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 Post subject: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:29 am
Posts: 6
Hi all,

I am looking at building a couple new machines over the next month or so. The first will be a development box, the second a storage/VM server. This is about the first one.

It's been a long time since my last build and I could use some input.

My priorities are quiet, powerful and small.

Most of the parts are listed on http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3eXJR. Here's why I'm looking at some of these parts:

Dell U2711 Monitor - 2560x1440 (have)
WD Scorpio Black 750GB (x2) - have
i7-4770S - low TDP
SilverStone ML05 - small size
ASRock Z87E - fan controls, displayport, 802.11ac, bluetooth
Zalman CNPS8900 Quite CPU Cooler - fits in the case
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB DDR3-1600 - low profile, good CAS 8/8/8/24 rating
Nexus SP802512L-03 80mm Fan (x2) - PWM'able to low RPM's
PicoPSU-120, 102W Power Kit - Lower noise than SFX PSU's
Windows 8.1 64-bit/Linux

The ASRock having an mSATA slot interests me, but isn't critical. I may add a small (m)SATA SSD.

Once both machines are built, I'd like to rip a couple hundred DVD's that we have. But I haven't included a BluRay/DVD player or burner in the parts because I think for my use an external would be cheaper and everyone seems to suggest not using the ML05's multi-purpose mount as it blocks the main case vent.

I would like to avoid components that are known to have problems with Linux as I will dual boot and may play with triple-booting into a Hackintosh configuration. But that would be just for playing around. My primary usages would be for Windows and Linux development.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:22 am 
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Welcome to SPCR. It's worth reading the review on the case. 3.5" drives block the airflow causing high CPU temps while under heavy load.

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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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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:29 am
Posts: 6
CA_Steve wrote:
It's worth reading the review on the case. 3.5" drives block the airflow causing high CPU temps while under heavy load.

It was that review which led me to consider the case and rule out an internal optical drive. I was planning on using my 2 2-1/2" drives instead of new 3-1/2" ones. Or would this also be problematic?

As a bit more background, I'd also considered the Node 304, but that seemed more appropriate for the server I'm planning.

I forgot to mention that stability is high on my list. Mike's workstation guide gave me quite a bit of hope of coming up with something stable. I've had a bad habit of killing anything less than workstation grade Dell and Lenovo development laptops at work. I'll gladly trade size or a bit of performance for long-term stability.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:01 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Scandinavia
Hi,

Though I haven't used Scorpio Black ever, I highly suspect two of them will be the noisiest parts in your new rig. Most of the time, graphics cards are the noisiest components, which are absent in your list, and the second noisiest ones are usually PSUs and HDDs. In other words, as long as you use two Scorpio Black HDDs there, you might not need to pay too much attention to other relatively quiet components, except PSUs.

One rule of thumb regarding quiet PCs is "do not use fans smaller than 120mm". The suggested case has two 80mm fans which will expectedly nullify your effort for silent computing. If you have high priority in small chassis, you might consider other small chassis equipped (or equippable) with 120mm or larger fans. I would personally consider the following two options:

(1) Lian Li PC-TU100
(2) Lian Li PC-Q27 (140mm on the bottom)

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Main: TJ08-E|NF-S12A; Asrock B85M Pro4; i5-4430|NH-U12S; 16G@1600; MSI GTX660OC|Alpenföhn Peter|2x NF-S12A; Intel 330 180G|335 240G; Corsair RM650; Dell U2713HM; BlasterAXX SBX10; Blu-ray SH-B123L, Family: PC-TU100A|NF-S12A; Asrock H81M-ITX; i3-4130|Big Shuriken 2B; SilverStone ST30SF, HTPC: PC-Q11A|NF-A14; Asrock B75M-DGS; i3-2100; Zotac GT640 Fanless; Seasonic SS-400FL2


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:29 am
Posts: 6
ggumdol wrote:
Though I haven't used Scorpio Black ever, I highly suspect two of them will be the noisiest parts in your new rig.

