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 Post subject: Silent PC for storage, torrenting, monitoring, and movies
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:09 am
Posts: 2
Hi there,
I need some comments/help regarding a PC that I’m going to set up. It will be a mix of standard desktop (in terms of size), HTPC (movies and music) and NAS (storage and back-ups).

Initial requirements
Tasks: torrenting, monitoring, operational 24/7, movies, external and back-up storage for my other PCs/laptops/tablets, maybe basic server application (hosting few websites and ftps, but nothing pro, just some fancy projects of mine).

No gaming (I have another PC for that). The only extra thing is two or three cameras I’d like to connect to it (for monitoring my apartment and weather outside the window, but I guess that won’t be a problem.
Also I’m planning to load (and use) my FLAC music collection to it. The PC would be connected to my LAN (no wirelees because it sucks in terms of write/send transfer) and to a TV (via DisplayPort) for watching movies.

Major requirement: as silent as possible (it will be located next to my bed (3m from my head) and I don’t want to hear any noise whatsoever whilst sleeping. Reasonable price is always a plus too (but I’m willing to pay extra for more silence).

After reading dozens of posts here and tests (here and elsewhere) I came up with the following cofing:

Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Black Micro ATX Silent PC (size is not a problem and I figured out that bigger case > better airflow > lower temp > lower fan speed required > silence. Also my main gaming PC has the Fractal Design Define R4 so both FD cases next to each other will look really nice).
Fans: 2x Noctua NF-P12-1300 120mm Case Fans (very silent from what I’ve read, best option, intake – front, outtake – back of the case)
Mobo: Asus F2A85-M Pro (has built-in DisplayPort - I plan to play movies directly on my TV, and 6x SATA 6Gb)
CPU: A10-5700 (65W, quite good performance, best integrated graphic available, AMD processor maybe are less efficient than intel ones but they cost much less… so I guess for my application AMD is better choice.)
CPU cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (again, one of the best available on the market, a little pricey but, again, I’m willing to pay extra for more silence).
PSU: Seasonic X-400 Fanless (as for now I do not plan to use a discrete GPU, but in the future… who knows; do you think that X-560 or X-650 would be silent enough, again I don’t won’t to hear anything – maybe besides HDD – whilst sleeping 3m next to this silent PC?)
RAM: 2x 8 GB Geil (or sth else compatible with Noctua cpu cooler)
HDD: 4x WD Cavaiar Red 2.0TB (for storage), 1x OCZ 128 SSD Vertex 4 (for system)

What do you think? Would I hear anything (maybe except the HDD) @3m?
Would you change anything in the above config?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent PC for storage, torrenting, monitoring, and movie
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1189
Location: UK
Personally I don't see the justification for such a system. This would be better covered with separate appliances. Modern Smart TVs will mount a network share which would enable you to watch films on the TV streamed from a NAS. Some NASs also offer a downloader addon for Bittorent and FTP. The security cameras can also be handled separately and saved to the NAS.

Building a computer for this will be more expensive and much less energy efficient.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent PC for storage, torrenting, monitoring, and movie
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:09 am
Posts: 2
And if fact, what I'm trying to acheive is kind of a NAS (for sure it's closer to NAS than to a standard desktop). In fact, at first I was looking for a NAS built with a Celeron, Llan case, ITX and picoPSU (reading lot of stuff here and there). In terms of money needed to be spent my intial config is maybe 20% more expensive than a simlar quality NAS. Decent, picoPSU are around $30,00 lest expensive than Seasonic X-400. The same is true for mobo. ITX case and mATX cost more or less the same. OK, the Celeron costs half the price of the A10-5700, but that's all. And instead of Noctua hihg-end tower cooler I could get a smaller and cheaper one. But again, will such less expensive (by 20%) NAS offer at least the same silence level... I'm not so sure.

And I get much more space and flexibility with mATX (and quite large FD case) than with smaller ITX case (with little room inside causing additional heat problem, less expansion slots).

Again, silence is the most important objective and I figured out that it would be easier to acheive it with mATX (and larger case and better airflow) than with ITX (and smaller case).

If I could put the NAS somewhere away from my head then, OK, I would go for it. But I can't so I shan't (to paraphrase one of the most brilliant character in a TV series ever:). It will be 'sitting' next to my head and I don't want to hear it (at best at all).


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 Post subject: Re: Silent PC for storage, torrenting, monitoring, and movie
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
I've read somewhere in the forum that the Sea Sonic PSU suffers from a buzzing noise. So perhaps you should choose a KingWin PSU. They also make high-quality and silent PSU's.

If you are really serious about silence then you could spare one or two of the three fans. That CPU, and at low to moderate loads will not dissipate much heat. If I were you I would drop either the front or the back fan. Perhaps even go as far as only running the CPU fan.

Have you checked the minimum fan speed of the Noctua fans? Or what the minimum starting voltage equals to in terms of fan speed? I suspect that the noctua fans may not be completely silent at the minimum fan speed. I know for a fact that many slow-running Scythe Slipstream fans can run at 3-400 rpm, which is as silent as it can be, but many fans run at minimum 5-600 rpm. Perhaps just a bit too loud for a person who requires absolute silence.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent PC for storage, torrenting, monitoring, and movie
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:49 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 3:58 am
Posts: 757
Location: Formosa
How often do you access HDDs? It's almost impossible to silence/absorb 4 HDDs' operating noise and vibration. I can definitely hear/feel 2 WD 1TB Green HDDs' noise/vibration in my P182 during midnight using built-in silicone rubber grommets. Fortunately, I managed to silence HDDs by making it asleep when not in use. That said, if you constantly access HDDs, HDD noise and vibration will be your biggest concern. Trust me, it will be louder than fan/psu etc.......


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