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 Post subject: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in some $
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:18 pm 
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So long story short my tech buddy of years who's always handled everything PC build/internal fix related has separated from me, sad day.

I recently bought a Dell XPS computer at Best Buy for around $800 I believe it was for a parent since their old computer finally died out. Well one thing that absolutely caught my attention was just how damn silent it was, you can't hear the thing at all until you begin loading intensive applications and every once in a while the thing will crank up and whatnot. But just browsing around and doing less heavy applications the thing is silent as can be, Apple Macbook silent.

Currently I have an i7 rig loaded on an EVGA X58 FTW3 mobo, Cooler Master GT heat sink, fanless GPU for no noise, boxed into a Raven RV03 case. This thing is loud. Even when turning the fan speeds lower it's still not even remotely close to something silent. The only way I can get the thing to shut up is literally by disconnecting all of the fans, then that gets it just about silent - minus the CM heat sink, that's not as quiet as I thought it was supposed to be back when reading about it and then buying it.

My needs: Well it's about time I take the plunge on upgrading my PC anyways. And I need something as silent as that Dell because I do studio recordings in this room. I bought a Macbook Pro last year as my upgrade for silence, but the lack of extra functionality that a full rig provides you caused me to sell it off and get rid of it - ontop of that being my first ever Mac experience, I'd rather just be back on a Windows OS.

So I need something powerful to handle recording, mixing, and also video editing. I don't game anymore on my rig, but I don't want to do any hardware cutbacks in the case I do decide to get back into gaming on the rig so that all I'd need to do is go buy another high end GPU, pop it in and bam.

But again, most importantly I need this thing dead silent. It would be nice to have the option to crank up the volume in speeds at the flick of a switch for when I'm in mixdown and editing mode for the heavier processes. But when recording, the low power mode switch engaged, dead silent.

Is this possible? I have to imagine so as that Dell is absolutely nothing special, all fans, no SSD, no water cool'd or fanless heat sink, it's just your basic normal computer but dead silent!

How much am I looking at as far as the build goes? Starting from scratch and not re-using any equipment?

Then we can discuss labor costs for anybody potentially interested in doing this for me privately.

Email is <deleted by moderator> if you'd like to contact me on there. Here is fine, PM is fine, or that email is fine.

Thanks in advance guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Welcome to SPCR. I deleted your email address to keep it from being hoovered up by webcrawlers /subjected to later spam. People can email you by clicking on the link in your profile.

It doesn't take a lot of CPU power to record/mix audio. If you use tons of VMs, then it's a different story. Video editing will take all the CPU power you want to throw at it and you basically trade off time vs $'s.

Do you have a budget in mind for the hardware costs?

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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:19 am 
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I don't know if you're able to do it by yourself, but at first glance to silence your rig you should need some adapter cable for the 180mm case fan (around 7V), and a new quiet CPU heatsink, mandatorily either a Noctua or Scythe one (due to their remarkably good sounding fans). And a reading to that SPCR article may well worth.

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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:30 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Welcome to SPCR. I deleted your email address to keep it from being hoovered up by webcrawlers /subjected to later spam. People can email you by clicking on the link in your profile.

It doesn't take a lot of CPU power to record/mix audio. If you use tons of VMs, then it's a different story. Video editing will take all the CPU power you want to throw at it and you basically trade off time vs $'s.

Do you have a budget in mind for the hardware costs?


Apologies for the late response.

I definitely need to make the upgrade as the last few months my system is just going and I know it. From things being connected to it via USB taking longer than normal to recognize, from my keyboard not inputting keys correctly half the time, to when re-booting the computer the BIOS list just goes slow and takes time. If I turn it off and disconnect the power source and let it sit for 5 minutes or so then power it back up everything runs good that day but another week left on and it's back to its slow hardware mishaps. I am one of those people who doesn't ever turn off his computer, however, can maybe that of done something over the last three years by being on constantly? Regardless, it's time for an upgrade.