Those are really intended to be temporary. I'm trying to save a little money up front and would be willing to replace them later. I just looked and WD lists them as 28/28 dBA idle & seek vs. 23/27 for the 3TB Reds.

ggumdol wrote:
One rule of thumb regarding quiet PCs is "do not use fans smaller than 120mm". The suggested case has two 80mm fans which will expectedly nullify your effort for silent computing. If you have high priority in small chassis, you might consider other small chassis equipped (or equippable) with 120mm or larger fans.

Thanks, that was something didn't know, if going down to 80mm would completely wipe out any attempt at creating a silent system. Size is more a matter of convenience and my wife's dislike of my old full height Antec tower. For me, if performance, stability. and sound level are all the same, then I'll opt for a smaller enclosure over a larger one.

Thanks ggumdol, I'll certainly take a look at the two cases you mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:14 am 
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Location: The Netherlands (NL)
Compiling and building software uses a lot of disk io. An ssd really speeds up the compile process. I wouldn't develop on a machine without ssd.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:29 am
Posts: 6
I've been looking at this some more and reading quite a bit in addition to the suggestions people have made. Thank you all for the help.

DRIVES: ???

Forgetting the 2.5" Scorpio Black drives, I have two questions:

  • I know jack about SSD's beyond some anecdotes from work. Who makes a good stable SSD that plays nicely with Linux and Windows?

    I know even the midsize IBM's now have some serious issues when placed under load.

  • If I need 1-2TB of storage until I get my server built, what's a good option?

    I was looking at the WD Red's but read that the new ones have had their performance buffed and their silence nerfed.

CPU: i7-4770S vs i7-4770K

  • I've read some saying there is no reason to go with an S or a T part. If I am shooting for a silent build would the higher TDP of the K be problematic?

Case: Node 304, GD04, Antec ISK600, Lian Li PC-Q27, or ???

I looked at both the cases that ggumdol suggested. The PC-TU100 isn't my style at all. It just looks ugly, all function no form.

  • Looking back at the ML-05 I'm concerned that wouldn't be quiet enough, and I'd like the option of dropping a GPU in later. I think I was overreaching going for too small.

  • I'm also a little worried that an ATX PSU in either the ISK600 or PC-Q27 would restrict their airflow too much. Would either be sufficient with a PicoPSU?

  • Then there's the GD04, would it be appropriate for this build? And, has anyone used it for a desktop instead of HTPC build?

GPU: ???

I'm running a 27" Dell 2560x1440 monitor as my main display. Is the HD 4600 reasonable for driving it? If so, is it still reasonable if I decide to (also) make it a Hackintosh?

If you were going to try talking me into a silent(ish) GPU what would you suggest in a system this size?

Thanks for the help and suggestions so far!!! I really can't believe it's been so long since I built a system, how much things have changed, and how many options there are.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:01 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Scandinavia
rdy4life wrote:
Who makes a good stable SSD that plays nicely with Linux and Windows?

If you research about SSD, it will become clear that the sweet-spots are those made by Samsung. I have used Intel SSD's due to my disliking to Samsung. I can attest to the stability of Intel SSDs. Having said that, unless you are not curbed by expense issues, it is more reasonable to consider Samsung SSDs, given that average users are not likely to reach the wear level limits in 10 or even 20 years.

rdy4life wrote:
I was looking at the WD Red's but read that the new ones have had their performance buffed and their silence nerfed.

Whether to use 3.5/2.5 inch HDDs oftentimes boils down to your subjective acoustic acuteness, which can't really be guesstimated before you hear noises by yourself. Also, once you silence all the other components, the airborne noise of HDDs becomes more noticeable. Personally, I just can't bear any presence of HDDs in my computer and have put all of them in NAS (Synology). For your information, there are WD Red 3.5 HDDs and they are still loud to me.

rdy4life wrote:
CPU: i7-4770S vs i7-4770K

I must confess that I'm sincerely skeptical about the efficacy of i7 CPUs for silent computing even for a software developer. Does it really make a significant difference whether compilation time is 30 seconds or 40 seconds? I think i7 CPUs are intended for computation intensive tasks, for example, 3D graphics rendering or large-scale simulation. Combination of i7 + K + overclokcking with "small" chassis certainly has the potential of noise problems if you are acoustically sensitive (which is once again a subjective issue). You might want to consider a bit spacious chassis for your i7 CPU.

rdy4life wrote:
I'm also a little worried that an ATX PSU in either the ISK600 or PC-Q27 would restrict their airflow too much. Would either be sufficient with a PicoPSU?

