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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm working on quietening down my hybrid ht/gaming PC. It used to be a turbine, and now it's much quieter already, but I'd like to take it a bit further. Plus, I want to crossfire the video card soon, and that's going to make the whole thing that much more challenging, so I need everything cooling well.


What I've done so far:

-moved all drives up to the top so that the lower passage (air intake) is COMPLETELY empty (it's a cheap-o mini-tower case).

-Cables routed entirely out of air passages and tied securely

-Swapped out my old radeon 4850 for a passive cooled 5750.

-Removed my stock AMD cooler (WOW that thing was loud!) and repaced it with a xigmatek liquid CPU cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233011

-set up fan control to keep the fan in the cpu cooler on the lowest setting until temps get high

-replaced by generic 450w power supply with a 650w aerocool 0 dba (found for freaking cheap!)



So my finding so far -

This made a HUGE difference. But I want more!


-I think the cpu cooler might not have been the best choice. At lowest setting it keeps the cpu cool most of the time, and at that setting the fan is *almost* inaudible, but not quite. More noticeable is the internal pump noise. Still far below the old fan, but enough that I notice it ... Yes, it's still the quietest cpu cooler I've ever used

-I was worried about passive cooling on a (relatively) high performance video card, but it seems to be OK so far. I've been logging the temps with speedfan and it hasn't passed 70* so far. Which is really good considering I have no case fans (yet) other than the power supply.

-Power supply disappointed me a bit. I've got it set on the quietest setting, but it still warms up enough to turn the fan on once the PC has been on for more than 10-15 minutes... Still, the fan IS very quiet. In fact, if this power supply noise was the only noise coming from the PC, I'd be very satisfied, so maybe there's not much room for improvement in a power supply.

-Hard drives still make some noise - they're normal hard drives in raid-0. Not loud, but audible.


So, my plan right now:


-Start with two 140mm fans - one intake at the lower front of the case, one outlet at the back. Pick fans specifically for silence, and run them at the lowest speed I can keep everything running properly. This doesn't seem to be necessary for cooling purposes, but I think doing so may let the power supply run cooler, and give some more headroom on CPU cooling. Does anyone have recommendations here? I'm thinking:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103077

16db sounds pretty exciting! 60cfm is pretty amazing for that sound level, I'd think; it should be sufficient (especially since I'm working now, and I've got nothing at all)


-With that extra cooling capacity, maybe I could even disable the CPU fan? Or better yet, is there a functional passive CPU cooler (am2 cpu, athlon 64 x2 5600+). I'm not at all opposed to underclocking 5-10% if it will give me the capacity for quieter operation without risk of loss of stability.


-Next, make "room" for crossfiring the video cards. Two problems here. First, since it's mini-tower, the heatsinks are directly underneath the cards. right now that hasn't been enough heat to be an issue, but once I have two in there, I expect the upper one is going to have a problem. Plus, I'm already talking about making the CPU quieter - having those two giant heat production units directly under the CPU isn't helping there. So, my plan there is to cut another fan slot into the door of the case and mount this bad boy -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103072

exhausting directly over the card sinks. Again, 16dba, and the way sound stacks, all three would be just barely 20db even if I ran them at full voltage (which, of course, I wouldn't!
)


-Finally, install a small SSD drive for the operating system and set the actual hard drives to a very aggressive powerdown cycle to shut them up.



So - that's it so far - Any other suggestions that could be done relatively inexpensively? Or suggestions on a good dead silent cpu cooler, or better suggestions on the fans? All ideas welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I play with my configuration far too much to have it behind a wall!!
Plus, I'm in a converted attic, behind the wall is basically "roof". Oh, that and I need access to the bluray drive and such, so it would have to have a lot of "depth" behind it, which I don't have. I'm not opposed to that sort of thing, though, I demolished a section of ceiling to build a custom projector mount that mounted into the rafters and put a silence box around my projector with custom entrance and exhaust fans. I'm running a couple 90-something-mm fans I got from best buy in that box from a 4.5v power supply; that config actually works REALLY well - but it's still too loud for my taste (the projector's internal fan is still audible), so I'm going to eventually look into replacing the projector's internal fan with something better



Are there any techniques for silencing the pc that I'm overlooking? Besides having it in a different room :p
 

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+1 for Suntan


That is what I finally did. Built cable pass through for video cable and usb/firewire connections for wireless keyboard mouse or if I want to connect an external usb device (web cam, camera, etc). One of the single best design decesions I have made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, that's a pretty awesome article - All the calculators I've used "stack" component max consumptions to get your needed PSU value, though looking at this that's far from necessary...


Hm... in fact, my CPU is the original x2 5600, which I think is 125w; I could swap it out for the 45w version, reduce power, and probably reduce heat production while I'm at it... Plus, if this article is right, I've probably got plenty of headroom to use a 400w power supply, and there are truly fanless 400w's available... (I'd be nervous about going below that, given that I'm running two 5750's and two normal hdd's).


And the laptop hdd's are an interesting idea as well!
 

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Fortron (FSP) makes a fanless PSU that is rather inexpensive and reliable according to reports. Maybe check them out.
 

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Passive power supplies in low wattage are fine, but you're never going to get crossfire on a passive power supply, just don't try, sorry.


For the hard drives, you could remove whatever hard adapters you're using for them now and suspend them on elastic cords, will remove a lot of the vibration from making it's way into the case.


