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 Post subject: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Over 5 years ago, I bought a PC, and used Silent PC Review as my main guide in choosing my components (see the old thread here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=45902). It was by far the best PC I've ever had. All of my previous PCs have had issues that made me unhappy, but this one delivered everything I hoped for. Until a few days ago, it would run all the games I threw at it (The Witcher 2 is the heaviest, and it's gorgeous).

And even now, the only real problem is that the Windows XP installation on it refuses to boot, and I'm not sure I feel like repairing it; I'm not sure if I still have the install disk, and a few years ago I spent a lot of time messing with the install (and the partitions; I wasn't really using Linux anymore and needed more space), and it left me very unhappy with the experience. I've grown a lot less willing to mess with installation and administration; I just want something that works.

I'm still not entirely sure if I should just try to fix Windows, upgrade the system a bit, or buy a completely new one. I don't want to throw away a PC that's still basically good, even if it is 5 years old. Though I suppose I could make a charity very happy with it.

Anyway, in order to explore my options for a replacement, I naturally came back here. But the site seems quieter. Almost all the articles I see are years old and don't seem very up to date anymore. I'm glad to see this forum is still active. I guess I'm looking for a good place to get started selecting new components. I really love my old PC so much, that I'm inclined to just select the natural successors to the old components. So that would be the latest Intel stuff, the HD7850, and some Antec case. But maybe that's too naive. All the successors of the HD3850 seem to have a slightly higher idle power use, and one of the brilliant aspects of the 3850 was its low idle power use; let's face it, most of the time they're on, PCs are not drawing high speed 3D stuff. Often you're just browsing or even making some coffee.

My use has changed a bit: It's going to be entirely a gaming PC with some heavy web browsing. I have a tendency to always leave PCs on (hibernate rather than shut down) with enormous browser sessions. No programming (I've got a Macbook for that now), and no Linux anymore. Just some Windows 7 and as little fuss as possible.

My old system was probably roughly this:
Antec Lifestyle Solo
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
4 GB memory
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
Scythe Ninja (originally passive, but I eventually added a fan just in case; the PC is a bit noisier now than it was when new)
ATI Radeon HD3850
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
Samsung Spinpoint T166 HD501LJ
Seasonic S12II-330 (or maybe the 380?)
Pioneer DVR-212

Any good recommendations on where to start looking for a good replacement?

Edit: My main concern is that it's going to be quiet, low power, reliable, require little to no maintenance and tweaking, and it should last me at least another 5 years, preferably more. Price is less of a concern than last time, though it'd be nice if it was less than $1000. I don't play FPS games, so my graphics demands aren't that high, but there's a sequel to The Witcher coming up and the same company is also working on a Cyberpunk game, and I want those to run well. I suspect a very cheap system could fill my needs well, but I don't mind paying extra for reliability, durability, low maintenance, low noise and low power consumption.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:37 pm 
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Welcome back - your 5 year old build looks pretty familiar :)

Do you plan to re-use the case or move on?
What's your monitor resolution? Do you have more than one monitor?
Do you want to max out all the game eye candy / is there a budget (or wattage!) constraint? :)
Do you want to overclock your CPU/have the ability to overclock your CPU?

Witcher 2 likes quad cores and a hefty GPU. I'd expect Witcher 3 to be similar.

The last couple of generations of gfx cards have decent idle power - typically 10W. If you plan to game at 1080p, the GTX 760 is the card to get. Specifically, the MSI Gamer version seems to be the best OEM cooled card.

I'll add more after you've had the chance to repond.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:48 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Do you plan to re-use the case or move on?

If I'm going to build a completely new system, I'll also want a new case. I think the old system is still very salvageable, so it's going to need a case anyway. If I'm going to give it to charity, or maybe to a friend with more time than money, then I'm sure they'll appreciate this nice case. It is going to need a bit of cleaning and dusting, because I'm afraid I neglected that over the years.

Quote:
What's your monitor resolution? Do you have more than one monitor?

Just one, 1600x1200. I'm open to the idea of getting a bigger or otherwise nicer one in the future (maybe one that's easier to clean). I don't need a second monitor on this PC, though it's always nice to have the option available.

