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 Post subject: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:09 am 
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Hi all:

I am looking to replace my currently flaky 0 dB system. I am hoping you can critique this build. My requirements are simple:

* I do not want to hear this system. Silence is golden. It will be on the floor beside my desk, in a very quiet room, in open air.
* General usage. Some software development. Some 2-channel audio recording. DVD playing. No gaming.
* The HDD will house media. Silence is not as important when it is in use. I assume Windows 7 will insure it is not spinning when not in use?
* Audio interface will be external, over USB.
* Will run 24 * 7, since the media drive will house audio that will periodically be streamed over the network
* Hard wired into my router
* I am a 'build it and leave it alone' person. Once set up. I'd like to leave it there running for 4 years without thinking about it!

My current thoughts:

i3-2100
Gigabyte H67N-USB3-B3
Scythe Samurai Zz

Lian Li PC-Q11A
PICOPSU-160-XT

Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB 2.5IN SSD
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT
Western Digital WD20EARS Caviar Green 2TB

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline Stiletto 8GB 2X4GB PC3-10666 DDR3-1333
Liteon 24X DVD Writer SATA IHAS324-98

Total of this is $850 CDN, from NCIX locally. Is that as low priced as you can get when you want silence, an OS, a SSD and a media drive?

Thank you for any input.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Are you sure the Scythe Samurai will have adequate clearance to fit into the Lian Li PC-Q11A?

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 6:47 pm 
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ces wrote:
Are you sure the Scythe Samurai will have adequate clearance to fit into the Lian Li PC-Q11A?
it probably should since he using a picoPSU 160XT so all the space for the ATX PSU will be empty, kinda like i did on my build. The Q11 seems a lot like Q08 with less depth, but the width seems similar, about 1'' less on the Q11. I was able to fit a HR02 on it which is 160mm with plently of space left, probably can fit fine a thermalright Archon, the case is wider than antec 1200. Personally i think a cheap cooler like Coolermaster 212 $30 (crosscheck you will be able to mount it in the mobo) would be great just swaping the fan or even maybe the case fan since its so close could do the job, but really depends on where the mobo/cpu ends up.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:00 pm 
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ces wrote:
Are you sure the Scythe Samurai will have adequate clearance to fit into the Lian Li PC-Q11A?


I have no idea. But the Samurai Zz is only $30 at NCIX, so it seemed like a pretty cheap cooler, and it is the one used in several of the SPCR builds described in articles here.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Abula wrote:
all the space for the ATX PSU will be empty,
I overlooked that. With all that extra space he should use an HR-02 or the big Noctua downdraft.... with a single 500 or 800 rpm fan.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:43 pm 
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I don't know what your background noise is but if you can hear a quiet, slow fan you can hear a 2T drive. So if money is tight, you might as well use a couple of fans to spend less on passive cooling parts.
In order to get zero noise, you'd need to set up the drive in another room at which point going as close to passive as your budget allows makes sense. And your budget seems to allow a fully passive system...

ist.martin wrote:
Total of this is $850 CDN, from NCIX locally. Is that as low priced as you can get when you want silence, an OS, a SSD and a media drive?

Of course not. You could probably get a fanless system with an SSD, a optical drive and an OS for about 30% of that price or maybe a bit more if gear is made more expensive by taxes in Canada. But I don't think that's what you're trying to do.
So here are a few ways to make your build cheaper without making it cheap (assuming you're not aiming at zero noise):
-drop your RAM to 4G which is overkill already
-replace the 2100 with a G620T (cheaper and lower power consumption) and the Samurai with a cheaper heatsink
-get a cheaper case, possibly with an integrated PSU
-replace that pico with a cheaper one (or use the PSU which comes with the case if you pick a different case)
-replace Windows with a free OS since you're not going to game

And here's a bit of advice which would make your build more expensive instead: if you're going to pay for Windows, get the full version and you'll be able to reuse it on other computers or resell it down the road. If you're not going to abide by Microsoft's licensing conditions, you might as well get Windows for free.
Windows 7 is going to last a long time and will retain its value much better than the hardware. It would be a long-term investment.

