Silent Gaming Challange!

authoratah

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I'm planning my next build over the hovercraft-like noise of my current build. Your comments are welcomed on how to go about building a perfectly silent *zero* dB gaming machine. I believe it to be possible. Looks mean very little to me, so case style is bottom of the list.

Peltiers, old camping fridges, water cooling, heat pipes, the Ross Ice Shelf... I'll consider anything. (That ice shelf would raise the bar on extreme... Shame I live in the wrong hemisphere. Paddle noble penguins, paddle I say!)

And now the constraints:
CPU must not cost more than $250 (overclocking is new to me, but I like learning new things). I'm expecting recommendations of the q6600 (do any quad cores have G0 stepping yet?) and the e6750, of which I have heard good things

GPU will probably be an 880GTS 320mb. I don't think I'll need the hysteria inducing power of a GTX or ultra, since the 9800s are just around the corner so to speak. This single fact leads me to consider that waiting for Crysis and building then would be more prudent, although I can still start stocking up on Styrofoam ;)

Ram isn't too big a deal for me. Tight timings versus superior speed are the same difference in my world.

Hard drives has me looking at hybrids. These seems trés cuteé (bonus points for knowing where I got that from. I'm aiming to only have 1 drive, no raid (unless you can convince me otherwise :sol: )

Power supply will be the most difficult choice. I had a weird thought ( :pt1cable: looked like that there so it did) that cooling the entire case would improve PSU performance since cooler power supplies work better.

Motherboard isn't something I've looked at much. Given the earlier constraints, there are likely less than 6 contenders.

I believe Vista is in fact a rare form of digital venereal disease that comes on new PCs. You can presume then that I'll be using XP, possibly the 64-bit edition if the driver situation is good. Btw, try disconnecting your speakers while you're playing a game under vista. It might just freeze on you :kaola:

I can handle the other components like DVD drives.



Let the game begin! :hello:
 

choirbass

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well, the few things that come to mind for quietness, are watercooling for your cpu, gpu, and motherboard chipset (seperate watercooling loops for best cooling from what ive heard), you can probably get some good recommendations on which parts to go for, danger den is one brand that comes to mind as recommended

an ssd for the OS hdd would be the quietest and fastest, but if youre okay with some noise, then mechanical hdds are much more plentiful and affordable. otherwise waiting till ssds come down in price is also an option. you may want to reconsider a secondary larger hdd for data storage (a quiet mechanical hdd most likely), that only needs to be accessed less frequently, so noise wont be an issue, aside from when its accessed for backed up data occasionally.

the case and case fans are going to have a large impact on noise too, a P182 or so should work quite well for being both cool and quiet.

as far as the psu, going for either a quiet psu (not sure which brands), or getting one and then changing out the stock fans with much quieter fans is always an option too. there are instructions online on how to do that (discharging the psu, etc). but, at the same time it can be very risky if you rush it.

regarding a cooler case helping your psu, youre right. the hotter your case is (and more demanding your parts are), the louder and hotter your psu will run too (effectively shortening its life by however much an amount, at least when in excess anyhow), so usually having the psu near the bottom of the case is a good idea, BTX form factor or similar im guessing. in its own seperate chamber no less, to isolate it from unnecessary heat exposure, and vice versa.
 

authoratah

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I too had danger den in mind.

SSD is still pretty pricey, and I'm not too miffed at the clickity click of a hard drive once in a while. I'm hoping a hybrid drive will be the best of both worlds. Looking out for a 750gig version.

QuietPC and others mention the P182 as being a good case for low noise systems. I have to ask if everything will fit though.

PSU wise, I'm looking at PC P&Cs quad silencer 750W. If anyone has one of these, let me know how quiet it really is :). Fiddling around with the gubbins of a PSU isn't something I'm enthused by.

It'd be interesting to see if there are any silent refrigerated cases available. Or a man in the shadier back threads of the forums selling liquid nitrogen...
 

djbrad007

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Hi,

here is the system that I build last winter, very silent.

Antec P180B
E6600
EVGA 8800GTS 640MB
P5W DH Deluxe
Arctic Cooler 7 Pro
Zalman fan controller

I set the bios at optimal for cpu fan, no noise at 800 rpm.
All fan set to low speed via zalman fan controller (4 fan), no noise.

You can have the P182B now, and similar mb/cpu for less.

BTW, it's "Très cute" (very nice/beautiful). Come from province of Québec, it's one of our common expression.

EDIT :

Got a raid 1 of Seagate 320GB, no noise too.
 

bigh

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I wanted a virtually silent system last year and also ended up building a system around a P180. As djbrad said, the arctic cooler 7 makes a difference too.

My one recommendation would be a Samsung Spinpoint HD - it is not audible at all except under heavy load in my case. The new 500gb model is also a very good performer.

