It is currently Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:53 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Define Mini with quiet bits wodged in
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 13
Location: UK
"Very quiet", "off the shelf parts", and "gaming" is now, to my very great pleasure, easy. I've been lurking around here for five years or so and with a limited budget have only ever really achieved a noise level of "tolerable" but with the latest partial upgrade, and more importantly with very little particular effort, a noise level has been attained that is almost unnoticeable.

Attachment:
pc.jpg


Bits:

Fractal Design Define Mini case
SilentPCReview here
Asus P7-H55-M SI Motherboard (micro ATX, H55 chipset)
Intel i3-530 CPU /w Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (using supplied PWM fan)
SilentPCReview on the older Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, new model seems identical in every way save for the base now being a bit more heatpipe and a bit less metal block.
Asus Radeon HD7770 DirectCU 1GB graphics
SilentPCReview on Asus DirectCU HD7870 and HD6850, TechPowerup review of Asus DirectCU HD7770 obviously not noise focussed but favourable subjective comments, and an attempt (if perhaps a tad questionable) at objective analysis also favourable.
BeQuiet StraightPower E9 480W CM PSU
Absent from SilentPCReview, JonnyGuru review (of 680W model) and 80+Gold reassured me on electrical quality, subjective statements on JonnyGuru and the official tech sheet reassured me on noise - ignoring (as always) manufacturer quoted db levels, the tech sheet still suggests all the right ingredients for low noise.
Samsung 830 128gb SSD for OS and Seagate Momentus XT 750gb hybrid for apps.

I have no sound measuring equipment other than my 30 something ears (by which I mean they are 30 something years old, disappointingly I only posess a single pair) so all statements are subjective. Temperatures and fan speeds as measured by HWiNFO64. Ambient room temperature as suggested by an old mercury thermometer is 20c (68f).

Temps and fan speeds
(3 case fans turned to lowest possible setting of included fan controller throughout both idle and gaming)

Idle
CPU 24c / 986rpm
GPU 29c / 1112rpm
SSD 22c
Hybrid 25c

Max reported during hour long XCOM session (perhaps not the most testing, but appropriate to my usage)
CPU 46c / 1041rpm
GPU 59c / 1188rpm
SSD 24c
Hybrid 28c

I can't really add anything to the SilentPCReview article on the case, it's a damn fine case, a little too big but that undeniably makes for a pain free build. I'd have liked to see padding on the top panel as well as the sides and door, if only to get that reassuring thunk rather than a tinny tap when rapping the panels. Going by side panel off/on observations I'd say that the padding goes a tiny way to reduce some high frequencies. I placed both of the supplied fans as front intake fans, adding an old 120mm Noctua *something* as the rear exit; all three wired up to the included fan controller which is turned right down to it's lowest setting (equiv of 5v or so?) - at this setting the three case fans are below the ambient noise of the room and the ability of my ears to hear them. Three case fans is perhaps overkill but I wanted positive air pressure because I'm too damn lazy to clean PC innards. Whether idle or gaming I've seen no need to turn those fans up any higher than their lowest setting.

Motherboard & CPU are pulled from an existing PC, they're kind of in line for an upgrade but I'm more than happy to wait until next year's Intel Haswell generation which will hopefully bring some modest improvements in performance and power, for now they're fine for my needs. Having only PCI Express 2.0 and SATAII they are limiting the graphics card and the system SSD somewhat.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo heatsink is undoubtedly the loudest component now. Some of the blame could well be my motherboard's PWM control which doesn't seem to want to run the included 600-1600RMP fan lower than 980RPM (guessing 20% duty cycle?); as a result I can hear the (faint) "whoosh" from this fan coupled with a warbling resonance (I'd guess 15-20 hertz) that ceases upon applying light pressure to the top of the fan case. Swapping this fan, controlling it via means other than motherboard PWM, or finding some way of decoupling resonance is on my list of things to do, but it still counts as "quiet" to my mind. With the PC on the desk I can just hear it, place the PC under the desk and it is only barely audible (but under the desk lurks pet hair and other detritus not fit to be sucked into a PSU).

