SPCR Designed Computer Systems

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

SPCR Designed Computer Systems

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:43 pm

SPCR Designed Computer Systems -- - Designed by Mike Chin of SPCR for very low noise, assembled and sold by experienced, professional system integrators in US & Canada.
Last edited by MikeC on Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

plympton
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:40 am

I like!

Post by plympton » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:20 pm

These are almost identical to the 2 systems I recently built, sans some of the tweaks, so I suppose I did something right! :-)

Sounds like a good partnership.

How did you get the Zalman cooler to fit - is the AM2 socket essentially an Opteron socket? I like the Zalman in my Desktop box, and thought they weren't making their older coolers work for AM2.

EDIT: I found the adaptors on their site. Now the question is whether I want a Zalman or an XP-90.. decisions decisions....

-Dan
Last edited by plympton on Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rpsgc
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:59 am
Location: Portugal

Post by rpsgc » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:38 pm

Awesome! I wish you all the best of luck :)
Fractal Define R4 | Corsair AX750 | MSI Z97 Gaming 5 | Intel Core i7 4770K w/TRUE 120 Rev. C | 16GB G.Skill Sniper DDR3-1866 | Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB OC | Crucial m4 128GB + Crucial MX100 512GB + WD Blue 1TB + WD Red 4TB | JVC HA-RX900 | Dell U2312HM + BenQ G2400WD | Asus Echelon Mechanical Keyboard | Logitech G400s

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: I like!

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:09 pm

plympton wrote:These are almost identical to the 2 systems I recently built, sans some of the tweaks, so I suppose I did something right! :-)

Sounds like a good partnership.

How did you get the Zalman cooler to fit - is the AM2 socket essentially an Opteron socket? I like the Zalman in my Desktop box, and thought they weren't making their older coolers work for AM2.

EDIT: I found the adaptors on their site. Now the question is whether I want a Zalman or an XP-90.. decisions decisions....

-Dan
Sharp eyes... ;) they came up with their own adapters; just a couple of machined aluminum blocks with the right screw taps. We're looking at substituting the 7000 with a Thermalright SI-128, just exploring fit/orientation issues right now.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

merlin
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:48 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Post by merlin » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:27 pm

I was surprised to see the good old Zalman 7000 series still in action myself. Great articles and choices as always, I'll definitely refer people who don't mind paying for prebuilt quietness.
Quiet Wuv Wizzie
Main: I5-3570K at 3.7ghz, 16GB DDR-1600@1.35v, Asrock Z77 Extreme6, Corsair 330R, Seasonic 760XP2, Sapphire Radeon 7950| Secondary/Lan: Core i3-2100, 4GB, Msi H67MA-E35, Radeon 6790, Sugo SG02| HTPC: Core i3-2100, 4GB, AsRock H67M-ITX/HT, Antec ISK300-65| NAS: Core I3-2100, 8GB, Antec TP-550, Lian Li PC-Q08B, 4X2TB WD Green| Lappy: Latitude D620 Core 2 T7600, Quadro NVS 110M

Erssa
Posts: 1421
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:26 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Erssa » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:50 pm

I was just recently playing, with the idea of starting a small business to build silent systems with couple of my friends. I really think there's starting to be a market for this sort of things.

That model One seems really nice and I'm sure it will find and audience among those, who want absolutely silent PC without a hassle and don't mind paying alot for it. Personally, I think they are a bit too pricy, when in the barest form (without display) it costs 400$ more then a similarly specced 17" imac. Or when a 20" iMac is priced similarly to a pc with the same specs and without display.
[color=blue][size=84]Antec Solo case /w Seasonic S-12 430W, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2, X2 4850e /w Scythe Ninja, 2x2Gb DDR2800, WD Raptor 150GB, 500GB WD GP in Antec MX-1, BenQ G2400W, Logitech diNovo Laser, Logitech z-680[/color][/size]

andyb
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 3307
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
Location: Essex, England

Post by andyb » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:40 pm

I only read the 1st page, will read the rest tomorrow, I did look at all of the pics though and I was impressed.

I hope that SPCR keeps their feet firmly on the ground, the same ground that SPCR started on. Making computers quieter is what SPCR is all about, so long as this partnership is all about funding more reviews, more detail, more information, and of course paying the people who do the work then I applaud the SPCR EPCN partnership.

On to the more possitive side of things, those systems look quite fantastic, and the partnership deal is an obvious choise from both parties, and I am happy that it has taken this long for SPCR to make a deal with another company for the sake of revenue. This proves in my mind that SPCR has refused an awful lot of other choices over the years, and have stuck to their guns until a wholesomely worthwhile choice of partnership such as this one reared its beautiful head.

Congratulations SPCR.


