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Help me build as quiet as possible?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am currently looking around for the right parts to build a PC for my home studio. Due to lack of space, I am unable to build an isolation booth for recording and as such my current rig is too loud (fan noise gets picked up by microphones almost anywhere in the room.

I am hoping some of you folks could recommend a full-size case and CPU cooler that would be as quiet as possible. I assume something with 200mm fans, and a large heatsink.

At the moment, I am planning on a build around one of the newer i7 chips, but I have no problem with AMD if it means a quieter cooler.

What I have found so far is the Scythe Ninja 2 for the CPU, but I am at a loss when it comes to picking the case. I have built PCs with the Antec line (902 and 1200) and they are not very quiet at all. Aside from having a case custom made, I would like to know if anyone can link me to cases that have noise ratings. I have looked at the XCLIO cases (A380 and Windtunnel models) because of their 250mm fans, but I have no way of knowing how loud they are. The Nexus EDGE is built for this sort of thing, but I cannot find them anywhere.

Any help would be much appreciated!
Edited by mesaone - 11/1/11 at 4:45pm
    
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post #2 of 12
First off, what do you need this computer for? If you are really looking for quiet, then you could get a micro-ITX mobo with an Atom processor and put that in an ATX case with completely passive cooling.

For everything silent computer related, visit: http://www.silentpcreview.com/

In general, there are three things you need to do to address noise:

1) Sources of operating noise (disk drives, etc)
2) Sources of cooling noise (fans)
3) Isolating the sources of noise

Now, it's much more effective to address 1 and 2, and then handle 3 as a last resort. For your situation, I'm not sure how much you can limit 1 (i.e. go to an SSD and forgo the optical drive). You'll have to make that judgement based on your needs.

For 2, the most important thing is to get silent fans. To that end, I'd recommend either Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans or Noctua fans as your case fans. For your CPU cooler, I'd look at the Noctua NH-D14. You'd also do well to make sure you have a motherboard that can adjust the speed of all the fans in response to the temperature of your components. If not, get a fan controller and do it manually.

For 3 (your case), I'd recommend the P183. Its foam insulated, and does a fairly good job at noise insulation. SPCR (link above) has reviews on different cases.
post #3 of 12
Why not put the computer in another room with only the monitor/peripherals in the studio using ultra long cables (if they exist)?
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post #4 of 12
Good Coolers for low fans speeds: Prolimatech Genesis (probably the best), Thermalright HR-02 (Macho), Noctua D14
Get yourself a good VGA Cooler, a good option would be the Thermalright Shaman or the Accelero Xtreme Plus

Good and cheap quiet fans: Enermax TB Silence
Use 2 or 3 of them as case fans. One on the Shaman and one or two on you CPU cooler...

A good case with dampening is the Fractal define R3...
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post #5 of 12
thermalright hr-02/macho can run passively, that's probably the best cpu cooler choice. If you're not going to overclock, then undervolt too.
 
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick2253;15535799 
First off, what do you need this computer for?

Home studio use. Full size mobo is important, running several PCIe cards (GT210 for dual screen, UAD card for plugins, possibly firewire card if mobo does not have TI chip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick2253;15535799 
In general, there are three things you need to do to address noise:

1) Sources of operating noise (disk drives, etc)
2) Sources of cooling noise (fans)
3) Isolating the sources of noise

Now, it's much more effective to address 1 and 2, and then handle 3 as a last resort. For your situation, I'm not sure how much you can limit 1 (i.e. go to an SSD and forgo the optical drive). You'll have to make that judgement based on your needs.

Fan noise is really the only issue here, since I will be running SSD for boot and two 7200 RPM drives for programs/media. HD noise is minimal compared to fan noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick2253;15535799 
For 2, the most important thing is to get silent fans. To that end, I'd recommend either Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans or Noctua fans as your case fans. For your CPU cooler, I'd look at the Noctua NH-D14. For 3 (your case), I'd recommend the P183. Its foam insulated, and does a fairly good job at noise insulation. SPCR (link above) has reviews on different cases.

