I just finished building a system and I wanted to share it with you and hope for your feedback. This PC is specifically designed to be my research workstation. I wanted it to be relatively modern, fast, stable, cool, and, most importantly, quiet. My research is primarily in the acoustics of speech and hearing. I was really tired of the constant drone of workstations in our labs. At home, I really wanted to have the piece and quiet I need to work.
I followed some of the guidelines I found here at SPCR, and I wanted to thank you all for your invaluable contributions. I learned a lot from you guys!
I chose the Antec P183 case, which obviously everyone around here knows really well. I found the case to be beautifully built, and, indeed, quiet by design. However, I wish there were more room behind the motherboard tray for cable management. I struggled trying to route all of the cables neatly. I went with the CP-850 power supply. It is truly awesome. Very quiet and efficient. Impressive. Still, I wish it were fully modular. I removed the top fan and closed off the vent with a piece of acrylic and a fan rubber gasket (my only “mod”). I mounted one of my intake fans on the upper HDD cage.
For cooling and noise reduction, I am relying on the Intel DP67BG board. I am using PWM fans exclusively and I set up fan and temperature control in the BIOS. I have absolutely no need for any additional fan control. The motherboard is doing a fantastic job keeping the system cool and quiet.
I replaced the original GTX460 heatsink with the Thermalright Shaman VGA cooler and the 140mm PWM fan (amazing fan!). For my CPU cooler, I am using the Thermalright HR-02, with a Scythe fan (unfortunately, the Thermalright 140mm didn’t fit). Both coolers are fantastic.
So, overall, it is a rather boring system. No bells and whistles, no mods, no overclocking. However, I think I achieved my goal as the system (even at full load) never goes above the noise floor of my office. I cannot hear it from one meter away either. So, for all practical purposes, it is silent. The temperatures of the CPU and GPU never go above 60 C at full load, so I see no need to increase fan speeds in the BIOS at this point.
Once again, thanks for your help. I’ve been lurking here for a while.
Here are detailed specs:
Intel 2600K CPU, Intel DP67BG motherboard, 12 GB Kingston DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GTX460 video card, Thermalright Shaman VGA cooler, Thermalright HR-02 CPU cooler, three Scythe SY1225SL12LM-P 120mm fans, one Gelid PWM 120mm fan, Antec P183 case, Antec CP-850 PSU, OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB SSD, Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB and WD Caviar Green 2 TB hard drives (both quiet), Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, Matlab, Adobe CS5 suite, some custom software of my own.