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 Post subject: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:13 pm 
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I'd like to put together a simple low-power PC for the bedroom which will stay on and be able to play music and browsing at anytime. Should be practically inaudible from several feet away. As few moving parts as possible, fanless whenever possible.

Suggestions for CPU, HSF, motherboard with built-in GPU?


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Maybe the answer isn't building a PC. Why not just use your smartphone or iPod to drive your powered speakers or A/V receiver for music and get a Chromebook for browsing? Lowest power solution, noisefree, and pretty cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:53 pm 
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If you are set on a PC, and you want it passive and the least moving parts possible, then i would build around HDPLEX H3, SPCR did a review on it worth a look, HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless Mini-ITX HTPC Case, any ivy Bridge celeron like 1610 should be more than enough for what you are looking for, the H3 can fit 1x 3.5" HDD or 3x 2.5" Internal HDD, so you could even go SSD + mechanical laptop drive for storage, the iGPU HD2500 is more than enough for watching 1080p playback, so no need for dedicated gpu, unless you are gaming... in which case the H3 will not be a good fit, just chose a motherboard that has the outputs you need, i like a lot intel motherboards out of efficiency and they are stable, not a lot of bell n wistles but for me its fine.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Or, get a NUC or it's equivalent. Or drop down to an ARM device. Browsing and music takes tiny bits of horsepower.

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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:46 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Or drop down to an ARM device. Browsing and music takes tiny bits of horsepower.
Yeah, tablet and cable (miracast/MHL?) for your monitor.


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:04 am 
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Location: UK
shunx wrote:
I'd like to put together a simple low-power PC for the bedroom which will stay on and be able to play music and browsing at anytime.

Same questions as everyone else has and why does it need to stay on all of the time? Switching things off is the best way to make things silent and low power.

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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:50 am 
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Location: Vancouver
CA_Steve wrote:
Maybe the answer isn't building a PC. Why not just use your smartphone or iPod to drive your powered speakers or A/V receiver for music and get a Chromebook for browsing? Lowest power solution, noisefree, and pretty cheap.

edh wrote:
Same questions as everyone else has and why does it need to stay on all of the time? Switching things off is the best way to make things silent and low power.


Thanks, actually some other reasons I wanted a PC are:
- need spreadsheets and prefer multi-monitors, keyboard and mouse.
- need to run PC-only apps
- can pick music from iPhone/iPad and have it play on the computer which is connected to the speaker. If the computer is offline then this won't work. I think a AV receiver could work for this purpose (AirPlay) but I think that requires the music files on the mobile device, whereas a PC can stream the music files from a server elsewhere.

Well I went to the computer store and saw a small cheap i3-based Acer desktop. I couldn't hear much noise from the computer in that environment, so I took a chance and bought it. Turned it on at home, ehh, not...quiet....enough...


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:58 am 
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Abula wrote:
If you are set on a PC, and you want it passive and the least moving parts possible, then i would build around HDPLEX H3, SPCR did a review on it worth a look, HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless Mini-ITX HTPC Case, any ivy Bridge celeron like 1610 should be more than enough for what you are looking for, the H3 can fit 1x 3.5" HDD or 3x 2.5" Internal HDD, so you could even go SSD + mechanical laptop drive for storage, the iGPU HD2500 is more than enough for watching 1080p playback, so no need for dedicated gpu, unless you are gaming... in which case the H3 will not be a good fit, just chose a motherboard that has the outputs you need, i like a lot intel motherboards out of efficiency and they are stable, not a lot of bell n wistles but for me its fine.


Thanks. I could not locate that case locally though. Widely available components would be the best. For CPU and heatsink, can anyone think of a combo that would definitely work passively? If passive is difficult I'd settle for one with a very quiet fan.

FYI, a list of HSFs available to me: http://www.shopbot.ca/heatsinks-and-fan ... canada/112

And actually, form factor is not important. I can go for any case that's reasonable. Local availability: http://www.shopbot.ca/cases/housing-and ... canada/109


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:45 am 
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I guess the real question is what you will be doing with the two monitors and at what resolutions.

( Also I see you're in Vancouver...

