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 Post subject: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:39 pm 
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I'm not going for absolute quiet here, and have a somewhat limited choice of components as I'm going for a hackintosh, but will this be decently quiet*, and does the PSU included with my planned case have adequate wattage if I ever add a midrange graphics card? (I was originally going to get an Antec Sonata III case with included EarthWatss 500D PSU but have heard bad things about the case and was put off by the need to open its front door to access the power button).

Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 motherboard
EarthWatts 380W PSU included with the case - I assume this is sufficient wattage for my components, or even if I add a midrange graphics card later?
Antec NSK-3480 case (quiet's quite important to me)
Intel i5 2500K (ordered)
4GB DDR3 1600 RAM
Caviar Blue SATA2 hard drive (ordered)
Crucial 64GB 2.5" M4 SSD SATA-III (ordered)
Sony Optiarc AD-7260S DVD writer (ordered)
23" monitor, with DVI or HDMI input

* My frame of reference is my current Core 2 Duo iMac, which is quieter than most PCs I know, though not as quiets as some Macs I've had before (eg the fanless G4 Cube :) )


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:45 pm 
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tog22 wrote:
EarthWatts 380W PSU included with the case - I assume this is sufficient wattage for my components, or even if I add a midrange graphics card later?
Antec NSK-3480 case (quiet's quite important to me)

Broadly speaking, without any discrete graphics you will need no more than 150W DC, even oc'ing and benching.
The EarthWatts isn't quiet: it is moderately annoying, it deserves a fan swap (an ULNA Noctua R8 may be the preferred choice) which voids the warranty. If in case, you may be forced to externally drive the new fan for reliability issue.

Or you may go for a different PSU, at an additional cost, perhaps taking the EA as a back-up unit: but the new one may not have enough room in the cramped upper chamber.

If in case, these are PSU's acoustic performance tested by SPCR in the last years (the hot box scenario doesn't apply well for the NSK3480, but IMO it's more likely than the open-air one).

Code:
Testing in the hotbox
                 WATTS/DB                            Q4 2011 @
MODEL       90 150 200 250 300 400 500 6-700 850  NEWEGG PRICE
LZP-550    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10  22   --   --      160$
AX-850     <10 <10  12  15  18  25  35   38   39      190$
GX-700      15  15  18  20  25  32  35   36   --      180$
TP-750      12  12  14  14  18  33  40   40   --      140$
X-400FL    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10*  --   --      125$
MODU87+     11  11  11  11  14  20  23   --   --      140$ #
NX5000      11  11  12  14  22  24  25   --   --      100$ #
CX-400      19  26  32  35  35  35  --   --   --      ---$
ECO80+ II  <11  12  16  19  26  32  33   --   --      ---$
X-650      <10  11  12  14  16  31  31   32   --      140$
CP-850      12  12  12  14  14  26  40   44   45      115$
RX-8500     14  14  18  23  28  32  32   33   33      145$ #
M700W       14  14  18  21  25  27  30   34   --      130$
CP700M      15  15  15  15  17  30  34   34   --      ---$
VALUE430    11  11  16  18  18  19  --   --   --       60$ #
M12D850     14  14  14  14  14  24  37   42   42      148$ #
SG650       15  15  15  16  18  28  36   47   --      215$ #
DA700       18  18  18  28  23  32  35   41   --      120$ #
MODU82+ 425 13  13  14  15  16  26  --   --   --      125$ #
ECS7001     22  22  22  21  23  25  36   37   --      ---$
ZM1000HP    20  20  20  20  20  20  26   37   40  ±   250$
TX650W      21  21  21  21  23  38  43   44   --  ±   ---$
MODU82+ 625 13  13  14  15  16  26  36   37   --      130$
 
