Silent PC

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Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:31 am

EDIT: please view the latest post(s) for the latest updates.

Hi.

Objective : make my current PC quieter. Possibly : as easily/fast and cheaply as possible.

To be more precise, that is during average use, not gaming use. If I can make my PC more quiet during game time, it's better for my ears of course, but I just don't notice the noise (that doesn't mean my ears won't suffer from the noise level) since I'm "into the game".

Current specs : > ALL STOCK hardware, NO OC/MOD, add-on or any change what's so ever.
- E6850 (Intel)
- NSK4480B (Antec) : one 120mm fan at the back, with three speed settings (via cable, not BIOS) (+ of course the EarthWatts 80+ Certified 380W active PFC PSU 80mm fan)
- P5K (Asus)
- 8800GT/512MB (TwinTech) : I see on their site that apparently, they have 3 models : I believe mine is the standard one with a fan, and neither the Zalman one, nor the Heatpipe one (which I wish I had bought if I had known, because I bet it is quieter).

Current settings :
- CPU :
Speed of fan : 1000ish to 1200ish RPM. That is because, under normal use, I always keep this setting in the BIOS : Q-Fan > optimal. When I'm gaming, I disable the Q-Fan in the BIOS, in order for the fan to reach it's maximum speed (I forgot, but I think it goes higher than 2500 RPM). If I would disable Q-Fan under normal use, it would be 2000ish RPM: way too noisy.

- Tower :
I figured I would always leave it to medium.

The three settings are (from the manual):
High : 2000 RPM / Air flow : 2.24m^3/min or 79CFM / Noise : 30dBA (do you want the input current and power, and the static pressure too ?)
Medium : 1600RPM / Air flow : 1.59m^3/min or 56CFM / Noise : 28dBA
Low : 1200RPM / Air flow : 1.1m^3/min or 39CFM / Noise : 25dBA

Maybe I should buy a device that can measure the noise level around my PC, so I can do a "before/after" comparison.

Proposed specs/settings :
I could add more optional fans to the tower : one 80mm front fan, and one 80mm fan between the air guide (**** TAC) and the side panel. But, that would add more noise, which would be pointless.

I plan to only : replace the existing CPU fan, and put one that is more quiet, and can cool my CPU better. Like that, I would actually never use the Q-Fan in the BIOS, so even under 2000RPM (normal use), I would hear the fan less than the old one with Q-Fan on with the fan going at 1000RPM. Since, the new fan would be more efficient at cooling than the original one (even if I used Q-Fan, so that would be even better without using Q-Fan), I could put the tower fan speed to low, perhaps even when gaming (I would love to avoid having to open the case to change the tower fan speed everytime I wanted to play games) ? But then, what about my GPU under gaming stress, with the tower fan speed to low ? To be honest, the GPU is kind of problematic : I would have to leave the tower fan at medium ? What do you think ?

My worry actually, is that there won't be enough room in my case to put the new CPU cooler :
- Size of tower :
16.6" H x 7.8" W x 16.5" D
42.2cm H x 19.8cm W x 41.9cm D

-**** TAC : This "super mini tower case" follows Intel's Thermally Advanced Chassis air guide design, so it has a hole on one side, opposite the CPU, with an internally attached air guide. The air guide consists of three parts : upper duct, flange, lower duct. One can adjust the distance between the lower duct and CPU from 12 to 20mm. Or maybe I would need to just remove the air guide ?

Now, when I say proposed, I mean, with your experience, please tell me if it's a good idea, and/or, how would you do it better ?

Please, thanks :wink:

One more thing : would you like some before (and after) temps, with HWMonitor and GPU-Z ? I'll be making those, a bit later.
Thank you for your help/patience. Sorry if I don't write back in a timely manner.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:10 am

Check the PC_Temps_RPMs.jpg to see the temps/RPMs under average/normal use.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:24 am

make my current PC quieter. Possibly : as easily/fast and cheaply as possible.
.......
- NSK4480B (Antec) : one 120mm fan at the back, with three speed settings (via cable, not BIOS) (+ of course the EarthWatts 80+ Certified 380W active PFC PSU 80mm fan)

If you have room, add 1-2 more 12cm low noise fans, then turn their speed down even more.

