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 Post subject: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Tom's made a silent gaming PC. article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sil ... ,3435.html

It's completely passively cooled. The equipment:

- Case: Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E
- PSU: SilverStone Nightjar 400W Zero dBA
- Mobo: MSI FM2-A75IA-E53
- CPU: AMD A6-5400k, or A10-5700
- Cooler: SilverStone Heligon HE02
(optional)
- VGA: HIS' Radeon HD 7750 iSilence 5
- Fan: temperature activated case fan

My questions:

- Are there better passive CPU heatsinks out there?
- If the video card is certain to be part of the system, would it make more sense to go with an Intel processor? (The A10 was chosen for integrated graphics)
- What would be a good mItx intel board?
- This system should draw less 130w at full load (76w on the A10 cpu when alone + 55w TDP on the VGA). Is there a a PSU option better suited for this smaller draw?


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 1:03 am 
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Posts: 490
Location: London, UK
Hi Grant,
grant2 wrote:
- Are there better passive CPU heatsinks out there?

I am not sure even the Heligon stood very well in a passive test without any airflow in the case - see review on the main page. There are some massively large heatsinks like NoFan out there, but I believe a consensus here is that a good heatsink with a slow-turning fan will be equally satisfying to most people noise-wise, whilst more reliable.

Quote:
- This system should draw less 130w at full load (76w on the A10 cpu when alone + 55w TDP on the VGA). Is there a a PSU option better suited for this smaller draw?
Possibly a picoPSU. Passive ATX form factor power supplies tend to be between 400 and ~600W.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:42 am 
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For gaming, a dual core i3 is as good as an A10 and will use less power. With the addition of a passive HD 7750 you will need airflow through the case. You might be able to get away with using just the supplied 180mm case fan. But, I guess I'm in the camp of 'a few slow rpm fans in the right places are better/quieter than one higher rpm fan'.

PSU: That older Nightjar is 85-87% efficient at your loads. So, ~21W of waste heat. You could move to a Platinum rated fanless, like the SeaSonic SS-400FL2, have a little less waste heat and pay less $.

Broadening this out: Will these components meet your needs at the required resolution/picture quality settings/games?

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:36 am 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
CA_Steve wrote:
FWith the addition of a passive HD 7750 you will need airflow through the case.

Unless the article is lying, their system ran acceptably with no fans.

Quote:
Broadening this out: Will these components meet your needs at the required resolution/picture quality settings/games?

Probably anyone who needs something more powerful than a 7750 will know what they need.

Quote:
Possibly a picoPSU. Passive ATX form factor power supplies tend to be between 400 and ~600W.

I did some more reading, and it appears similar builds (i3 + 7750) consume about 105w at max. So a 160w picopsu ought to be more than enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:23 am 
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Location: Germany
In the past i have learned that THG isn't a trustworthy source of knowledge, but i would not accuse them of lying on purpose.

Remember Gigabyte silent cell cards a couple of years ago? They worked a while and the died from pushing the thermals too far and the cards got pulled out of the market. Back then we knew before Gigabyte that those cards would suffer without any case fan.... and guess what? They suffered and eventually died.

IMHO i'll strongly advice to install a case fan when using a passiv cooled GPU.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:43 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Remember Gigabyte silent cell cards a couple of years ago? They worked a while and the died from pushing the thermals too far and the cards got pulled out of the market. Back then we knew before Gigabyte that those cards would suffer without any case fan.... and guess what? They suffered and eventually died.

Are you saying that operating a 7750 @ 76 degrees will, in the medium term, kill it?

I have always read that 80 degrees is a safe limit for video cards


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 5:37 am 
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I can't say for sure that it will damage the card longterm, but 76 degree is probably the chip's sensor temp, VRM and such, do we have temps for them?

Nobody can tell if the 7750 will last longer without any failure, it's far to early to tell.

As a conclusion: If i can't hear my PC inspite of having a few selected slow spinning fans, why exactly should i spend more to hear the same? Or if i spend the same amount, i'll get more Ooomph. YMMV.

And biggest THG fail is the use of an AMD cpu, to much watts for the given performance compared to a H77/i3 combo. B75 would do too.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:48 pm 
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It appears they decided on an AMD APU originally because it makes more sense for the original build, which was integrated graphics only.

It's unfortunate they didn't choose to rebuild the system from the CPU-up with an i3 when they added the video card.

certainly it seems prudent to add a temperature-activated case fan, especially when a video card is added, as they did in the article.

Still, I have never heard of anything under 80c being considered unsafe for a video card, unfortunately I cannot find any specifications which clarify what AMD or manufacturers consider an acceptable upper limit.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 12:28 pm 
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I'm trying to do something similar but without the small form factor, mATX in a larger case is a lot easier to build.

For a CPU, I say forget the i3 and get a Xeon e3-1220l v2. Its what the ivy bridge i3 should have been, with speed step or whatever they call it so that you can do some over clocking hopefully and a 17 watt tdp so you know they are the best low power bin.

For a video card, I think the 7750 is underpowered, 7770 is better but 7790 is where things get interesting. 85 watt tdp so a PCIe 12v connector is just barely needed, the next small step up in performance is the 650 boost ti which comes with about a 50 watt higher tdp.

Any way, with someone announcing a fan less 7850 board, it makes sense that the 7790 could work with a passive cooler.

That's what I'm building except it will be a 3570k because that's what I have and my system will have fans (two in the video card (Asus direct CU), one on the heat sink, one in the PSU and maybe a case fan). It won't be silent but I won't run it 24x7.

I'm a little disappointed that many web sites keep a running spec on a high end gaming rig but for a computer like this updates never happen and the end result has a wasted apu.

Kaveri will be very interesting for this type of build and I think the PS4/Xbox720 might steal the show if they are pc-ish enough (and quiet).


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Location: London, UK
QUIET! wrote:
Any way, with someone announcing a fan less 7850 board, it makes sense that the 7790 could work with a passive cooler.
That depends solely on the cooler design.

As for CPU choice in a gaming PC, there was an interesting review on AnandTech recently: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6934/choo ... u-at-1440p


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Hardware silent gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:42 pm 
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Anandtech article: Unfortunately, unless you game at 1440p, the cpu data is almost useless.

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