#1 Posted by jgf (393 posts) -

Hi there,

I finally decided I need a new PC. As I didn't like any of the pre-built systems I found, I decided to McGyver my own dream PC. But it seems I have quite a different taste then most.

I want my PC to be silent, but without fancy liquid cooling stuff and I have no interest in overclocking. My PC should have a fast i7 cpu with 16-32gb ram, a 128gb ssd and a 2tb harddrive. But I don't want to spend much money on a graphics card, so I'm going with a gtx 660 or similar.

I'm looking for a nice clean looking case - no windows and stuff - that supports a silent build. A good motherboard that fits and can handle i7 with up to 32gb ram, and a silent power supply.

So I hope for some suggestions. Where do I find case, motherboard or power supply for my silent, clean looking, non-overclocking pc?

#2 Edited by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Do you live in the US? Do you want to buy online or in store? What's your budget for chassis and so on?

My suggestion for chassi would be the Fractal Design Define R4, though I only have experience with the R3 but it's been very silent and clean looking from my time with it, I'm assuming the R4 is a good iterating of it.

#3 Posted by Lego_My_Eggo (1064 posts) -

Check out Tested's latest build, it looks like it might have what you are looking for.

#4 Posted by AlisterCat (5635 posts) -

I concur with the Fractal R4 recommendation. I just got one after having a horrible case for 5 years. It is silent and looks fantastic. Just a nice box.

#5 Posted by Cameron (603 posts) -

For the case I'd go with either a Fractal Design R4 or a NZXT Phantom 410. I got the Phantom, but only because my local shop had that one and didn't have the R4. It's a tossup really and I don't think you'd be disappointed by either.

There are about a million different motherboards and just about as many opinions about what is best. I'd get something that's between $100-$150. Don't cheap out on the part that every other part depends on. I have an ASUS that was about $110 and it's been fine, but I'm sure there are plenty of other good options. Make sure you select your processor first, as the high end i7s use socket LGA2011 rather than LGA1155. You'll have to buy a motherboard that supports one or the other.

#6 Posted by believer258 (12000 posts) -

It won't be silent in the literal sense of the word without liquid cooling, though. You're going to have some noise pollution.

#7 Edited by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

I don't know why you'd want a silent PC, I love the sound of drives and fans spinning. I'm really going to miss when HDDs are obsolete.

#8 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

@example1013: What if he hates those noises.....

I share the same love about hearing those sounds on any system. Oh yeah.....

A silent power supply? Never heard of a discrete one, however, newer casings today like the NZXT Phantom do have rubber stompers on the bottom to reduce noise. Also, which i7 are you talking about? The 2011 socket or the fairly popular, but soon to be dead 1155 socket?

#9 Edited by jgf (393 posts) -

Thanks for your tips so far. Especially the fractal design stuff looks great. That's exactly my taste

#10 Edited by MonetaryDread (2077 posts) -

The Corsair 550d is roomy, quiet, and cold. t is the case that I use at least.

I kind of want a Fractal Node 605 though.

#11 Edited by jgf (393 posts) -

I just saw that the mobile forum site ate most of my last reply. So here it is again:

Like I said, the fractal design cases look great. I think I'll take one of them. Not sure if its going to be the Node 605 or R4.

I understand that without water cooling there will always be some fan noise. Thats ok I just want the fan noise to be as minimal as possible. Therefore I would like to know: Are there significant noise differences between motherboards - some of them (or all?) have fans on them, don't they?

Budget wise I haven't decided yet. I'm ok with spending a little more if it makes sense and I get quality in return. But I certainly won't pay double price for a 5% performance gain or similar (like with top of the line cpu). So a budget somewhere between 1000-1500 seems reasonable? Given I don't spend >300 on a graphics card.

#12 Posted by EXTomar (4849 posts) -

Noise come from vibration. A bunch of it does come from case fans but a lot of it also comes from other locations:

- Power Supply

- Graphics Card

- Drives

Like other things, performance and "noise" are related where in this case the higher performance the more audio noise the PC is generally going to generate. If that case can support larger 120mm fans that can help with vibration and noise where although a cooler can help it is really the case and power supply fans that are vibrating and causing noise.

The graphics card is often a surprisingly noisy component where it often has a set of small, high flow but noisy fans that are controlled only by the graphics card firmware. I have never found a good solution to fixing a noisy graphics card but my experience is if the card itself looks crazy with plastic junk on it to make it look "edgy" then it will probably be noisy.

Although machines are moving towards SSD which have no moving parts hard drives can make some noise especially when doing the high RPM versions. Also the optical drive is often an offender where people don't realize just how loud that can get until they stick a disk in the drive and find out. The only thing I can recommend is making it mount very tightly whether the drive is on rails or bolted in.

#13 Posted by Bane (428 posts) -

I highly recommend taking a look at the Corsair Obsidian 550D. I built a system with it a few weeks ago and it's easily the best case I've ever used.

Noise comes down to fans. Smaller fans spin faster and create more noise, larger fans spin slower and create less noise. The case fans in my 550D spin at around 700 RPM and are nearly silent. The auxiliary fans on my Asus Sabertooth Z77 motherboard are a lot smaller, spin at about 4,500 RPM, and create most of the noise coming from the case.

