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Recommendations for components for a silent, air cooled, gaming PC.

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hello overclock.net,

I've been trying to make my PC more silent lately, however, this hasn't been working out very well. So I'm coming to you guys for some advice first before spending more money. I don't know a lot about silent computing, except that less dB is better.
I don't want water cooling. The reason why I don't want water cooling, is because I don't feel comfortable having water flowing through my €1000+ machine.

I've mostly spend time looking for a case, as this is the most expensive part and I don't want to screw it up.
These are the cases I've looked at so far:
-Corsair 650D
-Silverstone FT02B
-Antec Performance One P183
-Fractal Design Define XL
-Silverstone SST-RV02B-W

Which of these is the most silent?
Are there more silent cases on the market that look similar to these with a decent airflow? If yes, could you guys recommend me one or more?

I'd really love to buy the FT02B, but it's very expensive.

Also, what do you guys recommend me to replace my current CPU-cooler fan (stock Hyper 212+ fan)?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 31
I am currently running with P183 (see signature for more details). I have replaced all the stock fans with NB-Blacknoise Silent Pro 120mm PL2 on top exhaust (matches the cut out on top exhaust), 2 Silverstone Air Penetrator AP121 for the 2 front intakes, and the stock Fan with CooIt Eco 120 in exhaust. I did try running with the Prolimatech Megahalem with 1 Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15, but I haven't noticed a difference between it and the Eco. Currently I only hear it when I am sitting right next to it and don't have any music or game sound coming from it. I was able to make it almost silent when I had a fan controller installed, may eventually go back to that. The top exhaust fan is the loudest because of the "mesh" cover which "cuts" the air funny so you may consider putting that fan on a controller or keeping it at low.

The only problem that I have been running into is upgrading my gpu from the GTX 460 768mb (dead silent idle, doesn't go over 65 degrees Celsius at load). I have tried the MSI GTX 560 Twin Frozr II (only heard the air passing through when idle, sounded like a jet engine at 60%) and the Evga GTX560 TI SC (dead silent at idle, jet engine at 60%) and both reached 90 degrees Celsius after about 20 minutes of playing Star Wars the Old Republic. Currently I am not sure if it is an airflow issue. I am actually considering tossing my GTS 250 (blower style gpu) in to see how loud it would be compared to the GTX 460. I am guessing it will be rather loud.

You may want to look at the Antec P280, which came out recently. I have heard a lot of good things.
Edited by kj1060 - 2/8/12 at 11:55am
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post #3 of 31
I can't comment offhand about each of the cases you mention (no time to look them all up at the moment), but one big factor that can help reduce fan noise is to have large fans. Mid-tower cases often have smaller fans (120mm or less) which are often louder since they need to spin faster. Full-tower cases can have similar fans, but they often allow for larger fans like 140mm and 240mm fansm which can have the same CFM as smaller fans but at much slower RPMs. I have a HAF-X which has 120mm, 140mm, and 240mm fans and it's much, much quieter than my previous CM690, which sounded like a vacuum cleaner with all the fans pegged.

And of course you can shop for particular fans that are quieter than others of the same size, but these often come at premium.

Also, a fan controller can help combat fan noise as well. It allows you to turn fan speeds down when you aren't gaming or otherwise have a need for maximum cooling.

GPU fans can also be very noisy as they are often tiny. To deal with that, set a custom fan profile (using something like Afterburner) or manually lower the fan speeds.

And lastly, some cases come with sound insulating material, and such materials can also be installed.
Edited by GoneTomorrow - 2/8/12 at 11:55am
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post #4 of 31
I have the silverstone Ft02.. without window though

i got a pretty noisy pair of fans in there, so i cant really comment on the noise levels in full.

but its pretty based on the components inside, since the whole top of it is basically just a mesh...
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post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for answering this fast. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1060 View Post

I am currently running with P183 (see signature for more details). I have replaced all the stock fans with NB-Blacknoise Silent Pro 120mm PL2 on top exhaust (matches the cut out on top exhaust), 2 Silverstone Air Penetrator AP121 for the 2 front intakes, and the stock Fan with CooIt Eco 120 in exhaust. I did try running with the Prolimatech Megahalem with 1 Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15, but I haven't noticed a difference between it and the Eco. Currently I only hear it when I am sitting right next to it and don't have any music or game sound coming from it. I was able to make it almost silent when I had a fan controller installed, may eventually go back to that. The top exhaust fan is the loudest because of the "mesh" cover which "cuts" the air funny so you may consider putting that fan on a controller or keeping it at low.
The only problem that I have been running into is upgrading my gpu from the GTX 460 768mb (dead silent idle, doesn't go over 65 degrees Celsius at load). I have tried the MSI GTX 560 Twin Frozr II (only heard the air passing through when idle, sounded like a jet engine at 60%) and the Evga GTX560 TI SC (dead silent at idle, jet engine at 60%) and both reached 90 degrees Celsius after about 20 minutes of playing Star Wars the Old Republic. Currently I am not sure if it is an airflow issue. I am actually considering tossing my GTS 250 (blower style gpu) in to see how loud it would be compared to the GTX 460. I am guessing it will be rather loud.
You may want to look at the Antec P280, which came out recently. I have heard a lot of good things.

