A few years ago I've built myself a quiet PC which has been used as a fileserver. The fileserver (in its current state) consists of the following components:
- Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2160.
- Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R (no PCI-E videocard installed, just using the onboard Intel Graphics).
- Thermalright ULTRA-120 Extreme (no fan attached to it, so the CPU is passively cooled).
- Antec P182.
- Corsair HX520.
- 3x NEXUS D12SL-12 120mm casefan (one in the top left corner of the top compartment straight behind the CPU cooler, one in the bottom right corner of the top compartment behind the HDD cage and one in the middle of the bottom compartment in-between the Power Supply and the HDD cage). All casefans are connected using a molex connector, so I guess they run at full speed (12V).
- 1x 80 GB Western Digital (WD800AAJS, OS Disk).
- 1x 500 GB Western Digital (WD5000AAKS, Data Disk 1).
- 1x 1,5 TB Western Digial Green (WD15EADS, Data Disk 2).
- 1x 2 TB Hitachi Desktstar 7K2000 (HDS722020ALA330, Data Disk 3).
- 1x 3 TB Western Digital Red (WD30EFRX, Data Disk 4).
To be honest I have never been satisfied with the acoustic performance of my fileserver. The cheap HP desktop PCs at work are much quieter than my fileserver. My fileserver sits next to me (it's underneath the desk to the left of me) and its backpanel is about parallel to my ear (about 1m distance between my ear and the backpanel of the case).
My desktop PC is a Mac Mini (Mid 2011) which according to Apple has a SPL of 16 dBA while being idle and when sitting in front of the Mac Mini. The Mac Mini is placed on the desk in front of me (a bit to the right side of my right arm) with its backpanel facing away from me (I guess there's also about 1m distance between my ear and the backpanel of my Mac Mini).
When my fileserver is off and my Mac Mini is on, I'm totally relaxed. I can still hear the Mac Mini when it's idle (or close to being idle), but it's really silent and the noise it generates isn't distracting/disturbing.
As soon as I turn my fileserver on, the amount of noise in the room is doubled or tripled which is REALLY
annoying. Because of that I have considered getting a Synology NAS, but I think I would miss the flexibility of a normal PC which is being used as a fileserver, plus a Synology NAS is much more expensive. Also, when the hardware in your fileserver dies, you can easily replace it yourself.
So that's why I'm considering upgrading my fileserver. So far I have this in mind:1) Fractal Design Define R4 Pearl Black:--> I'm assuming this case has a similar cooling performance as my Antec P182, but a better acoustic performance can be achieved because of the fact that 140mm casefans can be used? I've always hated the bottom compartment of my Antec P182 because of the location of the casefan holder in the middle of the bottom compartment (it makes removing the HDD cage and cable routing a pain in the ass). It also comes with two 140mm casefans and a built-in fan controller for 3 fans which seems very nice. Are the included fans silent (enough)? I'm considering buying a third 140mm fan because all HDD cages will be filled eventually.2) Seasonic X-650 or Seasonic Platinum Fanless Series (400W/460W):--> As for the Power Supply I'm not sure whether to pick the Seasonic X-650 or the Seasonic Platinum Fanless Series (400W or 460W). I've read that the X-650 has a fan which doesn't turn on below 200W and I guess my fileserver will hardly ever reach that kind of load (unless it's unpacking compressed files). On the other hand I've heard that the Platinum Fanless Series produce (a lot of) electronic whining noise?
What do you guys think? Would the 2 new components listed above get the acoustic performance of my fileserver close to that of my Mac Mini? I'm also considering replacing the 80 GB OS Disk with an Intel/Crucial/Samsung SSD drive which can be attached to the backside of the motherboard plate in the Define R4 case.
Any thoughts, remarks or suggestions are really appreciated.
Thanks in advance!