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 Post subject: Sub $350 Plain Vanilla Silent
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:38 am 
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Posts: 20
I'm wondering if this price point is possible for a "silent" PC. More low end system designs, please!

The need here is simple. Nothing has to be the latest. "End of life cycle" is OK, but we don't want used or stuff more than 3 years behind the latest greatest.

- Linux compatible everything
- No internal disks needed
- Must boot USB 2.0 external disk (BIOS support issue)
- No monitor required (have 1280x1024 32bit LCD)
- No nVidia or ATI proprietary video drivers, Linux OSS only (Intel?)
- 2 GiB RAM, expandable to 8 GiB or better
- 3 GHz or better processor(s) (don't care brand, single, duo, quad, etc.)
- Fanless if at all possible, maybe picoPSU or something
- Video input if possible


Not into games, but heavy processing related to engineering. So leaning towards workstation. Memory bandwidth could be important. Cost is the driving force, and Linux compatibility is essential. We may multiply the purchase across some desks here.

We have experience fiddling with nVidia's and ATI's Linux drivers and DO NOT want them any more. They can just kiss my fat .... you get the idea. It appears lots of MSI m/b's and others have integrated video nowadays.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:51 am 
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It's certainly possible to put together a low end silent system together for under $350. All of my computers cost less than that.

However, I wouldn't call 3Ghz "low end".

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:24 am 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Indeed.. the 3GHz requirement seems a strange one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:03 am 
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3 Ghz for Linux and plain vanilla? I mean then you might aswell get some Intel e4xxx before they run out and OC it to 3 Ghz. 3 Ghz and Linux sound pretty intresting combination....

You can use Ati and Linux cards with linux own drivers but you then can forget all the 3D accelerations and HD-qualities. A plain old lowend HD 2400 or 7100 GS would be more than enough...

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 Post subject: Sub $350 Plain Vanilla Silent
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:11 pm 
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IsaacKuo - sounds good. Part numbers....? I can hardly find new PCs in this range, let alone silent....but if you have sourced the parts...okay fantastic. My impression of SPR is not one of low cost parts.

3 GHz is 2x our avg. old speeds. It is not lowend. If it's a problem then we can drop to 2 GHz or somewhere north. We do not want to OC. Linux has no problems with clock rates, esp. not newer tickless kernels. Don't worry about it; we don't.

The nVidia/ATI avoidance requirement is hard. We just need CAD, Open Office, and the occasional MPEG video in a window. There is some OpenGL but not "near real time" like games. So we figure the savings in video can be substantial.

Thanks y'all.

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:16 pm 
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Location: London, UK
Strange, I always thought nVidia provides acceptable proprietory Linux drivers for their cards.

$350 cries for an AMD system, as the mainboards are cheaper.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
When it comes to budget computing, the components choose you more than you choose the components. You use whatever you can get cheap, restricted to brands you generally trust.

I like using newegg's "power search" feature. In this case, we'll want to look at Intel motherboards with Intel graphics built in. Additionally, we need memory expandible to at least 8gigs.

So first, you go to newegg and click to motherboards->Intel, and then "Power Search".

Second, select 8GB and 16GB under memory, and select all of the Intel options for on-board video.

And we get...

Foxconn G9657MA-8KS2H, for $70. Since you're going diskless, the only additional components you need are:

CPU
CPU cooler
RAM (DDR2)
Case
PSU

For CPU cooling you can use the legendaryScythe Ninja, at $45.

For RAM, just get whatever budget RAM is from a brand you're comfortable with...for 2gigs, maybe $40.

Since you're going diskless, you don't really need to worry about case airflow or sound dampening. Just use any case and open up the rear slot covers to maximize air intake. Still the cheapest computer cases are really crummy and tinny. Personally, I like Enlight cases like this one at $35. They're solid and professional looking, even if they're not a gamer's dream. These Enlight cases are actually pretty bad if you're not going diskless--there's virtually no front intake, and the intake blows air UNDERNEATH the hard drive cage, missing the hard drives altogether! It also has only an 80mm rear case fan. But that's okay, because your systems will run just fine using only the PSU fan.

But if you're going diskless, the practically closed off front bezel is a good thing. Just remember to remove the rear slot covers to maximize intake area.

The PSU is one area you shouldn't skimp on. But I'm a hobbyist into budget computing, so I skimp on the PSU all the time. Therefore, I'm not familiar with expensive PSUs. This PSU looks good to me: Fortron Green FSP300-60GLN 300W at $37.

