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Fractal R6 / Noctua - Silent & Reliable Under Desk (shut up and do your job)

by Subhutai

Description

NOTE: I don't run the PC without the covers, i didnt take pics of just a black box.

Silence, Reliability, Performance. Don't care about looks.
I'd prefer if computers were neither seen nor heard (Milford PC school).
I didn't go for any scheme. The RAM happened to only come in red for example. I only use cabled mods for flexible cabling. USB3 flexible extensions are great.

MODS: I remove the rear fan grill with a dremel. Fan grills are nothing but airflow inhibitors & noise makers.
I tape up every hole/vent - Air only in via front intake filter.
Air only out via rear fan, GPU vent & PSU (oriented fan on top). PSU is in hybrid mode - fan never turns on. Positive pressure in case is enough to push plenty of air out and always actively cool GPU & PSU.

Ripped out a USB3 from spare Fractal i/o kit to give case 4 front USB 3 ports. Mobo has 2x USB3 headers

I put a noctua NA-FC1 pwm fan controller so i could precisely control the front three fans. Had to dremel out one little zip tie spacer on front of case to fit cables though.

CPU: What is best for gaming and handbrake = 8700K

Cooler: Reliable & silent = D15s

Mobo: Reliable & whatever has the features i need without a $ more. Asus Z370-A

RAM: Reliable, low profile & fast = Corsair 3733 c17

STORAGE:
* C: Samsung 970 pro 512gb -- O/S and a few programs

  • D: Samsung 970 evo 1tb ----- Games & programs

  • E: Samsung 850 evo 1tb ----- Downloads & recent media

  • F: Western Digital Black 3tb -- Business store, photos, music, etc

  • G: Western Digital Black 6tb -- Movies, TV, etc

GPU: Fans only come on at 60c+. Due to positive pressure mentioned above, GPU always being cooled.

CASE: Best case money can buy. Fractal better build quality than Lian Li.

PSU: Got it for good price, overkill but i bought so plenty of overhead and fan need never come on.

BLURAY DRIVE: I rip most of my blurays. Does no one care about quality any more?

FANS: the new A12x25 fans are superb.

FAN CONTROLLER: Absolute precise PWM control for the front 3 fans.

MONITOR: Samsung S32D850T. 16:9 is more practical for work, browsing, most video content, and still looks great for games. I worry about the quality of 144hz monitors. I don't want to play the panel lottery. The Sasmung has excellent colour reproduction & uniformity. 0 backlight bleed, great blacks, no IPS glow, no scanline issues, no banding, etc etc etc etc 2560x1440p - same DPI as 24" @ 1080p. No scaling issues - everything perfect at 100% default.

Two things stopping me from 4K - No single GPU 60fps fluency. Scaling issues. Not sure when scaling will ever be fixed.

Comments Sorted by:

Air_Wizardo 3 Builds 20 points 3 months ago

Finally... A non-RGB build is featured. Well done sir.

PrintBuildz 2 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

The RGB craze is everywhere

marianoazevedo 10 Builds 7 points 3 months ago

I came for the Noctuas. I love it! Great Build!

SirHalpin 1 Build 3 points 3 months ago

As a fellow Define R6 brother, let me tell you what an awesome job you did. Mine is flashy and probably a lot louder than yours. I'm really impressed by the simplicity and the case mods, I certainly would not have thought of or been able to do most of them. Can you explain the implanting of the extra USB 3.0 slots? +1

also, any overclock or de-lid?

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 3 points 3 months ago

Cheers. I had a spare R5 front i/o kit from Fractal. My fan slider control was playing up and they sent me an i/o kit by mistake. (They rectified by sending a new fan control). There are a couple of screws that you remove to access the innards. You just pull out the USB3 cable then install in the R6 box. (remove R6 i/o>unscrew box>remove USB2 cables>insert USB3>screw back up.) Bingo! I think you could do the same from some other case that has similar looking ports. The issue would be: at the front i/o end the 2 usb3 female sockets are separated (its basically a Y cable) and there's no black rubber casing around them. Its cable into bare metal sockets. If you dont find exactly the right one you could prob hack into it with a knife/hacksaw to remove casing.

Regarding dremeling, its a messy dirty job with metal dust everywhere. I wear goggles, gas mask & ear muffs. I don't have a fancy dremel just a cheapy from hardware store. Removing the grill is mostly straight lines with a bit of sculpting on the fan holder curves. Im not skilled at it but it works. Once done get out the vac and wipes & THOROUGHLY clean.

