Best option for loud CPU

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Best option for loud CPU

Postposted on Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:54 pm

While playing Portal 2 last night, I noticed my PC was fairly loud. Listening to it closely I think it's the CPU fan. My current specs:

CPU: Phenom II X4 840 + stock fan, not overclocked
GPU: Radeon 4850
Case and PSU: Antec Sonata III, One rear 120mm exhaust fan

I ran HWMonitor while playing Portal 2 and League of Legends:

http://pastebin.com/NtatTWcK
http://pastebin.com/WY9pwgPD

Note these results are shortly after exiting the games. It appears that the max stats aren't saved.

My GPU got up to 72 degrees. My CPU got up to 41 degrees. My CPU fan spun up to over 6000 RPM!

I would like to quiet the system. Should I

1) Get an after market CPU cooler? If so, how do I get one that's focused on staying quiet and not just staying cool for overclocking? I know people are crazy for the Hyper 212 on these forums. Would it fit in the Sonata III?

2) Get a new case and power supply for better airflow? Everything's pretty tightly together inside the case. I have a pretty hard time telling the difference between a $60 case and a $180 case on Newegg. What should I be looking for if I want a quiet system? Fewer fans?
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Re: Best option for loud CPU

Postposted on Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:23 pm

Yeah, stock fans are never a good idea if you value silence.

First thing first, I find that http://www.silentpcreview.com is a good resource for lots of things silent (cases, fans, CPU coolers, etc. etc). Good reviews, and great forums to ask for other people's personal experience with products.

Given that, my personal opinion is the following:

You've got a pretty decent case their for keeping things low-noise, and I suspect the included EarthWatts 500 PSU should also do a fair job of being "quieter". At 6000 RPMS, I'd definitely say your CPU cooler is the biggest source of noise.

In other words, you could change out the PSU, and even the case if you want, but start with the CPU cooler/fan combo and see how you feel. That's where your biggest change is going to come from.

Looking at the product page for your case, it looks like its 206mm wide. If we lop off 30mm to account for both sides of the case, and the motherboard standoff, I'd say you've got 170mm of room to play with. If you can find a HSF (heatsink/fan) setup that is ~165mm, ~160mm or less, I'd say you're good.

I've been a big fan of Thermalright (not Thermaltake) heatsinks for a while. I've used these Ultra120 tower heatsinks in two of my builds with good results. Couple that with a big Nexus, Noctua or Scythe 120mm fan and you can get better cooling performance at ~1900rpms.

Of course, the Ultra120 line seems to be discontinued, but they have a bunch of successors it looks like (venemous?)


Anyways, that's my part suggestion. In general: you'll want to find a good heat sink that can accept a 120mm fan or bigger (remember, bigger blades means moving more air at slower RPM). Don't be afraid to buy a heatsink without a fan. Seperate heat sinks allow you to pick a fan of your choice to do the cooling.
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Re: Best option for loud CPU

Postposted on Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:48 pm

If you are looking for near silent PC fans that move a decent amount of air, I would recommend you get some panaflo fans. They are made by panasonic and they use fluid bearings, so they do not end up getting noisier over time like the cheap sleeve bearings and ball bearing ones. I have a full set of 4 80mm panoflo fans I bought back with my case in 1998 that are still going stong, and I run my computer 24/7. You would be hard pressed to find any fans that whould still be even running, much less still be whisper quiet after 13 years.
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Starfalcon
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Re: Best option for loud CPU

Postposted on Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:03 pm

Starfalcon wrote:If you are looking for near silent PC fans that move a decent amount of air, I would recommend you get some panaflo fans. They are made by panasonic and they use fluid bearings, so they do not end up getting noisier over time like the cheap sleeve bearings and ball bearing ones. I have a full set of 4 80mm panoflo fans I bought back with my case in 1998 that are still going stong, and I run my computer 24/7. You would be hard pressed to find any fans that whould still be even running, much less still be whisper quiet after 13 years.

The old Athlon XP box (in an Antec 660AMG) has 80mm Panaflos and they are quiet. The current C2D Conroe box (24/7 since mid-'07) has Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fans in a P182 (1600 RPM max) and they're but a gentle hum, though that's mostly due to the unbelievable BIOS-level fan controls found in Abit's last great mobo, the IP35 Pro.

For more fan choices than one can reasonably assess and comprehend, http://www.frozencpu.com is your place.
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Re: Best option for loud CPU

Postposted on Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:06 pm

I ended up getting the Hyper 212 cooler. My system is a lot quieter now, but here are some observations:

After installing, my system was actually noisier! I had to play with the BIOS settings to turn down the fan speeds. HWMoniter still shows my temperatures are okay.

I'm conflicted as to whether or not I should "upgrade" my case.
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