Something else: if you're going to spin down the hard drive, keep in mind that some systems return from standby about as fast as it takes a 3.5'' drive to spin up so you may be able to save electricity by having the box go into standby automatically. A perfectionist might set up standby on idle and use a program which prevents standby when clients are connected but it would be much easier to schedule standby at night and/or when people are typically out of the house. You can wake most systems from standby over the network.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:02 pm 
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+1 vote for HR-02 I have one and did a lot of research on it before hand. While the Noctua D14, Thermalright Silver Arrow and Venomous X are all big good coolers that cool pretty quietly HR-02 is the best cooler around with one single low rpm fan. In my Silverstone case with the 3 180mm fans @ 500rpm and one single (essentially inaudible) scythe gentle typhoon @ 500rpm i can still keep the HR-02 within safe temperatures with my 2600k overclocked to 4.4ghz. Just barely though 78c under artificial prime load. In my case I also have another 800 rpm fan I turn on when under load that keeps it under 72c. However with an i3 I imagine one could run a single fan system with the HR-02 (one single fan as exhaust since the HR-02 sits pretty close to exhaust as it is). A p183 with covered top port would be a good solution.

I wouldn't go all passive, SB is much more efficient so I don't think your board temps would be that bad but SOME sort of air has to move across your components. If you go all passive might as well go open air.

Don't get a hard drive. Just don't no matter how green it is if you have sensitive ears you will hear it. By far the loudest component of my current system (albeit a WD black) is the hard drive out of 5 fans + a 12" video card. That's what makes the most noise. Plus solid state is really getting down to reasonable prices nowadays. I recommend Intel as they have the least controller problems/lowest failure rate %.

Also of note apparently plextor makes quieter dvd/blu-ray drives with some sort of vibration reduction. I mean if you're going for next to passive might as well go all out.


Last edited by systemlayers on Mon May 30, 2011 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:05 pm 
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With a huge heatsink like the HR-02, I bet you could run a dual-core Sandy Bridge fanless (no HSF, no case fan, no nothing). But you'd probably need a case with a large and efficient vent on the top (or a large case) to keep temperatures at reasonable levels.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:47 pm 
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HFat wrote:
With a huge heatsink like the HR-02, I bet you could run a dual-core Sandy Bridge fanless (no HSF, no case fan, no nothing). But you'd probably need a case with a large and efficient vent on the top (or a large case) to keep temperatures at reasonable levels.
Idk if you could run it completly fanless, in my seutp im runing 3 fans given that it doesnt pass 40C (i know overkill on the fans), but without any case fans or air moving inside the case, might be risky, specially since cpus like 2100T only has 65.0°C limit, the i3 2100T idles very low but also climbs very fast. Personally i think the front case fan should be enought though, because of its placement, probably will end up right in front of the cooler, so should be enough with Thermalright HR02, something like Thermalright X-Silent 140mm x 25mm Stealth Silent Fan for the front and undervolt it.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Abula wrote:
in my seutp im runing 3 fans given that it doesnt pass 40C (i know overkill on the fans) but without any case fans or air moving inside the case, might be risky, specially since cpus like 2100T only has 65.0°C limit.

The "limit" is irrelevant unless Intel has recently redefined TCase and enforces it. The CPU can run hotter than that.

Your case and especially your heatsink are unsuited to fanless cooling. So obviously you're going to need fans. And since you have drives which aren't even suspended. You might as well use fans to keep everything cool. It'll enable higher performance, lower electricity consumption and probably increase reliability too.

Abula wrote:
Personally i think the front case fan should be enought though, because of its placement, probably will end up right in front of the cooler, so should be enough with HR02

If you're using even a single fan, cooling a SB dual-core with something like an HR02 is overkill unless you're overclocking. And overclocking a dual-core only makes sense if you need good single-threaded (or dual-threaded) performance. Otherwise a slower quad-core would be more efficient.
If you're on a budget, using two fans and a much smaller heatsink would be more reasonable anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:07 pm 
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ist.martin wrote:
I do not want to hear this system. Silence is golden.


http://www.quietpc.com/ca-en-cad/products/ultragrade/nof-set-a40

“The holy grail of quiet computing. Nofan's SET-A40 Fanless Bundle is the perfect platform to build a totally silent computer.”

And http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/nofen-set-a40.html - you did say you did not want to hear it, didn't you?


