Which PSU?

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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garryd
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:10 am
Location: UK

Which PSU?

Post by garryd » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:30 am

I've been running my Core2 E6600 system since the CPU was released 5 years ago, I was a very early adopter and it's served me well (and still does mostly). Unfortunately XP Media Centre doesn't run reliably any more so I gave up trying to use it as a HTPC, I've spent a lot of money on supposedly silent kit but it still bugs the hell out of my that I can hear it if I'm not making a lot of noise (game, music, film), but most recently I hit a problem with lack of memory available to run some VM's which I need in the pursuit of upping my qualifications, so I'm thinking about an upgrade (read new system altogether)...

I want an allrounder that's totally silent, and I don't mean pretty quiet like my last one, I want to have to look if there are any lights on or see something on screen just to know it's on. I have 2 systems at work which set the benchmarks - an HP Elite 6000 PC running a faster E8500 3.06Ghz Core2 Duo which is totally silent which can't be said for mine, and an HP Z400 PC running a quad-core Xeon at 3.2Ghz with 24gb ram which handles my VM's quite nicely but another will cost close to £2000 and I think I can build better for less? I want:
> Maximum possible ram so I can run a number of VM's from time to time.
> To play the occasional game which at the moment is only UT2004 but I'd like to try something newer.
> To watch, record and edit the odd bit of TV, play DVD/BluRay films, listen to music.
> To use it for all the day-to-day stuff like Internet and email.

I'm not initially planning to overclock so I want something pretty quick at stock speeds so I don't have to upgrade again too soon. My proposed new system, therefore, which I hope will see me through another 5 years is as follows:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit running on...
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 motherboard maxed out with 16gb ram.
Intel Core i7 2600K or 2700K running at stock speed initially, probably water cooled.
Not sure between Corsair Force GT SSD or Momentus XT hybrid SSD/HD for boot drive, will wait for prices to come back down and test both at work first :)
Will stick with Samsung Spinpoint for data drive, if I can stretch to a big enough SSD might use it externally and only connect it when required.
Probably use an external BluRay drive connected only when required and run disc images from HD if possible to keep the noise down.
Try to get either my VideoMate Compro Vista E900F PCI-E or Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T500 PCI dual tuner TV cards working rather than have to buy something else.
Gainward GTX 560Ti Phantom graphics card (twice the power of my 4850 and Custom PC say quietest card in their test).
Undecided on case, something plain, not too big, space to cool everything but must be very quiet.
PSU between Enermax Modu87+ 500W or Seasonic X-650.
Will probably need a new screen (my HDMI TV works at 1920x1200 under XP but not when I upgraded to Win7 so I switched back, seems to be a common issue).

I've read the SPCR articles on quiet PSU's and have narrowed it down to a choice of 2 as above, the Enermax Modu87+ 500W or the Seasonic X-650 and want to know based on the system spec above which I should go for. While needing some room for minor expansion (a few USB peripherals, internal HD, internal BluRay drive, sound card) I don't want to run in to the issue of too little draw if I buy the 650W unit as I've read there's been problems, but at the same time don't want it to be noisy because I'm working it too hard.

Opinions please...

garryd
Posts: 9
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Location: UK

Re: Which PSU?

Post by garryd » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:19 am

There's a slight update to the proposed spec in that it's thought at work even VMWare (Workstation 8) won't use the extra threads of an i7 so I might just go with an i5 2500K. The savings on this will be instantly wiped out and some though after I found the Asus Maximus Extreme IV board will take 32gb ram so I'll probably change to that starting with 2x8gb to allow me to double-up later on. Although it really needs some modifications I like the look of the Cooler Master Silencio 550 case so will be going with that (which'll limit cooler choice as all the best ones are too tall at over 155mm).

I'm sure none of these changes will make an awful lot of difference to the PSU load so the same question remains, which is going to be the quietest and most efficient PSU: Enermas Modu 87+ 500 or Seasonic X650?
Last edited by garryd on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

markanini
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Location: Malmo, Sweden

Re: Which PSU?

Post by markanini » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:12 pm

A system build topic disguised as a PSU topic?

