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  • capeconsultant - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    to silence! I myself have the quietest computer! Sound pollution sucks! Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Agreed, drives me nuts. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You should try a 10db rig! Normal healthy human breathing is 10db, so sweet! Reply
  • MeanBruce - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    This is the 10db fan I have used in my system Noctua NF-P14 it came with the Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler but is also sold separately. It comes with two inline resistors so you can attenuate it down to 10.1db! Just go to the Noctua website if you want more info, oh and it comes with a 6year warranty, a fan, that's a little better than this Puget system, just a little! ;) Reply
  • mgl888 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I tune the crap out of my fans to get the quietest desktop. Fan controllers, rewiring, BIOS mods, software PWM control etc.
    I probably can't reach 11dB with my current case, but it's barely audible at the moment. As the review said, I can't justify spending an extra $1000 for a.. say 5dB decrease in noise.
  • medi01 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I second that. The price is outrageous.
    To silence my PC in similar setup I've payed:

    140$ for Antec
    4x 120mm coolers => 40$
  • medi01 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Forgot about CPU and Graphic card coolers, about 60$ total Reply
  • Firebat5 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Don't know what the antec comment was about, but I thought I would share that I am really, really happy w/my antec skeleton case. I have all stock coolers... It is darn near silent. The fans on the graphics card and cpu never spin up.... And the big 300mm fan is really, really quiet... Even w/o the steel skin of a regular case it is far, far quieter. Reply
  • Drag0nFire - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    If you can't stomach the price, you can build a similar pc yourself. I can't speak highly enough of the great people at Great place to go to help pick out the best parts for your desired balance between performance and silence. Reply
  • capeconsultant - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    So true! SPCR rules all! My Noctua case fans and CPU cooler kicks silent butt. My machine id drop dead silent with hardly any extra expense at all. The Noctua fans were a bit premium and the best $$$ I ever spent. BTW the stock Intel cooler for my i5-650 was a total joke. I laughed at it. Here are 2 links, one with Intel, one with Noctua!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    It's not a 5db decrease. Trust me when I say that even in the dead of night, in utter silence, you still won't hear so much as a low hum from this computer. Laptops don't get this quiet unless they're asleep.

    The only way you'd know the Serenity was on would be the power light.
  • mgl888 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Yes I kind of exaggerated there:P

    I wonder how much difference the foam makes in dampening the noise. I might grab some from Ebay and give it a try.
  • Trefugl - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Foam goes quite a long way damping the airborne noise and since they chose a good (quiet) HDD they don't have to worry about structure borne noise (vibration).

    You really should tailor the solution to the particular problem. My personal PC was having issues with structure borne noise a few years back (due to my RAID array), so I added some vibration damping PVA sheeting to the side panels. I probably should also add some foam (to stop the sound of my SLI setup during gaming) but i just haven't gotten around to it now that my system is acceptable.
  • vol7ron - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Agreed, solution should fit the problem.

    Really, when in doubt dish it out. It's easier to cater to all the noise possibilities early, rather than install everything and find out something is rattling behind the board later on. Be careful when getting a 120mm, you want to pay attention to two numbers: the db and the cfm. The decibels (db) is directly related to sound, but the cubic feet per minute (cfm) is how much air can be pushed through. If you have a fan with a high cfm, it's more likely that you can run it at a lower setting, thus reducing the actual db used.

    Also, realize that the foam/filters might decrease airflow. It's sort of like how you put more ventilation behind drywall to help sound-proof noise between rooms in a house. It does reduce sound, but it also helps close off the thermo system. That means your case might build up more heat, increasing work on the fans, increasing the sounds generated -- just something to keep in mind when making sure you have good airflow set up.
  • oynaz - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Sounds like a nice system for use in a studio. Reply
  • mgl888 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Pun intended? Reply
  • wolfman3k5 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    So because Puget is not willing to just give their work away, and instead they charge money for real warranty, support, and excellent service they won't get an award? Wow! Ever heard of you get what you've paid for? In all my dealings with Puget I've been extremely satisfied. I've seen now other companies that offer 3 ~ 4 years warranty, but will rarely honor it. So what good is it then?! Dustin, grow some man hair and some common sense and write more acceptable conclusions. And Puget: stop wasting your time and money with web sites like this. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Nobody asked them to give their work away, and actually I've been very briefly back and forth with Jon over there about the review. He disagreed with me on the pricetag and to an extent he's right, but there's still some real markup there that makes Puget Systems a tough sell compared to other boutiques.

    The flipside is that, as I mentioned, most other boutiques frankly just aren't producing systems as nice as this one and I think you could definitely make a case for spending up a bit and going with them. If you're willing to spend up you'll likely get a better shopping experience with them and frankly they don't seem to cut any corners on their builds, using top notch parts from day one.

    Jon also argued that the one year warranty is to avoid being disingenuous: parts can go EOL and it may be difficult to even service that warranty under those circumstances. I don't disagree with him.

    Unfortunately, a lot of consumers are only going to look at the bottom line: Puget's computers are more expensive and they only allow list a one year warranty on parts when everyone else has standardized on at least advertising three.
  • Trefugl - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I'm somewhere between both sides on this.

    Dustin, I think it was unfair to simply list the Newegg price without pulling a comparable list price from another boutique. Yes, we as the Tech crowd could just throw something together from Newegg (tho it might be louder), but with a boutique there is always some markup to cover labor and overhead, and at least (as you said) they don't charge a lot extra to upgrade components.

    Now, a roughly $1k markup is pretty high, but you're getting excellent components and a ridiculously quiet system. While the price is too high for my personal tastes, I'm not really the targeted customer - I really would never buy a mid to high end desktop from anyone, as I can always make it cheaper myself and have the knowledge and abilities to customize the case/design to suit my needs.
  • NCM - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Dustin Writes: "Nobody asked them to give their work away."

    Hey, they get to set their price— and the market decides whether it sells or not. The AT readership is likely to have a disproportionate number of people who would assemble their own systems, but out in the real world many more buyers want complete solutions. We've certainly paid good money for well engineered low noise devices.

    (Me, I'm still trying to get over noting in the comparo that someone sells a box called the DigitalStorm BlackOps. Are these named by 12-year-old boys or for 12-year-old boys...or both?)
  • MattM_Super - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I would love an article that focused on building a quiet powerful gaming rig. Some info about DIY sound insulation and how it affects noise and thermals in the case would be great. A guide to building a quiet water cooling system would also be nice. In all the reviews I have read, box kit water coolers end up being louder than high end air coolers. Reply
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You could check out SPCR (, the guys who Puget worked with to build this system. They've been around for ages, lots of info there. The founder, Mike Chin actually took part in the design of the original Antec P180, (arguably) kick starting the whole silent/quiet computing in the commercial market. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I doubt water cooling is the way to get the absolute quietest type of system.

    You're always having to run a pump, and no matter how you hide it away, it's still essentially quite a large and powerful rotational mass compared to a fan.

    I bet this system is quieter than anything you could build with water cooling.
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Air cooling is the absolute quietest solution. Water cooling has the benefit of a lower sound-to-cooling power ratio as you scale up, but if you're talking about the absolute lowest noise possible, air cooling wins. It's why Puget went with air cooling in this system. Piroroadkill was right: with water cooling there's always going to be a pump. While they may be quiet, I've never encountered one as quiet as properly tuned fans. Reply
  • Martin Schou - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    "If you're a little bit underwhelmed by the Radeon HD 5750 in our review unit, don't be. This 5750 is arguably the fastest passively-cooled card on the market (only the Sparkle GTS 450 really competes)"

    And what happened to Gigabyte's Radeon HD 5770 Silent Cell, that made it slower than a 5750? I was going to use it in my own HTPC/mid range gaming PC, but it's a bit on the large side and wouldn't fit in my case (height wise)
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I couldn't find it for purchase. NewEgg only lists the Powercolor 5750 and Sparkle GTS 450. In fact a visit just now to Google Shopping reveals exactly one vendor selling the Silent Cell 5770, across the pond. Reply
  • ganjha - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Gigabyte's Radeon HD 5770 Silent cell has reached EOL I've been told by distributors in my country. It's a shame since I used it in quite a few silent builds, and the cards meant to replace it all use the Windforce 2X/3X cooling. Reply
  • Martin Schou - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Ahh. That explains it. I bought mine in Sweden in late January (2011), and it didn't seem like an issue, but that could just be left over stock; however when I just checked there are about 30 stores that claims to have them in stock.

