Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pics]

Show off your quiet rig.

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glyphin
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Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pics]

Post by glyphin » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:24 pm

Some people write "silent" when they actually mean "quiet".

Now, this rig is silent. Dead silent. Zero moving parts. No fans, no spinning hard drive. It's actually kind of spooky at first.

CPU: AMD 5050e dual core 45W
Heatsink: Scythe Orochi
Motherboard: Asus 780G micro-ATX
Case: Antec 300
Power Supply: FSP Zen 400 (fanless)
Hard drive: Super Talent 32G SSD
RAM: 2 gigs Crucial DDR2 1066

For more storage, I'll hook up an external USB hard drive when needed.

Pics:
Image
The Antec 300 has nice, large vents
Image
Look how large the Orochi is! I had to use a wire tie to tie it to the top of the case to support some of its weight. Power supply (blue) is at the bottom. SSD is taped down next to it. There is an additional vent on the side panel, which I intend to keep on.

This computer is my holy grail. Powerful, dead silent, and well packaged. It'll be used for web surfing, and occasional Photoshop and gaming. It's been a ten year journey, starting from the Yahoo Groups silent PC group. Now the truly silent PC exists!

Thanks to Mike for his inspiring article "Silent PC with No Moving Parts": http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_PC ... ving_Parts

Quick question - what are recommended CPU temps? This rig can get touch 50 deg C under load. Idles in the low to mid 40's.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:32 pm

Where are you getting the temp from? If it's the motherboard CPU thermal sensor that should be accurate enough...maybe guess that core temps could shoot up a bit higher than it.

If it's the core temps (ie core 0, core 1) it's being read from the CPU DTS, and on the Brisbane cores it is broken. Don't count on it for anything really.

Nice build too!

ntavlas
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Post by ntavlas » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:37 pm

I was wondering how come no one did that before, maybe because a couple of low rpm fans are quiet enough for us. Anyway it`s a great execution.

50 at load is a great temp the trouble is that indeed brisbane has a broken sensor though I don`t know whether later revisions like yours are affected too. I wouldn`t rely on the reading of the motherboard too much although they are getting more accurate these days.

theycallmebruce
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Post by theycallmebruce » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:40 pm

Looks very nice, I'm jealous! What kind of games you playing? Have you done a load test with high CPU usage over a number of hours?

nightmorph
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Post by nightmorph » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:23 pm

You're using such a huge, expensive PSU! Why not go with something much smaller, much more efficient, and cooler-running . . . like a PicoPSU and accompanying external power brick? It would free up vast amounts of interior space (possibly improving convection), and it certainly would reduce the amount of heat radiated into your other components.

You could probably run all that off a simple 80W or 90W PicoPSU, probably even just a 60W Pico. Since you don't have any regular hard drives to spin up at boot (which can each eat 25W at spin-up), and you don't have any really power-hungry parts like midrange/high-end CPUs or GPUs.

Only 2 sticks of RAM and a single SSD, plus a decently frugal chipset means you've got a great candidate for a 60W PicoPSU.

I'm jealous, actually. I'm trying to downsize my rig to the power draw of your current system. I've also been thinking about buying a 5050e, even though AMD just announced the new 45W Athlon IIs based on the new process technology.

But I, too, have heard that some (all?) of the Brisbane chips like the 5050e may have broken thermal sensors. I've also heard that the 65nm-process 45W 5050e isn't as efficient as a newer 65W chip, i.e. any of the 45nm-process Athlon II/Phenom IIs. But that's just hearsay; I have yet to see a review comparing the 5050e to recent chips. Plus none of the newer chips seem to be as cheap as your 5050e, so well done. :)
Last edited by nightmorph on Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:24 pm

Holy grail indeed!

