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 Post subject: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Currently I have a game pc, but since I don't really game anymore I want to buy silent htpc. I would use this pc for watching movies and series, listening to music and some day-in day-out computer use (internet, MS Word, ...).

I have been doing some research and here is the setup I have in mind:
- Processor: AMD A8 3850
- CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Rev. B
- Motherboard: Asus F1A75-M
- Case: SilverStone Grandia SST-GD05B
- PSU: Seasonic S12II-380

I still have a DVD burner, DDR 3 RAM and hard disks from my current game-pc.
Would this be a good system or are there any remarks?

Thanks in advance for the advice.


P.S.: I hope I haven't made to many mistakes, English is not my native language :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Canada
Roald wrote:
Currently I have a game pc, but since I don't really game anymore I want to buy silent htpc. I would use this pc for watching movies and series, listening to music and some day-in day-out computer use (internet, MS Word, ...).

I have been doing some research and here is the setup I have in mind:
- Processor: AMD A8 3850
- CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Rev. B
- Motherboard: Asus F1A75-M
- Case: SilverStone Grandia SST-GD05B
- PSU: Seasonic S12II-380

I still have a DVD burner, DDR 3 RAM and hard disks from my current game-pc.
Would this be a good system or are there any remarks?

Thanks in advance for the advice.


P.S.: I hope I haven't made to many mistakes, English is not my native language :)
Looks like a good quiet build, could very well be silent from a seating position of 2m+. You would need something to control the speed on the stock fans. Also, selecting a good quiet hard drive will be very important in keeping the noise down.

By the way, excellent English. Better than quite a few who speak and write it natively, haha.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 11:53 am
Posts: 9
Falkon wrote:
Looks like a good quiet build, could very well be silent from a seating position of 2m+. You would need something to control the speed on the stock fans. Also, selecting a good quiet hard drive will be very important in keeping the noise down.


Would it be better if I buy other case fans (if so, which ones)? Also, should I change the fan on the CPU cooler, or isn't that necessary?
I have found a fan controller, but the problem is that I can only pick one 5.25" device to put in this case (and, I think, in most HTPC cases). So I would have to choose between a DVD (or Bluray) drive and a fancontroller. Or is there another way to control your fans in a convenient way?

Another thing I was thinking about was putting a SSD (Crucial M4?) in the build. At the moment I have a WD Caviar Black as boot disk, a WD Caviar Green as data disk and a Samsung F4EG as data disk. The Caviar Black is a 7200 RPM disk and the two others are 5400 RPM disks, which is noticeable. If I pick the SSD as boot disk, will the other disks be constantly spinning or only when I use them (i.e. watch a movie, listen to music, ...)?
I don't know if it is possible, but perhaps there is a way to isolate the noise of the hard drives?

And my last question (of this post :mrgreen:), is there a difference (in noise production) between the Scythe Big Shuriken and Scythe Shuriken? Apparently the Shuriken is taller than the Big Shuriken so I think the Big Shuriken would be a better choice in a small case.

Falkon wrote:
By the way, excellent English. Better than quite a few who speak and write it natively, haha.

Thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Canada
Roald wrote:
Would it be better if I buy other case fans (if so, which ones)? Also, should I change the fan on the CPU cooler, or isn't that necessary?
I have found a fan controller, but the problem is that I can only pick one 5.25" device to put in this case (and, I think, in most HTPC cases). So I would have to choose between a DVD (or Bluray) drive and a fancontroller. Or is there another way to control your fans in a convenient way?

Another thing I was thinking about was putting a SSD (Crucial M4?) in the build. At the moment I have a WD Caviar Black as boot disk, a WD Caviar Green as data disk and a Samsung F4EG as data disk. The Caviar Black is a 7200 RPM disk and the two others are 5400 RPM disks, which is noticeable. If I pick the SSD as boot disk, will the other disks be constantly spinning or only when I use them (i.e. watch a movie, listen to music, ...)?
I don't know if it is possible, but perhaps there is a way to isolate the noise of the hard drives?

And my last question (of this post :mrgreen:), is there a difference (in noise production) between the Scythe Big Shuriken and Scythe Shuriken? Apparently the Shuriken is taller than the Big Shuriken so I think the Big Shuriken would be a better choice in a small case.

