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Building a Silent, Air-Cooled System

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-sounds-of-silence dept.

Hardware 392

A reader:"Tired of those whining fans? Want some piece and quiet when working on your PC? Water cooling can be too expensive and too complicated to install, why not just stick to air cooling? This article describes how you can remove PC noise without turning the inside of your PC case into a small oven. Follow the road to silence while keeping an eye on the system temperature."

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what rush? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912341)

Don't see no rush.

btw, FP!

Seagte Barracuda Hard Drives (4, Informative)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912350)

I know that they're selling some lower-end models now, but every Seagate Barracuda hard drive I've ever purchased is far quieter than comparable hard drives. I have been using them exclusively for a few years now and really enjoy the PEACE and quiet.

Re:Seagte Barracuda Hard Drives (2, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912433)

That's interesting because I have a Barracuda and it's probably the loudest drive that I've ever owned...

Re:Seagte Barracuda Hard Drives (2, Informative)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912440)

Yeah, me too. They are the quietest 3.5" drives out there. There are quieter 2.5" drives, but they lack space and performance.

What I hate about all drives, even the Seagate's, is they every few minutes they go into some self check mode or something. I have no idea what the drive is doing, but it gets louder. This is not disk access, it's like when the drive has been mostly idle for several minutes it starts doing something (internal checks or something?). It's annoyingly loud though.

Maxtor HDDs also very quiet (2, Insightful)

codergeek42 (792304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912454)

I've got a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 (120 GB, ATA/133, 8 MB cache) and it's whisper quiet and very fast.

Re:Maxtor HDDs also very quiet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912529)

The Seagates are more quiet. Trust me, I have the same drive as you and a similar Seagate. The Seagate is more quiet.

The Maxtor is certainly pretty good, but when compared side-by-side with the Seagate you can really tell the difference.

Micropolis hard drives also quiet (4, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912684)

Micropolis hard drives were always very quiet too--they'd go clunk and stop making even the faintest whirring noises...

Re:Seagte Barracuda Hard Drives (5, Informative)

Electronik (821589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912535)

Seagate make the quietest, most reliable drives I know of. I specify them in all my audio (recording studio) computers. Not one (touch wood) failure in 6 years.

If your computer is scanning the drives, make sure you have fast search turned OFF in XP, it will try to index your HDD everytime it 'thinks' you aren't needing to access the drive. Also check for spyware and all the usual nonsense running in the background.

Finaly, you can suspend your HDD or use sleeves to stop the drive transmitting the vibrations to the case. The case can act a little like a guitar body and amplify the grinding sounds.

I agree (2, Informative)

toadlife (301863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912574)

I had use Maxtors and they sounded like turbojets when they were powered up. After hearing of Maxtor's idiotic decision to integrate Quantum technology into their products, it was time for me to choose a different brand. At work the systems we have been buying come with Seagate drives, and I have noticed that they are extremely quiet - and pretty reliable to boot.

I just bought three Seagates and now I can hear my fans instead of my drives when I fire up my computer.

.... How? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912357)

All that heat has to go somewhere....

If you can't do it very well with fans and such, how can you expect to do it with even less?

You Don't (2, Funny)

jnetsurfer (637137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912395)

You Don't. Just disable all the fans and, hey, who cares about a little extra heat?

Then things will run really quiet... that is, until the smoke detectors start going off...

Re:.... How? (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912485)

Well, Apple's [] been doing it with their G5 PowerMacs... not removing the fans completely, but they sure are quiet. Madshrimps is being really sluggish right now.

Isn't Intel's new BTX form factor also supposed to help with cooling, but moving the hot components away from each other so that fewer fans need to be used? I'm not a fluid mechanics expert, but with good channeling, and a sturdy enough current of air around the case from the room's ventillation system, such a silent system doesn't seem that far-fetched.

Transmeta-based machines also have no cooling fans. Of course, the Transmeta processors are also a lot less demanding power consumers.

Re:.... How? (1)

L0C0loco (320848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912586)

It is called convection. Good, open, free air flow combined with a suitably shaped and oriented heat exchanger should work.

