QuietPC Nofan Icepipe A40-Z68 Silent PC Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

QuietPC NoFan System Review

Introduction

Once upon a time a home computer was so lacking in power that it was quiet, then they became so powerful that we thought nothing of a couple of Delta's in an attempt to rein in the heat generated by biblical performance. Nowadays, as cooling manufacturers have overcome the hurdles that extreme speed provides, we're expecting the best of both these worlds. We want huge performance, but we don't want to feel like we're sat next to a 747. Enter QuietPC with the entirely passive Nofan system. And they all lived happily ever after.

QuietPC have been around for a long while now, seeking out the finest products on the market that can lessen the noise generated by our towers and have a huge range from quieter case fans all the way to vibration absorbing materials and everything in between. 

So with so much expertise it made perfect sense for them to be the providers of a system that has absolutely no noise generated at all thanks to entirely passive cooling and an SSD.

Specifications

To some degree you have to compromise if you're going for a totally passive system, but QuietPC have actually given us a serious bit of kit here, at least with the majority of the parts. We have the OC3D award winning Nofan IcePipe cooler, our favourite CPU (the i5-2500K), an excellent Gigabyte motherboard and a Zalman 120GB SSD. Indeed the only 'lesser' component is the HD7750, but with graphics cards you would be foolish to expect a high-end card with a passive cooler (unless you had a spare room to put the heatsink in).

Machine nameNofan IcePipe A40-Z68 Silent PC
Compatible Operating SystemsWindows 7 / Ubuntu Linux
Power supplyNofan 400W Fanless PSU
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
GraphicsIntel HD 3000 850-1350 MHz
Graphics portsDVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA (max any 2 ports simultaneously)
Max resolution DVI & HDMI / DisplayPort1920 x 1200 / 2560 x 1600
SATA 6Gb / 3Gb / eSATA 3Gb ports4 internal / 3 internal / 1 rear panel
SATA RAID SupportRAID 0, 1, 5 and 10
LAN10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet
USB ports (front/rear)2/4 USB2, 0/2 USB3
AudioHD 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel with S/PDIF and 6 x audio jacks
Other rear ports1 x FireWire IEEE 1394a (400 Mbps), 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
Available drive bays1 x 3½ inch, 2 x 5¼ inch *
Accessible PCI Express x8 / x1 slots1 / 2
Accessible PCI slots1 **
Memory slots4
PC dimensions (W x D x H)172 x 415 x 380 mm
Maximum PCI card length (PCB only)255 mm
Clean Build™ promiseOS+updates, drivers and MS Security Essentials only
Recovery methodWindows installation and drivers DVDs supplied
Warranty typeCollect and return, open-case policy
Warranty24 months




This is the particular specification of our review system. QuietPC provide a wealth of customisation options though so you can really tailor the system to your needs, from a 2.6GHz Dual-Core Pentium G620 with the Intel HD3000 graphics built in to the Z68, all the way up to a i7-2700K and a HD7750. So we're looking very much at the middle of the range one today.

Being from the fine folks at QuietPC it has a 2 year, collect and return, open case warranty. So you can certainly buy with confidence.

Let's take a look shall we.

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Most Recent Comments

17-04-2012, 08:23:19

tinytomlogan


Sick of the noise of your system? We take a look at a totally passive system courtesy of QuietPC

Continue Reading

17-04-2012, 08:45:40

FTLN
Nice review Tom,, You not gonna try any overcloking on it ???

Would be good to see how far the cpu cooler could go....


Actually I think 86c is pushing it a bit already.....

17-04-2012, 08:47:20

Firat
Quote:
Originally Posted by FTLN View Post

Nice review Tom,, You not gonna try any overcloking on it ???

Would be good to see how far the cpu cooler could go....
If it hits mid 70s @ stock, overclocked it will cook the CPU heatsink

17-04-2012, 08:47:42

mArTyN
Quite a smart looking pc.....................nice review

17-04-2012, 08:48:36

FTLN
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firat View Post

If it hits mid 70s @ stock, overclocked it will cook the CPU heatsink
Yep, but would be intresting to watch

17-04-2012, 08:53:32

Firat
Quote:
Originally Posted by FTLN View Post

Yep, but would be intresting to watch
Definatly!

17-04-2012, 11:36:27

VonBlade
The release of the magic blue smoke isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Plus with the tight financial times and our desire to always get you the freshest content, the ability to not blow up hardware is about the most vital quality of a reviewer.

