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Silent PC

Postby mozart999uk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:34 pm

Please let's not make this a PC vs Mac debate. :-)

Have been chatting to a friend about building or buying a really quiet but powerful PC. The obvious came up - how do apple make their 18 core mac pros so quiet and why haven't specialist Audio PC manufacturers used a similar design?

Is it that the mac pros don't overclock? Perhaps the superior case design that, whilst quiet, means you can't do any upgrades and PC users want to be able to upgrade?

And what about the imac pros? They're even smaller than the trashcans. How ???? :headbang:
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:53 pm

Since you seem to want to know about the construction techniques of Macs primarily (rather than PCs), I've moved your post to the Mac Music forum!
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Re: Silent PC

Postby mozart999uk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:58 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Since you seem to want to know about the construction techniques of Macs primarily (rather than PCs), I've moved your post to the Mac Music forum!

Thanks for your post hugh.

I would prefer it to be left here as I feel PC builders are more likely to comment here than the mac forum....the real point of my post is why aren't PC builders using the same techniques as macs to build quiet PCs. And more importantly is it possible to do so?
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:26 pm

Let's wait and see what the responses are... easily moved around to the other forum if the topic returns to PC component options once the Mac build philosophy has emerged! :-)
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Re: Silent PC

Postby The Elf » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:30 pm

No idea about the answer, TBH. I just want to say that my Scan-built PC is almost completely silent! :headbang:
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:00 pm

The Elf wrote:No idea about the answer, TBH. I just want to say that my Scan-built PC is almost completely silent! :headbang:

Mine too - quieter than a whisper. Under normal conditions you can't even tell it's switched on when sitting right next to it. I went for a 3XS RZ390: https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurator ... unt-system with some additional SSD drives and one or two other minor tweaks to the config.

It's noticeably quieter than either of my, admittedly somewhat older, Macs (I mention this for reference, not preference).
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Re: Silent PC

Postby matt.donovan@ie.ibm.com » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:02 pm

This is a very interesting topic. Glad it's not in the MAC section. :)

It is totally possible to build a relatively silent high-end PC. Using Solid State Drives (SSD) that have no moving parts help. But perhaps the most important aspect of silent computing is the case. A case designed with silent computing in mind will have sound dampening material and room for a quiet cooling solution, like Be Quiet! or Noctua fans.

I'm in the process of putting together my own build and looking at Fractal Design R5 and Nanoxia's Deep Silence case series at the moment. My system will use loads of RAM, but I probably won't overclock.

I'd be curious to learn what other's are doing?
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Folderol » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:05 pm

I have two scan computers :)
One is *totally* silent (fanless), the other is just about audible if you stick your lug 'ole next to the case
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Re: Silent PC

Postby s_e_a_n » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:19 pm

The first Macs were silent as that was part of the design spec. In the intervening years a number of models have been released with varying degrees of fan noise but users have always objected. Thus it has been established as an important design feature. PCs have always been sold on speed, right from the first IBM PC, and the first ones had fans. "serious" computers (minis and mainframes) all made noise back in the early eighties and needed serious cooling systems so IBM used this as part of the "Macs are toys but PCs are serious" argument.

PCs can be made by anyone with the money and ability to purchase and assemble parts. Macs are made by a single design and production team. There are a number of companies that sell PCs to high end audio users and build fanless designs but these will not run at the speeds of overclocked game machines.

Economies of scale mean a Mac is generally cheaper to manufacture with similiar parts to a PC manufactured by a small company. This doesn't mean that it is necessarily sold cheaper but Apple can play the numbers game with the margins. What this all boils down to is that thanks to Steve Jobs wanting a silent machine in 1984 (in fact this was a feature of the Apple II before it) Mac users now baulk at anything other than a totally silent Mac. This forces Apple to get the fastest sexiest machines to market without sacrificing silence. PC manufacturers sell to a different market and thus do not have the same constraints. Theirs are around cost and performance.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:10 pm

Most PC noise comes from the fans and hard drives. I vaguely recall a discussion about MACs regulating air flow differently and perhaps more efficent heat dissipation techniques but I can't quite recall the details.

Fan noise was one of the reasons I switched to a Mac based studio though.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:18 pm

Yes, noise is generally HD and fans - in case, CPU and graphic card..

