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 Post subject: Latest SPCR-certified PC: Puget Serenity i7
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:54 am 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/Puget_Serenity

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:45 am 
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As always, good article.

The line at the bottom of the noise graphs has two typos in it.
"Red line indicates ambent (10~11 dBA) in the anehoic chamber"
Ambient and anechoic.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:26 pm 
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@MikeC: why ISO 7779 and not ISO 9296?
not that i'm that informed i just found this: http://www.silent.se/iso-7779.php
Quote:
ISO 7779, intended only for noise measurement, is often also used for noise declaration of information technology (IT) and telecommunications equipment. Those who do this leave out the fact that IT noise should be declared using the ISO 9296 standard. ISO 9296 is the international standard for noise declaration of information technology equipment.

and it has links to SPCR too :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:21 am 
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$2500,- and only 2GB of RAM?

I laugh tomorrow.

Rip-offs.

I get 16BG of DDR2-800 for $350,- ...looking at the rest of the components building a machine with an AMD-6 Core and four terabyte hard drives should be still cheaper - and one can get this fairly silent, too.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:20 am 
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It's a very nice reference build.
- What's the two case fans' speed (800rpm or higher)?
- How about the cooler "Gelid Tranquilo"? Is it competitive with the top class coolers reviewed by SPCR? How about using a Prolima Megahalems with 800rpm constant rate fan?
- I'm really interested in the net effect of sound-proof foam. Personally I don't used to use it, since it's not easy to cut and can't be removed after pasted. But seems like it's always a final approach after reducing other components' noises, is it really effective?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:06 am 
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Nice system and nice article :) I'd like to know a little more about the HDD configuration though.

Is the storage drive set to power down completely or does it just idle? Did you use it at all during testing?

I think in the past SPCR have said that's thin acoustic dampening material is next to useless. It surprises me that Puget use it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:08 am 
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Licaon wrote:
@MikeC: why ISO 7779 and not ISO 9296?
not that i'm that informed i just found this: http://www.silent.se/iso-7779.php
Quote:
ISO 7779, intended only for noise measurement, is often also used for noise declaration of information technology (IT) and telecommunications equipment. Those who do this leave out the fact that IT noise should be declared using the ISO 9296 standard. ISO 9296 is the international standard for noise declaration of information technology equipment.

and it has links to SPCR too :D

It's semantics to a large degree. ISO 7779 tells how to measure while ISO 9296 tells how to report the noise. We don't pretend to do full ISO 7779 measurements, which requires sound power measurements, which we do have have the facilities perform nor really agree with -- sound power is complex, abstract, and doesn't correlate that well to what we hear. That "seated user position SPL" is defined in ISO 7779, which is why it's referenced.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:16 am 
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Jordan wrote:
Nice system and nice article :) I'd like to know a little more about the HDD configuration though.

Is the storage drive set to power down completely or does it just idle? Did you use it at all during testing?

I think in the past SPCR have said that's thin acoustic dampening material is next to useless. It surprises me that Puget use it.

The HDD simply idles. It was used for large file transfers in order to assess seek/write noise.

The damping material is not just thin. Acoustipak makes several different types of multi-layer damping; the type used here has a high-mass layer close to the bottom (closest to the case panel) which helps with vibration control and increases its ability to block noise. The primary benefit here is not vibration control, as the P183 panels are already very good in this regard, but reduction of standing waves (which cause cavity resonance).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:05 am 
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I think I am most impressed by the packaging lol.

It's just fairly big heatsink and those good old scythe fans. Looks like something you would see in the SPCR forums in the general gallery.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:54 am 
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Shibirian wrote:
$2500,- and only 2GB of RAM?

I laugh tomorrow.

Rip-offs.

I get 16BG of DDR2-800 for $350,- ...looking at the rest of the components building a machine with an AMD-6 Core and four terabyte hard drives should be still cheaper - and one can get this fairly silent, too.


Where does it say there is only 2GB of RAM? I read that there is 4GB.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:31 am 
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kentgamer wrote:
Shibirian wrote:
$2500,- and only 2GB of RAM?

I laugh tomorrow.

Rip-offs.