Personally, I just bought the Mac Mini. It has a fan, but I can't hear it over the ticking of the clock I have on the wall. It is very quiet.

Re:.... How? (3, Informative)

jbarket (530468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912714)

Silent air cooling doesn't mean the removal of fans. There are a lot of simple tricks--for example a 120mm fan at very low speeds will be extremely quiet, and may push nearly as much air as an 80mm that's going at a roaring speed.

Of course, the simplest thing to do is buy new fans that have close to the same cfm rating while having a lower dbA rating.

My home machine is just on the other side of silent (excluding one annoying 80mm fan that's literally custom built into the steel frame of the case at a weird angle), and I have no problems keeping my Athlon64 3000+ @ 2529 with my load temps in the mid-40s.

If you want a really good example of this, look up the Arctic Cooler Silencer series. They do a better job of cooling the outrageously hot GPUs that are out now, and they're so quiet it's hard to tell if it's running or not.

Better yet... (2, Funny)

Avyakata (825132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912365)

If only they could silence my roommate's snoring...

Re:Better yet... (3, Funny)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912431)

Use a pillow - fast, free, fun!

Re:Better yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912503)

Noisier the better, I don't want to hear my mom shouting at me to get off the PC.

Re:Better yet... (1)

chman (746363) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912573)

I wish I only snored... I woke myself up last night laughing in my sleep. Apparantely it's kinda dangerous [] .

This reminds me (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912370)

This reminds me of the [old] VW Beetle w.beetle/1955.vw.beetle.500.jpg [] . This machine was air cooled. I do not know whether todys beetle is air cooled too.

Re:This reminds me (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912409)

It's not. VWs haven't been air-cooled since the 80s (unless you buy a Bug from Mexico, where they are still made new today).


OT: VW Beetle (2, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912493)

where they are still made new today

Sorry, but they stopped making them in 2003 [] .

Re:This reminds me (1)

cowboy_ein (646822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912427)

No, they are not air cooled.

Re:This reminds me (2, Funny)

Weh (219305) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912429)

Yeah, beatles are very silent, especially since John and George are dead

Re:This reminds me (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912432)

Their not. Engines are in the front and they are water cooled.


Re:This reminds me (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912494)

read: actually a Golf with a different outer cover. Last I heard it was built on a Golf chassis and all.
I personally love the roar of the aircooled VW's, but I prefer the camper van, mostly just because my parents used to own one

Re:This reminds me (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912498)

No, today's VW beetles ARE NOT air cooled. No one knows how to make an air cooled engine that can meet today's pollution and gas mileage requirements. When an engine is air-cooled then the temperature of the engine is not regulated -- and will likely be much lower than one would like (since the same car has to be driven in cold as well as very warm climates.) When the engine is cold then the gas will not be completely combusted and you will end up spewing nasty carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons out the tail pipe. Until recently they sold them in countries that didn't have such stiff pollution requirements but they even stopped doing that. Could you have an air cooled SUV though? Since when it comes to SUV's no one seems to care about pollution, or how much oil they are wasting, just so they don't have to drive a minivan (even though minivans are cheaper and better in almost every way.)

Re:This reminds me (1)

Weh (219305) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912536)

SUV's spend their lives on congested highways, stop, go traffic is not very good for an aircooled engine.

Re:This reminds me (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912545)

Until 1997, the Porsche 911 [] was air-cooled as well.


Re:This reminds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912565)

Sure as heck didn't make them quiet though . . .

What I've found works best (both in beetles and computers) is the aftermarket insulation. It's not a fanless system, but it is cheap and effective.

Re:This reminds me (1)

macmania (866959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912705)

No, the new beetle is no longer air-cooled.

Eggs? or Britney? (4, Funny)

RonUSMC (823230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912383)

Reducing temperature and reducing sound... Well then how will I cook eggs or drowned out the Britney Spears from the next office over.

Re:Eggs? or Britney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912701)

Britney Spears works in your office?

Air cooling is fine, until.... (1, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912384)

Air cooling and silent computers are fine until you start adding storage. I have one computer with a 10k RPM RAID-5 setup and another with twelve IDE drives. You just cant make such systems quite and passively cooled. Unless you cast them in a big block of aluminum or somthing, and then they would heat up the room.