So far, that's 70+45+40+35+37 = $227, leaving you $123 for the CPU.

I have NO IDEA what a good Intel CPU would be. This one looks good to me, but I have no idea. My latest purchases have been AMD with Ati graphics (I like the open source out-of-box linux drivers for ati, using less expensive older Ati cards).

[edit added:]
If you put together this diskless system, then the only noises will be the 120mm PSU fan and perhaps electronic coil whine. This system will NOT be silent, but it will be pretty quiet. I wouldn't go entirely fanless for a business computer, unless the business required it (like audio recording work).

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 Post subject: Fanless is better if not as likely
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:04 pm 
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Sweet. Shows what DIY can do, avoiding integration.

Guess there's no way around it at this price target. I was looking at vendors like custombarebones.com to avoid DIY stuff. I like their MSI m/b's better than FOXCONN. But NewEgg is always worth a look and I guess FOXCONN is okay.

2 GB RAM is $100 at Crucial.

If I'm going to sit around gluing CPU heat sinks then we'll probably go liquid / solid state rather than fanned.

Fanless makes a lot of sense for diskless + lowend video. That would move towards mini form factors I suppose.

I would drop the fanned PSU and go picoPSU. The PSU is a major heat source even when not being used by the m/b. There's no reason for vendors to plop it into PC cases except aesthetics. It could just as well be an external block. From a thermal or noise standpoint that's where it belongs. Putting a heat source inside an enclosure (oven) and then using fans? Backwards. Stick it outside of the oven. The picoPSU is really attractive....and only $50 or so for 120W.

In offices, NOBODY CLEANS COMPUTER INNARDS. And the tower usually sits on the floor. So a fanned system pours dust all over the CPU and m/b. Eventually something shorts out, usually a cap. Or, the dust clogs a fan, which stops spinning. The attraction of fanless isn't just quiet, but sealed from dust, and no moving parts.

The case is one thing that can be 100% DIY - used milk cartons even. Plexiglass, anything. But assuming good heat disspiation from the CPU and reasonable unaided airflow, even a used tower is fine, and that's a junk shop item nowadays. So really the important thing is getting a CPU capable of being cooled properly. What you save on the case, spend on the CPU coolant system.


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 Post subject: Top 5 Heatsinks by Low Noise
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:46 pm 
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Here:
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

The #1 is only $62USD.

You'll also notice the fanless cases do just what I suggest, move the PSU outside.
http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/produc ... x-ef28-psu
More pricey than the picoPSU.

And for that real cooling effect:
http://www.plycon.com/cases/techstation_cases.htm

Not that we're serious about THAT...just saying. It would be easier to but one of these and wrap art paper around it, than pay for expensive fanless cases with overpriced external PSUs.

I sure hope SPCR does some ultra-low-end system designs in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Top 5 Heatsinks by Low Noise
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:02 pm 
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Posts: 1705
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dave2 wrote:
I sure hope SPCR does some ultra-low-end system designs in the future.

Look, there are plenty of low-end systems on the SPCR galleries. What you are describing is NOT ultra-low-end. Ultra-low-end would use a low end processor and would have at most 512megs of RAM.

You seem to have decided that fanless is good for reliability, but there is simply no advantage to it. Any system which is reliable fanless will be more reliable with a fan.

If you want to avoid building a machine yourself, then you can easily get a low end big name brand computer for under $350 which will be quiet enough for an office environment. But it will NOT have a 3Ghz processor, and it will NOT have 2gigs of RAM, and likely won't be expandable to 8+gigs of RAM. Why you think this is "low end" is beyond me.

Here's an example of a low end stock machine:

HP Compaq dx2300(RT950UT#ABA) Celeron 420(1.60GHz) 256MB DDR2 80GB Intel GMA 3000 Windows XP Home - Retail

That's a 1.6Ghz CPU and 256megs of RAM. What you're talking about is over twice as powerful.

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 Post subject: Low end silent ain't low end in general
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Hi Isaac and thank you. Sorry for losing you. I see where you're coming from. There is general low end, and there is silent low end.

You refer to general low end. On that count, here is 3.33 GHz under $300.
http://store.madtux.org/product_info.ph ... cts_id=310
But clock rate isn't a big deal. We put no hard requirements on it.

This is "Silent" PC Review, not "General" PC Review. I am here for that reason. What I mean by "low end" in the context of "silent" is exactly that. Low end means the part about "silent". I'm already aware that cheap PC parts exist. And I know how to find them. I am interested in low cost quiet designs. That's where SPCR might help.