Quote:
Do you want to max out all the game eye candy

Some of my favourite games are 2D or very retro. Heavy 3D games like The Witcher 2 look fantastic at the very lowest settings. The heaviest 3D games I have are The Witcher 2, Medieval Total War 2, and Civilization 5. (Of these, Civ 5 was the only one that gave my old system problems, but turning down the settings to the minimum solved that.) I do like pretty stuff, but it seems 5 year old technology is easily good enough to support all the pretty stuff I want.

So that's no on maxing out all the eye candy, I guess.

Quote:
is there a budget (or wattage!) constraint? :)

There are no hard constraints anywhere, but the lower wattage, noise, budget (and space!), the better. I think the most important things I don't mind paying extra for concern comfort: low noise, reliability and low maintenance.

Quote:
Do you want to overclock your CPU/have the ability to overclock your CPU?

No. I've been toying with the idea when I got my old system, but I don't think I ever actually overclocked anything.

Ideally, I'd like to order the parts including assembly, and have the shop that assembles it not be able to mess anything up about the assembly. So the more standard, the better. (I did that with my previous system, and it turned out fine. Actually I think I did send it back once when it was just new. But after that it was fine. Not having to send it back at would be better.)

Quote:
Witcher 2 likes quad cores and a hefty GPU. I'd expect Witcher 3 to be similar.

The Witcher 2 runs fine on my old dual core and 5 year old GPU (except for the occasional blinking bush), but I expect the sequel is going to be pushing it a bit too far.

Quote:
The last couple of generations of gfx cards have decent idle power - typically 10W.

That's good news. I think I once saw a graph that showed idle power consumption of the HD3850's successors to steadily climb every generation, but a bit more than very low is still going to be pretty low, I guess.

Quote:
If you plan to game at 1080p, the GTX 760 is the card to get. Specifically, the MSI Gamer version seems to be the best OEM cooled card.

At 1600x1200, I've got a slightly different shape, but similar resolution. But what if I go for a much higher resolution? Or is 1080p really the standard you should stick to for gaming nowadays? It seems a bit odd that resolution doesn't really go up at all; I'm used to 1600x1200 for 2 decades now. Shouldn't we be getting super high density "retina" displays now?

I'll definitely look into the GTX 760.

Edit: having looked into the GTX 760, it's quite a bit more expensive than my HD3850 was. I paid € 120 for it (normal price was probably around € 150 or thereabouts), whereas the GTX 760 seems to cost around € 240. That's a significant difference. Do I really need something that expensive?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:18 am 
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This one is really wide open build wise you have a huge range of choices.
It doesn't look like you are a heavy duty user so I don't think we're looking at i7 CPU's or anything as dramatic as that, but it's your cash to spend.

Personally I've updated pc's with newer builds rather than upgrading for a few obvious reasons. Usually if the hardware is working ok, you can sell it as a bundle for someone to buy (and that's worked out well enough for me in the past) ie board, CPU, ram and maybe GPU, or sell it off as a complete package and that can help finance a bit of the new build cost.


Core 2 Duo E8400, not a bad CPU for it's day has to be said. Really easy choices on this one as just about everything will be faster. So sit down and pick a CPU and build it from there, I suppose for a pc to last 4-5 years I'd be tempted to go for something quad core or around there. Making a quiet pc isn't going to be hard with any modern CPU. Aside from buying decent quality components like the PSU and I'd maybe look at an i5 or around there, don't ignore AMD either they have some good chips and good price performance too.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:05 am 
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Mr Spocko wrote:
It doesn't look like you are a heavy duty user

Not on this machine anymore. I originally planned to use it for everything, but I now use a Macbook for all my serious programming, VM, etc stuff, as well as my insanely big browser sessions. (I wouldn't mind having 16GB in my Mac, but that doesn't fit.) My desktop is only really a gaming machine now (and not the most high performance gaming either) as well as some fairly light web browsing.

Quote:
so I don't think we're looking at i7 CPU's or anything as dramatic as that, but it's your cash to spend.

It depends on what I get for it and what the impact is on power, heat and cooling. Money is less of an issue as long as I'm not paying $100 for something I don't need. I do care a lot about longevity: I want this new PC to last at least as long as my old one.

Quote:
Core 2 Duo E8400, not a bad CPU for it's day has to be said. Really easy choices on this one as just about everything will be faster.