    Rather odd though - usually we're the ones being left out, not the US.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    For something that's EOL stores listing it as being in stock might not mean anything. I tried getting a case a few years ago after the non-window version went EOL. About a dozen vendors claimed to have it in stock, but after a few days refunded my money saying their distributer couldn't find it (one took about 3 weeks and a dispute filed with my CC company); about a month after that only half of them removed the case from their list of available parts. Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Many vendors (most in fact) will just copy and paste their distributors lists onto their website and wait for the orders to roll in. They spend little effort maintaining their site when distributors run out of stock. It is par for the course in this business and unless you can confirm ACTUAL stock from one or more other vendors, don't bother placing the order. Call them first at least! Reply
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I've been in the market for a new computer as of late, and preferably a silent one at that. It has ultimately led me to Puget Computers. And, honestly, I'm seriously impressed with the company.

    A few oversights. First, as mentioned, Puget does not just slap together a computer and hope it is silent. They spent numerous hours designing the ideal configuration for their Serenity line, and only allow upgrades that meet the "standards" of that particular line.

    Next, they actually spend serious time with your computer personally. The customer gets a notebook thanking them for their purchase, and also an entire slew of information pertaining to YOUR purchased computer (benchmarks, temps, etc). It also lists who worked on your computer, what time the work was started/completed -- and, this can also be viewed online via their website so you can track the construction of your computer.

    Another nice addition is they ship a box of all the spare/extra parts that came with every component of your built system. All those extra cables, screws, ties, etc are sent to the user. A trip over to a popular online parts retailer will cost around $1,686 before tax, $1,728 after (depending on shipping method) to build this system almost exactly (figured in $219 for SB cpu, $190 for mobo). I also removed the "Instant Savings" from the quote. Give or take a few dollars, but that is well above the $1,000 quoted in the review. Bringing it to a difference of $421.

    It essentially comes down to if $421 is worth having someone else build the system, test the system, quality check the system, create a binder that tells you ALL about your system, package it for safe shipment, and then offer a 1 year parts, lifetime labor. And, with excellent customer service in case anything does in fact happen to your system during transit, or for that next year (or more if paid for extra 2/3 year parts). Ultimately, that's the peace of mind you get from ordering custom built computers from truly respectable companies that value the customers.

    Sorry for the slight rant, but after reading that it would cost someone about $1,000 for this type of system was a bit much. Where the price was being the main issue of complaint -- the gap isn't nearly as large as the reviewer made it seem. This is a respectable company, and have been around for quite some time.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Not $1,000 for this TYPE of system, just equivalent hardware performance. But you're right, they do go through major qualifying with their hardware and communication from order to shipment is excellent.

    And beyond all that, frankly this computer is dead silent. I can't stress enough what it means to not be able to hear a computer AT ALL. Again, though, I'm looking at things from how the average consumer might: pricetag, one year warranty, *BAMF*.

    That's a shame but that's how a lot of shoppers work. If someone was willing to spend up to get premium service and a premium build, though, I'd have no reservations at all about recommending Puget Systems to them, and hopefully we're going to get more of their builds in-house for review soon.
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Falcon Northwest only offers 1 year parts.

    ibuypower only offers 1 year parts, 3 years labor, lifetime technical "support."

    Without scouring too much Dell's website -- they offer 1 year basic warranty, and their hardware warranty...however long that is.
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I guess I'll clarify myself on this...

    Falcon Northwest's "basic" system (Talon) carriers a 1 year parts. All their laptops carry a 1 year parts as well. Their Frag Box/Mach V both carry a 3 year.

    Though, in terms of price -- they all carry a hefty premium as well. A similarly configured Talon is a bit more than the Serenity without the overall sound quality.

    Arguably, Puget should allow upgraded GPUs on their Serenity line. Find a quiet (not silent) line, and offer it. I think that would make it a lot more attractive to people who want a silent, but fully capable gaming machine. People aren't exactly used to paying a premium on virtually silent pc's yet, but big gpu numbers seem to make all the sense in the world for increasing price.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Ah, but comparing to FNW is comparing to one of the most expensive boutique system builders around. It's difficult to quantify all of the elements of customer support without being a long-term customer of a company, so all we can really say is how they dealt with us. Puget (and FNW the last time I worked with them) both put in a lot of one-on-one time to make sure things are top notch, and you pay for that experience.

    Anyway, I've priced out everything I think I'd need to build a similar "silent" system -- all parts from Newegg. I get a total price of around $1560 with shipping. That includes sound dampening foam, Scythe fans, OS, and all the other parts used by Puget. So by that measure, the price premium is "only" about $600 -- or put another way, it's almost a 40% markup over what Newegg charges. And I hate to break it to you, but Newegg makes a profit as well, so if you were getting bulk reseller pricing I'd say Puget is at least a 50% markup.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Puget is certainly not a "bulk reseller". They buy in quantities that might qualify for a few percent less than retail. In many cases, they can (and almost surely do) buy parts CHEAPER from Newegg than the distribution channel. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Newegg does make a profit. From their financial statements, they average a ~10% markup over cost; taking overhead into account, their profit margin is around ~1.5%.

    There's no way in hell Puget is getting the same kind of volume discounts as Newegg, which does over $1 Billion in sales every year. I could believe that Puget's cost is ~5% under Newegg's average prices, but not much more than that.

    Subtract ~5% from ~$1500, and you get ~$1400. $2000 is a healthy markup there (~40%), but the article is claiming Puget's markup is twice that.

    But what's a factor of two here or there, right? $1000, $500; who really cares?
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Dell for one (and almost certainly HP, Lenovo, etc) offer up to 4 years hardware warranty INCLUDING on-site service for business PCs and servers.

    Of course you can't get that even if you wanted to on $499 Inspiron trash, but real business warranty coverage is not something you, me, Falcon Northwest or Puget Systems could ever hope to offer.
  • Hubb1e - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Dustin, your comment about price made it sound like you could get the same components for $1000. When you take into account the extra fans, the quality PSU, the CPU cooler, and some of the other extras you are closer to Sagrim's pricing.

    Yes, you can get a computer with similar performance (same CPU and 5750 video card) for $1000, but you won't get these components for $1000 and I think you should make that clearer in your article.

    This system is truly unique in the marketplace, and while 11db isn't needed for most people, it really shows the capability of Puget and as a flagship quiet model it gives them a lot of credibility in the marketplace with their other machines.

    On another note, I would have liked to have seen you try a bit of overclocking on the CPU, at least at stock voltage, because I'm sure the system had plenty of cooling headroom for a bit more clock.
  • Paulman - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Really? The review definitely makes it sound like the EXACT SAME components would cost only $1000 fron Newegg:

    "The hardware configuration is largely up to the end user; the quote on our price sheet listed our test system at a fairly onerous $2,149. We're really looking at a little over $1,000 in parts here judging from a trip to NewEgg and some quick and dirty math. No one likes seeing 100% markup on a computer that costs over two bills, so from a pure value perspective the Serenity SPCR Edition can feel like a real bust."

    If the exact same components actually cost more than $1000, I think the review should be updated/corrected with the approx. Newegg price for the SAME components. I definitely feel like I got the wrong idea from the first reading of this article (on that issue) :P
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Yes, the article is clearly misleading and no having the time to spend on newegg hunt I had assumed EXACTLY as you have. (comments excluded)

    What is worse, the AT stuff is pushing it absurd by arguing that since it is $1400 (best case), saying $1000 is "alright". Sheesh.
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Just seen Dustin's comment down the way ... thanks for the open mind! Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    No matter how you spin it, this computer is over priced. Most AT readers build their own machines anyways, but this article was interesting anyways since I've never heard of Puget Systems.

    No way am I, or the 90% or so of AT readers going to pay such a premium for this when I can do it myself.

