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 Post subject: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:53 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Denmark
Hello there SPCR

I'm new here, and looking for advice on building my first low noise budget gamer PC.
The goal is to enjoy a very low noise idle/low load system, while being able to play Starcraft2. Possible Total War: Rome2 in the future. I don't care about the noise level while gaming. I don't expect to ever upgrade the system, why I'm going for the cheapest Haswell chipset, B85, which however supports the selected parts (at least I think so). Unlikely upgrades are limited to more RAM and new GFX.

Parts selected so far:
Antec New Solution NSK3480-EC (a bit noisy PSU included however recommended by SPCR)
ASUS B85M-G (Alternative: Gigabyte GA-B85M-HD3 Rev.1.0, lacking 16GB RAM support but has selected RAM on QVL)
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 2 x 4 GB 8-8-8-24
SanDisk Ultra Plus 128 GB (For operation system and programs. I have lots other HDDs for data, of which I'll install one)

Problems:
1. Core i5 I5-4570 (84W) or 4570S (65W). S for lower power, I'm guessing that the CPU is not bottleneck anyway, and lower power will lead to lower fan speeds. Maybe I don't even need to upgrade from the included heatsink+fan in the Intel Boxed set.
2. No experience with the noise level of included CPU fan. Need to upgrade, and if yes, to what "size"?
3. Which GFX to get. Either Radeon HD 7750 (55W) or 7770 (80W) and which actual board to get. 7770 is clearly faster but with significantly higher power. The price difference is small, so if it's possible to cool 7770 with low enough noise, it would be the choice.

Questions:
0. Am I on the right track here, will this set-up ever be (very) low noise?
2. CPU: Is it worth is going for the S model for the lower power consumption at the expense of performance? Price seems to be the same.
3. Assuming a CPU choice, do I need an other heatsink+fan than the included in the Intel Boxed-set. I have no experience with the noise level of the noise level of the included fan. If I need a new cooling system, any comments on the "size"?
4. GFX: In short, which technology to go for. Can the 7770 be low noise, or should I go for 7750? 7750 can even go fanless it seems, but not sure whether the case has enough airflow to justify this.

Of cause all noise levels are relative, and I'm aware that my case isn't as quite as it could be. But it's damn cheap! And recommended by SPCR, so it can't be all bad. I'm sort of aiming at a system where the general noise level is not higher that what the case (PSU) justifies.

I'm looking forward to any answers. All comments are welcome, that includes "Go back and do your fucking homework before you post, newbie!" :D

FYI: I'm from Denmark.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1256
Location: UK
CPU: The non-S CPU can always be undervolted through the BIOS to get the same power consumption as the S model. This seems to be the more popular route for SPCR members as you're not paying the same money for something slower.

CPU heatsink: The standard Intel one won't be ideal. The SPCR recommended list (http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks) is a little out of date now but gives you some ideas of where to start. Have a read of some of the reviews of different CPU coolers too: http://www.silentpcreview.com/section11.html. I'm sure someone will chime in with suggestions too.

Graphics: Are you set on AMD for a specific reason? If so, that's fine but worth knowing what your applications are that may require it in particular. It does seem that the graphics card might be a little cheap for a gaming system considering how much money and power you're looking at putting into the CPU. Are the games you're playing more CPU intensive perhaps? You could easily do a cooler swap to an Arctic Accelero S1 Plus which will then give you a fully passive graphics card. This is much easier than choosing between cards based upon a tiny difference in noise output of their different fan designs.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:01 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Scandinavia
Hi,

There are too many points worth mentioning. Let me make a few of them. Provided that you are looking for a budget gaming rig, I find that Arctic Freezer 11 LP (CPU cooler & fan) is a cost-effective option, particularly in Scandinavian countries. There are far more expensive options but I personally think the above one strikes balance. By the way, you cannot use the included stock fan for silent (probably just quiet) desktop build because you cannot finely adjust the fan speed of stock fans by Intel (which are not PWM-capable). You will probably have to buy one of third-party CPU cooler, like the aforementioned one. For you information, in order to build nearly absolutely quiet PC, speeds of all kinds of fans in the build must be upper-bounded by 400 or 500 rpm. You cannot achieve these rpms with stock fans.

As a matter of fact, there are not so many CPU-demanding games. I would buy i5-4430 to save money.

It is crucial to have fanless power supply units like Seasonic FL series for a quiet rig.

In general, I think Arctic (CPU and case) fans are usually cost-effective options in Scandinavian countries.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Gefle, Sweden
The old NSK3480-EC is a neat little case for budget builds, but not a candidate for quiet builds. I've handled and sold many systems based on it, and it's not up to todays standards of what could be considered quiet. Unfortunately I don't have a direct replacement to recommend, mostly because of the price level. Most decent cases cost the same but without a power supply. On a strict budget it could be an ok choice but you won't likely be happy with it in the long run.

