How-To Build a Silent Gaming PC

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blueglowtech

It would seem to me that it would be possible to craft your foam in such a way as to create air channels inside the machine, but leave everything else packed in foam. Basically, you would be left with really very little airspace in the case, but the airspace you have left would be much more efficient.

What I would have done with a similar setup is to mod the case so I would have basically 3 airflow channels - one for the CPU/North Bridge, one for the GFX card, and one for the HDD. The HDD channel would come in the front-side of the case, and out the other front-side. The GFX channel would come in as a slot-style intake near the middle-rear of the side and exit as the card's stock cooler would - I favor rear ejection over aftermarket for silent-ish builds. And last but not least, one larger channel for the CPU/N.Bridge that uses the main case exhaust as it's thrust.

Everything else is almost completely acoustic foam.

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aferrara50

Looks like no time at all was spent on wiring. C'mon maximum pc! That computer is embarassing.

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rockaddict

I would like to know where the sensors on the NZXT Sentry LXE were placed. I am using and H70 but I am not sure that it is a good idea to control those fans. But that is prolly a different article. 

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s.calvin.s

 

Although this PC has some nice specs, I must say that I found a much better PC build at www.buythebestpc.com It might not be as quiet, but it really kicks this PC's butt in proformace and price. I would recomend the 2000 dollar build on the site to anyone who wants a sweet custom PC.

 

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zigojacko

Great guide, will definitely keep this handy for when I attempt a silent pc build myself. I got mine from http://www.computerplanet.co.uk/systems/silent/silent_pc.html  a while back which is serving me well currently :)

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ligaweb

I think that you can create a quiet and cool PC for even less than $2,318. Web design

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lb_felipe

I doubt that this setup is actually quiet, nor silent.

 

It should be relatively quiet. But we can do better. With the same cost and approximate performance.

 

For example:

 

AMD Phenom II X6 Black 1090T

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula

ASUS Xonar Essence ST

ASUS Radeon HD 6970

G.Skill Flare 8GB(4GB x 2) DDR3-2000 (PC3 16000) 1.55 Volts

Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB

Two of WD Caviar Green 2TB MVW

Pioneer BDR-206

Antec P183 V3

AcoustiPack ULTIMATE

Puget 120mm Fan Mount Cover

SilverStone SDP08

Antec CP-850

Thermalright Ultra120 eXtreme Rev.C

ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme Plus

ARCTIC VR001

ARCTIC MX-4

Arctic Silver ArctiClean

Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM

Two of Antec TrueQuiet 120

 

Remove all stock fans. Use only front and rear case fans on the Antec P183 V3 (cover the top fan hole with Puget 120mm Fan Mount Cover). Apply AcoustiPack ULTIMATE in the case. Use Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM with Antec P183 V3. Select all adjustments of speed fan to low.

 

Ready. Here is a really quiet computer project.

 

All key components were chosen based on analyses of Silent PC Review.

 

WD Caviar Green too. But the specific model number of Caviar Green was obtained with the help of a X-bit labs review.

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FascistNation

Silent means silent.  What you built was a quiet gaming system, but it can still be heard.  Now get rid of ALL of the fans and I will be impressed.  Until then you didn't come close to building a silent PC.

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Athlonite

A case that uses large fans like the RV02 uses 3x 180mm bottom mounted fans with 700/100rpm speed switch my comp is barely audible

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QuadraQ

I subscribe to the magazine and I was a little disappointed in this article. You did a good job using parts that people might already have, but I was hoping for more.

I really think this is cover article material, and should include varius builds with different goals. You covered silencing a typical PC a user may already have, but what if I'm building one from scratch? What are the best options for silencing a PC? Best cases? Best powersupplies? Best fans? Etc.

More and more I want the most powerful PC I can get, but also want it to shut up - I'm just sick of the noise. I don't think I'm alone. Like you said building a top end gaming machine is easy. Making it quiet at the same time is hard - exactly the sort of thing readers like me look to the magazine for help with.

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tonyaldr

Guys, you left out the "Print" format button for the articles.  Please bring it back!  Otherwise we have to print screen by screen.

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teejay007

Amazing ..you have told us nice tips for assembling a silent pc at this cost...Thanks

 

 

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Guisano

What is the purpose of wearing the latex gloves?  Do they minimize static discharge or similar?