    What I would like to see is a DIY article on how to silence a desktop computer. What cases/power supplies/fans/etc. are the best to get. I'm one of those that have always sacrificed performance for silence, I can't wait until I can build an affordable computer some day and have it dead silent in a room that has 0 audible noise.
  • OneArmedScissorB - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    That's been possible for quite some time. The more expensive socket 1366 i7s are pretty much the only CPUs left that will actually run hot, so you can turn the fan way down. The only passive video cards are almost always under $200. Lower power PSUs are easy to get away with now, and make very little heat and don't need their fans to spin up much. Only one case fan is really necessary, and it can run a low speed. 2.5" HDDs are available in very high capacites. SSDs are steadily dropping. Most everything runs cool stock and you don't need a bunch of aftermarket heatsinks slapped on every component.

    It's actually cheaper to build a very quiet computer than the middle of the road noise makers I see most people come up with. Too many people overdo the power supply, overclock their CPU when it's not even accomplishing anything, and don't adjust their fans.
  • BigDan - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    It really is so simple to build a quiet computer these days. I have one of those 1366 boards and I have the Silverstone Raven 01 case which is tall and roomy but, its panels fit tight and aside from the temp replacement fan on my o/c'd 950 [3.8Ghz] which is the stock one the H50 came with. It is dead quiet or it was when I had another pair of fans on it that died. It may take time but its sometimes worth the wait for something you want. I built it in 1 year at a savings of $1000.00 usd by shopping around.

    Now Puget Systems stuff is too expensive, comparing their top of the line system to a real company like Digital Storm and there is a huge difference. DS also offers a 3,4 or five year warranty.
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    This computer is not a DYI build.

    Go find us another of-the-shelf box with these parameters on the market and we may START talking about the price.

    i7 980X is very expensive. But over(what?)priced? A Xeon ?

    The same goes for this build.
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I would put that $421 into better components and spend a weekend having a blast away from the gf, just chicken wings Fosters lager some cool films in the background and all those sweet unboxings! But that's just me. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    1 year parts and labor? I just RMAd a mobo to Intel 2.5years into warranty, they sent me out a new board no problem. My psu has 7years behind it video card 3years, like I said do it yourself will cost so much less per year down the road AND better quieter higher performing even better looking components, nuf said pal! Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I was right with you until the Foster's comment. Yuck. You do know that actual Australians consider it a crap beer that they ship over to the US and market well?

    I was on vacation last year during the SuperBowl and a large family from Australia was staying near us. We had some great conversations during the trip and one was how they get marketed to us with our "bad" beers and vice-versa. :)
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Fosters does make a green can lager that I agree is pretty yuk, but the blue label in bottles is pretty good!!! Just substitute Fosters lager for a fine wine or frozen margaritas or Budweiser still that's a great weekend, and it's ok if the gf hangs around ya have to take a few breaks to clear your mind, right? ;) Reply
  • kevith - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I read the review at SPCR a while ago.

    If one could talk about "craftsmanship" when referring to building computers, these guys would be he Formula 1 techs of quiet computer building. These guys' work doesn't come cheap, I don't really find the price all that monstrous, when I consider the hours spent.

    I'm a muscician, and ths is the first ever, real quiet, almost silent machine I've ever seen even near this pricepoint. And I'm sure I could live with the 20 dB "hurricane" of the little-brother, at an even friendlier price. And I'd probably go with a graphics card with one of modern, very quiet aftermarket supercoolers.

    (There's one little catch in musicproduction-PC's, regarding to graphics cards. I use Nuendo, a high-end, 2.500 $ DAW. As for now, I have an XFX HD4770. And, as most moderne graphics cards, it throttles itself when doing 2D-work, in my case from 750 mHz to 250 mHz core. While work in the DAW isn't 3D, it actually has some pretty demanding tasks, graphics-wise: When you zoom in and out in the editor window with a lot of tracks open; When you move large chunks of audio-material; When you pan across a whole song; When you use the Mixer-window that has a lot of real-time moving details like meters, graphs etc. These, and a lot of other operations you do all the time, will put so much strain on the video-card, that the low-performance clock isn't really enough, causing glitches, delays and brief lock-ups in the system. Of course, this is amplified the more tracks you have. I'd wish I could control these frequencies, but only the high-performance can be altered in AMD Overdrive, as soon as you return to 2D-work, the core-clock will drop to 250. Just to say, that the graphics card should be researched and considered thoroughly, even in a music-production machine.)

    I live in Europe, so I can't buy it anyways.

    However, I really dig the article, it's VERY inspiring, this is a project I'm definitely going to copy for my next build.

    Tear it apart and give us some nice close-ups of the sound-dampening details... Just kidding:-)
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Check out ATI tool. It is a free, beta program that allows for changing both 2D and 3D frequencies independently. Most of us use it to downclock our numbers, but in your situation you could ramp up the 2D clocks. Google Tech Power Up and Ati Tool and you'll get a link to the program. It's still a beta that is probably never going to see a final release but for a lot of us it offers something that is not available anywhere else.

  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    One thing I forgot to mention. You need to select the SAME frequency for low, medium, and high, or else you get a screen flickering bug on some cards (mine included). But if you set all the 2D (or 3D) settings to the same frequency the issue goes away. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    And I'm an idiot. I meant gpu tool, not ati tool (they are different programs). Everything else still applies though that I mentioned in the previous posts. Just go here:
  • rpsgc - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Tell them to start using higher end video cards with aftermarket coolers. AC Accelero Xtreme Plus, Accelero Twin Turbo Pro, Gelid Icy Vision, Thermalright Shaman, Thermalright Spitfire, etc.

    With such a slew of great coolers, there's no reason not to use them, and not to use more powerful video cards.
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I'm speaking particularly for the SPCR build, but with a computer at such a low noise floor, a lot of graphics coolers (yes, even third party ones) may be positively noisy in comparison. Yes, the option would be nice, but Puget spend time cherry picking parts for SPCR build, they wouldn't put in parts that aren't up to scratch. Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Any of those coolers would obliterate the 11dB they were able to obtain. You might not realize what an achievement that is, but suffice to say passive GPU cooling is a must. Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I have a somwhat similar setup, with an Antec P-182 case, that I built for silence. I have an HD4890 that was completely unbearable witht he stock fan. I placed in an Accelero on it, along with a silent, low-speed fan blowing across it , and its both silent and stays cool. Reply
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    why did they pick a 850W PSU? System runs low power, was so smartly desgined, and then they drop this beast in there? Why? Imho, stupidy.

    Futhermore, seems like there was some ass-kissing in this review

    "That said, many of the really high scores we've seen are largely academic: can anyone really tell the difference between 100 frames per second and 150... 30 frames per second ...framerate should still be your baseline for acceptable performance"

    Where did this pc hit 100 fps? Yes over 100fps would be academic. Over 60fps could be academic, 16fps for 2 grand? I'll tell you what that is, pathic. As are most of the graphic tests. The performance isn't good, its SAD.

    30 frames per second a human eye limit, you just panadoring to Puget, for its pathic attempt at a 'performance' machine. Please get back to us, when you get some balls to call things as they are. For a gaming pc this is sad.

    Maybe next time they should go for zero dB, solid state drives, a slow passivle cold pc. heck slap an ipad in case, look man this thing makes no sound. No one can tell the difference between this and a performance pc. just 3 grand.
  • nikclev - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Just commenting on the choice of power supply. The CP-850 is the smallest that antec makes in the CPX (or whatever they call it) proprietary form factor. Basically bigger dimensions, it allows for a bigger fan and more room inside the PSU. It also performs extremely well and is considerably cheaper than most other high quality PSUs in the same wattage range. Every review I've seen of the CP power supplies lists it as one of the best when it comes to voltage stability and lack of ripple/noise/etc. And yes, it is more power supply than this system needs. I think that is a good thing. Too many computer manufacturers use power supplies that do not allow any room for expansion/cap ageing purely to save money.

    I agree with you to a point about the lack of gaming performance.I think in this case silence was priority number one. I've owned several high performance graphics cards and purposely set in game settings lower than I had to, just to keep the thing quiet.

    I agree with the review, It seems like an excellent computer with boutique quality AND price tag, but lacking in the warranty department. (At least when you compare advertised numbers with other manufacturers)
  • flemeister - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    "why did they pick a 850W PSU?"

