Some cooling and noise questions

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
Hi!

I'm going to build my first mini ITX rig and considering my main goal is having a low noise level and I don't plan to OC, I have some doubts, specially because I haven't build a PC in more than a decade.

How quiet can gpu stock coolers be? I plan on having a super quiet Corsair SFX PSU and CPU Noctua cooler and I don't want the GPU to mess it up.

In this scenario, no OC and wanting low noise:
1 - If needed I can undervolt the GPU slightly, can I expect to find a quiet stock GPU?
2 - Are there specific GPU brands that easily allow using noctua fans if needed?
3 - Can one 120 radiator for the CPU and another one for the GPU be a good plan?
4 - Can an after market GPU air cooler be worth it?

Cheers
 

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,045
813
Hi!

I'm going to build my first mini ITX rig and considering my main goal is having a low noise level and I don't plan to OC, I have some doubts, specially because I haven't build a PC in more than a decade.

How quiet can gpu stock coolers be? I plan on having a super quiet Corsair SFX PSU and CPU Noctua cooler and I don't want the GPU to mess it up.

In this scenario, no OC and wanting low noise:
1 - If needed I can undervolt the GPU slightly, can I expect to find a quiet stock GPU?
2 - Are there specific GPU brands that easily allow using noctua fans if needed?
3 - Can one 120 radiator for the CPU and another one for the GPU be a good plan?
4 - Can an after market GPU air cooler be worth it?

Cheers
1: Depends entirely on the GPU. The more powerful it is the less likely it is to be quiet, but the same also applies to size and price - smaller or cheaper is also likely to be noisier. There are many reasonably quiet GPUs out there, but also many that are not. A beefy three-fan heatsink on a reasonably powered GPU is likely to be quiet, but read reviews as there are some surprisingly bad designs out there.
2: No. If you want to use your own fans, look at reviews with cooler disassemblies and check that the front of the heatsink is as flat as possible with no brackets or mounting hardware sticking out that would collide with a fan.
3: Yes. GPUs respond very well to water cooling thanks to the heat being relatively evenly distributed across the die and having direct-die contact - a 120mm radiator with good airflow can cool almost any GPU, but not necessarily quietly. That depends on the total heat output. But for reference, my 275W Fury X came stock with a relatively thick 120mm AIO and wasn't very noisy. Just note that a 120mm CPU AIO will limit you to less powerful CPUs if you want to stay quiet.
4: Possibly. There are quite a few builds here using massive 3rd party GPU air coolers on high end GPUs, and most seem to report roughly comparable temps but less noise. Just using case-mounted Noctuas is likely to give comparable results.
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
To be able to get some discounts I couldn't wait much longer and ordered the following:
- Corsair SF450 SFX 450W 80 Plus Gold Modular
- Gigabyte B450 I Aorus Pro WIFI
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- Noctua NH-L12S
- Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 PC4-25600 32GB 2x16GB CL16
- Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe 1TB
- MSI GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER GAMING X 4GB GDDR6 -> Edit: it's a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER Windforce OC 4GB GDDR now

The 32GB are probably overkill and I was planning of going for 16GB only, but the 2x8GB were sold out and getting them elsewhere wasn't worth it.
I was almost going for a 1600AF and an Intel SSD 660p 1TB due to their amazing value, but since I went with more RAM I decided to go less value and more future proof route.
I picked that GPU because reviews said it was quiet and they had a refurbished one which brought its price lower.
I'd have preferred the 750W Platinum PSU for future proofing and to have it mostly on passive mode, but they didn't have it. I hope the 450W gold one is enough in case in the future I go for some mid-range ray tracing GPU.
For the case I'll either get a Louqe Ghost S1 or Sidearmd T1, if I can get my hands on one.

In some days I'll start watching some videos about UV the CPU and GPU.
 
Last edited:

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,045
813
Sounds like a good setup! The 450W PSU shouldn't hold you back unless you climb quite far up the GPU ladder - my setup with a massively power hungry Fury X (275W TDP) and a 1600X barely exceeds 400W at the wall while gaming, which when accounting for the efficiency curve of my PSU means somewhere around 350-370W internally, which is what PSUs are rated for. While running your unit at that high a load might be a bit noisy it is built to handle it. Having some margin for wear and degradation over the years is of course also a good idea, but you have plenty of room to grow. That setup is likely never exceeding 200W at stock outside of power virus loads.
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
That's great to know!
And in some years we might even have more efficient GPUs, let's see what Intel does.
 

txporter

Caliper Novice
Feb 1, 2020
27
3
nulio, I recently just built a very similar machine to what you have listed above (post). Just for you to be aware, the gigabyte board you have (also mine) has an annoying standard fan curve and you will experience a lot of fan noise/racing with stock conditions. I ended up setting a custom fan curve and running a fixed voltage/frequency to avoid it. Custom curve holds fan speed at 50-60% (still deciding) until 55-60C and then ramps to 100% by 80C.