I am staggeringly impressed with the graphics card. Ok, so a 7770 may not quite qualify as hardcore gaming, but it's plenty enough for me, I can live without ultra high settings if it saves me pounds sterling, watts, decibels, and degrees centigrade. HWiNFO reports the fan as idling at around 1100RPM and I'm really not sure of the accuracy of this because I genuinely can't hear it *at all* with the case closed up. The only time I can perceive it is when I wake the display (once the display turns off from inactivity the fan turns off completely), then I can hear the faint whoosh as it kicks in before settling back to being completely inaudible - with the case's side off I can continue to detect a faint very high frequency whirring, just below the frequency expected of electrical coil whine, but with the case closed up, it's silent.

The PSU is another item that impresses. I realise they're not particularly common on the other side of the pond but do see if you can get a review copy. They seem to have three ranges, "Pure Power" is the base range and going by tech sheets I wouldn't necessarily expect them to be any quieter than any other well made PSU; "Straight Power" seems to be where you start getting serious noise reduction, 135mm fan rather than 120mm, fan being mechanically decoupled from the housing, 80+Gold efficiency etc, and "Dark Power" doesn't look to particularly add any extra silencing features but adds a few more bells and whistles. They seem to be FSP Auurum platform units but they've done a bit more than a simple rebadge. I am completely unqualified to comment on electrical quality and accoustically I only have my ears, but with other components stopped it is just hovering above perceptible against the ambient background noise level of the house (itself pretty damn quiet, heavily insulated in rural england).

The SSD system drive is naturally effectively silent, and the hybrid apps drive (pulled out of a dead laptop) is likewise, when closed up in the case, silent to my ears - I can't hear it spin up or down, I can't hear it seek. Having a hybrid apps drive is perhaps a little silly, but it was available and it's sold me on the benefit of 2.5" drives as desktop app drives. Quiet, drawing of naff all power, and run cool, performance might not be up to 3.5" standards but it's an app drive, it's fine (perhaps one benefit of having the hybrid as an app drive, but ordinarily I couldn't justify the added expense).


All in, it's quiet. As a measure of how quiet, having built it I then had to swap my router - the electronic whine from the previous one was suddenly noticeable. I'm now seriously considering "upgrading" the fridge in the kitchen because it's suddenly become too noisy.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Define Mini with quiet bits wodged in
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:38 pm 
Offline
Friend of SPCR

Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
Very nice, indeed. It's good to hear that the Radeon 7770 is silent to your ears. In general, I really appreciate your thought about your system and how loud the parts are.

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Define Mini with quiet bits wodged in
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:25 am
Posts: 56
Location: Germany
Regarding your heatsink, I would swap out the stock fan for another one (Noctua, Noiseblocker, Scythe--the usual suspects) and add a Zalman Fan Mate 2 to reduce the rpm. That should work wonders.

I installed a Be Quiet Straight Power BQT E9 400W in a build to replace another PSU that I found too loud and was very pleased with the result. For another build, I am considering the 480W version because of its cable management; it's a pity that Be Quiet doesn't offer a PSU with CM at lower wattage.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Define Mini with quiet bits wodged in
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 13
Location: UK
Yep, a bit of monkeying around with Speedfan has confirmed a replacement fan is in order. Speedfan can knock the rpm of the stock fan down to near but not quite inaudible but the warbling resonance remains between 650 and 1200 or so RPM (it might remain at higher revs too, but just by that time drowned out).

Perhaps worth noting at this point that the sink and included fan are certainly fine products and certainly count as "quiet", in just a slightly more noisy overall system I doubt the fan could be distinguished. Stock fan is, unfortunately, just shy of "quiet enough".

I've got a few fanmates kicking around in the bits box but I'm honestly a bit icky with using them on CPUs rather than case fans - any situation where forgetting to turn them up could result in *bad things* happening, would much rather just hand that off to the BIOS PWM.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Define Mini with quiet bits wodged in
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:25 am
Posts: 56
Location: Germany
"Bad things"--quite right, we don't want our builds to go up in smoke. However, PWM controls, depending on the mobo, can be fiddly.

I have a heatsink fan--Noctua 140mm--regulated by a Fan Mate to just over 500 rpm and the temps are all well within the green and stay that way even under load; but note that I am not a gamer, the CPU is underclocked to 65 watt, and other components are chose for energy efficiency.

Good luck with your experimentation.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group