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912469)

Fan or not, they will still heat up the room.

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (3, Funny)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912526)

No no no, see... If you have air blowing over a hot object (a heatsink), the heat gets taken away from that object and then it rides those cirrents of air out into the cosmos, never to appear again! But if you radiate the heat away passively through a giant block of aluminum, the room gets really hot. Don't you know anything about thermodynamics?

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912474)

Unless you duct and exhaust the air to the outside, it will still heat the room, with or without fans ;-)

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912488)

I think most people would like a quite desktop pc and believe it or not (I know some /.ers will have a hard time believing it) a setup with 12 IDE drives is not that common for a Joe User desktop pc.

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (2, Insightful)

Omega697 (586982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912489)

If you have 12 IDE drives you can't seriously have quiet as a major priority. :o)

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912547)

I don't care much for quiet, I'm more into keeping everything cool, and if that means that it's not quiet, then so be it.

Check into the Coolermaster CM/Stacker [] with it's drive bays and 4-in-3 Device Module that can be removed and big 120mm fans placed into the front of a stack of 3 5.25 drives. You can add more 4-in-3 modules with fans if you wish. Not to mention the Cross Flow Fan that blows air across the entire motherboard.

Loud? Not as bad as you would think. The bigger the fans btw the less they have to turn to generate the same airflow as a 90 or 80mm fan. But some may find the fans too much, which is why I keep mine under the computer table. I hardly notice it...but your milage may vary.

Re:Air cooling is fine, until.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912623)

"I have one computer with a 10k RPM RAID-5 setup and another with twelve IDE drives."

I'm sure the article was not talking about systems like those. Just because the old VW Beetle was air-cooled, that doesn't mean you can build an air-cooled Hummer.

"Unless you cast them in a big block of aluminum or somthing, and then they would heat up the room."

The practicality of such a scheme aside, I fail to see how encasing something in Aluminum would cause it to generate more heat.

LTSP works for me (4, Interesting)

hax4bux (209237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912390)

I took a old PII box, removed the hard drive, bought big heat sinks and use it as a X-terminal. Boot it via LTSP, works great. Keep hot, noisy servers out in the garage. Life is good.

Re:LTSP works for me (2, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912558)

X terminals are so 90s!

Re:LTSP works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912564)

Uh, that works fine until you need to play a game or use 3D/CAD software.

So buy more expensive fans? (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912393)

That was a lot of words just to tell me to go out and buy a lot of expensive third party cooling systems. I was hoping for more of a hack approach, not just replacing everything with its more expensive, silent counterpart.

Re:So buy more expensive fans? (2, Informative)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912661)

So true. To sum up the article "Some fans are quieter then others."

There are so many things that it did not cover like slow moving 120mm fans move way more air then high rpm 80mm fans. How about using cases with minimal vents located only where air is needed to be took in or pushed out of the system. Cutting away with a pair of tin snips or a Dremel those "molded" fan guards and replacing them with super thin wire fan guards.

Not a lot of content in this article.

Re:So buy more expensive fans? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912669)

How many words was it? The site is now dead. I guess he didn't have enough cooling in his machine to take a slashdoting ;)

Re:So buy more expensive fans? (1)

jmke (776334) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912682)

it's actually meant to be a guide to see what products are out there for silencing your PC; nobody is preventing you from hitting with a few howto search strings!

Re:So buy more expensive fans? (1)

josh2112 (856384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912711)

For something under 5 bucks, try making a power supply fan muffler [] . I made one out of cardboard and masking tape and covered the inside with $1.99 roll of adhesive-backed weatherstripping from Home Depot. It really cuts the whooshing-air noise down to a low hum, and only raises the inside case temperature 1 or 2 degrees.

whats that noise? it's eh0d's libido (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912397)

non-existent... as always

just a question (-1, Flamebait)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912401)

Anyone try turning 'em off? They get pretty quiet. While were at flamebait, though, seriously, coexisting with nature (ie, silence) is a serious question. Who was right? Bill Joy or the Unabomber? I guess both, eh? Ahh... move along...

