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Default Need help to build good, quiet, gaming system

May 5th, 2012, 22:16
Thanks again. I don't think my system needs to be quite as silent as yours, RPGfool. It may also help that I am actually slightly hearing impaired at high frequencies.
Also, unfortunately PCP.ch (best supplier that I know here) also doesn't have most of the components you listed, e.g. the cougar fans or the coolermaster Evo. And newegg is not an option here. Also I don't want to modify components, that, I feel, is a bit beyond my comfort zone. Building a PC is already adrenaline-inducing enough for me.
So I think I'll go with stock components but just pay attention to get (relatively) silent ones. Still, thanks for the insight on what's possible - I'll keep it in mind if I am still unhappy with the noise from the new build.


Edit: Also, I ordered the system now. Thanks again for your help, I feel confident I have got good components in the list now. I am looking forward to putting the new box together!
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; May 5th, 2012 at 23:45.
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May 5th, 2012, 23:55
Let us know how it ends up
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May 23rd, 2012, 14:46
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Let us know how it ends up
It ended up pretty well. I'll summarize my thoughts on some of the components and the overall system below, maybe it helps others who are upgrading or building a new gaming system.

Case: The NZXT phantom is not cheap, but it looks like it was plucked straight from a spaceship in Star Wars, and the geek in me jumps around gleefully when looking at it:
http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/crafted_series/phantom
Overall I am happy with it: It has tons of space, is finished with high quality, and allows for good cable management. Given the price I still have some niggles though: I missed a cable channel or "cable gap" for the SATA and power cables going to the HDD bays - there is a metal ridge in the back going from top to bottom that leaves relatively little space to the side panel when that is mounted, especially when you have damping installed. The cables have to go over this ridge, or inelegantly through the crack between the mainboard support plate and the drive bays. Other niggles: The screws (e.g. the spacers for the MB) sometimes required considerable force to go in, either the threads are cut poorly, or paint got in there. No problem with a phillips screwdriver, though. Secondly the fan control sliders appear a bit flimsy, and one was initially stuck in a halfway position - here they could up the quality a bit. finally I am not convinced by the slide in drive trays. They use rubber washers with a metal pin instead of screws. They were a bit difficult to get in place, and for the SSD, which has to be screwed onto the tray, the back pin can't be inserted anymore. The pins fell out several times. In the end everything worked out OK, though. finally the case has no 3.5'' drive bay, so I couldn't put in the SD card reader I had ordered. So I'd fully recommend this case if you like the look, otherwise there may be better choices.

MoBo: Asus P8Z77-V. As Moriendor said it has everything I need and quite a few features I don't need. Well, almost everything I need, I would have needed a second internal USB 3 port if I had been able to install the SD card reader in the first place. The one it has is taken up by the case front panel connector. Secondly it only has two 6GB intel SATA ports, while the other two 6GB Sata have Asmedia controllers. Once these are connected they slow the boot process a little. Not sure what the sense of this setup is, to be honest.

Cooler: I got the Alpenföhn Himalaya, a slim tower cooler. http://www.alpenfoehn.de/index.php?o…d=53&Itemid=44
It's huge but looks really good, imho. Performance is great, playing Skyrim, the CPU hovers just above 40°C. The fan is not recognized by the mainboard but it doesn't matter as the cooling is great and it is absolutely silent at standard speed, so regulation is not necessary. One thing I hated though: the manual is pretty useless. Only drawings, but printed so small that they would make a chines rice grain drawing artist proud. Of course one would eventually figure things out, but without a great video i found online it would have meant a lot of trial and error, and that's something I hate, especially with this most critical aspect of the whole building process. So in summary: great engineering, really poor manual.

GPU: I went for the Gainward Phantom (560) that Moriendor recommended and am very happy - its practiacally unaudible in 2D/idle, and never gets loud. Performance as you would expect for a card of this type - and it stays quite cool: Skyrim got it to just over 60°C.

Samsung 830 SSD: Having an SSD is great, love how quickly the OC loads. The Samsung comes with a full version of Norton Ghost, which is a nice touch for data migration and later backup needs.

PSU: Coolermaster Silent Pro 700M: Indeed very silent, and worked very well. the main ATX power cables and SATA power cables could have been a tad longer for this case, but it all worked out.

Monitor: I stuck with the BenQ G2450HM (16:9) forgoing a 16:10 mostly for budget reasons. It works well enough, big improvement over my old monitors. But it seems the HDMI port is out of order - I think I can't be bothered to send it back though, I just have it on DVI now. The other thing that gave me pause was that it was packaged only with a D-sub (VGA) cable - who is using these anymore these days???

Silence: Wow, what a difference to my old system! Thanks I suppose to the large case and the excellent cable management, I can run the case fans at the lowest speed and still get excellent cooling (see above, the chipset remained at about 32°C during gaming.), inspite of having put quite a bit of dampening in the case (not covering main air inflows, though). In this state I can hardly hear the system sitting at my desk, and don't hear it at all with my headphones on. Yay! (I should caution that sound enthusiasts (or people with better ears) would maybe evaluate this differently, but for me it is more than silent enough, completely surprised me how well it works, actually). Nothing overclocked currently, but I would think it may be possible to do some and still keep the system quiet.