I get 16BG of DDR2-800 for $350,- ...looking at the rest of the components building a machine with an AMD-6 Core and four terabyte hard drives should be still cheaper - and one can get this fairly silent, too.


Where does it say there is only 2GB of RAM? I read that there is 4GB.


Jup, I am blind. Still not much for the price. But I maybe have other ideas about pricy PCs than other people; Especially those machines that cost me as much as a decent Honda motorbike. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:10 am 
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From the list at the top of the article, I set up a Wishlist on Newegg for a system with those components. Without the "Quiet Case Fans Upgrade Kit," "AcoustiPack Acoustic Composite Sheets," and warranty/labor/odds and ends, I come up with a roll-your-own equivalent price of $1,580.90. I tried making the Wishlist public so I could reference it here, but it doesn't show up on the Public list (there might be a delay in Public lists being posted, though). If it does show up and I don't edit this post, the Wishlist name is "Approximation to Puget Serenity i7 PC System".

EDIT: That Wishlist has shown up on Newegg:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Publi ... r=13262665

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:54 pm 
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This is more for the Puget Systems people than the reviewers here at SPCR

I like the choices made in:

Case
AcoustiPack
PSU
SSD
Video Card (DVI x2, HDMI, Displayport) all the connectors I'd ever want and totally silent.
SFlex fans

I wish I could change:

The CPU

Unfortunately http://www.pugetsystems.com/nav/serenit ... tomize.php won't let you choose an AMD CPU and choosing more from the drop down takes you to a non SPCR specific customization that doesn't offer the silent 5750, the Gelid Tranquillo (no biggy but pick an AM3 friendly equivalent to offer), and the "Silent PC Review Certification Modifications" which are listed as costing $34.

Give me back the powercolor 5750 and the Silent PC Review Certification Modifications and allow the choice of AMD CPUs with a decent heatsink and at least then I could recommend it to those who don't want to build their own quiet gaming system.

I understand you have a business reason to not offer every component under the sun. If you can do the Scythe Mugen 2, it is about the same price as the Gelid Tranquillo. If Scythe isn't an option through your business relations maybe something from Xigmatek?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Nice Puget build, as always. I have to say I didn't bother to take a look at the customization options avaiable from Puget, but I suspect there is no decent gaming offering.

I would say : throw in an HD5850 with a TR heatsink and an undervolted Nexus fan, and you've got yourself a splendid silent rig ^^

EDIT : OK, I did check, and they do offer an HD5870 option... I just wonder how they intend to keep that quiet...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:02 pm 
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I'm happy to comment!

First, on pricing -- we definitely don't compete with building it yourself, and we don't try to. If you have the knowledge to pick the right components, the ability to put it together, the tools to test for thermals, balance the fans, ensure you're running at safe temps, and the patience to deal with any issues that may come up (including RMA'ing parts), then you can certainly save some money by doing that. We're here for the niche audience that understands the importance of quality hardware and craftsmanship, but who do not have the time or ability to build a PC themselves. And I think that audience is growing when it comes to quiet PCs. I've seen far too many people try to build their own, who end up inadequately cooling their PC.

Regarding components, we don't offer this setup in an AMD version mainly due to low demand. Maybe it is something unique to our target audience, but we see somewhere around 95% demand for Intel. AMD made a small gain recently with their lower cost 6-core CPUs, but then it quickly fell off again. Part of the reason why WE don't push AMD for a system like this is the mounting system. Intel simply has a superior socket when it comes to large heatsinks and shipping damage. We have never, not once, had an Intel LGA CPU come out of socket in shipping. I can't say the same for AMD, and when we're dealing with a quiet system with large heatsinks, that's a big deal.

As for why we went with the Gelid Tranquillo CPU cooler -- we tested about a dozen HSF units here at our facility. The trick is, not only did they have to perform well, and be extremely quiet, but they also had to be able to survive the stresses of shipping. The P55 chipset also presented a unique challenge, in that many of the coolers we tested blocked the nearest RAM slot. The Prolimatech Megahalem was a close second, but ended up losing to the Gelid Tranquillo because it only performed slightly better, but blocked a memory slot. Once we had the Tranquillo as a finalist, we actually built up a Serenity, and dropped it from our roof (therapeutic!). The HSF survived intact and fully seated :) We continue to look for new and improved products however, so I'll be checking out recommendations given here. I know we already have some leads on some other Prolimatech models to try.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:04 pm 
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Torajirou wrote:
Nice Puget build, as always. I have to say I didn't bother to take a look at the customization options avaiable from Puget, but I suspect there is no decent gaming offering.