    They didn't pick the CP-850 because of it's 850W rating, they picked it because it's the most suitable for the job:

    1) It's exceptionally quiet
    2) It's pretty cheap for the wattage on offer
    3) With no fan in the front of the HDD/PSU chamber for the sake of silence, the 120mm fan on the CP-850 provides cooling for hard drives in the lower drive cage
    4) Most important of all, the fan only ramps up from its minimum speed after reaching ~300W load (in a hotbox; ~400W if it's intaking cooler air, such as when installed in the lower chamber of the P183). With such low power consumption in this setup, the PSU fan will never ramp up. Even with Crossfired 5750's, max power consumption will have trouble going past 300W.
    5) What are the alternatives? Something else this quiet would cost a similar amount and be just as quiet or perhaps noisier. May as well use the CP-850.

    See the SPCR review of the unit for more details.
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I read the spcr reviews. Bla bla bla. A smaller PSU, picked for the correct energy usage, is whats needed. This isn't engineering, this is over kill.

    There are fanless psu's outthere if you are going for ie from the spcr site itself

    Seasonic X-400. Game,set,match. No fan, will go up to 400watts. Whats Puget excuse?

    Oh you need a fan for the hd? waa waa, hook up another super low rpm fans on a control. Idleing, have them turn off.


    Whats the excuse for the subpar gaming perfomrance, that anandtech seems to be whitewashing over?
  • Anchen - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Hey, which is cheaper? The antec 850, NOT the seasonic x-400. Game set match? The Seasonic x-400 is an awesome psu. It also costs a ton for 400w. Seems like a good excuse to me.
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    wow, the 850w psu is 7 dollars cheaper OMG, (850w= 119+12ship, 400w 129+6ship)

    This is a $2,000+ thats claiming to be designed for silence, and they cannot eat a ~$10 difference? Or just rise the price 10 bucks? And claim its even more silent?

    The point is to use the right tool for the job, just throwing something bigger at a problem is dumb engineering.
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    It'd come out to around an extra $20 if you include the extra fan that would be needed for the lower cage/psu area. Which, would require the fan to be upfront near the case (notice, ZERO intake fans are at the front) -- which would most likely up the dB slightly (even at low).

    Also, the x-400 would leave little wiggle room in terms of upgrading the gpu, and/or overclocking (notice, it was the K series).

    So, the Antec CP-850 provides the wind tunnel effect down below with it's "pass through" design, it's cheaper, it is stunningly quiet, and helps the overall airflow/cooling of the system.

    I fail to see the need for the x-400, even if the CP-850 is considered overkill.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    There you go bringing ACTUAL engineering into a newbie's rant against "dumb engineering".

    We're trying to keep things dumb around here! You're ruining it!
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I've been on anandtech for years before you joined. And years before I even regesitered.

    As an engineer, I see dumb engineering.

    smart engineering would be to go with a passive psu, that with a seperate fan. Dumb engineering to go bigger to solve the problem.
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Go for a beer and come back when you manage to process Sagrim's post.

    Thank you.
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Why would you want such as low-powered PSU? The 850W allows for upgrading components in the future - seems like a great choice. Reply
  • michal1980 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    because 400watts is more then enough for even a high power video card.

    Look back at anandtech gpu reviews.

    single 6970 tops out at ~360 watts.

    I love the more is better mentallity.

    A direct result of stupidty, and a direct cause of waste.
  • Anchen - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    What the hell i the waste? It's not like an 850W psu draws more power, it'll only use as much as the system needs. It comes out cheaper, is effectively silent. And if you knew anything about PSU's you know you certainly don't want to continuously run at 90% of your PSU's capacity which if you were gaming with a single 6970 you would. A PSU's best efficiency is at 50% load. Reply
  • HangFire - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "Seasonic X-400. Game,set,match. No fan, will go up to 400watts. Whats Puget excuse?"

    flemeister already answered your question. They are counting on the always-on CP-850 for needed airflow. An X-400 would be silent but would only add heat to the case, not remove it.

    Now... What excuse for your continued ignorance?
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Who called it a gaming machine? Do you think that is all Anandtech can review? Reply
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Look at the gaming review done on this machine. Look at the author's off base, ignornant comments on 30fps. And the rant about 100-150fps. For the writer/anandtech to ever try to stretch this into a gaming machine is crap. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I don't think they were trying to call it a gaming machine at all. They were putting it through their standard suite of tests, which includes games. This is the same as putting an Atom netbook through the standard laptop test suite, even though they know it will be producing single-digit FPS scores and is completely unsuited to that use. I did not read this article as trying to show this was any more than adequate as a gaming platform, it seemed clear to me that the point of this build is a lot of CPU power in as silent a rig as possible. Obviously if gaming is your primary use, unless you game in a crypt with sound off this probably shouldn't be how you spend $2k.

    Also, 16FPS was in 1 game at their Ultra preset. You could have chosen to point out the 53 FPS it scored in the chart above the one you referenced, which would be just as much of an outlier.
  • pcfxer - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Parts cost money, but I guarantee no one on here could achieve the same thing with the amount of research and testing that has been applied to this system. Apparently people want Engineers to work for free.

    IBM doesn't charge you only for parts, GM/ford/etc don't charge you just for parts and your local bike shop doesn't charge for just parts. YES! Unless you have an anechoic chamber with a noise floor below 10dB and years of experience (engineering degree or two) you can achieve this.

    The chamber costs money, the engineer costs money, the time costs money. DEAL WITH IT! You couldn't do better!
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You are right, and you are wrong! Puget should get paid for the work they have done on this PC, absolutely!!! Out of all the parlor shop groups they really seem to know what they are doing, and for those Silent Enthusiasts out there who don't want to put together a PC this is a great way to go, certified 11db is well worth the price if you haven't experienced a PC this quiet it will change your entire computing experience!! But please don't let people believe you cannot do this yourself, you can, without an enginneering degree and without a sound chamber! My loudest component was a 10db Noctua fan that I replaced with a 6db Noctua fan, 200mm case fans attenuated down to 8db, rear case fan 6db, video card fan in auto mode 1335rpm again between 8 and 10db, how do I know? Because it's quieter than my 10db fan and louder than my 6db fan! CPU cooler Noctua NH-D14, it's so large so much surface area it needs no fan 0db. Ssd 0db! You don't need a degree or have to hire an engineer to put together an sub-10db PC, if you enjoy putting a PC together just do it yourself! ;) Reply
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You would need a brain. Those are a much harder to get than degrees.
  • PartEleven - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Wait? What? SPCR's own anechoic chamber has a noise floor of 10.21 db. Even they have a hard time measuring the noise from this system.

    In reading your post it sounds like you are basing your own system's sound using your own subjective hearing and comparing it to a fan advertised at 10db. You fail to realize that nearly every sound rating advertised on the package of a fan is misleading at best. There's no way your system is 10db.
  • Taft12 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Nor do sound waves exist in a vacuum in the real world. More than one fan will create a multiplying effect leading to a db measure higher than the "rating" of any single fan. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You don't need an Anechoic Chamber, all you need is a pair of ears in good working condition! Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I have been focusing more on quiet parts for years. But it is really tough to find quiet parts at a decent price. SilentPC review is almost worthless because of the outrageous prices of the parts that they review. sigh. Reply
  • HangFire - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Huh? Do you have examples?

    WD Green drives are hardly pricey. You only need one or two CPU fans, so while $19 each may be "twice the price" of a noisy fan, it is still not a lot of money. I picked up my Mugen 2 for $55 plus shipping, and better deals have been had for that item. It works so well I had to turn off the BIOS alarm because the PWMA CPU fan kept dropping below 100RPM and the CPU idles 2C above ambient. A P183 costs less than most Lian Li's and certainly a lot less than a ThermalTake Level 10. Since most silent builds don't use a big card like a GTX 580 the total system costs are usually less than a mid-range gaming rig.

    The only nearly "pricey" item I can see at SPCR is the Seasonic X-400 Power Supply. Given that you are getting a Gold Rating and fanless operation, in a P/S with a long warranty and very high quality capacitors, with low ripple and tight regulation, it is obvious you are getting what you pay for. The overall system longevity and reliability is worth it, especially compared to bargain gaming power supplies, many of which have false ratings. If you are comparing it price-wise to a same-wattage low end Rosewill or a Diablotek, well, anyone who buys something like that gets what they deserve when the magic smoke comes out.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I'm mainly thinking of power supplies and fans. In the case of fans, a few years back I bought one they recommended and it wasnt nearly as quiet as I expected. Things could be different now but I feel like an idiot dropping $20+ on a fan anyway.

