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Old 20th Jul 2009, 09:02   #1
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Noise versus performance

http://www.bit-tech.net/blog/2009/07...-s-your-story/

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Old 20th Jul 2009, 09:15   #2
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If I can hear myself think.... it's quiet enough.

You want silence? Get a less powerful rig. You want the maximum performance you can have on a desktop? Then live with a bit of noise.

Just turn your speakers up ya big girls!
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 09:33   #3
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Until I went SSD, the loudest part of my rig was the hard drives.

Q6600, GTX260 maxcore OC and four gigasquaggles of RAM are locked inside, but Zalman coolers, the fanbus, SSDs, foam and grinding away the fan grilles each do their bit. It's still not totally silent in a silent room (and there's a whoosh of air during gaming,) but when the TVs on I've had to double check to see whether I actually started it up.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 09:54   #4
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It really depends on one simple thing: do I have headphones or not? 99% of my time I have my headphones on, so I don't really care about the noise (I have my fan controller on 100% even on idle at this very moment), but when I briefly turn my music off - I often notice the noise. I instantly get my fan controller to the minimum speed.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 10:54   #5
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im not too interested in my gaming pc being quiet as it is easily overtaken by the explosions going on, however my home server and development pc are near silent and often im not even sure whether my HTPC is on or not
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 11:07   #6
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My HTPC is silent, but my gaming rig annoys me with it's volume. I watercooled, but it's just as loud as it was on air ()... stupid tiny chipset fan which I can't get a waterblock or passive cooler for and PSU. I really would like a quieter PSU!
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 11:57   #7
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I had a HTPC in my bedroom for a while and the quest to make the system as silent as possible but still semi powerful drove me a bit nuts.

For normal systems like my work one or main home PC I just take noise into consideration rather than obsessing about it. I don't mind paying an extra 10% or so on the system price to make sure I have decent quiet(ish) cooling.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 12:27   #8
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I am watercooling for the performance and space benefits. The way i constructed my PC, it's low-profile at the motherboard section, which makes it rather impossible to fit a decent aircooler.

As for noise, i don't mind a slight hum, as long as it's not an unpleasant one. People talk about noise levels all the time, but not about what kind of sound is produced. If it's the squeal of tiny fans, i cannot stand it at 17db, but the reassuring whoosh of my San Aces is very acceptable at 30db.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 12:52   #9
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I like quiet stealth systems as well. However, I would NOT compromise on gaming performance in order to achieve near silence.

I am not a serious overclocker, so I don't have extreme heat issues to water cool.

One thing I have realized is that a lot of people over rate the noise reduction of water cooling. Water cooling usually requires fans for the radiator that need to spin at a reasonable speed in order to cool the radiator. Ideally, the water cooled PC should also have some air intake as case fans to keep the general system cool.

If you compare a decent or high end water cooling setup with regular stock air cooling, then of course water cooling is usually a lot quieter. But it is not significantly quieter than the same PC with an efficient air cooled setup comprising high end aftermarket air cooling / gas heat pipe components.

I don't get offended by the 'quiet' sound of hard drives at all. Even 10,000rpm VelociRaptors. The only sound I would try to avoid is the sound of loud fans resembling the sound of helicopters. 800 rpm or 1200 rpm fans are not very loud at all, especially if the fan is a Slipstream, a Noctua or Akasa Apache super silent fan.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 13:06   #10
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I spend a lot of money on performance cooling and have it quite noisey. For me, performance is the number one goal, noise reduction comes second. Unfortunately, my wallet comes third! Before I got my fan controller, I had six 2000RPM fans going at full pelt on my triple rad (Q9550 and 4870X2 loop) and that was damn loud. But it never really bothered me. I'm always playing music when on my computer, or playing games, so the jet engine sounds get drowned out sufficiently as to not hear them.

Even now I run my fans at ~1250RPM, which is hardly silent, but much better than it used to be. Fortunately, with that many fans it seems to have not made any measurable difference to temps, loaded or otherwise. I think the sheer number of fans is making the difference.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 13:12   #11
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EDIT:

Double post, sorry :/

****ing phone internet!

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Old 20th Jul 2009, 14:56   #12
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I put quite a bit into noise reduction too.. a fan controller is a must along with large fans if you can get away with it- target mainly the exhaust fans rpm

even then my gaming rig isn't as quiet as non-overclocked apps rig.. and I do use riva to ramp up the gpu fan depending on the game automatically.. so on the desk it is about as quiet as it's gonna get.. gaming the nvidia fan goes full blast and my amp drowns it out
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 15:11   #13
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Well it seems there's quite a few differences of opinion but mostly people aren't too bothered by noise! Reading a bit more into it, it does seem to be those that use their PCs primarily for gaming don't mind the noise too much as the games usually drown out most of the noise. Have to say I agree with thehippoz about fan controllers - a must with any fan over about 1,250rpm.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 15:27   #14
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I'm with Antony, I value silence and performance - so I have watercooling with fans spinning at 800rpm. Also have my pump hooked up to a fan controller too, just to make sure everything is as quiet as it can be. I should be able to absorb myself in a game - even in the quiet parts, without a noisy PC making itself known in the background.

