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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #1
This is a place to write about anything and to talk about random stuff. Basically, it's for everything, for what it's not worth creating a separate thread for.
 

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@The red spirit

Hello. Yes at last I can continue.

Got the text here you previously posted that I particularly wanted to discuss regarding an energy efficient PC build.

Then we aren't on the same page. I would like to have silent PC, but making it completely passive just feels too inefficient. Fans increase cooling efficiency a lot. 500-800 rpms fans are very silent, so going totally passive seems way too much backwards for me.

And 80+ Platinum PSUs cost way too much to be reasonable. 80+ Gold is already on the verge of being too expensive for me to understand benefits. I never paid more than 70 Euros for PSU and never got a truly low quality ones. I see no reason to change that (or maybe I do, but that would take a lot of fighting with myself to make me spend money on useless sh#t).

Effects:
Lower temperatures
Less power used
Less power wasted
Somewhat expanded lifespan of components

So of course this related to my comment about building a computer that was not only energy efficient and but silent. Originally my thinking had been if is were passively cooled, then as well as being silent, you're also saving on energy running fans.

For the purposes of this conversation, specification wise, lets assume I have went with the following for this build:
  • i3-8100 processor (I know you're feelings on this processor, but what can I say, I like the i3s, and the price is slowly dropping again. I appreciate though, the AMD Athlon 200GE is also a potential good option if we're talking an office build)
  • 8GB RAM minimum
  • SSD (brand TBC) as main drive
  • 2.5" 1TB hard drive for secondary storage (2.5" laptop HD again to reduce energy consumption)
  • mATX motherboard with a minimum of a B350 chipset and 4 RAM slots rather than 2 (most likely ASUS or Gigabyte)(Bare in mind I'm not a serious gamer so I don't have a need for a Z chipset).

PSU:
Starting with the PSU, I decided to look up passively cooled 80+ Gold PSUs last night... and yikes! Yeah the cost is a bit on the steep side. So I've thrown that idea out the window. There were some 'normal' modular Gold PSUs though that weren't to bad price wise, e.g.

https://www.cclonline.com/category/415/PC-Components/Power-Supplies/attributeslist/1087004/

The 400W rating of this would be ideal for me. As I see it, there is no point putting a higher rated PSU in a computer when you know you won't need it. Most of these modern PSUs are at their most efficient when they are under at least 40% load (I know some can also be good at 20% however). So obviously, if the PSU is too big for you're needs, you risk running it at too low a rating which means you won't get the full 'Gold' (or whatever rating it is) efficiency experience.

400W is also sufficient to allow extra headroom for the likes of a GTX 1050 Ti or GTX1060 (or their modern equivalents) to be added in future.

I don't know much about this brand though, so would need do some more checking about the net. What are your thoughts on Corsair as a brand for PSUs?

CPU Cooler
Next the CPU cooler. This one caused me a bit of headache actually because the passive CPU cooler I had in mind I have just discovered last night is now discontinued:

:: NOFAN Corporation :: Noiseless Computer, Noiseless Cooler, Noiseless Computer Case, Noiseless Power Supply, and other various noiseless computer components. Specialized Noiseless Computer hardware manufacturer.

I had a computer magazine from a couple of years back (that I now can't find grrrr) which gave this a glowing review when mated to an i5 skylake (can't remember which version of the i5 though).

This company do an new 80W rated version I've since discovered which looks a bit ugly:

:: NOFAN Corporation :: Noiseless Computer, Noiseless Cooler, Noiseless Computer Case, Noiseless Power Supply, and other various noiseless computer components. Specialized Noiseless Computer hardware manufacturer.

Price wise, its not bad (equivalent of approx 50 Euro). Need to look into this one a bit more. Although an i3-8100 only has a TDP of 65W, and this is still 80W rated, I'm still not sure. More research required!

HOWEVER! Something I forgot to consider as per this statement from you:

Fans increase cooling efficiency a lot. 500-800 rpms fans are very silent, so going totally passive seems way too much backwards for me.
I totally forgot about those super quiet low RPM cooling fans. So I guess what this might come down to is will these passive CPU coolers do a sufficiently good enough job at keeping the CPU cool enough such that it doesn't burn more energy that outweighs the energy used by a fan.

Case:
We also spoke about this, and you said you weren't a fan of the Cooler Master Silencio. I did look up the Fractal Design Define series. They do look really nice. And yup, fair enough, these do get better reviews for both build and acoustics. Here in the UK though, they are double the price, so I'd expect them to be better. I didn't expect the Silencio to be top notch for quality admittedly given their much lower price. More research required.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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10,915 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So of course this related to my comment about building a computer that was not only energy efficient and but silent. Originally my thinking had been if is were passively cooled, then as well as being silent, you're also saving on energy running fans.

