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 Post subject: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:26 pm
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My old silent PC is now 10 years old, and I need a new one. Here's the original thread: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=45902. 5 years ago I considered an upgrade in this thread, but eventually opted for only a new SSD. This is by far the best PC I've ever had. It's quiet, reliable, and was quite powerful in its early days, though obviously hasn't been able to run anything truly demanding for quite some time now.

The main reason I need a new PC is actually that my 8 year old son (he's younger than the PC) keeps claiming it for Minecraft and Roblox. I'd like to be able to play something together, but also have a PC that can run the games I've been putting off for years now, like Witcher 3, Stellaris, and similar games. (I stopped updating Europa Universalis IV because my PC clearly couldn't deal with a certain update, and wasn't there a new Fallout recently?)

I have no idea where to start, so I'm starting with the Best Buy Guide from tweakers.net, a Dutch site that, among other things, regularly posts these kind of guides. Their advice for a €1000 game system is:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed Wraith Spire koeler
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK8GX4M2B3000C15
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G
SSD: Crucial MX300 2,5" 525GB
Case: BitFenix Neos Zwart/Zwart
PSU: be quiet! Pure Power 10 400W

What do you think? Which parts need improvement, are overpowered, or just plain bad?

The PSU sounds quiet, but apparently has only Silver rating, rather than the Gold I'm used to from Seasonic.
The CPU comes with its own cooler. My instinct is to replace it with whatever the SPCR crowd thinks is the best cooler right now, but apparently this cooler is fairly quiet. Is it quiet enough, though?
Is AMD Ryzen the best choice for quiet cooling? Considering Intel's Meltdown problem, I expect AMD Ryzen is better than Intel right now, although my impression is that Intel is usually cooler (no idea if that's actually true)
I'm strongly leaning towards a GTX 1060, but is the Gigabyte Windforce OC the best option? Is passive cooling still an option? Is it a good one? There's a good chance that a GTX 1050 is actually plenty for me. I have no idea really.

And what do I have to pay attention to for a motherboard these days? They're always a mystery to me.

The case will almost certainly need to be replaced. I think the guide was more concerned with price and flexibility than sound.

From a previous discussion, I got the impression that the best choice is to have two front case fans and one in the back, to create positive air pressure that keeps dust away. Is that still true?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:45 am 
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Posts: 28
Location: France
Hello,

I see we both change rig every ten years and I just changed mine so I am glad to answer you :)

I followed the R5 build guide which is offered here in the guides section:
Quiet ATX Gamer, R5 Version

Then I choosed the most silent 1060 card from the reviews. All reviews for the 1060 cards are listed here in the forum:
GTX 1060 Compilation Thread

I have posted my results here:
Riok's Quiet ATX Gaming build 2017, inspired by SPCR

In short: With a good 1060 and a low TDP processor, you can easily have a PC that's silent at idle and very quiet while gaming.

Here is some advice on the parts you have selected:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed Wraith Spire koeler
This is a bit overkill for gaming at the moment and certainly not necessary to drive a 1060.

You could really save some bucks with a lower processor. An i3 6100 will give you a very similar gaming experience because gaming depends so much from the GPU. To give an idea, here are some benchmark results with Firestrike:
GTX 1060 + i3 6100 = 12800
GTX 1060 + Ryzen 5 1600 = 13000

On the other hand, 6 cores mean you are futureproof. You will be able to upgrade your GPU in the future and still get the most of it with that CPU. It will be a very powerfull PC. When your son wants to move from Minecraft to video editing or whatever, it will not be a problem. The thing is if you save money here with an i3 for example, it will bottleneck a future GPU. So better have a bit overkill processor and be able to upgrade the GPU later.

Wraith Spire koeler
I cannot say anything for this one. I went with the Kotetsu and it's great.

Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
The only question about motherboards is if they have proper fan control and can stop the fans. I cannot say for this particular one.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK8GX4M2B3000C15
I am not Ryzen expert but I know it's picky when it comes to RAM. If that one is recommended, I would stick to it.

GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G
I would avoid that card since I havn't seen a proper noise review about it. 1060 is amazing but be sure to get a model properly reviewed for noise.

SSD: Crucial MX300 2,5" 525GB
Here I have to strongly disagree. For a typical user that will do some gaming, this is not the best deal. For the same price, I would suggest you get a 64Gb SSD for windows and a 3Tb WD Red or Blue drive for your Applications and Data. Even get a used or refurbished 64Gb SSD to keep the cost low. The user experience will be almost identical. Games loading will be really ok. You will have some storage space for movies and stuff and you can have most of your steam library and some of thoose modern 50Gb games on your HD without having to worry about disk space for the years to come.
SSD is best but it cost a lot. So keep it for where it is really used. Having SSD storage to store movies or game files doesn't make sense. The only advantage would be if you need real silence and have the case 50cms away from you. If it's a meter away under a desk, you won't hear your HDD.

Case: BitFenix Neos Zwart/Zwart
Here my experience is limited. What I can tell is my RIG and the R5 feels overkill to host a small TDP processor and a 1060. So I would try this case. If you don't want to take any risk, go for the R5.

