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 Post subject: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:13 pm 
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Hi guys, I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a Puget order, but have to decide on a couple of things I'm really not sure about. I picked up a new Sapphire 7950 OC, which is quite impressive in terms of heat and noise compared to any other performance card. However Puget was quick to advise stepping up to stock Antec Tri-cool fans if I wanted to go with this card, because while its idle is totally fine, load could bring it up to around 62°-64°. So far 49° is the highest I've gotten, but I haven't hammered it. If Puget says this is an issue, they're probably right, but do you guys think so? I mean this isn't like yesterday's cards. And what do you think of the stock P183v3 noise levels (given smart adjustments are made), because rather than 11-14 dB I guess this puts it in the twenties. They say it's still really quiet, but I see efforts here at SPCR to replace the tri-cools so it can't be perfect. My real conflict is this PC is first and foremost for listening to music, every day. I really do need it to be as quiet as possible. Gaming, Photoshop, Blender/Maya and video encoding are things I enjoy, but in reality very occasionally. I want my experience in those to be great, hence the card, but I'd just hate if the fans had say a constant whoosh characteristic just to accommodate it. I have no idea what these sound like though, maybe you guys know. Anyway I can either go forward with the stock fan build, or I was considering stepping down to this 7750. I'm not even sure that's cool enough or not for the silent fan option. Besides that are there any other Quadros or desktop cards I should be considering? I could honestly go $100-$400 so long as they're well rounded, quiet or silent and don't impact the build much. I mean maybe I'll just stick with the 7950, it's an amazing card, it's just I had the base silent package in mind.

A whole other issue I'm really concerned about is my current machine really heats the room up something awful. It's got a Q9450, Rampage mobo and Ultra X3 1000W PSU. Everyone says increases in efficiency over the last 5 years will really make a difference here, but I'm still worried whether this PC will be cool enough or not. Should I honestly to that end be looking at Micro ATX builds or something? For instance that's what my torrent machine in the other room is, it's not nearly as bad about it. I just know somewhere in between the spectrum from 10 inch netbooks to overclocked gamer stations PC's really begin to noticably affect room temperature. Finally being rid of this gave me the idea to upgrade in the first place. Do you think it will work out well with this build, what effect will the 7950 have on this, and should I be considering changing something(s) to accomplish this? If I don't seriously cut down on heat and noise, this build will have been for nothing. I'm open to any suggestions.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:38 pm 
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Interesting long first post. :)

At idle or moderate load, a current day powerful system, even with a 7950 card in it, will have quite modest power draw, so it should run both cool and quiet. You can rest assured that it won't cook the room or be noisy at low loads, Puget knows what they are doing.

Tricools are not that quiet, btw. Antec's newer TrueQuiet and TrueQuiet Pro are quieter.

You never mention the rest of your build; list the parts for more complete advice.

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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Yeah that did come out longer than I'd hoped. I'm just torn on what to do. Stock fans + 7950 (and as much deadening as possible) or perhaps their silent package and a much lesser 7750. I could occasionally use the power of the 7950, but at what cost? They're saying I'd have to utilize TriCools to get the flow I need for the 7950. It's mostly a concern of the card heating the components surrounding it if we don't move enough air through the case. Do TruQuiets push nearly the same air? As for the rest of the components I pretty much like their default build with a 3770K Ivy Bridge and maybe 16 gigs of RAM, with onboard video ticked. Do you think the increase in processor or memory will contribute to more heat in the room? I'm really sweating that detail. Like I'm even wondering if the Mini build could possibly emit less heat.

On another note I'm having trouble seeing how the heat characteristics of the 7750 are terribly different from the 7950's. It seems like it hits some of the same temperatures, maybe it just generates more heat to blow away. I'm a bit clueless in this regard.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 7:21 am 
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There's a world of difference in cooling a HD7750 and a HD7950. The former has a TDP (total design power -- or max power) of 75W; the latter can get up to 250W, depending on the particular model, but at least 200W. This is why Puget is expressing concern -- if a silent PC is the goal -- the added heat will definitely require more airflow and that will cost you a measure of silence or to put it another way, a few decibels. I mean, there is no free lunch.

As you probably know the Serenity SPCR Editions are tested and "certified" by me as part of a program to bring consistency to the quiet computer market, since existing standards for computer noise measurements are both too weak and too complex for most consumers (and marketing people use obfuscation to sell when the products don't meet real requirements). The requirement is that every model sold as a Serenity SPCR Edition has to have the same characteristics, even when different components are chosen by the buyer. I measured 11 dBA @ 1m for the last two models Puget submitted for testing -- that is inaudible in virtually any environment. They both used fanless video cards, an HD 6750 and a HD 5750, which have the same TDP of 86W. The HD 7750 you mention is rated for 75W TDP, and a HD 7770 is rated at 100W.

Now, because products in the computer industry change so quickly and new components often need to be offered or used, one of my rules is that the total system TDP of any system that is sold as SPCR certified not be more than 10% higher than the system tested originally. So even if there are changes in the component mix, as long as the total power (heat) of the system does not exceed the original system by 10%, a conscientious PC maker (who are the only ones that ever go for SPCR certification) will be able to keep the overall noise about the same while still keeping the system cool enough under high load. Any of the video cards mentioned in the last paragraph would not raise total system power by more than 10%.

OK, so with all that explanation out of the way... When the total power jumps by 175W, neither of those Serenity systems can be called SPCR Certified, they've blown the power budget. And there's no way they can be kept at the same noise level, particularly at load.

