We have a regular LAN party group that I had not been able to get together with for some time because of conflicts, system issues and system building. I brought in the quiet SLI system and set it down. The V1000 Plus quickly impressed with its clean lines and stylish mesh. When everyone found out it was an SLI system, the first question was, "how loud is it?" To prove a point, I opened the case side prior to powering the system. Again, if this system is going to earn the badge of quiet-SLI, it is going to have to earn it.
The power button was depressed and among the jaws to drop was my brother's. This dual GPU 600W system was quieter than his Shuttle XPC. In fact, one attendee mentioned it was quieter than his laptop. Not that I would argue, but I had to know why he would say something as preposterous as a full seven-fanned, two video carded system was quieter than a laptop. It was about the pitch and tone. This system has a very low pitch. Instead of a piercing whine, the system idles along with lower rpms and smoother operation through efficient design.
The system is inaudible when our home's AC system is running. It is inaudible when listening to music or gaming. I can not in good conscience say this is a silent system. However, this is as close as you can get with this much high horsepower hardware running. So has Quiet SLI been achieved? I would have to answer resounding yes.
Click Image for Video/Audio (.wmv)
With so much money being spent on hardware these days, specifically video cards in an SLI configuration, heat and noise management is becoming an emphasis in the common hardware vendors selling points. In the home theater world, there is a rule of thumb where you need to plan on spending 10% of your budget on cables. Only cables. This rule would port well to the PC world. If you spend $1000 on motherboard, video cards and CPU, it would only follow that you should budget for high quality cooling.
The Quiet SLI project has provided me with several "had I known then" moments. The first was during my initial installation of hardware into the high quality Lian Li case. The second came when I first heard, or not heard, the SilenX 600W power supply. The third was seeing the needle on the dB meter read far lower when running two cards in SLI versus a single card configuration when using the right high-quality cooling hardware. Good enough was a common thought when trying to justify the expense or more elaborate cooling. I now know that I will never be satisfied with good enough.
I hope the use of videos and the relative readings from the dB meter help to justify my enthusiasm for the products I have used here. This project has been a lot of fun and I would be remiss if I did not thank 3DCool.com for their assistance and patience. Lew and the rest of the 3DCool team, I appreciate you making this project possible. I have added some brand names to my recommended products list thanks to their guidance.
Overall - It is quiet.
Thermalright XP90 - Increased cooling capacity.
Artic Cooling NV6 Rev 2 - Lower GPU temps and significant noise reduction.
Slienx - Impressive design, fit and finish of all components.
Ease of installation.
Increased system cost (though worth it).
Artic Cooling NV6 Rev 2 - Decreased access to PCI slots if using longer PCI cards.
Please use this thread in the forum to provide any feedback or ask questions.