    With power supplies, I was looking for a good quiet reasonably priced 300W supply. Something that is only going to be powering a dual core with 2 drives and a HD5670. Nothing big. And when I did find one, I would go to newegg and the thing would have a horrible rating with lots of DOAs and "died after 2 weeks" type comments. It is hard to pull the trigger and pay $60 for a 300 watt psu that people are having problems with. I think $60 is pretty steep for a 300W supply, even if it is very quiet. If I pay that much I want it to be a 5 star product.
  • HangFire - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    SPCR is the place to go for noise reviews. For Power Supply quality reviews, there is jonnyguru and [H]ardOCP. Not Anandtech, and certainly not Tom's.

    Just a few years ago, buying a quality power supply for a decent price was very difficult. Part of the problem is that it costs almost as much to build a 300W P/S as a 600W (same number of components, same labor, same shipping, same marketing, same return rate, slightly different rating on components), yet the market will not pay as much. Since then, competition (mainly between Antec and Corsair) has given us several reasonable choices.

    The existence of $15 power supplies colors the users opinion as well, and the existence of $15 P/S that sell for $60 doesn't help either. Keeping in mind that cheap P/S often are missing advertised features (like Over Current Protection), don't meet ATX specs (typically voltage regulation at rated wattage), and are missing A/C filtering components (lots of noise put back on the mains). Getting all this stuff right costs money. Doing it very quietly costs more.

    As for loud fans and a dead P/S, everyone has bad luck, that is what RMA's are for. Sure, we are usually out the shipping, but we can let our displeasure be known in reviews and forums, and by buying the competitor's products.

    But your idea that SPCR is almost worthless and reviews primarily outrageously expensive products is silly. Compared to cutting edge performance products, almost everything on SPCR is cheap.
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I frequent SPCR, and I have no idea where you got this opinion. They suggest some of the most reasonably-priced parts out of all of the tech sites I've read. Which parts are you looking at? And for that matter, what's your idea of "reasonably priced"? You're not going to get quality quiet parts for the bargain-basement $1 per fan price you find on deal sites. Reply
  • Golgatha - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    They replaced some case fans, used an aftermarket cooler with a more silent fan, and cut some foam to fit inside an Antec case. This + service (last I checked the individual components are warrantied by the manufacturers) != a $1000 markup. Also, at this price point it should come with a SSD. Reply
  • Golgatha - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Sorry, my mistake, it does some with a SSD. Still the parts list is lacking for the price they want. Reply
  • HangFire - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Wow, you made the same point as Dustin, and even got the cost differential wrong the same amount, too. Good job! Reply
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I guess that means you don't fall under Puget's target market. There are certain markets where silent computer is important. Noise is often a forgotten aspect when people build computers, basically as long as it doesn't sound like an outright vacuum cleaner/blow dryer, people accept it.
    While you could buy identical parts for much much cheaper, they cherry pick their parts to iron out batch variation and electrical noise in motherboards and power supplies. They have anechoic chambers for testing. The list goes on. Clearly, it's not something an average Joe can do off New Egg. That might not mean much to many, especially the readership of AT, but it is important to some.
  • pcfxer - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    RTA analysis + anechoic chamber time = engineering.

    They hand picked the fans, coolers, etc. to work together based on what they believed to be appropriate compromises.

    Let's take your simpleton description to another analogy.

    "Engineering? They took some bolts, some plastic, motor oil, a few sensors to fit inside a mustang body! Damn them and their highly efficient 5.0L with more horsepower than a base Corvette!"

    Like I said, some of you just don't get what Engineering is.
  • FunBunny2 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Don't be so quick to jump on that bandwagon. OCZ has been getting a lot of heat over its Vertex 2 parts built with 25nm NAND. A topic you should pursue, by the way. Reply
  • bigbob123456 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Speaking from experience, I can tell you that's the most half-assed foam installation. First that's a cheap medium density foam. Quality would mean using 1/4" neoprene, which costs 3x as much as what they used. Second, they're making a mistake in cutting slots in the foam for the structure of the's FOAM it'll compress to compensate. Third, they could have used 3x as much foam as they did. I see lots of exposed metal at the back of the case, around the motherboard, on the drive cage, etc.

    I recently bought some foam and did my own installation, and every square inch you cover beyond just the front / sides does make an audible difference. In a lot of places I even doubled up on the foam.
  • HangFire - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    "I recently bought some foam and did my own installation, and every square inch you cover beyond just the front / sides does make an audible difference."

    Wow, impressive. So how much lower than 11db did you get? And how is it you could actually hear the difference below 11db? Are you an Owl?

    Or maybe... once PS got to 11db... they knew they could stop right there?
  • bigbob123456 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Obviously I did my own installation in a normal game box, subjectively cutting the noise level in half. The point is it speaks to the level of overpricing on this machine given the quality (lack of) they put into it. For example, if they would have done some better foaming they probably could have thrown in a 6870 or something instead of a useless 5750 and had the same results. Duh. Reply
  • HangFire - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Puget Sound does make gaming systems. Anandtech didn't review of them them. D'oh. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I guess you can purchase a PC like this one and let someone else decide and define a silent PC for you. But for $2200 you can build a much quieter and much higher performing and much better looking PC than this Puget. Corsair AX850 is a much better psu than this Antec, Noctua NH-D14 is a much better CPU cooler than the Gelid, and the Asus 6870 direct cu is a much better video choice than the 5770. Do some research put some time into it learn a great deal and pay yourself in better components instead of paying Pugit for assembly costs!

    Wrap all these great parts in a Corsair Obsidian 650D enclosure and run the 6870 fan on auto. It's 10decibels of hardware heaven! Enclose your hardware not your mind!
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I think you have no idea how quiet 10 db really is. The system you described is no where near 10 db. Reply
  • kevith - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You're absolutely right: 10 dB is VERY little sound. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Oh I know 10db and 8db and 6db. Read my earlier comments on each component, this article. Maybe you are not up on the latest heatsinks by Asus they are huge allowing fans to run at idle 15 percent and stay in the 30s. I know the fan can also produce 30db but I am talking idle and working in Office apps, not gonna argue but the AX850 is dead silent fan does not move under 25percent load and the Noctua NH-D14 I run with no fans passive! Don't assume until you really know! Reply
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Oh I'm not assuming. I know.

    You suggested using an Asus 6870 DirectCu. At stock settings. SilentPCReview measured the sound of the Asus EAH6850 DirectCU @ 15db idle. That's 50% louder than this system. Try again.
  • erple2 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Why spend 1+Million dollars on a Bugatti Veyron when you can buy an inexpensive Hyundai to drive from point A to B? They Hyundai will even carry more people than the Bugatti. It'll also get substantially better Gas Mileage. In stop and go traffic, you won't be able to tell that the Bugatti can go zero to ludicrous speeds faster than the Hyundai can get to 60. Does that mean that the Bugatti is be sold? Clearly, you're not the target market.

    You're comparing apples to oranges. In just about every instance in the world, optimizing for one specific vector (in this case, actually silent operation) tends to drive the cost up exponentially beyond a certain point. You as the consumer have to decide whether that cost is worthwhile. Do $50,000 speakers sound better than a $5000 speaker? To someone willing to spend that much, it might (protip - generally only highly trained ears can tell the difference). Does that mean that I'm the target market for a 50k speaker? No. I don't have a highly tuned and trained ear (though I'd be willing to bet that many people that buy the 50k speaker also don't have trained ears, but that's another discussion).

    Ultimately, your computer will be faster. But it will also be louder. And may not be as well assembled (though that depends on your skill level). Plus, if you have any problems with your computer, you get to call the 12 different manufacturers of each of the components to get it fixed.
  • strikeback03 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Another parallel is that if you are going to drive the Veyron legally and only on public roads, the only thing it does better than the Hyundai is draw attention. None of its strengths are evident in that usage model. This computer system seems similar - outside of some specific circumstances (music recording, theater use) the average user doesn't have a quiet enough workspace that the difference between an 11dB system and a 20dB system matters. So the biggest benefit would be the ability to brag in forums about your 11dB system.

