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Quiet, compact gaming computer DIY

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I've done major upgrades myself. I've replaced motherboards, tons of cards, drives etc... so i think i'm experienced enough to build my own computer for my own specific needs. This will probably happen in the next 6 months or so when i gather the funds together. I've looked at getting this built by a pro, but they just seem to rip off and never really have to features i'd like.

Firstly, i want this computer to be compact, i mean under half the size of a standard desktop. I'm not sure where to start with this.

Secondly, i'd like this to be a quiet system, i really don't know where to go with this either. I could for example use heatsinks instead of fans.

I've got a fair amount of experience in choosing a gaming components. I know what kind of performance i'm looking for but not how to bring all this together.

Any tips or experience out there? Any good sites for unbiased advice?
post #2 of 38
Here is an excellent site for help - silentpcreview.com | Everything about Silent / Quiet Computers
post #3 of 38
I would look at mATX mobo and their respective cases or shuttle if you want to go a bit smaller. A mATX mobo can give big boy performance in pretty much everything but you will be limited on some internal i/o's and legacy ports.

g33 and g35 motherboards
shuttle pc's
matx cases

spcr as mentioned in the previous post is also very good.
post #4 of 38
I built my PC last year component by component, trying to make it quite silent, so here go my 2 cents:
My error; try to avoid them:
- I bought a gaming graphics card, thinking that I could slow down the fan speed with software, as 99.9% of the time a don´t play, so it would not need much refrigeration. This was my worst error: Its speed can´t be tweaked . I have tried more than 6 different programs, but they just do nothing on the graphics card fan speed. The lesson: buy a graphics card with passive dissipation, (or none at all if you never play and are happy with MB integrated graphics). Other people with the same graphics chipset could tweak it, but not the exact model that I have. The graphics card is the noisiest component in my system, even after I substituted the fan for a new one.

- Buy a silent power source with a 12cm fan, a big good quality processor fan, and silent fans for box refrigeration. Again, no fan is better than a good fan, although fanless processors and PS are difficult to find/slow/expensive.

- Use SpeedFan (free software): it let me tweak processor fan speed, where BIOS and motherboard software didn´t (although they were supposed to). But it does not work in every PC (ie: in an old Athlon XP where I installed it).

- If your fans have potentiometers, you will always be able to speed them down (You see I don´t trust in fan control software )

- One noisy component will ruin the silence of all the silent ones --> don´t spend money in a fanless power source, if you are going to have a fan on the processor, anyway. Read noise specs of the components, and concentrate in improving the noisiest one.

In my experience, the noise comes from:
Graphics card fan > processor fan > box fans > PS fan (12cm) > hard disk spinning

Good luck!
post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by manio View Post
I built my PC last year component by component, trying to make it quite silent, so here go my 2 cents:
My error; try to avoid them:
- I bought a gaming graphics card, thinking that I could slow down the fan speed with software, as 99.9% of the time a don´t play, so it would not need much refrigeration. This was my worst error: Its speed can´t be tweaked . I have tried more than 6 different programs, but they just do nothing on the graphics card fan speed. The lesson: buy a graphics card with passive dissipation, (or none at all if you never play and are happy with MB integrated graphics). Other people with the same graphics chipset could tweak it, but not the exact model that I have. The graphics card is the noisiest component in my system, even after I substituted the fan for a new one.

- Buy a silent power source with a 12cm fan, a big good quality processor fan, and silent fans for box refrigeration. Again, no fan is better than a good fan, although fanless processors and PS are difficult to find/slow/expensive.

- Use SpeedFan (free software): it let me tweak processor fan speed, where BIOS and motherboard software didn´t (although they were supposed to). But it does not work in every PC (ie: in an old Athlon XP where I installed it).

- If your fans have potentiometers, you will always be able to speed them down (You see I don´t trust in fan control software )

- One noisy component will ruin the silence of all the silent ones --> don´t spend money in a fanless power source, if you are going to have a fan on the processor, anyway. Read noise specs of the components, and concentrate in improving the noisiest one.

In my experience, the noise comes from:
Graphics card fan > processor fan > box fans > PS fan (12cm) > hard disk spinning

Good luck!
easy fix for the graphic card. Im using a Valman VF900 on my 8800GT and set the voltage to low and its barely audible. And you can use the Thermalright HR-03GT which can be use fanless or with fan to reduce the noise.

I bought a dell since im loving the warranty and also the noise is really low. Mine is an XPS 720 btw
post #6 of 38
I have a Shuttle XPC. It's less than half the size or a normal gaming rig. I'm not sure if this is the case with the latest from Shuttle, but t's impossible to mod anything like fans, PSU etc. You can still exchange CPU, RAM and anything with slots though.
post #7 of 38
Sudhian Forums | Powered By ExpressionEngine

They have some pretty good stuff here, or SFF Club - Home I'm pretty sure they overlap. But lots of info on small form factor. I'm actually building one as we speak. All the parts are on my floor. Shuttle has been delaying the release of a pretty decent gaming rig for sometime. However, you can get them pretty loaded to the gills. Including it being overclockable. Not a bad way to go by any means.
post #8 of 38
Quiet. Powerful. Compact. Pick two.
post #9 of 38
It really comes down to money.

And if I may ask, why small? Because you will probably get much better cooling ability with a mid-tower.

In addition to SPCR, I recommend XtremeSystems Forums - Powered by vBulletin and Hardware reviews, Overclocking, Tech News and Enthusiast Community Homepage - Overclockers Club.
post #10 of 38
Antec Cases for Silence p180 p182 sonata etc.

After market GPU coolers (though most can be controlled with computer, fans with 3 pin plugs to run off mobo or just get a drivebay fan controller)

Big fans.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicallySilent View Post
Antec Cases for Silence p180 p182 sonata etc.

After market GPU coolers (though most can be controlled with computer, fans with 3 pin plugs to run off mobo or just get a drivebay fan controller)

Big fans.
new p190 series is out now.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demix500 View Post
new p190 series is out now.
the op said he wanted it to be half the size of a standard desktop.
the p190 is a full tower that can take two psu's...
post #13 of 38
Go with a Mtron SSD drive if your budget permits. Faster than a Raptor and dead silent since no moving parts.
post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
^^^so expensive!

Thanks for all the suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arainach View Post
Quiet. Powerful. Compact. Pick two.
Yeah i kind of figured this. I know i will have to make compromises. I'm gonna go for compact first, because thats the most important for me, then try and make it as quiet as possible and then look at what sort of power i can get out of this with the budget i have. Lots of research i think.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Computerpro3 View Post
Go with a Mtron SSD drive if your budget permits. Faster than a Raptor and dead silent since no moving parts.
not for sequential writes but an ssd drive would make a good boot drive. I would still prefer a raptor when moving alot of data.
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