Silent gaming PC build, September 2012


My old workstation and gaming PC is now 6 years old and it is beginning to feel slow. A few weeks back I set out to build the replacement and my main objective was that it should be silent, but powerful, so I have search the net for reviews and recommendations and the following is the items I decided to buy:

  • CPU: Core i5 3570K, 6 MB
  • MB: ASRock Z77 Extreme4
  • CPU-cooler: Noctua NH-C14
  • GPU: Sapphire RADEON HD 7950 OC (3 GB)
  • CASE: Fractal Design Define R4
  • PSU: Sea Sonic M12II-520Bronze
  • SSD: Samsung 830 Series MZ-7PC128B, 128 GB
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2 x 4 GB, low-profile, PC3-12800, 9-9-9-24
  • DVD: Samsung SH-222BB, DVD-burner

On the day it was bought (21-sep-2012) this totaled, with delivery, to 8430 DKK (1470 USD).

Update – overclocked CPU, underclocked fans, decided against 7950

I have now received all the parts, put them together and I am happy to report that it is a very silent build. 🙂 The only change I made in the last second was to drop the 7950 GPU as the rumors of the 8850 are just starting to emerge and I can cope with my 5850 until then. If anybody is using this article mind also that the Samsung 840 SSD has just been launched and it should be very impressive. I couldn’t wait for the 840 to come to Denmark, so I am perfectly happy with my 830.

Additional notes: The Noctua C12P cooler comes with two extra cables to reduce voltage on the fans – Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.) and a Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.). These adaptors reduce the original fan speed from 1200 RPM to 900 and 750 respectively. I am using the 900 RPM L.N.A. version it is hardly audible and still coolers sufficiently. Another great thing is that the Fractal Design R4 Case comes with built in adaptors for the case-fans which be control on front, see image. I have found that the lowest setting (5V) is sufficient for me and it is very silent. To put in into perspective I have a moderate overclock from 3,4 to 4,2 GHz while having underclock most of the fans and the system is both stable and not be any means too hot.

Core i5 3570K, 6 MB

The first thing I decided to buy was the i5-3570K. It seems to be the new king of mid range with a great performance/cost ratio. It has a great potential for overclocking and is a significant step upward from my old Intel E6600 CPU.

Much like the Sandy Bridge i5-2500K processor was the best value in terms of price and performance for the 2nd generation Intel Core processors, the Ivy Bridge i5-3570K will surely be a popular processor among enthusiasts on a budget. The i5-3570K does not have the i7-3770K’s Hyperthreading capability but is more than powerful enough for most tasks even at stock clocks. Since it is a K processor, the i5-3570K can easily be performance tuned to reach the i7-3770K’s stock performance and is as equally impressive in this regard as the i5 2500K before it.

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