Is there a point where really low-budget CPUs will not be faster? I probably want something a lot faster, but it might help to get a feel for the landscape.

Quote:
So sit down and pick a CPU and build it from there, I suppose for a pc to last 4-5 years I'd be tempted to go for something quad core or around there. Making a quiet pc isn't going to be hard with any modern CPU. Aside from buying decent quality components like the PSU and I'd maybe look at an i5 or around there, don't ignore AMD either they have some good chips and good price performance too.

Sounds like choices got a lot harder in those 5 years. Back then, I had the feeling there were only a few good choices. The HD3850 and 3870 were the first of a new, cooler generation, and the E8200, E8400 and E8500 were also the first of a new, cooler generation. That narrowed it down quite a lot. Now it sounds like everything is okay. Is there really nothing that stands out?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:17 am 
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Hard part is different processors for different needs/prices. Most go with something like an i5 4670K
There is no point IMO buying a a socket 1155 processor now that Intel have changed sockets (yet again)

That will give you room to move for a few years at least, I doubt you'd be anything but impressed performance wise with a CPU like that v the older one you have.
Not really sure it's worth spending more on a CPU, you could spend a bit less even up to you


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:38 am 
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Ok, thanks for the answers. Here's some thoughts.

Case: Most of these cases have been reviewed here - I'll leave it to you to search.
- If you like the Solo, there's the Solo II. Same size, power/reset buttons are sturdier, chassis cross brace can be removed for easy PSU installation, 120mm fans in front. It's still the quietest...but, other cases have better thermals.
- Fractal Design Define R4 and the Corsair 550D are two other great mid-tower ATX cases. A bit wider for better cable management and 140mm front/rear fans.
- If you want a little smaller, there's the Fractal Design Define Mini (uses uATX mobo).

CPU:
- Get a quad core if you want to game. While many games run well on 2 cores, many are optimized for 4. Plus, it helps if you run other background apps (like iTunes, VOIP for chat, etc).
- I prefer Intel over AMD for a couple of reasons. Better single threaded performance, better power efficiency. While the AMD CPUs are cheaper on a # of cores basis, when you look at performance, you'd spend the same amount for a quad core AMD as a dual core Intel...but the fps would be the same and the AMD system would use more power.
- Wait a month and build a Haswell system. The C1 chipset at introduction had a bug in the USB3 controller, where devices sometimes aren't recognized when the PC returns from Sleep. The user fix is to dismount/remount the device for it to be recognized. Intel released the fixed C2 chipset to mobo mfgrs in end July. Some are starting to appear in retail now. But, it might be September until the old inventory is flushed. If, that "feature" doesn't bother you, then no worries.
- Look at the i5-4XXX parts. Range from 3GHz and $190 to 3.4GHz and $240. To get a feel for performance over the e8400, go play with Anandtech's Bench.

Games and GPU: I play Civ 5 on this rig. (I am OC'ing to 3.3GHz). My HD 5770 is about twice as fast as your 3870. The game chugs along pretty well - I did turn on fast movement. The HD 7750 is comparable to my HD 5770. So, that's the bottom - slightly better than twice the performance of your current GPU for ~$100. From there, it's comes down to how much do you want to spend for what framerate. The sweet spot for you might be the GTX 660 or HD 7850. Here they are at Techspot.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:53 am 
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The only addition I'd make to this is I disagree with the above on the AMD v Intel aspect purely because so few applications use single threads. So really the multi threaded performance is the key element to me.
So if the OP is looking for an i3 processor I don't recommend them being honestly the i5's and up are very good and unmatched performance wise. But below that AMD are a very sensible choice to make.
To add insult to injury the Core i3 3220 actually costs more than the FX6300 and it can't match it's performance in most real world results esp if folks are pushing the boat out a bit for video work or that area. IMO Intel are going to run the dual core CPU well dry they'll have to use 3 cores at some point to make it worthwhile looking at the i3 range again. Even for a gaming rig I'd use the FX CPU's over the Intel ones, and the power issue isn't really a problem either bit of undervolting and we're good to go


But the i5's are very good no question, so are the i7's "if" you need the higher scale performance.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:00 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Case: Most of these cases have been reviewed here - I'll leave it to you to search.
- If you like the Solo, there's the Solo II. Same size, power/reset buttons are sturdier, chassis cross brace can be removed for easy PSU installation, 120mm fans in front. It's still the quietest...but, other cases have better thermals.