If you are very serious about silence you will end up replacing the supplied Antec case fans. They're good but not perfect. I recommend noctua fans for an even quieter experience.
 

KyleSTL

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Scythe fans are an excellent choice, I believe the 800RPM 120mm S-Flex is rated at 8 dB (note: 10dB is the universal standard for "inaudible"), also put as many silent fans in a case as possible. Many silent fans are way quieter than one noisy one (it would take 10 x 8 dB fans to generate 18 dB of noise, or 20 to make 28 dB - it's a log based-10 function).

Video card-wise MSI, Gigabyte and Asus make some prety good fanless GeForce 8600GT cards ($110-130 on Newegg), if that's enough power for you.

If money is no object on the case, Lian Li makes a silent series of cases that include sound dampening and all. You can also pick up silent supplies here ( http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=127&sort=20a&page=2 ), I would suggest rubber screws for hard drives and fans, the power supply sound dampener and, if you need it, the Noise Pax sound dampening kit.
 

gpippas

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I own a p182. And I cant understand why people always say its silent. Very quiet yes, silent no. The only way to make it silent is to turn off the fans. And yes it will fit everything.

If you want a silent pc there are 2 options.
Watercooled and another one I will explain.

Second option is to get a case without chambers for PSU etc.. Just find a case that is open plan. It will have to be big though. Remove all the standard fans. Get a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme. Pair this with a Scythe S-FLEX 800RPM. Or if you dont plan on overclocking dont even bother the fan. The HS is so good even a q6600 will stay cool. But the Scythe S-FLEX 800RPM is silent anyway so I would put one anyway. If you are getting a 8800gts 320mb get a dual slot card as this will help with cooling of the rest of the case. Add one more Scythe S-FLEX 800RPM to the back of the case to exhaust hot air out the case and thats it. The system will run fine like this. Also because the Scythe S-FLEX 800RPM fans are inaudible you can run them at full speed.

I have a system that runs exactly like this. Except I didnt bother with a fan at the back of the case. Mine has a total of 2 fans gpu and cpu. That is also in a 5 year old no name case. With it like this I can overclock an old 125W TDP 4800x2 to 2.96ghz with max load temp 55c.

The system is silent. And I mean silent. The only way to tell if its on is if the screen is on or you look at the LED's on the case.

As for hard drive I recommend the Samsung spinpoint drives. They are very quite.

I can only tell you about good PSU's have no idea about quite ones. Generally I've never come across a loud PSU. The fans are normally 120mm and run very slowly so they dont make much noise.
 

authoratah

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I'm looking at the reserator 2 for cooling. http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=216&code=021 It's just daft enough to work, but also super expensive. I called into peats (computery shop) during my lunch break and chewed the fat with the staff there who told me about it and about bestbuy.com, a website that'll ship over the atlantic. I had a look, but I've either the wrong site or they don't have what I need. If I can, I'd like to take advantage of the exchange rates (whilst avoiding any nasty taxmen of course).

Thanks to kyle and bigh for all the quiet fan names :)
Those spinpoints are good drives alright. I've added the name to my list. The new hybrid hard drives are pretty exciting though.

djbrad007: that must be where Strong Bad stole it from!

Budget is €1500 btw. And I meant to say 8800GTS but I can't edit that for some reason.

Mostly, I'd like suggestions for Ram and mobo. I might be overclocking but it scares me because I've never oc'd anything before.

Kyle: The only log based functions I know are the lumberjack convention and the sawmillers conference.
 

teh_boxzor

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why buy a computer when jesus is coming?


he scored a 3dmark score of 1,000,000.



and he can run bioshock at 1000fps.



the best part. he's totally SILENT.
 

gpippas

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I didnt realise that rumor was true. They reported it on Toms and Anand but I didnt believe them. I believe it now. I just read it on a reputable sight the Inquirer!

I heard a 3dmark score 1,000,009. Which should equate to a 200fps increase in games at least.
 

authoratah

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Spurious spuriousness aside, I reckon I'll get a p35 motherboard. Future proofing and upgrade potential are secondary objectives here.
 

teh_boxzor

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I suggest going to frozencpu.com and looking at their "ultra quiet" section.


As for p35, are you sure you don't want to wait for the x38? its got a 2 x16 pci-e lane for full crossfire. And Pci-e 2.0(if you care)

maybe Sli?


and if its true that penyryn will be supporting 1600mhz FSB, well than the p35 just won't cut it.
 

authoratah

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I don't believe in AMD/ATI much. They may never catch up. PCIe is fanciful folly to me. I'd sooner use a usb key. In fact, I'm getting by now without one.