SPCR covers expensive parts. The point is, can we get quiet with cheap parts? I think the answer is yes. SPCR just gives it little attention -- imagining it impossible? $25 fans and $250 cooling systems have a place. I want cheap ways to get quiet with off-the-shelf parts.

Fanless just happens to be one of the best. It isn't about reliability. Although for sure -- the reliability crown goes to sealing, no-moving-parts (no fans), and proper thermal design (move the PSU!) instead of going-with-the-crowd PC case mentality, however "quieted". The whole idea of "airflow" is antithetical to noise reduction. So SPCR needs to think more out of the box, literally. Fanless cases are one way to do that.

Even SPCR says,
"The ATX case design designates a certain portion of case cooling to the PSU; the ATX design specification assumes a PSU with a fan."
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article699-page1.html

So why not explore alternative case designs, is partly my point. The whole notion of creating a mini-oven and then worrying about airflow while trying to minimize noise needs a rethink...especially with all the new form factors from the old PC/104 to the newer mini micro nano pico stuff, and low-watt processors. Here's an obvious idea I haven't seen ANYWHERE -- put a PC inside a refrigerated unit. Then you don't need airflow at all, you just need a compressor motor, and can focus ALL noise attention there. Voila, a quiet cool pc in a case. Lateral thinking...and less money than SPCR cases+quietfans+heatsinks/coolants.
http://www.pylones-usa.com/product.php?product=287

What are the "galleries"? I looked at endpcnoise.com, Puget systems, everywhere SPCR goes, and the site itself, the "designed systems" and all. I find no "galleries" -- just overpriced PCs. That's the problem - quiet shouldn't mean pricey. Do I want Anitec's Stealth for $900 when we can get the same compute power for $350 sourcing quiet/fanless parts ourselves? SPCR does a great job with dBA measurements but doesn't measure dollars.

Literally! -- for instance the chart here:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article690-page2.html
Dollar measurements are not even numeric.

That's the meaning of low-end quiet from my standpoint. It isn't about compute power but dollars per dBA.

Well, sorry if I'm complaining. Really this is all just to answer your remarks and offer tips to SPCR which remains a great review site. It isn't the only one that covers expensive gear, which is always more fun to play with.

Anyway - I think I have a spec with 4 GB RAM, Athlon, and good video. I'll give parts when we order. Still looking. Turns out ATI is going open-source now. Intel doesn't let you buy their video stand-alone, sadly. Must be part of a m/b.

Someone asked about why problems with nVidia/ATI in Linux. Phoronix has some potted history.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... =735&num=1
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=redblog

My guess? The software teams were threadbare, like at most companies. The EEs and salesmen take home the big salaries, stock dividends, bonus checks, and industry awards, with no deadlines to leisurely develop their gear -- which they toss over the fence to H1-B VISA software imports eating rice in a back room, chained to their desks, instructed that everything is overdue, and absorbing all blame for user problems. Changing now with ATI, but not nVidia. Of course Linux has its share of blame with ever-shifting kernel APIs.


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 Post subject: Someone is thinking laterally!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:09 pm 
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I just gotta post this.
http://www.hacknmod.com/displayMOD.php?hack=365

Now THAT's what I'm talkin about.
Lateral thinking.

I may even do this with one m/b....just to see how it works. Certainly the case is cheap, and clearly the dBAs will drop off, since you have multiple sound impedance boundaries at the fluid/solid/gas interface around the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:37 pm 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dave2, look. I've been there and done that.

Do a search in the SPCR General Gallery for my name (IsaacKuo). Most of my own entries are titled "Single Fan Madness", and most of the entries I comment on are on the lower end of the scale.

Thinking outside the box? Hah. We've been there and done that. And we've got years of experience that fanless is more or less just to prove you can do it for its own sake.

I have dabbled in fanless systems from time to time, including the true budget fanless solution--taking an old Pentium II or below and simply removing all of the fans. It more or less isn't worth it. A good undervolted 80mm fan is silent, and produces MUCH better temperatures and reliability. The amount of dust buildup is negligible--there's rather little airflow.

I've built custom cases out of everything from cardboard to aquariums. I've used heavily customized airflow layouts, and modified computer cases to radically rework their layout. I've destroyed far more than my fair share of hardware pushing things to the limits and beyond. And my years of experience tell me fanless is more or less a gimmick. It's good for bragging rights and little else. A single undervolted 80mm fan is all I need.