Thanks for your recommendations. Let's assume I will be running the case fans at a fixed voltage with no controller. I am really looking to get the quietest build possible without running dangerous CPU temps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmen;15535830 
Why not put the computer in another room with only the monitor/peripherals in the studio using ultra long cables (if they exist)?

First thing I thought of. Unfortunately I do not have that option for several reasons. Length of cables for one, and also I do not have another room available. Space is really a concern here, otherwise I would just dedicate one room to soundstage and the other as my control room. Access to the case is important, because of iLok and other security devices that I use, as well as my audio interfaces. Plus I do not like the idea of not being able to see my computer for troubleshooting. I did consider building an isolation box with an equipment rack on top, and putting the PC inside that box. In the end, the idea of the PC burning up in a confined space was not appealing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elohim;15535853 
Good Coolers for low fans speeds: Prolimatech Genesis (probably the best), Thermalright HR-02 (Macho), Noctua D14
Get yourself a good VGA Cooler, a good option would be the Thermalright Shaman or the Accelero Xtreme Plus

Good and cheap quiet fans: Enermax TB Silence
Use 2 or 3 of them as case fans. One on the Shaman and one or two on you CPU cooler...

A good case with dampening is the Fractal define R3...

Another noctua recommendation, I will definitely look into those! GPU cooling is not an issue since I will be going with a GT210, which has a passive heatsink. This PC is not for gaming. However, on my gaming PC I have a GTX470SC with the Accelero XTREME PLUS and it is definitely quiet. As for the CPU cooler, I would like to remain passive if I can help it but it looks like the decrease in temps is worth the little bit of extra noise.

Thanks for all of your feedback, I'll check everything out and see.
Edited by mesaone - 11/1/11 at 5:13pm
    
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Given the review I found on the Noctua NH-d14 I found here http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm, and the fact that its noise level was rated 30.8 dBA according to the testing method here http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm I am almost sold. I like the idea of the p183, and there are also more versions (along with a p193) on Antec's site... However, none come with acoustic foam.

There are just so many reviews out there, and many are conflicting. Most are aimed at the overclocking/gaming community, and that is simply not what I'm using this build for.
    
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post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaone;15536186 
Given the review I found on the Noctua NH-d14 I found here http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm, and the fact that its noise level was rated 30.8 dBA according to the testing method here http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm I am almost sold. I like the idea of the p183, and there are also more versions (along with a p193) on Antec's site... However, none come with acoustic foam.

There are just so many reviews out there, and many are conflicting. Most are aimed at the overclocking/gaming community, and that is simply not what I'm using this build for.

The Noctua is the way to go, IMHO.

And sorry about the P183. I was getting things mixed up. My friend has a P183 that he added foam to, and it is like ridiculously silent. For a silent case that does have foam (and this is what I was originally thinking, doh.gif), look at the Fractal Define XL (as mentioned above). I have never seen this case in person, but I almost ended up buying it for my sig-rig in order to minimize noise (but then I went with water cooling instead cool.gif).
post #9 of 12
dude, you can change fans, just use 600rpm fans (natively or reduce fan speed via controller/resistor) on a prolimatech genesis and as case fans and you're good to go and almost dead silent..


http://www.hardwaremax.net/reviews/kuehler/316-test-thermalright-true-spirit.html?start=7

here you have a good overview about cooling performance with different fans speeds.... (1000/700/400rpm)
Edited by Elohim - 11/1/11 at 6:17pm
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post #10 of 12
First consider that with Intel 1155 you get a perfectly capable on-die GPU for non gaming use. I've got a Fractal Define R3 which came with damping materials pre-applied on the side panels and front door. The hard disk mounts are decoupled by soft rubber. I think its one of the better choises right now for a quiet build, very happy with mine. You wanna avoid using side or top fans as it lets out too much noise. SPCR is definitely the place to discuss these things. I'd add once you found a good CPU cooler(There are better choices than the Ninja, since you may want to avoid too many case fans I'd suggest Noctua NH-C14) you will likely start to hear the hard drives. Consider the current 5K3000 2TB, they're said to hit the sweet spot for silence and performance right now. You might start to hear the PSU even, Seasonic-X series or Corsair AX-series will get that sorted.
Edited by markanini - 11/1/11 at 6:52pm
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