Recognizing that many of us would rather have our computers seen and not heard (but still awesome), boutique builder AVADirect is throwing their hat into the ring with a new line of desktop builds engineered for silent operation. Thus far we've only seen acoustic-oriented builds from one boutique (Puget Systems), so it's interesting to see what AVADirect plans on bringing to the table.

While Puget Systems' Serenity line tends to be on the pricier side, we were still very impressed with noise levels that were near impossible to measure without serious dedicated equipment. The drawbacks? Configuration options there were fairly limited, and again, it's a little bit pricey.

AVADirect's offerings hang out on the other side of the spectrum. Every modern platform is supported in their custom builder: Socket AM3 (AMD Phenom II), Socket FM1 (AMD A6 and A8 series), LGA 1155 (Intel Sandy Bridge), and even LGA 1366 (Intel X58) are accounted for. AVADirect also offers a massive spread of video card options, though it remains to be seen how far their enclosure options and noise reduction kit can go in terms of reducing the noise of a monster like the GeForce GTX 580. The selection of cases is healthy, though; value-oriented customers can go for something like the NZXT H2 (reviewed here), or step up to the Fractal Design R3 or even a high-end Lian Li enclosure.

Prices start at $605 for an AMD-based system and go up to a baseline $903 for an X58 machine. Availability is immediate, and all the custom configurators can be found here. In the meantime, we'll be trying to get one of these in stock to see how well it performs, but hopefully more boutiques will offer acoustically-engineered builds. The days of the jet engine desktop are over.

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  • DaveSimmons - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Hopefully they're still setting things up, but at the moment the video card selection is a bit odd on the nvidia side, with no 550 or 560, only some very expensive 460 models.

    Other than that, the parts pricing seems very reasonable, in the same neighborhood as CyberPower.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Every boutique shop should make efforts to get their computers to STFU.

    Nothing more off-putting than a powerful performing computer that sounds like crap, with the user not being able to hear himself think.

    I'll take a nice mid-range performing computer that is dead silent vs a loud beast. But then again, I hardly play games on my computer, so it's easy to build an inaudible rig.
    Reply
  • ekon - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    They offer a wide choice of configuration options which is a nice thing generally, but what are they doing that's special and newsworthy with respect to quiet PCs?

    The Fractal case is not a bad start but silent PC enthusiasts would probably reel at the rest of the default configuration - a 7200RPM Barracuda, cheap dual-80mm fan non-80Plus PSU, and presumably "no CPU cooling fan upgrade" means the stock Intel fan. For someone using it as a no brainer way of configuring a quiet PC, there are plenty of traps and no guidance provided.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Yeah, that doesn't sound very encouraging... There isn't much science to building a quiet PC, it's just about picking a few choice components (HSF, PSU, fans, case, GPU possibly, at least one that idles quietly) and then configuring it properly. Even if you don't go to any of the other extremes that enthusiasts do (sound dampening, WC, carefully tuned OC, etc) you can still achieve solid choices.

    It seems to me the biggest problem with many boutique vendor's rigs is that they're barely tuned... Recent motherboard auto-OC schemes seem to do a better job of overclocking without going voltage crazy than half the vendors. Isn't taking the time to manually do that the reason to pay their premium in the first place? Otherwise they've no better than the big brands they seek to usurp.
    Reply
  • casteve - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    I agree. Other than the cases, it's a selection minefield for the unwary.

    If they really wanted to provide a low noise build, they could at least delete the crappy parts and then rank the remainder into a minimum of silent/quiet/not-so-quiet categories.

    The list of graphics cards is less than stellar and there are no options for case/CPU cooler fan replacement/fan management.
    Reply
  • iriske - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Very nice article! Keep on working. Reply
  • philosofool - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    There's a big emphasis on performance and mobile computing, but not much on silent computing on this site, unless you count HTPC discussions. It's understandable, since that's where most readers get interested.

    How about an article or two on fans and heatsinks that's all about getting things quiet instead of OC'ing? Are there any viable passive PSU coolers on the market today?

    I'd love for Anand authors to write an article about silencing or quieting four graphics cards (two mid-range, two high-end, two green, two red.)
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Anandtech has reviewed some ultra-quiet power supplies:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3962/seasonic-x460fl...
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4217/seasonic-xserie...
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    You said PSU coolers; I assumed you were talking about power supplies, but maybe you mean CPU. Reply
  • Grandpa - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    With gaming moved to the console, there is no need of super fast noisey computers. There will always be a need for fast but quiet computers. Hey wait, if we don't play games on computers any more, we don't need Windows! We can switch to Linux and save $300. A quiet efficient Linux PC sounds fine to me. Reply

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