mm PWM Real Silent Case fan D12SL-12 PWM)
Motherboard: Micro ATX Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z motherboard (great review here)
RAM: 8GB 1,600Mhz DDR3 (the mind boggles as to the choice – any recommendations?)
SSD: OCZ vertex 3 240GB SSD
PSU: Seasonic X-650
GPU: PowerColor SCS3 AX6850 1GBD5-S3DH Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
Optical drive: Lite-On iHBS112

I used a PSU calculator here with the above parameters and adding a little bit of headroom in terms of devices (extra HD’s, fans, USB devices, maybe a PCI-e x4 or x8 card) and got back a recommended wattage of 471 watts, so hopefully a 650W PSU is appropriate.

No plans to install any more HD’s at the moment, I carry around a 2.5” external mechanical drive for security reasons. No plans to overclock the CPU but going for the ‘K’ model so I can get the best integrated graphics (thinking down the line maybe when I want to upgrade and throw this CPU into a case without a graphics card – I like having choice :D ).

Plan to have a duct connected to the back of the case for the CPU cooler exhaust using a technique I saw on a thread on here.

My chief concern and reason for the post is I’m wondering if the PowerColor card will stay cool enough with this setup? I thought about strapping a slim 120mm Scythe fan onto the heatsink like here (in German language, but has pics). But in the Silverstone case the fan would be horizontally mounted and it has sleeve bearings (no good says SPCR). After some research I don’t think there are any slim 120mm fans around without sleeve bearings. According to the Silverstone's case manual, an empty drive cage acts as an air guide so that should help things.

Otherwise any suggestions on alternative passive GPU cards that could stay cool enough in this setup? Want it as powerful as possible to drive the NEC. Failing that what’s the most powerful and quiet fan-driven card out there I could use that blows hot air backwards as the case manual suggests?

Alternative cases in mind are the Antec P182 and the Antec P193 although I’d prefer to avoid the extra size and heft of the Antec’s.

Looking forward to any opinions.


Last edited by adamgio on Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:08 am 
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Forgot to add that I want to set the 180mm front-intake case fan to low setting combined with voltage control down to 9~10V as the SPCR review suggests that this is the optimum setting to start with and so not sure if this will cause problems with the PowerColor heating up too much.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Location: Pleasanton, CA
A few comments:

That CPU heat sink has been discontinued. Take a look at the Megahalems. I like it because it has a very easy and solid mounting system, and also because the fan snaps into the fins nicely.

The Nexus PWM fan is very noisy; quite the opposite of its famous quiet 3-pin cousin. Look at the Arctic Cooler PWM fan instead.

You can cool pretty much any GPU with an Accelero S1 rev2 and a (3-pin) 120mm Nexus fan even without a way to push the heat out of the chassis. That said, an extra fan and a ducting panel will work very well.

Overclocking a 2600K is trivial, at least up to about 42-44x. Mine ran 42x with everything on auto, and needed only a tiny voltage mod to get to 44x (4.4 GHz). Ignore the wackos trying to get 50x.

Memory. Yes, many many choices. I ended up with Corsair Vengeance 2x4G CL8 (CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8) which run at 1867 standard voltage (1.50v) CL9, or 1600 all stock (after selecting the proper profile in the BIOS). These RAMs have tall heat sinks that can interfere with the CPU heat sink. They need to be installed in the slots farther away from the CPU.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:36 pm 
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So, video and photo editing, no gaming, and using a 2560x1440 resolution monitor.

First off, you don't need a gaming video card as you don't have any 3D apps. Any modern low end card with a single display port or multiple DVI-D output can drive your monitor for 2D apps. Photoshop and some other apps do use the video card to accelerate the display functions (like zoom, rotate, etc) but not the actual image processing. You don't need a lot for that but probably want to stay away from the slower DDR3 based cards. This leads to ~ HD6670 for $90.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:51 pm 
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I just built a similar system for the same demands - actually more for video editing also. (and maybe a game or two)

I use the Creative Suite from Adobe and because of their 'partnership' with nVidia, I chose to use a GTX series card for the CUDA acceleration. Not sure if you'll add video to your editing needs?

