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 Post subject: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 8:29 am 
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Location: Great Britain
Long time lurker and new member here, it's great to be able to post. I'm building a new work PC to replace mine from 2007, and I'd really appreciate your feedback as I try to optimise and perfect the build.

Goals for the build:

  • Powerful
  • Quiet (accept I will hear HDD, and OK to hear GFX card when gaming. Otherwise... not audible in quiet house please)
  • Compact
  • Low energy use (often leave the computer on 24/7, and UK electricity ~$0.20/kWh and increasing)

I'll be using it as a work machine, programming, running VMs, running simulations. It'll live in a home office so I'll be gaming occasionally 8) Nothing too taxing on the gaming front though!

I really wanted a mITX build for compactness, but in the lifetime of this PC (5 years) I expect to need 32GB RAM which mITX boards don't support?

Current build plan:

Xeon E3-1230V2 (69W TDP, no integrated graphics, similar performance to i7 3770)
I picked the previous generation Xeon as cheaper and lower TDP than the latest one.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
People have said use closed loop water cooling - I see it as being more noisy than air cooling so chose this.

ASRock H77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Chosen after reading a few reviews, I know nothing about motherboards

Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX PSU
Ditto - looked for power efficient one, but needs case finalising first!

Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Cheapest 1600 I can currently find. Will add another 16GB in a few years

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
My 5 year old one is quiet & reliable, however need a 2TB drive. Don't trust Seagate or WD Green. Suggestions?

GTX 750Ti (<60W TDP)
Probably MSI TWIN FROZR as seems quietest, but see below

Full component list here

Questions:

DisplayPort is new since I last built a PC and bought a monitor. I like the idea of 4K monitors but will not have for 3-5 years. Therefore thinking I don't need DisplayPort? If not needed, I can choose any GTX 750Ti too. Currently I run 2 screens, 1 x 2560x1440, 1 x 1920x1200.

CPU cooling: is there a better option? My current computer has issues with the size of the air cooler (it won't stay clipped in the motherboard, the computer now has to lie down) so I'm trying to find a compromise between cooling power and size/weight.

Finding a compact μATX case is a nightmare - many are as big as my current ATX case! The case needs to support an optical drive (slimline is fine), USB 3.0&audio, preferably look nice, and help everything stay quiet (no mesh?). I've put together a spreadsheet of case sizes during my research. Styling is personal, but what have you used that has adequate cooling, quietness and compactness?

Thanks in advance, and I really appreciate the wisdom, sharing and sane conversation in this community.


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 11:38 am 
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR.

Go for the v3 Xeon. It might cost you a few more pounds, but you get a small performance bump, newer featured motherboards and better power management features. While the TDP might be higher, it'll use less energy per task than the v2 and idle at or lower power than the v2. If you can wait a few months until motherboard revisions settle down, you could go with the '97 series motherboards.

If energy efficiency is important, then look for a gold rated PSU rather than the Bronze you've selected. The be quiet! E9 series might be the most economical choice in the UK.

CPU cooler: The 212 Evo is a decent cooler. Not awesome, but decent. You could step up to the Scythe Mugen 4.

_________________
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: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 12:31 pm 
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Posts: 82
Location: Scandinavia
UK_Peter wrote:
ASRock H77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Chosen after reading a few reviews, I know nothing about motherboards

Asrock 70-series motherboards have only mediocre BIOS fan control. Basically, they just recklessly "attempt" to stabilize fan speed to achieve a specified CPU temperature in a quite random fashion which is not ideal for quiet builds. For best BIOS fan control, you would better go with Asrock motherboards for Haswell CPUs (e.g., Z87, H87) which are equipped with multiple-breakpoints fan control based on CPU temperature. Note also that Asus has recently revamped their BIOS fan control in their Z97 and H97 motherboards.

UK_Peter wrote:
Finding a compact μATX case is a nightmare - many are as big as my current ATX case! The case needs to support an optical drive (slimline is fine), USB 3.0&audio, preferably look nice, and help everything stay quiet (no mesh?). I've put together a spreadsheet of case sizes during my research. Styling is personal, but what have you used that has adequate cooling, quietness and compactness?