Broadleaf
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Post by Broadleaf » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:55 pm

Now I'm really getting fired up about a 'Zero Moving Parts' PC. If I am not making noise then I don't have to consume precious finances on "silent" or "quiet" components. I can use a cheap power supply as long as it can be adapted for convection cooling. Normally for a quiet build the challenge is to get the system reasonably quiet and non-annoying at idle during the quiet evenings. My expensive P180 case has the top fan grill blocked off to avoid a direct noise leak to my ears. The Antec 300 is probably the worst case for building a quiet computer. Everything about this case is the opposite of what you want for a silent/quiet build. But if your not making any noise then this case has a opening on the top ideally placed near the CPU for convection cooling. Perhaps with all the openings blocked except the top exit and the rear power supply input there would be a strong and reliable convection path if a power supply with a 120mm fan removed were installed with the fan opening aimed upwards towards the CPU.

glyphin
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Post by glyphin » Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:03 pm

Cool, glad to hear 50 deg C is not unreasonable. I'll do some more rigorous stress testing and update my temp readings.

I've just been logging into the BIOS to check the CPU temp there.

The PSU remains surprisingly cool. Most of the heat emanating from the case seems to be coming from the CPU. I might want to underclock and undervolt just to make sure the system has thermal headroom.

I chose the Antec 300 precisely because of its large vent at the top. I considered the NSK 3840 recommended by Mike, which also has a large top vent, but I wanted something roomier.

The kind of gaming I'm thinking of is on the order of Warcraft 3 - nothing too modern and high horsepower. Though that was one reason I over-bought the PSU - in case I want to add a higher-horsepower video card later. If I did though, I'd want to add at least one case fan.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:38 am

Try HWMonitor for easy temp checking. It should show both the motherboard sensors and core sensors.

I do use the Coretemp beta, it lets you throw in some offsets, and seems to get somewhat better temp readings. I have the offsets put in to keep the cores like 10C higher at load than the motherboard sensor will show.

I also use a 5050e, and have a Ninja on it....pretty sure it's staying cool enough ;)

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:44 am

That kind of build kinda leaves you speechless ^^

One of the few Orochi builds... and 0 moving parts. But how is the possible coil whine?

BillTodd
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Post by BillTodd » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:12 am

Excellent Job :)
It's actually kind of spooky at first
.

:) Those running fans, even slow fans, will not understand.

Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:42 am

nightmorph wrote:You're using such a huge, expensive PSU! Why not go with something much smaller, much more efficient, and cooler-running . . . like a PicoPSU and accompanying external power brick? It would free up vast amounts of interior space (possibly improving convection), and it certainly would reduce the amount of heat radiated into your other components.

You could probably run all that off a simple 80W or 90W PicoPSU, probably even just a 60W Pico. Since you don't have any regular hard drives to spin up at boot (which can each eat 25W at spin-up), and you don't have any really power-hungry parts like midrange/high-end CPUs or GPUs.

Only 2 sticks of RAM and a single SSD, plus a decently frugal chipset means you've got a great candidate for a 60W PicoPSU.
I built a similar but fan cooled system to the OP's some time ago, but have since disassembled it. I used a 450W PSU because it was the best and lowest wattage one I could find and afford. At lower loads, it does quite a reasonable job at being efficient, reaching 80% at ~70W. The system hardly ever drew more than 60W, maybe less. As I stated in this thread, PicoPSU is quite an expensive option for me. If it were cheaper in my location, I would get one. Not for its bragging value but for its efficiency. It seems that everytime this comes up, I have to defend my choice of PSU.


On the OP's build, it is very impressive. The Orochi doesn't like to hide, does it?

But on the argument that Zero Moving Parts therefore = Silence and Moving Parts/Fan Cooled therefore = Quiet not Silence, I don't necessarily agree. In fact, I would counter that. Having zero moving parts doesn't mean there is no electrical noise from coils and transistors. Whether this can be obtrusive enough to annoy is questionable and also dependent on the user. A fan cooled system that is virtually inaudible for the user from reasonable working distance can be effectively considered silent. I remember MikeC writing an article in the early days saying something similar. However, with improvements in technology, this thinking needs to be reconsidered, because effective silence has stepped up to another level.