Testing out of the hotbox
                 WATTS/DB                            Q4 2011 @
MODEL       90 150 200 250 300 400 500 6-700 850  NEWEGG PRICE
STR-500    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <13   --   --      160$
X-460FL    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <11 <13*  --   --      140$
ST50NF      11  11  11  11  15  15  16   --   --      200$
LZP-550    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10  16   --   --      160$
AX-850     <10 <10 <10 11~13 12 13  17   24   35      190$
GX-700      15  15  15  17  21  25  35   35   --      180$
TP-750      12  12  12  14  15  27  31   40   --      140$
X-400FL    <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10 <10*  --   --      125$
MODU87+     11  11  11  11  11  11  18   --   --      140$ #
NX5000      11  11  12  12 12.5 14  19   --   --      100$ #
CX-400      19  19  24  30  35  35  --   --   --      ---$
ECO80+ II  <11 <11  12  16  20  23  28   --   --      ---$
X-650      <10 <10 <10 <10 <10  16  27   32   --      140$
CP-850      12  12  12  12  12  14  20   24   40      115$

* = overload
# = price not from NewEgg
@ = MIRs are not taken into account
± = not tested in the anechoic chamber


At any rate, working inside the NSK3480 is really uncomfortable, and cable management (and airflow) is a pain (you may look for Druneau's one in the gallery for some visual suggesting): please check the ODD length or it may interfere with the PSU.
Moreover a Caviar Blue inside it IMO/IME deserves something as a NoiseMagic No Vibes III to be really quiet.

Last but not least, you have not pointed out any aftermarket CPU heatsink: you surely need one from the SPCR relevant chart.

Summarizing, IMVHO if you value quietness (and your peace of mind), maybe you have still to do some more homework.

Have a good luck!

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:51 am 
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Posts: 23
Thanks, I'm quite new to this silent PC business as this is my first time building a PC (I've always just bought Macs beforehand). I should reemphasise that I'm not going for absolute quiet, just trying to remove any glaring sources of noise that I can (without spending too much on a case or PSU, or making the build too hairy). However, from what you say the case isn't the best option - I realise this site has case recommendations (which I've started reading), but what case/PSU would you recommend for someone with my planned build. Ideally the case would be less than 14 inches tall to fit under my desk drawers, but if that'd require too many other compromises it can be taller. Ideally I'd spend under £100, though I could stretch to under £200 if there was a really compelling case (so to speak :wink: ).


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:48 am 
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tog22 wrote:
However, from what you say the case isn't the best option - I realise this site has case recommendations (which I've started reading), but what case/PSU would you recommend for someone with my planned build. Ideally the case would be less than 14 inches tall to fit under my desk drawers, but if that'd require too many other compromises it can be taller. Ideally I'd spend under £100, though I could stretch to under £200 if there was a really compelling case (so to speak :wink: ).

I have the NSK3480 and I like it very much: but it isn't a fire and forget option, you have to work onto it (modding: first of all, you have to mandatorily swap the exhaust fan, the Antec TriCool is horrible, according to me).
Moreover, it isn't the one I would advice for a novice, I would stress upon that it's very uncomfortable working inside it.
However, if you want to fit it under the drawers, it isn't recommended: this case needs a bit of air around it to breathe effectively, and it has a top intake for the PSU.

Please take note that AFAIK there isn't any mATX minitower which is less tall: there are some big cubes like some Lian-Li V-series but they are expensive, and a bit too flimsy (they lean towards resonating).

The EarthWatts PSU is really noisier than any recent Mac. I have modded mine with the R8 about two years ago and I've never regret of: running the fan with a mobo header at around 3-400rpm, 700rpm under load, it's one of the quietest PSU I've ever heard (and I have several ones, including a four years old fanless FSP Zen).

If I were looking for a compact chassis, probably I would look for a Silverstone TJ08-E or an Antec Solo II.
Both are a bit taller than the NSK3480 and fairly more expensive.
Personally I would look even at the Lian Li PC-A05 but it needs some mods (mostly padding).

Some proven but bigger alternatives are the nowadays classical Fractal Design Define R3, and the slightly more little Defini Mini.
They are less sturdy than a Solo, and more than SS or LL, but they are more easily workable and with a probably better quality/price ratio.
NZXT H2 is also appreciated, but it is less refined tha FD ones, and in Europe goes for about the same money, so to me it isn't preferable.

Probably the last workable options - I would consider - could be some steel-made Lian-Li, the Lancool K-5X (7/8/9), and the Cooler Master Silencio 550.
They are a bit cheaper than the other already quoted enclosures and you may like the design. Read the relevant SPCR reviews about them, if in case.

