There is no such thing as silent PC

The forum for non-component-related silent pc discussions.

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Tilltech
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:09 am

There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by Tilltech » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:54 pm

I have come to the conclusion that this is impossible.

Case Define Mini C
MBO MSI Z370M gaming PRO AC mATX
RAM G.SKILL 16GB Trident Z DDR4 3200MHz CL16 kit.F4-3200C16D-16GTZB
CPU Intel i7 8700k
GPU ZOTAC GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5 ZT-P10800E-10S
PSU BE QUIET! Straight Power 10 600W CM
CPU cooler NOCTUA NH-D15S
SSD SAMSUNG 500GB 960 EVO M.2 PCIe 2280 MZ-V6E500BW
Case fans Silent Wing 3 PWM fans - 1 x 120mm, 2 x 140mm

This was a very expensive silent-oriented configuration, yet only when browsing and using office apps was the system actually silent.
Otherwise, the random CPU fan was loud, and any time any game is loaded, the GPU completely collapses the quiet front. All gaming was very loud.

Moving forward, the only thing I can think of is to place the PC in another room, but I'm not sure how that is possible if you want to be able to close the room doors? Also, there is the power cable, monitor cable, and peripherals cables.

Any cheap, practical ideas?

teodoro
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:40 pm

Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by teodoro » Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:46 pm

You can get DisplayPort cables up to ~15 feet/4.5m pretty cheap, and you can get usb hub/extension cables at a similar length for peripherals. I wasn’t sure if audio cable extensions would work well for a head set, but speakers shouldn’t be too hard.

I wonder what tweaking you could do to your existing setup, though. My 8700k on a mugen 5 could stay below my noise floor without much trouble. Especially at stock frequency, an undervolt makes it a very manageable cpu. If you hear your cpu fan ramping up on short loads, a new fan curve can probably fix that. I don’t know what type of cooler your 1080 has, but undervolting can save a lot of power/heat and allow for quieter (but probably not silent) gpu fans.

Abula
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Location: Guatemala

Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by Abula » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:31 pm

Any chance you could share a screenshot of HWinfo or HWmonitor of you playing for a long session? im interested on seeing CPU temperature/load, GPU temperature/load, and their respective fans, as well as the Bequiet fans.

Btw i tried to find your GPU ZOTAC GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5 ZT-P10800E-10S, but i didn't find with pictures, is it blower style? maybe you could upload a pic?
place the PC in another room
Yea you can, but i personally dont have a room near that i can spare. Check Final Deployment of My New PC! - Personal Rig Update 2015 Part 5 (FINALE) and Cooling Challenges! - Personal Rig Update 2015 Part 6, he does it via Thunderbolt, but depending on your planning you might be able to do it fine with Displayport and some USB extensions.
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Tilltech
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:09 am

Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by Tilltech » Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:25 am

Abula wrote:Any chance you could share a screenshot of HWinfo or HWmonitor of you playing for a long session? im interested on seeing CPU temperature/load, GPU temperature/load, and their respective fans, as well as the Bequiet fans.
I often monitored the temps with that exact program. I set all the BeQuiet! fan profiles so that the CPU temp never went above 55C, and the GPU was usually around 70C.

GPU was the main noise culprit, and there was no remedy for it. All other components don't matter if the GPU isn't quiet. The case dampening doesn't matter, the fans...nothing except for GPU.

lodestar
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Location: UK

Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by lodestar » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:09 pm

I had a family member who went the 'PC in another room' route using long HDMI, network and USB cables through a hole in the wall to connect the PC to a large screen TV. The USB cable terminated in a USB hub positioned close to the TV set. The network cable plugged into a router that was a short distance from the TV set. It worked perfectly OK and showed that there could indeed be such as thing as a silent PC even under gaming conditions.

SometimesWarrior
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by SometimesWarrior » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:09 pm

Tilltech wrote:I often monitored the temps with that exact program. I set all the BeQuiet! fan profiles so that the CPU temp never went above 55C, and the GPU was usually around 70C.

GPU was the main noise culprit, and there was no remedy for it. All other components don't matter if the GPU isn't quiet. The case dampening doesn't matter, the fans...nothing except for GPU.
In my experience, 55C for CPU and 70C for GPU are too low thresholds if you want a quiet air cooled PC. Any spike in CPU activity will bring the temperature above that, and no increase in fan speed can compensate: the heat simply can't conduct away from the CPU core fast enough. So it's not necessary for the fan to react to transient spikes in activity.

For example, if your CPU currently idles at 30C but jumps to 65C when you start an intensive workload (like restarting your browser :D ) then set the fan to be inaudible for temps below 70C, then quickly ramp up. It can still react to longer running loads that make the heatsink toasty.

70C for GPU is also very aggressive. If you see SPCR's build guide with a 980Ti, even the difference between a 80C limit and 85C limit is several decibels. Or if you look at TechPowerUp's reviews for cards with video cards that have "quiet mode" bios toggles, they also show you can really lower the noise by sacrificing 1-2% clock speed and 5C temperature. So I would suggest making a custom fan profile that lets the card get hotter before ramping up the fan.