Eliminate or get minimum speed on all fans possible. Or replace them with larger slower fans if possible(often a troublesome thing because to get the same airflow on the same spot as with a smaller fan you often need a nozzle, tube or something.

- Tower :
I figured I would always leave it to medium. Because, I guess under normal use, I could put it to low (recommanded by Antec for "maximum quiet computing"), but then, when gaming, I would need to open the case, and put it back to medium

I always run all fans in my Antec 900 on lowest setting. AND im considering getting resistors to slow them down further, as their idea of "quiet" isnt the same as mine.
As long as i can hear the fans from where the case is on the floor between the wall and the desk, its really too loud in my eyes (well ears... :wink: ).

High : 2000 RPM / Air flow : 2.24m^3/min or 79CFM / Noise : 30dBA (do you want the input current and power, and the static pressure too ?)
Medium : 1600RPM / Air flow : 1.59m^3/min or 56CFM / Noise : 28dBA
Low : 1200RPM / Air flow : 1.1m^3/min or 39CFM / Noise : 25dBA

I generally aim for fans with 22 dBA or less, preferably 16-19.

But then, what about my GPU under gaming stress, with the tower fan speed to low ? To be honest, the GPU is kind of problematic : I would have to leave the tower fan at medium ? What do you think ?

Is it really a problem? Have you checked what you´re normal idle/load temps for the GPU is and where the limits are for that GPU? Dont forget that most GPUs runs at far far higher temps than CPUs. One of my older GPU cards has a normal load temp of 120C for example. Thats death time for most CPUs.

I plan to only : replace the existing CPU fan, and put one that is more quiet, and can cool my CPU better.

Replace the whole HSF if you´re changing, just swapping the fan wont do that much most likely(unless you have a poor or damaged fan that is).

Or maybe I would need to just remove the air guide ?

The air duct tends to be a very good thing to have, so preferably not.
If you can adjust it so that it supplies air to the GPU instead, that might be a good idea.
Overall though, the duct is very beneficial due to supplying cooler air directly to the cpu and making the cpu fan act as an additional casefan.

You should be able to find a HSF that fits either way. I like Scythe HSFs.

I was just never bothered by a PC's noise before, now I must say after a few hours, it can be a bit painful to the ears, and can give mild headaches.

Then you really need to make some changes for sure!
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:08 am

DIREWOLF75 wrote:If you have room, add 1-2 more 12cm low noise fans, then turn their speed down even more.
Eliminate or get minimum speed on all fans possible. Or replace them with larger slower fans if possible(often a troublesome thing because to get the same airflow on the same spot as with a smaller fan you often need a nozzle, tube or something.
The NSK4480B has only one place for a fan at the back: the default 12cm fan. I can only add up to two 8cm fans, one at the front, one between the side case and the case's inside duct (opposite the CPU).