But, I'm wondering if it's worth waiting for Broadwell to release early next year before doing the upgrade?

Anyways, I seem to always go for more power than I really need - regarding everything I buy, not just speaking computers. So I know I'm going to want another powerful i7 rig. Hoping this can all be done with about a grand in mind? Maybe $1,500 at most. Is that a loose budget for a nice build that's going to last me a good 5 years or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Location: Northern New Jersey
I've seen machines do some weird things with bad RAM or a bad CMOS battery. I suspect your real problem may be one of those. An i7 is nothing to sneeze at, so I really think what you need to do is address the noise you're currently dealing with.

I do agree however. New Dell machines have very good thermal control of fans and noise is far lower than previous desktop systems. Since PWM has been available for Desktop machines, Dells have been doing very well with the feature.

If your current i7 machine hasn't lasted you 5 years (and the first i7s are only about 5 years old now), a new one wont really last you 5 years without taking care of it. That starts at turning the machine off every night. Running it constantly doesn't cause a rapid decrease in lifespan, but it allows the hard drive to burn hours, and dust to get into the system, when it could otherwise be off, avoiding both of those problems.

I think you could upgrade your current machine to an SSD, new fans, and better cooling, as well as sorting out the booting issue for far cheaper than a new system. If your current machine is more power than you need (and it likely is), there's no point in upgrading to even more power than you'll need, even thinking ahead. I work in a computer shop, and while it's your decision in the end, you're hardly running "outdated" hardware. I do see customers get upgrade fever like this fairly often, but just like I would say to them, if this machine still has more than enough power to do what you need it to do, it's not yet time for an upgrade. If some part fails that is cost prohibitive (meaning it's cheaper to upgrade than repair), then fine. Nine times out of ten, the reason it becomes cost prohibitive is because of the labor cost, not the parts needed.

I would say rethinking the case fans is your #1 priority, then getting a new CPU cooler, then upgrading RAM, then hard drives.

Literally 1-2 case fans is more than enough, upper and rear exhaust only. No intake fans. None.

1366 heatsinks are easy to find, and you could probably toss in an HR-02 Macho, and never have to think about it again.

You haven't mentioned how much RAM you have. Triple Channel is a PITA, and I hate dealing with it because of the kit prices, but as long as you're running Windows 7 Pro, you've got capabilities for all the RAM you're going to need out of a "basic" home machine.

That's just my $0.02 about this. Also, I own a 2011 MacBook Pro 15" and I can honestly say it's far from silent. I treat mine very well, but in a quiet room, it makes noise, and has a bit of vibration to it. Also, under intense graphics load, those fans kick in, and it's seriously loud for a laptop. None of my previous laptops have gotten anywhere near as noisy. An SSD would solve the vibration issue, but wouldn't change the fan noise.

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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:12 am 
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+1.

Strange things can happen/build up over time...along with a lot of cruft in the OS/corrupted files/BIOS oddities. Have you ever lost power with the PC on when it wasn't on a UPS? That can easily corrupt the OS.

A couple of relatively easy and free things to try:
- see if there is a newer version of the BIOS/drivers. If there isn't, try reinstalling the current version of the BIOS...or even just try changing a value in the current BIOS and saving it. Sometimes, just making any change and saving it can speed it up.
- reinstall win7.

If you do decide to build new, benchmark your current system first. Run a task that you know is a heavy load and pop open Task Manager to see how heavy it actually is. If your cores and threads are no where near peak, then you really don't need a Haswell i7. A 4 to 5 year old i7 has about the same horsepower as an i5 today. BTW, Broadwell is supposed to be targeted toward laptops, not desktops. There are some newer Haswell parts coming out later in the year.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Hm, to put it in a nutshell. If I'm cracking things open and just replacing parts I'd rather just go the whole nine yards and get a new build entirely, especially if any of which requires swapping out the mobo or CPU cooler. Obviously isn't the most cost effective route, but it's just what I'm accustomed to doing when it comes down to anything really. And that way I know 100% with a clear mind that I have a superb working and functioning PC running with no faults whatsoever that's going to last me the next 5 years or so.