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HeartBurnKid

I think this got asked in a letter to the magazine, and the answer was that they're there to cover up the editors' nasty-looking hands.  They're geeks, not hand models. :)

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TheMurph

I think that's total BS, mind you.  My soft, moisturized hands would look great in a feature spread.

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sniggler

You could build something for half this price and the same noise level if not better... Really, a GTX 480? Did you choose Nvidia's nuclear reactor so you could prove a point?

 

Why not go with a more budget-friendly and lower power-consumption build... Even a GTX 580 would fare better than it's hot-and-hungry cousin (still a beast but a big step towards better thermals for the Fermi lineup). Or why not a lower-end card, like a 6950 or a GTX 460?

 

And what's with the Thermaltake CPU cooler? Why not get a Hyper 212 and put some Noctuas on there, or even a Corsair H70 / Noctua combo?

 

I'll bet if i stuck an H70 in my system with Notcua fans / my 2 GTX 460's with their stock heatsinks would be quieter than this beast and still perform right alongside it (at least until you turned up the fans on them to %100, which NEVER happens without doing so manually).

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Danthrax66

Well technically the silencer material including case cost $300 which isn;t bad the rest was just parts they had laying around probably and those can be interchanged.

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Ruins

are the Noctua family of case fans.  I also used the Gigabyte Cupio 6140  Ultra Quiet Special Edition sold by Quite PC USA.  I built a gaming system around these two componets and could not be happier with the results.

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Sprunth

" I also decided to build a rig inside of Fractal Design’s R3 chassis—a $120 case that arrives on your doorstep pre-configured for silence (see review here)"

Page 1...the 'here' is not hyperlinked. ;)

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Slurpy

I guess water-cooling would have been cheating, huh?

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TheMurph

Silencing an air-cooled PC impacts a larger number of people than trying to convince people with air-cooled PCs to build a custom water-cooling loop.

At least, if my geek skillset wasn't very high, I still think I'd be able to handle sticking foam in a case.  Watercooling... not so much.

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misha573

I was wondering about that myself.  Murph, unless cost was a factor, why didn't you put it under water?  A decent radiator (or two, or three) and some quiet fans in push-pull, an appropriately sound-dampened pump, etc. and you should be gaming silently without compromise.

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JonC

I was considering using water cooling in my rig, but the closed-loop coolers (e,g Corsair H50/70) pumps are reported to be noisy (buzzy).  Are there pre-packaged systems that are quiet, or can the Corsair pumps be silenced?  

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slave_25637

you wanted silverstonetek.com

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NanoTech

For a website based around PC enthusiasts I'd have to say this is rancid build quality. This is a good example of why Mac Users mock PC users. It may be silent but look at that Cable Management! Yuck! It's very simple to use some zip ties and clean up this mess as you build it.

If you are building a silent system, chances are you are using very low RPM fans.  Better cable management = better the air flow which in return = Cooler silent system. 

Nice choice in parts but I'd recommend cleaning it before you show it off.

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Scootiep

"This is a good example of why Mac Users mock PC users. It may be silent but look at that Cable Management! Yuck!"

Good God, you sound like my sister looking at cars:

her: "Oh, but this one looks CUTE!"

me: "Yeah, but it's engine is a 7 horsepower lawnmower motor."

her: "But it's light blue! I LOVE that color!"

me to the salesman: "Dude, just take her money, she's an idiot and deserves it."

 

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mah_101381

My sister is the same way, she went to a Dell retail store and paid $1000 for a pc that had XP with integrated everything, 1 PCI slot, 40GB HD and 128 MB RAM, this was about 6-8 years ago.  She then had the nerve to ask me, after not letting me come aong, why it ran slow slowly.  I added a 512 MB module of RAM and it ran a lot better.   Couldn't do much else, we didn't have a copy of XP.

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Cruzg10

+1

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Tophar

Your gonna knock the cable management?

1. These guys probably have to build tons of rigs, cable management is nice, but it adds time to the build and is not needed. 

2. The focus of the article was to build a quiet PC, not a neat looking one

3. Its probably also indicative of the build, since your adding a bunch of sensor's and have taken away space on the sides of the case to tuck wires neatly away, you probably can't route cables as neatly or easily.

4. Your right Mac users don't have to deal with messy cable management, they probably can't even figure out how to open their case and look inside

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DJSPIN80

I'm a Mac user, and I, too, can open my case and fiddle with stuff.  And fiddle with stuff, I do.