What I would do for the fan situation is just use 3-pin fans that have a maximum speed of <800rpm, so you bypass the need for a fan controller altogether. Even three 120mm fans at ~800rpm won't be audible from over 2m away on your sofa. The fans I use in my PC are the Noctua NF-S12B ULN, which spin at roughly 700rpm on 12v. They can be powered by either a 3-pin header or molex connector.

The Caviar Black is a noisy drive and won't meet your silent criteria. You would be much better off booting from a SSD if it's in the budget. Most green (5400rpm) drives are very quiet and shouldn't make an intrusive amount of noise. I have a 1TB Caviar Green mounted on rubber grommets and it is effectively silent from >1ft away.

The Big Shuriken is often used in HTPC builds for its low profile and should suit your needs perfectly.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 5:14 am 
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Falkon wrote:
What I would do for the fan situation is just use 3-pin fans that have a maximum speed of <800rpm, so you bypass the need for a fan controller altogether. Even three 120mm fans at ~800rpm won't be audible from over 2m away on your sofa. The fans I use in my PC are the Noctua NF-S12B ULN, which spin at roughly 700rpm on 12v. They can be powered by either a 3-pin header or molex connector.

The Caviar Black is a noisy drive and won't meet your silent criteria. You would be much better off booting from a SSD if it's in the budget. Most green (5400rpm) drives are very quiet and shouldn't make an intrusive amount of noise. I have a 1TB Caviar Green mounted on rubber grommets and it is effectively silent from >1ft away.

The Big Shuriken is often used in HTPC builds for its low profile and should suit your needs perfectly.

I'll do that than. 3 Noctua NF-S12B ULN fans instead of the casefans and I'll use the 3-pin header to power them.

I think I'm going to buy an SSD also and a another green drive to replace the Caviar Black (I'll try to sell that one). I guess I'll find some rubber grommets in a hardware store or some other local store.

So ok, you have answered all my questions, thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:03 am 
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Location: New Brunswick
The fans that come with the GD05 are really quite decent. I replaced mine with Nexuses, and honestly I didn't notice a difference; I wish I'd just saved my money. You can get a cheap PCI slot fan controller ($5) and dial them down to 5v.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 8:56 am 
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Posts: 9
That's also an option than, but now I don't know what to pick :) But I sit rather close to the computer. Do you not notice a difference on a couple of meters or even close to the computer?

Does anyone else have experience with the casefans on the GD05?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:58 am 
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Posts: 60
Location: Toronto
I have an HTPC setup sort of similar to yours. My case is a Lian-Li A04, and although the stock fans were pretty good, the Noctua fans you are getting are still better (I replaced 2/3 of the 120mm fans with S12B ULN). I also trust their durability more so I would install them when you get your parts and not worry about replacing them for a long time.

My PSU is the S12II 380w; it does start to get noisy (gentle blowing noise, no clicking) after running higher loads because the case temp hits 45-50C (I run a Q8200 and a Radeon 4830 so with an APU you probably won't have this issue since I'm probably producing more heat).

I also have a regular Shuriken cooling the Q8200 without the fan; you might be able to disable the fan if a case fan is blowing air close to the APU. The Big Shuriken (which I use on my main desktop a i5 2400) has a clicky fan so you might not want to plug it in.

My boot drive is an Intel X25-M 80GB. That way, all of the storage (1TB, 2x1.5TB, 2TB mix of 5400+7200rpm) can spin down when you're not using the computer, which will make the system very close to silent. When you use a drive, it will spin up and make the system marginally noisier.

_________________
Lone Industries L1: i7 3770, 2x4GB Mushkin Silverline, 160GB X25-M G2, Dell U2412M + U2211H
Lian-Li A04: i5 2400, 2x4GB Mushkin Silverline, 80GB X25-M G1, 9TB FlexRAID, 1GB 5750 (passive), all on Seasonic x460, hooked up to Sony 40" EX620 + KEF 2005.3 + Yamaha RX-V667


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:14 am 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 11:53 am
Posts: 9
Sounds good, thanks.
Do you think the APU could be cooled with the fan of the Shuriken Big switched off? I will have to test that, but I'm afraid it might overheat while I'm doing that (I don't have much experience in this because normally I make sure everything is plugged in before I start the computer :p). If the fan is necessary and too loud (or clicking) can I also replace it with a Noctua fan?

