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 Post subject: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:33 am 
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As my motherboard has failed, I'm searching for a new silent - very silent, but not passive - computer.
Working with Dell and HP prebuild computers, I have appreciated them for the low noise they produce. But those computers, Dell/HP, don't have the latest MBs or video cards and are a bit expensive, considering the quality of the component that are fitted inside.

I'm looking at two different systems:
DELL XPS 8500 (i7-3770, 8 gb DDR3, Nvidia GT 640 1 gb, 460w PSU ...)
HP Pavilion hp-1400 (i7-3770, 8 gb DDR3, Radeon 7570 1gb, 460w PSU ...).

As far as the one that I intend to build, it has about the same price as the ones exemplified:
i7-3770k, 16 gb ddr3, (700w PSU). Video card: Radeon 7750i passive.

I have a Scythe Oroch rev. B cpu cooler (http://www.scythe-eu.com/en/products/cp ... rev-b.html) that I indent to use (passive or not) inside my old case (http://www.chieftec.com/BH02.html).
Current PSU is a CHIEFTEC GPS-400AA-101A 400W (might be replaced if needed).

Do you think that my build up a computer would be as silent as those computers from Dell/HP? Any advice? Opinions?


Last edited by RoDiesel on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:51 am 
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Welcome to SPCR,

The HP may not have a power supply with AFPC, and if so that would be a non-starter for me. If you plan on dual monitors, the Dell is only available with a single DVI output and you would need a DP (or mDP) to DVI dongle. The Dell does come with an AFPC power supply though, I think.

Does the i7 have a dual or triple channel memory controller?

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:12 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Welcome to SPCR,
The HP may not have a power supply with AFPC, and if so that would be a non-starter for me. If you plan on dual monitors, the Dell is only available with a single DVI output and you would need a DP (or mDP) to DVI dongle. The Dell does come with an AFPC power supply though, I think.

I'll have to check that!!

NeilBlanchard wrote:
Welcome to SPCR,
Does the i7 have a dual or triple channel memory controller?

If by ''channel memory controller" you are asking about number of memory channels, then i7 has 2 channel memory.


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:25 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Welcome to SPCR,

The HP may not have a power supply with AFPC, and if so that would be a non-starter for me.


In the meanwhile I have checked the PSU on another HP computer (3500 series) and the PSU is APFC. So I guess that all PSU from HP are using the active PFC.


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:43 pm 
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To state my opinion in the most measured, diffident way I can manage,
BUILD IT YOURSELF!!!!

My experience with prebuilt PC's (yes, that includes laptops) has been universally horrible. Manufacturers use generic garbage from the bottom of the barrel for everything that doesn't end up in the specs (HDD, optical drive, NIC, RAM, etc) which means poorly written, rarely updated, hard-to-find drivers running shoddily constructed, short-lived hardware that doesn't play well together. Combine that with barely sufficient PSU wattage and thermal dissipation and you've got yourself a pile of crashy crap.

Besides, building a box is easy. I was thirteen the first time, and it took me less than four hours, most of which was spent being unreasonably scared I'd break something. The result was rock-solid stable until my cousin gave it away six years later.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:55 am 
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Irrelevant wrote:
To state my opinion in the most measured, diffident way I can manage,
BUILD IT YOURSELF!!!!

My experience with prebuilt PC's (yes, that includes laptops) has been universally horrible. Manufacturers use generic garbage from the bottom of the barrel for everything that doesn't end up in the specs (HDD, optical drive, NIC, RAM, etc) which means poorly written, rarely updated, hard-to-find drivers running shoddily constructed, short-lived hardware that doesn't play well together. Combine that with barely sufficient PSU wattage and thermal dissipation and you've got yourself a pile of crashy crap.
Besides, building a box is easy. I was thirteen the first time, and it took me less than four hours, most of which was spent being unreasonably scared I'd break something. The result was rock-solid stable until my cousin gave it away six years later.


To build it by myself is not a problem. All the computers that I had were built/assembled by me. It's just the noise factor that seems to be very well taken care off in the brand units.
It looks like I have to carefully chose the components to have as little noise as possible (and decent performance).


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:11 pm 
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Location: San Clemente, CA, USA
RoDiesel wrote:
It's just the noise factor that seems to be very well taken care off in the brand units.

Now my experience has been just the opposite. We bought Dells (Precision T3xxx desktops) for the past 6-7 years and now are an HP (Z8xx) shop, and both brands are friggin' jets compared to what we build (typical Core i7 high-end ATX machines). The CPU fans on Dells and case fans on the HPs are way noisier than decent aftermarket stuff.

