Hey guys. I wanted to ask for any advice on the computer I am planning to buy.
As is common for this site, my priorities are:
1) imperceptible noise level
2) quality - I plan to use the computer for 10 years, as I did the last one
3) cost - not critical, but...
The dB rating where we have "imperceptible noise level" is difficult to quantify, as each manufacturer and testing mic will use a slightly different measurement scale. For comparison: I bought a couple Noctua fans to play with; unfortunately I had to have my somewhat quiet server running to provide power for the fan tests, so ambient noise was higher than what I will find acceptable. For me, the Noctua NF-P12 at 16.9 dB was still audible up to 2 feet away from my ear (above the noisy server) and thus unacceptable. At 12.6 dB I could hear it above the server until 1.5 feet, which is better. Their NF-S12B FLX at 10.6 dB faded to ambient faster, so I am aiming for about 11 dB.
I know the computer will make noise under heavy load, but if I am just typing or watching a YouTube video or DVD I do not want to hear it.
Usage: videos, DVDs and software development. About 23 degrees Celsius in winter, up to 30 in summer. In a very quiet room.
Here are the components I am planning for, prices in Canadian $:
Asus P8Z77-M PRO motherboard $154.99
Intel Core i7 3770S 3.10GHz 8MB $339.99 - This is a lower power 65W CPU.
CPU cooler - Noctua NH-L12 with Arctic Silver TIM - about 70$ - I plan to have the Asus board use PWM to slow the included PWM fans down to the equivalent of ~5/6V for 11/12 dB for normal use (typing, watching videos).
PSU: I was planning on Cooler Master Silent Pro M II 620W PSU $105, but I see from SPCR reviews that this PSU at 200W load is 15 dB, whereas the SPCR review for Corsair Pro Gold AX850 ($200) says 200W is 11 dB. It is double the price, but for 95$ more I think it will be worth it, as I think that the 15dB Corsair would otherwise have been the loudest part in the computer. Those two are unfortunately the only PSUs that are both carried by www.MemoryExpress.com
and that I found on SPCR. The AX750 is $20 cheaper, but as SPRC has not looked at that model I prefer not to risk an unknown it for $20.
SSD - Intel 120GB 520 series 6Gb/s $129.99
- at least two Noctua NF-S12B FLX FAN 120mm $19.99 - I will position these in the top and slow these to inaudible.
- at least two Noctua NF-P12 PWM Fan 120mm $24.99 - I will position these at front and rear and try to get the Asus board to have these normally inaudible, but speed up under heavy load.
- there are mounts for 3 more fans which I can install if the PWM fans speed up too often
And the parts that are likely irrelevant for noise:
DVD drive-Asus 24x DVDRW SATA BK OEM $19.99
Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1600Mhz CL9 B $99.99
Fractal Design Arc Micro ATX Tower $99.99 (http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX37330
). I plan to remove all stock fans.
There is no video card. To start, I will use the included Intel graphics for the first two monitors (native DVI, plus the HDMI port with a HMDI to DVI adapter). I will also use a USB-DVI part I have for my third monitor; if this does not work well under Windows 8 then I plan to get the HIS Radeon HD 7750 iSilence 5 1GB ($100), which will support three DVI monitors with an extra $50 in adapters (HDMI-DVI and active DP-DVI). This card is powered just by the PCIe slot, and has a dual slot heat sink with no fan.
I still need to pick a HDD, but I have not read the SPCR reviews for those yet. I had been thinking of the Seagate Green, as they are supposedly a bit quieter than the WD green drives and apparently do not have the load/unload problems that WD drives have, but my retailer has stopped stocking them. (?)
Any comments or suggestions?