PSU: be quiet! Pure Power 10 400W
If you want to be certain to have quiet operation, here I think you should put a little bit more money. If the Bitfenix whisper 450 or 550 is available in your country, that's one of the best bang for the buck for silence seekers.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11123/the-bitfenix-whisper-m-450w-850w-psu-review

Here are two sites I can recommend so you can see what they advise around 1000€ for gaming:
PC HardWare.fr Gaming
PC "Guybrush" by Gamekult

So my experience is limited but I would say you could go for the wrath cooler, the cheap case and get an HDD inside. That's 3 reasons for 'noise' but tech have improved a lot and unless you're very picky, I imagine you could get a quiet rig. Even w/o experience with Ryzen I am pretty sure that if you put that into an R5 with a Kotetsu you will be impressed how quiet this gets.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:09 am 
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Welcome back. Here's a recent threadwith similar concerns. It'll save me some typing :)

What's your budget? Is it 1000 euros?

Some specifics on your list:
- I don't like the case. The drive cages look like they aren't removable, will restrict airflow. It only comes with 1 fan, CPU cooler height limitation is 150mm, ...that's my short look. If you need an optical drive, then the Fractal R5 is a great case. If you don't, there's the Define C.
- games don't all fall in the same basket. Some are CPU intensive, some are GPU intensive, some are hard on both. Witcher 3, in particular, likes 2+2 or 4 CPU cores above 2.5GHz and is a pig when it comes to the GPU. For 1080p gaming, the GTX 1060 6GB is a good choice.
- CPU: ok. If budget constrained, you could go lower. Both Intel and AMD are affected by Spectre. AMD uses more power than Intel for similar performance...but both are easily cooled.
- CPU cooler: AMD wraith cooler is ok if you have a tight budget. If you have an extra $45, there's the Mugen 5 Rev B.
- RAM: after choosing the motherboard - check it's qualified vendor list for RAM.
- GPU: haven't seen a review...anywhere. MSI Gaming, Asus Strix are alternatives. Stick with 6GB version.
- SSD: small capacity SSDs have a big downside - they don't have enough flash chips to use all of the controller's channels...so, read/write performance takes a hit. The smallest you'll want to go is 256GB these days. I found my music collection and a handful of games kicked me over 256GB...and had to get a second. I use a HDD solely for backups. The MX300 is fine. I prefer Samsung's 850 EVO. In a few months, Crucial's MX500 will be feasible. Early reviews look good.
- PSU: upgrade to the be quiet! Straight Power 10. Gold, better architecture and fan profile.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:51 am 
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Posts: 68
CA_Steve wrote:
What's your budget? Is it 1000 euros?

My budget is flexible. I'd like it to be less than €1000. I think my old PC was less than that. It's not a big problem if it's more expensive, as long as there's a good reason for it.

I notice GPUs are a lot more expensive than 10 years ago, so keeping it under €1000 might not be easy.

I'm mixing up your responses a bit to keep things grouped.
Riok wrote:
I followed the R5 build guide which is offered here in the guides section:
Quiet ATX Gamer, R5 Version

CA_Steve wrote:
- I don't like the case. The drive cages look like they aren't removable, will restrict airflow. It only comes with 1 fan, CPU cooler height limitation is 150mm, ...that's my short look. If you need an optical drive, then the Fractal R5 is a great case. If you don't, there's the Define C.

I guess the R5 is the case to get? Interestingly, the higher end game PC best buy guide on Tweakers recommends the Fractal Design Define Nano S. No idea how it compares (it's a lot cheaper), but after my Antec Solo, I'm a strong believer in a quality case. I'll aim for the R5 for now.

Although Riok later said:
Riok wrote:
Case: BitFenix Neos Zwart/Zwart
Here my experience is limited. What I can tell is my RIG and the R5 feels overkill to host a small TDP processor and a 1060. So I would try this case. If you don't want to take any risk, go for the R5.

This guide wasn't specifically aimed towards a quiet PC, so I expect that case to be easy to improve upon. Why is the R5 overkill?

There's also an R6, by the way. Is that any good? It's more expensive, so unless it has significant improvements, I'll probably go with the R5.

Riok wrote:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed Wraith Spire koeler
This is a bit overkill for gaming at the moment and certainly not necessary to drive a 1060.

CA_Steve wrote:
- games don't all fall in the same basket. Some are CPU intensive, some are GPU intensive, some are hard on both. Witcher 3, in particular, likes 2+2 or 4 CPU cores above 2.5GHz and is a pig when it comes to the GPU. For 1080p gaming, the GTX 1060 6GB is a good choice.

I don't mind having a bit of extra room here. I've got the feeling that some of my favourite games, like Crusader Kings 2, can be quite CPU intensive. (CK2 runs fine on the old PC, but freezes for a couple of seconds every half game-year, presumably to do some administration. EU4 runs like crap after a specific update.)

CA_Steve wrote:
- CPU: ok. If budget constrained, you could go lower. Both Intel and AMD are affected by Spectre. AMD uses more power than Intel for similar performance...but both are easily cooled.

