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Next step

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My goal is to turn my fileserver into a quieter PC. Relavent specs are as follows:

Antec 300 case
E7200 CPU
Thermaltake Meorb HSF (just added, usually runs about 800 RPM)
GeForce 9500
Corsair TX750 PSU
120MM Antec Front Intake fan (1000 RPM)
120MM Antec Rear Exhaust fan (1000 RPM)

What type of hardware change would make the most difference, sound wise, at low load? Passively-cooled GPU? Fanless PSU?
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3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
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post #2 of 6
Probably the HSF. Every Thermaltake fan I've owned have been noisy. Replace it with a Thermalright HR-02 or HR-01 Plus.

Next step replace the Antec fans with some Scythe S-Flex or Slipstreams. Or a cheaper budget option would be Yate Loon D12SL-12.

Then swap the cooler on the GPU with an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 or get a passive one.

After that you're pretty much stuck with the hard drive noise.
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i7 4820K Rampage IV Extreme EVGA GTX 670 4GB SC+ EVGA GTX 670 4GB SC+ 
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LiteOn iHBS312 Win8.1 Pro x64 Seasonic X-750 Corsair C70 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 4820K Rampage IV Extreme EVGA GTX 670 4GB SC+ EVGA GTX 670 4GB SC+ 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
CMX16GX3M4A1600C9 Plextor M5S 256GB Plextor M5S 256GB WD Black 1TB 
Optical DriveOSPowerCase
LiteOn iHBS312 Win8.1 Pro x64 Seasonic X-750 Corsair C70 
Audio
X-Fi Titanium 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5 3570K Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H ADATA AX3U2400GW8G11-DG2 Plextor M5S 128GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD Green 500GB Seagate ST3000DM001 3TB Seagate ST3000DM001 3TB LG GH22NS30 
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post #3 of 6
1) What is your budget?

2) You need to list your other parts, such as HDDs and motherboard.

3) You need to do some due diligence by figuring out what component in your system makes the most noise.

Other than that, here are some generic suggestions:

1) Make sure EIST is enabled in BIOS (so CPU can throttle down when idle like it is supposed to) and drop the CPU fan speed even lower. If you want to throw money at this, get a Scythe Ninja 3 heatsink. It should be able to keep your CPU cool enough (for file serving duties, not running Prime95 or Folding) with no fan on it. You will still need case fans, but you can run them at super low RPMs (600-800RPM).

2) If the GPU has a little fan, then do one of the following:
- replace GPU with lower end model that is fanless
- replace GPU cooler with fanless heatsink like the Accelero S1 or S2 (both discontinued so good luck finding them, S2 is cheaper and sufficient)
- if motherboard has onboard video (which is why I asked for list of other parts) then use the onboard video

3) Buy a new case that is designed to be quieter. The Antec 300 is designed to be a cheap windtunnel of a gamer case. Why it is bad for "quiet" is because it supports a bunch of fans, has grills all over, doesn't dampen HDDs and uses thin metal which creates vibrational noise. Fractal Design Define R3 is a good choice but there are others. Antec Solo is really good for "quiet" but only holds 4x HDDs by default. Look for cases with doors over the front (which cuts noise), thicker metals (sometimes not listed) and some kind of grommets for HDDs to dampen them.

4) Lower the RPM of the Antec fans if you keep the Antec 300 case, or better yet just replace them. Antec fans are not considered very quiet.

5) Replace any 7200RPM HDD with 5400RPM HDD. Also, if you are using a bunch of smaller drives, use larger ones so you can have fewer drives. 2TB 5400RPM drives can be had on sale for as cheap as $70, and recently I picked up some 3TB 5400RPM drives from Newegg for $130. Also, if you are using any drive older than a few years, replace them. Older drives were noisier (especially from before FDB motors) and even the slowest new 5400RPM drive will outperform older 7200RPM drives.

6) Yes, you can go with a fanless PSU or one that doesn't spin the fan at lower power draws. For instance the Seasonic X series will not spin the fan up at lower power draws. Your system without the HDDs probably idles around 40-50W with EIST enabled. File serving can be considered "idling." Each 5400RPM drive will add around 5W idling and 10W under load.
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. qiqi1021, I kind of noticed that about this Thermaltake HSF. It's not too loud under load, but at idle it's kind of buzzy and maybe no quieter than the stock Intel fan.

Zap, thanks for the bullet points. I'll respond to each (rep for both)

1) What is your budget?

Budget really is not an issue. I will probably be taking an incremental approach. Needless to say, if I need to replace the PSU, that will probably cost as much as all other parts combined. I would like to get this as quiet as I can without replacing the motherboard and CPU.



2) You need to list your other parts, such as HDDs and motherboard.

HDDs are three SpinPoints -- 2 x 1TB and a 320 GB
Motherboard is Gigabyte GA-EP45


3) You need to do some due diligence by figuring out what component in your system makes the most noise.

Trust me, I've tried. I just don't have good enough ears to tell. I've tried running without the Antec case fans. Didn't seem to help much. I really cannot unplug the graphics card or CPU fan to test either.