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 2:47 am 
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lodestar wrote:
ist.martin wrote:
I do not want to hear this system. Silence is golden.


http://www.quietpc.com/ca-en-cad/products/ultragrade/nof-set-a40

“The holy grail of quiet computing. Nofan's SET-A40 Fanless Bundle is the perfect platform to build a totally silent computer.”

And http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/nofen-set-a40.html - you did say you did not want to hear it, didn't you?


I think he said he didn't want to hear it.... yet he still wants to see it....and that is one ugly case.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 5:24 am 
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A couple points about the OP's proposed system:

1. w/o an ATX PSU in the way, you could go with a more efficient tower cooler & possibly eliminate the front fan, which is surely not that quiet (judging by other Lian Li case fans). The case width is nearly 200mm; there are many good tower HS 150~160mm, which should fit.

2. There's no way to make a WD Green completely inaudible in this case. You have the lower density of aluminum panels and only partially effective damping for HDD mounting working against you. At idle it might be pretty much inaudible, but when it is seeking/writing, you will hear the drive in this case. OTOH, if you use it only to store media files, turn off indexing (and any other background scanning software), then seek noise might only occur when you have media playing and the audio should mask any HDD noise. (This holds true for my HTPC). I might opt for a 1TB notebook drive (WD), which is pretty quiet, and its small size should make some kind of HDD suspension possible. Or go for an external FreeAgent 1.5TB Seagate with USB 3.0 interface. These are super quiet drives & USB 3 is about as fast as SATA. I reviewed a USB2 version a while back -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/Seagate_FreeAgent_Go

3. 8GB might be overkill.

4. You may need a hardware fan controller.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 6:20 am 
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Some of the Seagate Freeagent drives must support eSATA. eSATA is not only as fast as SATA: it is SATA. You can even plug external drives into a regular motherboard SATA connector with the right cable (I disclaim any responsibility for any damaging electrical problem this may cause with your hardware... it works for me but YMMV).


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 6:41 am 
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HFat wrote:
Some of the Seagate Freeagent drives must support eSATA. eSATA is not only as fast as SATA: it is SATA. You can even plug external drives into a regular motherboard SATA connector with the right cable (I disclaim any responsibility for any damaging electrical problem this may cause with your hardware... it works for me but YMMV).

The downside of eSATA is no power via the cable. That's the huge upside for a USB notebook drive -- no wallwart for the HDD. I now use only notebook external drives.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:06 am 
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Mike do you plan to review the HR-02? Or only if someone happens to donate one to you for review?


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:18 am 
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MikeC wrote:
The downside of eSATA is no power via the cable. That's the huge upside for a USB notebook drive -- no wallwart for the HDD.

You can in principle run an eSATA 2.5'' drive on USB power. Whether this is supported by your enclosure, I don't know. But it would be good design.
There are eSATA ports which provide power but they're still rare and need supporting gear of course.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:36 am 
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systemlayers wrote:
Mike do you plan to review the HR-02? Or only if someone happens to donate one to you for review?

We actually have had one in the lab... but we found it is not quite as good as the HR01 for truly fanless cooling, this is no surprise given the tighter spacing of the fins... and Thermalright asked us not to post our findings. It is very good with a fan at low speed or with a peripheral fan nearby, like so many quality TR heatsinks, but as I've mentioned many times in the last few years, I would not recommend a fanless system except for unusual, exceptional circumstances. Just a wee bit of forced airflow improves cooling so dramatically... (typically >10C for either CPU w/ half decent HS or HDD) and possibly doubles VRM life. Inaudible = silent in 99% of conditions, and a quiet enough fan (or 2 or 3) is inaudible.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:18 am 
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Thank you for all the replies.

I am surprised by all the focus on the HDD. I haven't used a HDD in my system for at least 6 years now, so I don't really understand the practical implications of Windows 7 and HDD spindown. I was under the impression that the drive would not be accessed at all when there were no files being accessed. Since the drive would be used solely for media, there would be no access ever, unless I was listening to music - at which point I wouldn't care about it being silent.

Or another way of saying the same thing, when using the computer, and not listening to music, the drive would never be accessed, so why should it make any noise?

I am planning on this being a low-power inaudible system, plugged directly into my router. So I figured it might as well double as a NAS. It sounds like this is a bad idea?