Finally, your Zotac 1080 has a good heatsink, but not the best. Compare the noise and temps for other 1080 cards and you see that the best aftermarket cards can probably run several dB quieter for a given temperature. So either a card upgrade, or aftermarket GPU cooler, or some custom modifications (chop off the stock fans and use 120mm/140mm, if you're adventurous) can help.

Abula
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by Abula » Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:41 am

I set all the BeQuiet! fan profiles so that the CPU temp never went above 55C, and the GPU was usually around 70C.
This is your issue, as SometimesWarrior explained before, your thresholds are simply too low for a quiet pc setup, you either want a cool running pc or quiet running pc, you wont have both, at least in most of the time.

My idle threshold on my 8700k is 50C and on my 9900K 55C, this are on my setups, the with my coolers/fans/settings, where it cushions most of the spiking involved on browsing, media consumption, and light gaming, from there the fans start the curve until 100C as the maximum (never reached but its on the graph). Most of the time my fans are spinning 500-600rpms, and gaming they usually dont pass 800rpm.

In essence my starting point is your maximum point, so you are making your fans trigger 100% a lot of time, and due to how intel cpus spike with light load you are even probably creating a breathing effect that its way more noticeble than standard fan noise, let your cpu take the heat, start your fan curve at 50-55C (around 500rpms) and ramp it with the 3 other breakpoints slowly toward 100% (100C), game with it and see how it goes, remember most of us here accept running higher temps to end up with quieter pcs.

I would strongly recommend you sell your ZOTAC, get a ASUS RTX2070 Super STRIX or a PowerColor RX5700 XT Red Devil, it really helps a ton to chose a very quiet gpu, specially if you are going mid/high end.

If you are not comfortable with high temps on the cpu, consider deliding it, i have done it in 2 cpus now, 8086/8700k and i gained close to 13C drops on load, if you fear doing it yourself, there are people that do it like https://www.remiscs.com/ that will charge you a fee, but they do a lot of deliding, and he even does it livestreming so you can see the process on yours.
Last edited by Abula on Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
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CA_Steve
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:44 am

Yep - this is a user induced problem :)

+1 for Someswarrior's suggestions.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 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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nagi
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by nagi » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:17 am

Yeah, unless you have a new 3xxxx series Ryzen 2, you can have the CPU up to 70-80 without any worry or performance loss. The Ryzen 2 is the first CPU architecture that throttles max turbo at ~75-80°C IIRC.

The 1080 has an anemic 2-fan cooler. You can try modding it with a more capable aftermarket aircooler, if one fits, or a custom watercooling loop with only the gpu in it. A single non-Ti 1080 should be low enough thermal load to have the pump and fans at quite low settings with sufficient radiator area. Of course, these are not for the faint of heart.

At the very least, set the max temp of the GPU to 80. Yeah, it won't turbo as high, but it also won't be that noisy. Remember: it's almost always tradeoff. Performance, temperature and silence: choose two.

Also, mini-ATX systems will be generally more noisy due to their size restraints. In this case, in a full-sized ATX case, you could have three intake fans and a 140mm exhaust at the back.
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teodoro
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by teodoro » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:57 pm

nagi wrote:Also, mini-ATX systems will be generally more noisy due to their size restraints. In this case, in a full-sized ATX case, you could have three intake fans and a 140mm exhaust at the back.
a lot of micro atx cases, including the define c mini, are still rather large. that case in particular still allows for 3x120mm front intake (though only 120mm exhaust). I actually wonder if some of these “smaller” cases might be better since it’s a lesser volume of air within the chassis that needs to be filled/emptied

TigerUK
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by TigerUK » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:53 am

wooah, long time no post. I didn't even realise I had an account on this forum. I tried to register and it would block me saying I already have an account,

Anyways, back in the scene. Go off computr building, busy with work, business etc. Now I' want to get back into silent computing. I've moved out of the city and in the country now. It's pindrop silent out and the electric noises are audible.

I get the feeling a totally silent everyday desktop PC isn't practical, you'll need some airflow to cool components on the motherboard and the PSU will need active cooling. All the entirely passive systems I see have a external power brick and underpowered media streamking devices at best.

Abula
Posts: 3591
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Location: Guatemala

Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by Abula » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:07 am

I get the feeling a totally silent everyday desktop PC isn't practical, you'll need some airflow to cool components on the motherboard and the PSU will need active cooling. All the entirely passive systems I see have a external power brick and underpowered media streamking devices at best.
It depends on your needs, companies like HDPLEX and STREACOM offer very nice cases that will handle a low-mid end setup fine fully fanless, now if you want a 8-64 core.... then you probably need to accept some compromises, and expect a very quiet pc but probably not silent.
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CA_Steve
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Re: There is no such thing as silent PC

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:29 pm

With semi-passive PSUs, mobos with fan stop modes, and gfx cards that only turn on fans with moderate to heavy 3D loads, even a regular case can make for a silent PC for light and 2D loads, and pretty quiet for everything else. If you need it silent for everything, then, yep, HDPlex etx are pretty awesome.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 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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