So I should buy a fan controller as well? If yes; Which one do you have? And is the Scythe Kaze Master Pro a decent fan controller?

I'll also have a look at the Antec P280.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow View Post

I can't comment offhand about each of the cases you mention (no time to look them all up at the moment), but one big factor that can help reduce fan noise is to have large fans. Mid-tower cases often have smaller fans (120mm or less) which are often louder since they need to spin faster. Full-tower cases can have similar fans, but they often allow for larger fans like 140mm and 240mm fansm which can have the same CFM as smaller fans but at much slower RPMs. I have a HAF-X which has 120mm, 140mm, and 240mm fans and it's much, much quieter than my previous CM690, which sounded like a vacuum cleaner with all the fans pegged.
And of course you can shop for particular fans that are quieter than others of the same size, but these often come at premium.
Also, a fan controller can help combat fan noise as well. It allows you to turn fan speeds down when you aren't gaming or otherwise have a need for maximum cooling.
GPU fans can also be very noisy as they are often tiny. To deal with that, set a custom fan profile (using something like Afterburner) or manually lower the fan speeds.
And lastly, some cases come with sound insulating material, and such materials can also be installed.
So I should dodge fans smaller than 140MM?
My graphics card is already very silent, I can only hear it when the fan is higher than 55%. (it's most of the time on idle) I don't think there's a need for a custom fan profile.
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post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nipaa~ View Post

Thanks everyone for answering this fast. smile.gif
So I should buy a fan controller as well? If yes; Which one do you have? And is the Scythe Kaze Master Pro a decent fan controller?
I'll also have a look at the Antec P280.
So I should dodge fans smaller than 140MM?
My graphics card is already very silent, I can only hear it when the fan is higher than 55%. (it's most of the time on idle) I don't think there's a need for a custom fan profile.

Maybe avoid fans smaller than 120mm, since that is such a common size. There is a huge range of 120mm fans with various noise levels and airflow. 80mm fans are pretty much loud no matter how they are configured (if you want one that pushes a decent amount of air).
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post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nipaa~ View Post

Thanks everyone for answering this fast. smile.gif
So I should buy a fan controller as well? If yes; Which one do you have? And is the Scythe Kaze Master Pro a decent fan controller?

That is completely up to you. While yes you can make it quieter, that may increase the temperatures in the case because there is less air being moved around. Which one you get is all up to you. I had a Lamptron FC-5 V2, which has 10 more watts for each channel which means you can get more fans on one channel. This also makes it more expensive compared to the FC6
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post #8 of 31
I would strongly suggest a fan controller like others have said. I recently installed a NZXT Sentry in my HAF 922, and I didn't realize I would love the silence so much, as opposed to running my 2x rad 120's and 2x cas 200's at full speed.
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post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow View Post

Maybe avoid fans smaller than 120mm, since that is such a common size. There is a huge range of 120mm fans with various noise levels and airflow. 80mm fans are pretty much loud no matter how they are configured (if you want one that pushes a decent amount of air).
I should've added ''as much as possible'' at the end of that sentence, as completely dodging them would be impossible because my CPU cooler needs one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1060 View Post

That is completely up to you. While yes you can make it quieter, that may increase the temperatures in the case because there is less air being moved around. Which one you get is all up to you. I had a Lamptron FC-5 V2, which has 10 more watts for each channel which means you can get more fans on one channel. This also makes it more expensive compared to the FC6
I can't find the FCV2 here anywhere unfortunately.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockosmodlife View Post

I would strongly suggest a fan controller like others have said. I recently installed a NZXT Sentry in my HAF 922, and I didn't realize I would love the silence so much, as opposed to running my 2x rad 120's and 2x cas 200's at full speed.
I've looked at the NZXT Sentry, but I don't like touch screen, do you have any other recommendations?

I've also had a look at the P280, according to this review:
http://tweakers.net/reviews/2459/6/antec-performance-one-p280-praktisch-stil-prestaties.html
It's a very silent case, but I don't like the looks of it to be honest.
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post #10 of 31
Here it is at Amazon. Also another thing to consider when deciding on a fan controller is how many fans do you want to control. I know you can get some cheap single controllers if you are only doing one or two fans.
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