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CAPS requirements thought over for real life conditions


batou

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Hello CA community

 

I'm craving already some time to build a CAPS like Computer, a silent PC with no moving parts, no fans, no vibrations. It appealed to me to be what should be best for music listening and maybe also for Movie watching.

I bought now some hardware pieces (i7 4790k, asus z97-a and a 500gb Samsung ssd), and was looking for a case suited for my needs.

I read a lot about fan-less designs and silent PCs, be it here, on silentpcreview or on tomshardware.

Maybe I haven't understood completely why the CAPS Server should be that silent and with no moving parts, but if it's for the absence of fan noise only, then this might be (at least in my case) unnecessary.

 

Let me explain: I live in a relative hot country (Israel), where the A/C has to be on during June to October. The other months I only open the window (kind of noisy outside), and if not I also turn the A/C on. The "winter" here is very short, Dec-Mar.

So if I would use, let's say the Streacom FC10 Case, I would need the turn the A/C on in order to have a cool rem temp and to have air moving around the case.

The A/C is surely much more noisy then a PSU and CPU fan together.

 

To quote silentpcreview: "a small amount of forced airflow from a good quality fan is essentially inaudible in almost all environments, and its cooling superiority with a good heat-sink easily beats even the massive TNN 500. There are also many components other than the CPU or GPU, such as the VRMs on the motherboard, which are best with some airflow for cooling under load."

 

I was very close to order the FC10 before I was thinking about all this. Is this really necessary? I mean, I even don't live in such a super quiet environment.

What other reasons besides the absence of noise are there for the CAPS requirements? Does the presence of a CPU fan and the fact that it's moving somehow affect the sound? Let's assume I won't use an optical drive and will only use a SSD, won't a silent CPU cooling and a silent PSU that still have fans alter something?

 

Thanks

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Very good points. Here in India also using a fanless pc is not recommended. Ambient noise levels are much lower in the US and Europe for sure. I would keep one fan for the CPU at the very least.

 

I'm using a single fan for my audio pc and I can't hear it from my listening position. In fact I can't hear it at all when placed on my rack. Using an SSD brings down noise significantly as well. The sound of the air conditioning is a major issue. I plan to use a Daikin AC system eventually. The Daikin system is very quiet and has reduced noise at my work space significantly.

Custom Win10 Transport | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB | Lampizator Amber | Acoustic Portrait Thiyaga | ATC SCM20 PSL

 

 

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Hello CA community

 

I'm craving already some time to build a CAPS like Computer, a silent PC with no moving parts, no fans, no vibrations. It appealed to me to be what should be best for music listening and maybe also for Movie watching.

I bought now some hardware pieces (i7 4790k, asus z97-a and a 500gb Samsung ssd), and was looking for a case suited for my needs.

I read a lot about fan-less designs and silent PCs, be it here, on silentpcreview or on tomshardware.

Maybe I haven't understood completely why the CAPS Server should be that silent and with no moving parts, but if it's for the absence of fan noise only, then this might be (at least in my case) unnecessary.

 

Let me explain: I live in a relative hot country (Israel), where the A/C has to be on during June to October. The other months I only open the window (kind of noisy outside), and if not I also turn the A/C on. The "winter" here is very short, Dec-Mar.

So if I would use, let's say the Streacom FC10 Case, I would need the turn the A/C on in order to have a cool rem temp and to have air moving around the case.

The A/C is surely much more noisy then a PSU and CPU fan together.

 

To quote silentpcreview: "a small amount of forced airflow from a good quality fan is essentially inaudible in almost all environments, and its cooling superiority with a good heat-sink easily beats even the massive TNN 500. There are also many components other than the CPU or GPU, such as the VRMs on the motherboard, which are best with some airflow for cooling under load."

 

I was very close to order the FC10 before I was thinking about all this. Is this really necessary? I mean, I even don't live in such a super quiet environment.

What other reasons besides the absence of noise are there for the CAPS requirements? Does the presence of a CPU fan and the fact that it's moving somehow affect the sound? Let's assume I won't use an optical drive and will only use a SSD, won't a silent CPU cooling and a silent PSU that still have fans alter something?