I am price sensitive, so $150 for a 1TB Seagate Freeagent Goflex external drive does make me balk a little bit. But if it is the best solution, I could go that route. Does the spindown work better for an external USB 3.0 drive than it does for an internal SATA drive?


Some other comments:

I am leery of going totally passive. My current system is 100% passive. 0 dB. However, it is flaky, I think, because the SSD has been cooked a bit too much. I was assuming that a general purpose system, with on-board graphics, a modern SB processor, an SSD for day-to-day software, HDD Storage for media and an optical drive could be adequately cooled with 1 or 2 low-rpm fans, that would be inaudible from 3 feet away. I definitely do not equate 'inaudible' with totally passive. A quiet, low-speed fan should provide tremendous cooling bang for the buck.

In my mind, this is the 'missing' SPCR Silent PC Build. There are many, many people like me out there who need neither a NAS nor a gaming machine, but treasure silence, even for our simple systems. I do not know which case, ps, fans and cooler are optimal for such a build, when taking price into account.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:12 am 
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HFat wrote:
ist.martin wrote:
Total of this is $850 CDN, from NCIX locally. Is that as low priced as you can get when you want silence, an OS, a SSD and a media drive?

Of course not. You could probably get a fanless system with an SSD, a optical drive and an OS for about 30% of that price or maybe a bit more if gear is made more expensive by taxes in Canada. ...


You have piqued my curiosity. Would it be possible to provide an example of such a system at such a low price? Maybe I am thinking of this all wrong.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:18 am 
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MikeC wrote:
systemlayers wrote:
Mike do you plan to review the HR-02? Or only if someone happens to donate one to you for review?

We actually have had one in the lab... but we found it is not quite as good as the HR01 for truly fanless cooling, this is no surprise given the tighter spacing of the fins... and Thermalright asked us not to post our findings. It is very good with a fan at low speed or with a peripheral fan nearby, like so many quality TR heatsinks, but as I've mentioned many times in the last few years, I would not recommend a fanless system except for unusual, exceptional circumstances. Just a wee bit of forced airflow improves cooling so dramatically... (typically >10C for either CPU w/ half decent HS or HDD) and possibly doubles VRM life. Inaudible = silent in 99% of conditions, and a quiet enough fan (or 2 or 3) is inaudible.

This is my understanding and experience as well. It is a tremendous heatsink with a single low rpm fan nearby or attached. I tried passive with system fans and temps were 8c hotter than with a single low rpm fan attached. This I assume is why you didn't ever do a review on the orochi? It is too bad Thermalright asked you not to post a review as all the other reviews of the HR-02 are on other gaming specific hardware sites that generally miss the point of the cooler altogether in testing and methodology.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:28 pm 
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@ OP, i just found an interesting thread relating a very similar setup, with Q11. I probably would mount the heatsink 90 since you are not using a gpu.

mATX mobo in Lian Li Q11 mini-ITX build

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:48 pm 
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systemlayers wrote:
This is my understanding and experience as well. [re- HR02] It is a tremendous heatsink with a single low rpm fan nearby or attached. I tried passive with system fans and temps were 8c hotter than with a single low rpm fan attached. This I assume is why you didn't ever do a review on the orochi?

No, we just didn't want to suggest to anyone that it is a reasonable HD choice. The mounting system when it appeared was suitable only for systems where the mobo lies flay, parallel to the ground.
Quote:
It is too bad Thermalright asked you not to post a review as all the other reviews of the HR-02 are on other gaming specific hardware sites that generally miss the point of the cooler altogether in testing and methodology.

I think they felt it would be too easy for casual/careless readers (of whom there are many everywhere) to say, "oh, it's not as good as the HR01 in passive mode, it's a loser."

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 2:18 pm 
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Yeah I have seen some orochi builds around here but I always thought their mounting system looked very suspect for such a heavy cooler. Scythe seems to go with a bigger is better concept sometimes. So is the HR-01 good enough to actually passively cool an i3 in an open case then?


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:54 pm 
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ist.martin wrote:
You have piqued my curiosity. Would it be possible to provide an example of such a system at such a low price?