OTOH, at low loads (which music play definitely is), the 7950 is probably very quiet and will probably not raise the overall level by more than a couple of dB. It's at high loads that the >20 dBA range Puget mentions will be reached. That will sound subjective like twice as loud or more. (A 10 dB increase sounds twice as loud to most people.) But will that matter when you slagging your way through 3D mayem in an immersive game with loud sound effects? That's a question for you to answer. (This is assuming Puget uses thermal control for any added case fans so they will be near silent at low load and only ramp up when needed.)

Going back to playing music, the idle power of the 7950 is already quite low, and if there's no change on the screen for a while, AMD's ZeroCore power technology simply shuts off the GPU altogether, typically dropping overall power down another 10W or so.

BTW, 62°-64° for a GPU is nothing. They don't even break a sweat till >90C. In general, when the GPU temp is under 90C, we never see any misbehavior in the video output.

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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:05 pm 
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Thanks for the really detailed response. I was definitely overlooking wattage. The Sapphire 7950 feels like one of the most responsive and responsible cards ever in terms of self-management signing off whenever it can. It's probably one of the most SPCR performance cards and a good sign for the future. It never exceeds my Nexus fans (which to be fair never could wind down much on this build). Now I certainly wouldn't mind what the fans and heat did in response to a game or CAD program. In fact it would be a dream come true if I could actually have a PC double-time, really low dB's for music and web, then whatever it needed to do for competent play. Are we actually at a point where builds can dynamically ramp down that much when possible? It's just I've never heard too many compliments paid to the TriCools. That is assuming it's the most competent fan prescribed to reign in these temperatures. At medium they're around ~27 dB so wouldn't the best case scenario for the 7950 oriented machine be an audible 20+ dB woosh even at idle? I mean just how far down is the system liable to take these when it can? I don't know too much about thermal control other than messing with the BIOS a little.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 7:06 am 
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I'm sure I made my posts way too long. I think I have my question narrowed down to this. What would you guys do if you wanted a 7950 in a Serenity PC, to make it quiet as possible? Would you just go with the TriCools? I'm guessing most of SPCR might not, nobody speaks too fondly of them, so I'm hoping there's a better idea. I think I might need the 7950 if I want to run triple monitors in the future.

To me the Scythe Slip Stream 1200 might be the most obvious fan that should be used in their place, or perhaps something more flexible like the EKL Alpenföhn Wing Boost. I mean if I want this PC to truly double time, to have two profiles or just be dynamic about it, shouldn't there be a way? Is there a certain PWM fan that would respond really well using Speedfan to attempt Slip Stream 800 levels, then to also fill the shoes of the TriCools we know would work?


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 8:33 am 
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There are also new PWM versions of the Scythe Slipstreams, if you have motherboard headers that can control them. Very flexible, and hopefully with the same acoustic characteristics as the originals.
Quote:
The Slip Stream 120 PWM Adjustable VR comes along with a fan controller with PWM to VR switch, providing the feature to adjust fan speed as required. By keeping the well-proved structure with a small center hub and large blades, high air flow is generated at a low RPM, enabling high efficiency at a low noise level. Turning the fan controller knob in PWM mode adjusts the PWM range from a minimum of 470 to 1340 rpm to a maximum of 740 to 1900 rpm. Running in VR mode, PWM will be cut off and fan speed can be adjusted between 500 to 1900 rpm.

and
Quote:
"Slip Stream" 120mm PWM Adjustable -- As needed, users can adjust the PWM bandwidth manually to control the fan speed by sliding the switch on a PCI bracket, so the fan is optimized for quiet operation or highest performance. PWM function is still maintained as the general feature. Speed of this fan variation is continuously adjustable between 470 (± 30%) to 1,340 rpm (± 10%) and 740 (± 25%) to 1,900 rpm (± 10%).

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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Oooh... I didn't know these came out. So there's the adjustable VR with the PCI control and one without, which oddly frozenCPU calls mid speed. So I would want the VR if I have any that won't be connecting to one of 4(?) chassis fan connectors, right?

Are these fans just about able to blend with the 800s on command? I mean if their sonic characteristics are good... I don't want to get ahead of myself, but on paper it seems possible this could transparently double time between idle and load like I've been describing. Too good to be true?


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Pixel Eater wrote:
Oooh... I didn't know these came out. So there's the adjustable VR with the PCI control and one without, which oddly frozenCPU calls mid speed. So I would want the VR if I have any that won't be connecting to one of 4(?) chassis fan connectors, right?


Correct, it will just be regular voltage control in that case. However, note that you will need to have a free slot on your case for the backplate with the control knob for each fan if you want to have access to voltage regulation of that fan from outside the case (see third pic):

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14143 ... s936#blank

But if you really want to voltage control four fans, typically, you would just get regular fans and a front mounted fan controller like one of these:

http://www.nzxt.com/new/product.php?series=11

The other model is called midspeed because it goes up to 1,300 rpm, as opposed to the slower (fixed speed) Scythe fans which run at 500 rpm and 800 rpm.

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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:39 pm 
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It's not better to just use SpeedFan? I see Scythe makes some controllers.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulling Puget build, must avoid heat and noise
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Pixel Eater wrote:
It's not better to just use SpeedFan? I see Scythe makes some controllers.


Assuming the motherboard chip is supported, I don't see why that wouldn't be fine. I just figured you wanted physical control since you were considering the Scythe units with voltage control knobs.

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