For the purposes of this conversation, specification wise, lets assume I have went with the following for this build:
  • i3-8100 processor (I know you're feelings on this processor, but what can I say, I like the i3s, and the price is slowly dropping again. I appreciate though, the AMD Athlon 200GE is also a potential good option if we're talking an office build)
  • 8GB RAM minimum
  • SSD (brand TBC) as main drive
  • 2.5" 1TB hard drive for secondary storage (2.5" laptop HD again to reduce energy consumption)
  • mATX motherboard with a minimum of a B350 chipset and 4 RAM slots rather than 2 (most likely ASUS or Gigabyte)(Bare in mind I'm not a serious gamer so I don't have a need for a Z chipset).
I guess you don't know my feelings about i3 8100 then. I think it's underrated gem of budget CPUs. Everyone is talking about Ryzens, but i3 chops them at games and at day to day usage. AMD doesn't really have a good answer at same budget. It's perfectly reasonable CPU, if you don't wanna spend much money.

I see no point in opting for 2.5" drive instead of 3.5" one. Your savings would be very small and you lose quite a bit of speed. It's just not worth it. Also if you buy hard drive and SSD, you are consuming more energy than one drive and such low capacities it's questionable if it wouldn't be better to just get SSD only. You can get 512GB SSD for the price of 128GB SSD + 1TB. Even 1TB SSD alone doesn't cost much more than SSD and HDD combo. But we are talking not about standard drives, but about laptop ones, laptop HDDs are more expensive, so it makes matters worse. All in all, this is a rare case, where big SSD actually makes sense.

AMD doesn't have Z series chipsets, they are X series here. Also in mATX form factor there are none X series motherboards available at all and why would you need 4 RAM slots as requirement? If you are dead serious about wattage, you wanna have the least slots, ports, controllers and etc available to reduce motherboard power consumption.


PSU:
Starting with the PSU, I decided to look up passively cooled 80+ Gold PSUs last night... and yikes! Yeah the cost is a bit on the steep side. So I've thrown that idea out the window. There were some 'normal' modular Gold PSUs though that weren't to bad price wise, e.g.

https://www.cclonline.com/category/415/PC-Components/Power-Supplies/attributeslist/1087004/
They all have fans tho. Normal ones are acceptable. You may be interested into getting hybrid PSU as they don't start fan until they reach 40 percent load. Instead of fanless one, it may be doable to get higher capacity hybrid one, which would be complete overkill for this system, but would never spin a fan and it would be more safe during shorter higher loads. Also it would be great if you decided to upgrade system a lot and forget low wattage stuff.

The 400W rating of this would be ideal for me. As I see it, there is no point putting a higher rated PSU in a computer when you know you won't need it. Most of these modern PSUs are at their most efficient when they are under at least 40% load (I know some can also be good at 20% however). So obviously, if the PSU is too big for you're needs, you risk running it at too low a rating which means you won't get the full 'Gold' (or whatever rating it is) efficiency experience.
No, it would be withing 80+ gold specification, just not at the peak of it.

400W is also sufficient to allow extra headroom for the likes of a GTX 1050 Ti or GTX1060 (or their modern equivalents) to be added in future.
I wouldn't feel comfortable with 1060 in there.

I don't know much about this brand though, so would need do some more checking about the net. What are your thoughts on Corsair as a brand for PSUs?
Haha, you asked a wrong person to recommend them. Here's a thing about them, they are overpriced, often not the best, seemingly more than other brands experience mass manufacturing defects. There's also nothing wrong with them, but you simply don't get most for your money with them. Plus I read years before, that their whole CX line was kinda crappy and there was one mass coil while scandal. Also the fact, that their website doesn't have any proper specifications listed, makes them looks fishy to me. For myself I wouldn't buy Corsair, they don't look like they are serious PSU maker (neither they are the best at almost anything). On the positive side, they are specializing in higher end PSUs and they fare well in tests and their customer service seems to be well liked by people. If you want analogy, they are like Alfa Romeos of PSUs. They are awesome, when they work and you get to appreciate them from the inside, but you also know, that if they were truly serious you wouldn't even have to deal with that and you could just forget PSU forever.

If you want a good PSU at good price, I read that FSP Hydro G (not GE) and Bitfenix whisper are exceptional units. Both are at around 650 watts tho.

I would avoid XFX and Cooler Master units as XFX likes to cheap out of stupid things, like fans and thus they work very loud (TS 650 model I think), Cooler Master on lower end has rolled out some crappy units, that were below specs and prone to failures and costed more than average PSU. Thermaltake isn't very good brand either, they have 'face', but they like to bend numbers a bit and focus on advertising things better than they truly are. When I got my Litepower 450 watt PSU, I realized, that 12 volt rail is kinda weak and is around only 350 watts, that isn't very good.