Your power draw estimation is pretty accurate - but only when you stress both your CPU cores and GPU. The only time that I sustain that kind of load is running MilkyWay@Home folding - otherwise, my system only draws about 121W. But, if you plan on reaching load frequently, or even if you just are maximizing either the CPU (218W sys draw) or GPU (340W with GTX580), I would suggest the Seasonic 850. As you know, the X-650 and X-850 use a hybrid cooling fan solution, but the farther the delta of load to capacity, means the less dynamic the fan in the PSU is. So with a 650W PSU, drawing 450W, your load will be at 70%, putting the fan into "gotta work at it" mode - faster and noisier than desired. With an 850W PSU, your load would be at 53% and the fan is just past the silent mode - but for slightly less loads, the PSU fan is still running silent.

As for case and air cooling, I'm not much help there - but there is plenty of help on this site to help on that. My build took me down a custom watercooling setup that is totally silent:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=62992

Good luck.

Hammy.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:20 pm 
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Thanks both for the replies!

Will go with the Megahalems CPU cooler.

Re. the Corsair memory, looking at Megahalems drawings I should be fine.

The Accelero S1 rev2 looks brilliant and great reviews for it! Found a thread here with the idea to fix 2x100mm fans to completely cover the heatsink. Not impressed with having to void the warranty of a new graphics card to fit it but can’t see a way around that with any new card I lay my hands on.

With the intention to fit the Accelero S1 rev2, was looking at the Sapphire Technology ATI Radeon 6770 HD 1GB as I can get it for around £90 (USD$150) but reviews highlight that it’s only 128bit RAM. Will going for a slightly more expensive GPU with 256bit RAM (if they exist) make much difference with Photoshop and video?

For the CPU cooler, is it best to strap on a PWM or non-PWM fan? Common sense tells me use a PWM fan, but if the case cooling is good and the heatsink is good (say, Megahalems) and non-PWM fans are quieter, then maybe I could get away with non-PWM?

Leaning heavily on the SPCR fan recommendations article here, I can’t seem to find anywhere to purchase the Scythe S-FLEX 120mm 1000RPM version, but can easily order the 1200RPM or 800RPM versions. Am I missing a trick here?

Another question is can I set the voltage for non-PWM fans using the modern-day mb BIOS sw? Just so I can follow SPCR recommendations that I read about as a starting point e.g. 9V here, 7V there etc. Or do I have to purchase Zalman fanmates (in which case I wont know what the voltage setting is)?


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:45 am 
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I'd still opt for the lower power HD 6670. I don't think you'll get any additional benefit from the 6770. There are fanless versions of both, by the way. So, no worries about warranty with an add-on cooler. If your system needs more GPU cooling, you can always strap on a fan later. Note: this particular case doesn't have much spare room between the video card and the case top.

128-bit memory width with is fine. 1GB on-board memory is good - to support both OpenGL processing and display.

I don't recall a 1000rpm s-flex. I've used 800 and 1200rpm. For the case fan control, try the ASUS fan control first. You can always opt to add a fanmate later. As for not knowing the voltage, it's a don't care. As long as the fan starts up, is silent, and cools the way you want, it's a good solution.

UTHammy:
- The CUDA thing is a myth. Adobe supports OpenGL.
- Nobody ever sees CPU Burn or Furmark style loads in real life apps. The load when running the adobe apps should be in the 125-175W AC range.

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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)


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Maximus boards have good fan speed support, especially with SpeedFan. In general, modern boards (this one included) expect a PWM CPU fan and will run a 3-pin fan only at full speed (yes you can slow it down with a FanMate, but a PWM fan such as the AC120 is quieter and easier to control from software).

You don't need two fans on an Accelero. One 120mm fan is already overkill and will be less noisy.

Fan control software (BIOS or SpeedFan) don't call out fan voltages. Typical BIOS settings use things like "levels" or "regimes" that are a bit magical. SpeedFan (which runs after you've logged in, and needs the BIOS settings on "full speed") uses a percentage, which typically isn't very linear, but is easy to experiment with. The only downside to SpeedFan is that the fans run full tilt when you reboot until you've logged in.

As for the power supply, as you can see from my signature, I run a rig similar to what you're planning, and get by very well with a 400W fanless supply. My rig draws less than 200W from the wall while folding full tilt overclocked.

