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As many Cores as possible and Silent (Fanless during normal operation)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hello,

Abstract:
I struggle, how to build computer (which CPU, MB, PSU) with as much cores as possible, while having computer fanless during normal operation.

Could you suggest CPU,MB (+eventually PSU) that would be fanless during normal operation with as many cores as possible?

Problem Statement
What I try to achieve:

* (F) fanless during normal operation - I would like to have it silent = fan-less (everything - PSU, MB, CPU...), during normal operation: Linux, couple of webbrowsers turned on, maybe music or movie - I do not play games!
* (C) as many cores as possible - I am programmer. I need as many cores as possible. I am perfectly fine / happy with under-clocking them, as long as system will be stable (I have no idea how under-clocking impacts stability).
* (L) fan turning on during big load is fine - I don't mind if fans on CPU, PSU would turn on during big load. (Personally I would feel even safer with such "protection", I mean, if computer would run fans when getting into risk of overheat - a lot of times I will leave this computer alone when travelling...)
* (S) safe - I want to stay calm when I travel, leaving computer alone that it will not burn my flat or itself during summer time or getting spiky load (or fork bomb;).)
* (M) a lot of RAM - at least 16GB (preferably 32GB)
* (A) preference towards AMD, but I am flexible - When it comes about CPU architecture I have preference towards AMD, but if Intel (or other?) would be the only choice to satisfy my needs, I am flexible to reconsider.

I know there might be tradeoffs (like (M) vs (C) or (S) vs (C)). That's why I assigned letter codes to each requirement.

If I have lack of fundamental knowledge required on that forum,
Could you please point me to appropriate further readings?
I tried, but found conflicting information about above matters (like "safety" (S) or "stability when underclocking", that's why I ask here, in order to fight with myths I found around internet).

TL;DR (I don't mind if you omit below "TL;DR" as it's just, what's above but in more detail)

Which CPU(s) ?

Cores wise (C) - From Customer Electronics, I see that AMD X8 FX-8120, AMD X8 FX-8350 are fresh.
FX-8120 seem to be less TDP, but maybe underclocking FX-8350 would be better idea?
Or maybe even other CPU ?

I looked for eventual solutions with multiple CPUs, but it seems that such are very expensive MBs or I missed sth.

When I searched for >8 cores, most what I found where server cpus,
which might be an option as well (as long as does not boost cost of whole set more than, let's say 800$... - in general I am not aware about costs, as I couldn't find any feasible solutions yet. (most fanless systems are <4 cores... :/ ) )

Which MB(s)?
So far I used mostly ASUS with some belief of paying more for reliability - what might be not true anymore.
I am not picky that much about MB,
as long as (M) "RAM" requirement is fine
and I have PCI-Express (so I can put GFX for two 1920x1200 screens),
and additional PCI or PCI express for network card,
and PCI-Express for eSATA or Linux compatible eSATA onboard,

Which PSU?
I don't mind buying stronger PSU than needed if it gives better stability/safety, eventual fan running only during big loads - I mean that in case if 400W/450W seasonic would be ok, I can buy 600W or 700W.

Other parts:
* GFX - no problem - it's easy to buy Passively cooled Graphics Cards for PCI-Express, I have a couple of those.
* Disk - I've bought already SSD, for silent operation.

TL;DR - Few words about my needs for those curious:

I am Linux programmer. I don't play games.
I want to explore concurrent programming,
so architecture is important to me (in this case amount of cores), not speed.
Sometimes I like to experiment with parallel, concurrent programming,
that's why I need as much cores as possible,
while speed (counted in Mhz) is not crucial for me, as I like to explore architecture
(once software is done I can always do desired computations on other machines)

Most of time I have text editors on screens,
compile once per couple of minutes, but not that big programs,
sometimes compile latex files,
and of course, I am running web browsers with a couple of pages
on my two 1920x1200 screens in pivot.
post #2 of 23
Current Intel mainstream CPUs use less power idling than AMD FX CPUs, and a LOT less power under load. I don't think AMD FX CPUs even undervolted and underclocked will be able to match the low power usage of Intel CPUs under load.




