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So, I'd like to get peoples opinions on what silent or near silent solutions are out there. The key points being, it has to be able to house 2 HDs and a CD rom, has to be capable of decoding h/x.264 @1080 and blurays, HD-audio output over HDMI and be quiet or silent. I'm ok with low rpm fans as long as they are really quite. I know there are a lot of possible options, but I'm more interested in what people have worked with personally. If possible I'd like to avoid the hassle of water cooling.
 

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Undervolting Panaflo fans works fine for me. The Zalman fanmate works, or Directron sells a 7v adapter. The video card and power supply can be passive models, and then the cpu heatsink chosen large enough to accommodate an 80mm, 92mm or 120mm Panaflo. Make sure to use plenty of undervolted case fans to draw air through the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_Tech /forum/post/18139111


Undervolting Panaflo fans works fine for me. The Zalman fanmate works, or Directron sells a 7v adapter. The video card and power supply can be passive models, and then the cpu heatsink chosen large enough to accommodate an 80mm, 92mm or 120mm Panaflo. Make sure to use plenty of undervolted case fans to draw air through the case.

Are there currently any video cards capable of doing full HD bluray audio over HDMI that can run near silent? Or is there an after market sink I can use on one of them?
 

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HD 5450 (every HD 5xxx supports BD audio over HDMI) with a passive cooler is silent.
 

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You can get passive coolers for video and CPU, but remember that heatsinks only work when air is moving through them. I'd get a case that can accomodate one or two huge fans (like 160+ mm) and run them at low speeds. Air flow is critical.


IMO it's impossible to get a completely silent HTPC, but you won't be able to hear the fan noise once the movie is playing.
 

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I agree with the poster about getting fan controllers. There are several good brands but I use Kaze. Put in lots of fans and run them through one or more controllers....including the CPU fan and the PSU fan. Then download something like RealTemp to optimize your sound/heat settings.


fafner
 

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fusion remote HTPC case

silverstone nightjar (fanless) psu

any 45w TDP AMD cpu (ie 240e) and 785g AM3 mobo

whatever ram config ypu want

passive cpu cooler (ninja mini or similar)


- remove the front tricool and block the aperture with the baffle provided with the case


- Remove the back tricool and replace it with a 120mm PWM fan


- connect the PWM fan to the header on the mobo


result: machine with only one fan which is temperature sensitive. As long as cpu load is low, it will run at minimal rpm, providing cooling for CPU (via passive HS) and on-board chipset


- optionally, add a 5 series radeon (passive) for bitstreamed audio.


- optionally, use a ssd for OS and refer to a file server for storage (no HDD noise)
 

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Not a bad reccomendation above, I'll just add some fans, Silverstone S-flex PWM if you want to go with a PWM fan. I don't like PWM as it tends to tick at low RPM and it drives me nuts.


I would get a scythe slipstream 1200rpm and run it at 7V.


I'll also second the reccomendation for going with a small, relatively inexpensive SSD like the Kingston 40GB drive or the intel value drive and using a remote hard drive, will cut out a lot of noise.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18149185


I don't like PWM as it tends to tick at low RPM and it drives me nuts.

I built one of these late last year using 120mm scythe pwm - didnt have any ticking issue.


The 7v jobbie would do it also though I guess. He would need to set it up properly though (Speedfan/prime95) to make sure its getting the job done at load. Once the fan's limited no way of knowing if its cooling without maxing the cpu and checking the temps. (he should probably do that with a pwm anyway to make sure its seated properly and everything checks out)


You following, OP?
 

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Following the advice of silent PC review website 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. $50 or so.


Motherboard E7AUM-DS2H with integraded 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 control fan -$10 This reduced noise another 10%


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 RPMs.


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 with an AV receiver and the whole works.


Hope this helps


Franke46
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kareface /forum/post/18138476


So, I'd like to get peoples opinions on what silent or near silent solutions are out there. The key points being, it has to be able to house 2 HDs and a CD rom, has to be capable of decoding h/x.264 @1080 and blurays, HD-audio output over HDMI and be quiet or silent. I'm ok with low rpm fans as long as they are really quite. I know there are a lot of possible options, but I'm more interested in what people have worked with personally. If possible I'd like to avoid the hassle of water cooling.

CD ROM could be the nosiest device. Recent bluray ODDs are all quite noisy.
 

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Noctua fans are excellent. They now all ship with Ultra Low Noise Adapters, which, while reducing fan speed a bit, also reduces the fan noise to 7-8db (i.e. silent).


I'm shortly going to be putting my current HTPC in a new case, and will be replacing all the fans with Noctua ones. 2 x 80mm exhaust fans, 1 x 80mm side intake fan, and 1 x 92mm fan for the disk drives.


Unfortunately, my new case won't take the 120mm Noctua's I currently use, which is a shame!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tman247 /forum/post/18159455


Noctua fans are excellent. They now all ship with Ultra Low Noise Adapters, which, while reducing fan speed a bit, also reduces the fan noise to 7-8db (i.e. silent).


I'm shortly going to be putting my current HTPC in a new case, and will be replacing all the fans with Noctua ones. 2 x 80mm exhaust fans, 1 x 80mm side intake fan, and 1 x 92mm fan for the disk drives.


Unfortunately, my new case won't take the 120mm Noctua's I currently use, which is a shame!

Then get a different case! Lol, sorry, but sound level isn't everything. Any silence nut will tell you that tonality is just as important and the dull whir of 120mm fans at 12db is nothing compared to the relative hissing of 80mm fans.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18160183


Then get a different case! Lol, sorry, but sound level isn't everything. Any silence nut will tell you that tonality is just as important and the dull whir of 120mm fans at 12db is nothing compared to the relative hissing of 80mm fans.

You'd be surprised how few HTPC cases take 120mm fans! Infact, I found a few that, while aesthetically pleasing, only have a couple of 60mm outtake fans! Those things have to turn damn fast to push any air around.


Believe me, when you put a PC in the lounge, it has to be right. If it's too noisy, or unreliable, then you get it in the neck big time fom the other half. It has to be quiet and cool, and look right. The new case is a Silverstone LC16B, replacing an Antec NSK2400. The Silverstone passed the 'looks' test, now I just have to transfer one to the other. I do get called anal about things like this, but they have to be right!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kareface /forum/post/18139381


Are there currently any video cards capable of doing full HD bluray audio over HDMI that can run near silent? Or is there an after market sink I can use on one of them?

For something that will do some image sharpening as well as just decoding, you want to look at the Powercolor 5750 SCS edition, which is fanless as well. They also have a GO Green! edition, but it appears that is still vaporware as no one has it or has pre-orders for it. The benefit with the GO Green is that it uses select chips which run with less power, a redesigned board which is optimized for efficient power usage, and as a result it doesn't need a PCI-E power connector. The card draws less then the 75W available from the PCI-E slot. That also means that with less power, it is cooler running, which means better silence... If only they would appear....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by daMaster /forum/post/18166590


Tons of excellent advice in this thread. This is the kind of info that should be stickied!


First post should be updated with most recent "silent" components.


It seems like we need a thread to address three issues that keep popping up for new builds:


1) quiet & power efficient

2) some level of gaming

3) HD movie + HD audio


My mac mini running intel ssd g2 and win 7 x64 consumes about 25 watts (according to killawatt). Surely someone can come up with a medium sized box which can store several (say 4) green caviars + 1 ssd (boot) and be fairly quiet and consume
 
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