    It would be interesting to see if purchasing these same components (minus the custom foam and such) off the shelf and assembling would produce a system that is still inaudible in the majority of homes.
  • nikclev - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    While I don't dispute that the corsair AX 850 is a great PSU, I disagree that it is much better than the CP-850. They are both great PSU's, the antec has slightly less ripple and the corsair has slightly better regulation according to johnny guru. With only performance in mind, they are both excellent PSU's.

    The antec is only usable in certain antec cases, but is around $120 retail. The Corsair is around $200 retail. With value in mind, the antec is a much better psu than the corsair IF you have an antec case to put it in.
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    What the title says. I've noticed more than a few comments on this article from people interested in a tech site that reviews parts for their quietness to help them build a silent gaming machine. That's pretty much exactly what SPCR does. Go check them out!

    And if you've already checked them out and wrote them off as ridiculous or useless, I'd like to know why? Why are all of their reviews invalid? Why are they so terrible? Why, if they provide the kind of analysis some people want so much, are they still ignored so much?

    Just curious.
  • KayDat - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I suspect most people don't really understand the difference between 'quiet' and 'silent'. Most people grew up and live around noisy PC's, where anything that isn't a blow dryer is reasonably quiet. Perhaps many don't understand the implications of quiet computing? Of course, technically the Puget SPCR build isn't really 'silent' either, but for practical intents and purposes, it is.
    Of course, quiet computing is a slippery slope; once you start, there's a good chance you won't be satisfied until you reach silent, as each time you lower the noise floor, you become accustomed to the noise, and feel like going for more (that is, less noise ;)
    BTW, nice seeing other SPCRers kicking around on the net, PartEleven =]
  • Dug - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    What I don't think most of you understand is that a majority of people have no interest in building or setting up a computer. What these guys do is an art and they have the experience to do it correctly.
    If you walk down the street I'll bet there may be 1 in a 1000 people that actually build there own.
    So the price they have is not bad for the experience, attention to detail, and support.

    Sure parts can be bought separately for less, but this can be said about anything.
    You can put together a car for less than buying one made by a manufacturer, but how many of you go and do that?

    How many of you have had to take calls from family members or friends. You may think its no big deal, but if you made something for them, you are responsible. And believe me, tech support is no fun and its not cheap. Not to mention running web site, ordering products, marketing, etc. This is a small business for higher end clients.

    To go from 11dBA at idle to 12 dBA at full load is no easy feat. Most of you building your own don't care about that subtle difference, but I know a lot of people that do.

    I think they've done an outstanding job and should be commended for bringing this type of machine to market.
  • bigbob123456 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Give me 6 hours and I'll put this same system together and only charge you $180 in labor, since that's what I currently make in 6 hours. It's one thing to put a car together from scratch, but a sound proofed computer needs little more than a screwdriver, some adhesive, and time. Therefore your analogy is terrible.

    Furthermore the other costs you mention, website, parts, marketing, tech support, etc are largely capitalized long term expenses and distributed over the sale of money systems. No matter how you spin it, this system is overpriced and not built as well as it could be (quality + part selection)
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I really think people here don't understand the true meaning of 11dB. It is for all intents and purposes, silent. The average bedroom at night sits at around 30dB. 11dB is FAR below the sound floor of most situations.
    Is this system something that everyone needs? Probably not. But some do, and it is desirable to others.

    You make it sound like Puget sit on their hands and charge people for them to do it; silent computing isn't as simple as screwdriver, adhesive and time. Your argument that "this system is...not built as well as it could be" also falls short; the AT review affirms many times that this is a solid machine, and that Puget did a top notch job. Their parts selection aren't aimed at 12yo ricers or the average gamer, but those looking for a silent computer.

    Would I buy this computer? Probably not. Neither would the majority of the AT readership. Sure, I could buy all the identical parts, and put together a system that might be fairly quiet, but it probably won't reach 11dB, EVEN WITH IDENTICAL PARTS. There are batch differences in all computer parts, from fans to motherboards and graphics cards, resulting in different sound profiles and electrical noise. Puget spend time hand picking their parts, ensuring you get a quietest parts. If you're interested in silent/quiet computing, I suggest you come visit SPCR and spend some time reading some of their articles and posts in the forums.
  • Dug - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    You forgot a lot of things.
    You have to research the parts and test to make sure you can claim that 11dba
    You have to use your own money to order the parts.
    Unpack everything and put it together.
    Hope that the parts you ordered work- oh wait one doesn't so you have to spend the time for rma.
    Now install Windows and all updates- install things like flash, adobe reader, etc.
    Test- test- test. Because you don't want to find out 2 hours later the ram isn't good, certain fan isn't at spec, etc
    Supply set up instructions.
    Now package everything up and set up shipping.
    Hope that you aren't scammed from a bad visa.
    And last, are you going to provide 1yr support for that $180 when the person doesn't know how to plug in the mouse?
    Now you have to pay for rent, electricity, water, payroll, taxes, advertising, etc.
    Good luck on only chargin $180 profit. You won't make it long.
  • OblivionLord - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    SPCR Edition starts at $1,550
    Review system quoted at $2,149

    I'm going to say that this system certainly does not merit the cost. If the goal of this case is to be purely based on performance while being silent then ehhh. I'm sure someone would rather venture off into the newer upcoming iMac with a Sandy Bridge for this amount of money since it's basically the same performance being a 'silent' computer which sells around the same price point and is just as useless in gaming as this system. On the other hand, this system is a desktop and can fit the upcoming passively cooled HD6850 which will greatly best the iMac in gaming. This may sound great and all, but this newer 6850 will more than likely greatly increase the overall cost by a few extra hundred or so.

    After all that said, the iMac still is a more attractive buy since, if we compare the current $1.5k iMac 21.5", it takes up less space and already comes with a monitor which to me is just a much more selling point than this system.

    I dislike Macs btw hehe

    Then again, this company could just be show boating to say that they have the quietest custom pre-built desktop mid tower system that still uses fans and they realize that only a few people would really buy it. hehe

    As far as what a pc builder can do themselves... here are pics of my case..
  • GeorgeH - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    This system does not contain $1000 worth of parts. This system contains ~$1400 worth of parts at a minimum.

    Elsewhere in the comments section Dustin claims that the $1000 figure was for "equivalent hardware performance." That would be an interesting comparison to make, but that's not what the article says the $1000 figure is for. The article flat out says that there is "$1000 in parts here".

    There's really no way to sugar coat this - the article is flat out wrong, by an almost 150% margin. Furthermore, this was not a typo or other honest mistake; Dustin has verified in the comments that $1000 is what he intended to write. When a casual reader can verify in <5min that a review is spewing bullshit, something is seriously fucking wrong.

    I don't know how you're going to fix this, but at a minimum I"d say a rewrite/rewording of the conclusion and a public apology to Puget Systems is in order - they were kind enough to trust AT with a system to review, and AT turned around and flat out lied about the value of that system to AT's readership. Classy.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You guys are right, I messed up. I've updated the conclusion page of the article to reflect it. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Mistakes happen. If Puget Systems is OK with how this one has been handled (they're the ones that might have been in for some real world hurt here) then it's all good. Reply
  • Taft12 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Puget Systems could give 2 shits about getting slammed in this comment section - the exposure from this article is pure $$$$$ Reply
  • Osamede - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Why does anyone need a fridge-sized, 31 lb behemoth of a computer in this day and age. Companies like Synology and QNAP manage to package 4-drive desktop units aka "NAS" in something barely bigger than a load of full sized bread.

    So this thing here is a porker and could slim down a lot. Even with the silencing effects.
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Why do people use PC towers at all? Why don't we all move to laptops, all-in-ones (ala iMac) and mini-ITX form factors? Lack of airflow, limited space means limited features (full ATX board with graphics card), tower cooler for the CPU allowing minimal fan speed while having cool temps, the list goes on. Sure you could try running a comparible system in a small box like a Shuttle, but when was the last time you saw a silent shoebox computer? Most Shuttle computers I've seen run both hot AND loud. Reply
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    A simple answer, and one that can be debated.

    Air flow/circulation. This case has 1 PSU fan (attached) that pulls air in through the front and across the already cool HDDs (Green HDD + SSD). Has 1 mid/front fan (located behind top cage), to blow air past the fanless Crossfire cards, 1 fan attached to the CPU cooler, and 1 exhaust fan at the back of the case. The top vent fan is blocked off with sound dampening material (and, achieved better cooling results with it covered).