When I want Silent (with a capital S), like we did for my son's digital audio workstation, I absolutely do it all myself, there's no way that I've found to get anywhere near that quiet with pre-built box (I suspect this is mostly because the PSU, case fans and CPU fans come from the lowest bidder).


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:06 am 
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OK guys
I have decided to "build it myself" ...
I have carefully chosen all the components but I want you to ask one more question.
First, the config: i7 3770k, 2x8 Gb Kingston, Gigabyte Z77X-D3H MB, Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD, HD 7750 passive.
I'll also use 2-3 classical HDDs, DVD etc.

Now about the PSU:
I wanted to go with COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M2 720 W (RS720-SPM2D3-EU) @ ~110 Euro.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1304-page5.html

Now, it's on sale this one: ENERMAX NAXN 82+ 650 W (ENP650-AWT) @ ~ 65 Euro.


According to my calculation (http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power) the system needs around 350W.

What is your opinion, the most concerning thing being the NOISE!!!

Regards


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:18 am 
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What case are you considering?

I would consider Asus in place of Gigabyte for motherboard. They have very good fan control built in which is important for keeping things quiet.

RoDiesel wrote:
According to my calculation (http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power) the system needs around 350W.

I would think it will actually use around half of that. PSU calculators are notoriously over the top. You might even think that they were trying to sell you a bigger PSU than you need.

A good quality smaller PSU would be much better in terms of noise and cheaper. Looking at what has been reviewed by SPCR the best choice would be the Seasonic G-360.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:47 am 
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My case is this: http://www.chieftec.com/BH02.html

Asus vs Gigabyte is just a matter of taste. In my price range, Asus has PCI Express 2.0 x16 ( mode x4 ) - in case that I want to use, in the future, dual video cards. Gigabyte has x8 mode.

Regarding the power usage, you might be right. But I prefer to have a more powerful PSU - as I said, two video cards in the future and a little bit of OC - than to be sorry. Also, it the PSU is not used at it's full capacity (but only in it's sweet spot), the noise would be much lower.

Seasonic G-360 - I can't find it where I live (Belgium).


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:22 am 
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RoDiesel wrote:

I have a long time thing about Chieftec. Very solidly built cases but not one you seem to see much of now. Don't know how suitable they are for quiet computing nowadays but there designs 10 years ago were very nice.

RoDiesel wrote:
Regarding the power usage, you might be right. But I prefer to have a more powerful PSU - as I said, two video cards in the future and a little bit of OC - than to be sorry.

With those specs you'll be using perhaps 180W max DC power with a bit more from the wall after PSU losses(which doesn't count, PSUs are rated on output, not input). You'll still have loads of power left on a 360W PSU even with overclocking and a second card. That would push you to maybe 250W.

Are you going to get a second graphics card? Future proofing never works out as planned. Think about this: Crossfire will only work with a similar card. Within a matter of months there will be another generation of hardware and the existing generation won't drastically drop in price. They will however become more difficult to find in time. As they won't become vastly cheaper it is therefore bad value at that point to get a second card when the next generation will already be so much faster for less power. It therefore only makes sense to go for 2 graphics cards if you do so initially and if you do that, you'd be better off just getting a single more powerful card.

Unless you want some really high number of monitors or are buying the absolute top of the range cards on a money-no-object budget, multiple graphics cards do not make sense.

RoDiesel wrote:
Also, it the PSU is not used at it's full capacity (but only in it's sweet spot), the noise would be much lower.

The noise difference between a 360W (or 400W for that matter) PSU outputting 180W max (more likely <100W in most use) and a 700W PSU outputting 180W will not be recognisable. It will be more down to how the fan profiles are setup and in this case you can expect high power PSUs to be louder just because the efficiency losses for this sub 25% power level are much higher than the 360W at sub 50% power hence far more cooling effort will be needed on the 700W PSU. You will totally miss the sweet spot which is much higher. If you want to see a sweetspot you need to be running something far lower power.

Buying a 700W PSU would be a waste of money.

RoDiesel wrote:
Seasonic G-360 - I can't find it where I live (Belgium).

Not sure if you're Flemish or Waloon so sorry if I have the wrong language:
http://www.ldlc-pro.be/fiche/PB00136219.html

I'm sure there will be others that carry it also.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:36 am 
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RoDiesel wrote:
Not sure if you're Flemish or Waloon so sorry if I have the wrong language:
http://www.ldlc-pro.be/fiche/PB00136219.html

I'm sure there will be others that carry it also.


