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Thread: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

  1. #1
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    Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    Hi
    After 12 years my old self build needs replacement. Please comment if you foresee any problems with my plan below:

    The PSU fan was always too loud and not controllable and a quieter system is a priority.

    My old system includes:

    Case: Midi Tower Foxconn microATX chassis
    Would be happy to keep this as well as it holds a 5.25” CDRW/DVD unit which works satisfactorily.
    However although I want a case with a CD/DVD slot, keeping this case is not such a big deal. The main issue would be required fan compatibility I suppose. The present case fan is 3 wire. It was so noisy that I permanently disconnected it 12 years ago and found no problems. I am not a power user.

    New system usage requirements:
    General use and music software
    I don’t do gaming or programming, don’t need special sound reproduction quality, just speed and stability with music programs.

    This is my proposed bundle assembled on pcpartpicker:
    https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/benawhile/saved/67QQqs

    AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor
    Gigabyte B450 AORUS M Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard
    Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory (maybe only 2 x 4 GB)
    Samsung 860 Evo 250 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    Corsair CXM (2015) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply

    I chose the Gigabyte AORUS because out of four B450 variants it had better reviews than the DS3H. I didn’t choose the game version because I don’t do gaming, but if that version is better than AORUS I will get that instead.

    I haven’t so far included a HDD. I have seen recommendations for using a SSD and a HDD for windows and linux dual boot, but will ask about that separately.

    Regarding fan noise and fan control, I know nothing. Is is always necessary to use a case fan these days? Will the noise of combination of cpu, psu and case fans be quieter than my ancient psu? Is it possible to stop them running maximum in Linux and avoid overheating?
    AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ × 2
    Graphics: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.4, 128 bits)
    MSI K9VGM mobo with Graphics chip: K8M890CE
    Dual boot with XP.

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    Quote Originally Posted by benawhile View Post
    However although I want a case with a CD/DVD slot, keeping this case is not such a big deal. The main issue would be required fan compatibility I suppose. The present case fan is 3 wire. It was so noisy that I permanently disconnected it 12 years ago and found no problems. I am not a power user.
    You can still control the speed of non-PWM fans. The speed of PWM fans is controlled by the pulse width; the speed of non-PWM fans is controlled by the voltage. It's easier to consistently start and stop a fan at low speeds with PWM than with voltage, which is why PWM fans can get away with running at a lower speed. Neither type has to be run at full speed all the time.

    Regarding fan noise and fan control, I know nothing. Is is always necessary to use a case fan these days?
    That's entirely dependent on how much heat you need to get rid of, and how much airflow there is through the case without a fan. Passive cooling setups are doable with the right attention and workload. As a general rule, fans that only come on when they need to are safer.

    Will the noise of combination of cpu, psu and case fans be quieter than my ancient psu?
    Yes.

    Is it possible to stop them running maximum in Linux and avoid overheating?
    Yes. The program for controlling the speed of fans is called fancontrol. It needs to be able to read the sensors on the motherboard to know what the temperatures are, and how to send signals to the fan controller, so support varies depending on which chips are actually used by the manufacturer. Otherwise, most manufacturers include the ability to set a fan curve in the BIOS these days, and will advertise that fact.

    I favour having several really big fans that hardly ever come on with my setups. A large fan moving slowly moves a heck of a lot of air, compared to a small fan moving quickly, without making much noise. Case fans come in standard sizes, so you can see how many and which sizes your case supports. The (3) case fans in my rig aren't audible at all till they get to about 900 rpm and most of the time they're not moving at all. Modern PSUs don't self-heat as much as old ones, and they're generally put at the bottom of the case rather than the top now, so fanless or temperature-controlled PSUs are viable and common. Having a large heatsink on the CPU means that the CPU fan doesn't need to work as hard or as often.

    Noctua fans are generally well-regarded for moving a lot of air silently. They are the standard against which other fans are judged. You can find reviews of most decent fans.
    Last edited by CatKiller; 5 Days Ago at 05:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    Since you are buying a new SSD, I would get m.2 NVMe drive instead of SATA. You are planning to reusing old case? You need a case fan to keep components cool. m.2 drives get hotter than 2.5" drives. Fan speeds and profiles are now managed by motherboard firmware using temperature sensors. You can set the parameters you want. Look on web for reviews on fan noise levels. I think PSU fans are very close to silent.

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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    I have a somewhat similar setup to what you're proposing, Ryzen 3 2200G. I'm using a few years old AMD video adapter and have no case fans, just the CPU, GPU & PSU fans. I bought a new power supply a few years ago that's pretty quiet. My computer desk is such that I don't need side panels so leave them off. Just doing general office type stuff and web browsing heat doesn't seem to be even close to an issue. Our indoor temps run about 78*F in summer. I will second the suggestion to get an NVMe SSD if you're able. I bought one of the HP920 branded devices and it's quick. Not especially fast to boot due to POST, perhaps 20 seconds but once running everything is pretty much instantaneous.

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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    Is such a large power supply really necessary with today's power efficient systems? I would think smaller is better

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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    Quote Originally Posted by cruzer001 View Post
    ...a large power supply...
    Where are you seeing that?

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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    First post
    Quote Originally Posted by benawhile View Post
    Corsair CXM (2015) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply

  8. #8
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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    To cruzer
    Well, I don't know. Corsair CXM 450W is recommended on a few home build combo sites. It is suggested on a "wired" article and elsewhere on this forum for comparable builds. In fact it is the smaller of those recommended that I could find.
    On "pcpartpicker" my total wattage is estimated at 160w.just for the basic list above, not allowing for an extra hard drive, or any peripherals or anything else I may want to plug in or any upgrade.
    AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ × 2
    Graphics: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.4, 128 bits)
    MSI K9VGM mobo with Graphics chip: K8M890CE
    Dual boot with XP.

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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    A 2080 Ti is 300 W all by itself.

    I wouldn't call 450 W a large supply. 500-600 W would be a "normal" range for a desktop with a GPU. More than 750 W would be "large," I would say.

    A power supply that's too small is a serious problem, but there's no harm in getting a power supply that's too big other than the cost.

  10. #10
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    Re: Advice on quiet cooling fans for home build

    When it comes to power supplies, the bigger the better -- within reason. Don't cheap out. Doing so can be disastrous.

    A larger power supply runs cooler when the wattage drawn by the machine is well under the rated wattage of the PS. If you run a PS on the ragged edge trying to push hardware that adds up to a large percentage of the rated PS wattage, the PS will run hot, the fan will be on a lot and the longevity of the PS will be negatively affected.

    As far as quiet fans, I'd look at Fractal Design, Be Quiet!, or Noctua.
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