The build you see here is for my wife and I. A machine that I can use to write and learn to code, and for her to use for OpenXX acceleration. Why did I build it this way? Let me tell you.
You can see by my other build posted that I have a gaming machine. I works well, very well indeed, but I could always hear it. I had no idea that I was so sensitive to white noise until I sat next to a running PC for hours. All of my fans were set to some sort of 'silent', there was always a friendly fan profile for the graphics. But I could always hear it! The low thrumming of the PSU fan, the soft whoosh of all the case fans. It drove me nuts.
So I decided to move my gaming machine to HTPC status and build a completely silent, entirely passive computer that would satisfy my needs.
No part of this build was difficult. Every screw and standoff lined up perfectly, every component worked out of the box, and the cable management within the Fractal Core 1300 was very easy. It is a very snappy, very responsive machine. A pleasure to use. It handles Visio Professional, Microsoft Office, web browsing, and video playback very well without breaking a sweat.
I have included a number of benchmarks to show everyone what they might expect from such a machine. But don't let it get you down: a PC with exactly the same specs could be built for far less with actively cooled parts, and show better power for said cooling.
All benchmarks were run at 1920 x 1080 in Dual Graphics with 2GB of memory dedicated to the IGPU and Turbo Core turned off to control heat with no fans running - relying entirely on convection cooling.
Sonic All Stars Racing, High Quality, FPS 52, CPU 90C, GPU 81C - League of Legends, Ultra Quality, FPS 60+, CPU 91C, GPU 88C - Battlefield 3, Medium Preset, FPS 53, CPU 88C, GPU 82C
I threw Battlefield 3 in as a cutoff - goodness knows a machine of this specification should tackle AAA titles. I'm sure that with active cooling one would fair much better than I. I tasked it with some synthetic benchmarks, and they certainly raised the roof with temperatures, but they never prove anything but nerd point total, so I left them out of this description. It will work well for my purposes because I will not be gaming on it - that's why I have The Gamer In Disguise!
Thanks for reading and looking. Comments and questions are certainly welcome.
EDIT: The Linksys wireless card does not work well. Constantly connects and disconnects. I have my RMA to send it back. Also, a gentleman noticed the case has a fan in the pictures. In fact it came with two, one intake and one exhaust. I moved the exhaust to the front of the case with the other to clear the convection path. No worries though: I tried running the fans, and they cooled the passive parts well. But I could hear them, so I bundled up their wires and left them installed. I have enough spare case fans sitting in boxes. No need to add to them. Besides - they're probably safest where they are.
Update 3/5 Was running some 3D rendering benchmarks last night, some things to simulate the video acceleration that my wife would like to utilize this machine for, and it cannot handle it without active cooling. During the tests the CPU would easily broach 104C and the GPU 102C. I cannot live with such temperatures. Sad day. My proof of concept is debunked. I experimented with fan positions and settled on utilizing the traditional exhaust port in the rear and the port directly adjacent (top-rear). With both fans running at their minimum (.75 PWM/Degree C) the CPU topped at 71C and the GPU at 75C during identical testing. Much, much better but still - fans - ugh. I'm going to look into purchasing a fan controller that will leave the fans off until a designated temperature is reached, that way it will operate in silence while I'm using it for less demanding tasks. Perhaps I chose my parts poorly. I'm not sure. But rendering, gaming, and video acceleration are not feasible with this composition. Oh well, maybe next time. Thanks for reading.