Searching around a bit here, I got the impression that Antec top dogs in cases anymore. Is that impression wrong?

What exactly is the impact of those better thermals? My old PC started out with passively cooled components and a case fan and a PSU fan as the only fans. Is that still possible? Can I go a step further and drop one more fan without making it too hard on myself?

Quote:
- Fractal Design Define R4 and the Corsair 550D are two other great mid-tower ATX cases. A bit wider for better cable management and 140mm front/rear fans.
- If you want a little smaller, there's the Fractal Design Define Mini (uses uATX mobo).

Space is always in short supply here, so there's definitely something to be said for smaller. But can I still get the same performance, cooling and silence? I've also seen a few really small, passively cooled cases/PCs which I find a very attractive concept, but they seem to have much lower performance.

Quote:
- Get a quad core if you want to game. While many games run well on 2 cores, many are optimized for 4. Plus, it helps if you run other background apps (like iTunes, VOIP for chat, etc).

Are there even dual core CPUs these days? I get the impression everything is quad core now.

Quote:
- Wait a month and build a Haswell system. The C1 chipset at introduction had a bug in the USB3 controller, where devices sometimes aren't recognized when the PC returns from Sleep. The user fix is to dismount/remount the device for it to be recognized. Intel released the fixed C2 chipset to mobo mfgrs in end July. Some are starting to appear in retail now. But, it might be September until the old inventory is flushed. If, that "feature" doesn't bother you, then no worries.

I almost never shutdown, so I rely on sleep/hibernate a lot. I think this bug would bother me. So it's effectively too early to get a Haswell CPU? That's certainly a setback.

Quote:
- Look at the i5-4XXX parts. Range from 3GHz and $190 to 3.4GHz and $240. To get a feel for performance over the e8400, go play with Anandtech's Bench.

That does sound somewhat like the price range I'm hoping for (I think my E8400 was cheaper, though I'm not sure). Anandtech only shows the i5 4670K. Aren't there any others?

Quote:
Games and GPU: I play Civ 5 on this rig. (I am OC'ing to 3.3GHz). My HD 5770 is about twice as fast as your 3870. The game chugs along pretty well - I did turn on fast movement. The HD 7750 is comparable to my HD 5770. So, that's the bottom - slightly better than twice the performance of your current GPU for ~$100. From there, it's comes down to how much do you want to spend for what framerate. The sweet spot for you might be the GTX 660 or HD 7850. Here they are at Techspot.

I notice I'm leaning towards the HD 7850 for irrational reasons: it has the same numbering scheme as my old card, and it looks like a direct descendant of my 3850. I'll have a closer look at the 660 and the 7850 at least. I guess neither manufacturer has a significant advantage in reliability or peformance?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Slight correction: the Solo II comes with 1 rear fan and 2 front fan mounts. I'd add a slow rpm fan in front for better airflow....or 2 if you want positive pressure (less dust).

Top dog? <shrugs> It's better to say there is more competition. The cases I listed can all be tuned for silent performance. The solo might be the quietest without any tuning. The R4 might be the coolest. Your thermal load isn't that high - don't worry about it. Pick a case that has the features you like.

Dual core: i3 desktop CPUs are dual cores. However, Haswell dual cores (i3-4xxx) won't be out until sometime this fall. Might be sometime in September. Ivy Bridge are numbered i3-3xxx.

e8400 was ~$180 when I bought mine.

i5 Haswell: There are others (hence the $190 to $240 range). Just go to newegg.com and search for "i5 socket 1150".

7850 - yep, that's irrational. :) You might find this useful.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:03 pm 
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Mr Spocko wrote:
The only addition I'd make to this is I disagree with the above on the AMD v Intel aspect purely because so few applications use single threads. So really the multi threaded performance is the key element to me.


This totally depends on the software you are using. If you use win7 and Office and some itunes and stuff, near to nothing will be specially optimised to run on more than one core.