I've lost power before, yes. But what exactly is a UPS? I'm not sure the OS on the HDD is corrupt or not, as it'll run just fine after I power down the computer completely (completely power disconnected) for 10 minutes and boot back up. But after a while it begins reading anything on the mobo SLOW, as in rebooting the computer doesn't help at all, the initial BIOS bootup is even slow when it scans through the system connections and whatnot - that stuff even loads slow before an HDD is read.

Really, what am I looking at regarding price on a new Haswell build? If Broadwell really isn't worth waiting out for. I don't want to cheapskate anything, didn't on this build back when I had it done so I wouldn't like to begin so now. With that being said, another i7 rig is what I'd be wanting. As far as a mobo goes, correct me if I'm wrong as I'm not up to speed with what companies have been the best over the recent years, but the Asus boards seem to be the best out these days at a quick glance. Thunderbolt equipped motherboard is a must, all USB 3.0 preferrably, all Sata 6Gb (my current board also has Marvell Sata connections and not Intel I believe? And that caused a problem with my SSD speeds, they were running half of what the SSD's speeds were supposed to be in the Sata 6Gb ports. It's been a year since we hooked up the SSD, but I remember his research having to do with the non-Intel ports - I'm sure everything has been long improved since then, but nevertheless.), and that should wrap it up. I can't think of anything else I'd need specifically in a build. Just plenty of PCIe slots for later options. I've gotten used to this upright mobo case, not sure how many other cases are doing this so that the back of the mobo is at the top of the case - that would be a nice option but if it limits my silent goal'd options then we can do away with that idea of choice.

Also, I got the Retina MBP, thing was silent as can be - but then again I never put it in use with any real load.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:07 pm 
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You might find pcpartpicker.com of use. You can build up a system and get a quick feel for comparative prices.

UPS - uninterruptable power supply. A cheap way to protect your PC/data when power craps out at your home while the PC is on.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Building a SILENT PC? OC, CA Residents interested in som
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:30 pm 
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What specifically do you need thunderbolt for? I jumped on a couple thunderbolt devices, as I got my MacBook Pro because it has ThunderBolt, however to be perfectly honest, it's hardly much use. I don't find myself using the interface often, though I didn't get it for constant use, it's just for checking a project on a TV before doing a final export.

USB3.0 is useful, but I would say that PCI-e slots are not much of a need. I have a PCI-e graphics card, a PCI-e Firewire Card, and a PCI-e USB3 card. For most motherboards, you wouldn't need a USB3.0 card, and if you don't use FW, then you wouldn't need that one as well. PCI-e expansion cards are hardly used at this point, so going for a full ATX board is a bit of a waste, you simply wont need it.

Properly coded software is replacing older PCI-e cards. Just look at the HD Accel cards that Pro Tools uses. They simply aren't needed now that the software is fully 64 bit and actually utilizes the CPU to it's fullest.

SSDs are quite difficult to set up, so it may be an issue were the partitions are not aligned properly for best performance.

You shouldn't stick to old thinking with new machines, you need to know what you need the machine to do. If you get a mATX motherboard with Thunderbolt, USB3.0 and Firewire, then you could add a fanless GPU, and that's it. Gigabyte does have a motherboard with those features as well. Thunderbolt is essentially an external PCI-Express connection, generally paired with Mini-Displayport when applicable.

Asus is a very good manufacturer of motherboards, I currently use an Asus, but I can't call them the best. Rather, Gigabyte, Asus and MSI are pretty equal. I have not seen problems with any of those brands over the past 4 years. That's not to say there haven't been problems, but in my experience, they're good performers. As with anything, throwing money at the situation isn't always going to solve it. We're just trying to save you some money. The decision is up to you, but it's whatever you want. I do sound design and demo recording, so I'm pretty sure I'm aware of what your basic needs are for the machine, it's just down to what you want to do in the end.

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|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
FartingBob wrote:
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.


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