Note, this makes me something of a maverick here on SPCR. I'm more or less the only one who insists upon using a single 80mm fan rather than a single 120mm fan or more. I'll admit that I get more or less half the airflow, and that the amount of noise reduction is not really significant (considering a high quality undervolted 120mm fan is already more or less silent). However, I'm too cheap to buy high quality 120mm fans, and getting the job done with half the airflow does have bragging rights.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:54 pm 
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Dude, you need to organize your thoughts a little better. I am having a hard time following you.

First off, there are lots of us here who build cheap silent PCs and some of it is covered in reviews of this site. The Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 is one example of a quiet heatsink for $10. Try to organize your requirements a little better and we can help you find what you are looking for.

Second, you seem to have been out of the loop recently on CPUs. Ghz is out. Dual and Quad Core and energy efficiency are in. The 3ghz CPUs you find on the market are either high end CPUs (Core 2 Duos) or older inefficient and slow Pentium 4s and Celeron Ds. These older CPUs suck compared to a current generation Core or Athlon X2 CPU. Todays CPUs are in the range of 2ghz on the low end to 3ghz on the high end and you have your choice of dual or quad core CPUs. You get 2 or 4 CPUs on the same chip. A 2ghz Core 2 Duo is probably 250% faster than a 3ghz Pentium 4.

Third, fanless is not recommended for most computers because it is extremely unreliable and difficult to do. Todays high quality fans (some of which are less than $4 like the Yate Loon 120mm) are nearly inaudible when undervolted and that should suit your needs just fine, especially if you are using it in a lab with other noise. If you are using it in a totally silent recording lab, then you will need to tell us because that changes things and makes it much more difficult.

Organize your thoughts, quit thinking about dumping your computer in mineral oil, and post your questions and people will help. Keep confusing everyone including yourself and we can't help you much.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:00 pm 
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Quote:
I just gotta post this.
http://www.hacknmod.com/displayMOD.php?hack=365

Now THAT's what I'm talkin about.
Lateral thinking.


your definition of "lateral thinking" seems to translate as "impractical and bulky/messy". here are previous threads on oil cooling (going back many years):

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... ineral+oil
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... ineral+oil
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... ineral+oil
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... ineral+oil

Quote:
The whole idea of "airflow" is antithetical to noise reduction.


This sounds "profound" but is actually just nonsense. the amount of airflow needed to cool the latest Intel CPU's is barely perceptible even by trained bloodhounds, never mind people.

Quote:
Here's an obvious idea I haven't seen ANYWHERE -- put a PC inside a refrigerated unit. Then you don't need airflow at all, you just need a compressor motor, and can focus ALL noise attention there.


of course you still need airflow, you have just moved it to the fridge's condenser unit. I also highly doubt those portable fridges you linked to are designed to handle something that is constantly dumping heat (ie a PC).

Quote:
Lateral thinking...and less money than SPCR cases+quietfans+heatsinks/coolants.


My favourite fan is the Yate Loon D12SL-12. it costs $3 and is almost as good as the Scythe Slipstream and S-Flex. any cheaper and it would be free!

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What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."


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 Post subject: Okay, okay, okay...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:19 pm 
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Well, I aggravated everyone. Sorry! I keep trying to get off the GHz kick. How many times have I gotta say, we don't care? I know about CPUs, thanks. Indirectly you confirm my claim of topend bias at SPCR. Who said I am looking for the latest hottest chip....?

Isaac - years of experience with cardboard and "dabbled" don't count as outofthebox thinking. Fanless is just one idea anyhow. My entire point is that SPCR spends too many years fiddling with the same old PC case concepts. Which are self-defeating "cooled oven" designs.

All talk of "airflow management" excludes a universe of possibilities just by dint of industry inertia. And secondly, if there are so many cheap ways to get quiet, why do the quiet vendors that SPCR advises charge so dang much? SPCR could make a fast buck selling cheap quiet systems, I daresay.

Oil has been used reliably for decades (centuries?) to cool all kinds of machinery/circuitry and is not a joke. Hell's bells!! Vendors today peddle liquid coolers for CPUs, pipes and all. To me, that is much more comical. I'm glad to see oil was discussed these past couple of years. I like
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/article.asp?CIID=26054

As the hobby article notes, that K-Mart aquarium is totally silent and fully cooled. The only thing making noise is the hard drive which cannot submerge. So buy a silent one and - problem solved. (WD Passport USB is dead quiet.) No air flow, no heat, no noise, no dust, no rust. A heavy PC though.

