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 Post subject: Fed up with the hairdryer
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:28 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
Hi,

I currently have a Dell XPS 600 from 2005 - a high spec machine for the time but obviously past it now - especially in terms of size and noise. Apparently it's an SLI PC, which means it's noisier than the modern ones.

I'm based in the UK and my realistic budget is about £500/600 ($800-900)

The minimum spec I would want is:
Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz CPU (or AMD equivalent)
ATI HD 4670 1GB PCI Express Graphics Card
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Ram
500GB HDD
Plus the necessary components to quieten the machine i.e. cooler for PSU and graphics card.

Arbico Computers do a machine with the above spec for about £600.

However, I'd like to know if I can build one myself for less and better?

Ideally, if I could get it to run as quietly as a laptop then that'd be great!

Also, what about watercooling? Or, being new to this, is that a bit complex?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:47 pm 
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Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Welcome to SPCR!

Have you considered quieting the Dell? The SLi means it has dual video cards, which means another fan -- have you looked inside of it, to scope out the issues?

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http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:03 pm
Posts: 606
Location: Albany, GA USA
If you decide to move away from your Dell you can easily build a machine to your specs and budget that is much quieter than any notebook I've heard. Forget water cooling. Air cooling can be quiet enough to be effectively silent from a few feet away in most ambiant noise environments.

I built my first rig five years ago with SPCR recommended lists, articles and forum threads as my main source of guidance. The case is very important. My first rig used an Antec BQE3700SLK but now I run an Antec Solo. Make good choices in the areas of fans and cpu cooler. Also, pick a cpu that is efficient and easy to cool. Both of the machines I've built for my own use have been budget rigs with AMD processors.

If you take your time and do plenty of research on this site you'll find building your own to be a rewarding experience.

For good information re OS and driver installation and configuration check out the free Tweaking Companion PDF files on the Tweak Guides web site.


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 Post subject: Re: Fed up with the hairdryer
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
quietlife wrote:
I'm based in the UK and my realistic budget is about £500/600 ($800-900)

The minimum spec I would want is:
Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz CPU (or AMD equivalent)
ATI HD 4670 1GB PCI Express Graphics Card
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Ram
500GB HDD
Plus the necessary components to quieten the machine i.e. cooler for PSU and graphics card.

Just looking at prices (in pounds) at scan.co.uk:

Antec Solo case - 70
Intel Core i5 750 - 129
Coolermaster Hyper 212+ CPU cooler - 20
Gigabyte P55A-UD3 - 115
Nexus Value 430 PSU - 62
512MB Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate - 60
4 Gb Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 CAS9 - 102
Scythe S Flex E (replacement CPU cooler fan) - 14
Scythe Slipstream 1200rpm (replacement rear exhaust fan) - 7
2 x Zalman Fanmate 2's for fan speed control - 7
500Gb HDD of your preferred brand (quiet HDDs would include Samsung F3 / EcoGreen or WD Blue or Green) - approx 45

By my maths that is 631 pounds for a pretty quiet general purpose machine.

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Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:18 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
Thanks for the tips guys.

Arbico are doing a system for about £500 which should meet my needs. I'll post the spec on here and it'd be good to hear what you have to say.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:00 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
I wonder how long it'll be before the new system becomes obsolete.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:01 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
I'm thinking of getting this system:

PC Case: Gigabyte GZ-X6 Black - Included
Case Fan: 2 x 120mm Quiet Fans
Power Supply: Standard 500W - Included
Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz Quad Core 8MB Cache
Heatsink & CPU Fan: Standard Heatsink & CPU Fan - Included
Motherboard: Biostar TA770E - Included
Memory: 4GB Crucial PC6400 800MHz DDR2 - Included
PCI-E Graphics: nVidia 9500GT 1GB - Included
Sound Card: Integrated 5.1 Channel - Included
Primary Hard Drive: 500GB SATA II - Included

Approx: £500, which seems OK.

http://www.arbico.co.uk/product.php?productid=18472.

If anyone could check out the link and recommend any of the available upgrades for the system, then that'd be great - for example, is it worth upgrading the motherboard? Which graphics card...ATI HD4650 1GB or nVidia 9500 GT 1GB? Fans? PSU?

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 7:56 am 
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Posts: 312
Location: Minnesota
I'd consider bumping to a better power supply. I've had crap luck with no-name supplies. The antec supply listed is pretty nice, but I have bought about 20 corsair supplies between work and not work, and prefer them.

I have no experience with the gigabyte cases. Antec cases get a thumbs up from me, especially the Antec P183. It's quite spendy though. I've built with the antec 300 before, it's decent. Otherwise, the Antec Solo is my go-to case for work and personal use.

As for the fans that come with the antec cases, the antec tri-cools aren't bad, but not great. From what you wrote in your first post though, I think you will find them to be tremendously better than your dell, so.

AMD x4 965. CPU is a fairly "hot" cpu @ 125 max tdp.
i5 or even 1156 i7 have a lower TDP. [95w or less]

That video card [9500GT] is a pretty junky one.

I'd highly recommend at least a 4670 512, great power saver. make sure it has gddr3 or better. 4850 would be better, or just about any ati 5000 series card.