Another question, should I also put rubber feet under the PSU? I think I've read it here in a review, but I don't know if it's necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:30 am 
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Location: Toronto
I think the Seasonic should be fine without any rubber feet; the fan is high quality and shouldn't need anything to dampen noise since the noise it produces is very low and unobtrusive. However, it doesn't hurt to have if it's included (not sure about that).

I looked at the layout of the GD05 and I think you might be ok without a fan on the heat sink. They've even designed the stock layout to be positive pressure which I was going to recommend switching to if it wasn't, meaning that all of the fans are blowing into the case (so the APU will get fresh air coming in). With three 120mm fans and just the APU running up to 100W, you should be OK, as long as your case has space to circulate air (vs being inside a closed cabinet). It's unlikely you will be pegging both the GPU and CPU at the same time as well, which will help.

Also, since the case is a horizontal orientation, the Big Shuriken will be running its fan horizontally, and I think it's a sleeve bearing which means you want to avoid that.

I think the 120mm case fans will be enough.

_________________
Lone Industries L1: i7 3770, 2x4GB Mushkin Silverline, 160GB X25-M G2, Dell U2412M + U2211H
Lian-Li A04: i5 2400, 2x4GB Mushkin Silverline, 80GB X25-M G1, 9TB FlexRAID, 1GB 5750 (passive), all on Seasonic x460, hooked up to Sony 40" EX620 + KEF 2005.3 + Yamaha RX-V667


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:47 am 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 11:53 am
Posts: 9
Thanks for the info. I'll try it with the cpu fan off and check the temperature it is running on.


Does anyone know a (not too expensive) remote which I could use with Windows 7 (64 bit)? Or am I better off with a wireless keyboard with a trackpad (like the Logitech K400)?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:30 am
Posts: 36
Location: New Brunswick
In my GD05 I use a Noctua NH-C12P with no fan and it idles in the mid 30s and gets up to the low 50s under Prime95 torture test. This is with Nexus fans at 5v (more or less identical results and noise levels with the stock fans at 5v). Of course, the Noctua is a much better/beefier HSF than the Big Shuriken and I'm just running a dual core Sandy Bridge CPU. Also, I think the C12P is too big to allow an optical drive, but I gave up optical media (good riddance) when I moved to this build.

EDIT: This case is designed for the PSU to use rubber feet (included with case). They're necessary to get the PSU to line up properly with the holes in the case and give it support. Also, I think you'd be wasting your money to buy three $20 Noctua fans for this case. You could buy a better heatsink instead; I doubt the Big Shuriken will be sufficient cooling for an AMD APU (especially a quad core) without its fan operating. They wouldn't have given the GD05 an SPCR editor's choice award if the stock fans weren't good. Again, at 5v there is almost no difference (from point blank range) between the stock fans and the SPCR-reference Nexus (and I am very sensitive to noise).


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:43 am 
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Which heatsink/cpu fan would you suggest? Because the Noctua NH-C12P isn't compatible with the FM1 socket.
I have found some good reviews of the Noctua NH-L12, but I don't know if it the heatsink is better than the one on the Big Shuriken? It works with a fan, a heatsink and another fan. In the review they said that the total noise production of the fans on the coolers is the same on the Noctua and the Big Shuriken, so I would only buy the Noctua if I can use it without the fans.

And maybe I'll wait with ordering the Noctua casefans. If I think the casefans are too loud, I can still buy them afterwards.


edit: Some other people told me that I shouldn't the A8 APU from AMD, but more something like the A4-3400, because it would do just fine for my use. What do you guys think? It's cheaper, produces less heat and thus the whole cpu fan/heatsink problem would probably be solved. As long as it can run 1080p video, MS Word and some light use of programs like Photoshop (only to edit some photo's, no rendering) it's fine by me.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:32 am 
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Location: New Brunswick
Roald wrote:
Which heatsink/cpu fan would you suggest? Because the Noctua NH-C12P isn't compatible with the FM1 socket.
I have found some good reviews of the Noctua NH-L12, but I don't know if it the heatsink is better than the one on the Big Shuriken? It works with a fan, a heatsink and another fan. In the review they said that the total noise production of the fans on the coolers is the same on the Noctua and the Big Shuriken, so I would only buy the Noctua if I can use it without the fans.