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i7 2600K CPU@4.4 GHz, Asrock Z68, 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1866 CL9, Intel 335 240GB SSD + Samsung HD502HI 500GB, Internal i7 graphics, Antec P180 case, Seasonic X-400 fanless PS, Megahalems CPU HS, Nexus 3-pin & AC PWM fans ~ 600 RPM, AcoustiPack foam, homemade ducts.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:53 am 
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adamgio wrote:
The Accelero S1 rev2 looks brilliant and great reviews for it! Found a thread here with the idea to fix 2x100mm fans to completely cover the heatsink. Not impressed with having to void the warranty of a new graphics card to fit it but can’t see a way around that with any new card I lay my hands on.

With the intention to fit the Accelero S1 rev2, was looking at the Sapphire Technology ATI Radeon 6770 HD 1GB as I can get it for around £90 (USD$150) but reviews highlight that it’s only 128bit RAM.

Why don't you keep the PowerColor SCS3 AX6850 and put a fan on it?
The case already has good airflow and the card could work without a fan. If you put a single slow ~500rpm 120mm fan on it you don't void the warranty, don't have to use Arctic cooling's mounting system and have a faster card.

471W power draw? No way!
Some PSU calculator are notorious, I like to use this one. Recommeded wattage for this system:307W (minimum 257W).
Xbitlabs measured the power draw for the 2600K both with normal clocks at 114W and overclocked to 4.7GHz at 190W. The 6850 draws 104 in OCCT test, the highest furmark number from a different review was 120W. At peak load for both CPU and GPU that's 310W or 235W without overclocking, pretty much in line the calculated number.
I would use the Seasonic 400 or 460 W fanless unit with the grill facing down and have the fan on PowerColor SCS3 AX6850 blow up towards the PSU out of the case. With a capable cooler like the Megahalem or the Thermalright HR02 Macho you might not even need an additional CPU fan. Control the 180mm intake fan through the mainboard, put an inaudible fan on graphics card and you're good. You can add a CPU fan if the temps get too high.
The Seasonic X650 isn't a bad choice either, with a normal workload on this system the fan should stay of pretty much all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:43 am 
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Have you considered using GPU for dedicated hardware video process? I ask because I am using an NVIDIA card with CUDA technology that significantly improves video and effects rendering in Adobe Premiere and After Effects. It's quite stunning, really. It's a relatively small price to pay for a lot of processing benefit. I'd consider an NVIDIA Quadro card or one of the compatible GTX cards. You can then put the Thermalright Shaman heatsink if you get the GTX580, it will be whisper quiet and cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:43 pm 
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boost wrote:
471W power draw? No way!
Some PSU calculator are notorious, I like to use this one. Recommeded wattage for this system:307W (minimum 257W).
Xbitlabs measured the power draw for the 2600K both with normal clocks at 114W and overclocked to 4.7GHz at 190W.

Even those numbers are way too high, unless the CPU has been mercilessly overvolted. My 2600K running at 4.4 GHz with a tiny overvolt draws 90W folding. Add 20% for the VRM and 10W for the memory. As I said above, my whole system draws less than 200W from the wall and it includes a fairly high-powered GPU.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:10 pm 
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cmthomson wrote:
boost wrote:
471W power draw? No way!
Some PSU calculator are notorious, I like to use this one. Recommeded wattage for this system:307W (minimum 257W).
Xbitlabs measured the power draw for the 2600K both with normal clocks at 114W and overclocked to 4.7GHz at 190W.

Even those numbers are way too high, unless the CPU has been mercilessly overvolted. My 2600K running at 4.4 GHz with a tiny overvolt draws 90W folding. Add 20% for the VRM and 10W for the memory. As I said above, my whole system draws less than 200W from the wall and it includes a fairly high-powered GPU.

I'd love to be able to put a fanless PSU into this build with confidence and with a reasonable amount of headroom for any future possible expansion e.g. an additional SSD or TV card.

cmthomson, don't you have a fan blowing directly onto your fanless PSU because it's an Antec P180 case? Has your airflow configuration changed much since your Superquiet Superclocked article on here? (An interesting read by the way). You say less than 200W from the wall, but don't PSU's need to deal with peak power as well? What about peak power readings? I'm no expert, but I've read a few forum topics on here where people have underpowered their builds.

boost wrote:
I would use the Seasonic 400 or 460 W fanless unit with the grill facing down and have the fan on PowerColor SCS3 AX6850 blow up towards the PSU out of the case.

