Build Advice Dead silent PC build (Without a GPU)

Sander_4

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Hello,
I am currently trying to put together a build that will, ideally, be completely silent. I have looked through this forum and LTT's forum for silent PC builds, but most posts are about a (gaming) PC with a GPU.
However I want to put together a build with only a CPU (that has an iGPU of course) and no GPU. I already have a gaming PC, and I need a new PC which will be running code (ideally) 24/7, and because of this it should be as silent as possible. I think I have got quite some wiggle room because I don't plan to use a GPU. I've looked into NAS configs but they seem to not focus on CPU speed, rather on file transfer speed. Furthermore most NAS configs don't even have "silent" as a goal.
For the rest of the post I'll follow the given template:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month
Budget Range: No cap
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Executing code as fast as possible (and high speed internet but I'm fairly sure most motherboards have 1 Gigabit+ speeds already)
Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: No
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
No preference, just wanna know the config
Location: Netherlands
Parts Preferences:
I don't really have a preference, however from the information I gathered the best deal for price/performance would be the I9 9900k, because it has an iGPU and its only ~300 here while the i9 10900k, Ryzen 3 3900x and any Ryzen 5xxx CPU is 450+. Besides, Ryzen has no iGPU, which means I'll have to spend extra on some low tier GPU while I wont be gaming on this PC what so ever.

I'll share what build I currently have in mind:
-Case: Fractal Design Define R6 without the glass (which is apparently very quiet, but please if you have suggestions do share because I haven't done a ton of research on the cases)
-CPU: As mentioned above, the I9 9900k
-CPU Cooler: I already own an Noctua DH15, which brings absolutely insane cooling to my current chip (never goes above ~67C while its overclocked with 1.4V), so I was thinking of maybe buying another, since they are really silent (and I could reduce the fan speed further). I've looked at Scythe's lineup since they have really quiet coolers as well, but I'm not too convinced since the main appeal is the price, while I can afford the DH15 just fine. Any recommendations are welcome.
-RAM: Already have an extra 16GB 3200 mhz Vengeance LPX kit at home (Because I ordered 2 kits like a dumbass and forgot to return it on time, guess it works out in the end)
-PSU: Doesn't matter, but from what I've read, I need some high wattage PSU to make the fans spin really slow or not at all. I'm guessing for a PC without a GPU something like 750W would be enough to have the fans never spin up.
-Motherboard: Anything that is compatible with the CPU and Ram speeds and is capable of overclocking to 5 GHz
-SSD: Doesn't really matter, will probably end up buying a 1TB M.2 ssd of Samsung
-GPU: None (would've been near impossible to get these days anyway)
-Extra case fans: I have seen recommendations to add/replace case fans with some Noctua fans, I haven't researched this all to much so I'm not sure if I'll end up doing this, but if it does improve sound levels and/or performance, I'll gladly buy it.


Overclocking: Yes, preferably to 5 GHz if I'm buying the I9 9900k
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: Not relevant since I won't be gaming
Additional Comments: Considering that I am not using a GPU, a smaller case would also be possible (even preferred), as long as performance and sound levels aren't impacted too much.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I am currently running the code on my PC which renders it unusable for gaming, so I'd like to buy a separate PC to run the code on, I'll just connect it to my second monitor and control is using something like Synergy.

I hope I properly conveyed all that I wanted to say, and that it's not too messy to read.
Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Karadjgne

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Here's the problem with the 9900k. Cooling. You plan on an OC to 5ish GHz. Running code, I'm going to assume that means full core constant use, basically a Prime95 type workload.

That's going to see north of a 200w output. You aren't getting that quiet under a load. Not without a well designed full custom loop.

You can keep it cool with a decent 280/360mm AIO, but cool and quiet when talking about a 9900k with OC are not quite synonymous.

There's a reason it's 300ish, not 400+.

You really have no use for an R6. It's a massive case for nothing but a motherboard and psu and cpu cooler.

If I had to do it, this would be my choice. PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor (€318.95 @ Megekko)
CPU Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 72.8 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (€96.99 @ Azerty)
Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox NR200 Mini ITX Desktop Case
Power Supply: Corsair SF 600 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply (€129.76 @ Megekko)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Total: €651.50
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2021-04-17 20:50 CEST+0200


Of course price is funky since US shopping in the Netherlands doesn't always get the parts available, whereas you might.
But it's fully supported for a 9900k with igpu.
 

Sander_4

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Here's the problem with the 9900k. Cooling. You plan on an OC to 5ish GHz. Running code, I'm going to assume that means full core constant use, basically a Prime95 type workload.

That's going to see north of a 200w output. You aren't getting that quiet under a load. Not without a well designed full custom loop.