But, I'm not OK about putting more fans, it might produce more noise. Plus, how will I control their speed ?
DIREWOLF75 wrote:I always run all fans in my Antec 900 on lowest setting. AND im considering getting resistors to slow them down further, as their idea of "quiet" isnt the same as mine.
As long as i can hear the fans from where the case is on the floor between the wall and the desk, its really too loud in my eyes (well ears... :wink: ).
I will try to leave it at the low setting, and check the temps. I'll keep you posted.
DIREWOLF75 wrote:
High : 2000 RPM / Air flow : 2.24m^3/min or 79CFM / Noise : 30dBA (do you want the input current and power, and the static pressure too ?)
Medium : 1600RPM / Air flow : 1.59m^3/min or 56CFM / Noise : 28dBA
Low : 1200RPM / Air flow : 1.1m^3/min or 39CFM / Noise : 25dBA
I generally aim for fans with 22 dBA or less, preferably 16-19.
Looks like 25 is the best I'll be able to achieve (for the rear fan).
DIREWOLF75 wrote:Is it really a problem? Have you checked what you´re normal idle/load temps for the GPU is and where the limits are for that GPU? Dont forget that most GPUs runs at far far higher temps than CPUs. One of my older GPU cards has a normal load temp of 120C for example. Thats death time for most CPUs.
Well, thanks to your temps estimates, plus H_T's, I now have a better picture of the situation. So, like I said, I'll have to do some testing with the case's 12cm fan at the lowest speed, in both average/normal use and gaming use. I think you've answered me in this other thread I'm having : Stress-testing your GPU. Thanks :wink:
DIREWOLF75 wrote:Replace the whole HSF if you´re changing, just swapping the fan wont do that much most likely(unless you have a poor or damaged fan that is).
My bad, I should have said HSF, that's what I meant. I'm not too familiar with them, but I figured they usually come together (the fan and heatsink).
DIREWOLF75 wrote:The air duct tends to be a very good thing to have, so preferably not.
If you can adjust it so that it supplies air to the GPU instead, that might be a good idea.
Overall though, the duct is very beneficial due to supplying cooler air directly to the cpu and making the cpu fan act as an additional casefan.
I don't want to take it out, it's just that I have the idea that cooler/quieter HSF are bigger than stock Intel ones ? So, I'm just not sure whether I'll have enough room in there.
DIREWOLF75 wrote:You should be able to find a HSF that fits either way. I like Scythe HSFs.
Noted :wink:
DIREWOLF75 wrote:
I was just never bothered by a PC's noise before, now I must say after a few hours, it can be a bit painful to the ears, and can give mild headaches.
Then you really need to make some changes for sure!
It's not always like that, most of the time the noise doesn't bother me. I guess it depends. But, it's always better to have a cooler CPU, especially for gaming.

I'll see what I'll do, after the benching. Thanks.
Thank you for your help/patience. Sorry if I don't write back in a timely manner.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:24 am

@DIREWOLF75 : I don't think that I'll be adding any 8cm front fan on the case, because I'm afraid of the possible extra noise. Also, the front fan's role is to better the air circulation by bringing air in, and not out like the back fan : I'm afraid it might bring in more dust.

Here's the plan, for now :
1) Replace the CPU's stock HSF with a quieter/cooler solution.
I'm guessing I'll have to remove the old thermal paste, and replace it too ? In that case, I won't be using the current paste I have, of decent quality. I'll buy a very good quality paste. This is my main PC, after all.

What I might also do is :
2) Replace the GPU's HSF, with something like this : Thermalright HR-03 PLUS.
I'm guessing I'd have to replace the paste too ?

That should get my system to be more quiet ? One question though : these aftermarket coolers, they're not just cooler, but quieter, right ? Or, not necessarily ?
I'm guessing the HR-03 GPU solution is quiet, since there is no fan anymore. But what about a HSF solution for the CPU ? There's still a fan there, so it still will make some noise. Unless I also find a passive solution for the CPU, if it exists ?

I'll take all the time there is to make any decision, before opening the case, replacing the paste, and spending tens of € on my main system.

EDIT :
Is there anything out there to make your HDD quieter ? Some sort of anti-vibration "case" in which you put your HDD ?
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:47 am

Hello again.

Tower:
I'll keep the low speed setting for the fan, even for gaming.

CPU:
I bought the "Ultra quiet CPU cooler CNPS 10x Performa" from Zalman. I will install it soon.
What's the speed of the original fan for the E6850 (min/max)? Actually, I have an idea, but what I really want to know is the noise level too (and also the noise level of the new HSF I got). What's the max temperature for the E6850? From a quick search, I've found out that it is 72°C, but it should not go higher than 65°, preferably. So I'll check how well the new HSF is going to work. I'm saying this, because there are two fan modes: quiet and performance. For the quiet one, you need to install a fan resistor, and I don't wan't to be opening my case and taking it out everytime I want to play games.