From what I understand, Spectre is not the issue. Google seems to have a fix that doesn't impact performance much. But Meltdown hits only Intel (and one specific ARM processor), and the fix is going to make switches to kernel mode a lot more expensive. I have no idea how often that happens during a regular game, but I believe a lot of I/O goes through the kernel, doesn't it?

Riok wrote:
You could really save some bucks with a lower processor. An i3 6100 will give you a very similar gaming experience because gaming depends so much from the GPU.

The CPU isn't what's costing the big bucks, though. And I think I care more about heat than price. Do Intels run cooler for the same performance?

Riok wrote:
On the other hand, 6 cores mean you are futureproof. You will be able to upgrade your GPU in the future and still get the most of it with that CPU. It will be a very powerfull PC. When your son wants to move from Minecraft to video editing or whatever, it will not be a problem. The thing is if you save money here with an i3 for example, it will bottleneck a future GPU. So better have a bit overkill processor and be able to upgrade the GPU later.

Futureproof is absolutely important to me. I want this to last another 10 years. The CPU is fairly cheap compared to the GPU, so I don't mind paying a bit more. Running cool is more important to me than saving $20.

Riok wrote:
Then I choosed the most silent 1060 card from the reviews. All reviews for the 1060 cards are listed here in the forum:
GTX 1060 Compilation Thread

I'm not sure how to read that list, though. Passive up to 60 C sounds great, but how quickly do they reach that? Is there a specific one that's recommended?

Are GPUs with custom coolers not done anymore? I was quite impressed with my Accelero. On the other hand, passive until you can't afford it anymore sounds like the best of both worlds.
Riok wrote:
I have posted my results here:
Riok's Quiet ATX Gaming build 2017, inspired by SPCR

In short: With a good 1060 and a low TDP processor, you can easily have a PC that's silent at idle and very quiet while gaming.

That's very useful. Thanks! But I notice you went with a 3GB 1060.
CA_Steve wrote:
- GPU: haven't seen a review...anywhere. MSI Gaming, Asus Strix are alternatives. Stick with 6GB version.

Does that mean Riok's pick is no good?

I did just stumble into a comparison that claimed MSI cards to be among the quietest of that particular roundup, so MSI looks promising.

Riok wrote:
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G
I would avoid that card since I havn't seen a proper noise review about it. 1060 is amazing but be sure to get a model properly reviewed for noise.

Point taken. I'll look at MSI instead.

Still, looking at some prices, those 1060s are hideously expensive. I paid about €130 for my HD3850 (without cooler) back in the day. A 1060 costs almost 3 times as much!

Maybe I should look into 1050s instead.

CA_Steve wrote:
- CPU cooler: AMD wraith cooler is ok if you have a tight budget. If you have an extra $45, there's the Mugen 5 Rev B.

My budget is not tight. If the difference is noticeable, I'll happily pay $45 extra.

CA_Steve wrote:
- RAM: after choosing the motherboard - check it's qualified vendor list for RAM.

Riok wrote:
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK8GX4M2B3000C15
I am not Ryzen expert but I know it's picky when it comes to RAM. If that one is recommended, I would stick to it.

I've seen people say that before.

So memory needs to match both the CPU (if Ryzen, at least) and the motherboard. Tricky, considering how little I know about motherboards. And of course this hinges on whether I go with AMD or Intel. I was leaning strongly towards AMD, but now I'm in doubt again.

Riok wrote:
SSD: Crucial MX300 2,5" 525GB
Here I have to strongly disagree. For a typical user that will do some gaming, this is not the best deal. For the same price, I would suggest you get a 64Gb SSD for windows and a 3Tb WD Red or Blue drive for your Applications and Data. Even get a used or refurbished 64Gb SSD to keep the cost low. The user experience will be almost identical. Games loading will be really ok. You will have some storage space for movies and stuff and you can have most of your steam library and some of thoose modern 50Gb games on your HD without having to worry about disk space for the years to come.
SSD is best but it cost a lot. So keep it for where it is really used. Having SSD storage to store movies or game files doesn't make sense. The only advantage would be if you need real silence and have the case 50cms away from you. If it's a meter away under a desk, you won't hear your HDD.

CA_Steve wrote:
- SSD: small capacity SSDs have a big downside - they don't have enough flash chips to use all of the controller's channels...so, read/write performance takes a hit. The smallest you'll want to go is 256GB these days. I found my music collection and a handful of games kicked me over 256GB...and had to get a second. I use a HDD solely for backups. The MX300 is fine. I prefer Samsung's 850 EVO. In a few months, Crucial's MX500 will be feasible. Early reviews look good.

A couple of years ago, I was also thinking about mixing SSD and a big HD, but nowadays I'm leaning towards just keeping it simple and get just a big SSD. I put a TB SSD in my old Macbook, and I'll probably end up doing the same for my PC. I put a 500 GB SSD in my old PC 5 years ago, and that hasn't run out yet. I expect a TB to last me a while.

I do want a big HD for other content, but I'm thinking about putting that in a NAS, so every machine in my home can access our photos, videos, movies and whatever else we want to keep there.

CA_Steve wrote:
- PSU: upgrade to the be quiet! Straight Power 10. Gold, better architecture and fan profile.