The HDs make the most noise, but I don't find them too intolerable.

I really don't know how people can take a loud PC, some of them are crazy-loud. That would drive me nuts the second I turned it on.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 15:31   #15
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Before I replaced my X1300 Pro's cooler which was EXTREMELY loud and inefficient I would hear my PC from the next rooms in the house with doors closed, doors open, you can hear it upstairs but now it's passively cooled it's a lot better but no where near silent, I still got that 2500rpm CPU fan going but it's sleepable now when I get my new build together (PHII 720 or Lynnfield) I plan on a specific sound level of 20DBA max! That way I hope I won't be able to hear it that much and it'll run cool with the right crap
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 20:38   #16
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I have a zalman desktop style case with dual 12cm case fans than make a slight purr and a zalman cnps7000 cpu cooler that is whisper quiet at low speeds and both are drowned out by my nvidia 8600GT graphics card fan which I am looking to replace with a completely passive option.

It's not completely quiet or uber powerful, but it performs well and noise levels are minimal.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 21:13   #17
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Reading a bit more into it, it does seem to be those that use their PCs primarily for gaming don't mind the noise too much as the games usually drown out most of the noise.
That and very likely influenced by the rather poor sound quality of games, unlike music or so it won't matter as much if you don't hear every detail.

You can get a low - mid range computer surprisingly silent even with aircooling, however the price for high performance silent aircooling can get dangerously close to a wc setup.

Of course, once you step into the realm of 4ghz+ I7 running 100% 24/7 especially if paired with a spaceheater (better known as 4870x2) or any other multi gpu setup water simply becomes the only way to cool the pc without resorting to 3000 rpm fans.

One thing that seems missing from the blogpost and the thread so far (or maybe I'm just influenced by bad experience), optical drives, I went through at least 5 until I found one that is not too loud.

Also, SSDs cheesecake it can't get anymore silent than no noise.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 21:48   #18
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My computer is pretty much silent in general use (web browsing/working with music on/watching tv), with only the hard disks rattling. However, when I start gaming the CPU and GPU fans spin right up, but it doesn't matter because of the audio. The fans also get loud when I'm encoding video but I don't mind that too much. I just bought a P180 so hopefully that'll deal with the hard disk noise, and apparently there's some Asus software that I can use to tune the fans so that they kick in at 60C rather than 45C.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 23:09   #19
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My computer isn't too loud but it could be a little less noisy


It's fine when the TV is on or I'm listening to music but when there's no TV on it's kinda loud
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Old 21st Jul 2009, 00:31   #20
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1) Forget watercooling. Its never your 'value for money' option (you would have to spend a huge amount to beat an IFX-14 with even 1 fan and an exhust on the rear of the case). It will not quieten your system, you still end up using just as many fans. Makes me laugh when i hear 'high performance air system cost as much as a WC set-up'. The waterblock alone will cost almost as much as your IFX-14!

2) Your case should:
• be heavy. Steel sides, decent padding... the case vibrating can easily be the loudest part once you have quiet fans and suitable HDD dampening.
• have suitable HDD dampening. rubber grommets can work well, elastic suspension tends to be even better (trust me, stretch magic really is magic for this)
• Offer sensible airflow. forget fans on the side, they create just as many problems with airflow as they solve. I like to have at least as much air through my intake fans as through the exhaust. any any air pushed on the intake isnt a bad thing, you have control over all the air coming in, and it doesnt matter as much where the air is leaving. plus you case wont be as dusty (as long as you have filters for the fans). But you need a clear path to your cpu and gpu heatsinks. if hdd's are in the way, make sure they are spaced out.

3) Use something like the HR-03 or the accelero S1 as you gpu heatsink. Its amazing how much noise those stock fans make, and its amazing how much better those heatsinks are than the ones on most retail cards. It will still need that airflow passing through it, whether you need to stick a fan on it is dependent on the card and your case set-up.

4) Fan noise increases exponentially as you increase the RPM. however CFM increases in a linear fashion to RPM. in short; bigger, more but slower = better. Fan quality also makes a difference.... thanks to ms for this: http://is.gd/1FHEW

5) Power supplies have got pretty decent in the last few years. It used to be a huge amount of them created lots of waste heat and had loud fans that werent able to spin down even when the pc was idle. However you tend to find the power supplies by the reputable manufacturers hit the mark very often now. seasonic finally have competition from enemax, bequiet, certain cosairs and antecs, and others. There are lots to choose from.

6) optical drives are a bitch. Once you manage to find a good one thats quiet, stick with for as long as possible.

spcr have decent advice for a quiet pc that still performs. their forums offer a lot of good info too.

my current set up: http://rossaaa.googlepages.com/001.JPG (honestly, the loudest thing is case vibration. i dont hear the hdd's, and all the fans are running at 700-800RPMish - the cumulative noise is barely audible from 1m away)

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