Blanket statements like "only zero moving parts can be silent" unintentionally serve to make others feel inferior, when the level of inaudibility they have achieved is reasonable enough for them. As a result of feeling inferior, they might end up spending needless amounts of money trying to match what others are doing for little true reward other than a superficial one (from their perspective).

What the OP's system does show is that the hard work of SPCR and the silencing community over the years is being rewarded and that improvements in technology including non-moving parts storage and cooler running components that can be cooled passively have made the task of building a silent computer that much easier.

Change some of the OP's components around (higher end CPU, GPU and motherboard, more RAM and a different case) and/or put the system in a warmer ambient environment and a zero moving parts build might start choking in its own glory. I'm not dismissing nor discouraging users who build these systems. On the contrary, I think they display great attention to detail and the heart of a true silencer. But they are more relevant to specific types of builds than others. It definitely shows how far we have come when no moving parts are required.

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:41 pm

Shamgar wrote:Blanket statements like "only zero moving parts can be silent" unintentionally serve to make others feel inferior, when the level of inaudibility they have achieved is reasonable enough for them. As a result of feeling inferior, they might end up spending needless amounts of money trying to match what others are doing for little true reward other than a superficial one (from their perspective).
You could call this a 'wet blanket' statement :roll:

BillTodd wrote:Those running fans, even slow fans, will not understand.
It's as if there is a subtle disturbance of 'the ether' which is absent when there are no moving parts involved. Reminds me of my old Mac Plus.

danimal
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Post by danimal » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:47 pm

i used to do component-level repairs on the mac plus... it was a poorly engineered little box that overheated so much that it would burn up the power supply caps and parts on a regular basis... i'm talking charcoal-burned boards, the power supply was on the same board as the cpu was, if i recall correctly... since that was the pre-internet days, finding the correct replacement parts was a nightmare, and of course apple wanted to charge you a fortune to replace the entire board... apple finally had to put a fan on the box to keep the mac plus alive.

looking back at that junk, and what you have done with your noiseless pc today(very cool!), shows how far we have come... it's only a matter of time until we can build a zero-moving-parts pc that is capable of doing some serious computing... what do you all think, maybe two or three years away?

in the meantime, the ambient noise level down here near the beach in so cal is so loud that it drowns out the purring of a few slow fans... i can spit out the window of the spare bedroom and nearly hit the 2.5 ton central air conditioning unit that my neighbor just installed, and behind me is one of those dog idiots who won't control the barking that their animals make... and then the freeway is just a few blocks away... >ack!<

glyphin
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Post by glyphin » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:15 pm

Update - at 50% load it actually gets to 52/57 deg C (core 0/core 1) after about 10 minutes. Temps rise very slowly - about 1 deg C per minute. It was only 50% load because the CPU burn-in app appears to be single threaded.

Good enough, methinks. It idles at 38/45 deg C.

There's no coil whine I can hear. The LCD standby LED actually makes more noise. I wonder if I can disable it.

Update #2 - reached 52/59 deg C after moving the case next to a desk and watching a bunch of web videos. Still stable though, and has returned to 43/50 with Pandora running.

Fixed the LCD whine - SPCR comes to the rescue again!
http://www.silentpcreview.com/stop_lcd_whine

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:49 pm

Prime95 for an hour would give a more definitive answer.

roadie
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Post by roadie » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:31 am

It would, but if the computer is only going to be used for web browsing and low level gaming, then is running Prime or any other high loading programme necessary?

Anyway, it is a great build. I'd like to see a silent build within a more attractive chassis though.

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:53 am

It's not really necessary for a lot of builds, but it gives us all a standard to refer to. I always test my systems in this way even though I never put them under full load in practice. In this situation it would be very educational to see what kind of performance can be achieved from a completely passive setup.

NeoCortex
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Post by NeoCortex » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:44 am

Nice rig. I'm impressed you're able to keep temps down without a single fan in that case. Looks good, too.