Isolation (5, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912403)

All the money I have spent on quieting a noisy computer can be saved by accepting simple facts that moving object cause noise. Accept that and you are in the first phase on knowing what to do. You have to isolate the moving components from the room you are in.

For me the best solution is having the cases in the desk cabinet. In the cabinet you can isolate the vibration of a blower(squirrel cage fan) and use dryer vent tubing to suck in cool air and blow out hot air from the case. The blower I got is a dismantled desktop fan from Wally World that has two squirrel cages I picked up for 10 bucks. It runs on 110v so I have to turn it on when I use it. One day I'll get fancy and have a relay to automatically turn it on and it has 3 speeds via a turn nob that I could hook up a temperature senor to automatically select the correct speed. This doesn't totally isolate the noise from the room but I can add baffling to help. And it is so cheap.

Old news (5, Informative)

Electronik (821589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912405)

I have been modding my PC's to be quiet for years - there is no need for any computer to sound like a leaf blower. Check out Silent PC Review [] for more info!

I like the noise (1)

jasper-la (866654) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912415)

There are a couple of sounds I really like, and one of them is the sound of a computer. I'll never buy those sound reducing products. Ok, if it's for in a livingroom...but not in mine!

obligatory... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912424)

In Soviet Russia, the COMPUTER silently air cools YOU.

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912540)

I thought in Korea it was only old people who welcomed our new air cooled overlords?

Or save yourself a bundle of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912434)

...and just buy a BTX case with quiet fans.

Arg (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912436)

I am not taking advice from anyone who writes on a website with such poor design and color scheme that I can't even read it. I guess it's self fulfilling.

hire some proof readers (1)

der_hexer (843096) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912451)

I had to stop reading after the first two paragraphs due to the incredibly poor use of the english language.

Re:hire some proof readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912620)

Speaking of the enlish language, "proofreader" is one word, not two.

Maybe he should have gone with water cooling... (1)

matth1jd (823437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912456)

...his server's gonna be toast. Not even that many comments and it's starting to get really slow.

Wow, it's slow. (3, Informative)

PxM (855264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912459)

If it does stop, here [] is the mirrordot link.

That said, what impresses me is that they pulled it off with an A64 3200.

Free iPod? Try a free Mac Mini []
Or a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox []
Wired article as proof []

Re:Wow, it's slow. (1)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912567)

That link only let you read the first page. Any links there, including the next page link go back to the original site.

Coralized link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912658)

Enjoy []

Mirrordot only has the first page (1)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912676)

Anybody got links for mirrors of the other pages?

Slashdotted (5, Funny)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912461)

Seems to me that they've built a silent website too.

Well... (2, Interesting)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912463) could always try this [] .

Simple: Powerbook + Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912465)

Posting this from a DebianPPC Powerbook. Can't get any better. :)

I sure am. (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912467)

> Tired of those whining fans?

Yeah. Every freakin' day. Wake up. Kick groupie chicks out of bed. Go to Slashdot. Post something. Sign autographs. Click Reload. Select tonight's groupie chicks from my inbound mail. Recompile kernel. Refuse offer of cocaine snort from nearby pair of rackmounted systems. Touch, finger, grep, mount, fsck, reboot. No, I don't have time for your sister. Reload, and post again.

Man, I tell ya, it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll.

silent pc? yeah right. (5, Insightful)

sshore (50665) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912468)

Sigh. Same old advice. Bigger heatsinks, bigger fans, slower speeds.. Each time I see an article like this, I hope that it's actually going to be about a silent PC - passive cooling, solid state storage. But no.. it's always how to make a quieter PC. Always with the same steps. It's like these sites run these articles just to sell the banner impressions. Move along. Nothing to see here.

MY fans ... (2, Funny)

dcarey (321183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912480)

A reader:"Tired of those whining fans? Want some piece and quiet when working on your PC?

Well *I* for one never get tired of my fans, even when they whine or ask repeatedly for autographs.

I do however forbid them to come near my linux box, so I usually have some peace and quiet there.

Re:MY fans ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912510)

I'm so sorry for that comment ... it's Friday ... I'm feeling sarcastic and have some karma to burn ... please don't take away my geek card ...

