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Fanless desktop options

Argosy

Junior Member
Nov 13, 2013
5
0
0
So, I'm looking at building a fanless PC for mostly multimedia and some coding work. Doesn't have to be the fastest option available and I'd like to avoid Silvermont/Airmont based CPUs.

So, what would be the best way to go? Are there any AMD SOCs that might do the job? Just to add, graphics is not very important since I mostly play older games.
 

zir_blazer

Senior member
Jun 6, 2013
991
188
106
My suggestion would be a very custom build. I would do undervolt/underclock of standard desktop parts and figure out if its possible to not have a Fan connected, or fully stop it. That's actually the most problematic part, since I don't think that you can do so in most Desktop Motherboards as they should probabily refuse to POST if there is no Fan connected to the CPU Fan Header.
May want to read this.
 

Techhog

Platinum Member
Sep 11, 2013
2,834
1
26
Does it have to be completely fanless, or is semi-fanless okay? Also, does it need to be small?
 

Argosy

Junior Member
Nov 13, 2013
5
0
0
Does it have to be completely fanless, or is semi-fanless okay? Also, does it need to be small?
Semi fanless would be OK, I guess.
It doesn't have to be small, although it would be nice if it is.

Are there no Core M desktop boards? Or something with Core U parts?

Keep in mind I'm currently using a Turion 64 X2 2 GHz laptop as my main machine so I think simething like Core M would do the job, if available.
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
5,531
141
106
There's fanless, and then there's effectively silent. I'd personally opt for a very efficient power supply with a high quality fan that doesn't start before X load, a motherboard with a lot of fan control options (such as the ability to have the fans only start up once components reach a certain temperature), a large tower heatsink, and a bunch of high quality fans (e.g. Noctua). It'll cost you, but it's possible to have a lot of performance on-tap with zero noise at idle and near-zero under full load.

You might consider going with an unlocked CPU and playing with voltage and clocks.
 

mysticjbyrd

Golden Member
Oct 6, 2015
1,363
3
0
Semi fanless would be OK, I guess.
It doesn't have to be small, although it would be nice if it is.

Are there no Core M desktop boards? Or something with Core U parts?

Keep in mind I'm currently using a Turion 64 X2 2 GHz laptop as my main machine so I think simething like Core M would do the job, if available.
Why not just buy another laptop then?
 

MrTeal

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,071
727
136
So, I'm looking at building a fanless PC for mostly multimedia and some coding work. Doesn't have to be the fastest option available and I'd like to avoid Silvermont/Airmont based CPUs.

So, what would be the best way to go? Are there any AMD SOCs that might do the job? Just to add, graphics is not very important since I mostly play older games.
Do you have a budget? A decent noise controlled case and top flight air cooler will be effectively silent, provided vibration is controlled. If you can do without an optical drive or mechanical HDD, something like an NH-D15 with one of the low noise adapters and a PSU that stops its fan at low load will be essentially inaudible.
 

Techhog

Platinum Member
Sep 11, 2013
2,834
1
26
Buy a Skylake NUC and be done with it.
If a NUC is powerful enough, that's certainly the easiest option. Price/performance is terrible, though.


If a NUC weren't enough, another option would be to buy a case with a front 200mm fan mount, have that as the only fan, and throw in a fanless CPU cooler (such as http://smile.amazon.com/Macho-Zero-Anodize-no-Fan/dp/B00P6QC5NS?sa-no-redirect=1), and get a 960 with a 0db mode. This would result in near silence at idle, even with a decently fast CPU. I only recommend doing this if a NUC isn't fast enough, though. I think a NUC will work, though.
 

MrTeal

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,071
727
136
If a NUC is powerful enough, that's certainly the easiest option. Price/performance is terrible, though.


If a NUC weren't enough, another option would be to buy a case with a front 200mm fan mount, have that as the only fan, and throw in a fanless CPU cooler (such as http://smile.amazon.com/Macho-Zero-Anodize-no-Fan/dp/B00P6QC5NS?sa-no-redirect=1), and get a 960 with a 0db mode. This would result in near silence at idle, even with a decently fast CPU. I only recommend doing this if a NUC isn't fast enough, though. I think a NUC will work, though.
A 960 seems a bit overkill, though it depends what he means by older games. Chances are HD530 might work fine for his needs. Toss a big tower cooler in something like a Define R5, duct the cooler to the rear exhaust, and you're essentially done.
 

Magic Carpet

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2011
3,265
75
91
So, I'm looking at building a fanless PC for mostly multimedia and some coding work. Doesn't have to be the fastest option available and I'd like to avoid Silvermont/Airmont based CPUs..
Total budget?

Also, do you plan to use it for anything else besides the basics? (keyboard/mouse/1xSSD/1xDisplay)
 
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mysticjbyrd

Golden Member
Oct 6, 2015
1,363
3
0
A 960 seems a bit overkill, though it depends what he means by older games. Chances are HD530 might work fine for his needs. Toss a big tower cooler in something like a Define R5, duct the cooler to the rear exhaust, and you're essentially done.
That would be a good idea with a fanless CPU cooler.
 