    Arguably, this is a quiet case with rather good airflow potentials considering it isn't a small case requiring air holes all over the place, and massive side panel fans. It achieves excellent cooling with minimal noise, and heat. Smaller cases create more heat, and require more fans, or for fans to spin faster due to ushering out the heat. Which, in turn causes more noise.

    Larger cases are able to sidestep the issue of heat to a great degree when smaller cases require more ways to get rid of the heat (more fans, more vents, more noise, etc).
  • HangFire - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    So some slam it for not having a 6890. Now it is too big, heavy, and I suppose, way too fast.

    Maybe we're just talking about different target markets here.
  • mariush - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    It's designed to be a silent pc yet they screw almost everything up...

    Power supply... why would you need 850 watts?

    The system uses 60w idle and 200w load so it's obvious 400-500 watts is enough even with slight overclocking - they could have used the amazing Seasonic 460w that's completely passive and it's 80+ GOLD, 90-92% efficiency... see

    Or if they really wanted they could have used the regular Seasonic X-560 or X-650 (that I own), which are both completely passive at less than 20% load.

    Nothing special about the video card, it's passive from the factory - I have a stock radeon 4850 with Accelero S1 Rev 2 passive kit mounted on it - 40 C idle, 60-65C load... they could have added a more powerful video card, if they custom mounted a proper passive cooler .

    They could have mounted a faster hard drive on a 5.25" bracket below the dvd drive, on some silicon pads or some sort of noise dampening mechanismsm because that's what you'll hear during operation, the interrupted noise of the disk heads - your ears get used to the constant buzz of the coolers and don't notice them after a while, especially at such low speed.
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Again, the 850 might be overkill, but it does allow room to grow, and is cheaper than most other models. It also has the fan up front, is able to create a little wind tunnel in the area that lacks other case fans, and vents it out with the CP's pass through design. If you put in the Seasonic X series you have the upper fan venting into the lower case compartment, and airflow is restricted to the back "vents" so the hot air produced must fill up the lower compartment, and rise up into the rest of the computer. Unnecessarily giving hot air to the rest of the computer.

    And again, the 460 passive PSU leaves no intake air into the lower compartment, and would require a fan mounted to the front bay of the case, increasing dB levels even at low settings. This isn't something you want when your main goal is to create one of the most silent computers on the market. The CP-850 has an extremely silent fan, cools the SDD/HDD/PSU, and pushes it right out the back. It's cheaper than most Seasonic units -- so there's no reason to buy a more expensive PSU, and front mounted fan (which airflow would be restricted by a non-pass through PSU, and whirl hot air about the case).

    Video cards -- yeah, there's room for improvement there, but not factory passive. The issue you run into with installing custom coolers on higher end cards is shipping. How good would those custom coolers do when being shipped cross country? If they're passive from the factory -- you have little worries. Having a custom cooled video card get to the customer with pieces fallen off isn't good for business. I also believe it voids the manufacturer's warranty. In the end -- it makes sense to prefer factory passive video cards.

    A faster hard drive? It already has a 120GB SSD -- the 1.5TB is for storage, or non important programs. It can also work for games too, but might take a bit longer to load/etc. Overall, I don't see it necessary to increase RPM speed at the expense of sound, or the unnecessary expense of extra sound dampening/HDD silent drive boxes.

    There's a ton of could haves to improve the system's performance. However, I doubt they would have resulted in a system being around 11dB.
  • mariush - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You're forgetting the fact that these power supplies have very high efficiency, therefore small loss means small heat generation.

    Here's a review for the 400w model :

    Here's one for the same400w model (in German, but use Google Translate if you need to) :,testberichte-240704.html

    And one for the 460w model, but in Spanish (same, use Google Translate):

    They got up to 45C during operation (the 400w averaged 35C with 300w load, more than the maximum this system used at load), so they don't heat too much. A simple fan on top near the cpu to pull out air from the case would also drag air inside through the power supply and create a minimal air flow.

    I guess they just chose that one for the big number and popular brand, because apparently 460w sounds too small nowadays for the less knowledgeable persons.

    About the hard drive... well they chose green purely for the word... the drive isn't much cooler or more silent than other brands and mounted correctly in the middle of the case, especially with some 5-10$ silencing kit, nobody would hear it..

    I'll give you credit for the video card rebuttal... yes, it may be an issue to ship a video card with manually mounted ram heatsinks, tape could get loose, the video card may be too heavy and get out of the slot during transport... yeah, it would be complicated.

    But anyway, my point is that it's just a system made with stock parts and just some insulating material placed on the side, nothing special. For the 2400$ price, they could offer better value.
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Sure, slap in a smaller power supply, and the price doesn't change. Now, you're left with a smaller power supply, and are possibly limited if you want to upgrade your system later down the line. Unnecessarily gimping your system in terms of potential upgrades (ie. better video card(s), overclocking, etc).

    You now should probably put in another fan on the bottom HDD cage to blow across the HDD/SDD, and at least move the heat within of the PSU compartment area.

    It is not just about big flashy numbers, the CP-850 was specifically designed for a few Antec cases (or, vice versa). It is low cost, and a very capable/reliable PSU. Just because you have an 850 watt in there does not mean it is drawing out 850. Granted, it might not be as efficient as smaller units -- it isn't going to really harm anything, or send your electric bill through the roof.

    The hot air exiting the PSU makes it's way into the main case area, and drags across just about every component (it would be blown by the 2nd cage fan across the video cards first), and then eventually make its way up further to the heatsink fan, and exhaust fan. The top vent fan is blocked off, as that actually can hinder overall airflow, and cooling performance (it also reduces sound levels).

    The "green" HDD cannot be placed in the middle of the case, as there is a fan in that area (at the back of the top HDD cage). You can not have the rear HDD cage 120mm fan if there are any drives in that cage. The removal of that fan would create severe airflow issues. So, it was put down on the bottom. I guess the HDD is a matter of preference if you must eek out a few more thousand RPMs to load itunes.

    And, for what its worth -- insulating material does little for most cases. It works so well here because all the fans, or anything that makes noise is retreated deeper into the case (with the exception of the exhaust fan, but that lacks direct line of hearing, and arguably the reason for a few of the dBs). If any fans were put up front -- the case would be louder, and most likely around the 15-30dB levels. Most case noises are from fans, and vibrations of it's parts to the chassis. They did an excellent job of making this work. Even with that overkill PSU.

    And, by the way -- the price was 2,149, not $2400.
  • michal1980 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    do you know how much power your pc really needs? Or are you a stupid sheep blinded by PSU sales people. Reply
  • Sagrim - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Amazingly yes, and I've never said that the CP-850 isn't overkill for this system. The 400-450 seasonic PSU would power the system well, but also could slightly limit it in terms of upgrading the GPU, and overclocking. You also would most likely require an extra fan. It would further increase the price, noise levels, and possibly raise the temperature within the case. Reply
  • Sagrim - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    On newegg this is almost the exact system. Exceptions being the foam (lesser quality on newegg), and guessed at the exact fans used (though, scythe slipstream are normally used, just don't know exact model). I also removed all instant rebates from newegg prices as these may not always be there, and gives a better general idea of true cost of components.

    To achieve the relative cost of the CPU (that cannot be purchased on newegg at this time) I used a $209 i5 + an extra order of 9.99 AS5, giving 218.99, taken up to 219.00 in calculations.

    Case - 159.00 (Antec P183 v3)
    CPU - 219.00 (i5 2500K)
    MB - 190.00 est. (ASUS P8P67 Pro)
    DVD - 18.99 (Asus DVD/RW)
    HDD - 79.99 (WD Green 1.5TB, bare drive)
    SSD - 229.99 (Intel X-25M 120GB)
    GPU - 359.98 ($169.99 x 2) (PowerColor Go, Crossfire Ready)
    PSU - 139.99 (Antec CP-850)
    RAM - 109.99 (Kingston HyperX, 8GB, 1333)
    OS - 99.99 (Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit)
    Fans - 26.97 (8.99 x 3) [56.97, originally 18.99] (Scythe 120mm Slipstream)
    Cooler - 39.99 (Gelid Tranquillo)
    Foam - 44.97 (14.99 x 3 to cover) [arguably, cheap foam] (Silverstone, 4mm [7mm is used by Puget])
    AS5 - 9.99 (Arctic Silver 5)

    Sub Total - 1728.84
    Shipping - 42.70
    Total Cost -- $1771.54
    (if exact parts ordered from newegg today with discounts, $1733.51, including shipping).