Since you intend to adopt a new HDD inside the chassis, I would opine that it is almost wortheless to pay too much attention on quiet chassis. The differences of noise-shielding effect of the whole spectrum of chassis are only marginal. You would better invest your money on quiet PSUs rather than indistinguishable chassis in terms of noise shielding effect.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Posts: 2797
Location: ITALY
UK_Peter wrote:
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
People have said use closed loop water cooling - I see it as being more noisy than air cooling so chose this.


The fan is not pleasant and underperforming, the HDT base is not the simplest to seat properly: there are lots of 160mm cooler around, looks at Scythe Kotetsu, BeQuiet Dark Rock Slim and many others.


UK_Peter wrote:
Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX PSU
Ditto - looked for power efficient one, but needs case finalising first!


It's not the best option for a quiet rig: if you want to stick with Corsair, either an RM450 or a CS-500M are better option, but even for PSUs there's plenty of options.


UK_Peter wrote:
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD


If you want to spare some money, look at Crucial M500.


UK_Peter wrote:
My 5 year old one is quiet & reliable, however need a 2TB drive. Don't trust Seagate or WD Green. Suggestions?


Toshiba?


UK_Peter wrote:
I've put together a spreadsheet of case sizes during my research. Styling is personal, but what have you used that has adequate cooling, quietness and compactness?


Since tonight (CET) Ncase M1 is on preorder: you can buy it up to the 22nd of june.
If you want something larger, give a look the Antec NSK-3480, with the Corsair CS-M or modding its EA-380D is still among the smallest mATX tower around.

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:14 am 
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Posts: 51
Location: Great Britain
CA_Steve wrote:
Go for the v3 Xeon. It might cost you a few more pounds, but you get a small performance bump, newer featured motherboards and better power management features. While the TDP might be higher, it'll use less energy per task than the v2 and idle at or lower power than the v2.

Point taken esp about newer motherboards, though there appears to be minimal performance difference for the extra TDP [Edit: with more research on TDP, I think I see why this isn't a drawback - while more heat theoretically to shift, if it's faster it won't run for as long anyhow]? Haswell vs Ivy Bridge appears a minor evolution in all the benchmarks I've seen.

Quote:
If you can wait a few months until motherboard revisions settle down, you could go with the '97 series motherboards.

Is there anything interesting coming that's worth waiting for? I've not heard of the '97 series before, and the most I understand motherboards is in terms of output connectors and slots I can plug things into :wink:

Thanks for your other suggestions, I'm updating the build to incorporate them.


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:26 am 
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Posts: 51
Location: Great Britain
ggumdol wrote:
Asrock 70-series motherboards have only mediocre BIOS fan control. [...] better go with Asrock motherboards for Haswell CPUs (e.g., Z87, H87) which are equipped with multiple-breakpoints fan control based on CPU temperature. Note also that Asus has recently revamped their BIOS fan control in their Z97 and H97 motherboards.

Thank you, Haswell it is. I'm looking into *97 as hadn't heard of it before, only *87.

ggumdol wrote:
Since you intend to adopt a new HDD inside the chassis, I would opine that it is almost wortheless to pay too much attention on quiet chassis. The differences of noise-shielding effect of the whole spectrum of chassis are only marginal.

So mesh sides won't make much difference? I aim to lose the HDD; once reasonably priced 1TB+ SDD's are available (say 24 months)


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:30 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
The fan is not pleasant and underperforming, the HDT base is not the simplest to seat properly: there are lots of 160mm cooler around, looks at Scythe Kotetsu, BeQuiet Dark Rock Slim and many others.

Thank you! Not being the easiest to seat is important (been there, done that, prefer not to again). I will look at the others.

Quote:
It's not the best option for a quiet rig: if you want to stick with Corsair, either an RM450 or a CS-500M are better option, but even for PSUs there's plenty of options.

I have no loyalty to Corsair, will take any that's good.

Quote:
Since tonight (CET) Ncase M1 is on preorder: you can buy it up to the 22nd of june.

It's a cracking case but will only take mITX boards which can't hold 32GB RAM if I understand correctly?

Quote:
If you want something larger, give a look the Antec NSK-3480, with the Corsair CS-M or modding its EA-380D is still among the smallest mATX tower around.

