Want a Really REALLY Quiet Computer? It'll Cost Ya!

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by John McGaw, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. John McGaw

    John McGaw Guest

    I'm always interested in ways of quieting my systems so this article caught
    my eye. Seems that it is possible to build a fast system so quiet that the
    loudest thing is the optical disc spinning. That is if you can get past the


    John McGaw
    [Knoxville, TN, USA]

    Return address will not work. Please
    reply in group or through my website:
    John McGaw, Jan 18, 2004
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  2. John McGaw

    Anon Guest

    $1400 for a case and power supply?!? Sheesh, I spent much less than $200
    bucks total for case, power supply and cooling fans for a silent Athlon XP
    system I built for my wife. I ended up with a fast system that is so quiet
    that the loudest thing in it is the optical discs spinning. It took some
    research to pick the right components and to make sure that everything was
    not only QUIET, but compatible* . . . but to save ~$1200, I think it was
    well worth the effort. -Dave

    *One of my biggest challenges was to keep the Athlon XP CPU cool without
    adding a lot of noise OR spending a lot of money. I had to research cooling
    capabilities of various (easily available) heat sinks and find one that
    would be compatible with the size and airflow ratings of a quiet fan. I
    ended up using a rather cheap Cooler Master heatsink that was over-spec'ed
    for my CPU, along with a really quiet, low RPM case fan to cool the CPU
    heatsink. If you find the right heatsink, you can get away with a lower RPM
    (ie QUIETER) fan to cool your CPU. But I don't overclock.
    Anon, Jan 18, 2004
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  3. John McGaw

    Don Taylor Guest

    So, would you mind posting your list of components?

    Don Taylor, Jan 18, 2004
  4. John McGaw

    Anon Guest

    Not at all. But I don't have all that specific information right at my
    fingertips. I could look it up later. But the basics . . .
    I kind of reverse-engineered it. That is, I started by choosing my "dream"
    components for a quiet system. Then I looked at what was available at some
    of the better online vendors, and that brought me back down to earth.
    Having to order components from five or more different vendors did not seem
    to be such a good idea. So I chose two of my favorite vendors and
    researched the parts available at those two to find the components that most
    closely matched what I was looking to do. I ended up finding components
    that were just as good and less expensive that way. (that was a nice
    surprise) But it did take some work. The system I built was a bit
    different from what I first imagined it to be. But the end result is a
    system I am REALLY proud of. It is quick, ultra stable, cool and so quiet
    that I can't hear it running from four feet away, unless the optical disks
    are spinning.

    - Power supply is a quiet unit made by Seasonic, designed specifically to
    be quiet (and it IS quiet!!!). I chose it partly based on reviews, but also
    because it was one of the few models I could find (at the time) that was
    easily available. I believe the model number was SS-350FS.
    - CPU Heat Sink is a Cooler Master unit that is compatible with 8CM fans
    and way over-spec'ed for the XP 2500+ processor that I used. That's the key
    to quiet. Don't choose a heat sink that's exactly matched to your
    processor. If possible, choose one that will handle faster processors and
    accept larger cooling fans, such as 8CM *case* fans, and try to run the fan
    at a lower RPM. The model I chose is one that isn't made by Cooler Master
    anymore, but the CP5-8JD1F-0L looks very similar and has similar specs.
    Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to use the fan that comes with
    the CPU cooler.
    - I bought two case fans, one Vantec "Stealth" 8CM and one similarly priced
    thermal control fan. I used the Vantec "Stealth" to draw in cool air
    through the front of the case.
    - I don't remember the exact make or model of the other fan I bought. I'd
    have to look at it to see what it is again. (!) But it is 8CM thermally
    controlled with a sensor on a wire attached to the fan. I mounted that fan
    on the side air intake of my case, blowing cool air at the motherboard
    around the CPU and video card. I strapped the thermal sensor up near the
    top of the tower case. Theoretically at least, if it ever got too warm in
    the case, the side fan would speed up, along with the power supply fans
    which are also thermally controlled.

    All of last summer, the system was set up in a room with no A/C. I often
    ran it all day at 90F room temperature without a single glitch. The
    interesting thing is that it's just as quiet in hot weather. On the BIOS
    splash screens, it always shows cool temperatures for both motherboard and
    CPU. The funny thing about the hardware health monitoring is that it's
    always warning me about low fan speed. (!) I guess the motherboard
    designers expected really fast (ie LOUD) fans to be used with an Athlon XP
    system. Thus, the motherboard keeps complaining as it thinks my fans are
    failing. (!) -Dave

    On a side note, the boring specs are Epox nforce2 mainboard, recycled GF4
    MX440 video card (we're not gamers, so this is OK), 512MB Kingston 266MHz
    RAM X2, recycled WD 80GB hard drive, recycled Yamaha CDR/W, recycled AOpen
    DVD player, Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (I think?) sound card, NEC 1760 LCD
    Anon, Jan 18, 2004
  5. John McGaw

    Spajky® Guest

    with quite a lot of knowledge & experimenting & spending time, it can
    be done also with almost none additional spendings.
    I can hear my monitors Psu buzz, a hiss from PC speakers & rattling
    AudioCD inside drive if is not well balanced; the HD is heard a bit
    only when writing/reading only a bit, not much ...
    ... it was quite time consuming to achieve that...
    The site I did not update it yet, but how to resolve the problem of a
    HD spining noise, you can see under comp/mods on my site ...

    -- Regards, SPAJKY ®
    & visit my site @ http://www.spajky.vze.com
    "Tualatin OC-ed / BX-Slot1 / inaudible setup!"
    E-mail AntiSpam: remove ##
    Spajky®, Jan 19, 2004
  6. John McGaw

    Anon Guest

    That's what I was trying to say earlier. I built a silent Athlon XP system
    for my wife (detailled elsewhere). I spent zero extra on a quiet power
    supply (I needed a new high-quality power supply anyway), and spent an extra
    five bucks each (roughly) on three quiet cooling fans, one for the CPU
    heatsink. Of course, I did spend a few hours researching components and
    reading reviews to make sure the claimed noise specs. were realistic. If
    your goal is quiet, you don't need to spend $1400 to achieve it. Just make
    sure EVERY fan in your system is quiet, and that your cooling components
    will actually keep your components cool. Yup, that might take a little
    research, but you should be doing that anyway, before you build. -Dave
    Anon, Jan 19, 2004
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