You can keep it cool with a decent 280/360mm AIO, but cool and quiet when talking about a 9900k with OC are not quite synonymous.

There's a reason it's 300ish, not 400+.

You really have no use for an R6. It's a massive case for nothing but a motherboard and psu and cpu cooler.

If I had to do it, this would be my choice. PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor (€318.95 @ Megekko)
CPU Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 72.8 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (€96.99 @ Azerty)
Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox NR200 Mini ITX Desktop Case
Power Supply: Corsair SF 600 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply (€129.76 @ Megekko)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Case Fan: be quiet! Silent Wings 3 50.5 CFM 120 mm Fan (€26.45 @ Azerty)
Total: €651.50
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2021-04-17 20:50 CEST+0200


Of course price is funky since US shopping in the Netherlands doesn't always get the parts available, whereas you might.
But it's fully supported for a 9900k with igpu.
Thanks for the extensive reply!
The code I'll be running is currently running only on 2 cores, and while it is fully utilizing those cores I don't think I will be utilizing the full 16 threads while running my code. My current CPU is the i5 6600k, which has only 4 cores 4 threads and the code is fairly fast. I'm planning on adding parallel processing, which will of course start using up more of the CPU's threads but I dont think it will utitlise all 16 cores to their max capacity. Also I'm not even 100% sure if I'll be overclocking to 5 GHz, if it ends up being too loud or just unviable, I could drop it down to like 4.6 GHz or something.

I was planning on going with that exact AIO cooler at first, because of the good reviews I saw online. But I noticed a bunch of people said the water pump humming is actually more annoying than the fan speed of air coolers. Furthermore since I don't think I would be pushing my CPU to the absolute max like P95 does, the noise levels should be lower if you just take something like a D15, because at lower temps the AIO humming noise is more noticeable than the pretty much silent D15 fans.

And thanks for bringing that case to my attention, from what I'm reading it looks like a really solid case for my specific goal. Although I have never built in a ITX case, so it will be interesting to see how that's gonna go.
 

Karadjgne

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I have an R5. It's basically the same case as the R6, with some tweaks. I'm 177.8 CM tall and it comes upto my knee sitting on the floor.

My current build is a mITX that's smaller than the NR200, yet has a dual 240mm full custom loop. The actual design of the case is almost identical however. Because of the 4x Noctua fans, it's dead silent at idle, and barely a hum at full loads, but that's also due to a 65w Ryzen and a 230w 2070Super.

So size of the case doesn't really play into noise factors much, that can easily be mitigated using oversized, over efficient cooling on a lower wattage output cpu. That's what allows fans to slow, not the wattage.

Even the D15 struggles with a 9900k when it's topped out. At 5.1GHz, an all core OC can reach the 250w mark, the limits of aircooling and maintaining temps under throttle.

So there's give and take in everything, if you go uber small, you get limited on air cooler size, like that NR200 only fits a 155mm tall cooler, but by the same token a mid atx like the R6 is nothing more than a massive waste of space since there's nothing in it of any size except the cooler.

That's what made mITX cases like the BitFenix Prodigy so popular, you could fit a D15 and still be mITX.

Which makes it possible that a lower wattage Ryzen, like the 5800x or 5900x a lot more attractive, even if it's initial cost is higher, it opens up possibilities and for production type work can almost double the output of the 9900k in some instances.

But I'm thinking you are aiming at something closer to folding@home, so even a 5600x would be more than enough, even running parallel, will get the same if not better performance, much cheaper overall on the electric bill considering the power cost and doesn't require exotic cooling nor the D15 size coolers to stay within limits. Only requires a $20 GT710 to pull up Windows.

So you have plenty of actual options, but sticking to a 9900k just because of its initial cost shouldn't be one set option, because that kills a lot of other options that might get you better results for your wants.
 

Sander_4

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I have an R5. It's basically the same case as the R6, with some tweaks. I'm 177.8 CM tall and it comes upto my knee sitting on the floor.

My current build is a mITX that's smaller than the NR200, yet has a dual 240mm full custom loop. The actual design of the case is almost identical however. Because of the 4x Noctua fans, it's dead silent at idle, and barely a hum at full loads, but that's also due to a 65w Ryzen and a 230w 2070Super.

So size of the case doesn't really play into noise factors much, that can easily be mitigated using oversized, over efficient cooling on a lower wattage output cpu. That's what allows fans to slow, not the wattage.

Even the D15 struggles with a 9900k when it's topped out. At 5.1GHz, an all core OC can reach the 250w mark, the limits of aircooling and maintaining temps under throttle.

So there's give and take in everything, if you go uber small, you get limited on air cooler size, like that NR200 only fits a 155mm tall cooler, but by the same token a mid atx like the R6 is nothing more than a massive waste of space since there's nothing in it of any size except the cooler.

