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Step-by-Step: Building a Quiet PC from the Ground Up

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EZ-Spidey

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2004
Wow! This thread is AWESOME!!!! :clap:

I'm curious about something though, based on the way you use a 80mm
fan on the SK-7, can I expect to get better results if I use a 92mm fan
on an SLK-800 rather then a 80mm fan with the same rpm?
 
OP
C

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
You can expect to see a small performance improvement, but probably only in the neighborhood of 1-2 degrees.

Some updates:

Since this article was originally written, quite a bit of hardware has changed. For one, Thermalright has stopped producing the SK-6+ and the SK-7. They still produce the SLK-800, along with some newer, larger versions, such as the SLK-900 and SLK-947.

Zalman now produces heatsinks called the CNPS7000AlCu and CNPS7000Cu. The CNPS7000AlCu is my new favorite heatsink. It features a very unique design, which includes an integrated 92mm fan and they bundle a Fan Mate voltage controller with the heatsink, which allows you to vary the voltage from 5V-12V. This heatsink works absolutely wonderfully and it is incredibly quiet, at low voltage. Although the Fan Mate only goes down to 5V, the heatsink fan, itself can actually operate as low as 2.5V. I've written a short article here about the construction of something I call my Fan-Voltage-Controller-Strip, which is allowing me to run this heatsink at 5.17V-3.24V (depending on CPU temperature) on my P4 3.0C, overclocked to 3.5GHz. The heatsink is incredibly quiet, while still delivering awesome performance.

Hard drive technology has changed a bit, since I first wrote this article. The Seagate Barracuda IV is no longer manufactured and Seagate began producing the Barracuda V with a new revision that is not as quiet, so it is not the silence leader, any more. The Samsung P80 drives are now the quietest drives and are my top recommendation. They are manufactured in ATA133 and SATA versions with either 2 MB or 8 MB cache, in capacitites from 80 GB to 160 GB. They are as close to silent, as any drive I've ever used. The Western Digital JB drives are no longer my recommendation for high performance drive, that is relatively quiet. My new recommendations in that category are the Hitachi 7K250 (IDE) and 74 GB Raptor (SATA).
 
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Chixofnix

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Location
Kansas City, KS USA
omg that angled fan idea on the HS is so great! I just found this gem of a thread, and i've been struggling on getting a 120mm on my sk-7... this should be easy now ^^
 

Jerome Bettis

Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Hi

I am building a new PC with AMD 64 3800 X2, Asus mobo.

I read your info regarding case,fans,heatsinks, rubber grommits and viewed the case mods jpegs. These specs were for single CPU.

What do you recommend for a Dual Core system?

I was told that Antec is the only way to go. It seems most people say this because of noise level but what if saving money is more important than noise level?

Are there no other case options? What Antec case models would you recommend then?

What heat sinks, fans, and PSUs do you recommend for Dual Core?

Cheers
 
OP
C

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
Jerome Bettis said:
Hi

I am building a new PC with AMD 64 3800 X2, Asus mobo.

I read your info regarding case,fans,heatsinks, rubber grommits and viewed the case mods jpegs. These specs were for single CPU.

What do you recommend for a Dual Core system?

I was told that Antec is the only way to go. It seems most people say this because of noise level but what if saving money is more important than noise level?

Are there no other case options? What Antec case models would you recommend then?

What heat sinks, fans, and PSUs do you recommend for Dual Core?

Cheers

This article was originally written quite a while back and the hardware landscape has changed quite a bit, since then. I've upgraded/replaced parts several times, since that article, although I still use a lot of those systems, at work.

My main workstation at home is pretty similar to what you're asking about.

Case is an Antec P150 case (Highly recommended, read the reviews at SilentPCReview. This case comes with hard drive suspension available as a stock option, which I use.)

Seasonic S12-430 PSU (The Antec Neo PSU that came with my case was an older revision that has a problem with several motherboards, including mine. Newer revisions don't have this problem)

Athlon 3800+ X2 (overclocked to 2.25 GHz X 2)

Scythe Ninja heatsink with no fan (see exhaust fan, below)

120mm Nexus Real Quiet fan, at exhaust fan position, hooked up to the CPU fan header and I use Speedfan (software) to control the speed, based on CPU temperature, so the system is really, really quiet and only ramps up when I'm stressing the system, which is usually when I'm gaming and I have my headphones on, anyway.

Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe (in hindsight, the A8N-SLI Premium is a better value, the A8N32-SLI Deluxe has no better performance than the A8N-SLI Premium, when you're running a single video card, like me.)