It's a too huge issue to comment on. If you opt for i7 CPU, you should be worried about airflow for sure. A PicoPSU, which I haven't used, will certainly mitigate the airflow problem.

rdy4life wrote:
I'm running a 27" Dell 2560x1440 monitor as my main display. Is the HD 4600 reasonable for driving it?

In case you don't play games, HD4600 is more than enough for driving 1440p monitor.

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Main: TJ08-E|NF-S12A; Asrock B85M Pro4; i5-4430|NH-U12S; 16G@1600; MSI GTX660OC|Alpenföhn Peter|2x NF-S12A; Intel 330 180G|335 240G; Corsair RM650; Dell U2713HM; BlasterAXX SBX10; Blu-ray SH-B123L, Family: PC-TU100A|NF-S12A; Asrock H81M-ITX; i3-4130|Big Shuriken 2B; SilverStone ST30SF, HTPC: PC-Q11A|NF-A14; Asrock B75M-DGS; i3-2100; Zotac GT640 Fanless; Seasonic SS-400FL2


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:29 am
Posts: 6
Thanks ggumdol.

ggumdol wrote:
rdy4life wrote:
CPU: i7-4770S vs i7-4770K

I must confess that I'm sincerely skeptical about the efficacy of i7 CPUs for silent computing even for a software developer. Does it really make a significant difference whether compilation time is 30 seconds or 40 seconds? I think i7 CPUs are intended for computation intensive tasks, for example, 3D graphics rendering or large-scale simulation. Combination of i7 + K + overclokcking with "small" chassis certainly has the potential of noise problems if you are acoustically sensitive (which is once again a subjective issue). You might want to consider a bit spacious chassis for your i7 CPU.

Thanks for this. One of the things that was pushing me toward a small case is that my wife hated my old large chassis. When the fans kicked in, the system was so loud it would send our pets into a panic. If going larger is going to help acoustically, I'm all for it.

What sort of size should I be looking at to cool an i7? I see your main system has a i5-4430 in a SilverStone TJ08-E. Since the i7-4770K is the same TDP, would the Temjin be reasonable for this build? Is there anything about that build you wish you had done differently?

My short-term use case for using an i7 is full OS builds from source. Think OpenEmbedded, DD-WRT, MontaVista, etc. Yeah, if it was just compiling individual programs, I wouldn't think twice about it. But there's a huge difference between a "make -j5" and a "make -j9".

And I agree the 4-cores and 8-threads really comes into play for serious bit-smashing and number crunching. Where I'm headed is probably into some rather large neural nets and image processing. This is also part of why I decided I should allow room for a GPU. I can see it getting to where it's more efficient to handle the computations there than on the CPU. But, I have a bit of learning curve before that happens.

ggumdol wrote:
rdy4life wrote:
I'm running a 27" Dell 2560x1440 monitor as my main display. Is the HD 4600 reasonable for driving it?

In case you don't play games, HD4600 is more than enough for driving 1440p monitor. Just in case, let me just inform you that there is a bizarre problem related to Dell U2713HM in 1440p mode, which necessitates a motherboard with a DisplayPort. Otherwise, there must be a discrete graphics card with a DisplayPort.

I've already run into this with my Mid-2012 MBP from work. Not fun, but I scored the monitor for $360 new in the box off of an estate sale. So I'm happy to work around it's quirks.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Posts: 82
Location: Scandinavia
So far as I remember, you are the first in this forum who justifies the use of i7 so eloquently. I definitely think you should purchase i7 CPU. From the beginning, it might be helpful to concede that (in contrast to our intuition) it is really challenging to settle with a concrete rig configuration because there are so many points to be factored into solving the problem.

rdy4life wrote:
Is there anything about that build you wish you had done differently?