Thanks, I will! Thanks for your help, much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:55 am 
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'97 mobos: the mobo mfgrs are doing a good job at pushing more functionality into the UEFI so you don't HAVE to use their s/w to set up fan control, etc. Plus, there's SATA Express support of some type or other depending on the mobo $. The new Asus boards look interesting, with improved UEFI fan control, both voltage and PWM control chassis fans. You also get Broadwell support with the '97, if you wanted to drop in a CPU replacement later on. That said, the chipset and mobos were just released in May, I'd wait until Aug to buy the board. Let the inevitable bug fixes settle out.

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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: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:49 pm 
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Location: ITALY
UK_Peter wrote:
I have no loyalty to Corsair, will take any that's good.


With a Xeon/GTX750Ti you'd need just about 150W of quietness, something obtainable from several PSUs, even relatively cheap (like the ATX Seasonic G-360, the SFX Silverstone ST30SF, or the TFX Seasonic SS-350TGM).


UK_Peter wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
]Since tonight (CET) Ncase M1 is on preorder: you can buy it up to the 22nd of june.

It's a cracking case but will only take mITX boards which can't hold 32GB RAM if I understand correctly?


The only 4 DIMM slots tiny board I've ever heard of is an almost unobtainable DTX Shuttle LGA 2011 board. Well, there are AMD boards which can address up to 64Gb (and Avoton boards too), but they still sport 2 DIMM slots: so, since 16Gb non-ECC module are not available (at least, as far as I know), they're not an option too.

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Might see as much as 150W gaming, so the G360 could start ramping up...depending on case thermals. Then again, might not hear it over the other components.

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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: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:27 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Then again, might not hear it over the other components.

I get the impression you don't think this is a particularly quiet build :) Are there any ways I can make it quieter?

I know a HDD is a no-no, but as it's storage and everything should run off the SSD I hope to get away with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:53 pm 
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Regarding the 150W figure above, for what it's worth PC Part Picker estimates the build to draw max 243W (http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/peter/saved/RyXnTW) which they break down as:
Code:
Intel Xeon E3-1230 V3 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor   10W - 80W
ASRock H87M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard   15W - 60W
Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory      18W - 18W
Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive         4W - 20W
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive      1W - 5W
MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card   15W - 60W
Total:                              66W - 243W


Does that make a difference?


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 4:23 am 
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UK_Peter wrote:
I get the impression you don't think this is a particularly quiet build :) Are there any ways I can make it quieter?


Is there a revised parts list?


UK_Peter wrote:
I know a HDD is a no-no, but as it's storage and everything should run off the SSD I hope to get away with it.


You can't get completely rid of the airborne noise.


UK_Peter wrote:
Regarding the 150W figure above, for what it's worth PC Part Picker estimates the build to draw max 243W (http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/peter/saved/RyXnTW) which they break down as:
Code:
Intel Xeon E3-1230 V3 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor   10W - 80W
ASRock H87M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard   15W - 60W
Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory      18W - 18W
Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive         4W - 20W
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive      1W - 5W
MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card   15W - 60W
Total:                              66W - 243W


Does that make a difference?


No, as those figures are inaccurate and pointless overestimated, and by a substantial amount.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 4:41 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Is there a revised parts list?

Absolutely: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/peter/saved/RyXnTW

The case will change, and if I can wait until July/August I'll get a '97 motherboard.

Do mesh case sides make a noticeable difference to computer noise? I aim to lose the HDD once reasonably priced 1TB+ SDD's are available (say 24 months)

quest_for_silence wrote:
No, as those figures are inaccurate and pointless overestimated, and by a substantial amount.

That's really useful to know, thanks :D


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 5:24 am 
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UK_Peter wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
Is there a revised parts list?

Absolutely: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/peter/saved/RyXnTW

The case will change, and if I can wait until July/August I'll get a '97 motherboard.


You can slightly improve the heath build-up with a low voltage RAM (1.35V vs 1.65V of the proposed Kingston) and above all evaluating whether you have a really profitable use for hyperthreading: having swithched from a Core i5 to a Core i7 a while ago, I can say that in most cases HT is pointless, while a Core i5 may run averagely cooler and substantially cheaper. Those savings may be also invested in other parts (just for example, I've just bought a 480Gb Seagate SSD on amazon.co.uk for 165Gbp, while a Crucial is 154Gbp).
But working with VMs only you may really know how HT can fulfill your specific needs.


