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Kyle
2006-02-21, 21:30
My pc sits in my bedroom, and the fan is noisy, so I have to put it to sleep at night. Maybe that's best, but it keeps me from being able to turn on my SB3 without waking up the computer. I know there are quiet fans, but are they really much quieter than my stock Dell fan? Do I need a CPU fan, a case fan or both? What's the best way to have a nearly silent desktop computer? Also, is it better to let the computer sleep at night?

radish
2006-02-21, 21:45
My pc sits in my bedroom, and the fan is noisy, so I have to put it to sleep at night. Maybe that's best, but it keeps me from being able to turn on my SB3 without waking up the computer. I know there are quiet fans, but are they really much quieter than my stock Dell fan? Do I need a CPU fan, a case fan or both? What's the best way to have a nearly silent desktop computer? Also, is it better to let the computer sleep at night?

This is a very big topic, I'd recommend hanging out at silentpcreview.com to learn more. But the simple answers to your questions are:

Yes, much.

Both, in most cases.

Well the very best way is to get rid of all the fans, but that severely restricts what components you can use so not so good for most people. Personally I use Zalman CPU & GPU coolers, a Panaflo case fan, Seasonic PSU and passively cooled northbridge. Even with 4 HDDs in the box (Seagate are my choice) it's basically inaudible from a seated position.

pfarrell
2006-02-21, 22:06
Kyle wrote:
> My pc sits in my bedroom, and the fan is noisy, so I have to put it to
> sleep at night. Maybe that's best, but it keeps me from being able to
> turn on my SB3 without waking up the computer. I know there are quiet
> fans, but are they really much quieter than my stock Dell fan? Do I
> need a CPU fan, a case fan or both? What's the best way to have a
> nearly silent desktop computer? Also, is it better to let the computer
> sleep at night?

Last question first: this is a philosophical or theological question.
The answer depends on who you ask. I believe that most computer failures
are caused by change, so I leave mine on all the time. YMMV.

On the other questions, you can make a PC quieter.
But it is a lot easier to buy one, or build one, with
noise in mind all the time when you select components.

The best solution is to put the computer in your basement and never
see it, or hear it.

You can either approach 'making it quiet' with science or
just making assumptions. To use science, get a sound meter,
measure what is making noise, and change that. The obvious choices
are the case fan, the power supply fan, any CPU fan, and the disk drives.

You can also buy things like an Antec "PC Noise Killer Kit" at your
local Frys, Compusa, etc. And you can buy fans that are quieter.

I cut the sound of one of my servers by a little more than 10dB
measured. That is a huge amount. It took all new fans and some testing.
It is lots quieter. It is not quiet. But that is what I expected,
it is a server with dual Xeon CPUs, and lots of fans.



--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Wlazlo, Philip
2006-02-22, 02:26
You can also look at components that use heat pipe cooling. Gigabyte have a range of NVIDIA cards that replace the fan with a heat pipe - no moving parts, so no noise.

This is a tough one as the more powerful PC you have, generally the more fans you need. I have seen high end fanless cases, but these are retailing at £1000 upwards (that's just the case). My desktop has more fans that I can count and does make a racket.

I am therefore going down the route of building as quiet as PC as I can with a nice looking "hi-fi" like case so it can sit in the living room. My purchasing decisions are based on the noise generated by the components (so I am buying the PSU, CPU cooler, etc with the lowest db rating. The graphics card will be heat pipe based).

My plan is for this to be my MP3 server. I'll set up the power saving settings so the disks power down after a suitable period of inactivity (hence less sound and more power efficient). I may also play with the (Linux) filesystem buffer size to keep as much music resident in memory - theoretically this should allow the disks to spin down sooner (this seems to be how the ipod works). I will also play with the hibernate settings to see if that if effective.

In terms of whether to restart your PC or leave it running - depends on what OS you are running (I'll leave it at that as I don't want to provoke *that* religious war! ;)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com [mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com] On Behalf Of Pat Farrell
Sent: 22 February 2006 05:06
To: Slim Devices Discussion
Subject: Re: [slim] Quiet computer cooling?

Kyle wrote:
> My pc sits in my bedroom, and the fan is noisy, so I have to put it to
> sleep at night. Maybe that's best, but it keeps me from being able to
> turn on my SB3 without waking up the computer. I know there are quiet
> fans, but are they really much quieter than my stock Dell fan? Do I
> need a CPU fan, a case fan or both? What's the best way to have a
> nearly silent desktop computer? Also, is it better to let the
> computer sleep at night?

Last question first: this is a philosophical or theological question.
The answer depends on who you ask. I believe that most computer failures are caused by change, so I leave mine on all the time. YMMV.

On the other questions, you can make a PC quieter.
But it is a lot easier to buy one, or build one, with noise in mind all the time when you select components.

The best solution is to put the computer in your basement and never see it, or hear it.

You can either approach 'making it quiet' with science or just making assumptions. To use science, get a sound meter, measure what is making noise, and change that. The obvious choices are the case fan, the power supply fan, any CPU fan, and the disk drives.