Some games do profit as do some software products. But if you happen to use none of them, having 4 cores only boosts your ego.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:54 pm 
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Pappnaas wrote:
This totally depends on the software you are using. If you use win7 and Office and some itunes and stuff, near to nothing will be specially optimised to run on more than one core.

Some games do profit as do some software products. But if you happen to use none of them, having 4 cores only boosts your ego.

To me, going against the grain does more to boost my ego. But I do intend to play The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2020 on this system, and if I understand correctly, that does make multiple cores a good idea. And when not gaming (and even when I am), I tend to run a lot of stuff all at once. So I think I'll be able to put all the cores to use.

Maybe I should switch to Chrome as my main browser? Every tab is its own process there.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:08 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Slight correction: the Solo II comes with 1 rear fan and 2 front fan mounts. I'd add a slow rpm fan in front for better airflow....or 2 if you want positive pressure (less dust).

Two front fans means less dust? How does that work? It certainly sounds appealing.

Personally I thought less fans means less dust, as my PC before this one had an enormous pile of greasy dust on every fan and every component near a fan. It's definitely one of the reasons passive cooling appeals to me. (Though the main reason is noise, of course.)

Quote:
Top dog? <shrugs> It's better to say there is more competition. The cases I listed can all be tuned for silent performance. The solo might be the quietest without any tuning. The R4 might be the coolest. Your thermal load isn't that high - don't worry about it. Pick a case that has the features you like.

Alright, let's assume the Solo II for now.

I'm also sometimes wondering if I should try a completely passively cooled system, but maybe that's going to be more trouble than it's worth.

Quote:
Dual core: i3 desktop CPUs are dual cores. However, Haswell dual cores (i3-4xxx) won't be out until sometime this fall. Might be sometime in September. Ivy Bridge are numbered i3-3xxx.

e8400 was ~$180 when I bought mine.

i5 Haswell: There are others (hence the $190 to $240 range). Just go to newegg.com and search for "i5 socket 1150".

According to a Dutch pricewatch site, the i5 4670K costs €200. Let's go with that for now. It's probably going to be an i5, and I assume it won't have much impact if I pick a different one later on.

There's also an i5 4670 (without the K) for €190. Does that K mean anything specific?

Quote:
7850 - yep, that's irrational. :) You might find this useful.

There's quite a jump in power use between the 7790 and the 7850, as well as between the 650 and 660. Is the jump in performance equally big?

Edit: I just checked performance on anandtech, and it's about a factor 2 difference between the 7850 and the 7770 (they didn't have the 7790 listed). Same thing for the 660 and the 650.

I'll go read all those reviews as soon as I have time.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:14 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Mr Spocko wrote:
The only addition I'd make to this is I disagree with the above on the AMD v Intel aspect purely because so few applications use single threads. So really the multi threaded performance is the key element to me.


This totally depends on the software you are using. If you use win7 and Office and some itunes and stuff, near to nothing will be specially optimised to run on more than one core.

Some games do profit as do some software products. But if you happen to use none of them, having 4 cores only boosts your ego.



It's not about games (though many support multi cores) but applications
I do photo work, so software like Lightroom does make use of lots of cores, you're leaving yourself short changed with a dual core processor for work such as this. I do the odd video conversion too again many applications need the power of multi threaded performance. So this is well removed from benchmarks and real world stuff counts for more.

No modern CPU has any problems with office applications, I could build a Sempron 145 pc for peanuts that will be more than quick enough for that type of work. Again MP3/Music conversions area a breeze nowadays. And I've said before Apple are lazy and inefficient with iTunes, which is well behind the times not being optimised for multi threaded performance, but even folks using Atom processors get by ok here.

No you really need that performance in threaded applications way more than you do in non threaded software. Just about everyone has a multi core CPU now even laptop users, anyone who writes software for single threaded performance is living in the past. Nothing to do with Ego, having more cores actually means I get my photo work done quicker.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:30 am 
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If more air is flowing into the case than flowing out, it creates positive pressure inside the case. This helps to limit dust. The Solo and Solo II ship with one fan mounted in the rear. This creates negative pressure. If you add enough airflow in front, it'll counteract this.

Passive: It's just not worth the effort for a gaming build and the components will bake in a Solo II. Any gfx card in the 75W range and above will need some airflow to keep cool. Whether it's mounted fans or case fans.