Andy
Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,400MHz, 512GB 850 EVO, 500 Extreme II, 2x 2.5" drives, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr.
Server, under reconstruction, 380W Enermax Pro82+, positive pressure only.

wwenze
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 12:04 am

Post by wwenze » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:21 pm

unless you're truly obsessed about noise and live in a soundproof bunker in the middle of the woods
I'd like to point out that, the woods is a very noisy place at night with all the animals and wind.

[serious mode]

Ever thought about... pre-tweaked systems? Like the A64 comes @ 1.2V with the option of lowering it to 1.1V, or less than that hook or crook,
Or the Nexus is temperature controlled.

It's easy to do but there would be people who don't realize it could and should be done. Trees get saved.

[/serious mode]

Is there like a big warning like "take out the bubble wrap before turning on your computer for the first time" somewhere for those who believe opening the casing results in excessive dose of radioactivity and therefore cancer?

NeilBlanchard
Moderator
Posts: 7680
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Contact:

Post by NeilBlanchard » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:42 pm

Hello,
wwenze wrote:Is there like a big warning like "take out the bubble wrap before turning on your computer for the first time" somewhere for those who believe opening the casing results in excessive dose of radioactivity and therefore cancer?
My suggestion is that EPCN should pack the AC power cord inside the bubble wrap, to make very sure that nobody powers these machines up before removing the said bubble wrap... :o
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:22 pm

I was thinking the same thing actually.

They'd be dead silent, though. </bad pun>
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:28 pm

A sheet taped to the front panel of each system warns boldly not to turn the power on until the antistatic bubble wrap is removed from inside the case. This is standard for all ECPN systems.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

wpb
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:09 pm

Post by wpb » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:47 pm

Very nice systems. Great choice for the mid-tower case. I am very happy with my Solo.

I'm all thumbs when it comes to building anything from scratch. Any thoughts about selling the PSU duct separately since EPCN is going to be "mass" producing them?

Bill

dcuccia
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:56 pm

Intel quad-core?

Post by dcuccia » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:21 pm

Hey Mike,

Great ideas! Three questions/requests for Model One Point One:

I haven't seen any SPCR reporting of a quiet QX6700-based system yet...think you could you get said SPC w/in your noise spec? I understand the issues, but I'm in the market for a quiet workstation (hopefully no longer an oxymoron) at work. I'm planning to build it myself, but would seriously consider something pre-built w/ support for a bit more money and less time/effort on my part.

Also (but obviously related), how about adding the new Corsair PSUs as an upgrade option? The power/heat ecosystem is a delicate one, but I'd consider the option for more headroom to be a significant value-added to the product offering. Besides the powering of quad core cpus, I ask because:

I really want the ability to upgrade to a dx10 card (for GPGPU purposes), but only when a passively cooled version (or DIY mod) is available. What's the hope that I this would be possible w/ a Model One?

(Maybe what I'm asking for is a "Model Zero" P180 quad-core w/ a 8800gts/x made as quiet as possible.)

nightmorph
Posts: 316
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:07 am

Post by nightmorph » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:26 pm

Heck yes! The Solo system is very similar to the one I built, though with fewer fans and higher temps than my system. Still, it looks very well done.

I'm especially surprised and pleased by the prices listed at EPCN; they're quite reasonable. There's nowhere near the extreme price gouging practiced by most system integrators -- the listed components come in very close to the individual prices.

I think the thing that made me happiest was the possibility of buying without and operating system whatsoever, thus saving a nice bundle of cash. Second happiest was the fact that Linux was an option (and a much cheaper one than Windows, of course). :)

Good work, SPCR + EPCN. I'm very impressed with the offerings and the options available for each, and by the prices. What a pity I just built my own workstation -- though I did build it according to SPCR ideals. :)

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: Intel quad-core?

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:29 pm

dcuccia wrote:(Maybe what I'm asking for is a "Model Zero" P180 quad-core w/ a 8800gts/x made as quiet as possible.)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like. A whole 'nuther model. Probably needs a P190.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

plympton
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:40 am

Re: SPCR Designed Computer Systems

Post by plympton » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:06 pm

MikeC wrote:When the system is being used, the single biggest source of apparent noise is the WD hard drive, which causes a slight low frequency hum when the system is placed on resonant surfaces such as a hollow table top. This noise is very low in level, however, and dissipates quickly with a bit of distance. When you are seated 6~8 feet away, as in a typical TV room, the noise is extremely subtle, and not possible to hear with any music, TV program or movie sound track on.

A bit of seek noise is also audible from close up (within 3 feet) when the hard drive is writing or reading. Again, when the system is in use, this noise is below the level of entertainment sounds from the speakers.
I had the exact same problem with my 500 GB - it just drove me NUTS! (I don't use standby yet, as I haven't found it reliable under Windows Media Center Edition). Something about the NSK 2400 and that drive - the constant tick-tick-tick of the seeks while recording live-tv drove me nuts when just sitting in the TV room. I'm a freak, but popping my 320 GB WD drive in there solved the problem. Done. Was a few degrees cooler, too.

