Conclusion: Worth Considering In This Configuration

With the amount of performance in AVADirect's Quiet Gaming PC (SPCR Certified!) you're just not going to get a purely silent system. To get one, you'd have to sacrifice the overclock and the video card; in other words, you'd have to go for the Puget Systems Serenity SPCR Edition which I can attest is basically inaudible unless you put your ear right up against the side of the case. And if you want that system, you will pay dearly for the privilege.

There's a lot to like about what AVADirect has done here. Across the board, our review unit features only high quality component selection, right up to the very respectable Prolimatech Megahalems heatsink used on the CPU. AVADirect's engineers understand something I've been pushing in my case reviews: a series of small fans run at low speed can do a lot of work and be remarkably quiet in the process. It's all about having smart airflow. That's basically the case here. $2,700 is an awful lot to ask for a desktop, but at least you know they're not cheaping out anywhere.

Well, except for one place, and that one thing is the crack in the Quiet Gaming PC's armor. The NZXT H2 is a sub-optimal case. It puts in a solid performance here, certainly, but again, the H2 is a baseline for so many vendors because NZXT cuts massive deals to boutiques (which is why their cases can be so prevalent). If I wasn't a hardware reviewer with some behind the scenes experience I might not notice the difference, but I am, and I do. AVADirect does offer alternative enclosures, but that leads me to another question.

Okay, so the Quiet Gaming PC is certified by SPCR. In what configuration? The options AVADirect offers for component selection are thankfully more limited than they usually are in the places that matter (CPU heatsink and GPU options). Would that certification still hold if we changed the case to a theoretically quieter one like the Antec P183 or the Fractal Design Define XL, though? Or if we used a less powerful CPU cooler like the Scythe Mugen 3? It's tricky, and it's the reason why I still tend towards the Puget Systems Serenity for users who want a quiet system. You sacrifice the overclock and some GPU power by going with them, but the component selection is substantially whittled down to only the cream of the crop.

It undoubtedly seems like I'm being tough on AVADirect when the review system I was sent is actually a pretty excellent piece of engineering with a lot of love and care put into it. The value proposition on systems like these is never good; honestly what I really wish is that they'd sent a system in an Antec P183 or the Fractal Design Define XL so I could at least say with some measure of certainty whether or not those cases would be an improvement instead of operating on my knowledge of the NZXT H2, a case which just looks and feels too cheap for a $2,700 computer.

That's my only major complaint, though. If you want a lot of performance in a quiet build and you're not up to putting it together yourself, it's really hard to fault what AVADirect has done here. You'll pay substantially for it, but I can definitely see the market for this system. If you have the money for it and acoustics matter to you, you could do heck of a lot worse.

Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • A5 - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    The Mac Pro is a professional workstation designed by one of the world's largest PC companies. Comparing it to one of these boutique gaming systems is insane as it is designed for a different market - if you need that style of system, you should be looking at HP's Z-series or a Dell Precision T3600. Reply
  • iSayuSay - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Well .. Dell is the second or third biggest PC manufacturer. Their AlienWare is still generic components wrapped in some awkward and LED-ish cases. Now any PC boutique can do that too.

    Being a big company does not mean they're able or willing to design a nice looking tower. I can see the possibility, If one so inclined, people would interested and pay premium for it.

    Mac fanboys aside, I think MacPro could be a great computer, but Apple seems does not want it to. Slow lame updates and all.
    Reply
  • Sub Zero - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    I've bought 2 high-end machines through AVA and 2 from CyberPowerPC. I'll never buy another from CyberPowerPC but will gladly buy from AVA.

    Cyber breaks out good packaging, thermal compound and yes, even good wiring - as Separate Charges. $50 bucks for all that? If you buy a huge CPU fan like the one in this build, and don't support it during shipping, it can cause damage. Happened to me on the last build, and that's why I switched over to AVA.

    The AVA system I just got uses the Corsair 650D, and it's default fan config is very quiet. Built in fan controller in hardware. Plus, the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional motherboard allows you to set target fan speeds as low as you wish, so at idle, you can manually tweak every other fan connected to the Motherboard so they too are nearly silent.

    A good case can make a huge difference and it is odd that AVA would include that particular case in that build. But thankfully, you can override that choice when ordering, and if you do that, it looks like you can snag a high-quality, low noise system with very little compromise.
    Reply
  • casteve - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Ryan,

    Don't know if you knew this...but the case has been through a revision since it's last review. While it's not the prettiest or feature filled case out there, at least it's not starved for air any more. You could pull the AVA Direct guts out, put your std case testing parts in for a quick sound/thermal test and see.
    Reply
  • casteve - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Sorry, meant Dustin. Reply
  • Folterknecht - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    total overkill was my first thought when I saw the the specs and your test results prove it. 650 W would be enough and you still could put in a second GTX680, while it would reduce the power draw and increase efficiency. Under full load that 650W PSU would at least run at ~50% resulting in best efficiency without getting noisy if you stick with Seasonic or BeQuiet! ... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    Agreed. That PSU doesn't make sense for 99.98% of the buyers. Such a waste. Reply

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