512 MB x 2 Patriot PC4400 (overkill, but I got a good deal on it.)

Raptor 150GB drive (Not the best choice for quiet computing, but great performance. Samsung's drives are the best (in my opinion) for low noise systems.)

92mm Nexus Real Quiet fan, running at a dead-silent 5 volts, in front of the Raptor. For most setups, this isn't needed, but the Raptor is a pretty hot drive.

NEC DVD Burner

Nvidia 6800GT with Zalman ZF-700 cooler, running at 4.25 volts (nearly silent and MUCH better than any stock fan.)

My system has four fans. The video card fan runs at 4.25 volts and is nearly silent, the hard drive cooling fan runs at 5V and is nearly silent, the power supply fan is temperature controlled and it is nearly silent, the CPU fan is actually the exhaust fan and it is temperature controlled and nearly silent. All in all, my system is really, really quiet. The loudest component is the hard drive (only noticeable when seeking) and the CPU/exhaust fan (only noticeable when the system is being taxed.) This system meets my performance/noise ratio; individual mileage may vary.
 
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Jerome Bettis

Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
I'm only going to be using bare b0nes setup with low game play.

AMD 64 3800 X2
Asus A8N-E
NVIDIA 6800GS (was told NVIDIA is better for games like Fear and Doom)
Kingston KVR400X64 C3A/512 (X2)
Case undecided maybe http://search.ncix.com/displayproductdetail.php?sku=14122&vpn=SLK3000B&manufacture=ANTEC

Can you recommend some drive choices other than yours?

How is that case at the link I provided? What about the mobo? Would you choose another mobo?

I really don't want to be spending money on extras that gamers would get because I really won't be playing much.

Cheers
 
OP
C

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
Jerome Bettis said:
I'm only going to be using bare b0nes setup with low game play.

AMD 64 3800 X2
Asus A8N-E
NVIDIA 6800GS (was told NVIDIA is better for games like Fear and Doom)
Kingston KVR400X64 C3A/512 (X2)
Case undecided maybe http://search.ncix.com/displayproductdetail.php?sku=14122&vpn=SLK3000B&manufacture=ANTEC

Can you recommend some drive choices other than yours?

How is that case at the link I provided? What about the mobo? Would you choose another mobo?

I really don't want to be spending money on extras that gamers would get because I really won't be playing much.

Cheers

I've used that case and it isn't bad, though the bundled PSU that sometimes comes with that case (but not the one you linked to) is somewhat problematic.

That motherboard looks fine. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that it has a northbridge fan. Most Nforce4 boards have these little whiny fans and I really dislike them, from a noise perspective. I'm a nut, when it comes to having a quiet PC. I always try to find motherboards with passive heatsinks for northbridge, etc. Asus, which is a great brand, has a few Nforce4 boards with passive northbridge heatsinks. One that you may be interested in is the A8N-VM. This has the Geforce 6150 chipset, which is basically an Nforce4, with integrated video. The integrated video is DX9 and has some nice features, but it isn't for serious gamers. Fortunately, the board also has a PCI Express x 16 slot, so you can use a "real" video card, if you like. This board is not a super-overclocking board.

For hard drives, if silence is your goal, then my number one recommendation is any of Samsung's current drives, SATA or PATA. They are incredibly quiet, they have a longer-than-average warranty, and I haven't had a single drive failure in three years and I've bought and installed well over 100 Samsung drives for various systems.

schnikies79 said:
Has anybody tried out the HDD silencers that you drop your drive in and put the box in a 5.25" bay? I was looking at them on www.endpcnoise.com, but they are pricy!

I'm sure that those silencers work pretty well. Suspension setups have been around for quite a while. Mike Chin, of SPCR, introduced the concept to me, and I took his ideas and have built a lot of hard drive suspensions, since then. I wrote an article on the subject, complete with diagrams for building your own. Check the link in my sig.

Shadowknight281 said:
In the unlikely event anyone cares, I posted a FAQ I had previously posted in the newbie section of SPCR. You can find it on this forum here: http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=438768

Thanks for that link. That FAQ looks great!
 
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Jerome Bettis

Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
cmcquistion said:
One that you may be interested in is the A8N-VM. This has the Geforce 6150 chipset, which is basically an Nforce4, with integrated video. The integrated video is DX9 and has some nice features, but it isn't for serious gamers. Fortunately, the board also has a PCI Express x 16 slot, so you can use a "real" video card, if you like. This board is not a super-overclocking board.
Oh, are you talking about the A8N-VM / CSM ? Apparently there is has great value.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ASUS-A8N-VM-CSM-...ryZ99245QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

What model 80GB Seagate drives are quiet? And what would be the least expensive PSU you'd go for?
 
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