I knew someone would critique the fridge link. *Sigh.* The intent was to point out that fridge cooling isn't expensive. Not to say, "Stuff a PC in this particular model" which is ridiculous -- obviously so, I had hoped. A real fridge design would mean various holes for PC ports, etc.

Note - a fridge not only cools, and stops airflow, but insulates sound effects behind thick insulation padding in the walls. The idea is not a joke.

jaganath:
It's wrong to say "you still need airflow, you have just moved it". You don't need air flow, you need heat flow. A fridge turns open airflow into a closed circuit with only one noise source, the compressor. And I'm not trying to sound profound, just state the obvious. Airflow has a lot to do with noise! Stopping it eliminates a noise source. If you can hear the air/fluid circulation in your home fridge, then you have dog ears, congrats!! All I hear is my compressor.

If you're correct that 'the amount of airflow needed to cool the latest Intel CPU's is barely perceptible even by trained bloodhounds' then fanless should be feasible.

I'm not too serious about exotica right now, just if there is a one stop article on the subject, can you please give me the link? If not, the suggestion is valid and SPCR needs a piece on "the ultimate silent cheap PC" complete with parts list and dBA specs. I don't wanna hear about $400 cases, that's all. When I look at the vendor offerings I am not impressed by their "silent" prices.

Whew! Who knew silent could be such a fight.

Hey - thanks to y'all anyway. I do really love the site and expertise around here. I'll look up some of those fans. Cheap ones exist. Good CPU heat sinks cost 1/2 the CPU price though....


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 Post subject: Re: Okay, okay, okay...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:09 pm 
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Dave2 wrote:
Well, I aggravated everyone. Sorry! I keep trying to get off the GHz kick. How many times have I gotta say, we don't care? I know about CPUs, thanks. Indirectly you confirm my claim of top end bias at SPCR. Who said I am looking for the latest hottest chip....?


Put bluntly, you don't know what you're talking about. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can start learning.

Quote:
Isaac - years of experience with cardboard and "dabbled" don't count as outofthebox thinking. Fanless is just one idea anyhow. My entire point is that SPCR spends too many years fiddling with the same old PC case concepts. Which are self-defeating "cooled oven" designs.


The bottom line is that we have actually done things WHICH WORK. We have tried all sorts of things including things which you haven't even imagined. We have the experience and the experiments to back it all up. We've tried it. We've measured it. And far from it being a self-defeating "cooled oven" design, a case with proper airflow layout REDUCES temperatures.

We've done caseless. We've done simplistic chimney tube cases. We've done immersion in oil (which is universally panned). We've done passive watercooling with cooling lines to the basement. We've worked out the pros and cons, and the problems and the solutions.

What have you done?

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 Post subject: Re: Okay, okay, okay...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Dave2 wrote:
I'm not too serious about exotica right now, just if there is a one stop article on the subject, can you please give me the link? If not, the suggestion is valid and SPCR needs a piece on "the ultimate silent cheap PC" complete with parts list and dBA specs. I don't wanna hear about $400 cases, that's all.


I already explained. For budget computing, you don't choose the parts. The parts choose you. What's discounted on sale one day won't be discounted next month.

If you want a parts list and dBA specs, just go to the "recommended" section of SPCR. Note that you won't see a single $400 case.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:33 pm 
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Location: San Jose, California
Wow :shock:

Sometimes it is good to shut up and learn.

This has always been a really friendly forum. We can't help you unless you stop to listen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:17 am 
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Location: UK
Quote:
Good CPU heat sinks cost 1/2 the CPU price though....


http://www.directron.com/scmnj1000.html

XIGMATEK HDT-SD964

both excellent heatsinks and under $40 shipped.

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What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."


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 Post subject: Final Spec
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Here is our final spec.

NEW
------------------------------------
Motherboard + video = $100
CPU 2.5GHz dual core = $87
RAM 2GiB = $80
CD/DVD SATA drive = $27

EXTANT / SURPLUS / USED / JUNK / DIY
------------------------------------
Case/power = $0
Keyboard/mice = $0
Hard disk = $0

SUBTOTAL
------------------------------------
$294


Modern and powerful, *extremely* quiet, with easy upgrades to video, CPU, and RAM. Our corporate situation covers $0 items. We don't use internal drives. Yay, quiet!

