Sunday, December 4, 2022

Assembling a gaming PC with semi-passive cooling for 100,000 rubles (April 2020)


It is customary to call a gaming computer a home computer, the power of which is sufficient for battles in the virtual world. During bloody fights in games, the noise emitted by the cooling system is not so important. It is drowned out by the soundtrack and special effects of the game. But the PC often acts as a workplace, and the noise of the fans can be very annoying and distracting from work.

Our build is a mid-range gaming PC. The components are selected in such a way that at low load, for example, when surfing the Internet, the cooling of the system unit is passive. That is, so that not a single fan spins inside. And with an increase in heat dissipation by the components (during the game), the cooling would become active, but as quiet as possible.

It should be understood that this assembly is addressed to ardent fans of silence, who are distracted by the slightest rustle. And, yes, the assembly could be significantly reduced in price by abandoning semi-passive cooling in favor of active cooling using low-speed fans. But, we are not looking for easy ways. Only passive cooling, only hardcore!

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 OEM
For our semi-passive build, we’ll choose AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600. This six-core processor, which has become “popular”, has an optimal ratio of cost and performance. A relatively small level of heat dissipation makes it optimal for our configuration.

Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 OEM 19 199 *
Motherboard: ASRock B450M Pro4-F
Let’s not chase top chipsets. Let’s stop at B450 and install ASRock B450M Pro4-F. This is an inexpensive mATX board with four RAM slots and two M.2 slots. ASRock B450M Pro4-F is also interesting for the presence of cooling radiators on the processor batteries.

Motherboard ASRock B450M Pro4-F
Body: Cougar MX350 Mesh-X black
The configuration assumes passive cooling of the components in light load mode. This imposes certain requirements on the body. It should be as breathable as possible. We take the Cougar MX350 Mesh-X, which has perforations not only on the front and top panels, but also on the left side cover.

Case Cougar MX350 Mesh-X black 2 699 *
Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 Super GAMING OC
A gaming computer – a productive video card! This will be the RTX 2060 Super from GIGABYTE. The main feature of our video card is a fairly powerful WINDFORCE 3X cooling system with three fans and a large heatsink with several heat pipes. And, of course, 3D Active – the mode of semi-passive operation of the cooling system.

Video card GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 Super GAMING OC [GV-N206SGAMING OC-8GD]
CPU cooler: Scythe Ninja 5
The processor, like the video card, is one of the main sources of heat that needs to be removed. We settled on the fifth incarnation of the notorious Scythe tower – Ninja 5. This is a symmetrical cooler with six heat pipes, a large dissipation area and an increased distance between the plates. These features make Ninja 5 a great semi-passive build.

CPU Cooler Scythe Ninja 5 [SCNJ-5000] 7 199 *
RAM: Ballistix Sport LT 8 GB x 2 pcs
16 GB of RAM has long been the standard for gaming PCs. And for our assembly, we will not make exceptions. Take the inexpensive Ballistix Sport LT. And the entire volume for the dual-channel mode of operation will be dialed with two slats of 8 GB each. And as a bonus, we get radiators on the slats and the possibility of overclocking.

RAM Ballistix Sport LT [BLS8G4D32AESEK] 8 GB
SSD: 500 GB M.2 SSD WD Blue SN500
As a drive, we will opt for the inexpensive SN500 from Western Digital in the m.2 form factor. It is interesting primarily for the NVMe connection interface and increased read and write speeds compared to SATA drives.

WD Blue SN500 500GB M.2 SSD [WDS500G1B0C]
Power supply: Corsair RM 550x
The key point in choosing a power supply for our build is the presence of semi-passive cooling. Corsair RM 550x just boasts of such functionality. Its fan does not rotate at loads up to 40%, and this is as much as 220 watts. It would be redundant to say that under light load we will not hear a single sound from the RM 550x.

Corsair RM 550x Power Supply [CP-9020090-EU]
Case fan: Thermaltake Pure 12
Our build is semi-passive. This means that in high load mode, when the heat dissipation of the components increases significantly, the fans will turn on. Case Cougar MX350 Mesh-X is equipped with one 120 mm fan, which is located on the rear. Let’s add one more – inexpensive Thermaltake Pure 12, which we will install on the front panel.

Fan Thermaltake Pure 12 [CL-F011-PL12BL-A] 550 *
*The availability of goods and the cost of components are relevant for the city of Krasnodar.

We have assembled the components, and the question arises “What to do next?” And then we configure the fan control schemes. For the CPU cooler and case fans – in the BIOS, and for the video card – in MSI Afterburner or its equivalent.

I want it cheaper!
Liked the concept of a semi-passive computer, but the build is out of budget? Let’s try to save some money. We will replace the processor with a Ryzen 5 3500X or Ryzen 5 2600 and save 5000-7000 rubles. You can also take a motherboard based on the B350 chipset, saving another thousand and a half. If this is not enough, we change the video card to an RTX 2060, for example, from Colorful. Or even looking for a video card with semi-passive cooling among the GTX 1660 Super.

I want an upgrade!
Like the concept of a semi-passive computer, but the budget allows you to increase the cost of the system? We pump the graphics subsystem and change the video card to the RTX 2070 Super. However, with the replacement, it is advisable to replace the power supply with a more powerful one. Are we continuing? We change the motherboard to the top one with the X570 chipset. True, this is only advisable if serious overclocking is planned.


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