Under operation, it was a-ok, though.

-Dan

autoboy
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Post by autoboy » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:32 pm

Sharp eyes... they came up with their own adapters; just a couple of machined aluminum blocks with the right screw taps. We're looking at substituting the 7000 with a Thermalright SI-128, just exploring fit/orientation issues right now.
How about the arctic cooling alpine64? It is so damn cheap and seems to cool as effectively as the Zalman 7000 at low speed. I'm not sure if it can handle the hotter chips though.

Those are very nice systems. They will be on my list for friends and family. I'm getting tired of building them all the time. How bout a nice mATX system or shoebox system next? It is really hard to find a quiet shoebox PC.

I'm really suprised that you decided to duct the Solo. It seems like a large added expense for a small gain. It is all hand built and taped together. I guess that is what the buyers are paying for though, a real SPCR worthy computer without all the work.

Overall, very well done and a brilliant move to help fund SPCR. I hope the volume is good and prompts you to build more great systems in the future.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:37 pm

autoboy wrote:I'm really surprised that you decided to duct the Solo. It seems like a large added expense for a small gain. It is all hand built and taped together. I guess that is what the buyers are paying for though, a real SPCR worthy computer without all the work.

Overall, very well done and a brilliant move to help fund SPCR. I hope the volume is good and prompts you to build more great systems in the future.
Actually, once a cutting template has been created for the duct, it's not difficult or time consuming to make. Just print it off on a large sheet of paper, which gets used as a tracer onto the construction paper EPCN chose to use. It has a significant benefit with the system under load in warm weather -- the PSU fan doesn't ramp up, so the noise quality/level stays unchanged, which is a key feature (imo) of a truly quiet, unobtrusive system.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

HammerSandwich
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:21 pm
Location: 15143, USA
Contact:

Post by HammerSandwich » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:58 pm

Is the "Eleven" named as an homage to KLH?

picture_perfect
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:28 am
Location: austin,tx

Post by picture_perfect » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:11 pm

just wondering how ducting the neo affected the case temps (i can see why it was ducted because the neo in my p150 really ramps up under load)

dcuccia
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:56 pm

Re: Intel quad-core?

Post by dcuccia » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:37 pm

MikeC wrote:
dcuccia wrote:(Maybe what I'm asking for is a "Model Zero" P180 quad-core w/ a 8800gts/x made as quiet as possible.)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like. A whole 'nuther model. Probably needs a P190.
Really? I'm currently running:

p180 (w/ 1 nexus 120mm case fan)
seasonic m12 700w
E6400@3ghz (arctic silver; cnps9500 w/ nexus 120mm mod)
eVga 8800gtx
4gb ram
2x750gb hdd raid0

...and everybody seems happy as a clam, and fairly quiet too (could use some AcoustiPack-ing). I just don't want to spend days building these at work. I'm about to hire a number of people and would jump on SPC workstations designed by Mike Chin.

Have you tested the noise level of a QX6700 in the Model One? It's cost is nearly equivalent to your current X6800 upgrade price, so I could just buy one and tack it on...be nice not to lose the support, though.

roadie
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Liverpool, UK

Post by roadie » Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:16 am

MikeC wrote:
autoboy wrote:I'm really surprised that you decided to duct the Solo. It seems like a large added expense for a small gain. It is all hand built and taped together. I guess that is what the buyers are paying for though, a real SPCR worthy computer without all the work.
Actually, once a cutting template has been created for the duct, it's not difficult or time consuming to make. Just print it off on a large sheet of paper, which gets used as a tracer onto the construction paper EPCN chose to use. It has a significant benefit with the system under load in warm weather -- the PSU fan doesn't ramp up, so the noise quality/level stays unchanged, which is a key feature (imo) of a truly quiet, unobtrusive system.
Great article and business decision. I am planning to move my components to a system extremely similar to the Model One and had decided to duct my NeoHE. If there was any chance of purchasing the duct and the grill/filter for the 5.25" bay, then I would be all over it.
I Customised Antec Solo I Antec NeoHE 550W I MSI P67A-GD65 I Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5Ghz I
I 8Gb Samsung @ 1866Mhz I Corsair Force GT 60Gb I Zotac GTX 670 I Dell SP2208WFP I Windows 8.1 x64 I

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Fri Dec 01, 2006 3:00 am

When the system is being used, the single biggest source of apparent noise is the WD hard drive, which causes a slight low frequency hum when the system is placed on resonant surfaces such as a hollow table top.
Wasn't there any way of decoupling this drive, like say with adhesive foam pads?

