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How to make that d*** box SILENT?

the PC... done some, it's still too noisy

     
6:09 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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well... i've got a laptop, and it's a nice silently running thing. I also got one of those monstruous towers with a lot of air, a few boards and a hard drive in them... and fans! These things make a lot of noise, and i'm sure i'm not the only one who'd rather hear my music (or the sweet sound of silence) than that - so how do i make the box silent?

Anybody out there who's done it?

So far i've replaced the power supply with a nice as-good-as-silent (12dB) one. It was quite easy to do, and doing it took some of the noise away, so i'm pleased with that part.

Now, i hear the fan that cools the CPU as well as the fan on the graphics card in stead. The CPU fan is a Glacialtech Igloo 2420 (21db) which was supposed to be silent when i bought it. Now... well, i really don't think it is. Where would you go to find silent alternatives? i don't care about price, it's all about reducing the noise and nothing else.

Then there's the graphichs card. A NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200. It has this little fan that makes a lot of noise built in on the card, and it really annoys me. Can anything be done about this? Can you exchange the fan with another one or something?

Anyway, what's a graphichs card really good for anyway? I do some photo and image work in the Gimp (sort of Photoshop), but i never play any of those 3D games or anything. Could i just tear it out of the box?

I admit i'm a hardware newbie, but i'm not at all afraid of pulling the box apart and collecting it again... where do you turn for information on this? Are there some sort of "low noise" standards like, say "energy star" or something?

Any and all help greatly appreciated :)



oh, i've tried some of the fan control software out there, it just doesn't work out for me, i need silent hardware
6:31 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks to the overclocking craze, many PCs are louder than a wind tunnel. I now shop for PCs with low db in mind. Dell's super small form factor is almost silent and the new VAIO tower is very quiet.

As far as my old tower with 15 fans, I stuck it in a closet with a door that closes, then drilled a about 2" hole (with a hole saw drill bit) in the sheetrock for the USB & monitor cable (with a wireless kb/mouse the only cable you need coming from the closet is the monitor cable). I also upgraded to a DVI monitor which gives me 15' of cable whereas an analog cable/monitor would need a booster for that length.

Now I keep all the noisy printers/scanners in the closet with the windtunnel machine and keep the door shut.

6:47 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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water cooling ...

haven't done it but thinking about it ... would be interested to hear any opinions!

6:57 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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No matter what I did the power supply was always the loudest, so the water-cooling wouldn't eliminate that.

Zalman touts their 'Zalman Silent 400W Power Supply' as "Noise-free". Perhaps combining it with a 'Lian-Li Quiet PC Case'...or even a homegrown insulation job on an existing noisy tower interior might help...

7:32 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I like the closet idea :) unfortunately, i would still need wiring as the closest closet to my desk is too far away, but perhaps i should just build one.

The Zalman thingy isn't really quiet. It just adjusts speed, so that it's around 20dB in "noiseless mode" and around 30db in "normal mode". The NorthQ that i got is always 12-17dB, so it is really quiet.

I went browsing on the zalman site though (.co.kr). It seems they have something called "heatpipes and heatsinks" for the graphichs card, so i could tear off the fan, that's good news :)

Added: All the silent CPU coolers i can find seem to be around 20db or higher. Can that be true? I think i will need a case with a built in silencer-thingy then...

Btw. the guy in the electronics store told me that power supplies do come without fans now, although these are a bit expensive. I guess they have "heatsinks" in stead.

8:34 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just a followup: I've decided to tear out the graphichs card altogether. I've not been able to find any evidence that such a thing is necessary for me (should have known that prior to purchase, i'd have bought a good sound card in stead)

Also, i will dig into finding a better case. I've done a little reading around the web, and it turns out that the case isnīt just cosmetics. Some cases are much more silencing than others, i've decided to find the most quiet one.

9:14 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As far as manuf. PCs, the Dell OptiPlex SX270 is the quietest I've come across. Same deal as a notebook though--everything's soldered on to the MB so no upgrading.

I use them as wireless workstations in areas around the house where the wife would usually complain about the noise and loss of space. They also travel well if there's a monitor at your destination.

Curious to see what you dig up on the case. I haven't found any that get specific enough with zapping sound pollution to make a purchase.

9:40 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, so far the "Lian-Li Quiet PC Case" is the most promising, although i would want it in black, but that's just cosmetics ;)

Added: Nexus Breeze seems good, too.

10:50 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been having thoughts on quieting my beast by cutting the sound reflection inside and any reverberations of the structure. Then, sitting it either behind a screen or in a ventilated soundproof (kind of) box.
Anyone have any ideas?
I've done a fair bit of work with sound, over the years, but usually related to making more of it. :)
Would this be a financially less challenging option to changing the hardware? I just got myself a cableless optical keyboard and mouse (l*gitec, quite happy, so far) hoping to get more positioning flexibility.
11:09 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My pc is noisy. It's an out of the box Systemax. However, at the same time I got the pc, I also inherited a pretty nice desk and hutch. Putting the case inside the logical compartment (which does have upper and lower back ventilation and cords-exit areas) drops the noise ratio probably by half, and so far (almost 2 years) I haven't had any heat buildup problems.

It works so well that I'm going to have my fairly-handy husband build me something similar but better eventually....

11:49 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Found the best case: Zalman TNN500A. It's big, its heavy (26 kilograms!) and carries a price tag of about US$ 1200, but it's quiet ;)

Still, for that price i could rent a closet from my next door neighbour, get some really long wires, and get an electrician to install the whole thing :)

[edited by: claus at 12:18 am (utc) on Oct. 24, 2004]

12:13 am on Oct 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's it. Fanless, dustless, and "heat pipes" instead of fans--swaps the fan out on the graphics card/CPU with heat pipes leading to heat sinks on the side of the case--sick! Pricey but you'll never need another case.
9:18 am on Oct 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The 'making your pc quiet' issue is being dealt with in greater depth in this thread [webmasterworld.com].
 

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