You can see that it isn't just a couple more watts under load but a HUGE amount more at 120W for an i7-3770K versus 195W for an FX 8350. Since you emphasized "silent and fanless" this is absolutely something you should take into consideration. The FX chips are "8 core" but only four "modules." While under heavily threaded applications the AMD chips may out perform the Core i5, the Hyperthreaded Core i7 catches up. Also, the Intel chips usually have higher performance when 4 or fewer threads are used.

An added bonus is that the Intel mainstream platform has integrated graphics, so you won't even need a graphics card. Just choose the motherboard that has the appropriate connections for your monitors. You can probably find motherboards with one DVI and one either HDMI or DP. If your monitors can support that, then you are golden. Otherwise, you may have to spring a couple bucks for an adapter. Still cheaper than even the cheapest passive video card, plus uses less power.

For power supply you can go with any low watt fanless unit if the case you use puts the PSU at the bottom. Also, you can go with a "pico PSU" style with an Intel platform since it uses so little power (unless you use a bunch of HDDs). Mini-Box makes the "official" PicoPSU, but other companies also make similar units (external power bricks, internal DC-DC power supply). A 120W unit can easily power a mainstream Core i7 at stock speeds using integrated video and with a couple of drives. If going this route, shop carefully because some of the power bricks have built-in fans. Also, make sure the power brick is at least the same wattage as the DC-DC power supply.

Both Intel and AMD platforms use the same dual channel DDR3 RAM. I suggest 1600MHz and 1.5v or less. Other than that, doesn't matter a huge amount what you get so buy the cheapest that has warranty service in your country.

For CPU cooler, look up NOFAN. Here is the SPCR review, from known "silent" fanatics. This heatsink does not use a fan at all. It requires a case that has open mesh ventilation above the cooler.

Beyond what I've listed is the realm of "fanless cases" which use heatpipes to channel CPU heat to the case exterior, which acts as a big heatsink. Here is one example but many others exist. This ends up quite pricey and very limited in expansion and compatibility. This is only for the truly hardcore.

Oh yeah, HDDs make noise so use an SSD.
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post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpl View Post

Which CPU(s) ?

Cores wise (C) - From Customer Electronics, I see that AMD X8 FX-8120, AMD X8 FX-8350 are fresh.
FX-8120 seem to be less TDP, but maybe underclocking FX-8350 would be better idea?
Or maybe even other CPU ?

I looked for eventual solutions with multiple CPUs, but it seems that such are very expensive MBs or I missed sth.

When I searched for >8 cores, most what I found where server cpus,
which might be an option as well (as long as does not boost cost of whole set more than, let's say 800$... - in general I am not aware about costs, as I couldn't find any feasible solutions yet. (most fanless systems are <4 cores... :/ ) )

I am Linux programmer. I don't play games.
I want to explore concurrent programming,
so architecture is important to me (in this case amount of cores), not speed.
Sometimes I like to experiment with parallel, concurrent programming,
that's why I need as much cores as possible,
while speed (counted in Mhz) is not crucial for me, as I like to explore architecture
(once software is done I can always do desired computations on other machines)

Most of time I have text editors on screens,
compile once per couple of minutes, but not that big programs,
sometimes compile latex files,
and of course, I am running web browsers with a couple of pages
on my two 1920x1200 screens in pivot.
As Zap already posted (very nice post +rep), Intel will be more efficient and lower tpd, thus needing less cooling, so intel better into what you are persuing for fanless/semi fanless setup. But if you you line of work disergards the processing power of intel just out of favoring more cores, then your choice is clear, AMD has more cores on consumer based CPUs, unless you go into server grade Xeon CPUs you wont find 8 cores on intel. Ivy Bridge Xeon CPUs are out, but the cheaperst 8 core is still very expensive, Intel Xeon E5-2640 v2 Ivy Bridge-EP 2.0GHz 20MB L3 Cache LGA 2011 95W 8-Core Server Processor BX80635E52640V2 $919
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpl View Post

