Application and Futuremark Performance

At this point it goes without saying that Sandy Bridge is fast, but this time around we have a stock-clocked system contending with both an overclocked Sandy Bridge unit and quite a few systems featuring some overclocked representatives of last generation's finest. While you're looking at these benchmarks, though, try to remember that Puget Systems tuned the Serenity SPCR Edition for maximum silence. The Intel Core i5-2500K hasn't been touched, and the PowerColor Radeon HD 5750 included is tied for the fastest passively-cooled video card on the market. You can hear all of the other systems here under load, but you can't hear the Serenity.

As you can see, even at stock clocks with no Hyper-Threading, it still takes a lot to hold Sandy Bridge down. The DigitalStorm and CyberPower 8500 systems are both running their processors at 3.8GHz, and DigitalStorm's tower has the added benefit of triple-channel memory. In fact the only chips that aren't Hyper-Threaded are the i5-2500K and the i5-750S, and while the i5-750S basically trails the competition here, the i5-2500K's worst showings still mostly nip at the heels of the 3.5GHz processor inside the iBuyPower XLC. 

3DMark is less kind to the Puget Systems Serenity, but it still posts a strong showing and as we'll see the 5750 at its heart is for the most part able to game at 1080p. Again, remember that the Serenity is basically inaudible during gaming sessions and power consumption is remarkably low, as you'll see later. Of course, if the 5750 just doesn't cut it for you it's worth repeating that Puget Systems is working on getting a passively-cooled Radeon HD 6850 in house. It's entirely possible that by the time they can start shipping Sandy Bridge-based systems like this one again you'll actually be able to make that upgrade.

Introducing the Puget Systems Serenity SPCR Edition Gaming Performance
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  • MattM_Super - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I would love an article that focused on building a quiet powerful gaming rig. Some info about DIY sound insulation and how it affects noise and thermals in the case would be great. A guide to building a quiet water cooling system would also be nice. In all the reviews I have read, box kit water coolers end up being louder than high end air coolers.
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    You could check out SPCR (, the guys who Puget worked with to build this system. They've been around for ages, lots of info there. The founder, Mike Chin actually took part in the design of the original Antec P180, (arguably) kick starting the whole silent/quiet computing in the commercial market.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I doubt water cooling is the way to get the absolute quietest type of system.

    You're always having to run a pump, and no matter how you hide it away, it's still essentially quite a large and powerful rotational mass compared to a fan.

    I bet this system is quieter than anything you could build with water cooling.
  • PartEleven - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Air cooling is the absolute quietest solution. Water cooling has the benefit of a lower sound-to-cooling power ratio as you scale up, but if you're talking about the absolute lowest noise possible, air cooling wins. It's why Puget went with air cooling in this system. Piroroadkill was right: with water cooling there's always going to be a pump. While they may be quiet, I've never encountered one as quiet as properly tuned fans.
  • Martin Schou - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    "If you're a little bit underwhelmed by the Radeon HD 5750 in our review unit, don't be. This 5750 is arguably the fastest passively-cooled card on the market (only the Sparkle GTS 450 really competes)"

    And what happened to Gigabyte's Radeon HD 5770 Silent Cell, that made it slower than a 5750? I was going to use it in my own HTPC/mid range gaming PC, but it's a bit on the large side and wouldn't fit in my case (height wise)
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I couldn't find it for purchase. NewEgg only lists the Powercolor 5750 and Sparkle GTS 450. In fact a visit just now to Google Shopping reveals exactly one vendor selling the Silent Cell 5770, across the pond.
  • ganjha - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Gigabyte's Radeon HD 5770 Silent cell has reached EOL I've been told by distributors in my country. It's a shame since I used it in quite a few silent builds, and the cards meant to replace it all use the Windforce 2X/3X cooling.
  • Martin Schou - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Ahh. That explains it. I bought mine in Sweden in late January (2011), and it didn't seem like an issue, but that could just be left over stock; however when I just checked there are about 30 stores that claims to have them in stock.

    Rather odd though - usually we're the ones being left out, not the US.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    For something that's EOL stores listing it as being in stock might not mean anything. I tried getting a case a few years ago after the non-window version went EOL. About a dozen vendors claimed to have it in stock, but after a few days refunded my money saying their distributer couldn't find it (one took about 3 weeks and a dispute filed with my CC company); about a month after that only half of them removed the case from their list of available parts.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Many vendors (most in fact) will just copy and paste their distributors lists onto their website and wait for the orders to roll in. They spend little effort maintaining their site when distributors run out of stock. It is par for the course in this business and unless you can confirm ACTUAL stock from one or more other vendors, don't bother placing the order. Call them first at least!

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