So here goes: Get a Gigabyte UD3R or better UD3P or UD4 If you plan to do any OC. You'll have to replace your HDD to get really quiet. I'd suggest Crucial m4 and WD GP 2TB for storage(Newegg has a sale). Either PSU will be good, I'm partial to Seasonic myself(same as Corsair AX). Consider that watercooling is difficult to do silently, ready-made options don't cut it according to one resident watercooling expert(forgot his name). Are you truly up for to that? You might want to look at Thermalright Shaman for your Graphics card. And a pair of nice case fans, check previous threads on the subject. For the case I'd almost suggest waiting until Antec P280 hits the stores otherwise check the recomended cases article. IPS-based monitors are nice.
Fractal Design Define R3, Gigabyte Z68XP-UD4, Intel i5-2500k, Thermalright TRUE Rev. C, Seasonic X-560, Samsung 830, WD Green 3TB, Scythe S-Flex 120mm intake, exhaust and CPU @6-700rpm

garryd
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Location: UK

Re: Which PSU?

Post by garryd » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:45 pm

Yes I guess there's a lot about the build so sorry about that but I thought it relevant as I've read so much about system problems from low power systems drawing too little power from a high output PSU, so my main concern is not being caught out with that as it's a relatively low draw system in my opinion - graphics card is only midrange but still overkill for me as I don't play a lot of games so it will hardly get stressed, then with an SSD which I know draws little power and no optical drive I'm sure the smaller PSU will be more than fine. That said, I don't want noisy fans trying to cool everything because my system needs more power than I think so want to make sure the PSU is big enough to add a few bits as I go without overloading it.

Will discuss what other bits to use in the right sections so for this thread would like to stick to whether 500W is enough, or looked at from the other angle is 650W too big for my proposed system as I've no idea how much power all the bits use.

Deucal
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Location: Iceland

Re: Which PSU?

Post by Deucal » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:39 pm

In quiet computing it's all about getting a big enough heat sink on cpu & gpu and quality quiet fans. And for selecting the fans definitively use the SPCR recommended list. Don't just read the manufacturers marketing slogan on the box, they usually lie about "quiet" stuff :).

OCing the new K serious CPU's is a breeze. You're just upping the multiplier and you can get a pretty nice OC with out changing anything else.
Plus unlike the older CPU's OCed the K series will throttle down/up according to use. Get a good heat sink off the recommended list with good fans and you're gold.

The graphics card cooler is almost always what makes the most noise. Gainward GTX 560Ti Phantom has 2GB of memory, which won't see much use unless you are using multiple screens. Can't find a price on it.
Might grab one of the cheaper 560Ti's and put http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835186046 on it for noise controle.

I'd just stay away from WC. WC only makes sense in a big WC setup with lots of OCing going on. Today good air cooling is very quiet.

Both PSU's are good enough to run this kind of system, get the cheaper one. Or if you think you would ever add a 2nd graphics card go for the 650w one.

Case what about the Antec Solo II? http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1218-page8.html
Fractal Define R3 is also a good one.

Screen, how big do you want it? IPS panels have better colour pallet. With Dell Ultrasharp line at the top.

SSD, get big enough to work on and have normal drives for storage.
1) i5 2500K@4.6GHz w/Silver Arrow, 8GB DDR3, Intel 120GB SSD, GTX 580 w/Shaman, Seasonic X-750, ASRock P67 Pro3, BenQ 23.6" 120Hz LED.
2) E8400@4GHz w/Megahelem, 8GB DDR2, 6 HDDs for ~4TB, 2x GTX 8800 SLI, Seasonic X-750, MSI P6N SLI Platinum, Samsung 22" LCD.

markanini
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2003 9:59 am
Location: Malmo, Sweden

Re: Which PSU?

Post by markanini » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:21 pm

garryd wrote:I've read so much about system problems from low power systems drawing too little power from a high output PSU
Whoever told you that is lying, how could Intel and nVidia include power saving features into their chips if it were a real issue? Sometimes a higher power PSU will be less inclined to ramp up it's fan at high load which means for silence it's better to get a higher rated PSU than you need. However a good PSU like Seasonic X-series or Modu87+ will be quiet nevertheless. Get a good PSU off the recommended list an you'll be fine whichever components you choose. Try this PSU calculator for wattage requirements: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp
Last edited by markanini on Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Fractal Design Define R3, Gigabyte Z68XP-UD4, Intel i5-2500k, Thermalright TRUE Rev. C, Seasonic X-560, Samsung 830, WD Green 3TB, Scythe S-Flex 120mm intake, exhaust and CPU @6-700rpm

SebRad
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Re: Which PSU?

Post by SebRad » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:22 pm

Hi, no way you'll have a problem of too little draw with i5 or i7 CPU and GTX560 Ti video card.
I managed to make my i7-2600k + GTX560 Ti based rig draw around 500DC from my PSU BUT that was with CPU ~4.5GHz and an extra GTX285 and a GTX260, all fully loaded running Folding@Home. The over-clock adds a good 50w and the two extra video cards probably ~200w so stock 2500k or 2600k + GTX560 Ti should load right in the sweet spot for a 500w PSU. If really want I can run a quick test for you.
Having re-read the Enermax review it looks like a lovely PSU and should be a great fit, it's 90% top efficiency range is 200~300w, should match proposed PC just fine.