For the CPU HSF, you're better off finding something big to run passive, the Thermalright HR-01 and the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 are the best.


For case fans, Coolermasters are fine, Scythe and Nexus and Noctua are great, you get what you pay for with fans. Clear fans are generally made of a harder plastic than the black or other solid colored fans, so they're inherently quieter by nature of passing fewer vibrations to the rest of the case.


Make sure all of your panels fit together tightly, I like to use a strip of electrical tape between the side panels and the main chassis to help dampen everything and make them fit night and tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18220017


Passive power supplies in low wattage are fine, but you're never going to get crossfire on a passive power supply, just don't try, sorry.


For the hard drives, you could remove whatever hard adapters you're using for them now and suspend them on elastic cords, will remove a lot of the vibration from making it's way into the case.


For the CPU HSF, you're better off finding something big to run passive, the Thermalright HR-01 and the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 are the best.


For case fans, Coolermasters are fine, Scythe and Nexus and Noctua are great, you get what you pay for with fans. Clear fans are generally made of a harder plastic than the black or other solid colored fans, so they're inherently quieter by nature of passing fewer vibrations to the rest of the case.


Make sure all of your panels fit together tightly, I like to use a strip of electrical tape between the side panels and the main chassis to help dampen everything and make them fit night and tight.

You don't think a passive 400w power supply could handle a pair of crossfired
 

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For my multimedia PC I kicked out the Intel fan and installed a passive cooler. I don't know if all CPU will allow it.


I also replace the PSU with a picoPSU. No fan either. Then it became quite silent.


On my which list : a SSD drive, but they are still too expensive for me.


I also used a little program to measure the temperature, to make sure it did no go too high.


See the hardware page on my site http://dhs.webatu.com .


Soitjes.
 

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Rather than trying to calculate out how much wattage you'll need, it may be easier to just plug a killawatt and see how much you're actually using. I was suprised that my mac mini running windows 7 with intel ssd sipped 23w, while my gaming/htpc rig (radeon 5850, 4 really old power hungry hdd, old noisy mb/case and also power hungry) took a max of 250 and idles at 150w. BTW this is with cpu temp of 75 at stock since this pc is now 3 years old and needs a new paste/fan. Now the gaming rig sounds like a jet engine, whereas the mac mini with win 7 is inaudible (unless you put your finger at the back of the vents then you can feel it moving air and barely hear it with your ears right next to it). As a matter of fact I study with the mac mini because it is so quiet. Even my tablet pc with ssd makes too much noise compared to the near silence of the mac mini.


If you can get (or adjust to )
 

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Wow, that 25w PC article makes me envious! I don't know what my PC "idles" at, but when surfing the internet and downloading, it runs around 185w. The highest I've ever seen it reach was 260-270w...and I bought a 625w PSU. It's an enermax and as long as I stay below 50% duty, the fan stays on ultra low (around 400rpm), which is extremely quiet outside the case, and innaudible inside the case once you're 3 or so feet away at my parents house. It's innaudible at my house because there's enough background noise living in a neighborhood to cover it up.


My computer if far from quiet, but certainly not loud. Using silicon mounts on the HDD's has certainly helped there (I have elastic hangers too, but don't need to use them just yet), but my stock CPU cooler needs to be replaced. The stock fan on my 4870 is only ever above 10% when gaming, which is fine because that's the only time it gets above 70ºC
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Got the fans in and all works so far! I didn't use a passive cpu cooler, but I used a heatpipe cooler with a 92m fan - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835129054 - and a fan controller pulling it down to a very low setting. Apparently I got the last one since newegg shows them out of stock
. Still waiting on the 2nd vid card to get here, and rather than switch out my perfectly good PSU with a new one, I just swapped out the fan with a much lower RPM 140mm. As of now, my HDD's are by far the loudest part of the system! Going to build a nice enclosure for them and get them quietened down and call it a day. It's already pretty much completely inaudible from the seat closest to the case, so I'm considering it mission accomplished. Obviously the second card will add some heat, but after a long gaming session, the air coming out the back of the PSU is only lukewarm, so I think it's probably got plenty of capacity. At this point, leaving it running two instances of superpi maxes out at 40c mb temp and 55c cpu temp. Not *great* temps by any means, but certainly good enough, and about what I was hoping for with this level of sound. Right now the one vid card maxes out at around 48c under stress. That temp could get worse when I stack the second in there, but with that massive (and wow, I didn't realize just how ginormous 200mm is!!!) 100cfm fan directly above it, I don't anticipate that being a problem
The only worry I have is the lower airflow through the psu becoming an issue when the second card increases the current draw... But hey, if it blows, I'll have an excuse to get the passive one
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alright, got it completely together. Built a side-box for the hard drives - 3/4" mdf, hard drives mounted on elastic inside it, quiet 120mm circulating air. Now drives are *completely* inaudible, so I don't have to be in any hurry to get an SSD (those things are CRAZY expensive!). With some tweaking of fan speeds, I've managed to get temps on both cards and the processor to max out in the 40s under stress testing, and the exhaust air from the power supply never gets unusually warm, so I think I'm golden! The only problem I have now is, with the mdf box attached to the case and wires running to it from the main case, and this massive crazy fan attached to the side, my box looks freaky
It's going to be basically not visible so I don't actually much care, but my wife thinks I should make it a full-tilt steampunk casemod ("You're already halfway there...")
 
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