If you can wait a month or two we should have Haswell i3 CPU's out on the market. Could be interesting to see where the price lands. Saving some money there could be cash spent on a long term case/PSU solution. By far most games run just fine on an i3 and it could be upgraded down the road if the need arise, if at all depending on the games. For a reasonably priced quiet mATX build I'd be looking at some combo like the Fractal Design Define Mini case with a Seasonic G-360 power supply. With a more dependable case you could have any power of graphics card installed and run quietly as long as the cards cooler is of a decent design.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4770
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Blizzard's games (while typically only using 2 cores) tend to be very CPU speed dependant and not so GPU heavy. So, >3GHz is good. You don't mention your monitor resolution...Assuming it's 1080p, you don't need much gfx power.

Total War: Rome 2 uses more horsepower. Found a benchmarking thread here. It'll use 4 cores and probably wants more than the 7770.

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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, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:53 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Denmark
Thank you for your replies. Very helpfull.

CPU: I'll stop considering the S model, and go for either 4430 or 4570 (My gut feeling on order-day will decide I guess 8)). The price difference from 4430 to 4570 is a 8% price increase, which seems tolerable for the extra performance. Besides, needs to run MATLAB simulations, which would benefit from the better CPU. And I don't really game that much. And I'm not really on a budget, I just don't like to spend money :)

CPU cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP seems like a very good choice and cheap enough, and the littlebrother "Alpine 7 Pro" is SPCR recommended as the cheapest option. I'll go for your suggestion. Thank you.

Case and PSU: Going for a separate case and PSU will jump the combined price to ~200% of NSK3480 (included is EarthWatts 380W), which seems to be a poor tradeoff for very quite vs. almost very quite. I'm assuming the PSU is noisier than the rear fan (no PWM, lowest RPM 1200), and thus don't need to be traded for a Arctic PWM one, and that my motherboard supports PWM fan control.
Going for Fractal Design Define Mini is not an option, as the volume of 40L is too large. An alternative could be Lian Li PC-Q08, SPCR recommended, with the suggested Seasonic G-360, leaving me with a price increase of 76%. But is 360W PSU enough for a setup with GFX?

GFX: The AMD 7750, 7770 or 7790 is chosen only because they rates good at "Price Performance" on videocardbenchmark.net and by Tom's Hardware "Best Graphics Cards For The Money". I guess 7770 is out of the question, as 7790 is better with same power consumption. I think 7750 is the better option if going for fanless, as I can buy it fanless out of the box with a price increase of 15% (Don't want to buy and especially mount heatsink on GFX). I almost 100% that 7750 is enough to play SC2 on good graphics, and I think it can run TW: Rome2 (Release sep2013) on low graphic no problem. It is featured on videocardbenchmark high end card after all.

I then see 2 options:
1. Going for fanless 7750 and choosing an other case, PSU and fans for very quite and significant airflow. Question is if the difference in noise level is worth the lower performance and significant extra cash spent. It certainly can't take new games in a year, but I don't really plan to keep playing anyway (I have a soft spot for Starcraft and the Total War series).
2. Going for 7790 with fan as the NSK3480 PSU is too noisy, not buying Arctic PWM case fans, and researching for a board with proper fan control for low GFX idle/low load noise. This solution is most certainly cheaper and faster than option 1. Worth the reduced noise level?

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Screen resolution: 1080p (Forgot to mention it in my post)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Gfx: 7750 fanless is a nice choice for the low end of things. If you do opt for 7790 level, consider the GTX 650 Ti. Same pricing, performance, power.

Quote:
But is 360W PSU enough for a setup with GFX?

84W CPU + (7750) W GPU + (everything else) 50W = stressed load of 189W. Probably 160W-ish while gaming. Sub in the GTX 650 Ti or HD 7790, and it's ~ 200W while gaming.

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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, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:53 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:53 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Denmark
mellow wrote:
An alternative could be Lian Li PC-Q08, SPCR recommended, with the suggested Seasonic G-360, leaving me with a price increase of 76%.

Ups, Lian Li is only mini-ITX (I need micro-ATX). My bad.

CA_Steve wrote:
If you do opt for 7790 level, consider the GTX 650 Ti. Same pricing, performance, power.

Quick search shows me that 7790 is slightly better and slightly more expensive (Same as you say). But is there some other reason why I would consider the swap? Is Nvidia better with Intel processor or something?

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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4770
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
I guess I'm biased toward Nvidia for this generation for a couple of reasons:
- lower power consumption for media like Blu-Ray and multi-monitor set ups. Nvidia does a better job downclocking both GPU and memorythan AMD does.
- better job with drivers for games..the whole frame latency thing.

The upside to AMD is better performance in GP GPU apps.

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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, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Silent gamer desktop on a budget
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:56 pm
Posts: 229
Location: UK/Eire
i5 seems overkill for a budget gaming machine, just my own thoughts no that.

I'd be temped to get something more cost effective and then pump the cash into a better GPU


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