My favourite brand is probably FSP/Fortron. Because they are actually making PSUs themselves, they have long time reputation as decent PSU OEM and they don't seem to lie about their retail products. Also their retail production doesn't seem to have quality problems and they are often selling at slightly lower prices than competition.

Bitfenix is new player in PSU market, but they are beating Corsair at value and performance aspect with Whisper series. They are probably beating Seasonic too.

Seasonic is okay, but in my country their availability is poor and they are overpriced.

Antec is an old player in PSU market and generally they are doing well. Sometimes value of their PSUs seem to be exceptional.

BeQuiet PSUs are generally okay, but just like Corsair their website purposely doesn't tell everything and their products are usually more expensive than they should be. Anyway, unlike Corsair they seem to have less QC scandals and they are putting their own fans in there, which are very quiet. Nothing wrong with them, but I find their price unjustifiable.

Chieftec is poor brand. They are focusing at budget builders and their PSUs are okay, but they are weak. Just by paying a bit more for something else you get much better unit overall. Plus they often lie in specifications and sometimes do some shady shit. Besides that, their units seem to work okay, if you aren't buying the cheapest of the cheap.

Aerocool dangerous brand, which is known for selling firecrackers, yet they somehow manage to make one of the best PSUs too (project 7). Wouldn't risk with this one.

EVGA seems to make some decent units, but I can't really take them seriously as they are rebranding other brand units and making PSUs more 'gamery'. Still their 430BQ is an excellent budget unit. Their SuperNovas are one of the best. Just like Corsair, they had some serious issues with many of their units in th past. I wouldn't trust them without reading reviews.

Fractal Design is kinda bullshit brand too. They seem to make okay units and their specs are real, but they are mostly made for aesthetics. In my book, it's not he best thing, but all units seems to be okay, yet all of them are on the weaker side.

I know nothing about Silverstone and Riotoro. Except, that Silverstone was one of the main makers of small form fact PSUs.

Superflower is Murican brand. It's like McDonals, as long as you don't investigate it, it looks okay. And they are okay for the most part, but on less important things they tend to skimp (like 5VSB lane), they are ugly, they offer a lot for the money, but they look like super muscular people trying to do calligraphy. I wouldn't trust them at all. Yet there's nothing too bad about them, they are low end brand.

Rosewill. It's USA brand too and looks like budget brand too. They are often low end units, that are just so so on the specs and everything. I have heard stories of them catching fire. I'm interested in value, but imo I wouldn't do so with Rosewills. They don't look like they are great units. If anything, they are like lower end version of SuperFlowers.

CPU Cooler
Next the CPU cooler. This one caused me a bit of headache actually because the passive CPU cooler I had in mind I have just discovered last night is now discontinued:

:: NOFAN Corporation :: Noiseless Computer, Noiseless Cooler, Noiseless Computer Case, Noiseless Power Supply, and other various noiseless computer components. Specialized Noiseless Computer hardware manufacturer.
I never understood them. I understand it's a purpose build cooler just for that, but I don't see why just any bigger air cooler with fans removed wouldn't do the same. Plus it's ugly and looks like a part from old muscle car.

I had a computer magazine from a couple of years back (that I now can't find grrrr) which gave this a glowing review when mated to an i5 skylake (can't remember which version of the i5 though).

This company do an new 80W rated version I've since discovered which looks a bit ugly:

:: NOFAN Corporation :: Noiseless Computer, Noiseless Cooler, Noiseless Computer Case, Noiseless Power Supply, and other various noiseless computer components. Specialized Noiseless Computer hardware manufacturer.

Price wise, its not bad (equivalent of approx 50 Euro). Need to look into this one a bit more. Although an i3-8100 only has a TDP of 65W, and this is still 80W rated, I'm still not sure. More research required!
You should check out Deepcool Lucifer V2. It's huge air cooler, which comes with fans, but manufacturer seems to advertise it as passive cooler too, I think it reaches 120 watts in passive mode. Anyway something cheap and big like Scythe Ninja 5 or BeQuiet Rock stuff should do it too. At worst you will add 500 rpm fan, which is pretty much inaudible.

Some weirder CPU coolers like Scythe Kama Cross or Prolimatech Genesis may perform interestingly too.

I totally forgot about those super quiet low RPM cooling fans. So I guess what this might come down to is will these passive CPU coolers do a sufficiently good enough job at keeping the CPU cool enough such that it doesn't burn more energy that outweighs the energy used by a fan.
Radiator itself doesn't use any energy itself.