Re:MY fans ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912619)

Who the Hell are you?

We don't care what some anonymous flunkey has to say, WE WANT DCAREY!

dell (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912483)

I just bought a dell after years of trying to 'silence' my box. now with this, and some cpuFreq action via powernowd - my 3.2G proc steps down to 400Mhz when it's not being used...cutting down on the heat, and thus the fans, that mcuh more.


Economical - Slowing Fans (5, Informative)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912486)

This article talks about using a fan speed controller to slow down your fans and thus, reduce noise. I accomplished the same thing, without spending any extra money.

I converted my fans to run on 7 volts. All you have to do is switch the order of the wires around on the molex power connector. It's really easy: in/5-7-adapter.html []

I didn't experience any increase in temperature, but the noise level in my case went down specifically.

Re:Economical - Slowing Fans (1)

Johnboi Waltune (462501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912611)

You can also place a resistor inline with the fan's power connector. Even easier. The fan gets less power and spins slower and quieter. Zalman fans even come with a resistor. x= 30&code=016

Hm... (1)

MXK (763030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912487)

I think their server overheated...

the joy of recycling (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912504)

I'll recycle my comment from the last /. article [] on this subject...

summary: use low noise/silent parts in your computer

Slashdotted: Bye, bye,bye,bye,buy: a mirror,mirror (1, Informative)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912505)

The first picture I got from that article was the accursed visage of n'Sync. Thanks for the warning. I only was able to read the first two pages and to sum up the study and workmanship is an accurate measurement of <i>db</i> noise rating at various levels of RPM of case fans. The article recommends you buy a FAN CONTROLLER, because a computer doesn't need a FAN revolving at full RPM to remain cool; and I believe that to be the articles conclusion with having only read three pages before slashdot effect. Here are the quotes;

Case fans at half speed:

Let's start of with the easiest of manipulations: reducing the speed of the two case fans should silence the system a bit, without losing too much cooling power.

Each fan's rotation speed was cut in half using the Aerogate II fan controller:
(number between () is compared to default configuration)

Noise measurement: 37.1dBA (-2)

CPU: 56 (-1)
System: 38 (+4)
PWM: 47 (+1)
HDD: 36 (+7)
RAM: 39 (+1)
VGA: 59.5 (+2)
Top: 34.5 (+1.5)
Bottom: 35 (+4)

Reducing the airflow inside you can see some changes; the hard drive's temp raises quite a bit, the other components only become a few degrees warmer. CPU actually becomes 1&#176;C cooler, this is within the margin of error though, and it's quite possible that the two case fans were disrupting the airflow towards the CPU's fan.

Case fans at zero speed:

Now let's see how the system does without any case fans running:
(number between () is compared to default configuration)

Noise measurement: 36.8dBA (-2.3)

CPU: 57 (0)
System: 41 (+7)
PWM: 47 (+1)
HDD: 38 (+9)
RAM: 40.1 (+2.1)
VGA: 61.5 (+4)
Top: 36.5 (+3.5)
Bottom: 38 (+7)

The noise doesn't decrease a lot when compared to the system running with the case fans running at half speed. The temperatures however increase quite a bit, closing in on +10&#176;C for the HDD.

Conclusion: a fan controller should be near the top of your purchase list

Cost of the modification: $15-$70 depending on your needs.

Madshrimps (c)

Adding a fan controller can help reduce the noise generated the system's case fans effectively without affecting temperature a lot. Even a little bit of airflow proves to be much better then none at all. You can go all out and buy a fan controller with all the bells and whistles (memory card readers, LCD display, and allow control through software in Windows) or stick with a more modest model which features a series of knobs which control the fan's speed.

Yea-and whatever happened to neutral jouranlism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912697)

Thanks for the text, btw. I don't need to remember who N Synk was. All the "studies" are pushing some product. What, can't anyone document building a noise sampler or a controller with solid-state to regulate fans? What, is this all part of the "conspiracy" to convert the United States into a consumer nation incapable of anything worthy being made in America? It looks like it; simple things like a mounted fan regulator are trivial to design a schematic and assemble, without buying somthing made in Taiwan with Neon Light Technology(TM)...awe!