Possible? Sure. But I think it would be a waste of time. To get such a low price, you have to pick the cheapest noiseless components: Intel Atom board (can be dual-core), Kingston SSD and so on. The trickiest part to select would be the case if you want to keep both prices and temperatures on the low side but it's not rocket science (look at the cheap ITX noiseless systems specialized shops are selling). As I said, this is probably not what you're looking for.
I'd need to do some research about your market to give good case purchasing advice because case pricing and availability vary significantly around the world (unlike mainstream CPUs, SSDs and so on which are well distributed and competitively priced in most locales).
The general advice I posted above (using a cheaper Sandy Bridge CPU and so on) would yield a more expensive but still fairly cheap build which would I assume be closer to your expectations which, as you stated, do not include zero noise. There are really cheap SSDs on the market but, if you care for performance, I would not recommend any SSD cheaper than the one you selected for instance.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:20 pm 
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systemlayers wrote:
So is the HR-01 good enough to actually passively cool an i3 in an open case then?

Yes. But if you're going to load up the CPU hard often, I still don't recommend fanless. VRMs and chipsets get hot, and they don't last as long. I say this after 10 years of flirting with fanless and near-fanless PCs. Much safer to have a bit of forced airflow that you normally never hear and get temps 10~20C lower. The only place where fanless really seems practical is for HTPC where you're not doing heavy decoding/encoding or other CPU-intensive stuff. When the system cruises most of the time is when fanless makes most sense -- and you pay no penalty in longevity.

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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:58 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
MikeC wrote:
heavy decoding/encoding or other CPU-intensive stuff

This is the exception, not the norm. Web browsing, emails, editing documents, file sharing, developing scripts or small programs and so on usually puts even less load on a system than playing videos.
Then again, most people would not mind a couple of quiet fans. And they would also prefer a small computer than one with a tower heatsink!


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:08 pm
Posts: 398
Location: Los Angeles
I tried to build a system like that for my (now ex) girlfriend. And the Samurai cooler failed to adequately cool an older Athalon. We're talking about a sub-2Ghz model, no less. It's really a pathetic little thing that only works if you keep the fan at 12v pretty much all of the time on a modern multi-core processor. Slow the fan down from the constant whine that it makes at 12V and you're looking at a dead CPU fairly soon. Or at least much sooner that you'd like. No way a little Samurai is going to keep a modern CPU healthy for 4+ years.

You have to get a taller mini-tower type case, unfortunately, or run the thing with it on its side with the top off. Because you need a huge cooler to do what you propose. The old Scythe Ninja was a good example of this - big fins with lots of air space between them. 5-7V fans would move enough air. Quiet means fans that are barely running, and that means essentially designing it as if it was passive or close to it.

You could get the all copper Ninja (or the Ninja Plus) and probably run a system like that passive if you left the top off. (enough heat would radiate upwards) With only the motherboard and a CPU in the case(PS being external), and a CPU that doesn't draw much power, a perfectly silent computer might be possible. If you need a better video card, I'd get a second PICO or similar and use it for the video card. There are decent passive cards as well. At most you might need to turn the CPU cooler's fan on its slowest setting. (ie - one fan only at 5-7V.) If it's one soft source of noise, you'll never hear it as your brain will filter it out in a few weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 11:59 am
Posts: 220
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
OK, I've learned a few things, so here's my current thinking:

Lian Li PC-Q11A case
i3-2100
Intel DH61AG with onboard DC-DC
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 HS, using the single front fan on the Lian Li
may replace the fan with a quieter 140mm fan, on very low rpm (may need fan controller)

Generic 19V adapter ~ 120 W

Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB 2.5IN SSD
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT

Kingston value SODIMM 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1333
Liteon 24X DVD Writer SATA IHAS324-98

Total of this is $700 CDN, from NCIX locally (except the board and HS).

Still not sure what to do about media storage. I might use external USB3 HDD's or even build a NAS and attach it to my router. Or I might follow the advice here and just try to turn off enough OS settings so the thing doesn't spin up when I am not accessing it.


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 Post subject: Re: I do not want to hear this system ...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1815
Location: Guatemala
ist.martin wrote:
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 HS, using the single front fan on the Lian Li
may replace the fan with a quieter 140mm fan, on very low rpm (may need fan controller)
You could try the stock fan on the lian li and see how it is first, you could also get a Zalman Fanmate-2 Fan Speed Controller to lower the rpm of the stock fan. But if you want to try another fan, maybe Thermalright X-SILENT-140, since you are buying all stuff from ncix.

_________________
GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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