Case:
We also spoke about this, and you said you weren't a fan of the Cooler Master Silencio. I did look up the Fractal Design Define series. They do look really nice. And yup, fair enough, these do get better reviews for both build and acoustics. Here in the UK though, they are double the price, so I'd expect them to be better. I didn't expect the Silencio to be top notch for quality admittedly given their much lower price. More research required.
You are paying for quality tho. Anyway, you don't need an enclosure like that, you need something with lots of holes on top, so that heat can easily come out. There's Fractal Design Core 2500 or Bitfenix Shinobi for very little money. Both are at around 50-60 euros. I constantly see Corsairs old new stock available. Something like Obsidian 450D for a bit more than 60 euros.
 

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I've quite literally copied your previous response to my OneNote so I can easily refer back to it. Loads of useful info. Thanks :)

I guess you don't know my feelings about i3 8100 then. I think it's underrated gem of budget CPUs. Everyone is talking about Ryzens, but i3 chops them at games and at day to day usage. AMD doesn't really have a good answer at same budget. It's perfectly reasonable CPU, if you don't wanna spend much money.
I guess I didn't :)
I thought you saw it as a waste because the Ryzen 5 was only marginally more expensive. I'm a big fan of the i3 and just see it is the ideal happy medium for what I would need with sufficient headroom.


I see no point in opting for 2.5" drive instead of 3.5" one. Your savings would be very small and you lose quite a bit of speed. It's just not worth it. Also if you buy hard drive and SSD, you are consuming more energy than one drive and such low capacities it's questionable if it wouldn't be better to just get SSD only. You can get 512GB SSD for the price of 128GB SSD + 1TB. Even 1TB SSD alone doesn't cost much more than SSD and HDD combo. But we are talking not about standard drives, but about laptop ones, laptop HDDs are more expensive, so it makes matters worse. All in all, this is a rare case, where big SSD actually makes sense.
Fair enough actually. Reality is, this machine won't be getting built for another good while by which point SSDs should, in theory, be even cheaper again. Ideally I would want 1TB of space though.

AMD doesn't have Z series chipsets, they are X series here. Also in mATX form factor there are none X series motherboards available at all and why would you need 4 RAM slots as requirement? If you are dead serious about wattage, you wanna have the least slots, ports, controllers and etc available to reduce motherboard power consumption.
Z series mATX are available, but it doesn't really matter anyway. I ideally want 4 RAM slots for greater flexibility in the future. If the RAM slots aren't being used, they won't consume anything anyway. Wahtever the case, even if it was a 2 RAM slot board, I'd still rather have a B series and an H series.


You may be interested into getting hybrid PSU as they don't start fan until they reach 40 percent load. Instead of fanless one, it may be doable to get higher capacity hybrid one, which would be complete overkill for this system, but would never spin a fan and it would be more safe during shorter higher loads. Also it would be great if you decided to upgrade system a lot and forget low wattage stuff.
This actually sounds like a good idea!

No, it would be withing 80+ gold specification, just not at the peak of it.
The efficiency graphs show that below 20%-ish, the efficiency tends to drop off. This is why I wouldn't want something bigger than required.

Haha, you asked a wrong person to recommend them...
Ok, so not a fan of Corsair :)
I've never actually bought any of their items before other than RAM.


If you want a good PSU at good price, I read that FSP Hydro G (not GE) and Bitfenix whisper are exceptional units. Both are at around 650 watts tho.
Will definitely note these and check out these brands.


Seasonic is okay, but in my country their availability is poor and they are overpriced.
The selection here also appears to be small.

BeQuiet PSUs are generally okay, but just like Corsair their website purposely doesn't tell everything and their products are usually more expensive than they should be. Anyway, unlike Corsair they seem to have less QC scandals and they are putting their own fans in there, which are very quiet. Nothing wrong with them, but I find their price unjustifiable.
I can at least confirm BeQuiet are notably cheaper than equivalent Corsair here.

Aerocool dangerous brand, which is known for selling firecrackers, yet they somehow manage to make one of the best PSUs too (project 7). Wouldn't risk with this one.
This one genuinely shocked me. Generally, this brand has usually come well recommended at the budget end in terms of owner reviews, and I admit, I have purchased a couple of 500W 80+ Bronze units. Thankfully, the systems these have been fitted too are well bellow the 500W rating. Reading some articles on this seems to suggest that their biggest issue is they can't handle their supposed rated load, leading to overheating. Best case, they just cut out... worst case, fire!

Will NOT be buying anymore of these! Cheers for drawing my attention to that.

You should check out Deepcool Lucifer V2. It's huge air cooler, which comes with fans, but manufacturer seems to advertise it as passive cooler too, I think it reaches 120 watts in passive mode. Anyway something cheap and big like Scythe Ninja 5 or BeQuiet Rock stuff should do it too. At worst you will add 500 rpm fan, which is pretty much inaudible.
This I like, and it also appears to be around the same price range. Cheers again! I've noted the others you mentioned to look up later.