Tzupy
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1560
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:47 am
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Post by Tzupy » Fri Dec 01, 2006 3:23 am

@MikeC: IMO a fanned SI-128 wouldn't work well in the NSK2400, I have it (in P150) and it's quite tall. An XP-120 should work better.
If you want to use it fanless, you'd better fully duct it somehow to the back fan, because the fins are just 1.55 mm apart.
It seems to me that there is a niche market for low-profile passive heatsinks, like a SI-128 with larger fins but wider spaced.

Bluefront
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 5316
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: St Louis (county) Missouri USA

Post by Bluefront » Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:34 am

My take on Model One....Nice looking system and probably as quiet as possible, since you are using a conventionally configured case.

But.....It runs much too hot for my liking, both the CPU and the HD, the running temp of which I did not see. I would expect the HD to be running around 40C or slightly higher with a 21C ambient. And I wonder about all the other temps in such a low-airflow setup. I would ship it with a front intake fan installed for sure, and I would substitute a Scythe mid-speed S-Flex for the Nexus. In higher ambient temps, which are to be expected for most people in the summer, I would worry about that stock cooling ability.

And.....it could be quieter if the airflow configuration was different. I realize you must use readily available cases for this project, but because of this, you have all the intakes up front.....not the quietest case setup. I would at least eliminate the front PSU duct, and design the PSU to use an intake from somewhere less audible. And I have never been completely satisfied with the main intake from behind the front bezel.....despite numerous attempts with many cases. They are always too loud, no matter the configuration.

What I'm suggesting is a different case, with non-conventional airflow, probably designed from scratch. This Model One will be just fine for most people......and to improve on it will require a redesign, maybe a new model, and probably not a commercially smart decision.

Good luck with this new direction for SPCR....
[size=75]"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke[/size]

wussboy
Posts: 635
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2002 12:34 pm
Location: Southampton, UK

Post by wussboy » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:13 am

I too think it's a good decision. SPCR has developed a bit of "brand power" having become the true authority in silent PCs. I don't believe anything is silent until I read it on SPCR. Marketing systems with the SPCR branding is an excellent way to profit from this.

A word of warning: Because these systems are being sold on SPCR's name, there is a real danger of the power of that name being eroded. If these computers have issues that have nothing to do with their noise levels, it will still reflect badly on SPCR, reducing the brand power. Just something to be vigilant about.

Cheers!
Everything is exactly what it seems.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:24 am

wussboy wrote:I too think it's a good decision. SPCR has developed a bit of "brand power" having become the true authority in silent PCs. I don't believe anything is silent until I read it on SPCR. Marketing systems with the SPCR branding is an excellent way to profit from this.

A word of warning: Because these systems are being sold on SPCR's name, there is a real danger of the power of that name being eroded. If these computers have issues that have nothing to do with their noise levels, it will still reflect badly on SPCR, reducing the brand power. Just something to be vigilant about.

Cheers!
Thanks for the support... and the warning. What you mention is a reality that's faced by partnerships everywhere. All the more reason to go with a system integrator with experience in the field. At this time, there's no other US company with as much experience in quiet PC components and building/selling/supporting quiet PCs as EndPCNoise.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: Intel quad-core?

Post by MikeC » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:44 am

MikeC wrote:
dcuccia wrote:(Maybe what I'm asking for is a "Model Zero" P180 quad-core w/ a 8800gts/x made as quiet as possible.)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like. A whole 'nuther model. Probably needs a P190.
BTW, there will be other models for other applications.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

rpsgc
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:59 am
Location: Portugal

Re: Intel quad-core?

Post by rpsgc » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:38 am

MikeC wrote:
MikeC wrote:
dcuccia wrote:(Maybe what I'm asking for is a "Model Zero" P180 quad-core w/ a 8800gts/x made as quiet as possible.)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like. A whole 'nuther model. Probably needs a P190.
BTW, there will be other models for other applications.
Ooooh.... goody! Can't wait to see them! :D
Fractal Define R4 | Corsair AX750 | MSI Z97 Gaming 5 | Intel Core i7 4770K w/TRUE 120 Rev. C | 16GB G.Skill Sniper DDR3-1866 | Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB OC | Crucial m4 128GB + Crucial MX100 512GB + WD Blue 1TB + WD Red 4TB | JVC HA-RX900 | Dell U2312HM + BenQ G2400WD | Asus Echelon Mechanical Keyboard | Logitech G400s

Palindroman
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Palindroman » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:03 am

It's great to see all that knowledge becoming available for a larger audience. My only objection is that the systems consume a lot of watts at idle (68 watts and 98 watts respectively). Excellent performance-per-watt though.
wwenze wrote:
Ever thought about... pre-tweaked systems? Like the A64 comes @ 1.2V with the option of lowering it to 1.1V, or less than that hook or crook,
Or the Nexus is temperature controlled.

It's easy to do but there would be people who don't realize it could and should be done. Trees get saved.
What are the pros and cons of pre-tweaking these systems?

Post Reply