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 Post subject: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:24 am
Posts: 10
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

case fans:
- 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?

Thanks guys.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
From what I recall from an earlier post, you've already bought the i7-3770S. I would have gone for the 3770K or the i5-3570K if you don't think hyperthreading would be beneficial. The lower TDP is mostly hype. Your CPU will pull the power it needs to run at the given clock speed. Won't see a difference at idle/low utilization and at high utilization, you are trading off task time vs power consumed...with the total energy used about the same....and you could always underclock/undervolt the non-S parts. <off soapbox>

Mobo is nice. Do you need all the features of the PRO? If not, you could drop down and save money and a little bit of mobo power (less stuff = less power used).

Check for RAM clearance with your chosen mobo/cooler/RAM. Those tall heatspreaders are pretty useless, in any case. Look for low profile RAM. Many are available 1.35V rather than 1.5V and have comparable specs.

Cooler - we've already discussed. There's also the Thermalright Spirit 120m.

PSU - your stressed load power as defined is in the 115W range. With the HD 7750, it's no more than 170W. Your target wattage is pretty high..like SLI gaming high. Why are you stuck with Memory Express? Why not NCIX, NewEgg, Amazon, etc?

SSD: Intel is fine. Samsung's 840 is getting to be pretty cheap.

graphics: Don't know how well the USB based gfx will work. If/when you do add a graphics card, remember, you can use both the IGP outputs and graphics card's outputs at the same time...so, no need for additional adapters.

HDD: Read the SPCR (and other) WD Red reviews.

case fan-fu: Replacing existing fans. check. There are a couple of members with Define Mini builds. Maybe they'll stop in and provide feedback.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, 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: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 am
Posts: 1313
Location: CT
Hi,

IMO, you have way too many fans for a system that will be using around 100 watts. Try one exhaust fan first (at 6V I'd say), and see what your temps and noise are like. To give you an idea, I have a system that pulls around 330 Watts 24/7 and it runs perfectly fine with only one 120mm Nexus fan at 9V as the exhaust (measured at 19 dB by SPCR). The other exhaust is the 120mm from the PSU (X-650, measured at 16 dB by SPCR in the hotbox pulling 300 W). I have one intake fan (nexus 120mm at 6V), the rest of the intakes are "passive".

If I could, I would have 2 exhaust fans at 6V, and a separate intake for the PSU, but as it is now, the system is very quiet (the sound is a soft woosh of air, no buzzing, ticking or anything else...). I only hear something if I lean towards the case. Sitting at the desk, I have to listen really hard to tell that something is making a noise in the office.

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Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:24 am
Posts: 10
CA_Steve,

i7-3770S versus normal: Yeah, not sure if that was the best choice. Although I would prefer to wait a bit longer and have a lower max heat level to handle. But then it will just make less noise but for a longer time, so you still have a valid point there.

PRO board: The manual for the PRO board says "PWM" for one of the 4 pins on the CPU fan header, but instead says "+5V" for the same pin on the three 4-pin chassis headers, so I am not sure it those will support PWM or not.
In any event, I chose this PRO board because it has one CPU + three chassis 4-pin fan headers (hopefully all PWM) plus it has capacity for two 6 GB/s and at least three 3 GB/s SATA ports. Other boards I saw had either fewer or only 3-pin fan headers, and some Intel boards had only one 6 GB/s SATA port.
I figure with the 3+1 4-pin fan headers there is more flexibility for cooling options. Plus the PRO board is only $40 more than a lesser board I was considering. So mainly I was trying to give myself some flexibility -- which is possibly unneeded.

RAM: Thanks for the info on the RAM heatspreaders being pretty useless; I had wanted to get those, not knowing if they would actually help, but as you said I have to use low profile. I will check the voltage options, as the RAM on my list is 1.5 instead of the 1.35 you mentioned.

PSU: The AX850 is definetly overkill for my system, but Memory Express has pretty poor selection. Thanks for suggesting NCIX; I see they ship from within Canada (we have big problems with customs fees for anything coming from the US) and also allow returns. I will have to check their PSU availability and prices tomorrow.
I was only planning on the local retailer so I could return parts if necessary (e.g. something is too loud). Although ME will only give you a week to do so, whereas NCIX gives 15 days!

graphics: I have read that the Intel chips do not allow you to use the integrated graphics and a discrete video card at the same time, but I'll be happy to find out otherwise. That would save $80, between a cheaper video card and adapters.

Thanks for the time you took to give suggestions Steve.




Frenchie,
Thanks for the information on required airflow. I will play around with it. Maybe I can get away with just the two silent top-exhaust fans. That would be nice. PSU has a dedicated intake/exhaust.

It occurred to me while reading your post that I could flip the PSU upside down, so it takes air out of the bottom of the case and exhausts it. That should improve air circulation in that corner of the case. Although if the PSU fan is not running due to low load and PSU temp, then there would be no effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4479
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
There is newegg.ca and amazon.ca, too.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, 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: Advice for system components
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:24 am
Posts: 10
Hey guys, here are the results of the system.

I changed the PSU to Corsair Pro Gold AX850. I have no video card, so my needs are probably lower than yours. As expected, at this low load, the PSU fan does not turn at all, and is thus any noise from it is undetectable to me.

I went with the WD Red 1 TB HDD, as it is supposed to be the quietest (see SPCR article). The HDD has a soft high pitch, and at idle the HDD is the loudest component in the system.

Thanks to SPCR articles and contributors for the information that I used for my purchase decisions.

I was able to get the PSU for $151 instead of $200 :)

CPU temps go up to 63 degrees Celsius at the cores, which concerns me. I commented more on that in this forum post if you want more details:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=65934

If you have any questions, feel free to write me at dale.pRemove_This@foxcustomsoftware.com


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