Broadleaf
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Post by Broadleaf » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:13 am

glyphin wrote: It was only 50% load because the CPU burn-in app appears to be single threaded.
To get 100% loading I use CPUburn from http://users.bigpond.net.au/CPUburn/ and run as many instances as there are threads. I don't have air cooling and this way I can be sure that there is enough headroom for a heavy duty project on a hot summer afternoon when the ambient temperature is high in my den.

glyphin
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Post by glyphin » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:24 pm

Okay you sticklers - one full hour of 100% CPU load peaked at 60/66 deg C. Immediately after the load finishes temps are 5 degrees cooler. One minute later temps are 10 degrees cooler.

Thanks Broadleaf - two instances of CPU Burn-in did the trick for 100% CPU load. Temps were monitored using CPUID. No errors - I was surfing the web with Pandora playing the whole time.

I have to say, complete silence is awesome. For one, music is more enjoyable. It's like my audio system has doubled in quality (which is roughly equivalent to -6 dB in the noise floor.)

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:55 pm

That's a great result, you'll never need to worry about overheating.

acorn
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Intriguing. Questions about heatsink...

Post by acorn » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:58 pm

I like your system. The idea of convection cooling has been of interest to me since the old Apple Cube days.

With regards to the Orochi heatsink: how did you get it all installed? In particular, it seems like it would be very hard to put in the screws that hold the motherboard to the case once the heatsink was installed, but if you installed the motherboard first, then getting the heatsink clipped on must have been tricky.

Did you feel the Scythe provided backing plate scheme was weak and thus the wire tie support?

-Scott

glyphin
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Post by glyphin » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:05 am

Good question Scott. It did take a significant amount of wrestling.

The way that finally worked was to attach the heatsink first to the motherboard, then use a screwdriver extension to get the screws in. I actually just taped a screwdriver bit onto the end of my screwdriver, but actual "wobbly" extension bits do exist to get around corners.

The backing plate on the ASUS motherboard seemed strong enough.

However, after it was mounted, I noticed there was about a half-centimeter of sag, so I used the wire tie to support it to the top of the case. I wouldn't want to be transporting this case to multiple LAN parties, but it's stable enough where it is at home and could probably survive a move or two.

I should also note that the heatsink clip was devilishly difficult to attach, even with the motherboard out of the case. Maybe I'm just rusty though - it's been several years since my last build.

new2spcr
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Re: Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pic

Post by new2spcr » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:11 pm

glyphin wrote: This computer is my holy grail. Powerful, dead silent, and well packaged..
Very impressive. I like it.

DAve_M
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Post by DAve_M » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:41 am

What the "%£$?? Scythe Orochi is HUUUUUUGE!



Really good job there! I can imagine it's been a long wait to get there. SSD have taking their time to get here too.

You should swap the Zen PSU for a PICO and you should see a drop in power consuption of about 10W.

CPU temps are ok. Temperatures will need to reach about 120*C for the CPU to become physically damaged. The main problem when it gets too hot, is the CPU may become unstable. I would say anything below 65*C is absolutely fine.

You can also underclock. I used crystalCPUID to underclock my Athlon X2 65nm to only 0.88v @ 1GHz when idle.

new2spcr
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Re: Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pic

Post by new2spcr » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:05 am

What about mobo temps? Like Northbridge, southbridge etc?

shutupfan
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Re: Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pic

Post by shutupfan » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:32 am

glyphin wrote:
Zero moving parts. No fans, no spinning hard drive.
Very well done.
glyphin wrote:
Look how large the Orochi is! I had to use a wire tie to tie it to the top of the case to support some of its weight.
How exactly did you tie it? After all, those heatpipes and aluminum plates don't seem to be built to be pulled at.

Telstar
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Re: Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pic

Post by Telstar » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:23 am

Very nice, i like it :)

glyphin
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Re: Not just "silent" - zero moving parts rig [pic

Post by glyphin » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:14 pm

Image
new2spcr wrote:What about mobo temps? Like Northbridge, southbridge etc?

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