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Quiet Sandy Bridge build - seeking feedback/suggestions

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Looking to retire my current system as it is showing signs of faulty hardware and rather than trying to diagnose the fault I think it might be time to upgrade instead.


This will just be a desktop machine. Web browsing, video watching, etc. No gaming.


The machine lives in my room and runs 24/7, so I want it as close to silent as I can get using off-the-shelf parts and without modding it in any way.


This is what I have in mind so far: (Prices are MSY 'cept for case)


Case: Antec Sonata Designer ~$195

CPU: i3-2100 $139

MB: Asus P8H61-M-V3 $99

RAM: PQI 8GB DDR3 kit $80

HDD: 2TB Samsung $92

HSF: Noctua NH-D14 $108


Interested in peoples' thoughts.


The D14 is probably overkill. I was initially looking at the U12P but the recording I heard of it on silentpcreview put me off a little. It was quiet, but the tone it emitted would probably annoy me. The D14 recording seemed much less intrusive.


Happy to consider any alternatives. MSY (Sydney CBD) is my prefered store to buy from. I don't drive and will be relying on a friend for transport, so the fewer shops that need to be visited the better.


I have spent more time looking at the noise side of things, so please smack me if I have got any obvious compatibility issues there. I am not all that up to date on the newly released stuff.



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Bobcat very low power use and great for most home\office tasks

MB\CPU\GPU ASRock E350M1-USB3 $153 - OR - Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Motherboard $179

RAM 2g 1333 $19 - OR - Corsair CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3 $49


CASE\PS Antec ISK300-65 $95

HDD Samsung SpinPoint MP4 HM640JJ 640GB $79

Some other 2.5" HDD

Western Digital Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT 750GB $139

Sandforce 60g ssd $139

TOTAL $391-586


office build for those that want more speed than the Bobcat and have the cash

Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz $139 (if you want to save a smidge of power Intel Core i3 2100T 2.5GHz $165) (if you want a quad Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz $219)

(2x4GB) DDR3 1333 $85

Sandforce 60g ssd $139 - OR - OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD $329

pioneer 219 $39 - OR - Pioneer BDR-206 Blu-Ray Disc Writer $135

Seasonic X-400 Fanless Gold 400W $179

two choices for mb\case for those who want somthing small and then one for those that want a few extra slots

ASUS P8H67-I Deluxe Mini ITX Motherboard B3 $165 & Lian Li PC-Q11 $128

Gigabyte GA-H67MA-UD2H-B3 $143 & Fractal Design Define Mini $135 (2500k with a p67 and a gpu could go nice in this case for those who want to oc)


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In a way it's funny that you were considering a NH-D14 in a mid spec workstation, but in another I can see why.


I put one in my new gaming Sandy Build:




I'm yet to really push it, but it is pretty damn quiet; even without the 5v/7v cables.


Although, I'm also using a HAF-X and I consider that quiet; so I might not be the best judge, (I swear it is quiet though!).

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The Fractal Design R3 does look like a good option, but I think the Sonata's built in drive suspension system might sway me there, and unless I misread, the Fractal Design R3 appears to have a fan on top which would mean my scanner needs to find a new place to live.


The FD R3 will definitely be worth a look when I build my new home server, though, as it's got lots of drive bays which is essential.


My current plan is to see how I go with the Sonata's standard power supply and replace it with something like the Seasonic X-400 if it's louder than I care for and use the Earthwatts in whatever case I get for my home server when I have the funds/motivation to build that. Going to wait for Bulldozer before I do that, though, I think, and see what the state of affairs is like then, and whether Bulldozer is actually worth considering.


One thing I would like feedback on is the CPU cooler. I'm happy to just throw the money at the D14, but in my limited searching, I haven't found anyone using such a cooler in a sonata/p150, but the case is getting old and the cooler is new, so that's not that surprising. Will it fit okay? Hapy to take other suggestions here, too.


Thanks for the info all.

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the r3 hs ruber hdd mounts that work very well

the top fan slots have noise deadening foam over them at stock so the fans slots there are simply optional

its a far better case for low noise due to it having the sound deadening material threw the case vs the bare metal sonata


you will struggle to hear the stock hsf that comes with a 2100 when it is in the r3 the hdd will probably make more noise so the noctua is probably overkill and no quieter just keep it cooler which dosent mater since you cant overclock

or if you go with a bobcat then some of them are fanless so you dont need it

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Okay, I've been convinced to try the Fractal Design Define R3.


Currently this is what I have in mind:


$142 Fractal Design Define R3 Black or Titatnium

$139 Intel Core i3-2100 CPU

$089 Asus P8H61-M-LE-V3 motherboard

$080 8GB DDR3

$092 Samsung 2TB SATA

$179 Seasonic X-400 PSU

$135 Pioneer BDR bluray burner




Is there any reason I should look at a more expensive motherboard? I don't need/want anything beyond what this one offers. Are the cheaper boards of comparable build quality with just less features, or does build quality suffer, too?


For the case + PSU, can I get some pros and cons re: PSU mounting position? Using a fanless PSU, is one position "better" than the other, or should I just go for whatever I prefer?


Thanks again for the tips.

Edited by eckythump

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for a office pc the thing that makes the most difference to performance is often the hdd so you may want something better than the 5400rpm drive but you could always upgrade the system in the future by adding a ssd and reinstalling windows to it

psu should be mounted with its vents facing up and move the rear fan to the front of the case so you have two filtered inlets

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I will probably add an SSD later. Even if I did get one, I'd likely still need/want the extra 2TB drive for tinkering space. I shall think on this more.


I might grab an extra 120mm case fan and see how loud it all sounds if I leave the fan on the back and add a second to the front. I like quiet, doesn't need to be silent, just not annoying.

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shouldnt need an extra fan

5400rpm hdd should make very little heat

cpu will make bugger all heat and what it dose make should just go up and out the back

just suggesting moving rear to front so that there is a little positive pressure in the case to move some air threw the psu better and if you let the front fan filter get a bit blocked there isnt a rear fan to start sucking dust in elsewhere

but since this pc will only use ~30-60w of power it probably dosent mater you can probably run it with no case fans and the psu mounted any old way as long as the room its in wont reach around 50c

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