Sli, maybe. But I'm hoping to get by with 1 GPU. It's a simpler system for the simpler man :)

When are the penyryns due?
 

robatthg

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I took an angle grinder to my case 2 years ago I cut out the mesh for the rear case fan and mounted a coolermaster R120 set as exhaust and mouted its pot in the floppy drive bay.
(I think not going riad is crazy.)
 

authoratah

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Thanks Jag. That'll be after Christmas I'm sure. Not sure I can wait that long.

Which motherboards are there out there that can support DDR2 and DDR3 memory? I'd like to have the option of upgrading to good DDR3 when it comes along (since the tighter timings of DDR2 right now even out the difference).

I have my reasons for not going Raid. Intel matrix technology makes raid attractive because it lets you do a Raid 0+1 (debate your symantics elsewhere) over 2 hard drives. I worry so about noise and power. And budget of course.

To help out with the build, the following are things I don't need:
firewire
wifi
bluetooth
infrared (IrDA for you purists :))
 

authoratah

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I just did a bit of quick research and I discovered that Cyber Monday (or Black Monday if you prefer) is near the Crysis release date.

I have a cunning plan...

Summary thusfar:
Case: Antec 182se
RAM
Power Supplies
Mainboards Gigabyte something. A P35 board to be sure
Processors Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz Socket LGA775, 8MB, BOXED w/fan
Memory: The new gskill one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231065)
Graphics Cards:
Hard Drives Spinpoint t166 500gb. What of those new hybrid drives? Anyone got links?
Optical Drives NEC DVD±RW burner AD-5170 IDE Black OEM, DVD+R/+RW/DVD-R/-RW (Dual layer)
Operating Systems Surely XP. I used vista at work. Enterprise edition. I likened it to a venereal disease. The boss thought it was a joke. We were both right.



Your thoughts please. I have a board in mind. Can you guess which one it is? :whistle:

Next question: How's my budget of €1500 doing

And finally, are there any Dubliners like meself who've successfully shipped a system over the Atlantic? Any tales of smuggling the parts over inside bassoon cases are more than welcome!
 

teh_boxzor

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hmmm im gonna guess a gigabyte board.....haha they're p35 boards are tops for sure.

since graphics is blank im gonna suggest (if your going to play crysis) waiting to see which DX10 cards can play them at the resolution you want at a reasonable framerate.

i was going to suggest sli'ing silent 8600gts'

but if your leaning towards an 8800gts i suggest an aftermarket cooler.

stock intel fan is still audible from what i hear in these forums,but it gets the job done.

maybe consider a zalman?
 

julia1981

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I'm a complete Noob myself, but with the help of people here, I just went through the exact steps you're at right now and built a new sytem which has a lot of similarities with what you're looking for, so I thought I'd share it:

Q6600 (G0 stepping)
x1950 Pro, 256mb, powercolor (Passive)
Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R
Corsair 450w
2x1gb Ram (Cas Latency 4)
Thermalright Ultra 120-Extreme Heatsink, w/Scythe S-Flex 800rpm fan attached
Antec Solo case (w/Scythe S-Flex replacing the Tri-Cool that comes with the case)
Western Digital 250gb hdd
DVD R/W (don't remember the brand...!)

I've used it about 2 weeks now and can tell you that it's whisper quiet. You can't hear anything if your ear is more than 1-2 feet away from the case. Even putting your ear against the case, you can only hear a very very faint purr. This is at idle, at 100% max load, at any time. The system is nice and cool (even at max, it's still quite decent temps), and quiet. Love it!

The only sound I ever can hear is the seek of the hard drive. My HDD is elastic-suspdended (comes with the case), so there's no vibration, but I can still hear the sound of the disk when it seeks. It's very, very quiet - sounds a bit like coffee percolating - but if the room is dead silent, you can hear it (if there's any noise at all - a/c, traffic with windows open, etc - then I can't hear it). Overall, I'm very pleased that a very, very faint (and very occasional) seek noise is the only thing I ever hear.

I was ready to run the heatsink passively without a fan, but the Scythe S-Flex is so quiet (inaudible, essentially) that I leave it on.

From what I understand, the 8800gts you mention can't be passively cooled. Maybe an Accelero would be good for you? For me, I wanted a pre-made silent cooling on the VGA, and the x1950 Pro is the best VGA I could find which comes pre-built passive. It's big, but it fits into the Antec Solo/P150 with no problem. Maybe it'd be enough for your gaming needs? You could also look at the 8600gt or 7950, if you prefer nVidia as you mentioned - they also have passive cards. If you really want the 8800, ask around if it can be passively cooled, but you'll probably have to deal with VGA fan noise...

About your other points:
Motherboard - the GA-p35c-ds3r might be good for you: it has ddr2 and ddr3 slots. Stable, good overclocking potential if you're interested.

