I am researching for a new computer. I plan to buy a motherboard with integrated graphics, NIC, and sound. Currently I am leaning hard toward the AM2 X2 CPUs.
I'm torn between a fanless power supply (Silverstone or Fortron) or a Seasonic S12 380W. I selected the 380W model rather than the 330W because of observations of many here that the 380W model has larger heat sinks and the fan tends to run at the slowest (inaudible) speeds.
Pragmatism tells me to select the S12 to have that fan for safety. However, the fanless PSUs easily should handle my usage habits.
Adding to the debate is that my hearing is exceptional. I am particularly sensitive to high frequency and background noises and I must emphasize that point. A fan is a fan and without any first-hand experience with the S12 I do not know whether my sensitive hearing will notice the fan. My current primary box is silent, but I have a test box that is "only" quiet. The sole cause is the PSU fan. Like my primary box, I undervolted the fan to about 7 volts. My primary box is silent, but I still hear the fan running in the test box. Most people never would complain about the test box noise level, but often I hate running that box because even that low level of noise disturbs me in my office environment. I work with no background noise or music and with my hearing I easily can hear a mouse scratching.
The fanless PSUs are more expensive and although the piggy bank is small, I am willing to spend the money to avoid noise, if that option is viable and safe.
My new box will rest about 2 feet from me under my desk. I could use my current KVM switch to extend that distance to about 5 feet to the other side of a small file cabinet.
This new box will be a dual core CPU system to support virtualization. Although the newer CPUs are not necessary for virtualization, I am buying a box that will last me many years. Therefore to somewhat future-proof the box I might as well start with something that is stable but close to current cutting edge.
I plan to run Slackware (GNU/Linux) as my primary OS with my old but stable NT4 Workstation as a continuous virtual OS. Occasionally I will run a second virtual OS for testing various GNU/Linux distros or the Slackware current tree. But even then, my host and NT4 OSs will be idling (computers might multi-task well, but I do not
). I will not be concurrently running a half dozen virtual OSs or a virtual server.
I likely will run all virtual OSs from a second hard drive.
I'm a basic office user. Lots of typing, along with web browsing, email, and the usual dozen or so utility software applets to support such tasks. Occasionally I compile software and kernels.
I'm not into 3D, games, professional graphics, or multimedia. My computer-based multimedia demands are relegated to the occasional film trailer and online file formats. Nothing significant and my existing old hardware handles those tasks just fine. Any new hardware will only be an improvement in that limited area. Down the road I might dabble with a video capture card for snatching the occasional late-late night movie. I might later add a digital camera.
I will be adding a DVD player/burner.
I expect to regularly power off the box except during long compiles or those possible late-late night movies. That is, normally this box will not be on 24/7.
In all, I do not envision me straining my new system in any conceivable manner.
So --- fanless or S12? Any related advice is appreciated. Thanks.