Open (gaming) case, such as Antec Hundreds-series or Fractal Arc-series, are more challenging options, due to their vented front bezel, so I would avoid such a solution for a novice.

To stay on low as total expense, I would couple them with something like a be quiet! Pure Power CM 430W (L8-CM-430W/BN180) or, if you may rather an SPCR recommended unit, an Enermax LibertyECO II 400W (ELT400AWT-ECO II). Nexus Value 430 is also a good (see charts) option (even if it has a cheap construction and there are some reported quality issues about it), and there are several good reports about the Cooler Master Silent Pro M500 (RS-500-AMBA-D3), which's big brother is well recorded in the above charts.

I think that such a combo would start for around 130£ shipped.
You may save something using less refined/known enclosures, if in case. I'm testing the NZXT Source right now: it isn't that bad, and it will leads you around 100£ for the combo.

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:11 am 
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If you have never experienced cable clutter before, then I'd definitely advice you to avoid a case that will give you all the cable mess. Though I've put together 3-4 systems by myself, all the cable clutter can be quite a challenge. It also reduces airflow. So for a newcomer like you, I'd advice you to buy a case with room behind the motherboard for "modern" cable routing. Old-fashioned cases are simply demotivating to work with. Many of the Antec cases that were once modern (Antec Solo, the Sonata series and the NSK3480 that you mentioned, don't have room behind the mo-bo.)

Of these modern cases, I believe there is a limited number of cases that fit your height needs. If you're very strict about this need, you could perhaps consider mini-ITX cases, but working in the case can be much more difficult than for a case with a normal size, and your choice of components are more restricted than standard components for ATX/m-ATX cases.

I've listed cases below that do not fit your height needs.

m-ATX:
Fractal Design Mini
Silverstone Temjin TJ-08
http://www.silentpcreview.com/ss-tj08e

ATX:
Antec Solo II (lacks room behind motherboard tray for cable management)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1218-page8.html
Fractal Design Define R3.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/fractal-r3
NZXT H2 (I've shared my own comments about the case here at SPCR)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/nzxt-h2
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62822 (own user review)

Remember, your case will outlive all other components. You will be stuck with it for many, many years, and for every new system, you are going to work in the case. You are also going to look at it and live with it for a looooong time. So don't skimp on this part!

For a quiet and affordable PSU there is a number of options:
Cooler Master Silent Pro M
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article936-page1.html
Nexus NX-5000 (VERY quiet, sold at quietpc.com, can be shipped in Europe)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Nexus_NX-5000
PSU's from Enermax

The usual go-to PSU's here at SPCR are usually the Seasonic X-series, which are passively cooled or semi-passively cooled, i.e. the fan only kicks in when the system load reaches a certain wattage. The Corsair AX series are also made by Seasonic. These PSU's do cost quite a lot, sadly. If you live in Europe, or have access to the Nexus NX-5000, I would definitely recommend it! Near silent, affordable, SPCR Editor's Choice not long ago. Only con was the lack of modular cables (that's what room behind mo-bo is for).

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Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:38 am 
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kuzzia wrote:
the NSK3480 that you mentioned, don't have room behind the mo-bo

It doesn't have the holes, but room is enough (check Druneau's tidy work in the gallery).

kuzzia wrote:
Nexus NX-5000 (VERY quiet, sold at quietpc.com, can be shipped in Europe)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Nexus_NX-5000

Excellent pick for a combo going presumably around 150£.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:13 am 
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Thanks for the kind and helpful suggestions guys. :)

At the moment the Silverstone Temjin TJ-08 and Antec Solo II are looking like strong contenders. I'll probably go for the Solo II, despite the quest_for_silence's suggestion that it "lacks room behind motherboard tray for cable management". Now I just need to look at your PSU recommendations...

I didn't actually know I needed a heatsink! Would my system have melted without one? I'll look at http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks - any obvious ones from there for my case and low-to-medium budget?


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:55 am 
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tog22 wrote:
despite the quest_for_silence's suggestion that it "lacks room behind motherboard tray for cable management".

Check twice: kuzzia is the "bad guy". :wink:
The Solo II isn't a Corsair Graphite, but it works.

tog22 wrote:
Now I just need to look at your PSU recommendations...

