How to Build A Quiet-but-Powerful Gaming PC

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chaosdsm

For silent CPU cooling that can also handle most anything you want to throw its way, you should be using the NZXT Kraken X60 AIO water cooler. Sure it adds a little more to the overall budget, but IMO, it's well worth the added investment...

Just swap the NZXT high performance fans for quiet variable speed fans, because even at 25% fan speed the NZXT fans are audible, but not overly loud. Kraken X60's cooling is so efficient that it keeps my i7-3930k overclocked to 4.6GHz (for Blu-Ray encoding) under 60C at 50% fan speed while encoding a 45 minute Blu-Ray video (shot in MPEG4 @ 24Mbps 1920x1080 @ 23.98p) in Premere Pro CS6.

If the Kraken X60 can keep an overclocked 3930k that cool under that load at just 50% fan speed, it can easily handle a 3770k gaming with a swap to silent fans, while at the same time maintaining the capacity for added cooling for those times when you want to up the ante & overclock that unlocked CPU!

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biggiebob12345

My desktop is silent (no fans except the PSU, and only 2 mechanical hdds), but the cooling cost more than the entire build from this article. My goal was maximum overclocks with no noise, which I pretty much accomplished. 5Ghz 3770k and SLI-ed 680s running a 40% OC over reference.

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fygquas

The Hybrid fan on the bottom of the case blows air which way: into the case or out of the case?

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Sorian

Hmm.... I think I would have gone with a CORSAIR Hydro H55 CPU cooler.

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JosephColt

Hi, I have the questions about this build:

1. Why didn't you just use a 450 watt Seasonic such as the SSR-450RM(or one of their slightly better quality units), room for SLI in the future? Cooler master power supplies are typically terrible products quality wise.

2. If this is a gaming build why did you go with a 3770k?

-Allowing for people to do encoding or video editing?

3. Why not get the better Samsung Pro 128GB for a couple dollars more that is proven to be reliable and better?

4. The heat-sink for processor is questionable, a Noctua NH-D14 will perform better, and the fans on the Noctua will be extremely quiet(they are great quiet fans). No point in a fan-less heat sink if you're using case fans technically.

5. Why do you guys keep using basic Corsair memory? Start using high frequency and low timing memory, G skill for example has better memory; although realistically this isn't that big of a deal.

6. I am not sure about the GPU method, seems like a creative idea I suppose, but an ASUS GTX770 DC2OC will reach about 34db; barley worse then the Accelero Hybrid cooler.

Everything else seems fine overall, the case looks clean and well put together, but you could have saved a good chunk of money, stayed quiet, and had better graphics card!

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tom_m

1. CM's Silent Pro line is actually pretty good, and they're super-quiet.

2. We weren't building on a budget this time, so we could afford Hyperthreading, which we've seen come in handy in Battlefield 4.

3. The real-world performance difference will actually be unnoticeable most of the time. We also like to have some variety in our builds, so as not to indicate favoritism.

4. A heatsink fan can actually make a lot of noise when the CPU is under full load, while case fans can remain at a constant, low speed. The case fans in the R4 are also engineered for nearly silent rotation. The Built It section is also intended for experimentation.

5. In gaming, the performance difference between 1600 and, say, 2400 is actually pretty negligible. It makes a difference when doing video encoding, but it's usually not worth the additional expense otherwise.

6. Using the Accelero allows us to exhaust the unit's airflow below the case and keep it cooler than a conventional heatsink-fan combo, at the same time. Also keep in mind that the GTX 770 is a rebadge of the GTX 680, and it was not available at the time that we wrote the article.

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JosephColt

Thanks for the response! Like to know the reasoning behind peoples choices.

Correct the 770 is basically a 680 pushed harder, and that is a good point about exhausting the air directly out the case! Although I would say it goes against the natural flow of air, heat rises, and you're pushing it into a tiny area below the case. I'd love to see some thermal scan recordings of the PC in action.

You can actually get 1866mhz for almost the same price as 1600mhz, but it is pretty negligible for gaming, but I think if you're doing HT and have an i7 it would be a good option to get 1866 or 2133 since a lot of gamers do video editing, encoding, and multitasking too.

I think you guys should start using Seasonics in your builds as they are pretty much dead silent for many of their models; and you don't sacrifice on quality.

I also would like to make some suggestions for future articles which include thermal scanner readings of the case, db readings of the case, and more benchmarks of games.

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j_j_montez

I recently spec'd out a completely silent rig, fan-less CPU and power supply, and used the integrated graphics, since it's a workstation. It's good to know that for silent operation, I don't need to go overboard, and can use some of these parts to get better performance.

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LatiosXT

You can say quiet, but how quiet? I was hoping to see some dB measurements :<

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legionera

That's the most useful garbage like ever!!!

Now the entire neighborhood will listen to my wife's moaning when we make love. :(

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Timberbeast

I really like that Case, I cant even hear my PC. If my moniter gets turned off, I think someone turned of my pc!

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tom_m

The R4 is one of my faves. Really solid construction.

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Shalbatana

LOOOOoooove the R4!

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kixofmyg0t

Wow, the zero point rig gets 5,847fps in Batman:Arkham City?

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jimmthang

d'oh! fixed