Riok wrote:
PSU: be quiet! Pure Power 10 400W
If you want to be certain to have quiet operation, here I think you should put a little bit more money. If the Bitfenix whisper 450 or 550 is available in your country, that's one of the best bang for the buck for silence seekers.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11123/the-bitfenix-whisper-m-450w-850w-psu-review

According to Tweakers, there are 4 Dutch shops that have it. Not very common.

Nobody mentions Seasonic. Did they lose they top position?

Riok wrote:
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
The only question about motherboards is if they have proper fan control and can stop the fans. I cannot say for this particular one.

Is there an easy way to tell? Is there a brand that does this better than others?

Thanks for the advice and the links! I've got plenty to work on. I'll update my list of stuff soon. So far, it looks like it's going to be something like:

R5 case
Ryzen with the Mugen cooler (or maybe Intel?)
MSI 1060
Big SSD
No clue about the motherboard


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:59 am 
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R6 thread.

Techspot benchmarks Meltdown and Spectre for the typical desktop PC. If you were building a data server with tons of IOPS, I'd be concerned. For gaming and other typical desktop use, not so much.

Intel leads AMD in terms of performance/watt. The lead is narrower when you compare the 65W class CPUs. In terms of cooling, AMD still uses solder between the CPU chip and heatspreader while Intel moved to a TIM. Net effect is the temps may end up being similar between the two.

Gfx card fans and 60C: net effect is fans only turn on when gaming.

Gfx cards are hideously expensive due to crypto currency miners - demand is driving up supply. If you are budget limited, consider the GTX 1050 Ti 4GB. See the other build thread for specific suggestions.

PSU: Seasonic still builds a decent /quiet PSU - problem is it seems to have more coil whine issues than others.

motherboard:
- is analog audio out something that's important to you? Or, do you run digital out to another device?
- fan control: All of the big 4 have decent bios level fan control now. There are some differences between them. When you narrow it down, it's best to download the manuals and just take a look at the fan control features....as they may vary product to product within a mfgr (eg: the cheapest may not have all of the features of the higher priced ones).

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:36 pm 
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Hey, keep us updated with your budget and price list so you can get something cool under 1000€.

R5
You cannot be disapointed with that case. It felt overkill because I run an i3 and a 1060. While gaming my PSU fan doesn't start and with fans at the lowest speed my temps go around 30°c ! While stress testing both the CPU and GPU I have temps around 60°c with fan speeds you can barely hear. So I felt like a less efficient case would have done the trick with my system, thta's it. It's a bit large, check the size to see if it fits.

Ryzen
Ryzen's price/performance is killing intel right now. Ryzen's offers 6 cores and 12 threads. Its peformance comes very close to a xeon 1650v3 that costs 3 times the price and use more power. This is futureproof.

MSI GTX 1060 GAMING X
That's a dam good one, I can confirm. This cannot heat up nor make noise ! It just cannot.
The difference with CA_Steve's view is 3Gb or 6Gb. 6Gb is what the card is supposed to have but due to RAM shortage and high price they came with that budget option. 3Gb is if you're on a budget and just want the performance and the cooling. All my games play fine at 1080p and most don't use the 3Gb. 6Gb is said to be more wise and more futureproof.
See the conclusion of Techpowerup review about that
GPU are increasing so fast ! Sure for 1080p gaming you could go with a 1050ti. Just play High instead of Ultra to keep good framerates. Here is a bench with a recent game: Assassin's Creed: Origins GTX 1050 Ti vs. GTX 1060 vs. GTX 1070 vs. GTX 1080

Memory/MB
I am sure someone will check that for you, don't worry.

SSD
SSD in the PC and some NAS somewhere sounds great.

Seasonic
There is so much concurrence now and they all make very good PSU. Seasonic is still the best but it comes with an extra price and not so much difference in the product. When you need 500w silent and cheap they are not the best option. I tried the G-650 but was disapointed. I now have a Corsair RM550x that's semi-passive, has excellent built quality and electric quality and comes with a 10 years warranty ! be quiet! Straight Power 10 is often recommended and cheaper in Europe. The Bitfenix is a less known outsider. EVGA wasn't in my short list.
Semi-passive means the PSU is more Hot. My PSU case is around 38°c and in such a big case as the R5 I don't think it's an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:39 pm 
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Regarding the motherboard: I had a look for the MSI B350M Mortar that's advised by hardware.fr It's a bit cheaper than the PC Mate and seems to have all features. It has 3 extra fan headers, which is perfect.
The fan control window of the BIOS looks very similar to the msi x99a gaming pro board I received which is high end so I think you cannot get a better BIOS.
The manual says it has PWM or DC fan control and a smart fan mode. I don't think you can stop the fans with that one but you can run them very slow. I have experience only with the Asus bios so someone should confirm that.

As for compatible memory, the list is hidden here:
B350M Mortar Memory support Ryzen-Series

The memory kit you have mentionned is not in the list. Do tweakers.net have really tested that configuration ?