GPU:
Here are the options:
- replace the motherboard with one that has an integrated video chipset (which I should have done from the beginning)?
- replace the GPU with a fanless card? Will the GT 520 (fanless/1GB from Palit) work? And by that I mean is it better, in terms of performance, than the 8800GT-512MB? It is a low-end card, and my card was a high-end one. Surely, there are enough generations between those two cards that a low-end model would beat a high-end one? I believe I can also find a fanless 430, maybe that one is better than the 520? All these solutions cost no more than 60€: I wouldn't want to pay more than that.
- go for a solution like the Thermalright HR-03 PLUS, if I can still find one (new)?


Next time, I'll try to buy a heatpipe/fanless model for the GPU (I didn't know TwinTech made a fanless model for the 8800GT, had I known...). Although, they don't seem to be making a lot of fanless solutions for the high-end card market, do they? That, or buy a motherboard with a video chipset, so that I would only use the discreet GPU for gaming, and disable it during the rest of the time.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Hammer_Time » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:38 am

http://www.techpowerup.com/135146/Power ... -Card.html

Plenty of silent 6850 cards ( heatsink only, no fan ) out there, Sapphire, Asus, seems everyone sells a "silent" 6850 card these days ( card is low power and low heat, thus allowing use of just a heatsink ).

Would be a nice upgrade from your 8800GT someday, not that expensive either...

You say you have room for 80mm case fans still? How about this then:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835426011

Only 18 dBA, 20 CFM airflow ( not much but it would help ), and only $8 !! Two of those would help move more air very quietly through your case.

Looking at your relatively low cpu and gpu temps, I would say you currently have nothing to really worry about. Running your 120mm case fan on "low" speed is a good idea, that is what I do with all my Antec Gamer 900 case fans, since my tower sits right on my desk I need them to run as quiet as possible. The 200mm "bad boy" fan on the top rear of the case really helps too...

You can get an Antec 300 case for dirt cheap these days too ( $60 ), it has good cooling capacity for the price, you might consider upgrading your case someday as well instead of buying fans for your existing case.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811129042
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Sauron_Daz » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:59 am

High end videocards are actively cooled for a reaons....
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:16 am

Hi H_T and S_D,

Sorry, I'm going to cut to the chase: would a GT440 be good enough to replace my 8800GT?

To buy my PC parts, I don't shop online (I know, I know. Maybe one day I will, but not yet). Therefore, I have to do with what my local store has.

I told the salesman (I buy everything from them, so far I trust them) that I wanted a card at least as good as the 8800GT, he told me the GT440 (from Asus) would do. They have it with a passive solution for under 100, that's good for me. Or, an active solution GTS450 (also from Asus. He says the fan is quiet), but it is over 100. I'd rather have the passive/under 100 card.

Do you think a GT440 is good enough in terms of performance: at least as good as the 8800GT? I'm not looking for any future proofing.

From experience, has anyone been using a GPU with passive cooling? Was it good enough for gaming, in the sense that it didn't "melt down" or anything like that?

One last important note: by gaming, I mean 2007 gaming :wink: (I won't be playing any new games). Think COD4 MW (the 1st Modern Warfare), S.T.A.L.K.E.R. SoC (the 1st game in the series).
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:33 am

Actually, by looking at the specs on NVIDIA's site (plus this), the GTS450 is very close to the 8800GT, except for the fact that the 8800 beats the 450 in Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec): 33.6 vs 25.1 in favour of the 8800.

A part from that, they are very close. I don't have real gaming comparisons though.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:55 am

This comparison shows the 9800GT (closest to my 8800GT) beating the GT440, not by much though. The GTS450 clearly beats the 9800 though.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Sauron_Daz » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:42 am

I'd say that any "passively cooled videocard" is no good for gaming by defenition..
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Re: Silent PC

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:39 pm

Do you think a GT440 is good enough in terms of performance: at least as good as the 8800GT?