UK_Peter wrote:
Do mesh case sides make a noticeable difference to computer noise? I aim to lose the HDD once reasonably priced 1TB+ SDD's are available (say 24 months)


I don't know whether you don't trust WD Greens: at any rate, it's currently the most rational choice for a substantial storage space while pursuing silence. Another option for a storage facility could be an external USB3/FW/Thunderbolt disk.

About the mesh enclosures, broadly speaking it depends of your overall balance and usage pattern (including enclosure placement): whether it's true that from a somehow closer/more dampened enclosure less noise can escape, inside it the heat build up at a (unpredictable) faster rate, so you may have more noise emitted by the active parts. How that happens, however, vary on a case by case basis: if you look at SPCR review of the Fractal Design Arc Mini (it doesn't have mesh sides, to be exact, but mesh top and front panels) review, you'll find it's slightly quieter than the more absorbing Define Mini (same structure) but it's not cooler.

So, your mileage may vary, first and foremost depending of which enclosure you're looking at.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 7:48 am 
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PSU ramp: Like most quiet builds, it'll be the video card noise that dominates. Even with this really quiet card. So, while the G360 fan might ramp during games, chances are the MSI card's fan will still be dominant. It's a guess.

System power: Here's a decent rule of thumb for non-OC'd systems. Add the CPU TDP, GPU TDP and 50W for everything else (mobo, RAM, everything that plugs into the mobo, a coule of drives). If you have LOTS of HDDs, then add 10-20W more per drive (depending on whether it's a 5k or 7k or 10k rpm drive) just to cover start up current. This will give a basic max stress power load. For your system it's 80W + 60W + 50W = 190W. Drop it ~20% for a heavy gaming load. That get's you around 150W.

Mesh cases: If you don't have a lot of high noise emitters (like HDDs), then mesh is fine. You get into an air flow vs noise suppression discussion pretty quick.

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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: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:16 pm 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
You can slightly improve the heath build-up with a low voltage RAM (1.35V vs 1.65V of the proposed Kingston) and above all evaluating whether you have a really profitable use for hyperthreading: having swithched from a Core i5 to a Core i7 a while ago, I can say that in most cases HT is pointless, while a Core i5 may run averagely cooler and substantially cheaper. Those savings may be also invested in other parts (just for example, I've just bought a 480Gb Seagate SSD on amazon.co.uk for 165Gbp, while a Crucial is 154Gbp).
But working with VMs only you may really know how HT can fulfill your specific needs.

The plan is to replace 2 computers (desktop and dev server) with this new one, so at least 1VM running all of the time (in theory; in practice a separate server may make more sense), testing new server configurations and sometimes simulating a cluster of servers using VMs to test before putting into production. The i5 and i7 are both support Intel's virtualization extensions, so it comes down to HT. It's been tempting too to get an IGP to pass-through directly to one VM, but I've been putting that off as extra cost. For photo editing Lightroom appears to make use of HT; I haven't got into video editing yet and only do simple 3D rendering.

I don't think I get average coolness and TDP - they must be linked but no figure actually gives the average idle temperature? This was my original thinking behind going one generation back and getting an Ivy Bridge Xeon - i7 performance for £25 more than the cost of a current i5.

tl;dr: I don't know if any of this justifies an i7 over an i5.

Quote:
I don't know whether you don't trust WD Greens: at any rate, it's currently the most rational choice for a substantial storage space while pursuing silence. Another option for a storage facility could be an external USB3/FW/Thunderbolt disk.


You know, I thought about this and realised I have no real basis for my biases on HDDs. I've had WD Caviars for years before and they've been v reliable but are noticeably slower at getting data on and off cf my Samsung Spinpoint. But not as slow as the WD Greens I tried. I put WD Green drives in 2 computers and both failed within 2 years. I have a Seagate Barracuda that's run 24/7 for 6 years no issue, but boy it's noisy! Others I've heard about at SPCR are the SV3, or WD Red.

