Suggestions on building Ultra SILENT Computer

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
2
81
Hello,

I am giong to build a server and I want it to be dead silent. Please give advice. I would like to keep things free of mods (such as cutting case etc....) but I am welcome to ideas.

So far I am thinking about getting a fanless cpu heatsink
and fanless psu. (please suggest low price ones).

I am trying to build it on a budget. I would like it to have power too.

Thanks.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
Agreed.

FYI, "very quiet" is a lot easier and cheaper than silent. Is your budget unlimited?

For example, here's a system I built that was cheap and very quiet (but not "Ultra SILENT") that is still reasonably fast:
Antec NSK-4400 case (with its very quiet included PSU and fan)
Biostar TForce 6100-939 motherboard (fanless chipset, onboard video)
A64 X2 3800+, Zalman 7000-alcu HSF
2 GB RAM, NEC 3550 DVD, 2 x Samsung Spinrite 160 GB SATA
 

GuitarDaddy

Lifer
Nov 9, 2004
11,465
1
0
Originally posted by: DaveSimmons
Agreed.

FYI, "very quiet" is a lot easier and cheaper than silent. Is your budget unlimited?

For example, here's a system I built that was cheap and very quiet (but not "Ultra SILENT") that is still reasonably fast:
Antec NSK-4400 case (with its very quiet included PSU and fan)
Biostar TForce 6100-939 motherboard (fanless chipset, onboard video)
A64 X2 3800+, Zalman 7000-alcu HSF
2 GB RAM, NEC 3550 DVD, 2 x Samsung Spinrite 160 GB SATA


Great minds think alike:)

I built the exact same rig for my wife except with a single segate 7200.10 320gb hdd
and I can't hear it running at all, very quiet.
 

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
2
81
I would like to keep it around $200-250. But it's hard to set price limits when just a little more $$ can get you a much better processor.

Okay I'm debating between AMD Althon 64 3400+ vs AMD Althon 4000+ Both Single Core
I choose single core because of the price. 3 questions.

1. There is a $25 price difference between these two processors. Should I get the 4000+
2. I'm worried about heat. I will be folding, can a single core 4000+ with the below specs handle that heat?
3. Is dual core way better when it comes to temperature?

The difference between a Server CPU (Opteron) and a Desktop CPU
I will run this as a server also.
----Should I get an Opteron?

Here are the specs. I don't have a Hard drive in the specs (I will use my 40gb 7200rpm 8mb cache HDD unless I can find a really good deal).

Antec NSK 4400 Black/Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mini Tower $79.99

BIOSTAR GEFORCE 6100-M9 Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $59.99

A-DATA 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) $64.99

AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego 2.4GHz Socket 939 Processor Model ADA4000DKA5CF - OEM $75.99

ZALMAN CNPS7000B-ALCU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan - Retail $29.99

Total: $336.48 After shipping


This is a lot of money for me. If I spend this much money should I get a different setup that is more like a server? Should I get a Server CPU instead of a Desktop CPU
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
What will you be using this for besides folding?

<tree_hugger>
Given California's power problems, devoting another 100 - 200 watts to folding might not be the best use of your money. Aside from the overtaxed grid, generating the power adds to pollution and climate change.
</tree_hugger>
 

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
2
81
I will setup a shell server with this computer.

Also This is my speed computer. When I need to do heavy number crunching, like creating table bases (chess) or decrypting something (all legal), I will use this computer.

I won't really be folding, I figured using that example would be a simple way to explain my concern of heat.

So it will do two things.

1. Be a server [shell server] (maybe chess server too)
2. Crunch numbers.

That's another thing
Low power consumption would be great!!!! Big bonus. I don't want to feel bad about running it 24/7.
 

GuitarDaddy

Lifer
Nov 9, 2004
11,465
1
0
If budget is that important I would go with the 3400 as the 4000 won't be that much faster. But if you can swing it the X2 3800 for around $120 would be a much better option.
 

Madwand1

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2006
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Socket 939 supplies have dried up quite a lot. For future upgradability, etc., you might want to consider AM2. This might also give you some more choices on processors.

Here's another 939 board to consider.. 6150/430 chipset. Main advantage from my point of view is on-board gigabit networking. You also get some more SATA and RAID options if you care. It's also passively cooled and the same price AR as the Biostar. One disadvantage is the lack of a x1 PCIe slot.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813186086
 

Zepper

Elite Member
May 1, 2001
18,998
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For low power consumption get one of the 65nM AMD processors. And then get an "80+" certified PSU tightly speced to your boxes' needs (i.e. about 20% over what your machine actually needs). Something like the Enhance ENP-5140GH PSU from eWiz.com might even be too much, but it is hard to find anythng better for the money (but the iStar TC-400PD1 might come close - it's not 80+ certified, but if you run it at the sweet spot of its efficiency curve (should be arond 75 to 80% of max output) it should be close).

.bh.
 