If silence is your top priority don't forget about an aftermarket CPU cooler. They usually have much larger fans than the stock cooler comes with. I recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

#14 Edited by jgf (393 posts) -

Hi there, I'm back. Thanks for the tips that was very helpful. So I've read some things up, though about your recommendations and here it is: The pre-alpha version of my build.

  • Case

    • Corsair Obsidian 550D

    • be quiet! Silent Wings 2 120 mm

  • Storage

    • Seagate ST2000DM001 2 TB

    • Kingston HyperX 3K 2,5" SSD 120 GB

    • LG BH16NS40 (Blue-ray Writer)

  • Graphics

    • ASUS GTX660-­DC2O-­2GD5

  • Mainboard + CPU + Memory

    • ASUS P8Z77-­V PRO

    • Core i7-­3700K (Ivy Bridge)

    • CPU Fan

      • be quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1 (06,6 - 18,8 dB) (85,8 m³/h)

      • Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (09 - 31 dB) (42,3 - 112,6 m³/h)

    • Kingston HyperX DIMM 16 GB DDR3­-1333 (2x8GB)

  • Power

    • be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W

I decided to try to keep the number of different manufacturers small, so I choose all cooling stuff from be quiet and graphics as well as motherboard from asus.

So, how do you like it? Did I miss something? Does this look ok?

#15 Posted by Bane (428 posts) -

I can see a few things. You don't need the extra case fans if you're not overclocking, especially if you want to keep the noise down like you do. I'm using just the three fans it came with no problems at all. I'd change the 1333 MHz RAM to some 1600 MHz at least. I wouldn't choose the CPU cooler based purely on noise. I've never heard of be quiet! before, but that Cooler Master is well reviewed everywhere. Besides, 30 dB is something like a quiet room. Check a decibel chart.

#16 Edited by jgf (393 posts) -

@bane Thanks for the hint with the slow memory and the case fan. I did not choose cpu cooler purely based on noise. I got these numbers from the hardware trader site I was using, so I take them with a grain of salt. I did not know that "be quiet!" is not known in the US. Its a german manufacturer of fans and power supplies that seems to have quality products (I did not cheap out on the CPU fan, the "be quiet" fan costs almost twice the price of the Cooler Master product). But I will do further research before I decide on "be quiet!".

So here is the new list. Without case fan, faster memory.

  • Case

    • Corsair Obsidian 550D

  • Storage

    • Seagate ST2000DM001 2 TB

    • Kingston HyperX 3K 2,5" SSD 120 GB

    • LG BH16NS40 (Blue-ray Writer)

  • Graphics

    • ASUS GTX660-­DC2O-­2GD5

  • Mainboard + CPU + Memory

    • ASUS P8Z77-­V PRO

    • Core i7-­3700K (Ivy Bridge)

    • CPU Fan

      • be quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1 (06,6 - 18,8 dB) (85,8 m³/h)

    • Kingston HyperX DIMM 16 GB DDR3­ 1600 (2x8GB)

  • Power

    • be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W

So two things remain:

1. I'll do a list with alternatives for "be quiet". I know Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo as a great alternative for the cpu fan. Any thoughs on a replacement for the power supply?

2. Is 550W enough in case I would decide to update my rig with a geforce titan somewhere around christmas. Does it make sense to buy bigger stuff (750W)?

#17 Edited by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Honestly, I'd say go at least 650W. You do not want to skimp on the power supply. There are calculators out there that give you an estimate of how much you need, just google for PSU Calculator and then fill in the data they ask for.

#18 Edited by jgf (393 posts) -

Ok duders, I did it! After some days of hesitation I made my decision and just ordered online like 5 min ago. Thanks for your support!

Finally I did go with a 750W power supply, a 3770K CPU and a GTX680. Also I switched the Seagate HDD with a Western Digital Greenline, because I read that they are less noisy and more reliable. Lets hope for the best :). In total I spent more then intended, but it seemed the best value proposition.

In case you want details - here is my final build:

  • Case

    • Corsair Obsidian 550D

  • Storage

    • Western Digital WD20EZRX 2 TB

    • Kingston HyperX 3K 2,5" SSD 120 GB

    • LG BH16NS40 (Blue-ray Writer)

  • Graphics

    • ASUS GTX680-DC2-4GD5

  • Mainboard + CPU + Memory

    • ASUS P8Z77-­V PRO

    • Core i7-­3770K (Ivy Bridge)

    • be quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1 (CPU Fan)

    • 32GB RAM - 4 * Kingston HyperX DIMM 8 GB DDR3­ 1866

  • Power

    • be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 750W

#19 Edited by LiquidPrince (16020 posts) -

@jgf: Your first build was kind of disappointing as a "dream" PC, but your final build is a lot more respectable. Good stuff.

#20 Posted by jgf (393 posts) -

@liquidprince: Thanks. After my post I had a weak moment of feeling bad for spending more then planned, lets hope the last minute switch to a gtx680 is worth it :)