Quote:
About the mesh enclosures, broadly speaking it depends of your overall balance and usage pattern (including enclosure placement): whether it's true that from a somehow closer/more dampened enclosure less noise can escape, inside it the heat build up at a (unpredictable) faster rate, so you may have more noise emitted by the active parts. How that happens, however, vary on a case by case basis ... So, your mileage may vary, first and foremost depending of which enclosure you're looking at.


Thanks, it seems another of 6 of one and half a dozen of another! Am I right in thinking a more enclosed enclosure will keep out more dust - or do the fans suck it in regardless?


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:20 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
PSU ramp: Like most quiet builds, it'll be the video card noise that dominates. Even with this really quiet card. So, while the G360 fan might ramp during games, chances are the MSI card's fan will still be dominant. It's a guess.

I'm all for educated guesses! You mentioned the be quiet! E9 earlier, would you say the (cheaper) G360, or the EarthWatts 380 that comes with the NSK 3480 are good alternatives? I am leaving passively cooling the video card as a future exercise, when I don't mind potentially wrecking it (or when the noise gets on my nerves!) :wink:

Thanks for the system power rule-of-thumb; makes a lot of sense and I now understand where I've been going wrong...

Quote:
You get into an air flow vs noise suppression discussion pretty quick.

Bring it on! I guess it's been done to death many times in this forum; any pointers to threads where I can review the arguments?


Last edited by UK_Peter on Thu May 29, 2014 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 4:33 am 
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UK_Peter wrote:
The plan is to replace 2 computers (desktop and dev server) with this new one, so at least 1VM running all of the time (in theory; in practice a separate server may make more sense), testing new server configurations and sometimes simulating a cluster of servers using VMs to test before putting into production. The i5 and i7 are both support Intel's virtualization extensions, so it comes down to HT. It's been tempting too to get an IGP to pass-through directly to one VM, but I've been putting that off as extra cost. For photo editing Lightroom appears to make use of HT; I haven't got into video editing yet and only do simple 3D rendering.


In my experience Lightroom won't benefit from HT, probably not even by mistake: anyway, I don't render 3D models. You may look also at this user report: http://www.lightroomqueen.com/downloads ... rmance.pdf
What surely LR likes are gigahertzs.
About virtualization, where on average you run 1-2 VMs, IMHO there's no need for HT.
On the other hand, HT requires more voltage, so more heat, and less GHz if you overclock: at the very same load temperature I can run i5 @ 4.7GHz, while I can't past 4.2GHz with i7.


UK_Peter wrote:
I don't think I get average coolness and TDP - they must be linked but no figure actually gives the average idle temperature? This was my original thinking behind going one generation back and getting an Ivy Bridge Xeon - i7 performance for £25 more than the cost of a current i5.

tl;dr: I don't know if any of this justifies an i7 over an i5.


Idle temperature isn't an issue since Sandy Bridge: what really differentiates i5 and i7 is, more probably that not, the load one.
My point is that on average an i7 has no performance advantage on a i5, even better, IMVHO on average the performance gain of a 1230 over a regular i5-4570 is rather close to negligible, despite the 50 Gbp difference.


UK_Peter wrote:
You know, I thought about this and realised I have no real basis for my biases on HDDs. I've had WD Caviars for years before and they've been v reliable but are noticeably slower at getting data on and off cf my Samsung Spinpoint. But not as slow as the WD Greens I tried. I put WD Green drives in 2 computers and both failed within 2 years. I have a Seagate Barracuda that's run 24/7 for 6 years no issue, but boy it's noisy! Others I've heard about at SPCR are the SV3, or WD Red.


Give a read to that user experience: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2294463


UK_Peter wrote:
Thanks, it seems another of 6 of one and half a dozen of another! Am I right in thinking a more enclosed enclosure will keep out more dust - or do the fans suck it in regardless?