So mount the PSU minus the case's PSU tray that separates it from the lower portion of the case? Sounds like a great idea! Checked the case manual and it does suggest to mount PSU's upside down with 120mm fans facing down. Must be so it sucks in air provided by the front 180mm fan? Otherwise why not mount a fan-based PSU with fan ontop to draw in what must be cooler air from outside the case?

Re. mounting a fanless PSU grill facing down, heat rises so one would hope either a strap-mounted GPU fan as you suggest or the 180mm front fan can assist to push the hot air out the back of the PSU. Could also remove the Seasonic 400 PSU's top cover (bottom if mounted upside down) to promote even better air flow? (edit: actually, maybe that's a bit dangerous so probably not!)

I need to clarify also that by video it's mostly watching HD TV shows either on-demand or download, live news or maybe a downloaded film. The only video editing I might indulge in would be 720p HD videos taken with a digital camera and I don't think will be very often. I'll upgrade the camera at some point and no doubt it will include full HD so need to take that into consideration.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:00 am 
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cmthomson wrote:
Even those numbers are way too high, unless the CPU has been mercilessly overvolted.

If you read the full review you'll find that to reach 4.7GHz that indeed it has. 1.425V(!) is not a voltage I would use 24/7 for a Sandy Bridge CPU.
adamgio wrote:
Re. mounting a fanless PSU grill facing down, heat rises so one would hope either a strap-mounted GPU fan as you suggest or the 180mm front fan can assist to push the hot air out the back of the PSU. Could also remove the Seasonic 400 PSU's top cover (bottom if mounted upside down) to promote even better air flow? (edit: actually, maybe that's a bit dangerous so probably not!)

That's what I meant. I suggested the addition of a fan for the SCS 6850 since it runs very hot without one. So the airflow would be front fan-> GPU fan ->through PSU with grill facing down-> out. It's also somewhat a safety measure for the air inside the fanless PSU to actually move. Don't bother with the cover, it's very open, so no need to void the warranty to remove it.
If you use a less power hungry card, like a 5750/6750 fanless you don't need the extra fan.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:46 pm 
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adamgio wrote:
I'd love to be able to put a fanless PSU into this build with confidence and with a reasonable amount of headroom for any future possible expansion e.g. an additional SSD or TV card.

cmthomson, don't you have a fan blowing directly onto your fanless PSU because it's an Antec P180 case? Has your airflow configuration changed much since your Superquiet Superclocked article on here? (An interesting read by the way). You say less than 200W from the wall, but don't PSU's need to deal with peak power as well? What about peak power readings? I'm no expert, but I've read a few forum topics on here where people have underpowered their builds.

I need to clarify also that by video it's mostly watching HD TV shows either on-demand or download, live news or maybe a downloaded film. The only video editing I might indulge in would be 720p HD videos taken with a digital camera and I don't think will be very often. I'll upgrade the camera at some point and no doubt it will include full HD so need to take that into consideration.

I do indeed have a slow fan (old Nexus with NMT-3 spinning at 500-600 RPM) in the lower chamber of a P180. But it's there more to cool the data HDD than the power supply (which barely gets warm to the touch; not surprising since the PS is about 85% efficient at 200W (input) so it's generating about 30W of heat). Any slight random airflow will cool this supply.

As for peak load, I'm close to it folding with 8 threads. Using torture tests added about 50W more; a load that would never occur in nature. The biggest increase in peak load comes from the GPU running synthetic loads.

As for adding TV or extra SSD: an SSD draws less than 1W, so can be ignored. Instead of a TV card, consider a TV USB stick, which draws less than 5W, so can also be ignored.

Your expected video load is trivial compared to running modern games.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:28 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
- The CUDA thing is a myth. Adobe supports OpenGL.
- Nobody ever sees CPU Burn or Furmark style loads in real life apps. The load when running the adobe apps should be in the 125-175W AC range.



Steve,

In Adobe Premiere, it's called MPE: Mercury Playback Engine. With CUDA supported cards, it give you realtime playback rendering from your timeline. It's unavailable with ATI cards, but supported with nearly every nVidia card. Otherwise, yes, for simple Photoshop video assists, any OpenGL capable card provides for some visual enhancements.