Overall I am very happy with what I got. A huge upgrade from my 7 year old previous computer.
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; May 23rd, 2012 at 17:02.
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May 23rd, 2012, 16:26
You build it yourself then, I presume ?
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May 23rd, 2012, 16:31
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
You build it yourself then, I presume ?
Yes, from scratch.
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May 23rd, 2012, 16:53
Always wanted to, but never dared to …
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May 23rd, 2012, 17:25
Congratulations on the new system!
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May 23rd, 2012, 17:35
How much did it cost, all in all ?

Congratulations, too !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 23rd, 2012, 17:35
Great system! That case is really interesting, particularly the backside (behind the MB) routing of cables. That's got to make a huge improvement in airflow through the case. It also sounds like your system is about as quiet as practically possible. Very nice!

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May 23rd, 2012, 17:52
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
How much did it cost, all in all ?

Congratulations, too !
One thing I didn't mention above was that my plan to use my old DVD drive was a failure - it was still an IDE drive… So adding that, getting an external SD card reader, and a DVI-e monitor cable it was about 1900 CHF, so roughly 1600€ or $2000. If that seems expensive, keep in mind that we are talking about Switzerland - everything is expensive here, but wages are high too And I wanted a local supplier to have decent service.
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May 23rd, 2012, 17:54
May I ask what you do for a living ?

(in my head Geneva and Switzerland are full of bankers and lawyers + support staff)

I'm guessing IT for a banking firm
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May 23rd, 2012, 18:03
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
May I ask what you do for a living ?

(in my head Geneva and Switzerland are full of bankers and lawyers + support staff)

I'm guessing IT for a banking firm
Science/research. Sorry for not being more specific, but I value my internet anonymity, for what it's worth
That makes me one of the few non-IT people on this board, I guess
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May 23rd, 2012, 18:07
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Science/research. Sorry for not being more specific, but I value my internet anonymity, for what it's worth
That makes me one of the few non-IT people on this board, I guess
No problem I wouldn't even have minded the slightest if you had said you preferred not to say at all.

Now that you said research though, I will be screaming GhanBuriGhan when I go to visit CERN when I go to Switzerland next

I'm non-IT by the way too. I'm in engineering. Supposedly studying for my penultimate exam now
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May 23rd, 2012, 19:09
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Always wanted to, but never dared to …
Well, if you're studying engineering, playing LEGO with PC parts is a rather trivial task. There isn't much to be afraid of for somebody with that background. All but a few steps are simple.
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May 23rd, 2012, 20:08
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Well, if you're studying engineering, playing LEGO with PC parts is a rather trivial task. There isn't much to be afraid of for somebody with that background. All but a few steps are simple.
I'm afraid to break a £200 GPU or Motherboard , I'm not afraid of not being able to do it.

Breaking hardware owned by the university is part of the education
Unfortunately, I never blew more than a few op-amps. I was quite careful with the big capacitors as I didn't want to lose an eye…
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May 24th, 2012, 12:47
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I'm afraid to break a £200 GPU or Motherboard , I'm not afraid of not being able to do it.
Well, as someone who does this, but not very regularly - yes, there is always a bit of a thrill, e.g. when handling the MoBo and the damn back panel just doesn't want to slide in, or when locking the CPU in the socket "damn that needs a lot of force, please nothing break!", or when handling a huge cooler "please don't slip and crash on the MoBo!", or when a screw slips, rolls over the motherboard, and gets lodged below the PSU… So you have to be able to deal with a bit of stress

If you go for it (nice reward for that penultimate exam, maybe?):
- Take a bit of time to research what you want (as you can see this place is a great help for that phase)
- Check compatibility of components before you order: MoBo with case, RAM, GPU and CPU with MoBo, cooler with socket, case(if cooler is oversized), and MoBo, etc., PSU has enough wattage?, etc.
- Make sure your MoBo has the interfaces you need - how many SATA ports, USB ports (internal / external), etc. do you need?
- Choose a retailer or internet shop that allows you to return components without much questions asked (in case something doesn't fit or is broken)
- Make sure you have plenty of time. A pro can do it in two hours I am sure, but if you have never done this, allow yourself two leisurely afternoons at least.
- Find tutorials / vidoes on the net.

Under these conditions, its actually quite fun, and it will be your own truly "personal" PC.
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May 24th, 2012, 13:28
Well, I'm not looking to buy a PC anytime soon as I am still quite happy with mine. I can still play most games (and I'm not someone who needs top graphics, I just expect a smooth play through).

But I guess I might think about it when I would be. Probably in a year or two. I guess it depends on how much gaming time I'll have once I start my full time job in September
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May 24th, 2012, 14:08
Oh a job isn't the problem - just don't get married and don't have kids!
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