Here are some compatible kits for 8Gb of memory:
HyperX HX424C12SB2K2/8 2400Mhz 100€
Crucial BLT4G4D26AFTA 8FADG 2667Mhz 100€
G.Skill F4-3000C15D-8GTZB 2933Mhz 132€


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:25 pm 
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Quote:
Ryzen's price/performance is killing intel right now. Ryzen's offers 6 cores and 12 threads. Its peformance comes very close to a xeon 1650v3 that costs 3 times the price and use more power.

The better comparison is the Coffee Lake i5 8400 vs the R5 1600 as shown in my link in an earlier post. 6C/6T vs 6C/12T.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:54 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Quote:
Ryzen's price/performance is killing intel right now. Ryzen's offers 6 cores and 12 threads. Its peformance comes very close to a xeon 1650v3 that costs 3 times the price and use more power.

The better comparison is the Coffee Lake i5 8400 vs the R5 1600 as shown in my link in an earlier post. 6C/6T vs 6C/12T.

Yes, you're right. I was looking a lot at xeons lately so I made a bit of a far fetched comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:46 am 
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I've got the 1060 Windforce in a fairly restrictive case, and I'd consider it to be fairly quiet.
I also use the Spire cooler on my lightly overclocked (3.8 GHz) R5 1600, and it's not noisy.

As for the power/performance ratio I think one needs to look at it on a case-to-case basis.
Generally AMD CPUs draw more power on idle while Intel draw more at full load (while also typically doing more work).
From my consumer perspective the relevant question is how much total energy is drawn during a four hour gaming session or some hours watching Youtube or similar.

The Core i5-8400 also seems like a good CPU. Problem is that performance is somewhat tied to the motherboard, and cost thereof.
With good (and expensive) Z370 boards the performance is really good. Power consumption is allowed to go beyond 65W and RAM can be overclocked.
With the coming cheaper chipsets performance will drop because power is limited to the 65W TDP and RAM can't be overclocked. Since these CPUs are also lower binned it's a matter of silicon lottery how much above the base clock that 65W limit will allow for.
Interesting discussion about that HERE.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:02 am 
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I would be concerned with the case, if the only exhaust is the rear case fan.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:06 pm 
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Grouping your quotes by topic again:

Overview:
Riok wrote:
Hey, keep us updated with your budget and price list so you can get something cool under 1000€.

The other site I'm consulting has a really nice component list feature with the best prices they can find. Here's the latest version:

1 AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed Wraith Spire koeler € 184,50
1 MSI B350 PC Mate € 83,01
1 MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G € 349,90
1 Fractal Design Define R5 Blackout Edition € 113,90
1 Scythe Mugen 5 Rev. B € 43,60
1 Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK8GX4M2B3000C15 € 107,95
1 be quiet! Straight Power 10 400W € 70,89
1 Crucial MX300 2,5" 1TB € 273,36

A few suggestions I got there:

They think the case is too big and overkill, and I should go with a smaller one. Maybe the Define C, Define Mini C (micro-ATX), or Nano S (mini-ITX, though that's apparently not a good idea with a big video card) from Fractal Design.

There's apparently an even quieter version of the Scythe Mugen 5: The Mugen 5 PCGH. Has two fans instead of one, but they spin really slowly.

Someone there also suggested the BitFenix Whisper BWG450M, the Seasonic Focus Plus 550 Gold, Seasonic Focus Gold 450W, Corsair RM550x, or still the be quiet! Pure Power 10 CM 400W for some reason.

CPU
CA_Steve wrote:
Techspot benchmarks Meltdown and Spectre for the typical desktop PC. If you were building a data server with tons of IOPS, I'd be concerned. For gaming and other typical desktop use, not so much.

Practically no impact on pure calculation, but quite serious impact on big write I/O. Some games do need to read and write lots of data, though. I'm often annoyed by how slow games start up or how long they take to save. Of course those benchmarks exaggerate the issue.

CA_Steve wrote:
Intel leads AMD in terms of performance/watt. The lead is narrower when you compare the 65W class CPUs. In terms of cooling, AMD still uses solder between the CPU chip and heatspreader while Intel moved to a TIM. Net effect is the temps may end up being similar between the two.

I'm not sure what the difference between solder and a TIM is, but it sounds like Intel produces less heat, while AMD is better at moving the heat to the heat sink. Is that it?

I find myself increasingly leaning towards Intel now, although I also have some dislike for them for that secret Minix backdoor that was in the news a couple of months ago.

Maybe I'm overestimating the impact of these Intel issues, but if both architectures are roughly equal, I think I'd prefer AMD. If Intel gives me more power while being easier to cool, and is maybe more reliable or easier to use somehow, then I suppose Intel would be the better option. But those are things I care more about than a few extra bucks.

Olle P wrote:
As for the power/performance ratio I think one needs to look at it on a case-to-case basis.
Generally AMD CPUs draw more power on idle while Intel draw more at full load (while also typically doing more work).
From my consumer perspective the relevant question is how much total energy is drawn during a four hour gaming session or some hours watching Youtube or similar.

This machine will be idling or playing undemanding games a lot, so low power draw on idle is absolutely important. I hate wasting power to do nothing. (One of the reasons I liked my Radeon 3850 so much.)

So that suggests I should go with Intel after all.