That's what made mITX cases like the BitFenix Prodigy so popular, you could fit a D15 and still be mITX.

Which makes it possible that a lower wattage Ryzen, like the 5800x or 5900x a lot more attractive, even if it's initial cost is higher, it opens up possibilities and for production type work can almost double the output of the 9900k in some instances.

But I'm thinking you are aiming at something closer to folding@home, so even a 5600x would be more than enough, even running parallel, will get the same if not better performance, much cheaper overall on the electric bill considering the power cost and doesn't require exotic cooling nor the D15 size coolers to stay within limits. Only requires a $20 GT710 to pull up Windows.

So you have plenty of actual options, but sticking to a 9900k just because of its initial cost shouldn't be one set option, because that kills a lot of other options that might get you better results for your wants.
After further researching I think that the best way will be the 280 freezer II if I do go with the NR200, however I am not entirely sure about the pump noise it might create. I've looked at Gamers Nexus video about the orientation of AIO's, he didn't specficially say anything about side mounted AIO's (which is what I would do in the NR200). Looking further online, people are saying its completely fine to mount the AIO sideways as long as the outflow of the AIO is above the inflow. However I don't really understand why people claim this, since the air will build up at the inflow part of the AIO, and you want the air spots to be as high as possible (higher than the pump at least). So wouldn't it be logical to put the intake tube above the output?

Regarding the CPU choice, I am not 100% decided yet. I didn't like HAVE to get the i9 9900k, any CPU would be fine it just seemed to me that the i9 was the best value at the moment (wouldn't have to get a GPU either). The problem is that there are barely any benchmarks regarding "code" speed. From what I gathered the clock speed and single core performance matters a lot, which makes me lean to the i9 9900k again because of the higher overclock headroom. I for sure won't be able to utilize all the cores, so getting even more cores wouldn't really benefit me that much. But I'll have to do some more research regarding the CPU and decide whether it's worth spending the 200 euro extra for a ryzen cpu
 

Zerk2012

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be completely silent.

That would require 0 moving parts in the PC at all not even a fan.

Their a difference in completely silent and a acceptable noise level.

Just the D15.
24.60 dB(A) (Fan without Adapter) 19.20 dB
 

Sander_4

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be completely silent.

That would require 0 moving parts in the PC at all not even a fan.

Their a difference in completely silent and a acceptable noise level.

Just the D15.
24.60 dB(A) (Fan without Adapter) 19.20 dB
Yea thats a fair point, I mean't a PC that has lower noise levels than the ambiance noise, i.e not perceivable. I realize that this is probably not possible with an overclocked CPU to 5 GHz, but I'd like to get as close as possible of course.

And what do you mean with:
"24.60 dB(A) (Fan without Adapter) 19.20 dB"?
Is this the sound that the fan makes when idle? I have the D15 and I do perceive noise but I think it's my case fans (my gaming build isn't focused on being silent so it doesn't matter really). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to fit in the NR200 case, so I would need to find a case with bigger clearance if I go with that solution.
 

Zerk2012

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Yea thats a fair point, I mean't a PC that has lower noise levels than the ambiance noise, i.e not perceivable. I realize that this is probably not possible with an overclocked CPU to 5 GHz, but I'd like to get as close as possible of course.

And what do you mean with:
"24.60 dB(A) (Fan without Adapter) 19.20 dB"?
Is this the sound that the fan makes when idle? I have the D15 and I do perceive noise but I think it's my case fans (my gaming build isn't focused on being silent so it doesn't matter really). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to fit in the NR200 case, so I would need to find a case with bigger clearance if I go with that solution.
That's the fan noise from the D15 the freezer II is about the same.
 
I don't think it's possible. You overclock that CPU and the system will NOT be quiet.

You could buy a sound dampening case like the Phanteks P600S with sound dampening side panels and some quiet fan like noctua or silent wing 3 from be quiet but you're gonna overclock. Fan will not run at a speed where you will not hear them.
 

Sander_4

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I don't think it's possible. You overclock that CPU and the system will NOT be quiet.

You could buy a sound dampening case like the Phanteks P600S with sound dampening side panels and some quiet fan like noctua or silent wing 3 from be quiet but you're gonna overclock. Fan will not run at a speed where you will not hear them.
Even if I'm not hitting full CPU usage on all cores? And optionally buying a 360 mm AIO with a larger case (since space isn't really that much of an issue). I really don't think I'll come anywhere close to P95 levels, it for sure won't be hitting all cores under full load.
Sorry that I'm all over place, I just want to weigh out all the possible solutions for a PC without a GPU, since those aren't that common.
I guess a newer Ryzen cpu would benefit me for my goal (of being quiet), but I just think I'll be missing out on performance since Ryzen doesn't hit 5 GHz that easily, and on top of that it will cost me like 200 bucks more (and a crappy GPU) for less performance.
 
