Return to Level1Techs.com

Low noise cooling options

Hi guys

When my CPU cooler’s fans spin up/down, the change in noise volume is fairly noticeable and distracting.

I’m trying to see what I can do to improve it, say by reducing the absolute noise level or having a smoother transition.

My setup

  • MB: X570 Aorus Master
  • CPU: Ryzen 3800x
  • Cooling: Noctua NH-U12A
  • Case: Meshify C

Do you think NH-D15 with the large diameter fans would help?

Would AIO water cooling be better at it?

I’m using Linux so the AIOs that require vendor driver/software support is out of the question.

Thanks

You should try tweaking fan curves in BIOS/UEFI. This is in my opinion the best place to tweak it as it does not affect which OS you run (i keep changing). I made my computer almost dead silent by allowing a higher temperature before the fans ramp up. I know a lot of people are obsessed with keeping low temperature, but I would rather have less noise than lower temperature. In my experience temperature is just a number as long as you don’t lose performance by throttling.

if you are worried about the sound, i would suggest a be quite pure wings series fan as i have the pure rock cooler and they are super quite.

gpu is louder than my system at idle and load.
im also linux and i set my bios to handle my PWM fans.

What fans you have in that case?
You may be better off adding a couple fans to the case running on low RPM making the airflow in the case better so it moves warm air away.
Maybe try and tweek the fan curve of the motherboard.
My CPU cooler fan curve keeps the fans the same speed up untill 60C and the CPU never reaches 60C.

D15 will drop thermals like 2-3degrees Celsius. The fans will again spin up and down. The changing fanspeed creates more noticeable noise than constant speed.

Not really… As a start you add a pump noise to everything else, and then the cheap AIOs are not going to perform any better than what you already have.

2 Likes

NH-D15 won’t help much in terms of noise.

Went through a similar process (with exact same motherboard) though case is a Define R6 and ultimately ended up with an Artic Freezer II 280. No software requirement plus as a bonus it was cheaper than the D15! For me at least, it’s a LOT quieter though YMMV.

I would pretty much suggest getting an AIO and controlling the fan curve in the BIOS, but it depends on your workload. From your description it sounds like the main issue is the fan speed is ramping up. The big difference between an AIO and liquid cooling is that that AIO will take longer to reach steady state because water can absorb more thermal energy.

Gamers Nexus does some great content on it.

I’ll post a link to a vid if you’re interested.

I don’t think it would.

Then you have pump noise in the mix aswell.


You motherboard has extensive options for setting fan curves. Set them up to be shelves so that during a given workload (or idle), the fans stay one speed.

1 Like

Under load this chip gets quite a bit hotter than a 3700X while running the same amount of cores. You can simulate that with a UEFI option called Eco-mode.

Another thing would be to raise the base rpm of the fan. Spikes should be handled a bit better because the temps might not reach the same level as before. So lower idle temps means at least more headroom. That will increase the noise floor in idle slightly but could help with the fan ramping up and down.

Oh the famous Ryzen breathing ! the constant boosting and idling making the fans whining while the pwm signal tries to follow the rampant cpu … i have both bequiet and noctua 140mm fans and it’s still irritating . Personally I use CoreCrtl and have made special profiles for games, steam, certain applications etc that require the full boost and performance governor and one global profile on powersave for everything else that doesn’t require boosting to the limit (browsing, music, movies etc) … and thus sanity restored … Try it …

I’ve worked in the controls industry. Specifically I’ve written software for gas engine governors for large industrial engines. Ryzen at light work loads reminds me a lot of an industrial engine at low torque load. Those engines make such massive amounts of torque that they don’t idle smoothly. If my governors idle control was anything like the PWM fan control on most motherboards you could imagine the huge throttle swings that engine would be put through. I really wish motherboards would incorporate a smoothing algorithm to weight the change in temperature over time to ensure the rise in temperature is maintained before throttling up the fans.

Yeap ! I understand the concept - I’m an engineer myself (aviation) . Thankfully we have governors in Linux - and the tools (cpufreq & corectrl) are usable … with a little bit of tinkering and study you can smooth the cpu when on light load quite successfully - works for me …

1 Like

I fought with this for months. Finally cracked the problem - a Corsair H150i, with the pump controlling the fans. The fans ramp according to the fluid temp, so none of this nonsense revving up and down.