17-04-2012, 12:04:25

jackjack
wow i5 2500K 86C max temps.. that's close to toast bro but almost zero noise level, except the sound from HDD (non SSD of course), optical drive

i wonder how max temp this rig if it use a non "K" series intel CPU (sandy & Ivy) ?

17-04-2012, 15:24:36

SieB
Damn that case is ugly, I like the concept of a fully passive and silent PC though.

17-04-2012, 15:43:01

chudley
I think jet engines are cool

17-04-2012, 15:50:18

SEBAR
How much better do you suppose this would work on a I7-2600S or the (yet to be released) 3770S which have a lower TDP then The 2600K or 2500K?

17-04-2012, 16:02:27

Computer crazy
As always nice review, I really like that CPU cooler it looks amazing, I don't really of the aesthetics of the case, but looks a good unit for those users wanting a silent system.

18-04-2012, 03:58:29

Brutos
that's a strange looking cooler

18-04-2012, 08:12:55

Azuka09
I build a Silent Rig a while ago. Used a I7 2600S for lower temps, there is a HD6850 out there that is passivly cooled that i used, got a passiv cooled PSU. It had a SSD and a Western Digital Caviar Green (only part in the rig that made noise). Was amazing to not hear the pc. You can get a nice and silent rig if you want and still be able to play your games. There is a GTS450 out too wich is passiv-cooled. Get two of those and you have enough power for gaming too.

18-04-2012, 18:50:23

fraghappy245
just out of interest what is the highest recommended core temp on a 2500k ? i bloody get twitchy if any of my core's go above 68oc on mine

19-04-2012, 21:25:13

dukeReinhardt
Pretty nice. Though cant imagine youd need to take it anywhere, so maybe a more open case would have worked nicer?

20-04-2012, 09:26:42

mihapiha
This computer is very interesting indeed. But I wonder about one thing. Do you guys think that this rig could possibly become a dust magnet without dust filters?

And another question:

2600k + undervoltaging? Might be even cooler. Tom, you did test with stock voltage correct? You didn't try undervoltaging the CPU

21-04-2012, 10:05:25

Neuromancer
With no fans I doubt it will be a "dust magnet" and filters would impede the natural convection of the cooler.

Temps are still high for me, I suppose fanless computing is not really an option even now.

04-05-2012, 08:23:49

Carl A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post

Temps are still high for me, I suppose fanless computing is not really an option even now.
No - Fanless 'High End Gaming' is not really an option now but this is a real step in the right direction.

I think that the point of this piece of tech / review is being missed. The review proves that fanless computing is an option and with what is a pretty high performance CPU. As always with stressing, you are never going to see those high temps with normal usage (When I run prime I see temps of 65o+, when running heavy audio computations my temps never go above 50o). This piece of kit (as the reviewer said) is for those who want a silent PC (not gamers I suspect). I use my rig for a lot of music production - 2600k O/C and WC with low rpm fans and it is very quiet but not silent so loved the review and the way that this tech is moving.

Great review Tom !!!

04-05-2012, 10:33:57

Big WigglyStyle
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl A View Post

No - Fanless 'High End Gaming' is not really an option now but this is a real step in the right direction.

I think that the point of this piece of tech / review is being missed. The review proves that fanless computing is an option and with what is a pretty high performance CPU. As always with stressing, you are never going to see those high temps with normal usage (When I run prime I see temps of 65o+, when running heavy audio computations my temps never go above 50o). This piece of kit (as the reviewer said) is for those who want a silent PC (not gamers I suspect). I use my rig for a lot of music production - 2600k O/C and WC with low rpm fans and it is very quiet but not silent so loved the review and the way that this tech is moving.

Great review Tom !!!
fanless high end gaming is possible, you could get a massive fanless radiator unpractical but it can be done

04-05-2012, 11:57:13

Carl A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lys0l View Post

fanless high end gaming is possible, you could get a massive fanless radiator unpractical but it can be done
True, sorry I should have qualified the statement a little bit better but I am thinking that the majority of people would require something on the reasonably small side. You would need a seriously big passive rad to dissipate let's say in the region of 1000w. I would be glad to be proved wrong though

My experience is based on trying to cool an OC 2600k with a D5 and a BIG household rad (1m x 1.5m). It was ok (ish) when the ambient temps were low but once that liquid heated up the temps were not what I would call good. It was superb in the winter tho when it was mounted outside
Reply
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