This FAQ is an attempt to reduce the level of repetitive traffic in the SPCR forums. Most of these questions can be answered by looking at the recommended pages
or searching the forums
. Sometimes though, there are no clear answers and I hope that this FAQ will help clarify these types of questions as well.
Q: Can someone recommend me a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [On the recommended list]?
A: Well what do YOU think? (i.e. If we recommend it, then we think it's a good product).
Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [NOT on the recommended list]?
A: This is a much trickier answer. Sometimes, there's a product out that none of us have really had a chance to try out. Do a search
to find out. If there are results, then READ them and find out what the deal is. Chances are, it's one of four things:
1) It's NOT good for silent computing.
2) It's alright, but some people have had some issues and/or there are better choices.
3) It's great, but since the SPCR staff hasn't had a chance to formally review it, it hasn't made the recommended lists (or it's been reviewed more recently than the last recommended update).
4) No one knows.
Since there are usually a lot of tried and true choices out there, it's best not to get hung up on any one product that we haven't covered.
Keep in mind that although the SPCR community is global, the SPCR staff is primarily North American. So if there's a product that's not really available in North America (the Be Quiet! power supplies come immediately to mind), it probably won't be reviewed any time soon.
Q: Can someone recommend a quiet or silent >500W power supply?
A: Hold your horses there. Very very few people need a power supply that can put out 500W. On the Recommended Power Supplies pages
, MikeC has painstakingly explained why bigger is not always better. Also on those pages is a listing of maximum power draw of typical PC setups. On THIS forum discussion
, people have listed their systems that work fine with various PSUs rated at 300W. Chances are there is at least one system that looks a lot like the one you have or are considering.
Q: But I'm building an SLI system with a lot of different hard drives.
A: It's still the same deal. The most amount of power measured from a video card was 76W with the 6800 Ultra at full load with an over clock. Let's round that up to 80 for easier math. You'll get 160W from the video. Now the highest powered AMD processor on the market right now dissipates a maximum of 89W. So between your video cards and processor, you're drawing 250W. Hard drives draw not much more than 30W when they spin up, but once spinning, they only draw about 10W each. That's about it. Most of the other accessories like Sound Card, Ethernet, draw at most 10W and far more likely, just 1W if even that. So with a 6800 Ultra SLI system plus 4 hard drives, you're drawing maybe around 300W total. And if you're actually using 6800GT, drop about 20W per video card, or 260W total. Still think you need a 500W power supply?
If you're STILL
not convinced, do the math yourself. I use this source
for processor draw, and X-bit lab's article
for video power draw. Doing the math yourself is a good idea anyways, especially if you intend to overclock.
Q: Alright, you've convinced me that my system doesn't draw 300W, but my system is unstable and I'm pretty sure it's the power supply. I'm running an Athlon 64/Pentium 4 and an older recommended PSU.
A: This has happened once or twice before. The latest family of processors from AMD and Intel require more power from 12V than before. Previously, most of the processor power was drawn from 5V. Well our older recommendations reflect that and are a little weak at 12V. For example, the Nexus NX-3000, a 300W power supply was only capable of supplying 15A on the 12v line. This corresponds to 180W at 12v. So it's entirely possible that your setup draws less than 300W, but is too powerful for your power supply.
All of the power supply reviews mention the current ratings on each line, often right there on the first page.
Q: My Voltage lines are low/high. Wasn't this was a recommended power supply?
A: First, are they even worriably low? 5% +/- is the general rule. This means you shouldn't be a concerned if it's within the following ranges:
Second, have you ACTUALLY measured the voltage with a multimeter? The on-board motherboard voltage sensors are notoriously unreliable in this regard.
Third, is it causing any problems? Many people worry about numbers that they see from their reporting tools, but forget that their system is more or less rock solid.
If you've answered yes to all three of the questions above, then you probably do have a problematic power supply, which may be the only thing we can tell you.
Q: Is this <insert recommended PSU here> good enough for my system?
A: Maybe. Most of the recommended PSUs have been discussed in the past. Between this FAQ page, the links on it, and a search of the product in question, you can answer this question as good (if not better than we can). NOTE: We get this question A LOT. If you ask this question and it's clear you haven't looked for the information first, your thread will be locked.
Q: Can SPCR review this (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
A: Yes. We don't generally buy samples but rely on donations from users and contributions from sponsoring retailers and companies. If you would like to see a product here on SPCR, don't write to MikeC. Write to the company and/or its distributors and ask if they would send a sample to SPCR for review. Or read what MikeC suggests
Q: Can someone recommend me a retailer that sells silent PC parts in Canada/UK/Australia?
A: Many SPCR members are from Canada
, and Australia
, and have posted threads on stores that sell silent PC parts in their respective countries. There are some products that are not easily available outside the United States (like Sorbothane). Unfortunately, there's little one can do about it. Your best bet is to make an offer, but be sure to do that in the proper forum
Q: There's a question that ought to be in the FAQ. Why haven't you answered it?
A: As much as I hate to admit it, I don't know everything about silent PCs. I'll be happy to add your question to this FAQ if you can post both the question and answer to this thread