I would say : throw in an HD5850 with a TR heatsink and an undervolted Nexus fan, and you've got yourself a splendid silent rig ^^

EDIT : OK, I did check, and they do offer an HD5870 option... I just wonder how they intend to keep that quiet...


We don't offer the 5870 in the SPCR version, its too loud for that. But on our other Serenity models, we only use the Asus brand -- we've used XFX, MSI, Sapphire, and Asus, and have found the Asus using the reference design to be the quietest.

On the SPCR model, the best gaming setup we can do is dual 5750 in crossfire. It cools just fine without any need for higher RPMs on the fans :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:38 pm 
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jonbach wrote:
Torajirou wrote:
Nice Puget build, as always. I have to say I didn't bother to take a look at the customization options avaiable from Puget, but I suspect there is no decent gaming offering.

I would say : throw in an HD5850 with a TR heatsink and an undervolted Nexus fan, and you've got yourself a splendid silent rig ^^

EDIT : OK, I did check, and they do offer an HD5870 option... I just wonder how they intend to keep that quiet...


We don't offer the 5870 in the SPCR version, its too loud for that. But on our other Serenity models, we only use the Asus brand -- we've used XFX, MSI, Sapphire, and Asus, and have found the Asus using the reference design to be the quietest.

On the SPCR model, the best gaming setup we can do is dual 5750 in crossfire. It cools just fine without any need for higher RPMs on the fans :)


Thanks a lot for your answer. It's always nice to get such a quick response from a vendor; it shows how much you are committed to your customers in general, and to the SPCR community in particular. I myself am a casual lurker and occasional poster; I can't stop reading when I intend to make myself a new build, and let down the community when I'm satisfied (bad me :p).

But when I read about Puget, I'm always interested in what you guys might have come with :)

Anyway, my 2cents : 5750 XFire sounds like a power-sucker (1st thing) and is not always supported by all games (2nd thing). I do think that a 5850-based build, with an aftermarket cooling solution might have met SPCR standards.

Congratulations anyway ! Had I lived in the US, I might have considered buying one of your rigs; the older I grow, the lazier I get, especially when it comes down to building computers :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:52 pm 
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jonbach wrote:
we see somewhere around 95% demand for Intel. AMD made a small gain recently

That can be highly self selecting if you don't offer good AMD configurations you won't see much demand for AMD configurations. Self fulfilling prophecy's and all that.

Just to be clear on the mounting issue are you telling me that bolt through heatsinks with a proper replacement backplate are coming off of AM2/AM3 systems in shipment or are you just referring to oversized heatsinks that use the stock retention mechanism on AM2/AM3?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Understood on the self-fulfilling prophecy. It isn't something we take lightly. Before the days of Conroe, we were probably 80% AMD.

I'm specifically talking about larger HSF, both stock mount and bolt through. What we see with AMD systems is that during a particularly large bump during shipping, there is a tendency for the heatsink to flex away from the motherboard, and the suction of thermal paste pulls the CPU out of socket. When the heatsink flexes back into place, it mashes the CPU pins. We definitely take measures to minimize this effect, but my point is that the HSF solutions from Intel have the same flex, but the LGA design both does a better job of holding the CPU in place, and does a better job of preventing bent pins as a result of any CPU movement.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:52 pm 
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Ya its nice to see the vendor here on the forums.

It's interesting to see what commercial system builders come up with, but I kind of feel that I could do better myself with a budget <$1000. Obviously, that's not going to be the same specs but I could do it more to my liking.

My point is I'm just trying to see something special or unique as a selling point rather than a thoughtful selection of assembled computer bits. Like lower power, external fanless PSU, custom hardware, truly silent running (at least at idle)... that sort of thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:52 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:16 pm 
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netmask254 wrote:
- What's the two case fans' speed (800rpm or higher)?

I'd like to know this also. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:20 am 
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josephclemente wrote:
netmask254 wrote:
- What's the two case fans' speed (800rpm or higher)?