K parts allow overclocking. For a precise list of CPU features, go to Intel's Ark.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:05 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
If more air is flowing into the case than flowing out, it creates positive pressure inside the case. This helps to limit dust. The Solo and Solo II ship with one fan mounted in the rear. This creates negative pressure. If you add enough airflow in front, it'll counteract this.

Wouldn't front fans make more noise than rear fans, since they're pointed towards you? And would I still need rear fans if I have front fans?

Quote:
Passive: It's just not worth the effort for a gaming build and the components will bake in a Solo II. Any gfx card in the 75W range and above will need some airflow to keep cool. Whether it's mounted fans or case fans.

Okay. But still, 3 case fans when my previous build worked fine with only one? Though there's a lot of dust collected around various intakes and ports at the front, so preventing that would definitely be nice. But fans will still draw in dust, won't they? It needs to be filtered. And wouldn't that also make noise? I'm trying to understand how this works and what the full implications are.

Quote:
K parts allow overclocking. For a precise list of CPU features, go to Intel's Ark.

So if I don't intend to overclock, I might as well save me €10?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:35 pm 
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The point of a positive pressure system is to keep the dust airborne so it flows through the box and out. A negative pressure system tends to accumulate the dust inside the box, requiring periodic cleaning.

Positive pressure does require more airflow, and (theoretically) more noise, but with modern components you're talking (about) 18 dB vs (about) 15 dB, both inaudible more than a few inches away.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:46 pm 
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Quote:
So if I don't intend to overclock, I might as well save me €10?

Sure.

Fans:
- You currently have one fan and a lot of dust.
- You plan to increase your system power a bit (from ~200W under heavy load now to ~240W if you go with the i5 and HD 7850 class gpu). So, there will be a bit more heat to get rid of.
- adding front fan(s) in addition to the rear fan will change the air flow to positive pressure will help reduce dust accumulation.
- It's often found that you can get better thermal and acoustic performance with more low rpm fans than with one higher rpm fan.
- It won't be the case fans you hear. It'll be the CPU or gfx card fans and/or your HDD.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:48 am 
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Alright, if extra case fans add almost no perceptible noise, and prevent dust buildup, that definitely sounds like the way to go.

CA_Steve wrote:
- You currently have one fan and a lot of dust.
- You plan to increase your system power a bit (from ~200W under heavy load now to ~240W if you go with the i5 and HD 7850 class gpu). So, there will be a bit more heat to get rid of.

A bit, but not a lot, right? 240W is still not that much.

Quote:
- It's often found that you can get better thermal and acoustic performance with more low rpm fans than with one higher rpm fan.
- It won't be the case fans you hear. It'll be the CPU or gfx card fans and/or your HDD.

About those CPU and GPU fans: my old PC had passive cooling for them (though I eventually put a fan on the Scythe Ninja). Is that still an option?

I was particularly taken with the Arctic Accelero S1, and it seems the new S1 plus supports the 7850 (but not the GTX 660). I assume that with two front fans, I'll have enough airflow for this, right? Is there a better passive cooler for graphics cards? And can an i5 be passively cooled?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:39 am 
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mcv wrote:
About those CPU and GPU fans: my old PC had passive cooling for them (though I eventually put a fan on the Scythe Ninja). Is that still an option?

Well, you are moving from a 65W TDP CPU to an 84W one...and the IVB/Haswell CPUs tend to run hotter than earlier generations (smaller die, worse thermal interface). It could be done..but I think there would be tradeoffs (massive cooler, would need to undervolt the CPU, might need to underclock it or buy a nerfed S part, might need to run case fans at audible level to get enough airflow). Or, you could buy a cooler with a decent fan :)

mcv wrote:
I was particularly taken with the Arctic Accelero S1, and it seems the new S1 plus supports the 7850 (but not the GTX 660). I assume that with two front fans, I'll have enough airflow for this, right?

Hard to say without testing it out. The case fans move air through the case and keep the internal ambient temp down...but, it's not a vortex/windtunnel level of air...and thats what any direct mounted gfx card fan provides to it's cooler. You can get an idea of the benefit of adding a case fan to the base Solo II in the review. Also, you have to decide what temps are satisfactory for you. Some people don't mind if the GPU heads toward 100C, others prefer <80C.