 

Thanks

 

Fans create RF noise feedback back into the mobo and other components. That degrades sound quality. For Mac Minimthere are special packages that fix this (UpTone audio sells them). For PCs you can get fan filters from SOtM. But the best and cheapest way is to avoid fans altogether.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I have a CAPS Pipeline. I live in a super hot location. You do need the AC when the server is playing music, when it is idle the internal temps are fine even without AC in the room.

 

There are specialist PC case fans that only make about 20db of noise - this is probably below the background noise threshold of your room.

 

But it also depends on your setup: My server is about 50 cm from my ear, so I don't want any fan noise, and I hate PC fan noise (I even have a fanless general use PC). Personally, the PC fan noise bothers me more than AC noise. But that's me.

 

There is the issue of fan electrical noise polluting the audio signal. SOtM makes a plug in device that you attach to your fan in the PC that is supposed to filter this out. I have no idea if it is effective or not.

 

There is one other disadvantage to a case fan: it draws in dust and dirt to the PC. Fanless servers stay really clean inside. That may or may not be a consideration for you.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Mr. Flaster,

 

Climate notwithstanding I think your 4790K CPU necessitates a fan unless you're considering underclocking it. The "T" or "S" Haswell-designated CPUs (preferably T if you can find one) are required for fanless cases. Some Xeons also are low TDP, but lack video architecture of Haswell.

 

WMW

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Addendum to my last reply:

 

I've read about the audio pc fan issue (physical and electrical noise) and realize electrical noise filters are marketed for this electrical noise "problem". I've yet to actually see documentation of audio decrement in pc systems from electrical fan 'noise'. Also as I'm sure you're aware some effective, extremely low Db-generating fan options exist. AND some highly regarded (e.g. Baetis) AV computer products do exist which employ fans. In essence, I would not worry too much about using a high-quality, low noise fan system in you build. Just my opinion, of course.

 

WMW

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Hi and thanks for the replies.

did anyone actually tested, if the absence of the fan reduced the noise in the sound path? I mean, someone that had a system with a fan and had some moise issues, and then changed the same system to be fanless, only passive cooling.

How exactly does a Fan at all produces RF?? That sounds very strange to me.

On of the reasons for me to use a case like the Streacom FC10 is it's height, not the absence of fan noise (or rf noise).

Using a small tower in order to get an ATX size mobo inside is not optimal in my case ( from a optical point of view, my wife wouldnt like that in our living room lol).

 

@firedog

Dust and dirt is certainly an issue, and my server will be around 2m away from me.

Not sure what to do, going the passive way, or the silent way.

 

@Pepsican

I dont think that going fanless is the cheaper way, since I need a special case for this. It not cheap from the begin with, and I would need to order it. Its heavy and shipping will get expensive, no?

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Laurent-

 

The Streacom cases are relatively heavy; I had my Pipeline built in the States by endpcnoise and shipped to me; shipping was about the same as other audio components.

 

One other option for you could be just to source an HTPC (home theather) type PC case locally. A lot of these are nice looking and they have the look of an audio component, not a PC. One possible advantage of such a case is that it has a fan bay. You could install a low noise fan and then see if it bothers you or not. If not, leave it running. If it does bother you, see what happens when you disconnect it. There are also some fans that only come on when they are really needed, so they aren't on all the time.

The Sotm noise filter only costs $25, so it isn't a big risk to try. I think the idea of the filter is that the fan injects electrical noise back into the system, like many components. The filter is supposed to remove a lot of this noise.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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When I had my Audio PC in my room I only had an HSF running. With everything powered off, no music playing, I could hear the fan (it's VERY quiet in here). I was getting some lockups/freezes, especially when using Bughead as the player as it is far more taxing on the CPU and RAM than other playback software. I made the decision to move the PC out of my room entirely and then enabled all of the case fans. If the case fans are injecting anything back into the sound, it's completely inaudible to me. And no more lockups :)

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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