If you want nvidia, look at a GT250 or better.

I think you will have better luck and learn more building it yourself, if you're up for it.

Don't bother with watercooling if you're new to this... A newer case with decent fans and a decent cpu heatsink/fan, I think you would be pretty happy with the noise level.

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Chris Randel
Network Administrator, Quiet Enthusiast.
Corsair 600t
Lian-Li Q08 FS
Lian-Li Q07 Pics
New - P183 Build


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 8:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:39 am
Posts: 455
Location: England
quietlife wrote:
I'm thinking of getting this system:

http://www.arbico.co.uk/product.php?productid=18472.

If anyone could check out the link and recommend any of the available upgrades for the system, then that'd be great - for example, is it worth upgrading the motherboard? Which graphics card...ATI HD4650 1GB or nVidia 9500 GT 1GB? Fans? PSU?

Thanks.


It won't be very quiet with standard heatsink and fans. At least take the upgrade of the Arctic Cooling CPU cooler for another £25. I would also go for the "quiet Fans" they list, the Antec 300 case and the Asus M4A89 GTD-Pro as well - I've got that same board and it has a very good fan speed controller. Altogether it's another £100 quid or so but worth it in my opinion.

Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 4:49 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
Hi, I've decided I can't afford a system that would have the spec I'd want and so I'm going to try and quiet the system.

Obviously, the main source of the noise are the fans, and there are 5 inside my system if you include the graphics card. Whether or not I need them all running I don't know.

Here are some photos of the inside and perhaps someone can recommend how to quieten the system.

[/img]http://i917.photobucket.com/albums/ad13/myrearwheel09/th_IMG_0618.jpg[img]
Image
Image
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Posts: 7366
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Have you checked the temperatures in the system as it is now? I'll bet that you could replace the noisy fans with quiet(er) units, and still be plenty cool. Those ducts are pretty well designed, and I think Dell was using loud fans to cover themselves...

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http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:47 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
It would be very handy to reduce the fan speed and thus the noise level.

I downloaded and ran speedfan, which gave me some figures for cpu heat and stuff. In spite of the 'analyze fan speed option', it wasn't able to calculate fan speed or adjust fan speed.

Here's the readings they gave:
GPU - 62c
HDO - 51C
CORE - 60 C
AMBIENT - 0
CPU0 - 25-55%
CPU1 - 60-80%

The CPU stats were running higher I think because I had firefox open when writing this.

According to task manager, CPU usage is at 51%.

Hopefully you can give me some feedback on this. Thx.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:32 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 10:18 am
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Location: London, UK
OK, I opened up the computer and disconnected the fans one by ones after listening to the noise output from each of them. Naturally, after disconnecting them all (all 5: 2 cpu fans, 1 graphics card fan, +2 other fans - one placed on the side blowing in the direction of the MOBO and one at the front of the whole system), the system certainly sounded quieter but still not as much as I'd hoped. So, the majority of the noise is coming from the PSU and its fan? I wasn't able to look at this part of the system as the computer case didn't allow access to that part of the system.

So any tips regarding the PSU? Thx.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 8:13 am 
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Posts: 46
Location: Texas
The Power supply looks to be a custom size that would not be replaceable or modifyable. The two small fans could definatly be noisy. It looks like you will have a hard time silencing the PSU if that is your main ssource of noise. I cannot tell for sure, but the dell motherboard looks to be a standard ATX size. You might be able to buy a replacemnt case to put the dell componets in untill you get the money to upgrade the system. You might need a new cpu cooler as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 9:36 am 
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Posts: 222
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Or you could try modifying the PSU to change the fan. Typical warnings apply though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:08 am 
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Appears your PSU has two 40mm fans: http://i.dell.com/images/global/product ... hassis.jpg
That's going to be very hard to work with.

eit412 wrote:
You might be able to buy a replacemnt case to put the dell componets in untill you get the money to upgrade the system.

This sounds like a pretty good short-term solution. You *may* need to buy a new motherboard as well - Dell's often have proprietary form factors and power connector pin arrangements (though you can purchase adapters for the power cables).

What's the full component spec of your XPS 600 (CPU model#, ram type / speed / capacity, video card model#, HDD and optical drive interface, etc).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:03 pm
Posts: 606
Location: Albany, GA USA
Your best option would be selling the Dell hair dryer to someone who is deaf.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:42 am 
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Location: Somerset, WI - USA
We have a PowerEdge SC1420 at the office which looks to be based on the same case design as the XPS 600. It's in use right now so I can't crack it open and look, but based on some pictures I've found online, it looks like it doesn't follow the ATX standard for mounting the motherboard. Not sure about the PSU but as was mentioned, Dell does many times use non-standard power connectors. So you might be out of luck with trying to swap parts at all without some major hacking.

