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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Following the advice of silent PC review website among others I was able to build what I think is a completely silent HTPC without breaking the bank. Sure if you stick a hyper-sensitive mike inside you may pick up something but to my ears it is silent, so much so that I forget to turn it off sometimes, even at night I can't tell when it is on without looking at it.


Here is the component list:


Case Raidmax R1 ATX from FRY's, kind of el cheapo case but it looks good enough and has really good airflow. $50 or so.


Motherboard E7AUM-DS2H with integrated Nvidia 4900 graphics -$110 I think.


Nexus Value 450 power supply - $80 This upgrade made a humongous difference, it went let's say 80% silent afterwards. I absolutely love this power supply. I am surprised few retailers carry it, FRY's doesn't.


Scythe 120mm PWM motherboard controlled fan -$10 This reduced noise another 10%. I also removed another 3 fans from the case, yes the case came with 4 fans, LOL, is it a case or a hovercraft?


And finally a new green series WD hard drive - Another 10% noise reduction.


The CPU cooler is stock.


The other 2 factors I think make this PC silent are:


The low heat CPU, intel E5200 rated at 65W with its motherboard controlled stock fan. Low heat means low fan RPMs and low or no noise.


The Nvidia 4900 motherboard integrated graphics, no graphics card means less heat, more case air flow and specially no graphics cpu fan, those are notoriously noisy


Like I said this thing is very silent, I have a samsung blu ray player next to it and I can hear its fan instead of the HTPC. I have a full home theater system so this HTPC really is used for videos, movies and the like, connected only via HDMI with an AV receiver and the whole works.


Hope this helps


Franke46


PS: Sorry for the repost, but I wanted to share this success story that took me quite a bit of research to accomplish.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franke46 /forum/post/18153376


Like I said this thing is very silent

No, you said "dead silent" so I clicked to read. I was expecting passive cooling, SSD discs, acustic dampening inside for the optical drives...


Other than the different power supply we have about the same solution. One 120mm case fan, stock Intel CPU cooler (that I was going to swap for a mini-ninja cooled passively and aided by the case fan), and power supply fan. Also running a WD Green drive mounted with dampeners in an Antec Fusion case. I decided to leave the CPU cooler alone since the HDD is probably the loudest item in the case.
 

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Reading the title, I would have thought you had a flanless mini-ITX, say an Atom ION board. Combine this with a fanless pico DC-DC power supply and a SSD, and you would have a silent PC regardless of the mic sensitivity... and you wouldn't have to break the bank. Not sure what the performance would be of that solution, probably not bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj /forum/post/18153467


No, you said "dead silent" so I clicked to read. I was expecting passive cooling, SSD discs, acustic dampening inside for the optical drives...


Other than the different power supply we have about the same solution. One 120mm case fan, stock Intel CPU cooler (that I was going to swap for a mini-ninja cooled passively and aided by the case fan), and power supply fan. Also running a WD Green drive mounted with dampeners in an Antec Fusion case. I decided to leave the CPU cooler alone since the HDD is probably the loudest item in the case.

Jeeez...I can't hear it at all, how much more silent can it be?


I guess that was kind of my point, you don't necessarily need all the stuff you mention, which is considerably more expensive and sort of approaches monster cable super performance claim levels, what I did sufficed in my situation.


I changed the title anyway, I hope that helps.


Franke46
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by comixguru /forum/post/18153470


Reading the title, I would have thought you had a flanless mini-ITX, say an Atom ION board. Combine this with a fanless pico DC-DC power supply and a SSD, and you would have a silent PC regardless of the mic sensitivity... and you wouldn't have to break the bank. Not sure what the performance would be of that solution, probably not bad.

Few motherboards that I know of can really output Dolby Digital 5.1 and 1080p via HDMI and do it well, in a way that bridges the seemingly strained worlds of home teather and personal computers. I tried several MBs, and while many have the specs and do it in theory, this is the only one I really found to work at the time. I'm not sure about your theoretical solution's performance either, sounds more expensive than mine too.


In any case I just wanted to share what I did in practice in hopes that it can be useful to other builders.


Franke46
 

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I have a WD green as well as other WD drives and also find them very quiet. However not as quiet as the 2.5" 400gb WD black I have in my mini-ITX system.


I do not know how much power the E7AUM-DS2H mb draws, however I suspect for just a few $ more you could replace the Nexus Value 450 with a 120w PicoPSU and reduce the noise even further. I do not see myself ever buying another ATX PSU for a HTPC.


btw I agree the stock cooler is perfect for HTPC, I have an e5400 and the fan never breaks 1k RPM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by WakJob /forum/post/18154126


So how is the playback performance? I'm looking for a cheap, relatively quiet pc for my living room tv. This sounds like it might fit the bill.

Great! I use it with windows media center as a DVR for recording and playing over the air HDTV (1080i) and it works flawlessly.


Video downloads also play perfectly. The only time I do see processor usage claim up to 70-80% is if I select 1080p resolution output and play flash based videos (HULU, VEVO) full screen. Of course those sites themselves can only send you up to 720p so no need for that, but it does show you where the limits are. I have it set up as 1080i and all is well.


I don't play blu-ray or dvds with it as I have a separate player so I can't tell you how much noise that would make.


The key is great airflow, this case is almost all one side and all the back open, selecting low wattage components and keeping integrated graphics.


Franke46
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum /forum/post/18153746


I have a WD green as well as other WD drives and also find them very quiet. However not as quiet as the 2.5" 400gb WD black I have in my mini-ITX system.


I do not know how much power the E7AUM-DS2H mb draws, however I suspect for just a few $ more you could replace the Nexus Value 450 with a 120w PicoPSU and reduce the noise even further. I do not see myself ever buying another ATX PSU for a HTPC.


btw I agree the stock cooler is perfect for HTPC, I have an e5400 and the fan never breaks 1k RPM.

The pico looks awesome if you can fit your system power needs within the 60/80/120W spec. I'm not sure about mine, the processor alone is rated 63W. However you can't hear the nexus from 3 ft away, you just can't. It has only one big fan spinning really slowly. That is what is so great about it.


Franke46
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franke46 /forum/post/18156144


The pico looks awesome if you can fit your system power needs within the 60/80/120W spec. I'm not sure about mine, the processor alone is rated 63W. However you can't hear the nexus from 3 ft away, you just can't. It has only one big fan spinning really slowly. That is what is so great about it.


Franke46

I think I'm going to have to make a post with links to all the different passive little power supplies out there, cause there are several at 200W, a pico at 150W and some passive ATX power supplies up to 450W, power supplies with fans are just not necessary any more.
 
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