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Is there enough airflow here?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So I am trying to create a very quiet computer. It will not be used for gaming, in fact it will be running Linux. It will mainly be use for audio / video / internet / virtual machines.

I like the look and features of the Fractal Design Define R3. For a power supply I was looking at the SeaSonic X 400 which is fanless. The R3 case has a downward facing opening for the power supply, but I don't think that would work well as I assume the fanless design relies on the whole "hot air rises" phenomenon. I can still use the power supply but it would just have to face up directing its heat towards the CPU/GPU (although reviews say it stays very cool).

I was hoping to use fanless GPU/CPU coolers. Will this be asking too much or will the two fans provided with the case be enough? The hardest the GPU will have to work is possibly playing 2 1080p videos at once or a non demanding video game such as HoN.
post #2 of 18
There really wouldn't be enough airflow for that setup but you could get an equally performing, but more efficient unit for almost the same price with the Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550w which can run fanless, even at full load.

It has the added safety of a fan, so that if it gets too hot the fan will kick on and cool the unit down.
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post #3 of 18
It depends on what hardware you're planning on running. The graphics card shouldn't need to be too powerful, so you can probably put a big passive cooler on it, like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-016-_-Product. Someone can probably suggest a better one though, I've never really looked into those too much.

As for the CPU, the TRUE makes a very good passive cooler when you take the fan(s) off.

Don't worry about the PSU too much. Most are pretty quiet, if not silent. The one in my sig rig isn't anything special and it's inaudible.
post #4 of 18
You need a good amount of positive pressure in the case to use a fanless PSU. I recommend the Seasonic X560. It has a top notch fan that doesn't kick in unless it's under a significant load, and since you will probably never push it that hard, the PSU will, for all intents and purposes, be fanless. You will just have the added security of having a fan should you need it. Also, the X560 is usually cheaper than the fanless X400 and X460.
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post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
okay, I will got with a power supply that only turns on sometimes like the two mentioned above.

How about my CPU / GPU. Will they be okay fanless or should I try to find quiet coolers?
edit: I guess this depends on the specific components a bit, but in general
Edited by Dethredic - 5/6/11 at 6:27am
post #6 of 18
For a Fanless CPU cooler your best option is something like the Thermalright HR02.

As for your GPU Cooler, you'd be better off getting a high end aircooler that can run with minimum airflow like the Thermalright Shaman.

The reason I suggest both products, is that they can run high end components while staying very quiet (Sub 15dB(A) )
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post #7 of 18
Hope that you will get yourself a SSD drive.
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post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vesley View Post
Hope that you will get yourself a SSD drive.
I have one
post #9 of 18
@#$&*!@%&@#% damn thumb button hitting "back" in the browser lost a bunch of stuff I typed. Okay, here's the short, short version.

Passive still needs airflow. If you need airflow, why make life more difficult by being passive? Fans do not automatically mean noisy. In fact, I've built systems for myself that had fans which were "silent" in that nobody could hear that they were running. After all, isn't noise the ultimate goal? What does "passive" have to do with noise, other than to make it more difficult to keep temperatures down?

Also, why build such a huge box that's mostly empty air? It is possible to do a much smaller system that is darn near silent.
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post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap View Post
@#$&*!@%&@#% damn thumb button hitting "back" in the browser lost a bunch of stuff I typed. Okay, here's the short, short version.

Passive still needs airflow. If you need airflow, why make life more difficult by being passive? Fans do not automatically mean noisy. In fact, I've built systems for myself that had fans which were "silent" in that nobody could hear that they were running. After all, isn't noise the ultimate goal? What does "passive" have to do with noise, other than to make it more difficult to keep temperatures down?

Also, why build such a huge box that's mostly empty air? It is possible to do a much smaller system that is darn near silent.
I've had that happen before.

OP Since you aren't doing anything crazy as far as graphics, you can certainly run a fanless GPU. For running 2 HD videos at the same time, you don't need much power. Something like my dinky 8400GS would be a good solution. If you like ATI, get a 3450/4350 and you should be fine.

No matter how many low noise components you install, you will still need good airflow through the case to supply cool fresh air and evacuate the heat. This means getting good fans and putting them on a controller or some 5v or 7v resistors, including the CPU cooler's fan. You can get near-silent conditions while still having efficient airflow.

This is what I have been transitioning to with my own sig rig. I have 3 intake fans (Scythe S-Flex E), 2 fans on the CPU cooler, one exhaust case fan in the rear, and the PSU's fan exhausting. All the fans are on 7V resistors, and the noisiest part of my rig is the PSU's fan, which I will remedy in the near future. The point is that my system is as silent as it gets without being 100% passive, and that is while using a case that is wide open and allows system noise to escape easily. With your FD Define R3, this will not be a problem for you. It's designed to insulate noise, but you have to compensate with stronger airflow.
Edited by spaceballsrules - 5/6/11 at 4:04pm
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