Do you need a Z68 board, as not using onboard graphics unless you "want" the HDD caching feature I not sure what you gain over a P67 board that might be cheaper?
Quick look didn't find any cheap 8GB RAM sticks, unless you have good source 4x4GB now and 4x8GB later maybe cheaper option.

Without looking too hard I threw together my take on what you want on Scan.co.uk

Silencio RC-550 case & Modu87+ 500w
2500K + Asus P8P67 LE [does take 32GB RAM, loads features but not great over-clocker]
4x4GB DDR3-1600 & GTX560 Ti 1GB Phantom [GTX560 Phantom is £33 less]
Gelid Tranquillo CPU cooler [153mm tall 120mm PWM fan]
Spinpoint F3 1TB & Force 3 120GB SSD [equivilent of OCZ Agility, ie cheap sandforce SATA-III drive]
BD-ROM / DVD-RW & Windows 7 Ultimate

Total £1163

Thoughts:
I read somewhere the Phantom has 2x 80mm fan that idle ~1200rpm, will be fairly quiet, louder than PSU though. Load maybe noisy[ish]
If want really really quiet then go for cheapest GTX560Ti and add Twin Turbo II [or other GPU cooler]
Not sure how good the Tranquillo is but should be decent and meets your height restriction, if it's fan isn't good enough replace with better PWM fan. Recommend PWM as then can be controlled by the motherboards fan header through UEFI (BIOS) or software.
Same goes for case fans, if includded one(s) not good enough then replace, 3 pin in this case as that's what the motherboards case headers will control.
For RAM I picked 4x4GB as is £80 where 8GB stick was £170, each!

Hope helps, Seb
i7 2600k under NH-C14 w/2xTY-147PWM fans, P8P67Deluxe, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. MX100 512GB & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + lower 92mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.

garryd
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:10 am
Location: UK

Re: Which PSU?

Post by garryd » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:21 am

Thanks for all the feedback, I think I'll be going with the Enermax Modu 87+ 500W unit as there's zero chance I'll ever fit a second graphics card. Other items discussed will be continued in the corect forums.

Olaf van der Spek
Posts: 434
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:10 am

Re: Which PSU?

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:50 am

Just wondering, why the Enermax and not for example a Nexus?

garryd
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Location: UK

Re: Which PSU?

Post by garryd » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:50 am

Olaf van der Spek wrote:Just wondering, why the Enermax and not for example a Nexus?
Don't know really how I first narrowed it down to the two options but I read lots of stuff on SPCR and everything I've read about it is good - one of the most efficient and quietest units in it's class, so unless there's something that matches it's efficiency and betters it's quietness for less money then I may as well stick with my first choices. I'm in the UK and know it's available to buy so no reason there to look for something else either.

Olaf van der Spek
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Re: Which PSU?

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:40 am

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1012-page1.html

I don't know the cost of the PSUs in the UK, but in NL the Nexus is quite a bit cheaper.

skeeder
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:56 pm

Re: Which PSU?

Post by skeeder » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:12 am

Don't know if you got your answer, but right now, a seasonic 650W is on sale at the egg...$100 with mail in.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151088
Main: Antec P180 | Intel i2300 | Coolermaster Hyper212+ | Biostar H67MU | Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR 1600 | Antec Earthwatt 380

lodestar
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Re: Which PSU?

Post by lodestar » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:45 pm

It might be helpful to look at the chart at the botom of this page

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1044-page5.html

to see why the Enermax Modu87+ 500w is a better buy than the Seasonic X or the Nexus alternatives.

lodestar
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Re: Which PSU?

Post by lodestar » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:00 pm

Olaf van der Spek wrote:I don't know the cost of the PSUs in the UK, but in NL the Nexus is quite a bit cheaper.
Nexus PSUs are harder to find in the UK. When you can find them they are a bit cheaper, such as the NX-5000 at around £72. The Enermax Modu 87+ 500w is about £103. The NX-5000 is not a Gold PSU of course, and to me the difference in price is not enough to make it a serious contender against the more expensive but significantly quieter Enermax.

Olaf van der Spek
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:10 am

Re: Which PSU?

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:12 pm

Are 2 dBA and 4 dBA significant differences?
At 300 W the Nexus produces 22 dBA and the difference is bigger, but for some 22 dBA might still be good enough.
The longer warranty of the Enermax is very nice though.

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