Case - Antec's P182 is bigger than their Solo case. Obviously more useful if you need the space, but for me, I don't need it. And from what the experts at silentpcreview say, a smaller case is easier to cool than a big one and therefore will generally be more quiet.

CPU - Several places now will guarantee G0 stepping. It's about 3-5% less power consumption than the B3, so might be worth finding it. No idea where in Ireland, tho!

Shipping - Newegg says they don't ship overseas, but in a few forums I found postings by people who convinced Newegg to do it on an exceptional-basis (you agree to waive the warranty, etc). TigerDirect does ship overseas, no problem. Or you could have everything shipped to a friend in the U.S. and then have them send it to you (not sure how much customs would be a cost/worry...). With the euro so strong against the dollar (plus generally lower prices here in the U.S. anyway), it might be worth it for you.

Silentpcreview.com is by far the best place for information about quiet parts. Go troll around there for a while. Their focus is clearly different than here at tomshardware, but they're crazy about reducing noise. I cross-referenced the recommendations from here with the info on silentpcreview's, and then picked the PSU, case, heatsink and fans based on their (insanely thorough) evaluations and knowledge, and I'm very very impressed with the incredibly quiet result.

Good luck!
 

authoratah

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Almost got the list ready to go now :)

I was looking at the dsr3 but I never use firewire and eSATA would go to waste. What I really need is a list of P35 boards that go with a q6600 and the gskill ram I mentioned above. Stupidly large heatsink assemblies amuse me so.

Thanks for your post julia. I think I might be able to get by with silent air cooling now :D

Now all I have to do is find a single site to buy the lot from.

Oh and boxzor, stop reading my mind :p
 

emp

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If you want a gaming PC then you have to go with either a 8800GTS or GTX, how to get them really silent? simple... liquid cooling. The problem with silent hardware is that is too expensive for less performance, at least until you hit the liquid cooling area, that's where you can get your money's worth (Sort of).

I've never really been a fan of silent PC, not because im a noise loving freak, but simply because I cannot justify losing performance for less noise, especially when I have my headphones on. However I can relate to what you want (Nobody likes fans humming), but there's no easy way out for this, either you cripple your investment to the level of an HTPC (undervolted C2D with Tuniq HSF, 8600GT, Antec Phantom 500W) or pay for your comfort (Liquid cooled Q6600, 8800GTS, and Antec Neo series [Very powerful and silent units, I own one myself])
 

authoratah

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Beta list here:

Chassis Antec P182 SE

Power Supply PC power and cooling silencer 750 quad

Mainboards Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R, P35, Socket-775, ATX, GbLAN, DDR2, ICH9R, PCI-Ex16

Processors Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz Socket LGA775, 8MB, BOXED w/fan

Memory Crucial DDR2 BallistiX PC8500 2048MB CL5 ,Kit w/two matched BallistiX 128Megx64

Graphics Cards 8800GTS
Hard Drives 2 x Samsung SpinPoint T166 500GB SATA2 16MB 7200RPM [ SPECIAL OFFER ]

Optical Drives (1 dvd reader, 1 dvd burner)

Thermal paste
Scythe S-Flex 800rpm fan OR zalman reservator 2 cooling tower


Just read a little about those antec neo power supplies. I have my heart set on a PC Power and Cooling 750, but I can't find any sites (like amazon let's say) that sell them

Thanks for the input Emp. The reason I chose the p182SE is because it has 2 clever holes just for external hoses. (I get an A for homework, right? ;)) What is your opinion of the reservator (from zalman)? I spoke with a spritely fellow in a computer shop called Peats who said he was happy with his. The blue tower in the corner would be quite a feature.

As for watercooling in general, I'm aware of a few solutions such as thermaltake and danger den. The maintenance costs are the only con, plus the hassle of trying to find coolant.

I live in Ireland remember. It's a nice place; no snakes, no nasty spiders, no natural disasters... But the rain can be a bit annoying and very few American sites ship here, so despite the great exchange rate, I can seldom take advantage of it.

Anywho, compatibility check on that beta list and a list of American shipping sites is next. I looked at the p182SE shipping from the US. All around $200 just to plonk it on a boat heading my way. :pfff:
 

mad-dog

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Small fans are the big noise polluters, try water-cooling the CPU and adding a adjustable speed controller to the smaller fan/s before attempting the "silent movie" treatment.
My Thermaltake Armor has 2-90mm and 2-120mm Colling fans, the 120's are quiet but the pair of 90's makes me crazy.

I have 1 dedicated 90mm fan to pull air across both of my HDD's and another in the top of the case, at full speed they made quite a racket, so i hooked em up top my trusty ZM-MFC1 and turned both of them down all the way, what a difference it made.

I'm going to water-cool the CPU with my upcoming upgrade and eliminate the noisy little booger for a CPU fan.
 

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