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Silent PC Considerations\Question

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Joined
Oct 2, 2002
Hello All,

As time rolls on, I am becoming more and more tired of the extreme fan noise coming from my RTX 2080. My rig is towards the end of it's life, so I am not looking to fix the current problem.

By the end of the year, with 4080s on the way, I will build a new rig.

My question for the folks - do you think one can reasonably expect to build a noise free machine by intelligently using fans and a quiet case, or is water-cooling the only way to truly get to noise free computing? When I was a youngster (20 years ago), I built a custom water-cooling loop which I loved. My PC was dead quiet and performed well. The amount of work however was staggering. I am certainly willing to water-cool again, but if it is overkill, I would just use quiet fans. I know this is sacrilege, but I do not overclock much anymore, so my temps would be "normal".

One more thing, I have not been on this forum for fifteen years, I spent my college years on here everyday - I couldn't find my old account, so I am reborn. I was super happy to see this place is still alive and thriving.

Thanks in advance.

Brightonrock
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Welcome!! Again! PM me your email you may have used and we can likely track you down and get that account back. :)

Reasonably silent is achievable with air cooling, absolutely. It's a matter of choosing the right heatsink, fans for it, and the chassis.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
I would argue that it might be more achievable with air cooling, but this is certainly debatable. To answer your question, yes, so long as you accept the fact that you will have higher temperatures and lose the potential for performance gains when compared to a system with louder high airflow fans.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
What might work best for you, is a mix of both worlds. Without going into full custom water it's easier to have a quieter system overall on air cooling, but your GPU will be loud. Look at one of the GPU's with the watercooler built-in (e.g. EVGA Hybrid) but use an air cooler for the CPU. Get good PWM control fans (e.g. Noctua iPPC PWM) and control them via BIOS or software.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Another question, if the top graphics is really required. Can get something mid-shelf that still handles well 1440p and is quiet like right now ASUS TUF/Strix RTX3070. Quiet are generally high-end series but with TDP at about 220W, sometimes more.
There are some exceptions of quiet high wattage graphics cards like I have ASRock RX6800XT that is quiet but comes with a huge cooler that won't fit many ATX cases. Some EVGA cards have huge coolers and I heard they're quiet too.
Maybe if the next-gen will be faster at the same TDP then something lower wattage will be more than enough. There are still 4 months+, so I would wait and see what will be available. I highly doubt that we will see full cover water blocks for graphics cards in first couple of months after the premiere and most of them will be available only for reference cards anyway, so it may end on a graphics card with built-in AIO cooler or just large air cooler.
 
OP
Brightonrock
Joined
Oct 2, 2002
What might work best for you, is a mix of both worlds. Without going into full custom water it's easier to have a quieter system overall on air cooling, but your GPU will be loud. Look at one of the GPU's with the watercooler built-in (e.g. EVGA Hybrid) but use an air cooler for the CPU. Get good PWM control fans (e.g. Noctua iPPC PWM) and control them via BIOS or software.
I forgot about this option. Purchase a preblocked card, make a simple watercooling setup, air-cool the rest. That is a reasonable option.


For the sake of discussion, do we agree that under ideal circumstances (Money, Labor, Time are not factored in) water-cooling is the absolute quietest one can go, notwithstanding fanless\passive builds?
Post magically merged:

Another question, if the top graphics is really required. Can get something mid-shelf that still handles well 1440p and is quiet like right now ASUS TUF/Strix RTX3070. Quiet are generally high-end series but with TDP at about 220W, sometimes more.
There are some exceptions of quiet high wattage graphics cards like I have ASRock RX6800XT that is quiet but comes with a huge cooler that won't fit many ATX cases. Some EVGA cards have huge coolers and I heard they're quiet too.
Maybe if the next-gen will be faster at the same TDP then something lower wattage will be more than enough. There are still 4 months+, so I would wait and see what will be available. I highly doubt that we will see full cover water blocks for graphics cards in first couple of months after the premiere and most of them will be available only for reference cards anyway, so it may end on a graphics card with built-in AIO cooler or just large air cooler.
In my particular use case - mid range is not an option. I am typically playing graphically intense games at 2k (it would be nice to go to 4k next generation).
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
For the sake of discussion, do we agree that under ideal circumstances (Money, Labor, Time are not factored in) water-cooling is the absolute quietest one can go, notwithstanding fanless\passive builds?
Absolutely. A fully custom water cooling setup with an excess of radiators will be quietest. It just isn't price or space feasible for most people.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
I have spent my days of late getting rid of small fast spinning fans in favor of larger, slower fans with high CFM. When I'm in the market, I look for reviews of fans with the highest CFM and lowest DBa. Air cooling is still the best bang for my buck.