You are very kind ... I'm not Flemish nor Waloon. But I just happen to live in Belgium for a few years.
I have to choose my components from pixmania.be. That's way I said that I can't find it here.
Here is a link that I have to choose PSU from. But keep in mind, LOW NOISE is very important.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:39 pm 
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Looking through all of those PSUs they all appear 80+ Bronze rated older designs. This is going to mean less efficiency and hence they may not be so quiet as more modern PSUs. They're good quality PSUs but for this reason I would not recommend any of them if silence is very important to you.

Can you not buy anywhere else? The extra delivery costs for a separate order might add cost but if silence is of such importance, a newer, more efficient PSU a better place to start.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:34 pm 
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Hi edh

To order from a different store is already very difficult. Let's just stick with this store.
I must admit that low noise is important to me. Also, as you may have seen, I set an upper limit for the price of the PSU. I think that 120 euro (including VAT and transport) is just enough for this kind of unit.
The real thing is that I have to choose between 3 PSUs:
ENERMAX PC NAXN 82+ 650 W (ENP650-AWT) ~ 65 E
SEASONIC S12II-520 80+ Bronze ~ 90 E
COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M2 720 W (RS720-SPM2D3-EU) ~ 110 E.

All I have to do is to pick the less noisier one. The problem is that I can't find reviews concerning the noise level (except for cooler master m2, which I consider to be silent enough in the 200-500 w range).
The efficiency of the PSU is less important to me at this moment. As far as I have read, all of them are very quite, but some figures would have really helped, just for the comparison.
Any opinion is really helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:54 pm 
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The Enermax would be my choice, on the basis of other PSUs from those series you mention. My only caveat is that the fan in it may not last that long -- ie, they seem to wear and become noisier quicker than usual, but you might get lucky. Off the shelf, I expect it will be the quietest -- by a small margin. Besides, it's cheaper, which means you can afford to mess with the fan later if necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:56 am 
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The NAXN 82+ is made for Enermax by an OEM so it does not share a huge amount in common with previous Enermax PSUs. I had suspected it might be something like the Modu 82+ but it isn't.

Googling for it I did find this bit on noise:
Quote:
The Enermax NAXN 750W is very much like other Enermax products we have seen in that it has a lot of characteristics that make it so that it could a be a quiet power supply. Among these characteristics are the large overhead fan, 80Plus Bronze efficiency, and clean layout. The most recent Enermax ~750W unit we reviewed was the Lepa G700 and that unit, like the MODU87+, utilizes one of Enermax’ own Twister Bearing fans. The NAXN however does not, perhaps because this unit is a Sirfa power supply, and instead uses a Globe Fan. As it stands, this unit did not seem as quiet as the Lepa G700 or the MODU87+ 700W overall. Throughout testing however it was not super loud, it just wasn’t super quiet either. The unit was clearly audible during the Torture Test and at full load. Indeed, during the full load testing the unit was legitimately noisy. However, the unit is operating at full load 100v AC input and doing so at 5C above its rated temperature. Given the fact that it was a bit outside of designed parameters this does not seem too surprising and it would be very unlikely that a user would face such a situation. So, while certainly not the quietest 750W unit we have reviewed it also isn’t as loud as the old PC Power and Cooling Silencers either. Rather, this is just a middle of the road unit that is fairly quiet through 75% of its capacity but not after.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/05/ ... t_review/6

If a mainstream review site is saying the fan can be loud then it probably is! Perhaps a fan swap could fix this and luckily the fan does appear to be a basic DC fan although at 135mm the choices you have for replacement will be difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:28 am 
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Thank you for the last input. I was biased towards the Coolmaster anyway ... although a little bit expensive.
I'll try to buy it and will see how "comfortable" it is.
Regards


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 Post subject: Re: Prebuild or build it myself?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:12 pm 
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As I wasn't able to order the PSU today, I did some more readings. In an older threat, the recommendation was to search a "gold class" unit in order to have a higher efficiency and, maybe, a lower noise.
Now I have another dilemma: LEPA vs Coolermaster (not gold) vs Enermax vs Fortron.

LEPA Alimentation PC G650-MAS 80PLUS Gold (or 750W or 850W) : 95 - 115 E
- this is a rebrand from CWT
- fanless under 15%
- noisy at full load

FORTRON Aurum Pro 850 80PLUS Gold: 140 E
- gold 850W but still prefer the Enermax

ENERMAX Revolution87+ ERV650AWT-G - 650W: 140 E
- the price a little bit to much, but OK after all.

Which one would you buy and way? Any experience with any of these PSUs?


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