I built in a small case (Silverstone ML06-E) so my main concern was being able to sufficiently cool the system more than overclocking. Running now at a fixed 1.15V @ 4.175GHz and the thermals are over 10C cooler on Prime95 than stock and my performance is actually also better than stock.

I was not able to get the XMP RAM profile to post with my Corsair Vengeance LPX memory. 1.35V 15-17-17-36 3200MHz worked fine, as did 1.35V 18-19-19-42 3600MHz.
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
Thank you for your post!

I read the same in one review so I was already prepared mentally that I needed to learn how to change the GPU fan profile.
I'll have a read at your post to also check the RAM and CPU settings, on top of the GPU. It's been a long time since I did anything like this.
 

txporter

Caliper Novice
Feb 1, 2020
27
3
I think you will need to find some 3rd party software to mess with your GPU fan profile (Afterburner or Argus, I think). I am interested to hear any result you have there. I haven't messed with the GPU fan at all. I doubt I really need to frankly since this is a 75W card and I haven't seen any thermal issues, but I am still interested to read about it (just in case 😉 )!
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
Oh, you were mentioning the MB controlling the CPU fan? I misunderstood that.
 

txporter

Caliper Novice
Feb 1, 2020
27
3
Ah, yes. Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I was controlling my cpu fan (which was the one that was racing).
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
The confusion was my end, since I read that the GPU fan can have a loud profile I assumed straight away that you were talking about it.
Especially because I changed my GPU to the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER Windforce OC 4GB GDDR6 (but didn't update my previous post)

Thanks again for your post!
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
I was able to assemble everything, installed Win10 and the drivers.
Next step is learning and doing some technical stuff that I never tried before or just too long ago, before assembling everything inside the case, since it got damaged in shipping and I'm trying to fix that situation.

I've been reading a lot and I feel a bit overwhelmed atm.
What do you recommend for:
1- Check temperatures, fan speeds, frequencies, etc?
2- Best couple of stress tests?
3- Guides (and software if required) for UV and OC the CPU and optimize the RAM settings?
4- Guide (and software if required) for setting the CPU fan curve?
5- Same for the GPU, UV, OC and fan curve guides (and software if required)?
 

txporter

Caliper Novice
Feb 1, 2020
27
3
I was able to assemble everything, installed Win10 and the drivers.
Next step is learning and doing some technical stuff that I never tried before or just too long ago, before assembling everything inside the case, since it got damaged in shipping and I'm trying to fix that situation.

I've been reading a lot and I feel a bit overwhelmed atm.
What do you recommend for:
1- Check temperatures, fan speeds, frequencies, etc?
2- Best couple of stress tests?
3- Guides (and software if required) for UV and OC the CPU and optimize the RAM settings?
4- Guide (and software if required) for setting the CPU fan curve?
5- Same for the GPU, UV, OC and fan curve guides (and software if required)?
Start with HWInfo64 to monitor your system. You can use it to record log files during your testing runs that you can refer back to later or really study the results. I just recently downloaded an add-on to HWInfo that I wish I had earlier that makes it easier to look at results and compare log files called GenericLogViewer.

There are quite a few different stress tests that you can use. The classic is Prime95, but it REALLY stresses your system. Not everyone agrees that stressing that much is necessary. I did use it sparingly, but relied more on Cinebench R20 for most of the benchmarking and stressing. Others to look at are Blender, Aida64, Heaven 4.0, FurMark, and PassMark Performance testing. I didn't use Aida64 because it didn't want to pay for it. :p Heaven and FurMark are gpu tests. Blender can be used for either cpu or gpu testing. Cinebench does a bit of both as does PassMark.

I added some comments to another thread here with someone that was considering undervolting. That is a place to start, but there is a ton out there about it. There is actually a utility called the DRAM-Calculator-for-Ryzen that someone developed for memory overclocking. I tried using it but it seemed like more than I needed.

Setting your fan curve can normally be accomplished in your BIOS. I have a gigabyte board and I set my in the Smart Fan BIOS menu. It was very straight forward. The fan curve had 5 points along it that I was able to set. The Y-axis was fan speed and the X-axis was temperature. I believe you can also set your fans using SpeedFan. I only have a cpu cooler fan, so I just used the BIOS.

GPU UV/OC and fan curve depends on your gpu manufacturer. I have an NVIDIA gpu (also gigabyte). I used MSI Afterburner to tweak the settings. I believe that AMD can be done within its own software, but I haven't use it so cannot say for certain. I suggest watching the Optimum Tech video on GPU undervolting.
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
Thanks! Your post helped a lot resuming everything I had read.

Quick question, are you using the LNA with the cooler fan?

