I just found this thread as I'm looking for exactly the same solution. A gaming PC that can also run virtually silent when listening to music. My entire music collection is via Spotify or FLAC files ripped from CDs, spent the money for a CD player on a DAC instead.
At one point I remember seeing a system by Zalman which was supposedly silent, it featured a large fanless free standing external radiator. Is there anything similar out at the moment or a more updated version?
If not I guess the solution is to run a large case that can use big quiet 200mm fans then put decent heatsinks on everything, find a quiet PSU and perhaps watercool the cpu and gpu?
PC 2.1 system: Benchmark DAC1 > Roksan Kandy Liii > Monitor Audio RX1 / B&W ASW 8
Zalman do some fine fans etc. Any local pc shop will knock you one up much cheaper with a good silent case. A decent case can be had for £30 upwards. My stock fan is extremely quiet.
Usually £80+ for a decent midi case, one of those hidden costs I usually neglect to factor in when building computers, ah well :/
Ah here it is, fanless system that is big enough to use convection thus doesn't require a pump: http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/watercooling/reserator1-v2
Just need to swap everything onto an SSD drive then find a very quiet psu. Some midi cases allow for large 200mm fans which are virtually silent, probably a good idea to keep some sort of airflow..
OP did you ever buy parts/system/case?
I've only ever built my own systems. Having said that I don't spend nearly as long now researching components etc. I tend to just buy an off the shelf pre-clocked bundle to suit budget, find whatever GPU and HDD/SDD are the flavour of the month at the time and whack it all in a case.
Anyone who has built a lego can pretty much assemble a computer its just component matching that can be tricky sometimes IMO.
Next build is going to be as silent as possible, maybe not with the full blown passive water cooling but as quiet as possible.
I've been having similar issues as I use my PC as a media and gaming hub, so getting the right balance of cooling and noise is always hard. My temps where a little high on the processor and in the case so I tried a few different things as I am new(ish) to building PC's. First change was to replace the stock cooler. This both cut temps by 10C and fan noise down to a whisper. I didn't go mad just a coolermaster TX-3. Next up was to tackle the case/motherboard temps and lower fan noise. I put in 2 antec tricool 120mm 3 speed case fans in a push pull config. Put both fans on 2 med speed (1400 RPM) and that was quiet and all temps below 30C. But me being me and like to tinker decided thatI could improve and put a coolermaster excaliber in the front of the case and moved one of the tricools to the side panel blowing in. The excaliber shifted more cold air but temps almost no change and it sounded like a 747 taking off so I went back to just the two tricools. I might now cut a hole (done properly might I add!) in the side of the case and put a 200mm fan in (700RPM) so I can run the tricools at the lowest speed thus even quieter PC. Even at medium (1400RPM) it's quiet as its behind a closed door unit and although the back is open and there is plenty of airflow I can just about live with the noise , but it would be nice if I could get it as close to silent as possible.
Think I might have found the answer, doubt I'll find one for gaming etc though..
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