Power consumption is way low. Someone on NewEgg says 75W with 4 GB. The CPU is a low power model. The stock heatsink is fine. A microATX m/b ran hot, but they solved that in the ATX model. Our EEs are shopping quiet power but any ATX supply works.

The integrated video is the best around, ATI Radeon HD 3200 (780G). To boost native video (HyperTransport) and run hotter, get a Phenom CPU, with 3rd party heatsink. To boost again, use a video card. Native is plenty good enough. We're interested in quiet and cool not video games.

The 1.8V RAM is low voltage and this mobo demands spec RAM. Don't get "gaming" RAM. The max RAM on the board is 16 GB.

Reviewed
http://www.hothardware.com/printarticle ... cleid=1116
http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/har ... 757_1.html
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... inux&num=1
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article807-page1.html


Parts list

GIGABYTE GA-MA78G-DS3H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128335
manual (PDF)
http://america.giga-byte.com/FileList/M ... ds3h_e.pdf

AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103255

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820134655

Samsung SH-S203B DVD Burner (SATA)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827151153
http://www.cdfreaks.com/reviews/Samsung ... ner-Review

Boot Disk: WD Passports are bus-powered, silent, and under $70. We love 'em. These laptop drives have low power and insane g-shock ratings. Our "OS install" is plug and go.
http://os.newsforge.com/os/06/02/22/2221258.shtml
http://castle.pricewatch.com/s/search.asp?s=WD+Passport


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:43 pm 
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Location: San Jose, California
Sounds like you are all set on hardware and you did a great job picking it out, but what about the "silent" part. There is no mention of fans, power supplies, or harddrive soft mounting. Until you address those problems, you won't really have as quiet a computer as you could.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:50 pm 
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Posts: 1705
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
He's using a stock CPU heatsink/fan, and a random "0$" PSU. And expects it to be "*extremely* quiet".

On the one hand, it's sad and laughable. On the other hand, who cares? A typical office environment has no need for a silent computer, and stock parts will usually not be unacceptably loud.

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 Post subject: PostScript
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:57 pm 
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Posts: 20
I forgot to add, there is supposed to be a low-power Phenom coming out in 2008. It would be smarter to wait for that if you like this spec and want to upgrade.

Wow someone already replied....well the answer to your question is, that if spec is right, the rest takes care of itself. Am I the only one who looks at modern CPU heat sinks, and says to himself, "how ridiculous is this?...people really buy this stuff?" And it costs half the CPU price ($40 is half of ours) and is a bitch to install and might not fit in the case? Sorry, not my cup o tea.

We plan to run fanless except for whatever fan AMD slaps on the stock CPU heatsink. Convection does the rest. The EEs are fine with this. NewEgg reports say you can barely tell when this board is on. Remember, there is no extra video card generating heat or fan noise. Worst case, we add a superquiet liquid bearing $20 case fan on the back.

For ATX power, the EEs are in control, sorry. But they among others will be using these boxes so I'm sure they'll find something quiet. It may not be traditional ATX but they know how to order molex from DigiKey and all that.


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 Post subject: Hard drive soft mounting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:03 pm 
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Posts: 20
[quote="autoboy"]Sounds like you are all set on hardware and you did a great job picking it out, but what about the "silent" part. There is no mention of fans, power supplies, or harddrive soft mounting. Until you address those problems, you won't really have as quiet a computer as you could.[/quote]

Hard drive soft mounting is a nonissue, because there are no hard drives in the case. Read the spec, it links an article how to boot USB. The USB method is insanely quiet, we have been using it with the older boards.

Like I say - be a little creative and you don't have to worry about things that trouble others.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 10:37 am
Posts: 279
One thing I must say, is that you seem genuinely oblivious to how offensive you are. For example:

Dave2 wrote:
How many times have I gotta say, we don't care? I know about CPUs, thanks. Indirectly you confirm my claim of topend bias at SPCR. Who said I am looking for the latest hottest chip....?


Just who are you to come in here and make a claim like that? I don't think you understood a word of what he was trying to say. You're not interested in the latest, hottest chip. Great. I'm not either. $200 Quad cores don't interest me much either. But yet you insist that the chip must be greater than 3Ghz. Can I ask why? If you must stick to that criteria there's two outcomes I can see:

1) You buy a modern dual core like an Intel E8400 or an Athlon X2 6400+.
Problem: Expensive, as you said.