...you need something with lots of holes on top,
On a case with roof vents, would I be correct in thinking that you would ideally want a fan (quiet or otherwise) attached blowing outwards to stop dust from 'raining' in?
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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10,915 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I guess I didn't :)
I thought you saw it as a waste because the Ryzen 5 was only marginally more expensive. I'm a big fan of the i3 and just see it is the ideal happy medium for what I would need with sufficient headroom.
I guess I just don't like Ryzen much. Ever since launch I felt it was same strategy as it was with FX, just with less lag. We got shit ton of cores, which are mostly useless, we got lack of IPC, we have got performance issues in games. I felt it was FX refresh and nothing more - legendary overclocking abilities. Ryzen 5 particularly is just stupid. Due to it's unfortunate cost, it makes no sense to get something in between 1200 or 1600/1600X/2600/2600X. Feels like FX 4000 series. While there's nothing too bad about them, there's also no reason to get one. 1300X is just faster clocked 1200, 1400 and 1500X are just 1200 + more threads at the cost of 1600X. But then again I think and come to conclusion, that while x600 series are the best value stuff, they just have way too many cores to be actually practical and they are selling, just because they can advertise high number, not because many of us need so many cores. Also AMD engineers or management already made Ryzens too fast. All non X CPUs are slightly above their maximum efficient frequency. This is totally okay and normal practice, but X series CPUs are past that and what we get is something less efficient, something more wasteful and something, that runs hotter than it could. Ideally, there shouldn't be X series at all, this again reminds me of FX 9000 series. Everyone knew there was no difference between them and FX 8000 series, but I guess, when you don't have a strong product, it's easier to market number and try to attract clueless users.

Meanwhile, during past years, everyone complained, that Intel sucks and etc. Sure they could have lowered prices and gave us more cores earlier, but they are smart and there was no good reason to do so as even now their CPUs at most relevant tasks are better than Ryzens. Intel seems to always stick to lower core count and just give precisely, what users need. They aren't relying on just adding cores and etc. They just purely and technically offer solutions to problems. Meanwhile AMD, just does random shit to get more sales.

i3 8100, was a great budget chip. It was faster at almost any task than many Ryzen 3s and 5s and it costs the same. For gaming it was better, but look at what happened. It was soon forgotten and now most budget rigs have Ryzen inside. Nobody cares, that Ryzen PC does most stuff worse. Well, not really by lot, but still it counts.

i5 8400 at least to me was a hard sell. The fact, that it has 6 cores is good and pretty much an optimal amount. But what I found bad is that it runs at much lower base clock speed. I don't like turbo feature as there's hardly any unified standard of how it should work and due to that motherboard makers are free to do as they please. Pretty much all boards I have work with turbo, but incorrectly or without any benefit. Sometimes, there even a loss of speed. Had 8400 a higher clock speed, it would have been an unbeatable chip. Now it's a bit too hard to tell if it's actually better than Ryzen or same.

Pentiums are pretty good too this gen, but their poor pricing pretty much killed them.

Fair enough actually. Reality is, this machine won't be getting built for another good while by which point SSDs should, in theory, be even cheaper again. Ideally I would want 1TB of space though.
Yeah, storage definitely gets cheaper and bigger. There's a new phenomenon of 1TB drives, where they seem to be enough for almost everyone and this haven't changed for longer than usual. Maybe we are truly hitting the diminishing return law already. After some point we will reach perfect resolution of movies, photos, we already reached that in music, games will reach that too. Still 1TB hard drives survived extraordinarily long time. For some reason our move to higher resolution monitors has been very slow. I think people dumped 1024x768 and 1280x1024 much faster or all those early wide 720p/768p monitors. Now we have been stuck with 1080p for much longer than before. Even tho media tries to say, that 4K is a next big thing and I believe it will be, I also think, that people aren't convinced of that just from pure picture quality. What sells now is mostly bigger numbers and 4K stuff getting so cheap, that it's not worth getting 1080p screens anymore. But there's no genuine desire for higher resolution.


Z series mATX are available, but it doesn't really matter anyway. I ideally want 4 RAM slots for greater flexibility in the future. If the RAM slots aren't being used, they won't consume anything anyway. Wahtever the case, even if it was a 2 RAM slot board, I'd still rather have a B series and an H series.
Fair enough, but I thought you mentioned Ryzen. As their chipset names are really similar.