Which MB(s)?
So far I used mostly ASUS with some belief of paying more for reliability - what might be not true anymore.
I am not picky that much about MB,
as long as (M) "RAM" requirement is fine
and I have PCI-Express (so I can put GFX for two 1920x1200 screens),
and additional PCI or PCI express for network card,
and PCI-Express for eSATA or Linux compatible eSATA onboard,
I would recommend Asus for their fanXpert2 that will allow you full control on your fans, allowing even to stop some fans depending on the conditions... but this is only on windows, no support for Linux. Asus bios for fan control imo is subpar, especially against MSI, for example my Asus Maximus IV Gene has a restricion of 40% on the CPU_FAN header (only on bios, on fanXpert2 is 0), while my MSI Z87-GD65 has 12.5% on pure bios, much lower. For a linux build i would go pure on bios, so MSI would be my choice, you can setup your case with full PWM fan (preferable the same) and just use a PWM fan splitter to control them all together, recommended the following, Akasa Flexa FP5 PWM 5-Way Splitter - Smart Fan Cable (AK-CBFA03-45) or if you need more fans, Swiftech 8-Way PWM Cable Splitter - SATA Power (8W-PWM-SPL-ST). On the motherboard, first decide the CPU, the new ivy bridge E will allow 64gb memory with 8x banks of memory, some server boards will allow more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpl View Post

Which PSU?
I don't mind buying stronger PSU than needed if it gives better stability/safety, eventual fan running only during big loads - I mean that in case if 400W/450W seasonic would be ok, I can buy 600W or 700W.
With no overclocking or heavy GPU, my guess your setup will never even break 300W, you can certainly go with Seasonic X fanless, just be sure you have decent airflow on your case as it will still need it to cool itself. Worth mentioning that for people looking for quiet setup, some have found coil/whinning on seasonic PSU, more on platinum based, but this imo is not totally seasonic fault, its more a combination of hardware. Another option also reviewed by SPCR, are the Superflowered based fanless PSU, in the US they are rebrands, KINGWIN STR-500 and Rosewill SilentNight-500, both were reviewed by SPCR, Fanless PSUs: Kingwin Stryker STR-500 & Silverstone ST50NF and Rosewill Silent Night 500 Platinum 80 Plus, this would be my choice.

On the CPU cooler, on AMD idk if fanless will work specially under load. For CPU cooler i would go with Thermalright HR02 Macho, reviewed by SPCR Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler or the recently reviewed Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back, both got editior chioce, and include a good PWM fan, so it should work out well for AMD cpu. Another option that hasnt been reviewed by SPCR, is the Noctua NH-U14S, i tried the included fan NF-A15 PWM, and it work very well under PWM bios fan control, i was able to drop it down to 350rpm were its virtually inaudible, as long as your motherboard can dip low it will be a very good choice.

What case you planning on bulding the setup?
Edited by Abula - 9/15/13 at 1:16pm
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post #4 of 23
As many cores as possible rings the socket G34 bells.

You could try to snatch an ATX socket G34 board and smash an Interlagos/Abu Dhabi/Magny Cours Opteron on it.

There's 12c Magny Cours on eBay going for well under 200 bucks, plust 150ish for the motherboard. Interlagos (Bulldozer) and Abu Dhabi (Vishera) are more expensive, but also 16 cores.

The Opteron 6366 HE is 85W TDP at 16 cores, so are the HE 12C Magny Cours and the Opteron 6262 HE Interlagos.
Edited by Artikbot - 9/15/13 at 12:30pm
   
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post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for pointing Scoket G34 16-core 85W Cpus -> 6262 HE AMD Opteron, looks very good in that sense. (http://www.servethehome.com/amds-bulldozer-based-interlagos-valencia-cpus/ ). I see even dual CPU motherboards, what sounds Good to me.

However I am afraid for finding big , efficient radiator for that factor, as most of "fanless" or "semi fanless" solutions are targeted at typical desktop CPUs, here we have case of server cpu, but absolutely under my attention.