And maybe I'll wait with ordering the Noctua casefans. If I think the casefans are too loud, I can still buy them afterwards.


edit: Some other people told me that I shouldn't the A8 APU from AMD, but more something like the A4-3400, because it would do just fine for my use. What do you guys think? It's cheaper, produces less heat and thus the whole cpu fan/heatsink problem would probably be solved. As long as it can run 1080p video, MS Word and some light use of programs like Photoshop (only to edit some photo's, no rendering) it's fine by me.


I'd say you definitely don't need the quad core if you're only doing 1080p and Office. You could compromise and go with the A6 (tri core), which would give you a bit of extra muscle just in case. The C12P should be compatible with FM1--AFAIK FM1 uses exactly the same mounting system as AM2, AM2+, and AM3. (What makes you think it wouldn't work?) Fm1 is listed as compatible on the Noctua product page too:

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=prod ... =35&lng=en

It would definitely cool an A4 or A6 in the GD05 without the need for a fan.

EDIT: For getting those stock fans to be quiet, I'd suggest something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811996023

It allows you to connect 3 fans and dial down the voltage.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:59 am 
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birthdaymonkey wrote:
I'd say you definitely don't need the quad core if you're only doing 1080p and Office. You could compromise and go with the A6 (tri core), which would give you a bit of extra muscle just in case. The C12P should be compatible with FM1--AFAIK FM1 uses exactly the same mounting system as AM2, AM2+, and AM3. (What makes you think it wouldn't work?) Fm1 is listed as compatible on the Noctua product page too:

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=prod ... =35&lng=en

It would definitely cool an A4 or A6 in the GD05 without the need for a fan.

EDIT: For getting those stock fans to be quiet, I'd suggest something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811996023

It allows you to connect 3 fans and dial down the voltage.

Oh ok, I was just looking in the webshop in which I'm going to buy the pc and the FM1 socket wasn't listed. But apparently it is possible to use the cooler on the FM 1 socket. I think I'm going to choose a A6 APU, but is there another cooling option so I can still place a DVD or Bluray drive? I'm not sure if want to leave a drive out of the setup.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:30 am
Posts: 36
Location: New Brunswick
Roald wrote:
birthdaymonkey wrote:
I'd say you definitely don't need the quad core if you're only doing 1080p and Office. You could compromise and go with the A6 (tri core), which would give you a bit of extra muscle just in case. The C12P should be compatible with FM1--AFAIK FM1 uses exactly the same mounting system as AM2, AM2+, and AM3. (What makes you think it wouldn't work?) Fm1 is listed as compatible on the Noctua product page too:

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=prod ... =35&lng=en

It would definitely cool an A4 or A6 in the GD05 without the need for a fan.

EDIT: For getting those stock fans to be quiet, I'd suggest something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811996023

It allows you to connect 3 fans and dial down the voltage.

Oh ok, I was just looking in the webshop in which I'm going to buy the pc and the FM1 socket wasn't listed. But apparently it is possible to use the cooler on the FM 1 socket. I think I'm going to choose a A6 APU, but is there another cooling option so I can still place a DVD or Bluray drive? I'm not sure if want to leave a drive out of the setup.


The option there would be either a Big Shuriken or that new Noctua low profile. I doubt either of them is big enough to work without a fan. If you want a passive heatsink it's got to be big and well designed. The height restriction with a normal size optical drive is 70 mm, so you're going to be pretty limited in terms of choice. I think that if you use a slim optical drive, you can maybe squeeze something a bit bigger in there, but it's going to be tight. Try Googling GD05 and slim optical and see what you can come up with.

You would also have the option of using an external optical drive as needed rather than installing an internal one.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:00 am 
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Ok thanks, I will have to think about the options :)


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