Use the above table against your real power requirements.

tog22 wrote:
I didn't actually know I needed a heatsink! Would my system have melted without one? I'll look at http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks - any obvious ones from there for my case and low-to-medium budget?

No, you wouldn't have melt anything.
You just would have had a moderately noisier system at idle, and a definitely loud system at load. That's (just) it.

In the quoted chart, I think that the least expensive (under 30£) ones are:

Cooler Master Hyper212+ (end of life, it deserves a new fan)
Thermalright (COGAGE) Silent Spirit (it might - or might not - deserve a new fan)
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet (it might deserve a new fan)

Then a bit more expensive (around 40£ I think) are those ones:

Prolimatech Armageddon (it needs one - or two - fan)
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B (end of life, it needs a fan)
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
Scythe Kabuto (end of life, I don't recall correctly if it may deserve an 1156 kit)
Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (end of life, I don't recall correctly if it may deserve an 1156 kit)

Out of that list, IMVHO you may look at:

Gelid Tranquillo (inexpensive, it deserves a new fan)
Prolimatech Panther
Scythe Rasetsu
Scythe Yasya
Thermalright HR01 (any version, it might deserve the TR Universal Vault, and it needs a fan)
Thermalright HR02 Macho
Zalman CNPS10X Flex (it needs a fan)
Zalman CNPS10X Performa (one of the least expensive available, IMO it deserves a new fan)

Some of them are a bit tall, check you actual clearance.
There are several others, but this isn't neither the Britannica, nor The hitch-hikers's guide to the galaxy, you know. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:59 am 
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Thanks, I've ordered the Nexus NX-5000 PSU (a bit more than I wanted to spend, at £83 with shipping even from the cheapest online shop - but worth it if you say it's important for quiet :) ). I think I'll do my initial build without a heatsink if it's not vital, and see how hot/loud it runs. I'm also just about to buy the Solo II for £90 from eBuyer or Dabs - you're right it's worth avoiding a bog standard cheap case as I'll be faced with it and its noise profile for a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:32 am 
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The NX-5000 costs £71.48 at quietpc.com.

http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/produc ... nx-5000-r3

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:02 pm 
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kuzzia wrote:
The NX-5000 costs £71.48 at quietpc.com.

It's about the same, around 80 shipped.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:22 am 
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D'oh, for some reason that didn't come up in Google shopping.

Btw, given my hopefully cool components, do I need a CPU cooler, or a fan for the front of the case in addition to the rear fan that comes with the Solo II?


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:15 am 
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tog22 wrote:
Thanks, I've ordered the Nexus NX-5000 PSU (a bit more than I wanted to spend, at £83 with shipping even from the cheapest online shop - but worth it if you say it's important for quiet :) ). I think I'll do my initial build without a heatsink if it's not vital, and see how hot/loud it runs. I'm also just about to buy the Solo II for £90 from eBuyer or Dabs - you're right it's worth avoiding a bog standard cheap case as I'll be faced with it and its noise profile for a long time.


Personally, I'd recommend getting a good cooler and using it from the start. Yanking the motherboard on a machine you just built recent to install a new heatsink is just frustrating, at least for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:40 am 
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tog22 wrote:
do I need a CPU cooler

IMO you do need: there are lots of relatively cheap ones in the SPCR lists.

tog22 wrote:
or a fan for the front of the case in addition to the rear fan that comes with the Solo II?

You have no discrete graphics, and it's not a file server: an intake is completely pointless and actually it just adds unnecessary noise.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:24 pm 
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Ah, I see the i5 I bought comes with Intel's default CPU cooler (a heatsink with a fan on top), so I presume I'm fine to use that. Thanks for the advise on the front fan, you're quite right my system won't be under much load.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:59 am 
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The stock cooler is adequate but that's it. The fan has an irregular tonal quality even when spinned down so I'd recommend replacing it, personally.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:05 am 
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markanini wrote:
I'd recommend replacing it, personally.

Already said but (repetita juvant): +1.

