I recently built my first computer ever and so far am enjoying it very much and I like the aestethics(node 304 case). I was aiming for silence and while it does a very reasonable job at that I am not completely satisfied. Here are 2 questions for you guys.
1) My system sports an asus gtx 670 dc II. The first day when my computer was built i did not notice the idle noise that much. But now a week later it seems like the idle noise is more prevalent. It could be my perception because I moved my computer to my dorm and the gpu vent is facing me while the first day it was facing away from me. I did reassamble the computer once and in my perception it is like the GPU was louder in idle afterwards. Is this possible? When I am in my room and it is completely silent I can hear the GPU fans. Although it is a very silent wooshing sound. Is this normal? When I stop the fan blades with my finger my computer is finally inaudible. Maybe I was expecting too much from the GPU after reading it is the most silent cooling solution you can get. I am very pleased about its noise levels under load but I was hoping for it to be inadaudible while idling.
2) Is it possible for a reasonably powerful GPU to be completely silent while doing basic computing like internet and office? Can I force the fans to drop below 10%? That is lower than 1200 rpm. I tried with EVGA precision X but did not succeed. I am not looking for passive designs btw.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance!
For unreasonable levels of silence you're better off looking into watercooling.
What Deceit said. No moving parts=no vibration=no noise, at least from the GPU itself.
For near complete silence, the only options are passive cooling (one huge ass chunk of aluminium on the GPU), or watercooling with massive amounts of radiator space to be able to crank down, or entirely remove the fans. For a single GPU and CPU loop, you could get by with a 240 or 360mm radiator, as long as you aren't OCing too much. The Node 304 isn't the best case for watercooling; in fact, being an mITX case, it may be one of the worst. You would have to do an exterior radiator mount, like this. If you want to use a single 240mm radiator, with only 2 fans, or possibly none, you would be best off using an Alphacool NexXxos Monsta 240mm radiator. They are the thickest radiators on the market, and can easily be implemented without fans on a low-heat system, like a non-OCed CPU and GPU. However, if you want to OC with more possibilites, and generally have a cooler system, than I would go with the Alphacool NexXxos Monsta 360mm radiator, and possibly have push, pull, or push-pull fans on the radiator. For fans on these, generally, the most silent fans are Noctua NF-F12s (which nobody uses for watercooling because they are extremely ugly), and Scythe Gentle Typhoons 1850 RPMs. Crank down the RPM to 900 on either of them, and you won't hear anything over the air moving; around 1200 RPM, as well, if you don't have faulty fans. You could get by with using thinner radiators, such as an XSPC EX, but they won't cool nearly as well, especially in a fan-less solution. As for waterblocks, when using such a low-radiator space systems, you want the absolute best thermaly conductive blocks. This is true for all systems, but especially true when a certain block that looks a little off compared to others performs 5 degrees C better than the other. For CPU blocks, the best one out there, right now, is the Koolance 380i, which I personally think is one of the best looking blocks out there, as well. For your 670, only EK blocks fit the Asus DCII design, currently. To match the aesthetic of the Koolance 380i, I would get an EK FC (full-cover) 670 DCII Nickel waterblock. They are pretty expensive, but if you want to put your 670 under water, you are very limited in blocks.
As for passive cooling, I am not sure of any blocks for your particular GPU; if someone knows of one, then please link it below.
Do pumps not make some noise also? Like gorgling sounds. I am under the impression that in a completely silent room you would here the pump and liquid flowing. And I do not have the skills required to do costum watercooling.
Wow thanks for the detailed post laying out my options! But I do not have the skills required to do costum watercooling and I am also concerned about pump noise. I might look into this in the future. And maybe if someone knows of a very quiet aftermarket 2 slot cooler, please let me know. Thanks a lot anyway.
The quietest pumps are going to be either a Laing D5 or Swiftech MCP35x. For a great option, where you can turn down the speed for even lower noise, there are dual 655s with a Bitspower Dual D5 Mod Top. More pumps means that you can run them at lower speeds, with lower noise. A single 655 is more than powerful enough for any loop, really, though.
Water cooling really isn't that complicated; it is just like building a PC - like putting Legos together. Get some simple straight fittings, and some good tubing, and you'll be fine. There are lots of parts you could carry over from build-to-build, unlike a passive air cooler, making it effectively more economical in the long run.
I might look into it when I find that the idle noise is too much. But I suspect that I will grow used to it after a few weeks. It does seem louder than it should be though. Would appreciate some input from other asus 670 owners.
Also, I will be moving this build with a car every few months from my home to my dorm, would bumpy roads not be a risk for a leaking loop? That's why I chose an air cooler for the CPU and not an AIO actually.
For a starter, "easy-to-mod" watercooling system and a GREAT entry kit (while still being really, really high end in terms of tech/quality) is the Swiftech H220 system. It's SIMILAR to other "all-in-one" kits such as the Corsair H series, of the Thermaltake and Antec ones, in that it comes with a pump that also functions as the CPU block, 269mm x 128mm x 29mm radiator, with two 120mm fans.
The difference, and what's really cool about this system is (besides ODM, Swiftech customer service, and quality components) EXPANDIBILITY. It's relatively affordable, very easy to install as stock, and easy to customize. Unlike all the other pre-filled solutions, this one has compression fittings on the radiator ports and I believe the pump ports as well, you can swap out the radiator if you want, you can add new loops/radiators to it, and essentially customize it to your liking.
The pump is not dead silent but it's not terribly loud either. If you so desire you can change out the stock radiator for two bigger ones, you can also use very quiet aftermarket fans like Noctuas or something, run them in various configurations (push pull, then turn down the RPM for all), or whatever the hell you like. You can add GPU waterblocks/loops, and everything else.
The pump itself is very strong and capable of supporting multiple loops, a single CPU and GPU is a natural expansion of the product.
Swiftech are also suppose to release the H320, the only difference being a 240mm radiator it has a 360mm (so triple slot).
Anyway this is just an idea of an easy and relatively inexpensive way to get into water cooling while still having options for future expansions.
Hmm... moving the rig every few months would be a bit more involved than moving an air-cooled rig; I would drain the loop, take out the GPU, and fill up the Node 304 with lots of paper towels. As long as you are driving it back and forth, it won't be exposed to too much force, aside fromt the GPU, which could actually be ripped out of the PCIe socket D: If you drain the loop and remove the GPU, though, it should be fine.
Hah! But, OP can't exactly buy that single engineering sample ;)
Hmm okay that rules out the watercooling option for now :p I did transport the rig once without removing the GPU, will do that in the future.
Wow exactly what I need :D will need a bigger case though, it might fit the prodigy. Thanks for sharing. But I guess the price will be exorbitant.
If you would like to lower the speed of the fans and your not afraid of soldering a wire use a SMALL resister to lower the voltage SLIGHTLY. solder it to the power to the fans. or get an extender and plug them into the mobo.