Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?
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  1. #1
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    Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    Can any of the so-called "gaming" motherboards be used to build a quiet system or do they assume you'll install lots of fans or a refrigeration system?

    (Specifically, I'd like to build a quiet-as-possible system based on a Gigabyte AMD motherboard.)
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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    "Can any of the so-called "gaming" motherboards be used to build a quiet system.."

    Of course they can, but you're asking the wrong question here. And in some part it depends on whether you want a "gaming" motherboard for serious game playing or mostly just for general computing but with lots of cpu power in reserve. Today's motherboards don't make any noise at all by themselves. In times past those tiny little high speed fans mounted on the north/south bridge chips alone could drive you nuts when they started squealing. But today's modern boards have passive heatpipe heatsinks on them...no moving parts whatsoever.

    So that leaves the question of what kind and how much fan cooling do you want for your new motherboard, and the most important part of that question is "which case to mount it into". The computer case and its fans and airflow pattern along with the fan(s) (if any) on the gpu card and the fan(s) on the cpu cooler (if any) will dictate the overall decibel level.

    Cases that have BIG case fans are a plus, as the big fans can rotate at a much lower speed to push any given amount of air than a smaller fan. Same for the cpu cooler fan, bigger is better. Lower fan speed equates to less noise. You'll also be wanting to look at a psu that has a low decibel rating for its internal fan.

    And don't expect quiet bliss with some monster gpu card sporting 3 or more fans onboard. Without resorting to water cooling, the goal should be a case that can use large fans and as few of them as possible to do an adequate job, so mini-cases and half-towers are pretty much not in play here.

    My last build was with a CoolerMaster HAF (High Air Flow) case using two 200mm (front and top) and 1 120mm rear exhaust and 1 120mm cpu cooler fan. Two fans on the MSI 560GTX-Ti gpu. I barely hear the fans themselves, mostly the flow of air through the intake/exhaust gratings.
    Last edited by PabloTwo; 16th September 2018 at 06:33 PM.

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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    Quote Originally Posted by PabloTwo
    "Can any of the so-called "gaming" motherboards be used to build a quiet system.."

    Of course they can, but you're asking the wrong question here. And in some part it depends on whether you want a "gaming" motherboard for serious game playing or mostly just for general computing
    I want it only for general computing.

    Today's motherboards don't make any noise at all by themselves.
    Of course not, but, for example, I've seen a big variation in how hot the "system chips" and memory chips get on various motherboards.


    So that leaves the question of what kind and how much fan cooling do you want for your new motherboard,
    Zero fans woud be ideal, but the question is whether gaming motherboards tend to require more cooling - or is "gaming" simply a marketing term - so "gaming" motherboards would not be essentially different than non-gaming motherboards.

    and the most important part of that question is "which case to mount it into".
    My current computer cases are wooden frames with the components mounted where they are easy to fiddle with. The motherboard is mounted on a section cut-out from a tower case and positioned so the connections on the back of the tower are actually facing to the side where they are easier to reach.
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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    A most unconventional setup you have. I am sure the use of "gaming" is in part just marketing but I would think that would also imply at least some sort of minimum computing power (depending on which particular model of cpu was installed) to handle most modern games at an acceptable level.

    Your open frame setup does present a challenge to achieve proper airflow over the system components though. The ambient temperature of the room would also be a big factor. And I'm guessing you don't have any pets living in the house, or at least not allowed to enter the room where the computers are.

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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    MSI Pro series boards have excellent fan control, same goes for their Twin FROZR fan equipped NVIDIA GTX GPU cards.

    The issue you may have with gaming boards (and GPU cards these days) other than noise is the fact they embedded with lights that can be tracing, static, pulsing, colour changing running alongside some component circuit lines. so they light up like something out of the film Tron. Even newer AMD stock heatsinks are new equipped with RGB LEDs.

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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    Several sites exist that offer advice and reviews about "silent" PC's and PC components. Some are vendor sites, some are not.

    The focus on benchmarking noise and CPU/GPU temperatures in gaming PC's is primarily due to overclocking. which can boost temps quickly. This applies to games in which increasing Frames Per Second results in better game play. If it's not that kind of game (if you aren't pretending to shoot at something), boosting FPS won't make much difference.

    So, for undemanding games or for non-gaming general purpose computing, there's a excellent chance a stock CPU fan is be good enough. (I've never come across a PC targeting business use that includes anything more than the stock CPU fan.)

    If you aren't gaming, and are not doing demanding graphics work of some sort, then you likely do not need a separate video card and may well be happy with the onboard video capability offered on a range of Intel and AMD CPU's. (Many laptops go with onboard Intel video because of reduced costs, reduced power requirements, and reduced heating.)

    High-end video cards have their own fans, and typically those fans are set in firmware to stay idle below some threshold GPU temperature. In practice, this means the fans stay off unless you are doing something intensive. And if you never do anything that intensive, you might wonder why you spent the money for the card in the first place.

    Different brands of case fans -- the fans gaming enthusiasts worry about -- do have different characteristics. You need an exhaust fan, usually located at the upper rear of the box. It's possible you might be able to get by with just that exhaust fan. But, I think you need at least one fan in front to bring cooler air into the box. (More fans means more noise, so if your focus is on reducing noise, don't add more fans until you need to.)

    Do not cheap out on fans. Fans have different air-moving capacities. A fan that moves more air at a lower speed should be quieter. I've used Noctua fans in a few high-end machines and found they're worth the money.

    Fans spin faster as CPU/GPU temps increase. Most BIOS/UEFI implementations allow the user to adjust the "fan curve". I.e., you can set a range of threshold temps at which fan speed will bump up. A bit of experimentation should tell you the highest fan speed that does not generate noise that annoys you. if your regular use never generates temperatures that require that fans to be pushed above that speed, you can set up a fan curve with the first speed bump happens when the temperatures exceeds that point.

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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    I actually run the system I'm using now virtually fanless. the only fan in the system is in the PSU which again only kicks in intermittently when the temperature threshold is met. This doesn't stay on for long either as it's a very low TDP setup but despite this is powerful enough to run some older games and casual titles requiring 3D acceleration provided by the integrated R3 graphics and of course it easily handles virtual machines. The Athlon 5350 SoC has a large aftermarket fanless heatsink, I have a single SSD and two 4GB DDR3 RAM modules in there. There's also a DVD+RW drive which I use occasionally and that's normally when the PSU fan which is also reasonably quiet comes on.

    Noise therefore is non-existent at least 95% of the time, it's more efficient at dissipating heat and quieter than my Intel notebook because the aluminium fins on the heatsink block disperse what little heat the SoC gives off really quickly. It's tucked away under a desk with the air intakes on the side covered off. the only way air gets in is through the fan mount on the back and the perforated bits on the front. yes there's the fan that came with the case in there but it's not plugged in.


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    Re: Any quiet "gaming" motherboards?

    Intel NUC’s are interesting machines for folks looking for a quiet, very small, general purpose PC. Basically, they’re the components of an ultra book in a little case you can hold in your hand. You add memory and storage and you’re done. There’s a small CPU fan that is audible when the chip is pushed.

    Downside is they aren’t really bargains and the CPU can’t be upgraded.

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