The Noctua fan controller - i had to hacksaw and file the male 4 pin fan cable end down to fit through the side slots. You know the zip tie holders, a quick dremel cut through one at front top right and both cables fit through its hole.

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Well that sounds a bit more effort than I'd like, but congrats on pulling it off! I actually have a Define R5 too so I could in theory do it, but I think my 2.0s work fine on mine. I actually totally bent the pins on my Maximus X Formula, so my USB 3s on my R6 front I/O simply don't work, its quite unfortunate. Maybe one day Ill take the PC back apart to get those pins straight enough to plug in the 3.0 plug. Do you think the rear grille is really unnecessary? Seems crazy to just have a gaping hole in your case, what with dust and noise.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 4 points 3 months ago

You didnt break a pin right? just bent? bend them back with needle pliers or whatever. i hate internal usb 3 cables - way too inflexible. Google 'moddiy premium black usb3 extension cable' they low profile and very flexible, you wack them on end of the usb3 cables and route easily. Before i got them i nearly wrenched the whole header socket off the board by the torque from the bend in a cable.

Re: Grills. They make noise! hence the removal. I dont go sticking my fingers there willy nilly. Here's a good read: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Effects-of-Grill-Patterns-on-Fan-Performance-Noise-107/

Thats one thing i dont like about the R5 & R6. No removable grill. My old Lian Li had one. simple. According to Puget test i saved 3+ decibels & 10% airflow. Ill take that.

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I'll have to check out that extension cable. The issue is the pins aren't straight....so extension cable or not, the pins wont pit into those holes, regardless of which cable im using. I'll have to bend them back. as for the grilles, wow! that ssuper enlightening, maybe ill have to remove mine eventually! although the idea of fully deconstructing my PC to dremel something off is a super unattractive concept. The 10% airflow and multiple decibels is super nice though!

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

hey, found out from Fractal that they have a part store. Here is what you need. https://www.fractal-design-shop.de/Define-R5-USB-Kit. $4.90 euro shipping cost.

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I have a spare R5, I could just cannibalize its front I/O

bbogle86 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

Great to see a build using the A12x25s. Are they appreciably better than the F12s from what you can tell?

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I wasn't using the F12s. I had 2x A14s at the front of an R5 and had to open door a lot on middle fan setting (R5 had 3 speed fan slider) to get adequate positive airflow through PSU & GPU vent during high load. Made the fans audible.
With the A12s and the FC1 fan controller i have it dialed in so door is shut, its silent and WAY more airflow out the back. (a gale in comparison) I don't believe it just down to the extra airflow from 3x 120mm vs 2x 140mm. A ton more static pressure.

bbogle86 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

all great information, thanks! if the A12s ever come in chromax I'm all over that.

excellent build! +1

thaneofjudgement 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

As someone who has used both types, I can tell you the new A12 are fantastic in comparison. Much quieter at higher RPMs and move way more air through my AIO Rads.

medwa4 4 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

Wow, this build is magnificent!

BurgAr 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

Awesome to see someone understand and take action on static pressure. Fans work harder and quieter under these circumstances.

Aquilian 2 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

+1 Impressive! Well thought out build - I'll definitely keep some of your explanations in mind for my next build :)

PrivateGomez 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

You can always tell a Milford Man.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

I was waiting for someone to get it. +1 giant juice box for you.

DANIEL777 2 points 3 months ago

Why feature?

BraddyMorgan 2 points 3 months ago

Wow great timing I was just about to build a pc and was looking for a Fractal r6 build that had Noctua fans in them. I'm definitely going to use this guide.

canders 7 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

Simple. Clean. I like it!

OrangeRedBull 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

Glad to see i'm not the only one who tapes up all the unnecessary holes on the back panel.

Daystrom 2 points 3 months ago

Freakin' sweet! Really nice, there!

Whajop 2 points 3 months ago

Does the Z370-A have a padded i/o shield like the z270-a?