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Last edited by quest_for_silence on Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:08 am 
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Thanks, I'll see how I find it in the context of my case - I'm not in a hurry to spend more money as I spent more than I was planning on the case and PSU (as opposed to the Sonata III with included EarthWatts 500D PSU I was originally planning on getting before being advised against it here). :o

If it annoys me I'll probably shell out for one of the replacement's quest_for_silence recommended above, ideally a heatsink that won't need a fan in the context of my system.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:11 am 
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tog22 wrote:
ideally a heatsink that won't need a fan in the context of my system.

There's no need at all for going fanless: a massive heatsink (a good one) with a Scythe Slipstream under 6-700rpm (3-400rpm at idle) will be inaudible and cool adequately your CPU.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:16 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
tog22 wrote:
ideally a heatsink that won't need a fan in the context of my system.

There's no need at all for going fanless: a massive heatsink (a good one) with a Scythe Slipstream under 6-700rpm (3-400rpm at idle) will be inaudible and cool adequately your CPU.


OK, thanks, I'll bear that in mind - though most of the large heatsinks on the SPCR list seem to ship with their own fans, so I'll probably check out how quiet these are to avoid the expense of buying a Scythe Slipstream. I'm still hoping the dampening in my Solo II and lack of other noisy components will make the stock cooler's noise tolerable.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:38 am 
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tog22 wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
tog22 wrote:
ideally a heatsink that won't need a fan in the context of my system.

There's no need at all for going fanless: a massive heatsink (a good one) with a Scythe Slipstream under 6-700rpm (3-400rpm at idle) will be inaudible and cool adequately your CPU.


OK, thanks, I'll bear that in mind - though most of the large heatsinks on the SPCR list seem to ship with their own fans, so I'll probably check out how quiet these are to avoid the expense of buying a Scythe Slipstream. I'm still hoping the dampening in my Solo II and lack of other noisy components will make the stock cooler's noise tolerable.


If you want a slipstream already on the heatsink go with Scythe Mugen 3, comes with Scythe Slipstream PWM fan (300-1600rpm), that you should be able to control via bios/software if your mobo suports PWM fan control.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:43 am 
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tog22 wrote:
I'll probably check out how quiet these are to avoid the expense of buying a Scythe Slipstream.

If you want to spare some money, go for the Thermalright Silent Spirit, its TR fan is enough close to Nexus/Slipstream performance.
Or you may go for this one with this plate (and try the fanless side of silence, maybe ducting the cooler at the exhaust).
If it had to run not comfortable for your likes, you eventually could add this fan.

tog22 wrote:
I'm still hoping the dampening in my Solo II and lack of other noisy components will make the stock cooler's noise tolerable.

As I said, with the (IMO crappy) stock heatsink your system will be lightly but noticeably noisier at idle, and a lot louder at load: and that's all.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:01 am 
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Abula wrote:

I think he will to spare as much as he can: at least as a first step.

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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 12:25 pm 
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Hi again all :)

As I said I was going to do, I built my computer a few months ago using the i5 2500k's bundled Intel cooler-and-heatsink to see if it was tolerable. As you all predicted, this is annoyingly noisy (and has a slightly unpleasant sound), so I'm now going to buy one of the heatsinks you guys recommended.

I thought I should pass on the temperatures my system's running at to see if it affects your advice: in normal use the CPU cores never go above 50 degrees C (more typically running at 35C-40C), while the most demanding games I play (which are not very 'hardcore' - Portal 2 with graphics turned up moderately high) occasionally push the hottest core up to 60C at the absolute max (with most cores only going up to 55C) .

Given this, how would you adjust your recommendations? I'm assuming it means I don't need something with much cooling power? Would you thus recommend the fanless option quest_for_silence suggested, ie this HR01X heatsink attached to my motherboard with this backplate? Or do I need something noiser like the Thermalright True Spirit or the more expensive Scythe Mugen 3? Or something else?

Thanks again for your advice,
Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 2:37 pm 
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As mentioned previously, size constraints are a concern for choosing a cooler. Which case did you end up going with? That might restrict your choices already.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 11:12 pm 
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lhopitalified wrote:
As mentioned previously, size constraints are a concern for choosing a cooler. Which case did you end up going with? That might restrict your choices already.