Yes. My friend runs a GT450 and he´s ok with it. He can run recent games of "medium strain kind"(SC2, Shogun2TW etc) on high/ultimate settings at 1600*1200.

From experience, has anyone been using a GPU with passive cooling? Was it good enough for gaming, in the sense that it didn't "melt down" or anything like that?

I run a passively cooled 3450 now, and in my K6-2 i had a TNT2M64 with passive cooling.
I dont run graphically highstraining games generally but i like my current card very much.
In comparison with above, i run SC2 on low@1024*768 and S2TW on low/medium@1280*1024. I CAN run SC2 with medium@1280*1024 and 99% of the time its just fine, but with many players converging into a big fight onscreen, you need a 1000$ gfx card for it to run anywhere close to smooth. So i run a bit below "optimal" but never get any real slowdowns instead.

You can get a 6550 and as you mentioned a GT440 with passive and that´s the kind of cards i might be looking for as an upgrade myself. Passive is nothing but good.
IF you happen to have a hot case, put a 12cm fan on superslow speed aimed at the passive heatsink and you get great cooling.
You wont need it though.
Unless you want to do a great overclock, the passive heatsink plus a decent fan gives amazingly good cooling.

I'd say that any "passively cooled videocard" is no good for gaming by defenition..

Complete rubbish claim that is clearly wrong from start as it assumes that gaming==intensive graphics.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:24 pm

@ S_D & D75: thanks for the info :wink:

I should have said this earlier: I have a 19" screen so my resolution is 1280*1024@60Hz.

Also, here are the games I've already finished: Half-Life 2/2 ep 1/2 ep 2. Bioshock. COD4 MW.
The one I'm going to play: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. SoC.

All the games are 2007, like my PC (except some HL ones). I've played them all with all eye candy turned on. Same goes for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: I'll play it with all settings maxed out.

I want to be sure that the GT440 can do what my 8800GT can do. So, by intensive gaming, I mean by 2007 standards. The 440, though recent, is medium-end, not high-end like the 8800. And from the specs, I'd say the GTS450 has a better chance to be my new 8800. Except, it's over 100 and has active cooling. I was really seduced by the whole passive cooling solution of the 440, which is less than 100 (way better price for me).

Do you think I could replace my P5K with an ASROCK G31M-S R2.0 (It costs 40ish)? The thing is, it's Micro ATX, so will it be big enough for my new CPU cooler (check an earlier post) and the GPU (and well, everything else)?

Also, I can't find in any shop around where I live the Thermalright HR-03 GT, they don't have it in stock anymore.
However, there's another solution from ARCTIC COOLING on Newegg. The problem is, I don't think they ship to Europe, do they? If anyone lives in the US, I would owe you big time if you could please order it and ship it to me. I would of course pay for all the shipping (from Newegg to you and you to me), plus I'll pay you extra for your time and effort. I'm serious, if anyone would be so kind. Please?

Or, I just thought of another solution: buy the cheapest GPU they have, with a passive solution. Like the GT520. Use it when I'm just doing normal PC work. Then, only when I need to play games, I'd put the 8800 back in. A cheap GPU, like the 520, is 30ish. That's probably the cheapest solution (can I have both drivers installed and not have any conflict? If not, I don't mind doing some reinstalling). I've had my loyal 8800 for 4 years now. I've enjoyed it since day 1: it was and is as good as I wanted it to be. If I won't use it for long periods of time anymore, I'll preserve it for when my new system comes along. I think I like that last idea (that, or find the passive cooler for the 8800, which is also a cheap solution, but since it's an old card, it's hard to come by).
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Re: Silent PC

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:53 pm

I want to be sure that the GT440 can do what my 8800GT can do.

On a pure fillrate comparison, if my check is correct, GT440 has something like 30% better fillrate. Mmm, although wait a sec, im finding some strange stuff about there being TWO versions of the GT 440, and one has a fillrate at just over 3 GP/s while the other is at 14.
Most places are stating that the OEM version is the fast one, but they´re giving different numbers so i dont know what to think really.