Googling about, I came across this claim:
Quote:
if you want more clock, you usually need more voltage, and both conspire to increase power draw. It also goes the other way. Lower clock, lower voltages, lower power. Ryzen isn't clocking high, and the lower ones in each range (like 1600, 1700) are lower clock, lower voltage. Intel quads tend to clock higher at more voltage, like the AMD X CPUs. For thread friendly apps, more cores at lower clock will provide better performance per watt than fewer cores at high clock. Also note the Intel TDP appears higher as they do a LOT more work in AVX2 than Ryzen, which is where they're more likely to hit higher draws. If you exclude that, they are a lot closer in reality.

That suggests Ryzen is actually very power friendly.

Motherboard
Olle P wrote:
The Core i5-8400 also seems like a good CPU. Problem is that performance is somewhat tied to the motherboard, and cost thereof.
With good (and expensive) Z370 boards the performance is really good. Power consumption is allowed to go beyond 65W and RAM can be overclocked.
With the coming cheaper chipsets performance will drop because power is limited to the 65W TDP and RAM can't be overclocked. Since these CPUs are also lower binned it's a matter of silicon lottery how much above the base clock that 65W limit will allow for.
Interesting discussion about that HERE.

That video really sounds like Intel is gaming reviews and benchmarks. I do want to keep power draw low of course, and having more available when needed sounds like a good idea, but this does mean that Intel's performance and TDP are meaningless unless you specify how you're running it.

CA_Steve wrote:

- is analog audio out something that's important to you? Or, do you run digital out to another device?

You mean a headphone jack? Is that not standard anymore? I've got some really nice Bose speakers on my old PC that use the headphone port. I'm not sure if I'm moving those to the new PC or get something new for it, but it's nice to keep the headphone option.

CA_Steve wrote:
- fan control: All of the big 4 have decent bios level fan control now. There are some differences between them. When you narrow it down, it's best to download the manuals and just take a look at the fan control features....as they may vary product to product within a mfgr (eg: the cheapest may not have all of the features of the higher priced ones).

So it's not the brand that matters, but the model. No lazy shortcuts for me there, I guess.

Riok wrote:
Regarding the motherboard: I had a look for the MSI B350M Mortar that's advised by hardware.fr It's a bit cheaper than the PC Mate and seems to have all features. It has 3 extra fan headers, which is perfect.
The fan control window of the BIOS looks very similar to the msi x99a gaming pro board I received which is high end so I think you cannot get a better BIOS.
The manual says it has PWM or DC fan control and a smart fan mode. I don't think you can stop the fans with that one but you can run them very slow. I have experience only with the Asus bios so someone should confirm that.

I'm going to dedicate a separate update to motherboards later. I haven't had the time to look into them myself, but I will check out this one.

Memory:
Riok wrote:
As for compatible memory, the list is hidden here:
B350M Mortar Memory support Ryzen-Series

The memory kit you have mentioned is not in the list. Do tweakers.net have really tested that configuration ?

They're usually really thorough with their Best Buy Guides, and include community feedback. It'd be odd if they included something that doesn't work, but I'll check.

In any case, I think memory is not going to be the hardest choice once I've made the other decisions. But it's good to be careful.

GPU
CA_Steve wrote:
Gfx card fans and 60C: net effect is fans only turn on when gaming.

That also depends on the kind of gaming, I assume? Not all my games are heavy 3D monsters. In fact, everything I currently play still runs of that old 3850.

Riok wrote:
MSI GTX 1060 GAMING X
That's a dam good one, I can confirm. This cannot heat up nor make noise ! It just cannot.
The difference with CA_Steve's view is 3Gb or 6Gb. 6Gb is what the card is supposed to have but due to RAM shortage and high price they came with that budget option. 3Gb is if you're on a budget and just want the performance and the cooling.

My budget isn't that tight, and I do care about being future proof. A nice price point is great, but if a bit extra power than I currently need helps this machine to survive for 10 years, then that may be the way to go.

Riok wrote:
GPU are increasing so fast ! Sure for 1080p gaming you could go with a 1050ti. Just play High instead of Ultra to keep good framerates. Here is a bench with a recent game: Assassin's Creed: Origins GTX 1050 Ti vs. GTX 1060 vs. GTX 1070 vs. GTX 1080

Honestly, for The Witcher 2 I already couldn't see a difference between low and high graphics settings. Low settings are fine for me. So I could save money with the 1050 Ti and maybe get a new card when this one reaches its limits.

Case:
Riok wrote:
R5
You cannot be disapointed with that case. It felt overkill because I run an i3 and a 1060. While gaming my PSU fan doesn't start and with fans at the lowest speed my temps go around 30°c ! While stress testing both the CPU and GPU I have temps around 60°c with fan speeds you can barely hear. So I felt like a less efficient case would have done the trick with my system, thta's it. It's a bit large, check the size to see if it fits.

Would the Fractal Design Define Nano S work? Or is that too small for quiet cooling? The Define Mini C?