What really keeps out dust are effective filters and positive pressure setup, which are maybe a tad more easy to implement with less open enclosures. On the other hand dust filters may likely increase internal temps and perhaps intake fans noise.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 5:56 am 
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Of the three, the E9 is the best for fan noise, the G360 is best for price and still gold efficiency, the Earthwatts is on hand. :) Dusting off my memory, the Antec Earthwatts is a Seasonic 80+ design. Bronze, so ~10% more waste heat than the other two. Quiet, not silent.

mesh vs not: not enough caffeine and will for me to say much on this other than if you start with very quiet/silent components then mesh can provide better airflow and hence same temps but at lower fan rpm than enclosed cases. If you have some components (like HDDs) that can annoy you, then an enclosed case can provide additional muting. An enclosed case with positive pressure can lead to less dust accumulation.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 9:38 am 
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UK_Peter wrote:
would you say the (cheaper) G360, or the EarthWatts 380 that comes with the NSK 3480 are good alternatives?


The G-360 might be a viable option whether the overall power draw is under about 130W (that number somehow takes into account both the fan controller behaviour and the possible case temperature), the EA380D do have to be modded to be quiet.

Another cheap alternative might be the SilverStone ST-30SF (300W, 80Plus Bronze, SFX, semifanless up to ~120W@55°C, IIRC).

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 2:44 pm 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Another cheap alternative might be the SilverStone ST-30SF (300W, 80Plus Bronze, SFX, semifanless up to ~120W@55°C, IIRC).


I have been massively impressed by SilverStone ST30SF. It is incredibly quite only with an inaudible trace of slight electrical noise provided that you are sitting at least 50cm apart from the ST30SF. I would say it is an economical and reasonable choice for many silience-seekers because its semi-fanless design implies the stock fan won't disturb you unless you start playing demanding games. Having said that, I would personally opt for Corsair RM450/550 (RM650 seems to be an über kill) rather than ST30SF if your budget allows because ST30SF will surely generate unbearable fan noise under serious gaming load due to its considerably smaller fan (i.e., dimensional constraint of SFX PSU). I haven't been able to turn the fan on.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 7:21 am 
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Thanks all, I'm away for a couple of weeks now but will pick up on my return :)


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:14 pm 
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Thanks for all your input so far. I had a think while on holiday about what I really needed and the comments in this thread. I've kept with mATX for now so I have the option of 32GB RAM; apart from that this is my revised parts list:

PCPartPicker part list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/peter/saved/VfTPxr

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock H87M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: *Crucial MX100 512GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card
Power Supply: be quiet! 400W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply
CPU Cooler: Scythe Kotetsu
Other: External DVD/CD drive (USB 2.0)

I'm looking at other i5 processors, however the 4670 is only £3 less so didn't seem worth opting for. Would the 4570/4590 provide noticeably different performance?

I've made it SSD-only for silence (the Crucial MX100 is a good price and hoping it falls in the next month) and later will either add a 2.5" 5400RPM drive for storage, another SSD, or use a NAS (moving house soon and will depend where I can hide it!)

The graphics card is probably going to change, I think I need at least 2xDVI-D connections, possibly DisplayPort as I've been eyeing up the Dell monitors. Whichever card is going to be noiser than I want; I am excited by the thought of a semi-passive 750Ti if it lives up to its promise.

Depending on price I may switch the RAM for this 1.35V RAM, which PCPartPicker isn't picking up any details for.

The three features I still need to fix:

Motherboard. What are good sites to find accurate and reliable motherboard reviews? I'd like to get a H97 board, but can't sort the fanboi/press release reviews from the 'this is solid and stable' ones

Case. I realised I use my DVD drive less than once a month, so an external USB drive is ok and would allow the case size to be smaller. Unfortunately, not many mATX cases seem to have been designed with this in mind. The Rosewill Legacy U3 looks interesting (also known as the Cooltek U3, made by Jonbo) and is small, but I don't think it has good cooling or dust protection - or is available in the UK. Any suggestions for a small, cool, quiet mATX case with no external drive slots??

Power supply. You've all provided a great selection of supplies in the comments above, so much so that I'm baffled how to choose between them!


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:56 pm 
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UK_Peter wrote:
Would the 4570/4590 provide noticeably different performance?

More probably that not, absolutely no.


UK_Peter wrote:
and later will either add a 2.5" 5400RPM drive for storage

A more traditional 3.5" would work equally well (and be probably faster).


UK_Peter wrote:
I am excited by the thought of a semi-passive 750Ti if it lives up to its promise.

Mounting an S1 on the cheapest 750Ti would be a quieter and readily available option.