Case fans are set to react to the motherboard PCH temp and GPU slot temp (Gigabyte Smartfan 5).

It’s basically silent now in normal use, when I use the Quiet profile on the pump. When I’m gaming I use the Balanced profile, which is still pretty quiet.

Thanks everyone for all the input.

So far the options are

  • Tune the fan curves
  • Tune the Linux CPU performance governors (e.g. using CpuFreq and CoreCtrl)
  • Go with AIO (successful stories Arctic Freezer II 280 and Corsair H150i). This works likely because the fan speed being throttled by the water temperature instead of the CPU die temp.
  • improve case ventilation (I current use the two “Dynamic X2 GP-12” fans came with the case)

I noticed that Noctua coolers come with a low noise fan adapter that I can try. I believe it works the same as tuning the fan curves in principle.

Corsair H150i is 360mm which simply will not fit in my case.

I watched some Arctic Freezer II 280 reviews and I quite like it. Good performance and relatively cheaper in price.

The problem, unfortunately, is my case has no room for stock Arctic Freezer II 280. The top side is blocked by the motherboard. Front side installation is the only option.

My GPU is Gigabyte 5700 XT GAMING OC 8G, which is fairly long (279.85mm in length).

Meshify C has a 315 mm GPU max length with front fan (25mm) mounted, which is 340mm without fan.

So with GPU only there is 60mm left.

Arctic Freezer II 280 radiator is 38mm + fan 27mm = 65mm. This won’t fit the 60mm clearance left.

I do have a spare CryOrig XT140 slim fan which is 13mm thin. So maybe I can switch a fan with that…

There is a 240mm version of that Arctic AIO…

No, it’s a flat reduction in rpm which would result in higher temps throughout and you’d still have the ramping. Maybe even more of that than before.

1 Like

I do t know if there is such an option for the Aorus boards but the MSi one in addition to BIOS fan curve has a fan spin up time to reach the new speed.

On the stock AMD cooler 0.1 seconds was quite annoying every times it changes fan speed the change was harsh. At 0.2 it is quite nice and j have left it there though it is still noticeable and it has an option for 0.3 which I think I will try before I put my D14 back in.

So see if it has anything like that. The fan curve so it won’t change as often and the spin up time so it does it more gently.

Yes, top mounting should work but it’s going to be a tight fit.

Front mounting has the same problem as 280mm due to identical thickness of the 240mm/280mm radiators.

1 Like

Don’t think Gigabyte BIOS has that…

A bit off topic, but I am still gonna go on this case rant…
Back in 2014 I bought a 100$ case instead of another 100$ case, and today non of the 100$ cases on the market have anywhere near the feature set and compatibility of any of those 2 cases I was choosing from. We have been going backwards for the last 5 years of case design and nobody mentions it and it drives me up the fucking wall.
What case should I buy? Go find a 5-6 years old case. They actually had features and compatibility… Sorry, rant over.

ON TOPIC again… I don’t really think you will see much of a difference noise wise. You are replacing Noctua with Arctic, and as much as I’m an arctic fanboy this will not really solve your issues unless you start adjusting the fan curves. Some motherboards love to make sudden jumps in fan speed and I have pretty much flattened all my fans speed to 30% so they never ramp up or down.
You have a top tier cooler brand. You don’t need to replace it.

I noticed that Noctua coolers come with a low noise fan adapter that I can try. I believe it works the same as tuning the fan curves in principle.

That thing is best used when PWM controls aren’t really an option. In the absence of controls, the fan will just run full-tilt… or partial-tilt with that adapter. Noctua makes tons of industrial stuff, so it’s a modular choice that makes sense.

That said, I’m going to echo fan curves. It doesn’t take much to tune it, and as long as it isn’t too steep, you won’t get that hard up-down ramping. A lazy place to start would be to run at 30% at 40 degrees or below, and run a straight line up to say 100% at 80. Maybe set up a nice, even plateau wherever temps hover.

My Gigbyte X570’s defaults were damn near a cliff with its choices of loud under 60 degrees and MAXIMUM LOUD over 60 degrees.