You can also buy things like an Antec "PC Noise Killer Kit" at your local Frys, Compusa, etc. And you can buy fans that are quieter.

I cut the sound of one of my servers by a little more than 10dB measured. That is a huge amount. It took all new fans and some testing.
It is lots quieter. It is not quiet. But that is what I expected, it is a server with dual Xeon CPUs, and lots of fans.



--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

vdorta
2006-02-22, 06:31
Kyle, I built a small computer without any previous experience after doing a lot of reading at silentpc.com. It is so quiet I can't hear it from more than a foot away and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. I can help you build one or modify your Dell, but as radish said, it could be a very big topic depending on how far you want to go. Email me.

NigelC
2006-02-22, 07:36
Kyle

I tried to silence an older desktop, by fitting a quiet PSU, bigger case fans, Zalman cpu cooler. All these bits had some effect, but in the end I gave up and bought a new Dell desktop (5150) which I had listened to at work. It uses the new BTX form motherboard, with just one big fan, and a huge cpu heatsink. Air flows from the front of the case over the heatsink and staright out the back. It is almost silent, and much quieter than my own attempts. It sits in my study, running slimserver 24 x 7.

Try and have a listen to one of these if you can - the only sound I ever hear is a light chatter from the disk drive as the heads move

Nigel

Pat Dowling
2006-02-22, 09:07
I also built a pc based on recommendations from http://www.silentpcreview.com/index.php. I used a Antec Sonata case http://www.silentpcreview.com/article60-page1.html based on there review and have been quite happy with it. The dives are mounted on rubber grommets and it uses large slow moving fans for airflow. The noisiest component is the video card fan. I've looked at the passive heat pipe designs but haven't spent the time on it yet. The case retails for about $100 US.

Pat

On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 05:31:35 -0800, vdorta <vdorta.23mv0n1140615601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> Kyle, I built a small computer without any previous experience after
> doing a lot of reading at silentpc.com. It is so quiet I can't hear it
> from more than a foot away and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. I
> can help you build one or modify your Dell, but as radish said, it
> could be a very big topic depending on how far you want to go. Email
> me.
>
>
> --
> vdorta
>
> DIY computer (EAC/FLAC) --> wireless SB2 (Bolder digital & analog mods,
> Sonicap Platinum bypass caps, Bolder Deluxe Power Supply) --> Stello
> M200 monos --> ACI Sapphire XLs on dedicated Sound Anchors and REL
> Storm III | JMT PPA headamp with custom bass boost --> AKG K501 and
> Etymotics ER-4S
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> vdorta's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=1446
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=21359
>
>

radish
2006-02-22, 09:18
The noisiest component is the video card fan. I've looked at the passive heat pipe designs but haven't spent the time on it yet.

The Zalman replacement CPU fans are fantastic, very easy to fit and they actually work better than the originals. Very quiet at full speed (which you don't need) and basically silent when undervolted.

John Stimson
2006-02-22, 10:15
A couple of years ago, I switched my PCs over to Seasonic power supplies and Zalman CPU heatsinks. I also replaced any extra case fans with the Panasonic quiet 3" fans. All of that worked very well. The noisiest remaining component was the fan on my ATI video card.

I got a Zalman heat-pipe based heatsink for the video card, and I think that was a mistake. Although it reduced the noise considerably, I think that the weight and the mounting method put too much mechanical stress on the graphics processor chip, possibly cracking the silicon or the solder bonds. The video card became flaky soon after I installed the heatsink, and its replacement failed as well. I did not install it on the next card, and that card has worked flawlessly for at least a year.

MeSue
2006-02-22, 10:16
I can vouch for the Antec Sontata II case. I built a new PC with it last month and it is about as silent as can be. I also used a fanless video card. The only time I hear it is when it gets a little warm in the room, there is a second PSU fan which comes on for a few seconds now and then… but even that is just a soft hum. However, if you were going to use this case in a bedroom, you'd definitely want to unhook the bright blue LEDs in the front.

Jacob Potter
2006-02-22, 12:22
I'm using an Antec P180 with a Seasonic power supply and a Scythe
SCNJ-1000 fanless CPU heatsink. It's incredibly quiet - to the point
that the hum from my old stereo reciever sometimes drowns out the
computer itself. I've got 3 case fans (besides the power supply), all
running at 5 volts.

The P180 and SCNJ-1000 are a great combo. Even my overclocked,
overvolted Athlon 64 stays under 50 celsius (under heavy load) with
only a 5v exhaust fan above it. Highly reccommended.

- Jacob

radish
2006-02-22, 12:55
I got a Zalman heat-pipe based heatsink for the video card, and I think that was a mistake. Although it reduced the noise considerably, I think that the weight and the mounting method put too much mechanical stress on the graphics processor chip, possibly cracking the silicon or the solder bonds. The video card became flaky soon after I installed the heatsink, and its replacement failed as well. I did not install it on the next card, and that card has worked flawlessly for at least a year.

Or it just overheated. I think the fanless heatsinks are risky for graphics cards, I was specifically recommending the replacement fans which are excellent.