Also really nice.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Yes. Also the silly white plastic marketing i/o shroud can be removed via 3 screws at the back. Apart from looks, it does nothing but impede air around the VRM. I took it off and put it in mobo box for reattachment when i sell.

chewburger 2 points 2 months ago

100% agree with rationale to cut the fan grill out... unless you have huge mutant spider-crickets (like I have) that would get in then get chopped up next time I turn the computer on! I also compulsively tape extraneous airflow exit points to have absolute control over airflow. I use a feather over the last hole before I tape it up to let me know if I'm achieving positive pressure airflow (so I know only filtered air is getting in).

rcmac36 1 point 3 months ago

Very nice build! thumbs up

jayl89 1 point 3 months ago

Hah this is just like my old PC except I had last generation parts. I named the build dung beetle for all the poop colors but it was indeed really quiet besides the HDDs.

I ended up ripping them out and tossing them. I built the PC for silence and those drives were very audible even with sound dampening.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

lol cool little dung beetle. What case did you have? honestly you cant hear these in the R6. its very quiet here late at night (o ambient noise) and i just copied a 3gb file from g: to f: - nada.
Should say id love to rip them out but i really cant afford a 9tb SSD.

jayl89 1 point 3 months ago

Yeah true, maybe you can use a NAS and hide them very far from your ears lol.

WaterTriber 1 point 3 months ago

nice overclock on the CPU!

Havx027 3 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

As a fellow R6 brother, Nice build! Gotta love Noctua! Have you tried comparing your 3 NF-A12x25's temp wise to the stock setup? Just curious since those three fans are pushing a good amount of airflow.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Unfortunately its only been built as is. Please refer to the A12 comment above (regarding comparison to 2x A14s in my old R5). In the R5, because i wanted silence, i wasn't pushing enough air with the A14s so it wasn't the coolest. Other fan configurations/airflow movement plan would be necessary. ( i worked with it by opening the door under high load). Keep in my though that i tape up EVERY hole/grill, even the PCI slot cover grills (clear sticky tape), The only way air can escape is literally the rear fan, PSU and GPU vent. Reason - every little bit of air (apart from rear fan) is pushed through GPU cooler and PSU components.

scarfxce 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I unfortunately care too much about aesthetics, but I still can respect the hell out of this approach. Nice build

lge01 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Haha! Someone else on this website who doesn't care about aesthetic! You did good on your rear mod... Please add photos of the front one. How are you liking the NA-FC1? It seems to be that few users here use it...

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Top left of pic 5 you can see the FC1. Looking at the case from front on, with front removed, there is a zip tie holder at top right. Dremel out the little ziptie holder bar and there's space to put the cables through. Thread them through the side grills and voila! The male end of the power cable requires a quick hacksaw & file to make it fit. (the height, not length, needs to be adjusted).
I didn't include pics of the covers and filters as its just a black box. The FC1 is perfect. Tiny, precise control and, like all things Noctua, extremely well made.

lge01 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Well explained. Did you see the more advanced fan hub Noctua showed at Computex?

AlexDMV 1 point 3 months ago

I'm gonna be honest, my immediate thought when seeing this build was, "how the f*** is this featured?" Then I clicked on the post, saw the pictures, and read the description. I now fully understand the feature, and I'm really impressed by the amount of mods you have done to the case. The whole thing about airflow is really smart as well. Nice build overall my man! +1 for sure!

LonghornAlamo2040 1 point 3 months ago

Hello Define R6. Your older brother R5 is well-used in my room and taken care of.

Compuduh 1 point 3 months ago

Why not go for an AIO cooler and set the fan speeds low? The cooling will be better and also support OC...

+1 for quiet boi

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 3 points 3 months ago

Reliability & lifespan. AIOs can leak, pump can & will fail, and crud builds up inside. A big dumb block of metal with a good fan works well. Remember that the D15 beats quite a few AIOs. Regarding lifepsan, Noctua's fans last a VERY long time (they are guaranteed for 6 years). Also, they will send you out future socket mounting kits, if required, for free to anywhere in the world. i.e. their lifespan is indefinite. The only way it can go wrong if the fan fails (incredibly slim chance). Re: overclocking. I'm at 5ghz and I'm more than happy.

Compuduh 1 point 3 months ago

What are your temps like on full load?