If this would be not duable, but 8 cores , which are available in FX models -> let it go. The problem is there, still I am not aware is it's possible to make it stable with "semi fansless" setup and "fanless" during normal operation. -> Is system after underclocking of such FX 8cores still stable ?
If such system is still not fanless or stable during normal operation, I would need to compromise and go to previously advised 4 core cpus, and wait for better times wink.gif.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpl View Post

If this would be not duable, but 8 cores , which are available in FX models -> let it go. The problem is there, still I am not aware is it's possible to make it stable with "semi fansless" setup and "fanless" during normal operation. -> Is system after underclocking of such FX 8cores still stable ?
If such system is still not fanless or stable during normal operation, I would need to compromise and go to previously advised 4 core cpus, and wait for better times wink.gif.
I think we havent reach to the point where high cores are viable on pure passive cooling setup. Personally i woudnt do it, but its up to you.

The issue is that totally fanless setup is very hard to keep under control, the difference of very little airflow is massive, really makes a world of difference. Cooling with air is like exponential curve where very little air makes a lot of difference but a when you drive a lot of air the gains start to get mariginal to the point where its trivial what you gain for the amount of air your driving. Recommened you read SPCR Fan Test System, SPCR 2010.
Quote:
Over the years, we have observed one clear phenomenon about fans and cooling: The relationship between airflow and temperature invariably becomes exponential at some point.


Since we don't live on noise free environments, the trick is plan a setup where the noise of the setup is less than the ambient noise, creating the illusion of the setup being totally silent (no build with moving parts will be totally silent ever but it can be driven to inaudible levels). This is very easily achievable today, there are monster coolers that should allow you this,

Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler
Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back
Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler

All the above coolers, specially NH-U14S can be drop the fan to 170rpm, where you will not hear it. Atm im running my i7 4770k on HR02 + Noiseblocker 120mm PLPS @650rpm and i cant hear it. So the point of fanless imo is not worth it, you sacrifice way to much temp for being totally fanless, just get good case fans that can drop low, preferable PWM like Scythe Slipstreams/glidestreams PWM 120mm or Noctua NF-A14 PWM 140mm for case fans, and get a motherboard with good bios fan control, the one that i know has very good at least on Z77/Z87 is MSI (not sure how are AMD mobos now a days), impressive what they allow on pure bios, around 12.5% is the minimum where the fan barely spin, then set the target temp to let say 60C and it will ramp them according to the conditions, even under prime95 my setup remain very very quiet. You do need to use a splitter so everything is bound to the CPU_FAN header, this is safe as i posted in my previous post, now what you need to find out is weather the motherboard you will be chosing has good PWM control.

Edit
I was browsing MSI for AMD motherboards, searching for MSI 990FXA-GD80 V2 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard, i wanted to look at the BIOS since i havent build an amd setup in more than 8 years, so i wanted to see if it was similar to the Z77A-G43 that i just build a couple of moths ago, and yes, the bios is similar in the CPU fan control,



Now the only question i still have is the % it allows, in the MSI Z77A-G43 it allowed 12.5%, 25%, 37.5%, 50%, 62.5%, 75%, 87.5%, 100%, if this are the values it has on the AMD board then it should be very easy to control the Case fans and CPU fans.

Im still searcing for bios image on the fan control on the cheaper MSI 970A-G46 AM3+ but i haven't been able to find any yet.
.
Edited by Abula - 9/16/13 at 6:12pm
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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpl View Post

Thanks for pointing Scoket G34 16-core 85W Cpus -> 6262 HE AMD Opteron, looks very good in that sense. (http://www.servethehome.com/amds-bulldozer-based-interlagos-valencia-cpus/ ). I see even dual CPU motherboards, what sounds Good to me.

However I am afraid for finding big , efficient radiator for that factor, as most of "fanless" or "semi fanless" solutions are targeted at typical desktop CPUs, here we have case of server cpu, but absolutely under my attention..

Considering how wimpy the coolers are in their usual places, I think you could probably cool them down using a large cooler. Perhaps an Orochi on a horizontally mounted case?
   