2) You buy an older and cheaper single core chip like a Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 FX on clearance.
Problem: Bad Idea. It might be cheap, but did you know that newer dual core CPUs will likely give you better performance? I'm not talking about Core 2 Duo, either. I'm talking about $70 Pentium Dual Cores like the E2180. These new chips are more energy efficient, have more motherboard support, provide similar computing power, and are dual core. And on top of that they aren't any more expensive than your old CPU.

Dave2 wrote:
Isaac - years of experience with cardboard and "dabbled" don't count as outofthebox thinking. Fanless is just one idea anyhow. My entire point is that SPCR spends too many years fiddling with the same old PC case concepts. Which are self-defeating "cooled oven" designs.


Once again, you missed the point on what he was saying. He's basically saying that you have not said anything he hasn't seen before. Who are you to come in here and judge him as not thinking outside the box?

Dave2 wrote:
All talk of "airflow management" excludes a universe of possibilities just by dint of industry inertia. And secondly, if there are so many cheap ways to get quiet, why do the quiet vendors that SPCR advises charge so dang much? SPCR could make a fast buck selling cheap quiet systems, I daresay.


I have no idea what you are saying here. It sounds like a mesh of gibberish.

Dave2 wrote:
jaganath:
It's wrong to say "you still need airflow, you have just moved it". You don't need air flow, you need heat flow. A fridge turns open airflow into a closed circuit with only one noise source, the compressor. And I'm not trying to sound profound, just state the obvious.


Another clear example of your misunderstanding. jaganath was merely pointing out that you still need to cool the compressor off, and this is usually achieved by having a fan blow air through it.

Dave2 wrote:
Airflow has a lot to do with noise! Stopping it eliminates a noise source. If you can hear the air/fluid circulation in your home fridge, then you have dog ears, congrats!! All I hear is my compressor.


Are you for real? What you have just described is simply replacing the air circulation noise with the noise of a refrigerator compressor. In fact, it's more that likely that the compressor is actually LOUDER than that PC you are trying to silence. Doesn't that defeat the point of trying to silence the PC in the first place?


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 Post subject: Footnotes Technotes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Posts: 20
Footnotes to help future googlers and give back to SPCR.

First impressions are good overall.

We like the boards. Rugged caps, 4-phase power, dual BIOS with advanced options including 8 stored profiles. Press CTRL-F1 in main BIOS menu to see all options. If you want to bewilder yourself.

Serious overclocking is possible - the IGP by 355MHz, the CPU topping at 3 GHz:
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd ... /page4.asp

The Inquirer loves the platform (05 March 2008): "In the end, AMD did right with the 780G. It set the bar so high that Intel does not have a prayer of a chance to catch it with the G35/45 - not a chance. Intel may have the CPU speed crown, but on the platform side, AMD creams them."
http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/ ... phics-game

Arstechnica picked this board in its budget HTPC design - also the same Samsung DVDRW line. Naturally they used mATX form factor.
http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/guide-200804.ars/3

Anand did a recent update on IGP power consumption metrics.
http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/default.aspx#462

Main power is 20+4 plus a "P4" 12V socket all the way across the board. We're under 120W using onboard video and no hard disks. A picoPSU tested well. It just needs Y extenders and a P4 adapter. In the 20+4 header, seat the picoPSU towards the outer edges, leaving "+4" pins vacant. Retail 120W bricks and ATX cables here:
http://www.idotpc.com/thestore/pc/viewC ... ategory=66
http://www.idotpc.com/thestore/pc/viewC ... Category=7

So that's a cheap-silent-efficient PSU option. The PSU is the only thing to consider new. The cheapo silent picoPSU works if you have a low power design like ours (no disks, video cards).

Visit Craigslist for $5 cases, PSUs, and keyboard/mice. The stuff is given away nowadays. I see ads for whole piles. People complaining about an "incomplete" spec are missing it.

If you don't max a system with hot noisy top-end stuff, then the case doesn't need to be "silent" rated. It can be cheap. The right innards require no help from a pricey case. Craigslist has hundreds of cheap ATX cases every week. Some with PSU, some not. And cheap doesn't mean ugly. There are lots of used "game" cases too. Us, we just recycle in house. And our passport USB2 drives have rubber all around, making zero sound on any case.