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Karadjgne

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The lowly GT1030 GDDR5 comes in at double the performance of the HD630 on the 9900k. You'd have to move upto the UHD Xe 750 graphics in the 11th gen to get better, but the 'better' is still only a few fps.
9900k - 50fps
11900k - 60fps
GT1030 - 120fps.

Thats the disparity. Intel igpus suck. Always have.

5GHz isn't all that impressive an accomplishment. I was hitting that on an i7-3770K cooled by a 280mm AIO 7 years ago. I've seen pc's with an FX-4100 hit 5.3GHz. So while speeds might be important, they are somewhat overshadowed by IPC.

You'd get better performance from a 11400 than a 9900k.

What programs are you using? Coding isn't a program, it's a type and they vary
 

Sander_4

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The lowly GT1030 GDDR5 comes in at double the performance of the HD630 on the 9900k. You'd have to move upto the UHD Xe 750 graphics in the 11th gen to get better, but the 'better' is still only a few fps.
9900k - 50fps
11900k - 60fps
GT1030 - 120fps.

Thats the disparity. Intel igpus suck. Always have.

5GHz isn't all that impressive an accomplishment. I was hitting that on an i7-3770K cooled by a 280mm AIO 7 years ago. I've seen pc's with an FX-4100 hit 5.3GHz. So while speeds might be important, they are somewhat overshadowed by IPC.

You'd get better performance from a 11400 than a 9900k.

What programs are you using? Coding isn't a program, it's a type and they vary
I understand that a dedicated GPU is way better but I just don't care about GPU performance whatsoever.
I realize that just saying "running code" was kind of ambiguous, it basically boils down to pulling data for a number of things from a few APIs, and then processing that data every 0.01 seconds for 50 different instances (so "50" threads so to say, but threads in the programming way, not actual physical threads).
And then besides that I would be running a fairly lightweight block chain node, which would probably end up being heavier than my actual program.

I found out that I still have a GT8800 in one of my old PCs, which I could use if I do end up going with AMD.
However looking at AMDs chips, it doesn't seem like they run on lower temps than the I9 9900k, maybe I'm missing something but I see that a bunch of people are having trouble with cooling the 5800x using the Freezer II 280/360. They are hitting like 80+ degrees, which seems way more than the I9 9900k, even when overclocked. This would mean that the Ryzen chips will also make my system loud, maybe even louder than the 9900k would have. And the 5900x costs 750 euro here, which is a bit much for so little performance gain in my opinion (5800x is 450).


View: https://youtu.be/TUO59lwdB9I


This guy is a must watch channel for anything mITX. What's hilarious is that because of covid, it took far longer than I wanted to complete my build. And wouldn't you know, half way through the project, this guy builds an almost identical (he went Intel, I went amd) system. But he had the parts already. Ack lol.
View: https://youtu.be/Qmq0J9hzmlk
I coincidentally had him in my recommended as well and watched a few of his videos regarding ITX cases and the NR200. He does indeed make pretty good ITX videos, watched quite a few of them.
 

Karadjgne

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99% of those posters have 1 thing on common. They've been raised on Intel. They have Intel on the brain, it's where they get their ideas of how a cpu actually works and it's resultant temps and performance.

Then they don't do any research into Ryzen behavior, they just look at the single temp readout of the hottest core. Then they just slap in Aida or Prime or Intel eXtreme and hit the stress test. And then complain about their OC and idle temps because they aren't what they expected.

They have no clue that at idle Intel drops all cores, but all cores remain active and split the background tasks between all the cores, only reading the hottest at the time of report, so get low 30's. A Ryzen uses a single core instead for the full workload, so naturally that core will be hottest all the time, and gets 40's with spikes to 60ish. Omg my cpu is running so hot! Not realizing they are equating that single core to the entire cpu.

The cpu you need will be determined by your use. If all you are using is 2 cores, 4 with parallel equations, you won't need the i9, but it won't hurt to have it. Just understand that those 4 cores will be seeing upto 100% saturation while the rest sit idle. So even a i5 10600k with just 6 cores, an 11400, Ryzen 5600x

They all assume Intel, so max out the OC limits with PBO, then naturally add voltage, because that's what you do with OC, never realizing that the Ryzen works differently. My OC is 0.25v Below stock, I'm at 1.232v, full core, not the 1.47v for single core use.

Your cpu is only going to be using 4-5 cores tops with parallel processing, but they will be maxing out, so any 6 core cpu will be just as good as the i9 9900k, in some cases maybe better, depending on IPC and how the software uses the cores, speeds, etc. A 9700k would get the same results as the 9900k for your use, as would a 5600x or 11400.
 

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