Like here:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GT_440/
Showing the OEM version having 24 ROPs against the measly 4 on the other 440.
In comparison i might mention that my own gfx card has a fillrate at 2.4 GP/s.

IF the 440 you´re looking at is the better one, it´s better than your 8800GT even in raw fillrate and WAY better in total as it has all the new bells and whistles.
If it´s the worse 440 type, then it may be able to outpace the 8800 in new games that penalise old cards, but overall it will have around 1/2 to 1/3 of the performance.

I should have said this earlier: I have a 19" screen so my resolution is 1280*1024@60Hz.

Which means the faster GT 440 should do very well for you.

If you look for a GT 450, then there will not be such a huge difference between models.
Although it seems you can get GT 450s from 14 to 18 GP/s, with the GTS at 12. Damn i just hate NVidia for messing things up like this!

Or, I just thought of another solution: buy the cheapest GPU they have, with a passive solution. Like the GT520. Use it when I'm just doing normal PC work. Then, only when I need to play games, I'd put the 8800 back in.

If you dont game often, that may work as well, but it´s not exactly convenient or something i would recommend.

You could of course take a look at going with 2 lowend-ish cards in SLI or Crossfire.
That would also allow you to run more monitors when using it for work, lots of people loves that.
NVidia doesnt really have any in the range i was thinking of but you can certainly find the Radeon 6570 or 5570 with passive cooling, and their combined performance will be close to the 8800, probably slightly lower in pure fillratio, but being newer cards will probably more than make up for that.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:00 pm

Before I answer your post: is it possible to keep the 8800GT on the sole PCI-E x16 slot I have, and put the cheap card on the PCI-E x4? Which would mean can I disable either one in the BIOS? So I don't have to swap them out?

P5K:
- 2 x PCIe x16 (blue @ x16 mode, black @ x4 or x1 mode) supports CrossFire Technology
- 1 x PCIe x1
- 3 x PCI
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Sauron_Daz » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:44 pm

You could, but that would lead to driver related errors during startup.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:55 pm

Hold on. If I put the two cards on my MB: I disable one from the BIOS. Then, when I'm in Windows, all I have to do is make sure the right drivers are installed: no conflict.

If I can really disable either one of the 2 GPUs (*) at any time, that's all I need.
*: in the BIOS of course, to make sure that the 8800GT is off: no fan noise.


Edit: when I search for W7 drivers for either the 210 or the 8800GT, I have the same result each time:
"GeForce 280.26 Driver
Version: 280.26 WHQL
Release Date: 2011.08.09
Operating System: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Language: English (U.S.)
File Size: 100 MB"

So there, no drivers conflict.
Thank you for your help/patience. Sorry if I don't write back in a timely manner.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby Sauron_Daz » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:31 am

They have a different GPU and will use their own section of the driver when you install it.
You will run into trouble trying this.
One thing you can do: install W7 another time so you can dual boot, loading one for the 8800 and its installed driver, the other with your other card. Just enable the card you want in BIOS and select the proper W7 install.
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Re: Silent PC

Postby eCLA » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:43 am

Sauron_Daz wrote:They have a different GPU and will use their own section of the driver when you install it.
You will run into trouble trying this.
One thing you can do: install W7 another time so you can dual boot, loading one for the 8800 and its installed driver, the other with your other card. Just enable the card you want in BIOS and select the proper W7 install.
Excellent. Will do. Thanks for the heads up.

I'll keep you posted. They ordered the card. I should have it by the end of next week.

PS: BTW, I didn't realise it could create a conflict. It's very interresting.

@ DIREWOLF75: as for the GT 440, they have an Asus version. The silent one. Asus makes two versions of the 440, both are unfortunately not the "good one": fanless version & version with fan.
Thank you for your help/patience. Sorry if I don't write back in a timely manner.
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