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:05 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Well, you are moving from a 65W TDP CPU to an 84W one...and the IVB/Haswell CPUs tend to run hotter than earlier generations (smaller die, worse thermal interface). It could be done..but I think there would be tradeoffs (massive cooler, would need to undervolt the CPU, might need to underclock it or buy a nerfed S part, might need to run case fans at audible level to get enough airflow). Or, you could buy a cooler with a decent fan :)

There are i5s with a lower TDP, aren't there? In what way exactly are S CPUs nerfed? They seem to have a slightly lower standard speed, but an equal turbo speed (no idea what that means, really; it reminds me of that button back in the '80s that doubled the speed of your PC).

How much would undervolting accomplish? And is that hard to do?

Quote:
mcv wrote:
I was particularly taken with the Arctic Accelero S1, and it seems the new S1 plus supports the 7850 (but not the GTX 660). I assume that with two front fans, I'll have enough airflow for this, right?

Hard to say without testing it out. The case fans move air through the case and keep the internal ambient temp down...but, it's not a vortex/windtunnel level of air...and thats what any direct mounted gfx card fan provides to it's cooler. You can get an idea of the benefit of adding a case fan to the base Solo II in the review. Also, you have to decide what temps are satisfactory for you. Some people don't mind if the GPU heads toward 100C, others prefer <80C.

I don't care what the temperature is. I care about the processor working. What matters is what temps are satisfactory to the processor.

My old PC has only a single case fan at the back, and the Accelero S1 seems to do a very fine job of keeping my old 3850 cool enough. No doubt the 7850 needs more cooling, but won't the two extra case fans help? Or if case fans don't make much noise, shouldn't I be able to put an equally quiet fan on the GPU and CPU?


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:16 pm 
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you get to a lower TDP by:
- lowering the base frequency
- lowering the cpu voltage.

I call S parts nerfed because Intel lowers the base clock, sells it at a similar price to the higher clocked parts by pointing to the lower TDP. Turbo is the mechanism where, if you have lightly threaded applications, the few cores that are used can run faster than the base clock. If you have an app that uses all 4 cores, then there is no turbo bump.

Undervolting is easy - just buy a mobo that allows you to offset the CPU core voltage and run stress tests to make sure the CPU is stable at whatever base freq you use. Any Z board will do this. For the H boards, you'd need to look at the manual/reviews.

Quote:
My old PC has only a single case fan at the back, and the Accelero S1 seems to do a very fine job of keeping my old 3850 cool enough. No doubt the 7850 needs more cooling, but won't the two extra case fans help?

Yep. Won't know how much until you set up your system. I don't mean to sound negative. Honestly, any system will require a bit of tweaking to optimize the noise/performance. You can always add fans as needed (whether it's another case fan or a CPU/GPU fan).

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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Location: Oregon, USA
Why not keep it simple and reuse some of your already excellently chosen components? :) Like the SOLO case, Accelero & Ninja heatsinks.

You'll need new fans, but at 5+ years that's a given anyway. Two 92mm in front, then strap a 92mm (or 120mm?) on the Accelero for hotter graphics card.

Perhaps with CPU underclocked/volted you can run heatsink fanless. Keeping Seasonic S12II-330 already gives you a 120mm exhaust fan, or add one to Ninja if necessary. I believe pulling off the back is quieter than pushing through the front and will be 'exhaust' for positive pressure(?)

Do you even NEED a new PSU? If not, then save the money for now. You can always upgrade later, even to fanless for less exhaust (positive pressure). Fan(s) mounted on CPU heatsink, opposed to rear chassis, may reduce/prevent case heat being recirculated into top mounted fanless PSU(?)

Hope this helps!
Russell


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:50 am 
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HappyJack96 wrote:
Why not keep it simple and reuse some of your already excellently chosen components? :) Like the SOLO case, Accelero & Ninja heatsinks.

I guess the central question is: do I buy a new PC and find a good home for my old one, or do I fix and upgrade the old one?

Upgrading the graphics card is easy, but will my old Accelero fit on a new graphics card? I believe the old Accelero cost about €20, so a new one won't hurt.

Upgrading the CPU probably requires a new motherboard. I definitely need a new harddisk (or maybe an SSD?). Beyond that, I'm probably fine.