I'd like to know this also. :)

Changed the text in the article: Neither the exhaust or the intake fan changed speed during testing; a calibrated strobe light showed both fans to be spinning at 750~760rpm.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Quote:
The quick boot time of under 35 seconds (from power button press to actual usability at the desktop) made possible by the Intel SSD was nice to see, as well as the effective and quick sleep mode, where the minuscule 3.4W power draw makes powering the system off/on almost completely unnecessary.


Yeah, putting the OS to sleep makes for super quick resumes, but I strongly recommend against it. I've had problems with several ASUS boards with sleeping. Sometimes, when I go to power up after a sleep, it will BSOD me and clear my CMOS (causing me to have to manually go back in and reset my overclock settings). One time, a resume of sleep caused a surge in the built in network card of my ASUS P5Q board and caused me to have to buy an Intel NIC card. When I called ASUS to find out what was up..they told me that sleeping and unsleeping is very stressful on the board, as the voltages and currents aren't steady and can spike unexpectedly upon resume. I'm not sure if this is just ASUS boards or what, but I would strongly recommend against sleeping this computer on a regular basis.

And come on..with an SSD, I would just shut it down to avoid a power outage deleting whats in my RAM...

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:14 am 
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RoGuE wrote:
Quote:
The quick boot time of under 35 seconds (from power button press to actual usability at the desktop) made possible by the Intel SSD was nice to see, as well as the effective and quick sleep mode, where the minuscule 3.4W power draw makes powering the system off/on almost completely unnecessary.


Yeah, putting the OS to sleep makes for super quick resumes, but I strongly recommend against it. I've had problems with several ASUS boards with sleeping. Sometimes, when I go to power up after a sleep, it will BSOD me and clear my CMOS (causing me to have to manually go back in and reset my overclock settings). One time, a resume of sleep caused a surge in the built in network card of my ASUS P5Q board and caused me to have to buy an Intel NIC card. When I called ASUS to find out what was up..they told me that sleeping and unsleeping is very stressful on the board, as the voltages and currents aren't steady and can spike unexpectedly upon resume. I'm not sure if this is just ASUS boards or what, but I would strongly recommend against sleeping this computer on a regular basis.

And come on..with an SSD, I would just shut it down to avoid a power outage deleting whats in my RAM...


You shouldn't blame the problems you experienced on the sleeping itself, but on a defective motherboard or faulty drivers. S3 Sleep should work just fine on any computer built during the past 10 years if not longer. For example, I've been using it often 2-3 times a day over 6+ years on my Intel D875PBZ.

And regarding shutting down, you're misinformed on that part too. No need to shut down since MS Windows Vista and up, as they provide with hybrid sleep that acts as hibernation on power loss.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:23 pm 
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all I'm saying is, there have been many* reported problems with resuming ASUS boards as it is the most stressful time on the motherboard. Perhaps it's only with certain configurations that this is an issue, but I'm never going to take that chance again. By the way...I heard this information straight out of the tech support guy at ASUS, so take his word not mine.

Second of all, hibernating is kinda dumb. Personally, I don't really feel like allocating some of my hard drive to something that is completely unnecessary. Shutting down probably makes my boot about 10 seconds slower versus hibernation..so there's no point.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:19 pm 
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RoGuE wrote:
Second of all, hibernating is kinda dumb. Personally, I don't really feel like allocating some of my hard drive to something that is completely unnecessary. Shutting down probably makes my boot about 10 seconds slower versus hibernation..so there's no point.


When it comes to SSD drives and lots of RAM, I've got to agree. I have 8GB RAM so my hibernation file would be 8GB. Windows won't let me move it to another drive. I'd rather keep the 8GB free for programs. Plus writing 8GB of data on every single hibernation seems like a waste to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:44 pm 
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RoGuE wrote:
all I'm saying is, there have been many* reported problems with resuming ASUS boards as it is the most stressful time on the motherboard. Perhaps it's only with certain configurations that this is an issue, but I'm never going to take that chance again. By the way...I heard this information straight out of the tech support guy at ASUS, so take his word not mine.

