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Cooling Thought Experiment - Best 'Silent' system you can spec

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Spraduke, 16 Jul 2020.

  1. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

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    I've always fancied the idea of a fully passive / virtually silent system but the compromises always seem to be either performance or the need for VERY expensive cases etc.

    So my thought experiment for the bit tech hive-mind (just for fun) is to see what reasonable gaming system could be built that would be either fully passively cooled or with no more than 1 or 2 low speed fans (<1000 rpm) for the following case sizes:

    Full Tower
    Mid Tower
    ITX

    Which should just boil down to what CPU, GPU, PSU, Case and cooling solutions you would need.
     
  2. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Anything, fully watercooled with as may of these as needed. Each one does 75w, so should be fairly doable for most systems. They are Alu, so you'd been premium coolant to keep GC at bay. Boom done :p
     
  3. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Objection: a pump makes noise, therefore a watercooled system can never be truly silent.
     
  4. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    I don't think my currrent pump has ever made a noise. Maybe I've been lucky, but it doesn't vibrate, let alone make noise!
     
  5. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    A modern version of the tree in the forest, that: if you can't hear your pump on the outside of the case, does it really make a sound?

    (Yes. Yes, it does.)
     
  6. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    No, this was during bench top loop testing :)
     
  7. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    I think the key point is "virtually silent", which is highly subjective.
     
  8. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Overruled! A pump emits sound mostly through conducted vibration via the case mount and tubing: water flow noise is extremely minimal compared to airflow noise (especially if your loop is properly bled). Shock-mounting the pump, using non-rigid tubing for the pump in- and out-flow, and using a proper pump top rather than a noisy reservoir top. In extreme cases, your can wrap the pump in insulation as the two most common pumps (D5 & DDC) use the pumped water itself as their heat-sink.

    Though by the time you've added a pile of passive radiators, pumps, blocks etc... you may as well just go for a passive case with a big pile of heatpipes like the DB4.
     
  9. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I overrule your overrule: minimal != non-existent.

    (But yes, as @David says, the original post specified "virtually silent" rather than "silent," so it's good enough.)

    Word. I did a group test which included some passively-cooled systems for PC Pro a while back. It's amazing how much compute power you can shove in a case when you're using the outside as a heatsink!
     
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  10. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    I think a MonsterLabo case allows CPU: 100W / GPU: 120W totally passive. Its a beauty too.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Is that with or without the fan?
     
  12. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

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    The Streacom ST-DB4 mini-ITX case for passive CPU (and PSU) cooling but that would limit you to APUs for GFX but at least it would be very quiet when not gaming.

    https://www.quietpc.com/streacom-db4?product=4007

    I think I would judge pump noise only as meeting the benchmark for virtually silent, so yes a bunch of passive radiators would probably do.

    I wonder how much convective cooling an 'open' case like a thermaltake core P3 would offer: https://www.quietpc.com/thermaltake-core-p3?product=5267
     
  13. MLyons

    MLyons Half dev, Half doge. Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    passive i've heard good things about streacom. Anything with a fan???.
    image0.jpg
     
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  14. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    According to manufacturer -

    Max POWAAAAAAA:
    CPU: 140W
    GPU: 180W (RTX 2060/2070)

    In full fanless mode:
    CPU: 100W
    GPU: 120W (GTX 1660ti)

    In silent mode (140mm < 500RPM):
    CPU: 140W
    GPU: 160W (RTX 2060)

    I tried a 2080 / 9900k in mine and was pretty warm (but no overheating) with a 140mm Noctua blowing through it. I don't remember the temperatures unfortunately.

    Thing with passive is you do notice the coil, while in gaming....
     
  15. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    I had the first Corsair watercooling back when AIO was new concept. It was not much better than the great TRUE cooler it replaced but there is a constant pump noise. I am completely happy with the Noctua D14 I have now and I run it (CPU cooler) passively most of the time.




    I'm not so keen on sacrifice computing power or hardware compatibility for 100% silence. I'd much rather go for silent working and autonomous fans.

    Best silent full tower I can spec would be:
    - Silverstone FT02 with 3x 180mm fans
    - Tempearture sensors everywhere, only turn on the fans if required
    - Mahoosive CPU cooler like D14, passive, only turn on a single 140mm if required.
    - GPU with "0db tech" where it turns off its fans when idle.

    I have that system. When initally turning it on, it's completely silent, no fans needed. Normally during light workload, it's virtually silent with 180mm fans moving at 300rpm but shift enough air to cool GPU and CPU passively. The bottom mounted fans are at floor level, thus cannot be heard at 300rpm when sitting normally.

    When gaming or heavy workload, I can configure it to be a bit loud but I get excellent temperature in return. Best of both worlds IMHO.
     
  16. fix-the-spade

    fix-the-spade Well-Known Member

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    Mineral oil fish tank case with a massive heat exchanger bolted to the back and two low speed impellers forcing the oil in/out of it, all SSD storage, fanless PSU mounted to heat exchanger frame.

    Practical? No, but only your dog will be able to hear it.

    My actual system is a Fractal Define with all the sound dampening padding, three quiet Fractal fans (2 in 1 out), a Noctua D14 and a semi passive GPU and PSU. At full load it can be heard making a low 'whooosh' type noise, at all other times the loudest components are the two spinny rust drives making the occasional wizzing type noise.

    A big ATX case + any big Noctua cooler + run silent GPU and PSU is definitely the asiest way to make a very quiet or silent PC.
     
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  17. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Or a raspberry Pi4?
     
  18. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

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    Surely you we can stretch to an Intel NUC!

    That MonsterLabo case is highly tempting (except being worth more than my graphics card!), I could put my rig in it without any obvious compromises.
     
  19. MLyons

    MLyons Half dev, Half doge. Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'm torn between something passive or small for my next build. Problem I have with passive is I always want top end parts and a small build
     
  20. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    I have one in my SFF case collection, it wasn't cheap but the "heart" is a thing of beauty.
     
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