Yes, I would have not bought a discrete GPU because I can't seem to get interested in playing games any more. I also think it is more sensible to go with a Mini-ITX system nowadays because Nividia will be churning out incredibly power-efficient graphics cards based on 20nm process sooner or later and all Haswell CPUs including the top-notch model such as i7-4770K can be made to be reasonably quiet in Mini-ITX chassis.

rdy4life wrote:
One of the things that was pushing me toward a small case is that my wife hated my old large chassis. When the fans kicked in, the system was so loud it would send our pets into a panic. If going larger is going to help acoustically, I'm all for it.

When I saw this, I realized that you have a completely different threshold for noise/silent computing. What I mean by quiet computing is literally "dead silent" one. For instance, the CPU temperature of my main rig with i5-4430 in mATX chassis stays around only 47 Celsius under heavy load where the fan speed is merely 600 rpm. It is a utterly extremely silent configuration for those who are massively "paranoid" for noises, which in turn implies you can still stick with Mini-ITX chassis. On the other hand, you must be aware that the official TDPs of i7 and i5 CPUs are shenanigans. For example, my i5-4430 consumes about 40W (as CoreTemp says) under full load, which is considerably lower than what is reported to be consumed by i7-4770K.

If you take into account all the possible scenarios (e.g., your wife's preference to small chassis, possibility for a discrete GPU, and avoiding your pet's panicking), I reckon that it is virtually impossible to determine your next rig. In any case, I strongly recommend you to opt for Asrock Z87E-ITX (or a bit cheaper H87E-ITX) because Asrock Haswell motherboards provide absolutely fantastic and flexible BIOS fan control functionality with "true" PWM fan headers, as opposed to ASUS.

Though I can't advise you for all possible combinatorial outcomes (I'm just a layman user and not necessarily well versed in all recent hardware trends and my job has nothing to do with computer hardware), if you are fine with or can tolerate (i) some breeze-like whoosh of airflow arising from the CPU cooler fan under full load and (ii) complete silence under idle state, I conjecture that you will be definitely satisfied with Lian Li PC-Q27 along with Scythe Big Shuriken 2 (CPU cooler) which nicely fits into PC-Q27. As for PSU, I would just opt for Corsair RM450, which I've installed and used in my office PC very satisfactorily. I think it is also an idea to experiment with a Pico-PSU but I seem to have seen some posts about electrical noise of Pico-PSUs. I'm massively leaning towards this option of smallest Mini-ITX chassis for standard PSU because you can eliminate even the non-disturbing whoosh airflow of CPU cooler fan simply by underclocking (which I do in my office for i7-2600) if you have to, e.g., during nights. Lastly, you'd better aware that Haswell CPUs are more than manageable in terms of CPU cooler fan noise, particularly considering that your current rig seems to be quite outdated (to the extent of incurring panicking of your pet). As a digression, as you can see from my signature, I have Lian Li PC-Q11A which is in silver color in our living room and my family seems to have a liking to its color and aluminum texture. You might want to try PC-Q27 Silver.

If you crave for a utterly silent rig irrespecitive of CPU load that can accommodate multiple-slot discrete graphics cards, there are many mATX chassis or Mini-ITX chassis bigger than PC-Q27.

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Main: TJ08-E|NF-S12A; Asrock B85M Pro4; i5-4430|NH-U12S; 16G@1600; MSI GTX660OC|Alpenföhn Peter|2x NF-S12A; Intel 330 180G|335 240G; Corsair RM650; Dell U2713HM; BlasterAXX SBX10; Blu-ray SH-B123L, Family: PC-TU100A|NF-S12A; Asrock H81M-ITX; i3-4130|Big Shuriken 2B; SilverStone ST30SF, HTPC: PC-Q11A|NF-A14; Asrock B75M-DGS; i3-2100; Zotac GT640 Fanless; Seasonic SS-400FL2


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:44 pm 
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Haha, thanks ggumdol.

That old machine disappeared 13 years ago. Now even the fan in my wife's 2-year old Asus laptop drives me nuts. And sometimes the Macbook Pro at checking the empty Superdrive annoys.

I'll certainly check for some articles on actual CPU power consumption.

Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Developer Build
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:22 am 
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Posts: 2999
Location: ITALY
rdy4life wrote:
If going larger is going to help acoustically, I'm all for it.


I think it mostly depends of which are the suitable GPUs for your upcoming build.

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