Thanks for the reply. Following recommendations here I got the Antec Solo II case (specs here - 440 mm (H) x 205 mm (W) x 470 mm (D)). I attach a couple of pictures inside my case - as you can see from the one with the ruler in it (with the end of the ruler almost touching the top of my blue expansion card slots I have at least 6 inches from the top of my motherboard to where the case cover I removed would sit. (I actually believe it to be about 170mm but it's hard to measure precisely.)

Any more details you need from me, just let me know - I do appreciate your help!


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:31 pm 
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I think most coolers fit inside the Antec Solo II without any difficulty. So you should probably dig around for some comparisons of noise levels among the various heatsink choices. Personally, I'd go with a Mugen 3, but only because I have experience with the Mugen 2, and with the fan being controlled by the motherboard, it's been as silent as I've wanted it to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:10 am 
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lhopitalified wrote:
I think most coolers fit inside the Antec Solo II without any difficulty. So you should probably dig around for some comparisons of noise levels among the various heatsink choices. Personally, I'd go with a Mugen 3, but only because I have experience with the Mugen 2, and with the fan being controlled by the motherboard, it's been as silent as I've wanted it to be.


Sorry, I'm a little lost doing so, hence why I felt I ought to ask for help here :oops: For example, when I try to find this info for the Thermalright True Spirit I mentioned I find things like this review's decibel chart and the manufacturer's stated decibel range ("Fan noise: 19~21dBA") and the quite different dB range given in this review ("19.6~37.4 dBA"). But I don't know what to take from this varying info, or what the actual dB level in my computer described above would be (presumably it depends on the fan speed, but I'm no idea what this'd be).

Also, newbie question: my motherboard will be able to control the fan speed on all these products, making it as low as possible to prevent overheating? Is that controlled by 'software' built into the mobo itself, or does it happen at OS level? If the latter, is the fact that my computer's running OS X as a hackintosh an issue?


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:52 am 
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tog22 wrote:
Also, newbie question: my motherboard will be able to control the fan speed on all these products, making it as low as possible to prevent overheating? Is that controlled by 'software' built into the mobo itself, or does it happen at OS level? If the latter, is the fact that my computer's running OS X as a hackintosh an issue?

The motherboard fan control is built into the hardware on the board itself, with a degree of user control through the BIOS. So the operation of the CPU fan is independent of whatever operating system you are running. But the motherboard does need a PWM fan on the cooler to control and monitor the CPU fan speed. This control and monitoring is thermal, that is at low system temperatures (and load) the fan will automatically run slower, and at higher temperatures it will run slower. How slow slower is and how fast faster is depends on the fan itself. If you look at the specs for any CPU cooler you are considering you should find that the speed is specified as a range if the fan is PWM. This range will give you some idea what the slower speeds should be. If they do not fit your idea of 'quiet' then look at another cooler.

The Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 will allow you some direct control over CPU fan speeds, with a choice of three modes Silent, Normal and Manual. Of these Normal is the default; Silent will run the cooler at slower speeds. This may result in higher CPU and system temperatures but less fan noise. There won't be any issue of overheating, if the system gets hotter and hotter for any reason the CPU fan will just speed up to the level necessary to stabilize temperatures.

So it comes down again to how slow the CPU fan can run. According to Thermalright, the Silent Spirit 120 has a fan with a range of 1000-1500 rpm. For people who want quiet systems 1000 rpm is probably too high an idle speed. However reviewers seem to be finding that this fan will run at speeds somewhat lower than that but it is not clear how low this fan would go in a system. So, if it will fit your case and motherboard, you might like to consider something like the Scythe Mugen 3, this has a fan with a 300 - 1600 rpm range. In practice you could see idle speeds around 400 rpm with a cooler like this, effectively silent.


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 Post subject: Re: Sanity check build I'm about to buy?
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:12 am 
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Thanks a lot lodestar, that's definitely a good case for choosing the Mugen 3 over the Thermalright True Spirit as I expect my system's coolness will prompt the lower fan speeds the Mugen 3 can achieve relative to the Thermalright. I suppose my question is now (a) whether there's anything similarly quiet to the Mugen 3 which is cheaper, and suitable for my situation (which doesn't demand great cooling power) and (b) whether the fanless (and cheaper) option I gave is appropriate for me?


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