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Logitech G9 ASUS Xonar DX Sennheiser HD555 SMSL SA S3 Desktop Amplifier 
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Kenwood KFC S1394 + Custom 10L Bass Reflex cabi... Logitech G25 
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AMD A10-5700 Gigabyte F2A75M-HD2 Radeon 7660D G.SKILL Ares 2133 CL9 
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Hitachi 5K750 Noctua NH-L9a Fedora 18 Windows 7 x64 
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Core2Duo E6400 Core2Quad Q6600 Pentium Dual Core E5200 AsRock 4COREDUAL-SATA2 R2.0 
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A dumpload of ancient AGP cards Kingston Value DDR2-667 CL4 2T @CL3 1T Seagate 160GB 7200.10 LG IDE DVD-ROM 
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Ghettomade CPU waterblock 49cc 2stroke engine copper radiator WinXP SP2 32bit ProView 17" 
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Tacens Radix V 550W Ghetto aluminium bench 
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post #8 of 23
I assume you want dead silent build with no fans, that also means - no gaming or any heavy stuff.
Your biggest quest will be getting a cpu good/power efficient/powerful enough. Forget the FX series, because they are power hungry monsters, that emits a lot of heat.

My advice - get an i3 and put a HUGE ass heatsink on top of it + one of silent class fans to move air around, because after longer working sessions the heatsink will heat the air inside the case, thus raising average temperature.

You can always pick one of the last generation's cpu's we had in, like, 2005, of course. If the pc will be used for internet surfing, it would be sufficient + you may could even get rid of all the fans.

Motherboard will not be an issue, I suppose.

There are some PSU's on the market, that are fanless, so no problem with that too.

Whatever you decide, I'd suggest putting at least one silent, low rpm fan to move the air.
The Kraken
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AMD FX-8120 msi 990fxa-gd65 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7770 OC rev 2.0 8GB of Crucial Technology ST51264BA1339.16FM 
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Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB Kingston 120Gb SSD Seagate ST1000VX000-1CU162 1TB LG DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH24NS50 
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Corsair H80i Windows 8.1 LG 29MA73D-PZ Logitec K120 
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Inter-Tech EPS-750W Cooler Master 350K trust maxx track 4-channel fan speed controller 
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2 White Cold Cathode Lights 
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The Kraken
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8120 msi 990fxa-gd65 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7770 OC rev 2.0 8GB of Crucial Technology ST51264BA1339.16FM 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB Kingston 120Gb SSD Seagate ST1000VX000-1CU162 1TB LG DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH24NS50 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Corsair H80i Windows 8.1 LG 29MA73D-PZ Logitec K120 
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Inter-Tech EPS-750W Cooler Master 350K trust maxx track 4-channel fan speed controller 
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2 White Cold Cathode Lights 
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post #9 of 23
That nofan cooler doesnt support FX cpu's. OP would have to get a hyperthreaded i7 to get it.
Black Jarvis V1
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Mazdaspeed6
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Black Jarvis V1
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Mazdaspeed6
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post #10 of 23
How much room do you have for each mobo, and how many are you doing? Are you doing tower cases? rack mount? Bare? Some of the fanless solutions are quite large. Also do you need ecc memory? Another thing to remember is fanless systems still require airflow of some sort.

The only thing I can think of that ignores all of those questions is mineral oil immersion. It's got some issues of it;s own though. They;re not plug and play buy it of the internet things, There will be fabrication involved. The equipment gets extremely heavy, and if you've got to replace components it can get incredibly messy incredibly fast. Not so great for bulletproof applications. There are no fans involved though period, and you can literally just stack mobos in the tank like books.
New gaming rig
(15 items)
 
  
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4770k some mid range asrock. extreme 4 maybe? 2x gigabyte windforce 7950 2 x 8 corsair balistix sport 
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some old 1tb LG blu-ray Glaier 240L  win 8.1 pro 
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dell 1080p cheapest piece of crud I could find antec HCG 750 none! 
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yes there is one who cares? some $30 no name 2+sub speakers I bought at mic... 
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New gaming rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770k some mid range asrock. extreme 4 maybe? 2x gigabyte windforce 7950 2 x 8 corsair balistix sport 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
some old 1tb LG blu-ray Glaier 240L  win 8.1 pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
dell 1080p cheapest piece of crud I could find antec HCG 750 none! 
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yes there is one who cares? some $30 no name 2+sub speakers I bought at mic... 
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