I'll start as soon as I have everything inside the case.
Here are the steps from what I understood and what I'm planning to do:
- CPU Stock - Mem Stock - GPU stock - Run Cinebench and Blender Benchmarks and check/save everything with HWInfo64;
- UV and OC CPU using BIOS - set a voltage that gives me the temps I want (around 1.1V), increase the clock while keeping stability (I'd be happy with 4+ Ghz), increase the FCLK which is at 1200 atm (maybe just 1600 and I won't try 1800) - Benchmarks and save data;
- Using Thaiphoon Burner check the memory details and with DRAM-Calculator-for-Ryzen check best settings, compare with results shown in corsair forums - 1:1 FCLK UCLK - Benchmarks and save data;
- UV and OC GPU Using MSI Afterburner - Benchmarks and save data;
- Tweak all fan profiles.
 

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,045
813
Thanks! Your post helped a lot resuming everything I had read.

Quick question, are you using the LNA with the cooler fan?

I'll start as soon as I have everything inside the case.
Here are the steps from what I understood and what I'm planning to do:
- CPU Stock - Mem Stock - GPU stock - Run Cinebench and Blender Benchmarks and check/save everything with HWInfo64;
- UV and OC CPU using BIOS - set a voltage that gives me the temps I want (around 1.1V), increase the clock while keeping stability (I'd be happy with 4+ Ghz), increase the FCLK which is at 1200 atm (maybe just 1600 and I won't try 1800) - Benchmarks and save data;
- Using Thaiphoon Burner check the memory details and with DRAM-Calculator-for-Ryzen check best settings, compare with results shown in corsair forums - 1:1 FCLK UCLK - Benchmarks and save data;
- UV and OC GPU Using MSI Afterburner - Benchmarks and save data;
- Tweak all fan profiles.
Overclocking that way (the classic Intel way, fixed voltage and fixed max frequency across all cores) will generally not work well on Ryzen, particularly 3rd gen. You'll likely lose performance compared to leaving things at auto, with the best case scenario being minor gains in all-thread workloads but still losses in lower threaded ones and bursty workloads. It's a much better idea to undervolt with an offset and let the chip management system in the CPU deal with boosting, clocks, etc. These chips boost dependent on current draw, thermals, voltage, silicon limits, and a bunch of other factors in a dynamic way that will always perform better than fixed settings if given adequate cooling. Offset undervolting and possibly adjusting the parameters for the silicon fitness controller works significantly better. While you're not likely to trigger silicon degradation at the clocks you're talking about you'll still be deactivating every single protection mechanism in the chip, while leaving noticeable burst performance on the table.
 

nulio

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Jan 30, 2020
44
33
Thanks for your comment and warning.

So I'd be better by just offset undervolting (if at load my system is hotter and/or louder than what I want) and increasing the FCLK? (and matching it with OCed RAM)
 

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,045
813
Thanks for your comment and warning.

So I'd be better by just offset undervolting (if at load my system is hotter and/or louder than what I want) and increasing the FCLK? (and matching it with OCed RAM)
That's the best plan unless you plan to go very, very deep into this, yeah. Undervolting might be a good idea even if you're happy with it as lower power draw might allow it to boost even higher while maintaining thermals.
 

txporter

Caliper Novice
Feb 1, 2020
27
3
Thanks! Your post helped a lot resuming everything I had read.

Quick question, are you using the LNA with the cooler fan?
I am not using the LNA adapter. I was really trying my best to find an approach that could keep the processor cool in the tiny case, that was a higher priority for me than noise. I wanted to make sure that I could get the higher cpu fan speeds to keep things cooler.

Overclocking that way (the classic Intel way, fixed voltage and fixed max frequency across all cores) will generally not work well on Ryzen, particularly 3rd gen. You'll likely lose performance compared to leaving things at auto, with the best case scenario being minor gains in all-thread workloads but still losses in lower threaded ones and bursty workloads. It's a much better idea to undervolt with an offset and let the chip management system in the CPU deal with boosting, clocks, etc. These chips boost dependent on current draw, thermals, voltage, silicon limits, and a bunch of other factors in a dynamic way that will always perform better than fixed settings if given adequate cooling. Offset undervolting and possibly adjusting the parameters for the silicon fitness controller works significantly better. While you're not likely to trigger silicon degradation at the clocks you're talking about you'll still be deactivating every single protection mechanism in the chip, while leaving noticeable burst performance on the table.
I had read that same advice for Ryzen 3rd gen as well, but I haven't found that to really be the case. I think it might be a function of the fact that I built in a very small case with no real way to cool other than the cpu cooler or perhaps I have a processor that undervolts well. But I have actually found MUCH better performance (both single threaded and multi-threaded) with undervolting and running a fixed frequency than with stock conditions. I briefly tried to use voltage offsets, but I didn't find much success with them. Perhaps I need to investigate that further.

Stock cpu with memory OC:


4.2GHz all-core @ 1.15V