PSU:
Riok wrote:
Seasonic
There is so much concurrence now and they all make very good PSU. Seasonic is still the best but it comes with an extra price and not so much difference in the product. When you need 500w silent and cheap they are not the best option. I tried the G-650 but was disapointed. I now have a Corsair RM550x that's semi-passive, has excellent built quality and electric quality and comes with a 10 years warranty ! be quiet! Straight Power 10 is often recommended and cheaper in Europe. The Bitfenix is a less known outsider. EVGA wasn't in my short list.
Semi-passive means the PSU is more Hot. My PSU case is around 38°c and in such a big case as the R5 I don't think it's an issue.

Doesn't more hot also mean it's less efficient? I'll also take a look at the Corsair RM550x.

That makes my shortlist for the PSU: Corsair RM550x, be quiet! Straight Power 10, and the BitFenix Whisper BWG450M. And maybe the Seasonic Focus Plus 550 Gold, Seasonic Focus Gold 450W. I'm not sure why someone still suggested the be quiet! Pure Power when the Straight Power is clearly better.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:12 pm 
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comparing 65W CPUs:
Quote:
I'm not sure what the difference between solder and a TIM is, but it sounds like Intel produces less heat, while AMD is better at moving the heat to the heat sink. Is that it?

Yep

analog vs digital out: If you only use the digital out on the motherboard for sound (as in - you use USB or SPDIF to connect to powered speakers or HDMI to a receiver or TV, etc..) then it doesn't matter how well the mobo's analog audio path is designed. If you plan to use the line out or headphone jack, then it may matter how well it's designed..at least as much as you care for audio quality. If the latter, then consider ALC 887 codec solution is inferior to ALC 892 which is inferior to a well designed ALC 1220 solution. <shrug>

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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:03 am 
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mcv wrote:
Grouping your quotes by topic again:
They think the case is too big and overkill, and I should go with a smaller one. Maybe the Define C, Define Mini C (micro-ATX), or Nano S (mini-ITX, though that's apparently not a good idea with a big video card) from Fractal Design.

mcv wrote:
Would the Fractal Design Define Nano S work? Or is that too small for quiet cooling? The Define Mini C?

I agree it's overkill. I got the R5 for the damping material but I can see when my case is open there's no so much noise to reduce. It's full of empty space I am not using and my two front fans are a bit far away from what they have to cool. So I guess your system would have almost similar result in a mini C. Searching the SPCR forum I can see it's often recommended. As for the Nano S I don't know.

mcv wrote:
There's apparently an even quieter version of the Scythe Mugen 5: The Mugen 5 PCGH. Has two fans instead of one, but they spin really slowly.

The spire has good feedback. I suggest you give it a try for your normal usage and try to do some light stress test that simulates how it will behave in 2-3 years when you throw at it larger games.
Then you know if you really need a better one and can add an extra step in your building process. Hardware has really progressed a lot so you might be perfectly happy with the stock cooler.

The Kotetsu would be the next option. The Kotetsu mark II which is AM4 compatible is available on tweakers.net. The Kotetsu mark I was used in the R5 gaming build guide for an 84w processor, the i5-4670k (Btw the build guide recommend an i5-4670k but the page 3 says the tests were made with an i7-4770k. Both are 84W so I don't know if it's a typo.)

As for the Mugen 5 is seems targeted at higher TDP processors and would be a bit overkill. I don't know if Steve advise it for great silence or if it's really necessary with the Ryzen.

mcv wrote:
Someone there also suggested the BitFenix Whisper BWG450M, the Seasonic Focus Plus 550 Gold, Seasonic Focus Gold 450W, Corsair RM550x, or still the be quiet! Pure Power 10 CM 400W for some reason.

Pure power does very fine... compared to my Antec PSU which is 10 years old :p If you like silent/quiet operation here is where you have to put a little bit more money.

mcv wrote:
Doesn't more hot also mean it's less efficient?

I don't know. I wanted to try semi-passive :) Today I would go for the Straight power, to keep it cool.

mcv wrote:
Honestly, for The Witcher 2 I already couldn't see a difference between low and high graphics settings. Low settings are fine for me. So I could save money with the 1050 Ti and maybe get a new card when this one reaches its limits.

Sure. Then the 1050ti Steve recommends in the other post looks great.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:36 pm 
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It's been a few weeks, but I finally got a close look at motherboards, and refined the whole thing to this:

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed Wraith Spire cooler
Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 TI GAMING X 4G
Fractal Design Define C
Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK8GX4M2B3000C15
BitFenix Whisper BWG450M
Crucial MX500 2,5" 1TB

I dropped the Scythe Mugen because the standard cooler is apparently pretty quiet. I suppose I can always add it later if I'm not happy. Although the Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH edition does appeal to me.

I downgraded the GPU to a 1050 TI, because 1060s are just hideously expensive. I'd love a more powerful card, but the 1050 TI should be plenty, considering what I'm currently gaming on.

The hardest decision for me was the motherboard. I understand that I need to have 3 case fan headers to control the 3 case fans I need (2 front 1 rear), and it seems all of the suggested motherboards (the MSI B350 PC Mate, MSI B350M MORTAR and the ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac) have less. Only 4 boards seem to fit that requirement:

Gigabyte GA-AB350-GAMING 3 (but I've seen people complain about technical problems)
MSI B350 Tomahawk Arctic
Asus Prime X370-Pro (is more expensive)
Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming (has better audio, everything else I can think of except wifi, bluetooth and USB-C. Not the cheapest, though. Does seem to have excessive programmable leds which are pointless in a closed case.)