Gomce

Senior member
Dec 4, 2000
812
0
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My ultra silent PC recipe:

- Any PSU with 120mm fan bottom mounted (facing the cpu), I used LC Power (german generic brand, quality) 500W
(I removed the fan already present in the PSU by simply unplugging in, and placed a Coolermaster 120mm fan I had laying around, that does low rpm (round 900, virtually silent)

- Silent cooler, used a Thermaltake Sonic Tower, does a great job cooling a CeleronD 3.46 oced to 4.13ghz, but I'm not happy with the processor's performance, I'm switching to e6300 so I can have HD content playback

- Evga 7600GS, silent (no fan), 256mb ddr2, does a nice job for a HTPC tasks and is able to run vista

- 2.5" HDD, Sata... Face it, if you wanna go ultra silent this is the way to go, regular 3.5" are too noisy!

- Coolermaster Mistique case, but any brand will do.



There you go :) Only 1 low speed fan in the system. If you use a Zalman fanless PSU you can eliminate that fan as well :)

 

Rubycon

Madame President
Aug 10, 2005
17,768
485
126
Kind of hard to squelch the noise of a high end disk array though. ;)

By itself

When the music starts it's no problem. :D

The green light is a single 15K.5 SAS and there's 8 more in RAID0. At that time a stream was going from the single drive to the array - it's apparent which one is working the hardest. ;)

The drives aren't too bad but when get busy it's like BB's spilling on a cookie pan.
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,377
2
81
Originally posted by: net
I want it to be dead silent.

I am thinking about getting a fanless cpu heatsink and fanless psu.

I would like to keep it around $200-250.

Yup, $200-250 can get you a fanless CPU heatsink and fanless PSU.

Oh, you mean a whole computer? Not gonna get much for that money.

BTW, forget about a fanless PSU, I have one and it isn't worth it IMO.

1) Quiet (not silent)
2) Powerful (relatively)
3) Low cost (but more than $250)

Pick any two.
 

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
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any suggestions on another motherboard for the rig I post on this thread?

Those two are great but they don't work well under linux :(

it needs gigabit ethernet too :)

Need a motherboard with
1. Gigabit Ethernet
2. 3GB/s SATA
4. On board video (if no onboard video then how cheep can I get a video card to substitute)

Inexpensive of course.

For some reason I haven't found one that has Gigabit Ethernet and 3GB/s SATA
 

Madwand1

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2006
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Originally posted by: net
any suggestions on another motherboard for the rig I post on this thread?

Those two are great but they don't work well under linux :(

Any specific complaints? I ran FC5 on a 430/6150 board and it was fine in the end.

Intel's probably less painless, but you'd either deal with older chipsets, greater cost, more power consumption / heat, or a bit of a delay for CPU price drops / new lower-end CPUs.

Originally posted by: net
4. On board video (if no onboard video then how cheep can I get a video card to substitute)

If you're resourceful, and don't care much about display resolution and performance, you can do this for essentially nothing with an old PCI video card. Servers historically come with lousy video. You should keep any significant I/O off the PCI bus of course, and also watch out for on-board gigabit implementations which are on PCI. Intel and nVIDIA are typically safe; others are more likely to be PCI.

But there are many motherboard options "out there" with on-board video which you should consider first. Most of these aren't discussed much hereabouts because enthusiasts typically like higher-end add-on video.
 

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
2
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Hi Madwand1,

I searched google forever to find support for 430/6150 and couldn't find any. From what I saw people ether had video problems or something else.

I'm glad you had success. Please let me know some details.

1. What kernel did you run.
2. Where did you get the drivers?
3. Did everything thing work 100% (ethernet, on board audio, on board video)

Let me know as much as you can on the subject.

Thanks.
 

Madwand1

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2006
3,309
0
76
Originally posted by: net
1. What kernel did you run.
2. Where did you get the drivers?
3. Did everything thing work 100% (ethernet, on board audio, on board video)

Um, 2.6.x. Sorry, Vista ate my Linux. This was some time ago and I don't have the final details, but the general answer is -- more recent kernels have better support.

Video, Ethernet, SATA, even nVIDIA RAID (but not NV RAID 5, which wasn't supported at the time, and might still not be) worked fine. And of course I switched to Linux RAID, which was even simpler to support. Sound probably worked -- but I just didn't care about it, so never plugged anything in to find out. I don't recall any installation problems. I was trying a file server and so cared about RAID, gigabit, and SAMBA for compatibility. These worked fine.

Oh, IIRC, I was also running FC x64 to make things more fun. I recall flash didn't work in Firefox, but no other x64-specific issues.

I had problems getting the damned mouse to work and be visible in the beginning. It was really fun pressing CTRL to see where mouse was while I was trying to work on the system and it was even more fun when I didn't know about CTRL. I found a couple of guides online on how to deal with it, and IIRC, installing a newer kernel and following nVIDIA's instructions for driver installation cleared it up. IIRC, this was one of the links which put me on the right path:

http://www.kyndig.com/2006/03/23/fedora-core-5-gateway-no-mouse/

But all this should be way out of date and hopefully not worth knowing about now.

I used nVIDIA's drivers for chipset, video and ethernet. These worked fine in the end. It's likely that some complaints were due to older non-working drivers and attempted hacks / workarounds.
 