The efficiency graphs show that below 20%-ish, the efficiency tends to drop off. This is why I wouldn't want something bigger than required.
It probably does, but even then what's from it? When you use very little power, it's just not possible for parts to heat up much, even if they work at lower efficiency. In this case it's PSU and PSUs in general don't get very hot. Sadly, it matters if you want lower wattage PC, but there's a question. Is lower efficiency really that bad? Because fan in PSU eats power too and it may eat more power than you lose due to inefficiencies. Therefore for your needs perfect PSU would be something passive cooled and with really low wattage, probably at less than 300 watts.

Ok, so not a fan of Corsair :)
I've never actually bought any of their items before other than RAM.
I bought their RAM too. It just does as any other RAM does. meh


I can at least confirm BeQuiet are notably cheaper than equivalent Corsair here.
Where I live, BeQuiets are more expensive and that doesn't make sense, since they are at least engineered in Germany and Corsairs are in USA.

This one genuinely shocked me. Generally, this brand has usually come well recommended at the budget end in terms of owner reviews, and I admit, I have purchased a couple of 500W 80+ Bronze units. Thankfully, the systems these have been fitted too are well bellow the 500W rating. Reading some articles on this seems to suggest that their biggest issue is they can't handle their supposed rated load, leading to overheating. Best case, they just cut out... worst case, fire!

Will NOT be buying anymore of these! Cheers for drawing my attention to that.
I'm surprised, that you have something good to say about them, because ever since I knew about them, they have been making some cheap cases, which lacked quality or looked horrible. PSUs are their newer thing, but even then they are low end and as I said potentially dangerous. Their fans are also low end. The only good product they managed to make is Project 7 PSU, which performs great and looks better than most other PSUs, still they are dodgy brand and just one or two good products aren't going to change that, when most of their line-up is crap.


This I like, and it also appears to be around the same price range. Cheers again! I've noted the others you mentioned to look up later.
The only problem with it is that it was never popular and I think it may have been discontinued. In some reviews I found it performed exceptionally good and was taking on best coolers, while it only costs half of their price. And still everyone is like "212 EVO is the best" or "Noctua makes the best coolers". 212 EVO and Noctua coolers for a long time have been beaten by many other brand coolers both at price and performance. Now they are both awful value, especially 212 EVO. Arctic Freezer 34 is same or better than it and costs much less. Noctua's NH-D15 for a long time was beaten by many sub 50 euro coolers, NH-D15 costs over 90. And AIOs are just terrible deals, not only Noctua NH-D15 beats pretty much any AIO, but AIOs can cost twice what D15 costs. The only AIOs, that may beat D15 are 360mm units, but even then their value is horrible and gains are small. Custom water loops definitely are in "money no object" category.


On a case with roof vents, would I be correct in thinking that you would ideally want a fan (quiet or otherwise) attached blowing outwards to stop dust from 'raining' in?
Well, in terms of removing heat you would be right, but just for dust removal, that just not gonna work well. First of all if you blow out air, you have to intake it from a case. If you want quiet build, then you most likely won't have any other case fans, which are intaking air. Therefore air will come in not from where fans were engineered to be. If case has dust filters, you are pretty much making them almost useless and the air, that comes in is unfiltered, therefore contains dust. So if dust doesn't fall from top, it comes in through all holes and gaps (not all of them, but from those with the least resistance), that are in your case.

Another factor is that PC will not be turned on forever, so when it's shut down, fans won't spin and dust can just simply fall on top of the case and land on fans. And if dust particles are lucky, they pass blades and reside within. If you want, you can fix this problem by getting dust filters for those fans, but they will only partially fix this problem and leave 1st one totally unfixed.

If you don't want to have dusty system, the basic principle is to avoid having airflow. But you need at least natural convection to happen, else your PC will overheat. So, you are going to have dust in PC, but if you want less of it, you should have the least amount of fans installed and make them run at lower speed (via fan controller, motherboard or resistors).

One kinda important thing to know is, that all flash storage is heat sensitive and if it experiences lots of heat, it can wear out fast and fail much faster. Generally with SATA SSDs it's not a problem, but I heard, that M.2 drives can heat up much more. I don't know any good data about that, but you should read a bit about that. It can be hard to find info, as most case makers and PC builders expect to have fans inside. Making a passive PC isn't really in many builders' heads, neither in case makers' heads.

If you want my advice, I would either research a lot and then investigate temperatures or just get two slow fans. One for intake and one for exhaust. Intake fan would be in the middle (front) and exhaust fan would be in the rear. That way you still have very quiet PC, but you will not need to worry much about M.2 SSD, GPU, CPU and VRMs as all those pars will get some minimal forced airflow besides natural convection.

By slow fans, I mean something like 500 rpm Scythe Slipstreams, 750 rpm Noiseblocker Multiframe M12-1 or 800 rpm Noiseblocker eLoop B12-1 fans. They boast super silent operation at less than 10 dB, 7,5-8dB to be more precise. Most 'standard' case fans work at a bit more than 20dB.