A good power supply, SSDs, a reasonable case position and not pushing the machine when recording (which is easy to do if you overdub one track at the time) means PCs can be extremely silent.

I also have a regular, 1TB external hd just on the side of the monitor and can't say if the PC is turned off or on without looking. I regularly record at home with a mic 20cm from the machine and noise is a non-issue.

Well, it wouldn't be if like today I hadn't forgotten then tumble dryer was on...
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Re: Silent PC

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:05 pm

CS70 wrote:Well, it wouldn't be if like today I hadn't forgotten then tumble dryer was on...
That's not how you're supposed to dry out a capacitor mic!
;)
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Nathan-VST-Plugins » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:18 am

One option would be using a PC liquid cooling system without fans for zero noise, which are quite uncommon, or a more realistic approach, using a set of PC silent fans designed for a low maximum noise generation of few dBAs. :shh:
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Re: Silent PC

Postby mozart999uk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:58 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
The Elf wrote:No idea about the answer, TBH. I just want to say that my Scan-built PC is almost completely silent! :headbang:

Mine too - quieter than a whisper. Under normal conditions you can't even tell it's switched on when sitting right next to it. I went for a 3XS RZ390: https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurator ... unt-system with some additional SSD drives and one or two other minor tweaks to the config.

It's noticeably quieter than either of my, admittedly somewhat older, Macs (I mention this for reference, not preference).

That;s really interesting. I have a scan 3xs too - an i7 3930k over clocked to 4.2GHz in a Fractal R2 xl case. ONly one spinning disk the rest are SSDs. Whilst the machine has run almost flawlessly since 2013 and still runs very well its definitely not what I would call silent. The majority of the noise comes from the front case fans which are set on high speed via the front controller speed switch. They were this way from the factory. Never thought of trying them at a slower speed. Will give that a go and see what the temps do.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby mozart999uk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:01 pm

Nathan-VST-Plugins wrote:One option would be using a PC liquid cooling system without fans for zero noise, which are quite uncommon, or a more realistic approach, using a set of PC silent fans designed for a low maximum noise generation of few dBAs. :shh:

I thought I read somewhere that for the hotter chips like the i9 (particularly when overclocked) it just isn't possible to cool them effectively using liquid cooling......
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Re: Silent PC

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:19 pm

Mine is an i9 processor, and I have no idea how Scan built it, but it's ultra quiet. I paid a bit extra for quieter operation, as advised by Pete at Scan.

If you listen hard you can hear a bit of fan noise, but it's so low as to be a complete non-issue. More then 6 feet away and you'd have no idea it was even switched on.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Trevor Johnson » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:28 pm

The majority of the noise comes from the front case fans which are set on high speed via the front controller speed switch. They were this way from the factory. Never thought of trying them at a slower speed. Will give that a go and see what the temps do.

Many motherboards, certainly Asus, have fan controller software that lets you use either preset, or your own custom, fan profiles, when powering your case fans from the motherboard headers. This can make a considerable difference to overall noise.

I find that Noctua fans and CPU coolers are the quietest: substituting them for the case manufacturer's fans can be very worthwhile.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby mozart999uk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:31 pm

Trevor Johnson wrote:
The majority of the noise comes from the front case fans which are set on high speed via the front controller speed switch. They were this way from the factory. Never thought of trying them at a slower speed. Will give that a go and see what the temps do.

Many motherboards, certainly Asus, have fan controller software that lets you use either preset, or your own custom, fan profiles, when powering your case fans from the motherboard headers. This can make a considerable difference to overall noise.

I find that Noctua fans and CPU coolers are the quietest: substituting them for the case manufacturer's fans can be very worthwhile.

Thanks. I did try nanoxia deep silence fans in this case but they were no quieter than the ones scan had put in . Maybe they just forgot to turn the switch down ;-)
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:22 pm

Yeah mine's an Core i9 9900K and they fitted Noctua fans also. I can only hear any fan noise (sitting with my head about 3 feet away from it) if the CPU starts running hot, which it doesn't normally do, and even then it's super quiet.

I'm guessing that the thing is built to use the fans intelligently though I am not aware of the exact details.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:56 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:I'm guessing that the thing is built to use the fans intelligently though I am not aware of the exact details.

Many bands hope to do that with their followers, but it rarely works out that way :beamup:


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