WARNING - IMPORTANT - PROCESSOR / VIDEO SELECTION needs care. The 4850e/native-video choice is good. But other CPU/video configs enter gray areas. Low power Phenoms may be worth the wait. "Let's get this out of the way quickly; it is not a 780G chipset problem. In fact, it is not strictly a board problem either, but rather a design issue. This design issue can just as easily occur on NVIDIA or Intel chipset boards."
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3279&p=2


Linux Kernel

Linux wants the latest 2.6.25 kernel for SB700 chip support. Sabayon Linux 3.5 has it or you can compile yourself.

BIOS Updates and Linux Kernel

Motherboard and DVDRW in this spec both need flash firmware updates. This is *good* news. As usual, buying ~6-9 months from new gives you reasonable software fixes. These BIOS updates can be done without Microsoft products.

MOTHERBOARD
http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Mothe ... uctID=2800
http://www.giga-byte.com/Support/Mother ... uctID=2800

Within ATX, you have v1.0 and v1.1 board revs. (The mATX board has its own separate BIOS.)

GigaByte has Windows-only .exe self-extractors. They don't work in DOS. WINE or QEMU gets the files in Linux. Extraction yields a DOS program, an autoexec.bat, and the BIOS image file. All you need is the image. The BIOS image is a file xxxx.F# where # is the revision number. That is what you feed to the onboard QFlash program. QFlash is in the manual.

We needed a CMOS reset via jumper on one board. If your board won't POST, try that. When it reboots, the screen gives options for recovery.

We hope coreboot.org will eventually do Linux firmware BIOS as it did for an earlier GigaByte board with dual BIOS.

DVDRW
http://www.samsungodd.com/eng/Firmware/ ... SDR&os_no=

Use a FreeDOS OEM floppy from fdos.org/bootdisks. Add to that tdsk.exe, fdxxms.sys, and unzip.exe from the full FreeDOS CD and/or scroogle. Also add sfdndos.exe from Dell support (scroogle "Dell" and "sfdndos.exe" together). Tweak CONFIG.SYS for 4MB ramdisk. Boot, decompress your firmware.zip off the floppy to ramdisk, and run the util against it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:50 pm 
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Posts: 1008
Location: San Jose, California
I am throughly impressed with you dave2. I have never met someone who seems so intelligentm yet completely confuse the hell out of himself with nonsense as well as the entire SPCR community.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:50 am
Posts: 1705
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I have no idea what he thinks his point is, or what he's going on about.

"Future googlers"? Yeah, I'm sure that someone a year or two from now is going to find a component list for a sub $350 computer from today REALLY USEFUL. :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 11:26 am
Posts: 174
Location: Sunny Swansea
autoboy wrote:
I am throughly impressed with you dave2. I have never met someone who seems so intelligentm yet completely confuse the hell out of himself with nonsense as well as the entire SPCR community.


I have to disagree there, I am less than impressed with Dave2's intellectual posturing (yes I know you were being facetious, auotoboy). I don't believe he is even above average intelligence, the giveaway is the use of overly complicated phrases and words to describe basic and essentially incorrect theories.
I doubt he has confused anyone here at SPCR, who seem to all have at least a modicum of common sense. I am sure most of the regulars read just a few lines of Dave2's post and promptly hit Ctrl-F4, writing him off as a mere troll.
Anyone who comes to a specialist website (especially one with contributors as committed as this one) and purports to know more than everyone else clearly has some kind of underlying mental problems. (Maybe he will inform us poor fools about these great new 4Dba 8000CFM fans by a little company called Silenx?) Compounding this insult is the fact that he doesn't even have a grasp of the basics of computers, let alone silent computers.
I could go through all of Dave2's posts and refute every single claim he makes and "fact" he states, but fortunately I have better things to do. Also I have have met people like him before and realise that every time he is proven wrong, he will claim the other person just didn't understand him. Sadly there is no helping people like him.
The good news is that thanks to the wonders of Intarwebs, I will never have to meet this person and will never have to read another line of his bullshit.
Tatty-bye!! :P :D :lol:

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Main: E8400, TR IFX14, GA-P35-DS3R, 4Gb OCZ, Radeon 5850 + Accelero S1 + VRM R4, 60Gb OCZ Agility, 250Gb WD Blue, Nexus 120mm PWM, Jeantech Phong, Antec Neo HE 430W.
Server: Sempron 140, ASRock A780GM-LE, 2Gb Kingston, 6TB of Assorted hard drives, 3x 120mm Fans.
HTPC: Epia MII 10000, Zalman NB47J, 512Mb Kingston, Toshiba 40Gb 2.5", Morex Cubid 3688, No Fans.


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