I'm mainly saving on the case and the PSU. I guess that's still going to be about €200. I think I should still check for grease buildup on the Ninja before I reuse it.

Quote:
You'll need new fans, but at 5+ years that's a given anyway. Two 92mm in front, then strap a 92mm (or 120mm?) on the Accelero for hotter graphics card.

Are two 92 mm case fans going to be quiet and powerful enough to create positive air pressure?

Quote:
Perhaps with CPU underclocked/volted you can run heatsink fanless. Keeping Seasonic S12II-330 already gives you a 120mm exhaust fan, or add one to Ninja if necessary. I believe pulling off the back is quieter than pushing through the front and will be 'exhaust' for positive pressure(?)

I'm not sure what you mean by this. My Ninja is pretty close to both the rear case fan and the PSU fan, yet for some reason I did add an extra fan to the Ninja a few years ago. I'm not convinced that was really necessary, but it felt right at the time. What you say sounds like it shouldn't be necessary since the PSU fan should already suck enough air through it (which makes sense, considering the proximity).

Quote:
Do you even NEED a new PSU? If not, then save the money for now. You can always upgrade later, even to fanless for less exhaust (positive pressure). Fan(s) mounted on CPU heatsink, opposed to rear chassis, may reduce/prevent case heat being recirculated into top mounted fanless PSU(?)

Do I need anything new? If I fix my Windows installation, it works fine. I could postpone the upgrade until there are more demanding games I want to play.

I do like reusing old components, but maybe I like it even more to give the entire PC a new life elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:12 pm 
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I really wouldn't bother with a re-build. I've made this mistake before putting cash into a system where I could have sold off the older bits (maybe as a bundle or complete) sinking the cash made from that into a new pc.

You can easily out power your old CPU even without spending that much, it will be more efficient energy wise, quite a lot faster and should last longer.
They say PC's are in decline because of tablets, well it's one reason but not the main one. Build a new "good" pc now and I suspect you will be leaving it even longer for the next build.

Really we're spoilt here, bar rendering more modern pc's can breeze though 90% of what most people do without even breaking a sweat. My original pc was a dual core Athlon 64, and it pales next to my recent update, and the new pc cost less to build than the old one. That's why upgraders are mostly using their pc for quite some time, you might swap out the odd part here and there. If you get this right you'll probably be good for even longer than the old pc


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:56 pm 
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If you really want to start over, then consider building for maximum longevity...at least 5, better still 7, even 10 years. Then you will justify the serious investment. Now getting a new case and higher end components makes sense. Otherwise, saving that 200 (to me) is certainly worth it. Always good to have options :D

A quad-core i5 will likely serve you longer than dual-core i3 and since you're not overclocking, any 'K' variants are unnecessary (if you've ruled out AMD?) For the graphics card you can either spend more up front to keep for years, or get basic one now, then use savings for later upgrade if/when games demand.

I'm considering the NoFan CR-95C Pearl Black Nickel (copper reviewed by SPCR) but it has no option for mounting fans. Thermalright HR-02 seems popular, though I don't like their AMD mounting. Best overall IMO is the Prolimatech Megahalems, with fit and finish second-to-none & superior mounting system. Don't buy a cheap CPU heatsink! It should last MANY years, along with the SOLO II case :)

Seasonic X-series Fanless PSU may still be a dice roll regarding potential electronic noise, unless that's no longer an issue(?) Better choice may be just getting a fan cooled one...many reviewed by SPCR have very quiet acoustics.

Russell


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:20 am 
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Keeping case and PSU is a valid option. Swap case fans for fresh ones and be prepared to swap the PSU somepoint in the future.

In addition, if you find someone wanting an internet pc, you could muster up another (used) case and PSU and sell your old system for a few bucks.

I'd be tempted to rebuild the pc because i dislike throwing totally functionable parts away for the sake of having new one.


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 Post subject: Re: A replacement for my old silent PC
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Thanks for all the advice, everybody! I've got a lot to think about.

I'm currently leaning towards fixing the old PC and buying a new one only once those new games come out. I'm going to want to fix the old PC anyway, and once I do, I might as well use it. The only downside is that I may have to buy a new Windows install disk.


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