I don't know if I mentioned this, but for GPU you can buy a huge Artic Accelero Extreme cooler. It's a huge cooler for GPU and try to use it without fans. It should work great, perhaps even better than Accelero S3, which is made to be used for passive cooling.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #7

This is actually a very neat idea. I wonder how good it could be with bigger water reservoir or icy water. Seems like it could be an interesting alternative to chiller on smaller budget.

If I understand it right, then air cooler must be tower style and have heatpipes to make it work well. There's no need for big tower cooler as heat pipes just have to transfer coldness of water. More pipes or fins wouldn't do much. So cheap tower cooler is like 20-30 euros, plastic is cheap, silicone too. Tubes and pump shouldn't be expensive. So, it could be made with very little money.

Or maybe make it with mineral oil and add fans to heatsink. That way liquid would be forced to go through fins and maybe there would be less air bubbles there.

If I had a testbench, I definitely would consider making a prototype of this cooler.

And considering, that oil has higher viscosity and is liquid, even louder fans could be much quieter, if they are submerged there. So it could be rather inexpensive, quiet and high performance cooling setup, while only having very common things. No exotic things like chiller or LN2 would be needed. That sounds pretty good. The only downside, that it would be nasty to operate, almost unservicable and doomed for death (because plastic degrades with time withing oil).
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
@orion83uk

I swapped parts again in my main PC, migrated data to a new ssd. So, I got rid of one case fan, GPU is gonna be RX 560 4GB, I applied my RAM overclock and I'm seeing some super impressive results. The computer is much colder and its power consumption has gone down massively.

So there are wattage results of various tasks:
Lowest idle - 67 watts
Normal idle (desktop) - 68-72 watts
Active idle (showing an open tab in Opera) - 72-75 watts
Youtube video (1440p30) playback - 80-90 watts
Opening a web page - 105-115 watts
Far Cry 5 gameplay - 160-170 watts
OCCT CPU stress test - 130-140 watts

These results look great to me and considering, that we are talking about FX 6300 here and it has got reputation of eating lots of power and being very hot, results are totally amazing. And while PC eats not very much power, it also can play games. Not always the latest ones, maybe at lower than 1440p resolution, but I haven't seen any game being unplayable here on, let's say, 1080p and medium settings and by playable I mean getting either average of 50 fps without any horrible dipping or getting stable just just below 50 fps.

And that's still not everything I can do to reduce power usage. I can replace my smaller hard drive with an SSD and I probably should, because this one is 10 years old already and is a laptop drive, so it's pretty slow. I can get low noise adapters for absolutely all fans and that in theory should reduce their voltage and make them consume a little bit less power. I also can remove useless 120gb ssd I have it here, which is a leftover from Athlonium 64. With doing all that, I may be able to reduce wattage a little bit further and I would expect idle power usage reduction of 5 watts, maybe 10 if I'm lucky. While it doesn't sound impressive, I know, that quite modern Intel machines use around that much power at idle and it would be quite awesome to reach such level of efficiency. At the very least, if I keep this system, it will become obsolete at some point, but its lifespan may be extended just due to it being power efficient, so it wouldn't feel bad to keep using it, when new efficient processors will come out.

If you wonder what happened to RX 580, I put it in Mild Velocity build, because why not?

I never really liked RX 580, it ran pretty hot, my PC sometimes didn't have any video output since POSTing, I would often find wattman setting reseted bullshit notification and what sounds weird, it's not exactly a big upgrade over 560. If we look at how many shader cores they have, we have 1024 and 23xx (too lazy to look up). Technically, RX 580 should be more than twice as fast, but in real life, I only saw gains of 20-60 percent. Considering, that I had so many stupid issues with that thing and quite high power consumption at loads and idle, I think it was smart to just get rid of it. While many people like this card and reviewers noticed it as great value buy, my own experience says almost entirely different story. They were wrong and knowing, that GTX 1060 6GB is pretty much as fast as RX 580, eats much less power and costs the same, I see no good reason to get Radeon. The bonus of longer driver optimizations isn't worth the GTX 1080's level of power consumption for GTX 1060's performance.

Meanwhile no one truly noticed RX 560, which is cheap, reasonable, very power efficient, cool little card, that can run without a 6 pin power connector. And that's truly sad, because I truly think, that it was AMD's best card during RX 500/Vega era. It's hard to complain about such a reasonable card. Also no one noticed, that when it was launched it was a capable entry level 1440p card too. I could run games at 1440p and get decent fps (like 50 on average). GTX 1050 simply lacked VRAM to do that and GTX 1050 Ti cost way too much. RX 560 4GB was a perfect choice for that.