Sgt_Smiles 2 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

first off, great build! As fellow storage space enthusiast, you might want to check out windows storage spaces, I just transitioned over to using them on my current build, 3x2TB in Parity with my old 480gb SSD and 256 GB SSD as cache drives, been really good for simple storage vault. games I haven't played in weeks load slowly the first time but as long as I am playing them on a regular basis they are loaded on the cache SSDs so I can have my entire game library installed without worrying about having slow games. I dont use it for media, mine is all cloud stored and cloud managed. (via cloudbox)

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Thanks for the tip. What is the purpose though? Is it just creation of a partition/s - jbod? From what you say it seems that youre using the SSDs as cache drives for the HDDs. Like a massive SSHD.
Id love to remove the HDDs and use the cloud but here my internet speeds are woeful. Very slow upload and 1mB/s download. My bluray rips are 20-30gb. That would take an eternity.

EagleByte 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Won't your build get super dusty inside since you have no fan grills? Those are there to act as a mild dust filter, just so you know. Sure, they can restrict air flow, but you want a dust-free system now rather than a noisy, dust-infused system later, right?

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I use the front intake filter. Pics are just to show the innards. Regarding the rear grill that i removed with dremel- Nah, it would still let in dust while being a hindrance. All air in while on is via filtered front.

EagleByte 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Huh. Didn't realize that.

Jackison 1 point 3 months ago

You spent $1300 on storage....... that's all I have to say lol

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

All i have to say is, it's great.

Hambopro 2 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

Beautiful build, thank you for sharing!

GavinTheGreat -3 points 3 months ago

you must have low standards lol

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 3 points 3 months ago
  1. Is there not enough RGB for you?
  2. What is your problem?
Hambopro 2 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

What's wrong with Noctua's style? Not everyone likes RGB you know.

OllieManMan 9 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

This is so pure... I love it.

thefowles1 1 point 3 months ago

As someone who has had his eye on Noctua fans for future builds, tell me something: are they truly silent, or at least the quietest fans money can buy? I've never met anyone with a negative opinion about their performance or noise.

Also, if I may ask, this seems like a quite-high performing rig. How good is the I/O with the selected motherboard? It seems to me like that's a fairly mid-level mobo compared to ones intended for high-performance machines, but that could be my inexperience talking.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

They are silent when the speed is low enough. Thing is they'll be quieter at a given rate. They move more air - flow&pressure- for a given level of loudness than any other. They are the utmost quality. All noctua gear is. I'm not saying this lightly, out of any industry, Noctua has to be among the best for sheer quality. Regarding i/o. Its got enough lanes for me. There's no reason for me to spend more on a mobo. As long as the board has the features you want, and the manufacturer you trust. That's it. It's an area not to waste $ on. That money can go towards things that will make a difference.

Lightsider 1 point 1 month ago

Nice build! Really like the mods. I'm particularly interested in the sealing you did for the sake of positive pressure and directing outflow through the single fan, PSU and GPU. I know that the R6 has, essentially, no floor. It's all vent down there. Did you tape off the entire bottom of the case? Out of curiosity, what tape did you use? The bit that I see at the bottom of the rear fan looks like either black duct tape or Gorilla Tape.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 days ago

Sorry for delay. I haven't been on for awhile. Yes, i tape up every hole. Even the small ones on the front of the case with the cover removed. The tape is a regular brand from hardware store. I just used clear sticky tape over the white PCI expansion slots.
The little noctua fan controller works wonders as i have it dialed in to get exactly the most push from front fans JUST below audible. (Right now i'm in the dead silence of night and i can hear the fans, but its so quiet & inoffensive its good enough for me). With the R5 i had 2x a14s. It wasn't enough air flow for gaming on hot days so i had to open the front door. With 3x a25s the door is closed permanently. Good luck!

Lightsider 1 point 20 days ago

Thanks. From your ideas and recommendations, I also taped up most of the vents and holes. Now, most of my airflow exits from the single fan in the back, and passively through the GPU and PSU vents. Getting great results, thanks!

Benjamin1966 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Temps on full load? I want to build something just like this; silent but powerful.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 24 days ago

Sorry for delay, havent been on for awhile. I cant remember. Around mid 70s on some tests of prime.

That's wholly unrealistic though. In gaming the temps are low enough to be inconsequential. In fact the hottest it will get (apart from torture tests) is encoding video in Handbrake. I should post my BIOS settings. As a few tweaks can make quite a difference. I didnt offset my AVX as i wanted full overclock (not handicapped) during Handbrake (and any software that may utilize it). Ask away if you want any advice. Ill check back from time to time.