    In essence, you could buy all these parts, and put them together yourself to achieve similar results. If anything goes wrong it's dealing with newegg, and then the manufacturer. After the computer is built, you then get to enter the BIOS settings, and play around with fan control/speeds. Then, while doing so, you get to take the temperature of the various components, and then alter the settings again to achieve maximum levels of cooling vs. sound. But, for most -- simply using quieter components will result in a happier experience, and will most likely forgo the extra alterations necessary to achieve such low volumes.

    As for the debate about cost/performance -- that shouldn't have ever been a debate. This system was not built with high end performance in mind. The Crossfire setup does allow for mediocre gaming/production, but that was not what it was designed for. Though, if you wanted better gaming, use the $360.00 on a better quiet gpu, and drop the crossfire 5750s. It may increase dB slightly, and overall system heat -- but it is very doable. Hopefully Puget will offer a dedicated "gaming" line of silent computers to accommodate to that market (though, this can arguably already be done with their customization features on their site -- just not marketed as silent gaming).

    With an upgraded video card -- this system would cost about the same (possibly cheaper depending on card used), and would post extremely respectable numbers on par with most other i5 2500K systems.

    And, the year parts/lifetime warranty may not be the best, but it still is good. Considering you still fall within the manufacturer warranty on the products, and have all the documentation for it. At which point, it'd be no different than dealing with the manufacturers yourself had you bought it from newegg.

    But, then again -- this is a Walmart loving world where lower price vs. quality will almost always favor the side of lower price. I understand system builders enjoying building their own systems, but when companies like Puget (and others) try to make a name for themselves building good quality computers at a slight markup, and are bashed for their $300-400 increase makes me wonder why these companies even try. Sell systems at cost, and you'll have tons a business -- you'll also have little money making potential. Of course, you could outsource it to another country, charge a $100 markup, price it less than the competition, and still make loads of profit...but that's a totally different discussion...

    Anyways -- awesome job Puget. You've done what few other companies have been able to do (in terms of silent computers), and have top notch customer service.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    You've got an extra $170 in there for a second HD 5750 GPU -- the reviewed system is only running a single GPU. But otherwise, you're correct about the pricing. Reply
  • Sagrim - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Ah, you're right. I watched a youtube video of another Serenity line review, and it was crossfired. Subtract $170, and another $10 for the non-crossfire version.

    So, around $1,591-1,600.
  • AbRASiON - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Beautiful case - a little cramped for the REALLY long video cards - but it's well built and AMAZINGLY quiet considering how open it is, I was shocked.
    Heavy but worth every cent.
  • flemeister - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Remove the upper hard drive cage and you've got 15-16" to play with. =) Reply
  • Kaleid - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    should have a 500rpm fan added to it, 79C is not cool. Reply
  • flemeister - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    It's well within spec. Also, a fan mounted on the video card would need to be mounted horizontally, which would encourage ticking/scraping noises from the fan (I've got a similar rig, gone through this stage before). These noises would be noticeable in a rig this quiet.

    And if you choose a fan that's not susceptible to such noises, you encounter motor noise, a buzzing sound that reminds you why Puget chose the sleeve-bearing Scythe Slipstream fans - they sound absolutely perfect: no buzzing, no unwanted noise at all. I'm using three of the 800RPM models in my rig as we speak, and I couldn't be happier with them!
  • coffeejunkee - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Nice try but there is only one way to go with this configuration: Thermalright HR-02 on the cpu and HR-03 GT on the gpu. It won't get more quiet than this. Reply
  • Chris Peredun - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I know Dustin didn't want to go into the "30fps" discussion, but I'm really, really tired of seeing that statement getting bandied about the Internet.

    There is a very, very clear difference between 60 and 30fps. If you disagree, I'm afraid you are simply wrong.


    I said it.

    *draws line in the sand*
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, February 12, 2011 - link

    There absolutely is and I believe I suggested as much.

    That said, in my experience (and for most of the industry) 30fps seems to be the magic number for playable smooth framerate in gaming. Certain games look like crap at 30, though, while others (Crysis) can actually dip below it and still feel pretty smooth.
  • Chris Peredun - Saturday, February 12, 2011 - link

    *shakes head and respectfully gestures to the other side of the line*

    The confusion is that ~24fps (and around 30fps) is the lower threshold of motion, where you stop seeing individual frames and start seeing continuous movement.

    Yes, 30fps is smooth. Yes, it's playable. But 60fps is noticably better, especially when the game is fast-paced. Something like WoW won't suffer nearly as bad as a twitch FPS, for example.

    The easiest way to relate the 60-vs-30 argument is to ask people if they can see the difference between something like a live-action sports event or soap-opera (both typically shot and broadcast 60fps) and a "major network TV show" typically shot and broadcast at 24/30fps.

    Or have a look at the sample video here, recorded from Way Back When UT2004 was considered new:

    If you're *happy* with 30fps, you've probably saved a lot of money on video cards over the years by not needing anything above that. But please don't try to write it off as an academic difference. 100 vs 150, I'll accept as being academic simply because most people still run 60Hz monitors.
  • ClagMaster - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    "And finally, a brief thumbs up for including 8GB of DDR3 instead of 4GB in the review unit. This really should be standard and it's perplexing why so many of our review towers don't ship with 8GB at this point."

    Thats mighty magnamimous of you that you gove a "brief thumbs up" have 8 GB of memory on your review unit.

    Your comment is silly.

    I seriously wonder if you ever used over 30% (2.4 GB) of that memory in your test reviews.

    There are plenty of people who have used PC's for 25 years who consider 32-bit Operating Systems and 4 GB of DDR3 memory more than adequate for most mainstream applications which includes DVD and BlueRay encoding.

    How about you load a 32-bit Windows XP Home or Pro OS on this nice quiet Sandy Bridge Boutique PC with 4 GB of DDR3 memory and see how much more efficient this computer would be.

    Just do it and post the results.
  • HangFire - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    "Just do it and post the results."

    I hope they do.

    I've run XP and 7 on identical systems, and even the same system. XP has inexplicable delays in bootup and network operations that don't plague 7. Having an extra 4GB of dynamically available disk cache really helps in SSD/HDD systems.
  • xbmchtpcfan - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    I think one important aspect that everyone is failing to call out is what is your time worth to you? Many of you talk about putting together your own rig for cheaper, yet fail to realize you are spending your time to do that. What is that time worth to you? Many of you will just chalk this time up to a 'hobby', but I have lots of hobbies, spending time with my family and friends among the top.

    And yes, I am technically competent enough to order all the parts and put a somewhat silent machine together for a cheaper base cost. But between researching, ordering the parts, assembling, testing, etc, how much time will I really put into this?

    Since most of you want to put dollars next to it, I'll give an example of something with dollar value. If you could consult in your field of expertise, is the 30 hours spent better than consulting on the side for, say, $50 an hour? Now your opportunity cost is $1500 of lost revenue vs an additional cost of $700 (rough estimates) for the Puget system.

    Given the above example, many of you will say that if you are able to consult for $50 an hour outside of your normal day job, than you can probably afford to pay whatever you want, so let's take look at non-monetary examples. Is it time better spent than staining your deck? Landscaping? Is it time better spent than reading to your daughter or watching her walk for the first time?

    The answer to all of these may be yes to you, but to others, they may have different priorities and different hobbies that they like to do. If you want to know what types of target consumers Puget is looking for, it's the ones that realize that their time is worth something and that there is an opportunity cost associated with anything that requires your time and effort.

    As for me, I am in this market, so for me, it is about reviewing all the boutique shops that offer this type of quiet machine and factoring in everything they have to offer based on the price of the system. From what I can tell, Puget is near or at the top of the list. I'll likely wait for the Sandy Bridge fiasco to blow over and see what Puget does with the Radeon HD 6850 to get a little more gaming power out of a silent machine. So there you have it, one AT reader that is in the target market.

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