While it was nice to get my first modern higher end card and to experience some higher performance gaming experience, I have to admit, that RX 580 was a waste of my time and my money. And I didn't pay much for it, yet it feels like a loss.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Messed with my main PC today.

I removed SSD and I got 2 watt lower power consumption during idle. That's nice.

I tried tried to run stress test on FX 6300 without CPU fan on. It actually worked flawlessly. All cores sustained 3.5GHz without any problems and maximum temperature was around 57-58 Celsius. That's pretty cool. I even tried to make scenario worse, so I started Furmark. Hot air from GPU made a little difference to CPU. Temperature rose by 2 degrees. Then I increased GPU's power limit to max and CPU heated up a degree more. During this scenario power consumption was at around 230 watts and it turns out, that PC can run passively within such conditions. Okay, it's not a passive cooled computer as it has decent number of case fans, 2 of them are very close to CPU cooler and they definitely help.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #10

I was watching this video and was horrified about how many things he got wrong, when he was supposed to tell the truth. It almost looks like he learned his info from Verge.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #12
I just accidentally found out, that my RX 560 card has 48 watts TDP and 70C thermal target. Considering, that other RX 560 cards are barely any faster and have 75 watts TDP and that this RX 560 could do some 1440p, that's very impressive.

And yesterday, I found out that Xbox One X, has APU as powerful RX 580 inside and the whole console sips only around 160 watts. That's pretty awesome, because RX 580 alone eats much more than that. GPU part of that console probably eats the most power, because I know that CPU inside runs at barely more than 2GHz and has Jaguar cores, which were used in AM1 platform. Athlon 5350 ate like 25 watts. Minus GPU part of it, CPU should be eating around only 15-20 watts. Double that for Xbox One X due to double core count and we are at around 35-45 watts for CPU alone. 160 - 40 and we have around 120 watts. Minus 20 watts for periphery and we have around 910-100 watts for integrated Radeon GPU, which is as fast as RX 580, but eats two times less power than RX 580. Even after a few years, these numbers are impressive, considering, that they most likely didn't undervolt GPU and left some margin for error, in theory One's card could be even more efficient and be capable of playing games in 4K.
 

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The spirit of the spirits
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Discussion Starter #13
@contradictionary

I finally fixed my Radeon RX 580! Yes, it happened. I was finally done with its bullshit and terminated bullshit. I had some 120mm fans laying around and thought that I could zip tie it. I tried and it was too big, so I tried 80mm fan. Finally it fit. I thought that thermals would be impacted, because stock RX 580 comes with two 80 or 92mm fans and those suckas can barely keep temperature at around 75C at full blast. That's shit and I ain't anymore bearing a server level acoustics. So it turns out that card was reaching 88C with my mod and started to drop clock speed to stay alive. Not great. So I modded BIOS. Changed TDP from 147W to 105W. In games it was working out fine with temps being in high 70s, but in mining (I don't mine often, I'm just exploring this concept a bit) card was going to 85C and miner reported overheating, thus halting the job. So BIOS mods again. This time from 105W TDP to 90W TDP. That was a spectacular fix. Now card stays in high 60s and low 70s during gaming and mid 70s during mining. Not only that, but power usage dropped from around 300W to around 240W. Surprisingly in game fps loss is only 10-20%, because card still hits 1100s or 1200s.

So why did my mod work, it's still a same size fan after all? That's because fan isn't as slim, thus blades per each revolution push more air. Another thing is that fan has a frame, which helps a bit to avoid pushing air where we don't need it. Oh and shroud removal helped a bit too.

A fan I had is Xilence 80mm Performance C. It spins at 1500 rpm and in theory noise level of it is 17 dBa, which is really low. Meanwhile stock RX 580 fans can reach over 2000 rpms, I think 2200. That's per fan. One fan would be already rather noise, but two of them is just a disaster. Also fans that came with RX 580 are from Power Logic. Some noname Chinese trash. That Xilence at least has hydro bearing and came from a long known European manufacturer.

But what about VRM, VRAM cooling? These parts are usually left to be cooled just by fans alone and often aren't connected to heatsink, but in my case VRMs are connected to heatsink. The only question is VRAM. I placed my fan in the middle of card, close to GPU. Thankfully, VRAM chips are also close to GPU and some air should reach them just fine. Otherwise, I wouldn't have given a fuck and just left my mod as is, because that's still better than using that trash even is lifespan is gimped. I probably would have bough GTX 1650 Super if not this mod and I can say that just one mod made that computer magnitudes more pleasant to use.

BTW it looks like we already had a thread for random tech stuff to talk about and I completely forgot its existence, oh well.
 
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