Benjamin1966 1 Build 1 point 8 days ago

Thanks for the response! Do you think 2 NF-A14 140mm fans in the front would be quieter than 3 NF-A12x25 120mm fans?

Oh and how are the GPU temps?

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 days ago

No, 3x a12x25s quieter. If you get the noctua fan controller you can dial them down precisely till they just inaudible. WAY more air. I use to have to open the front door of R5 case with 2x a14 when gaming.

I dont measure. One thing i know is that a hell of a lot more air continually blows through the GPU rear vent as ive stated due to positive pressure. (i tape everything up, even the PCI bracket slots. Air only exits via rear fan, PSU & GPU vent. PSU fan is perm. off)

Benjamin1966 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Were the rubber screws easy to attach to the fans? I can never seem to get them to work.

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 24 days ago

Bit of a pain at first but not too much hassle when i got the hang of it. Make sure you put them in the right way and pull them through. You'll think theyll tear when they stretch but they dont. Make sure they are fully seated and 'locked in'. I had to trim the ends with scissors to make them nearly flush so they didn't impinge with the front door closed.

GavinTheGreat 0 points 3 months ago

"best case money can buy" i beg to differ

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I should have put in my opinion. Without spending ridiculous money, it does its job well. Fractals are extremely well built compared to others. Ive worked on a ton and had a $400 lian li. R6 takes the cake.
Tell us, what is this case that you speak of?

[comment deleted]
sponix 6 Builds -1 points 3 months ago

Thing looks like an absolute Turd....

Chances are it performs really well though, and has great acoustics.

Noctua has a Chromax line that I went with. Lets you stay silent, and still have a theme. They are also releasing blacked out versions of their coolers soon.

Think you might have a improper Video card in the parts list compared to what I see in the Rig. Seems I see EVGA, and the parts list has MSI Gaming X.

System seems very well done. If you get a second check out my old 5820K rig, I just went all Noctua with it and I'm very pleased....

Jeuloth 1 Build 3 points 3 months ago

If you see EVGA in any way when you look at the video card in the pictures - then my friend I am sorry to tell you but something is very wrong.

paiyan 3 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

I had to LOL hard at this.... +1

sponix 6 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

Yeah, I got a chuckled out of this too. Normally I'm only this wrong when it comes to anything with the wife Grin....

sponix 6 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

OMG, the way you worded that so politely was so funny. LMAO..

You are right, that is totally my bad. The EVGA card I had on the mind must have been in another rig I as looking at and I got confused.

Anyway, your build looks like it is ready to get some serious work done. Wish I could afford that must solid state storage and not have to be waiting on my spinning disk all the time.

Thanks for Sharing

Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

Cheers. I'm curious to see what the chromax does to cooling. At Computex they displayed a black powder coated version of the heatsink. Surely that has to detrimentally affect cooling. Even if its .5c, thats .5c id rather have than lose to looks. Especially when i don't see it. The PC is a black box under the desk.
Also, that's $ i could put towards better gear.

sirkittylover 2 points 3 months ago

That's the way to spend money on speed not looks

sponix 6 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

https://noctua.at/en/products/product-line-chromax.html

As you can see in my build https://pcpartpicker.com/b/hVGG3C I have used the Chromax Fans that are blacked out with the choice of colored corners. I'm not using the new Heat Sink that is powder coated though. Just a heads up, there is a YouTube video where they spray a Heat Sink with like High Temp Engine paint and it raised temp by less than 1 degree, so I wouldn't expect the new powder coat Noctua is doing to trash the coolers performance.

I actually like the proud Noctua colors, I kept one in my case that stands out for that reason, and put their badge on the font of my case.

How do you like the R6? It is currently my choice for the next case. Only thing that will hold all my drives, cards, and such.

jayl89 1 point 3 months ago

I am thinking about getting the Chromax fans too, but the OP's 120mm poop fans perform much much better than the Chromax series, even the 140mm ones.

Noctua ripped off Scythe/Nidec's silent typhoon series with the NF-A12x25. The new fans have much higher static pressure and airflow at greatly reduced noise levels.

Kinda sucks they're not offered in black. I have to either get poop color or get less performing Chromax. The new Chromax fans won't be available till 2019 supposedly.

[comment deleted by staff]
Subhutai submitter 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

I upgrade & sell my parts regularly and buyers are generally wary of modified gear. (a case is ok) Its overclocked to 5ghz. I'm happy.

[comment deleted by staff]