UK_Peter wrote:
What are good sites to find accurate and reliable motherboard reviews? I'd like to get a H97 board, but can't sort the fanboi/press release reviews from the 'this is solid and stable' ones

There are several ones: I like to read about mobo on HardOCP, TechReport and Anandtech.
Among the H97 boards, I'm very curious about the new MSI H97M ECO, so I hope it will be reviewed soon.


UK_Peter wrote:
Any suggestions for a small, cool, quiet mATX case with no external drive slots??

No, sorry.

Obviously you can use the already mentioned NSK3480 without the optical drive, it's about the smallest mATX tower around but it's not that small (and it wouldn't be that cheap).
Among the not-so-small-but-maybe-interesting you might look at: Bitfenix Prodigy-M, Cooler Master N200, Lian-Li V359, NoFan CS-60 (InWin Dragon Slayer), Silverstone SG09/10, but there are several more ones, even among SPCR reviewed ones (Silverstones, mostly: FT03, PS07, TJ08-E).

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:16 am 
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As for small, cool, quiet chassis without external drive slots, have you checked out Fractal Design Node 304? It's mini-ITX, which I don't see why you wouldn't want for this build... :)

Edit: The Corsair Carbide Air 240 that I mentioned in the other thread, also supports mATX.


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:31 am 
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gaidal wrote:
As for small, cool, quiet chassis without external drive slots, have you checked out Fractal Design Node 304? It's mini-ITX, which I don't see why you wouldn't want for this build... :)

That's a great question, and therein lies my biggest tension in this build :?

I already max out 4GB RAM in my PC and end up swapping (and max out 8GB in my MBP under lighter usage); I can't comprehend whether 16GB will be more than enough for everything I do in the next 3-5 years, or if I should keep the option open for 32GB. I am a heavy multitasker; yesterday in a 30 minute window I had open/in use:

Chrome w 25 tabs, Firefox & Firebug on 5 tabs, a nodejs server in a VM, another VM with data processing, a Java-based 'memory-hog' IDE, 2 other Java programs (SoapUI and CharlesProxy), Word, Photoshop, numerous terminal windows, a couple more text editors, Evernote plus background tasks.

I say I had open/in use: that's a lie. I would have done if this current PC could've handled it without swapping away. I waste a lot of time at work shutting down items I don't need in the next 5 minutes, only to have to restart them.

This multitasking is why I originally considered an i7/E3: there's lots going on and hyperthreading may help. With research, I'm not sure it will.

Believe me, I'd like ITX if I'm sure I won't need more than 16GB RAM :P


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:01 am 
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Fair enough, what's a decent amount of RAM has increased from 16 MB to 16 GB since I got my first computer. I can easily see 32 GB becoming a "must" within 2 years.

We're buying very similar systems, here's how I reason about this: In a year from now, Broadwell will be out and we'll see Skylake benchmarks, and they'll use DDR4. We'll be perfectly fine with our Haswell Refresh systems, but add a second year and those upgrades will begin to look nice. At this point we can just swap out the motherboard, CPU and RAM (graphics card only if necessary, though 750 Ti might look like a big power hog compared to 16 nm), and keep the rest. It can cost half of what we spend now and be a decent upgrade. Survive on 16 GB as long as possible, then use the saved money for an upgrade.

I read somewhere on this forum that the best way to future-proof your computer is to save money - brilliant. I will also want 32 GB soon, but DDR4 is just around the corner and I think the sweet spot of price/performance is at 16 GB. Only having 2 modules uses less power and might be more stable, too.

It's just what I'm thinking at the moment, I'm easily influenced. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:20 pm 
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UK_Peter wrote:
Any suggestions for a small, cool, quiet mATX case with no external drive slots??

Now I'm aware of one possible candidate: I don't know whether according to you it can be called "small" or not, anyway, you might give a look to the Fractal Design Node 804.

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 Post subject: Re: Power/Quiet PC Build Advice
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:46 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Now I'm aware of one possible candidate: I don't know whether according to you it can be called "small" or not, anyway, you might give a look to the Fractal Design Node 804.

Thanks Luka, it is a very good looking case but sadly it's not that small, being (WxHxD): 344 x 307 x 389 mm. If it was 220mm wide and possibly 1-2cm less deep then it would be a nice sized case.


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