Madwand1

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2006
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76
FWIW, I also had CentOS running on that system, and that installation had gone smoother. Unfortunately, there was a DMA issue with that build, which killed a part of the performance, and CentOS was deliberately slow regarding upgrades so I scrapped it -- performance was critical for me. It and other options might be better by this time..
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
One approach might be to build a fairly quit server and put it in a closet. Then have some kind of low powered unit to be used as a remote terminal. Look for something like Citrix where everything gets run on the Server and just displayed on the client. Something like Linux might be good for this. You only need enought computing power to run the client and a monitor of some kind. Might even be possible to have a wireless keyboard back to the server.

Professional Servers and thin clients:

http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/home.asp

They are using something like a Via Eden based no fan processor motherboard for the thin client, maybe with a wireless card to access the server. This is much like a mainframe development.
 

ajemm

Member
Jul 29, 2004
117
0
0
Originally posted by: net
any suggestions on another motherboard for the rig I post on this thread?

Those two are great but they don't work well under linux :(

it needs gigabit ethernet too :)

Need a motherboard with
1. Gigabit Ethernet
2. 3GB/s SATA
4. On board video (if no onboard video then how cheep can I get a video card to substitute)

Inexpensive of course.

For some reason I haven't found one that has Gigabit Ethernet and 3GB/s SATA

If you plan on sticking with a 939 board you should look at the K8NGM2-FID.
There is plenty of info here. The onboard DVI is great! The only problem is finding one for sale.

 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,377
2
81
Originally posted by: net
Should I get a Server CPU instead of a Desktop CPU

For AMD "A64" chips if the clock speed, number of cores and amount of cache is the same, they will essentially perform the same. In some cases overclockability will vary.

Lemme get your wish list straight...

$200-250 budget for case, RAM, mobo, CPU, PSU, any needed cooling
gigabit ethernet
3GB/s SATA
"silent" as possible
integrated video okay
single core okay

Fortron Green FSP300-60GLN 300W PSU $32 with claimed 80+ efficiency
Antec Solo case $90 because I've found it "easiest" to build it quiet
DDR2 1GB dual channel $65
Motherboard $63 with 2x SATA 3GB/s, gigabit ethernet, GF6100 chipset, passive cooling
Sempron CPU $43, undervolt included HSF in BIOS, or an extra $10 for a FanMate or some other fan controller

$293 total

Maybe get closer to $250 with a Rosewill case that's decent for quietness.
 

Liberator21

Golden Member
Feb 12, 2007
1,003
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Have you considered an AM2 setup? Here's an example:

Athlon X2 3600+/ECS ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 Matx mainboard combo ---$128 (YAY for dual-core!) ===== http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103036
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro -SUPER QUIET- ---$35 ===== http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835185125
1Gb DDR2-667 Super Talent ---$60 ===== http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=T6UB1G...8bc52703e710ab70dee27dc9943e416237d954
FSP Green 300W PSU ---$32 ===== http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817104031

You're at $255 right there, with no case. Heck grab one of those Free AMIR Ultra Wizards and you're all set!
Later you can add some Noctua or SilenX fans to boost cooling if you wish...


 

chuck2002

Senior member
Feb 18, 2002
467
0
0
My ESXi box contains the following:
Antec Sonata II, but others are better, ones with sounddeadening material exist from Antec, but I can't think of the model number.
Intel coreduo 6700 I think. 45 nm processor for low power usage and less heat production.
Mobo with onboard graphics and no fan
Arctic cooling freezer CPU heatsink, fan removed
Picopsu power supply with an AC to DC converter = no fan and fairly affordable
2x Western Digital 1tb green power hard drives. These drives are not mounted to the case. They are sitting on some bubble wrap that I have placed at the bottom of the case. This allows for zero case vibrations. These drives are very quiet.
A single 120mm fan is the only fan in the system and it is controlled by a fan controller.

This computer is my quietest creation, and only possible since it is a server with no over the top cooling needs like a big graphics card or the best hard drives.
The mobo has warnings for when the CPU gets too hot. It never gets hot enough to set off warnings. The heatsink is cooled by the 120mm case fan.

 

yh125d

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2006
6,907
0
76
Originally posted by: chuck2002
My ESXi box contains the following:
Antec Sonata II, but others are better, ones with sounddeadening material exist from Antec, but I can't think of the model number.
Intel coreduo 6700 I think. 45 nm processor for low power usage and less heat production.
Mobo with onboard graphics and no fan
Arctic cooling freezer CPU heatsink, fan removed
Picopsu power supply with an AC to DC converter = no fan and fairly affordable
2x Western Digital 1tb green power hard drives. These drives are not mounted to the case. They are sitting on some bubble wrap that I have placed at the bottom of the case. This allows for zero case vibrations. These drives are very quiet.
A single 120mm fan is the only fan in the system and it is controlled by a fan controller.

This computer is my quietest creation, and only possible since it is a server with no over the top cooling needs like a big graphics card or the best hard drives.
The mobo has warnings for when the CPU gets too hot. It never gets hot enough to set off warnings. The heatsink is cooled by the 120mm case fan.

Thank you for your contribution to this necro



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