Hey Mike C, got any old hand-me downs for this guy?) :P

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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1777
Location: Guatemala
shunx wrote:
Abula wrote:
If you are set on a PC, and you want it passive and the least moving parts possible, then i would build around HDPLEX H3, SPCR did a review on it worth a look, HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless Mini-ITX HTPC Case, any ivy Bridge celeron like 1610 should be more than enough for what you are looking for, the H3 can fit 1x 3.5" HDD or 3x 2.5" Internal HDD, so you could even go SSD + mechanical laptop drive for storage, the iGPU HD2500 is more than enough for watching 1080p playback, so no need for dedicated gpu, unless you are gaming... in which case the H3 will not be a good fit, just chose a motherboard that has the outputs you need, i like a lot intel motherboards out of efficiency and they are stable, not a lot of bell n wistles but for me its fine.


Thanks. I could not locate that case locally though. Widely available components would be the best. For CPU and heatsink, can anyone think of a combo that would definitely work passively? If passive is difficult I'd settle for one with a very quiet fan.

FYI, a list of HSFs available to me: http://www.shopbot.ca/heatsinks-and-fan ... canada/112

And actually, form factor is not important. I can go for any case that's reasonable. Local availability: http://www.shopbot.ca/cases/housing-and ... canada/109


For CPU heatsinks, if you want to have a big tower to and run it with a fan that bearly spins.... I would search for
Thermalright HR02 Macho - Swap the fan with Scythe Slipstream PWM SY1225SL12LM-P. Reviewed by SPCR Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler
Scythe Mugen 3 or 4 - already comes with Scythe Slipatream PWM, hard to get on north america atm, the version 2 was reviewed by SPCR Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler
Nofan CR-95C - recentely reviewed by SPCR, NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler, but not sure where you could get it in canada.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:40 am 
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shunx wrote:
Thanks, actually some other reasons I wanted a PC are:
- need spreadsheets and prefer multi-monitors, keyboard and mouse.
- need to run PC-only apps

Ah, the bits of missing information that completely changes the usage model :)

Before we go further,
- are the spreadsheets pretty basic or massive, multilinked database kinda things?
- what are the other PC apps? (eg: "I like to transcode video as fast as possible" needs a lot more horsepower than "I have a weather widget".)
- what's your budget?

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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:11 pm 
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Location: Vancouver
CA_Steve wrote:
Ah, the bits of missing information that completely changes the usage model :)

Before we go further,
- are the spreadsheets pretty basic or massive, multilinked database kinda things?
- what are the other PC apps? (eg: "I like to transcode video as fast as possible" needs a lot more horsepower than "I have a weather widget".)
- what's your budget?

Right, you guys are not mind readers, lol. I don't really have a budget but if it's more expensive then I expect to do more, like larger spreadsheets or a bit of Steam on it, otherwise cheaper is better. One can go overkill on the budget to get it done immediately, but you guys might be able to help me source more cost-efficient parts.

Who besides Seasonic makes PSUs that don't spin up until they hit a certain wattage? I read on a retailer's site that SPCR went through several Seasonic X's before they found one without coil whine. I don't know if Seasonic's Platinum series is better in that regard.

xan_user wrote:
Hey Mike C, got any old hand-me downs for this guy?) :P

I do have some old 80mm fans that I got from their tests a decade ago. I was thinking about swapping noisy stuff out of the small computer I picked up yesterday. I opened up the case but couldn't identify the main source of noise, which was neither the CPU fan nor the PSU fan. Maybe it's the hard drive or another fan somewhere, but I don't want to take it apart yet. It's not too terribly loud, but it's definitely noticeable. I'm on the fence as to whether to return it. I do like how these pre-built systems are so cheap and readily available. Maybe I should just get used to the noise -- is that very un-silentpcreview of me?


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 Post subject: Re: recommend a low-power build for bedroom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:34 pm 
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Quote:
I was thinking about swapping noisy stuff out of the small computer I picked up yesterday. I opened up the case but couldn't identify the main source of noise, which was neither the CPU fan nor the PSU fan. Maybe it's the hard drive or another fan somewhere, but I don't want to take it apart yet. It's not too terribly loud, but it's definitely noticeable. I'm on the fence as to whether to return it. I do like how these pre-built systems are so cheap and readily available. Maybe I should just get used to the noise -- is that very un-silentpcreview of me?

Yes :)

I haven't priced out a complete system lately, but the rule of thumb the last couple of times was: building your own system isn't cheaper - but you do know what parts are going into it to make it a quiet build.

As for your particular pre-built: McGyver a stethoscope and snoop around (length of automotive vaccuum hose will work as will a paper towel tube). Try turning off/stopping the various fans. See if it's vibration noise (HDD mounts, case vibrating, etc).

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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