Argosy

Junior Member
Nov 13, 2013
5
0
0
Why not just buy another laptop then?
Because I do not need it. 99.9% of time it sits on the table, so I figured might as well do without it. I plan on getting a cheap Win 10 tablet/hybrid to cover that part.



My budget would be about 1000$, but that's for the entire system(case, board, RAM, HDD/SSD and a new LCD screen). Unfortunately from where I'm from (Croatia, EU), hardware prices are not that "low" as in the US(also, dollar is getting stronger), so I'm not sure if Intel NUCs are within the budget(to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure if they're available here, I'll have to look)
 

Techhog

Platinum Member
Sep 11, 2013
2,834
1
26
A 960 seems a bit overkill, though it depends what he means by older games. Chances are HD530 might work fine for his needs. Toss a big tower cooler in something like a Define R5, duct the cooler to the rear exhaust, and you're essentially done.
Right, but going a bit overkill and using vsync might just keep the fan off nearly all of the time.

There is always the i5 NUC with GT3 and 64MB EDRAM (HD Iris 540).
The problem comes in actually finding that NUC...

On a related note, whatever happened to that Core M Compute Stick?
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,395
128
106
The Core M compute stick is for February or something.

Well shops here got the i5 NUC so I assumed its to find.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,395
128
106
Because I do not need it. 99.9% of time it sits on the table, so I figured might as well do without it. I plan on getting a cheap Win 10 tablet/hybrid to cover that part.



My budget would be about 1000$, but that's for the entire system(case, board, RAM, HDD/SSD and a new LCD screen). Unfortunately from where I'm from (Croatia, EU), hardware prices are not that "low" as in the US(also, dollar is getting stronger), so I'm not sure if Intel NUCs are within the budget(to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure if they're available here, I'll have to look)
Both i3 and i5 NUC should be within that budget depending on monitor.

I paid ~500€ for i3 NUC+16GB DDR4+500GB SSD. The i5 NUC is ~80€ more.

All prices with VAT removed, so you have to add local VAT or where you buy from in Europe.

The NUC is something like 11x11cm. And it comes with a VESA plate. So you can wall mount it, mount it on back of the monitor, under your desk etc.

My NUC. Its now wall mounted as a HTPC:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost.php?p=37915358&postcount=5812
 
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Magic Carpet

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2011
3,265
75
91
My budget would be about 1000$, but that's for the entire system(case, board, RAM, HDD/SSD and a new LCD screen). Unfortunately from where I'm from (Croatia, EU), hardware prices are not that "low" as in the US(also, dollar is getting stronger), so I'm not sure if Intel NUCs are within the budget(to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure if they're available here, I'll have to look)
Give us a couple of e-tailers in your area, so we could have a look at all available options.
 

malabo

Banned
Jan 5, 2016
61
2
0
So, I'm looking at building a fanless PC for mostly multimedia and some coding work. Doesn't have to be the fastest option available and I'd like to avoid Silvermont/Airmont based CPUs.

So, what would be the best way to go? Are there any AMD SOCs that might do the job? Just to add, graphics is not very important since I mostly play older games.
Why would you want fanless.chips need a fan to work properly especially if they are on all the time.They used to sell a huge heatsink for fanless designs but I doubt it did the job
 

MrTeal

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,071
727
136
That would be a good idea with a fanless CPU cooler.
Six of one, a half dozen of the other. If you use a fan on the CPU cooler, you don't need a fan on the exhaust. If you use a fan on the exhaust, you can use a fanless CPU cooler.
 

MrTeal

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,071
727
136
Because I do not need it. 99.9% of time it sits on the table, so I figured might as well do without it. I plan on getting a cheap Win 10 tablet/hybrid to cover that part.



My budget would be about 1000$, but that's for the entire system(case, board, RAM, HDD/SSD and a new LCD screen). Unfortunately from where I'm from (Croatia, EU), hardware prices are not that "low" as in the US(also, dollar is getting stronger), so I'm not sure if Intel NUCs are within the budget(to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure if they're available here, I'll have to look)
Well, here's a sample US$1000 build that would fit in your budget.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($89.96 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z170M Pro4S Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($89.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Avexir Core Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial BX200 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($119.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Fractal Design Define R5 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 650W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($78.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: Dell E2414HM 60Hz 24.0" Monitor ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Dell E2414HM 60Hz 24.0" Monitor ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $948.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-01-07 12:59 EST-0500
 

sm625

Diamond Member
May 6, 2011
8,176
135
106
If you want to go fanless you may as well buy something like a Surface Pro core m3. Otherwise you are going to pay out the wazoo for something not much better than a Surface Pro anyway due to niche market premiums. At least with the Surface Pro you could take it with you and use it for more than just a desktop. For a desktop it makes a lot more sense to just settle for something quiet rather than totally silent. You can get cpu coolers with fans that are very nearly silent. Same goes for every other component as well.
 

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