Building my wife a new computer

edcentricedcentric near Milwaukee, Wisconsin
edited July 2009 in Hardware
My wife has gotten very good at using computer, not so good at taking care of them.
She hates noise. As a result the machine gets turned on/off 6 times a day or more. This has a tendency to either destroy hard drives or make hash of the OS after a while.
My goal is to build her a very quiet machine. She want to web browse, watch TV, and play BlueRay DVDs. She has a 24" wide screen monitor.

My thoughts:
-Stick with C2D, such as an E7400. Low power, cool running.
-An HD4670 is the most powerful video card that I can get that is passively cooled. Should do fine.
-Mobo is the big question. It has to be totally reliable. What about a Gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L. I don't need the latest chipset (or the power draw). Teh 43 looks like a good compromise.
-PSU needs to be efficient and quiet. Looking at the SeaSonic 430W.
I plan on using a Seagate 7200.10 hdd (that I have) and a Sony BD player.
Yesterday this came to $500 on NE (including memory). Let's pretend that this is the budget.

I am hoping that this will be quiet enough that she leaves it on all day. No rush on this, I am looking to use W7 as the OS.

Do what you guys do best, give me advise. tks ed

Comments

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited July 2009
    I think you could passively cool a C2D if you downclock and undervolt a Penryn. Slap some low-RPM fans into a high-flow case and you'll have yourself a silent little powerhouse.
  • edited July 2009
    This is the cooler for you: Thermalright HR-01 Plus

    I am using HR-01 to cool an overclocked E5200 with a 120mm fan and it is extremely efficient. You can use it fanless to cool at stock speed with the optional duct connected to the rear exhaust fan.
  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan
    edited July 2009
    Sliverstone makes a nice looking fanless psu

    Get some noise dampening material

    Get a nice high cmf low dba fan for exhaust like this

    I'd go with hr-01 for a heatsink with the rear duct going to that fan, also.

    Remove all the fan grills in the case(cut out any honeycomb), manage the wires well, and it will be very quiet.

    Loudest part will be the hdd and the optical drive. Really no way around those unless you go with an SSD which wouldnt be in your price range if you are trying staying tight to 500.
  • edited July 2009
    I am starting to feel like the AMD fanatic of this forum (although I am not) but may I ask why don't you consider a AMD 790GX + Phenom II system? You will not need to buy a separate graphics card for bluray and light gaming. System will be open for upgrading if you choose an AM3 compatible motherboard and so on. C2D and socket 775 are at the end of the road.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited July 2009
    For more silence especially during low operation, the only suggestion I have to add to this thread is the HD... assuming you get the fans to the point of nearly silent, the most audible part in the PC is probably going to be the hard drive, at which point it might be interesting to look into something like a WD caviar green or similar drive that spins significantly slower when not in heavy use.
  • edcentricedcentric near Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    edited July 2009
    Mirage, Good point. I had decided not to go micro with on board graphics, as long as I could get a silent video card.
    Anyone out there with a 45W AMD chip in an AM2 mobo? If I go AM3 I have to use a higher power chip, and then give up the advantage over C2D.

    It is funny, all but one of my machines is AMD. But I haven't built a box in almost two years and my C2D box is so fast and cool running that I keep forgetting that AMD is getting back into the game.
  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan
    edited July 2009
    For a silent pc you want to have minimal heat output to reduce the amount of cooling you need to safely run the system. It's a fact that amd chips run at a higher wattage and therefor produce more heat. It doesn't make sense to go with amd in this case.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited July 2009
    I completely agree with Magic on this one. AMD chips have a higher average TDP when compared to Penryns.
  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan
    edited July 2009
    Still, AMD is edged out in thermal output as well as performance. They do have price going for them though. If budget was a big factor here we might consider them.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC
    edited July 2009
    I found the 45nm Phenom II X2 and Athlon chips to run hella cool. Consider that the Phenom II X2 550 often times outperforms the E7400 (the chip previously mentioned by edcentric) in terms of performance and power draw.

    I'd consider an 780G motherboard. The integrated graphics will handle what she needs, negating the need to add a bigger PSU and video cards and further keeping noise down.

    And really, if you're gonna use a standard computer case then this might be one of the instances where the CoolIT Domino would be nice because you could get away with using the lowest fan speed. Then again, 780G boards benefit from airflow across the motherboard so more traditional heatsink would probably be beneficial. Gnomewizardd didn't buy the Thermaltake SpinQ I had for sale, and it'd be an awesome heatsink for something like this because it's very quiet and moves a ton of air.

    My build would be:
    Phenom II X2 550
    Gigabyte GA-MA780G-UD3H
    Silverstone Nightjar ST45NF 450W silent PSU
    NZXT Beta
    Plus your RAM, heatsink, drives, etc.
  • edited July 2009
    mirage wrote:
    I am starting to feel like the AMD fanatic of this forum (although I am not) but may I ask why don't you consider a AMD 790GX + Phenom II system? You will not need to buy a separate graphics card for bluray and light gaming. System will be open for upgrading if you choose an AM3 compatible motherboard and so on. C2D and socket 775 are at the end of the road.

    Mirage is onto something.

    For a quiet but solid performing PC, only the 790GX chipset makes perfect sense as your system backbone.

    The HD3300 is going to be more than adequate for Blu Ray, and it will offer casual gaming (WOW, Sims, Spore, older shooters, pop cap titles).

    In any modern system with a properly sized quality PSU, and a decent aftermarket cooler for your CPU, the loudest component is always the discrete graphics card cooler, in your case, I don't think you need it, and the beauty of the 790GX as a platform, is that if you do, you can add a passive cooled low powered Radeon card later on for Hybrid crossfire to double you graphics capability, or if you want to add something like the 4670 discrete you can, or, if you get a standard ATX board, you can even go with two passively cooled discrete cards on the 790GX platform, none of which I think you will need, but the point is, once experiencing the performance of the integrated HD3300 solution, if you decide you want something else, you have plenty of options, you are no way painted into a corner.

    I recently built a budget box with a 65W TDP Athlon II with a Skythe cooler, the cooler is not passive, but the fan is extremely quiet, I have a cooler master power supply that is quiet, and a single 120 mm exhaust on it. All considered its an extremely quiet solution, and the performance is respectable for who it was meant for. In this case, we used a discrete Radeon card, with a fan, because he wanted to do some gaming, but all considered it made for a nice component balance. In your wife's case, I don't know how into modern games she is, but if not so much, and she just wants solid blu ray performance, I say go with a 790GX paired with a 65W TDP Athlon II. It will perform admirably for a system that is specked to be so quiet.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited July 2009
    Heh, graphics card cooler... can't believe I didn't think of that, considering how much noise my HD4850s make under load. Then again, I had to bios mod them to kick the fans in much earlier than stock due to some overheating problems.
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