Silent But Deadly: Building A Quiet But Powerful Gaming PC
By Rodney Barnes on October 9, 2013
The folks at Maximum PC challenged themselves to build a quiet gaming PC, and this thing looks sweet. Here’s what they used:
Case: Fractal Design Define R4
(via Maximum PC)
Starting out, we figured the thing that would probably make the biggest difference in our build (besides the components, of course) would be sound-absorbing panels. This would allow us to have some fans inside the system, as building a fanless PC with any amount of horsepower is simply impossible. Therefore, we went with Fractal Design’s Define R4—a mid-tower known for its sonic excellence and balance of price and features.
Case Fan: Be Quiet Silent Wings 2 14cm
Even though the case includes one intake fan and one exhaust fan, we wanted a third case fan to help provide some airflow to our fanless CPU cooler…We used the unoccupied lower mount to install the Be Quiet Silent Wings 2 fan, which is like the R4’s stock fans in that its blades are shaped to reduce turbulence.
PSU: Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold
Power supplies are another area where we can eliminate noise. When your system starts demanding a lot of power, that power amounts to a lot of heat going through the PSU. Its fan may have to spin pretty hard to keep up, so you want a PSU with a fan that won’t create a lot of turbulence when you crank it to 11.
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K
CPU Cooler: Zalman FX100
We also liked the idea of a fanless CPU cooler, as Zalman had recently released its FX100 cooler, and it would mean a major element of our machine would be totally silent even when running at full speed. The only problem is it would also pretty much guarantee that we wouldn’t be able to overclock due to heat buildup, which is always a problem with fanless coolers.
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
GPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid
Putting the Accelero Hybrid radiator on the bottom of the Define R4 chassis gave us the quietude we had hoped for, even when running GPU benchmarks. The Hybrid device includes a small fan blowing on the card, so the memory and voltage regulation modules didn’t overheat.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2x 4GB
SSD: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB
For our OS we naturally wanted a solid-state drive since they have no moving parts and make no noise, so we went with an OCZ Vertex 4 because it’s one of the best performers at 128GB and its size is sufficient for our OS needs.
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB
Though the fanless CPU cooler prohibited overclocking it still performed well at decent temperatures, and installing the FX100’s optional 92mm fan opened everything up anyways.
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