You know though, it looks like there's a good bit of space at the top of the case. I wonder if a normal ATX PSU would fit up there? It would require cutting up the back to make room for the power plug at the very least and probably removing the top rear fan and cutting up the duct a little. Maybe I'll check on our server and see for myself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Based on the discussion in this forum the dell uses proprietary powersupply connections so what i suggested before would not work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 1:40 pm 
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Posts: 30
Location: London, UK
OK, pulled this data off Sisoft:

Processor
Model : Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz
Speed : 2.99GHz
Cores per Processor : 1 Unit(s)
Threads per Core : 2 Unit(s)
Internal Data Cache : 16kB, Synchronous, Write-Thru, 8-way, 64 byte line size, 2 lines per sector
L2 On-board Cache : 2MB, ECC, Synchronous, ATC, 8-way, 64 byte line size, 2 lines per sector

System
System : Dell Inc. Dell DX...
Mainboard : Dell Inc. 0X...
Bus(es) : X-Bus PCI PCIe IMB USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
Multi-Processor (MP) Support : No
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (APIC) : Yes
System BIOS : Dell Inc. A11
Total Memory : 2GB

Chipset
Model : Nvidia nForce4 Intel Edition CPU to PCI Bridge
Front Side Bus Speed : 4x 200MHz (800MHz)
Memory Bus Speed : 4x 133MHz (532MHz)

Video System
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS (256MB, PCIe 1.00 x16, PS 3.0, VS 3.0)

Physical Storage Devices
WDC WD2500JS-75NCB2 250GB (SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, 8MB Cache) : 233GB (C:)
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS40 (ATAPI, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 2MB Cache) : 2GB (D:)

Logical Storage Devices
Hard Disk (C:) : 233GB (NTFS) @ WDC WD2500JS-75NCB2 250GB (SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, 8MB Cache)
TQIT (D:) : 2GB (UDF) @ HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS40 (ATAPI, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 2MB Cache)

Network Services
Network Adapter : NVIDIA nForce Networking Controller - Packet Scheduler Miniport (Ethernet, 100Mbps)

Power Management
Mains (AC) Line Status : On-Line

Operating System(s)
Windows System : Microsoft Windows XP (2002) Home 5.01.2600 (Service Pack 3)
Platform Compliance : x86

SiSoftware Sandra

APM System Status
Mains (AC) Line Status : On-Line

ACPI BIOS
Version : 2.00
Manufacturer : DELL 
Revision : 0.09
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (APIC) : Yes
SCI ACPI IRQ : 9

Drives Power Management
Drives Spin Down Support : Yes
Drive Spin Range : 3 second(s) - 1 hour(s)

Battery (DC) Power Policy Settings
Lid Open Wake State : S0
Minimum Sleep State : S3
Maximum Reduced Latency Sleep State : S1
Maximum Sleep State : S3
Optimised for Performance : No
Processor Dynamic Throttle Policy : Adaptive
Processor Forced Throttle : 100%
Processor Minimum Throttle to OverThrottle : 0%
Processor Minimum Throttle to Start Fans : 100%

Mains (AC) Power Policy Settings
Lid Open Wake State : S0
Minimum Sleep State : S1
Maximum Reduced Latency Sleep State : S1
Maximum Sleep State : S3
Optimised for Performance : No
Processor Dynamic Throttle Policy : None
Processor Forced Throttle : 100%
Processor Minimum Throttle to OverThrottle : 0%
Processor Minimum Throttle to Start Fans : 100%


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:12 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Looks like you got yourself an aging box there. Not terribly slow, but if I were to guess off the top of my head, I reckon you could match, and probably beat that system with $500-600 if you were to build a new computer. Just a guesstimate, so YMMV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:23 pm 
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
Narrowing in on the important bits...
- Intel Pentium D CPU @ 3.00GHz
- 2GB DDR2
- NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB, PCIe 1.00 x16
- WD 250GB SATA300 7200rpm 8MB Cache
- SATA DVD+-RW

That stuff should work in any LGA775 motherboard. I'd give it a shot. The Gigabyte G41 mATX is inexpensive and reliable. Read through some SPCR case and power supply reviews to see what's quiet and what appeals to your aesthetic tastes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:08 am 
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Location: UK
Hi, following on from Jay_S’s suggestion you could buy Case, PSU, heatsink and motherboard.
I think quietening the Dell maybe tricky as they don't use standard fan headers and also have speed monitoring etc and if doesn't see the speeds it expects it may complain or even not boot!

For example an Antec Solo, Enermax Eco 80 350w PSU and G41 motherboard and new CPU cooler is ~£200. You have 4 DIMMs currently (judging by pics) you need a board with 4 socket, the cheapest tend to have only 2, e.g. Asus P5G41C-M LX has 4 dimm sockets.
This sounds like (and I guess is) a lot of money for effectively no performance boost, but it will be hugely quieter.

On the up side you would then have a good quiet case and PSU (and maybe CPU cooler) to use in the future. Also pretty much any motherboard you buy could be upgraded to a Q9xxx quad core CPU that would be much more powerful than your current Pentium 4, and cooler! This would buy you some more time with good performance till you need to go for full upgrade with new motherboard / CPU and probably RAM.

Regards, Seb

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i7 2600k @4.5GHz under NH-C14 w/2xTY-140PWM fans, P8P67Pro, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. 2x120GB HyperX 3K RAID 0 & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + 80mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.


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