And when running Premiere (rendering a timeline), my system draws an average of 280W, peaking at 340W. Otherwise, yes, burn-in and stability testing are worst case scenarios. When my system is idle, however, it's folding in the background - 8 threads and 512 CUDA cores - it sits drawing 413W.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:20 pm 
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UThammy wrote:
... when running Premiere (rendering a timeline), my system draws an average of 280W, peaking at 340W. Otherwise, yes, burn-in and stability testing are worst case scenarios. When my system is idle, however, it's folding in the background - 8 threads and 512 CUDA cores - it sits drawing 413W.

Note that his system (described here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=62992) has substantially overvolted both the CPU and the GPU, and it's using a 280 graphics card.

A reminder: power consumption varies as C*V*V (ie, linear with the clock rate, and as the square of the voltage). Overvolting a CPU (and especially a modern GPU) places serious demands on both the cooling and power systems.

Also, at-the-wall measurements often include extra stuff the case PSU is not powering, such as monitors, printers, UPS, phones, speakers, etc; all the stuff that has its own power plug or brick. My numbers include a bunch of that, but exclude the monitor.

EDIT: just for grins, I moved my power monitor to the PSU AC plug; the reading now is 195W folding. This reading includes CPU, memory, GPU, MB, fans, SSD, HDD, USB TV, PSU, USB hub, and probably a couple of things I've forgotten. It excludes anything on a power brick or its own AC, such as the monitor, printer, phone, speakers, laptop, etc, and of course the UPS. Remember, I'm overclocking and slightly overvolting (1.28); your consumption will be less.

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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:19 pm 
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UThammy wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:
- The CUDA thing is a myth. Adobe supports OpenGL.
- Nobody ever sees CPU Burn or Furmark style loads in real life apps. The load when running the adobe apps should be in the 125-175W AC range.



Steve,

In Adobe Premiere, it's called MPE: Mercury Playback Engine. With CUDA supported cards, it give you realtime playback rendering from your timeline. It's unavailable with ATI cards, but supported with nearly every nVidia card. Otherwise, yes, for simple Photoshop video assists, any OpenGL capable card provides for some visual enhancements.

And when running Premiere (rendering a timeline), my system draws an average of 280W, peaking at 340W. Otherwise, yes, burn-in and stability testing are worst case scenarios. When my system is idle, however, it's folding in the background - 8 threads and 512 CUDA cores - it sits drawing 413W.


Absolutely agree! I see substantial improvement with the MPE on in Premiere and After Effects. Photoshop is just OpenGL, though, as you said.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:58 am 
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To add to Chris's point, I've been through a series of testing to find the 'sweet' spot for voltage, speed and noise (thermal load of the hybrid PSU fan).

Mostly, I'm finding is that it does come down to video card selection. As the OP has since commented, that he won't be needing video editing capability, then a much less capable card can be used - something with simple OpenGL capabilities to assist with photo editing.

With my system, it is actually a GTX 580 card with alot more CUDA cores and clock speed - but also idles down to 51Mhz. If I leave it out of the equation for my most demanding load: Folding, then at 4.7Ghz with overvoltage applied, the system idles at 105W and folds at 178W.
(And these measurements are from my battery backup display that only has the PC connected to the backup ports. Components would include: Mobo, CPU, GPU, SSD, 4 sticks memory, dual 655 water pumps at 3/5 power, PSU and 2x 140mm fans at 525RPM)
Tuning down, with only slight stock voltage bump to get 4Ghz, the system idles at 89W and folds at 145W (again, CPU only)

So selection of video card is really key to keeping a system cool and quiet! Todays 'gamer' cards are seriously demanding for power and therefore heat. On this build, as others have mentioned, getting a 'decent' video card should suffice and keep the demands down... and subsequently the noise load.


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 Post subject: Re: Powerful but 'silent' PC build for image editing + video
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:49 pm
Posts: 56
UThammy wrote:
So selection of video card is really key to keeping a system cool and quiet! Todays 'gamer' cards are seriously demanding for power and therefore heat. On this build, as others have mentioned, getting a 'decent' video card should suffice and keep the demands down... and subsequently the noise load.


I couldn't agree more! Yes, if your goal is high-end gaming, the video card(s) should be used as a guide for selecting a PSU. There's a simple rule of thumb: (1) choose reputable brand, (2) high wattage is good, and (3) high efficiency is awesome.

I SINCERELY apologize for stating the obvious :D


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