On another note, adding a bunch of sensors does add more cabling.  Cabling that can be difficult to re-route.

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TheMurph

#3: We have a winner.

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NanoTech

I understand that they might build lots of rigs on a weekly basis if not daily. 

I also realize that the topic is not to build a neat PC but a Quiet PC. 

Although seeing how you just took sentences I said out of context. I said that improving cable management improves air flow. That isn't opinion, it's fact. If it's clean and open inside you'll get more airflow which in return makes the system cooler. This is especially important when building a silent PC do to using low RPM fans. The lower the RPM = less air flow you get per cubic inch.

Mac users was just a term I happen to use. It could be related to anything. You wouldn't open a silent Alienware or Maingear system and have it look like that. 

I was simply saying I expect a little more from a top rated PC Magazine to provide a cleaner build. They could of at least managed that rainbow colored cord and it would have looked 100% better. 

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Scootiep

You're still somewhat missing the point of the article. It's not to make the tidiest looking PC with the best thermals out there, it's to make a nearly silent gaming PC. Keeping things cool is important, sure, but it wasn't the focus of the build. Also, you're griping about cable management. 3 or 4 black zip ties and your entire argument is gone. Who cares about a few zip ties. They don't need to show us that, any idiot can figure it out. The focus was high performance and silence. Something many, MANY people fail to do. Eye on the ball here Corky, eye on the ball.

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TheMurph

rainbow cord -- if I'm correct -- was for front-panel sound.  It was short enough such that there was no other way to route the cable except for right over the vidoecard.  An annoyance, indeed.

Anyway, I agree.  Better cable management equals better airflow. I do note, however: "The inside of our case looked a lot cleaner before we inserted the PCB for our fan controller (and its tangle of fan cables and temperature probes)."

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SongEmu

I spent less than $800 on my gaming rig and I STILL managed to fit in a 1 TB drive AND an SSD. HDD spins down when not in use = a little less noise.

On top of this, there are way cooler cards than that toaster called the 480... least you could do is go with the GTX460, 500 series, or 5000 ATI line.

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TheMurph

The focus of the feature was silence, not necessarily cooling.  We picked the 480 due to its noise -- dampening it would be a challenge.  As well, it would make a system louder, in general, for our acoustics tests.

 

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nmanguy

That's pretty expensive. I don't like spending more than $700 on a PC. If I did want to make the computer silent, I'd spend an extra $80 on a huge-ass case with half a dozen fans and just set them rather low.

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TheMurph

The most important thing you can buy is acoustic foam, which costs less than $80 for a full set.  Next up -- replace or control thy fans.

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Hondoe1950

I too took great pains to build my own "silent pc" and the result was just too darn noisy.

After living with it for a couple of years, I broke down and bought a new silent Serenity system from Puget Systems.

It was the best choice and the best computer I have ever owned.

Now when I enter my office, I can't even tell if my PC is on until I get really close.

Ah, the peace of silence.

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bdcrlsn86

You could've saved a lot of money and produced less heat by going with a Sandy Bridge CPU/Mobo and a GTX 570. Just saying. 

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TheMurph

Didn't have access to Sandy Bridge at the time of the article's writing, alas.  Also, the 480 was specifically chosen for its louder acoustics.

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gvansly1

Case: Silverstone....Bad Link........................

Good Link: http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/enclosure.php?area=for

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gendoikari1

Good for a silent gaming rig. I wonder how an entirely noiseless PC would work out (SSD, passive CPU cooler, fanless case, fanless PSU, passive GPU cooler)?

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TheMurph

That'll be one low-power PC... if it even runs for very long.  ;)

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Danthrax66

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gendoikari1

That is quite possibly one of the biggest and ugliest CPU coolers I have ever seen

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neo_mouse

i dont know about that, the cooler master v10 was pretty damn ugly!

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rawrnomnom

Its kinda nasty that a professional PC magazine would post that rats nest on their site.... Cable Management Fail...

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rawrnomnom

ive seen people shove more stuff in a PC case than this and have it look far neater. Even with a lot of cables some management can be had, dont believe me? check out some threads on thebestcasescenario dot com, i appreciate the silence as much as the next guy, i just like to see things done right. With all the emphasis on the need for silence and keeping a pretty hot and powerful PC cool cable management goes a long way.

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