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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  • kevith - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I read the review at SPCR a while ago.

    If one could talk about "craftsmanship" when referring to building computers, these guys would be he Formula 1 techs of quiet computer building. These guys' work doesn't come cheap, I don't really find the price all that monstrous, when I consider the hours spent.

    I'm a muscician, and ths is the first ever, real quiet, almost silent machine I've ever seen even near this pricepoint. And I'm sure I could live with the 20 dB "hurricane" of the little-brother, at an even friendlier price. And I'd probably go with a graphics card with one of modern, very quiet aftermarket supercoolers.

    (There's one little catch in musicproduction-PC's, regarding to graphics cards. I use Nuendo, a high-end, 2.500 $ DAW. As for now, I have an XFX HD4770. And, as most moderne graphics cards, it throttles itself when doing 2D-work, in my case from 750 mHz to 250 mHz core. While work in the DAW isn't 3D, it actually has some pretty demanding tasks, graphics-wise: When you zoom in and out in the editor window with a lot of tracks open; When you move large chunks of audio-material; When you pan across a whole song; When you use the Mixer-window that has a lot of real-time moving details like meters, graphs etc. These, and a lot of other operations you do all the time, will put so much strain on the video-card, that the low-performance clock isn't really enough, causing glitches, delays and brief lock-ups in the system. Of course, this is amplified the more tracks you have. I'd wish I could control these frequencies, but only the high-performance can be altered in AMD Overdrive, as soon as you return to 2D-work, the core-clock will drop to 250. Just to say, that the graphics card should be researched and considered thoroughly, even in a music-production machine.)

    I live in Europe, so I can't buy it anyways.

    However, I really dig the article, it's VERY inspiring, this is a project I'm definitely going to copy for my next build.

    Tear it apart and give us some nice close-ups of the sound-dampening details... Just kidding:-)
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Check out ATI tool. It is a free, beta program that allows for changing both 2D and 3D frequencies independently. Most of us use it to downclock our numbers, but in your situation you could ramp up the 2D clocks. Google Tech Power Up and Ati Tool and you'll get a link to the program. It's still a beta that is probably never going to see a final release but for a lot of us it offers something that is not available anywhere else.

  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    One thing I forgot to mention. You need to select the SAME frequency for low, medium, and high, or else you get a screen flickering bug on some cards (mine included). But if you set all the 2D (or 3D) settings to the same frequency the issue goes away.
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    And I'm an idiot. I meant gpu tool, not ati tool (they are different programs). Everything else still applies though that I mentioned in the previous posts. Just go here:
  • rpsgc - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Tell them to start using higher end video cards with aftermarket coolers. AC Accelero Xtreme Plus, Accelero Twin Turbo Pro, Gelid Icy Vision, Thermalright Shaman, Thermalright Spitfire, etc.

    With such a slew of great coolers, there's no reason not to use them, and not to use more powerful video cards.
  • KayDat - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I'm speaking particularly for the SPCR build, but with a computer at such a low noise floor, a lot of graphics coolers (yes, even third party ones) may be positively noisy in comparison. Yes, the option would be nice, but Puget spend time cherry picking parts for SPCR build, they wouldn't put in parts that aren't up to scratch.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Any of those coolers would obliterate the 11dB they were able to obtain. You might not realize what an achievement that is, but suffice to say passive GPU cooling is a must.
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I have a somwhat similar setup, with an Antec P-182 case, that I built for silence. I have an HD4890 that was completely unbearable witht he stock fan. I placed in an Accelero on it, along with a silent, low-speed fan blowing across it , and its both silent and stays cool.
  • michal1980 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    why did they pick a 850W PSU? System runs low power, was so smartly desgined, and then they drop this beast in there? Why? Imho, stupidy.

    Futhermore, seems like there was some ass-kissing in this review

    "That said, many of the really high scores we've seen are largely academic: can anyone really tell the difference between 100 frames per second and 150... 30 frames per second ...framerate should still be your baseline for acceptable performance"

    Where did this pc hit 100 fps? Yes over 100fps would be academic. Over 60fps could be academic, 16fps for 2 grand? I'll tell you what that is, pathic. As are most of the graphic tests. The performance isn't good, its SAD.

    30 frames per second a human eye limit, you just panadoring to Puget, for its pathic attempt at a 'performance' machine. Please get back to us, when you get some balls to call things as they are. For a gaming pc this is sad.

    Maybe next time they should go for zero dB, solid state drives, a slow passivle cold pc. heck slap an ipad in case, look man this thing makes no sound. No one can tell the difference between this and a performance pc. just 3 grand.
  • nikclev - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Just commenting on the choice of power supply. The CP-850 is the smallest that antec makes in the CPX (or whatever they call it) proprietary form factor. Basically bigger dimensions, it allows for a bigger fan and more room inside the PSU. It also performs extremely well and is considerably cheaper than most other high quality PSUs in the same wattage range. Every review I've seen of the CP power supplies lists it as one of the best when it comes to voltage stability and lack of ripple/noise/etc. And yes, it is more power supply than this system needs. I think that is a good thing. Too many computer manufacturers use power supplies that do not allow any room for expansion/cap ageing purely to save money.

    I agree with you to a point about the lack of gaming performance.I think in this case silence was priority number one. I've owned several high performance graphics cards and purposely set in game settings lower than I had to, just to keep the thing quiet.

    I agree with the review, It seems like an excellent computer with boutique quality AND price tag, but lacking in the warranty department. (At least when you compare advertised numbers with other manufacturers)

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