What do you think? Is this good enough? Should I get a different motherboard? The Mugen? the 1060? Something else?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:16 am 
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mcv wrote:
Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming (has better audio, everything else I can think of except wifi, bluetooth and USB-C. Not the cheapest, though. Does seem to have excessive programmable leds which are pointless in a closed case.)
At current UK prices this seems to be extremely good value for money. It does give you the Asus CPU_OPT PWM fan header. This mirrors the CPU header settings. Probably the best way to use it is to buy a 120mm PWM fan, fit it in the rear exhaust position and plug it into the CPU_OPT header. This will then extract hot air in sync with what the CPU cooler is doing. The displaced rear exhaust fan could be fitted into the front to give two front fans. The Asus BIOS settings or Asus fan control software should allow you to minimise the speed of all the fans under idle conditions while ramping up speeds as required under gaming stress.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:06 am 
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Turns out I was wrong about the motherboard: the PC Mate and Mortar do support 3 case fans. Their only limitation is that they have only 1 CPU fan connection, but the Scythe Mugen PCGH edition has a splitter, so even that's not a problem.

And the Mortar in particular looks quite attractive; it does have USB-C, and it's micro-ATX, so I can use the FD Define mini C instead of the regular C. And it actually looks more complete than the Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming. No idea how they managed that in a smaller and cheaper package. The only downside is a lesser audio chip. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's probably good enough anyway.

lodestar wrote:
mcv wrote:
Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming (has better audio, everything else I can think of except wifi, bluetooth and USB-C. Not the cheapest, though. Does seem to have excessive programmable leds which are pointless in a closed case.)

At current UK prices this seems to be extremely good value for money. It does give you the Asus CPU_OPT PWM fan header. This mirrors the CPU header settings. Probably the best way to use it is to buy a 120mm PWM fan, fit it in the rear exhaust position and plug it into the CPU_OPT header. This will then extract hot air in sync with what the CPU cooler is doing. The displaced rear exhaust fan could be fitted into the front to give two front fans. The Asus BIOS settings or Asus fan control software should allow you to minimise the speed of all the fans under idle conditions while ramping up speeds as required under gaming stress.

This sounds really good. Is that something the MSI Mortar doesn't do?

And is the standard rear fan not already a PWM fan? It seems to me all fans had better be PWM fans, right? Or is it the 120mm instead of a different size that matters? I guess I don't quite understand the why of what you're saying, though it sounds like something I probably want.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:21 am 
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mcv wrote:
This sounds really good. Is that something the MSI Mortar doesn't do?
It doesn't but it is not a major issue if you prefer the Mortar in any case.
mcv wrote:
And is the standard rear fan not already a PWM fan? It seems to me all fans had better be PWM fans, right? Or is it the 120mm instead of a different size that matters? I guess I don't quite understand the why of what you're saying, though it sounds like something I probably want.
All Fractal Design case fans are 3 pin voltage fans. Modern motherboard BIOS controls or fan control software should enable you to reduce the speeds at idle to an absolute minimum. Typically the chassis fan headers on most current boards, including the Mortar, can be set to accept either a 3 pin voltage fan or a 4 pin PWM fan. So you could try the Fractal 3 pin voltage fans first, and only replace them with PWM fans if the speeds/noise at idle are not acceptable.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:59 am 
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lodestar wrote:
It doesn't but it is not a major issue if you prefer the Mortar in any case.

I'm not sure what I prefer, because I know too little about the differences. I want this PC to be as quiet and durable as possible. If the ROG Strix is better able to slow fans down at idle, that's absolutely a plus for me. And there's the better audio in favor of the ROG Strix.

On the other hand, the Mortar lets me use a slightly smaller case, which is also nice. It also has USB-C, which is not much of an issue yet, but if that becomes the new big standard, it's nice to have it in the interest of being future proof.

Quote:
All Fractal Design case fans are 3 pin voltage fans. Modern motherboard BIOS controls or fan control software should enable you to reduce the speeds at idle to an absolute minimum. Typically the chassis fan headers on most current boards, including the Mortar, can be set to accept either a 3 pin voltage fan or a 4 pin PWM fan. So you could try the Fractal 3 pin voltage fans first, and only replace them with PWM fans if the speeds/noise at idle are not acceptable.

So the 4 pins fans really are better able to slow down? This sounds like I may want to replace the stock case fans and replace them with something better.

So which are the best and quietest fans these days? I get the impression that be quiet! Silent Wings 3 are pretty good, but maybe there are better ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent, affordable yet powerful game PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:03 am 
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I agree with your point about USB-C if only because I have a phone that uses USB-C which I do on occasion charge from the PC using a USB-C to USB-C cable.

As far as PWM fans are concerned, to get the lowest idle speeds you should look for PWM fans with speed ranges starting around 300 rpm. Assuming you will be using 120mm fans this would include the be quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM, and the Noctua NF-P12 PWM, NF-S12A PWM and NF-F12 fans.


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