As I mentioned previously, the overall component choices are fairly strong. AVADirect's engineers have done a lot to add little bits and pieces here and there to improve performance and reduce noise. I've mentioned before and will say again: several small fans running at low speeds can do the job of a couple of fans running at high speeds, and do it quieter. Yet I can't help but feel like this build is...overengineered.

The key to a quality quiet build is the right component choices. Cases like NZXT's H630 that have sound dampening materials are at their best when they take already quiet hardware and make it silent. Cooling a GTX 780 and an i7-4770K in a case of this size isn't actually a tremendously difficult task, yet AVADirect has complicated things in multiple places.

My biggest complaint has to do with the rubber fan mounts. Silent case manufacturers don't use these, and in my quietest build (comparable to what AVADirect has done here), I still used screws on all the fan mounts. In fact, these rubber mounts are borderline redundant with the Corsair fans included, as those fans already have vibration dampening built into their mounts. The problem with what AVADirect chose here is that the system shipped with half the fans out of the mounts. I went ahead and asked AVADirect for a statement regarding these fan mounts and received this:

The fans were mounted using rubber mounts, which may slip through the openings during shipping. They reduce noise, but they're not very sturdy. They should be replaced with mounts that have bigger backing, so that they don't slip through the holes of the case during shipping.

This is half true. They should be replaced with screws.

I'm also of the opinion that AVADirect should've forgone the BitFenix Recon fan controller in favor of in-line resistors on the fans. User adjustable fan control is nice, but the system doesn't actually need it, and certainly not something as robust as the BitFenix Recon. You'll see later on that thermals aren't a major issue outside of Haswell's inherent toastiness, the system is quiet, and there's very little tweaking left to be done, so the simplest approach would be the best one in my estimation. There's no reason to give the end user control over fan speeds, the system is already where it needs to be.

Finally, as a minor nitpick, I can understand why the Zalman Cube cooler was chosen, but a closed loop liquid cooler like NZXT's Kraken X40 could also conceivably do the job as well as or better with the same noise level. Pump noise is a non-issue in a case like this, and two slow 140mm fans sandwiching the radiator could hypothetically achieve better performance in the same external noise envelope.

AVADirect has done a fine job assembling a powerful system with excellent airflow and noise characteristics (sub-30dB under load), they just need to streamline it.

Introducing the AVADirect Quiet Gaming Desktop PC System, Futuremark, and Gaming Performance
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  • Aslan7 - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    Were I interested in buying such a system the rubber fan mounts would appeal as would the fan controller. I'm willing replace fans or to pull fans out of a case to get a quieter build. The one thing I see wrong with the build is 8GB of memory. Current generation consoles have as much and Windows is heavier than a console. As for all SSD storage, that's laughable this year and the next. You could go all SSD if you didn't mind having a computer instead of a car. My Steam Library alone is 1.39TB I don't even have a lot of AAA games which run bigger and then there's Desura, GOG, and games not from a digital service, plus music, ebooks, photos and videos.
    I've got a 512GB SSD acting as a cache for a 4TB drive and I still find myself shuffling files to other drives.
  • Pbryanw - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    I think the specs sheet said it had 16GB of memory (4x4GB).

    As far as SSDs go, I'm sure a 512GB one would suffice for most people. I think those with big Steam & game libraries are in the minority. Also, with a quiet going on silent build (speaking from my own experience) a mechanical hard-drive can be the loudest component. It's why I now run two SSDs (for Windows + Steam Library) instead of an SSD + large hard-drive.

    If you must have a 4TB storage drive (and this is a gaming PC), I think it's a bit pointless (as Dustin points out) to have two SSDs in RAID when SSDs are so much faster than mechanical hard-drives anyway. Better to have a 512GB SSD and 4TB hard-drive as per your setup then two smaller units in RAID.
  • Black Obsidian - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    Just because you *have* a 1.39TB Steam library doesn't mean you need every single game installed simultaneously, unless you're running on 56K or something. My library of Steam games is over 2TB and 100 titles, and yet my gaming PC's Steam folder is under 400GB.

    How? Because I only have games I am currently playing or am likely to play in the near future installed. One of the greatest advantages of Steam is the ability to download any game in your library, at any time, on any PC. Why negate that by trying to have ALL THE THINGS installed all the time?
  • Pbryanw - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    Totally agree with this. If you're like me, you only play one game at a time. I have more than 100 Steam games in my library and just have a fraction of these installed on a 256GB SSD (like you, the ones I'm most likely to play). The rest I can download anytime from the Steam servers.
  • Papa - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    It's pretty easy to go into SteamApps folder, move the game onto a mechanical drive. That's all that Steam looks for. No need to delete if you don't have to.
  • DominionSeraph - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    I lived with an 80GB hard drive from'06 to '13, loading games from CD when I wanted them and downloading only high compression 720p rips. But that was a $350 Dell.
    This is a $2500 boutique gaming system. At $2500 you should not be so constrained for space. Since a SSD doesn't do much for games and is completely unnecessary for media files, it's stupid to trade space for needless expense.
  • Pbryanw - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Yes, it's $2500 but it's also been built for silence. If you've gone, like AVADirect, to the trouble of including a fanless CPU cooler, a PSU that is fanless up to 30% load and a fan controller, it seems a shame to include a mechanical hard-drive which could be the noisiest component in the build.

    Of course, this review includes no noise benchmarks, and the drive is in a silent enclosure, but going from my own experience, my WD Green was the noisiest component in my quiet build until I swapped it for an SSD. Including a 1TB SSD, as Dustin suggested, wouldn't be such a bad compromise between noise and space for a decent games library in my opinion. At the very least it should be offered as an option on their web-site.

    I think it just comes down to that tricky balancing act between noise and performance. I can see why having a 4TB drive for games would be an advantage, but if you have a fast internet connection, it's easier (at least for me) to keep a decent list of favourite games and then download when I need to.
  • ironwing - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    A review of a quiet PC should include objective measurements of sound volume at idle and under load. One person's "very quiet" is another person's "too loud".
  • shooty - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    Exactly, I don't need to see the benchmark results - I would like noise levels readings at various loads. I can look up a review of dozens of other similarly configured systems to get an idea of performance.
  • twtech - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    With my money, I'd probably get both the terabyte SSD, and keep the mechanical storage drive for mass storage.

    My SteamApps folder alone is approaching 1TB, and I have quite a few GBs of photos from my hiking trips. So I appreciate the inclusion of a mechanical storage drive - but I would suggest that if you are going to have one, why not go with 4TB?

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