Second of all, hibernating is kinda dumb. Personally, I don't really feel like allocating some of my hard drive to something that is completely unnecessary. Shutting down probably makes my boot about 10 seconds slower versus hibernation..so there's no point.


The fact that the response came from an Asustek representative only substantiate that this motherboard appearantly has a design or implementation defect. S3 standby is a extremely commonly used feature that you should be able to expect to work just fine. If not, it is a very valid reason for RMAing the board under warranty. Or you can just refuse to ever try S3 standby again if you want to give in to a manufacturers mistake on a single product. Or maybe you should not...

You're completely missing the point I made about hybrid sleep though. You're only resuming from hibernation if you cut A/C power; if not, you'll resume from standby as normal, which should take only a few seconds.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:27 am 
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
dZeus wrote:

You're completely missing the point I made about hybrid sleep though. You're only resuming from hibernation if you cut A/C power; if not, you'll resume from standby as normal, which should take only a few seconds.


You are correct about that..I did miss the point about the hybrid sleep. Honestly, I didn't know such a thing existed, but it makes sense. Nevertheless, I still don't want to allocate 4GB of my OS partition to hibernation! you can't make me!

Seriously though, on my normal, 3 year old hard drive, I've been able to cut boot time to about 45 seconds from pressing the on button to fully functional (using various BIOS tweaks and turning off useless services and applications.) That's without* an SSD. Rebooting the OS entirely is also not a bad practice in general in terms of OS health.

You are deffinately right about my board being deffective in that sense, however the guy I spoke to said the "stress" of resuming S3 applies to all their boards, and if anything is going to go wrong, that is the time.

By all means, keep sleeping your computer, but I'm steering clear...

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Howdy All,

Based in large part on the SPCR review of the Serenity, I purchased the SPCR version a couple weeks ago.

Main specs beyond base:
i860
8 gb RAM
1.5 Tb Caviar Green drive
5750 video card

The buying process with Puget Systems has been described in detail elsewhere and really is over the top service.

Before I placed my order I mentioned in an email that I planned to add a second HD to the machine (a 1Tb Caviar Black) to the system as I had one that was only a couple months old. I also mentioned that I was thinking about upgrading to a Crossfire configuration at a later date if I decided to upgrade my monitor. The Puget sales rep (William) replied that the Black drive was louder than what they normally recommend for the Serenity model. When the machine arrived I opened up the case and it was pre-wired for both the extra harddrive and the future video card. I noticed on the invoice that William had sent a note to the builders to add the extra wiring. Impressive attention to detail.

My previous computer was a Dell XPS Gen 4. It was a very nice machine in its time and I was impressed with the neat and tidy wire handling Dell had done on that machine. In comparison with that, the Serenity is simply amazing. Every component and connector is placed to maximize airflow and prevent vibration.

Turning on the Serenity is great. Basically two blue LEDs come on and there is one faint beep. That's it. No other detectable sound from the user position (I sit two feet to the right and one foot forward of where the machine sits on the desktop). If I stick my head around back and listen through the rear grill I can hear very low fan sound. By comparison the XPS would roar to life and was audible down the hall. When playing Crysis, the fan noise is a bit louder from the rear of the machine but I can't hear it from the user position.

I installed the Black drive and as William suggested it is audible from the front of the machine but barely and again not from the user position.

The Serenity uses 70-80 watts while awake and idling with the Black installed as measured with a kill-a-watt at the wall. This figure includes power draw off the Serenity plus a UPS plus three converter plugs so the actual consumption is a bit less. This is about 80 watts less than the XPS used. In sleep mode it used about 20 watts with the power converters and UPS included. With Crysis and Half Life 2 running the power usage jumped by 60-80 watts.

That 80 watt power reduction from the XPS is noticable in that the room doesn't heat up as much as it did with the XPS, particularly when game playing.

The 5750 maintains 41-42C during normal use and heats up to ~68C during game play. I haven't figured out how to read the CPU temperature yet so I can't report that.

Puget left all the stickers off the case but provided them with the spare parts. I appreciate this as I prefer a subdued look to my computer. Puget also refrained from loading up the machine with the bloatware I had come to expect with a new computer. The machine came with a clean install of only the software I had ordered.

So far, I'm very pleased with the Serenity and it is just plain quiet.


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