Other than that, here are some generic suggestions:

1) Make sure EIST is enabled in BIOS (so CPU can throttle down when idle like it is supposed to) and drop the CPU fan speed even lower. If you want to throw money at this, get a Scythe Ninja 3 heatsink. It should be able to keep your CPU cool enough (for file serving duties, not running Prime95 or Folding) with no fan on it. You will still need case fans, but you can run them at super low RPMs (600-800RPM).

The thing is, the cpu is almost always idling. I cannot move this to a different area of the house. I'm just trying to get rid of the subtle low hum from the machine. I've got some Scythe Slipstream case fans on order.



2) If the GPU has a little fan, then do one of the following:
- replace GPU with lower end model that is fanless
- replace GPU cooler with fanless heatsink like the Accelero S1 or S2 (both discontinued so good luck finding them, S2 is cheaper and sufficient)
- if motherboard has onboard video (which is why I asked for list of other parts) then use the onboard video

This is really where I'm leaning towards -- getting a lower end vid card



3) Buy a new case that is designed to be quieter. The Antec 300 is designed to be a cheap windtunnel of a gamer case. Why it is bad for "quiet" is because it supports a bunch of fans, has grills all over, doesn't dampen HDDs and uses thin metal which creates vibrational noise. Fractal Design Define R3 is a good choice but there are others. Antec Solo is really good for "quiet" but only holds 4x HDDs by default. Look for cases with doors over the front (which cuts noise), thicker metals (sometimes not listed) and some kind of grommets for HDDs to dampen them.

I've got this old case with a door on the front which I will try. It seems a bit sturdier than the 300. It was actually probably pretty nice in it's day (removeable motherboard tray, semi-tooless design). It does have a bunch of small cutouts for small fans over the HDD area and other places that I've never used, but overall, I think it's less "open" than the 300. However, if that does not help, I will check out the cases you mentioned.



4) Lower the RPM of the Antec fans if you keep the Antec 300 case, or better yet just replace them. Antec fans are not considered very quiet.

Hopefully these Scythes work out


5) Replace any 7200RPM HDD with 5400RPM HDD. Also, if you are using a bunch of smaller drives, use larger ones so you can have fewer drives. 2TB 5400RPM drives can be had on sale for as cheap as $70, and recently I picked up some 3TB 5400RPM drives from Newegg for $130. Also, if you are using any drive older than a few years, replace them. Older drives were noisier (especially from before FDB motors) and even the slowest new 5400RPM drive will outperform older 7200RPM drives.

The HDDs do not spin up very often. I'm more concerned about idle noise.


6) Yes, you can go with a fanless PSU or one that doesn't spin the fan at lower power draws. For instance the Seasonic X series will not spin the fan up at lower power draws. Your system without the HDDs probably idles around 40-50W with EIST enabled. File serving can be considered "idling." Each 5400RPM drive will add around 5W idling and 10W under load.

I've got the Seasonic X in my main rig. This will be the last thing I try, as it is the most expensive. Plus, I've got too many PSUs. I can try another, but I'm not sure if it would do any good. Besides the Corsair mentioned above, I have an OCZ 700W modular, Antec Earthwatts 650, and some old school Antec 400. I doubt there would be any difference between these and the Corsair?

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Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
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Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
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post #5 of 6
I really cannot unplug the graphics card or CPU fan to test either.

You can. Well, leave the graphics card fan plugged in because it is usually a PITA to mess with. What you can do is to turn on the system and go into BIOS (so that you can turn it off immediately without having to wait for Windows). Then, unplug the CPU fan and see if it makes a big difference. Then, stop the graphics card fan. If the graphics card fan is a little one and not a big blower like on a GTX card, you can just touch the center of the fan (the fan hub) with your finger and the fan will stop. It should start up again after you release it. Doing this for a small amount of time will not cause overheating.

I'm just trying to get rid of the subtle low hum from the machine.

Hmmm, we may be getting somewhere. While the system is running and you hear the "subtle low hum," try putting your hands on the two side panels and gently squeeze the case. You don't want to squeeze it enough to dent it, just slight inwards pressure on the two side panels. Does the hum go away? If so, you need a new case.
Main home rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-3570K ASRock Z77E-ITX GeForce GTX 670 8GB Samsung DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech MX518 Allsop Metal Onkyo TX-SR505 receiver, Polk bookshelf speaker... 
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Main home rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-3570K ASRock Z77E-ITX GeForce GTX 670 8GB Samsung DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech MX518 Allsop Metal Onkyo TX-SR505 receiver, Polk bookshelf speaker... 
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, especially the tip about the easy way to stop the graphics card fan. I tried squeezing the case as you mentioned -- it did not seem to make a difference. However, I will still try swapping out cases to my more solid case if all else fails.

I just thought of something. Previously, I had OpenSUSE installed on this machine. If I remember correctly, it would go into standby but wake up when connected to over the network. Unfortunately, Ubuntu does not seem to share this ability.
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
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