Tired of those whining fans? (5, Funny)

deuist (228133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912506)

Tired of those whining fans?

I sure am!

-- Michael Jackson

Could be fanless with proper design. (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912508)

As much as people hated the old Mac Cube, it does illustrate that proper thermal design can provide passive cooling. A specially design PC motherboard, CPU, GPU, and PSU could be built around a heat-convecting chimney -- the more power needed, the taller the chimney. Of course, it would be hard to do this with off-the-shelf modules, but if a design-oriented company wanted a fanless PC, they could do it.

money (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912516)

Forbes Billionaires List Top 100

1. William Gates III, Washington, 49, $46.5, Microsoft

2. Warren Buffett, Nebraska, 74, $44, Berkshire Hathaway

3. Lakshmi Mittal, India, 54, $25, steel

4. Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico, 65, $23.8, telecom

5. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, Saudi Arabia, 48,
$23.7, investments

6. Ingvar Kamprad, Sweden, 78, $23, Ikea

7. Paul Allen, Washington, 52, $21, Microsoft,

8. Karl Albrecht, Germany, 85, $18.5, supermarkets

9. Lawrence Ellison, California, 60, $18.4, Oracle

10. S. Robson Walton,
Arkansas, 61, $18.3, Wal-Mart

11. Jim Walton, Arkansas, 57, $18.2, Wal-Mart

11. John Walton, Arkansas, 59, $18.2, Wal-Mart

13. Alice Walton, Texas, 56, $18, Wal-Mart

13. Helen Walton, Arkansas, 85, $18, Wal-Mart

15. Kenneth Thomson and family, Canada, 81, $17.9, publishing

16. Liliane Bettencourt, France, 82, $17.2, L'Oreal

17. Bernard Arnault, France, 56, $17, LVMH

18. Michael Dell, Texas, 40, $16, Dell

19. Sheldon Adelson, Nevada, 71, $15.6, casinos, hotels

20. Theo Albrecht, Germany, 83, $15.5, supermarkets

21. Roman Abramovich, Russia, 38, $13.3, oil

22. Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong, 76, $13, diversified

23. Amancio Ortega, Spain, 69, $12.6, Zara

24. Steven Ballmer, Washington, 49, $12.1, Microsoft

25. Silvio Berlusconi, Italy, 68, $12, media

25. Abigail Johnson, Massachusetts, 43, $12, Fidelity

Its not that hard... (1)

cr0y (670718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912517)

....To make a system quiet, To make it DEAD quiet is harder, however if you just want a gentle hum instead of a giant roar, do the following

-Get a good psu (just got a X-Connect, dual fan, very very quiet)
-Buy a few new 80mm case fans, or clean and oil the ones you have.

I was amazed at how quiet I could get my system (which has 4x case fans, 2x video card fans + the one on the card) 2 in my power supply and one on my processor) With a little dusting and some WD-40.

obligatory nit-pick (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912518)

the summary says: Want some piece and quiet...

But I think there is a difference between piece and peace. Maybe they meant to say: Want a piece of peace and some quiet...

A quiet (silent) PC (2, Interesting)

mollog (841386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912534)

Big (120mm) fans, controllable CPU fan, quiet case, and Segate Barracuda hard disk drives. 7200.7 My next computer build will use a laptop processor because they run so much cooler.

Screw that... (1)

jmrobinson (660094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912580)

...Just submedge the whole damn thing!!!

Some advice from someone who just did it (3, Informative)

kneecarrot (646291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912604)

It was time for me to upgrade my home machine a few months ago so I decided to go the extra mile and reduce the noise. It was much easier than I thought to get something far more quiet than a stock machine. The key is to carefully evaluate each component you are planning on including. Go to the manufacturers websites and look for a decibel rating. It is much easier to silence a machine if the parts you select are already some of the quietest in their class. Often, several products (for example, hard drives) in same price range will have wildly different noise ratings.

When I first plugged in my new machine I was impressed by the sound but not blown away. A few weeks later I plugged in my old machine and my mouth literally dropped open at how loud it was.

Slashdotted (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912605)

I don't think that passive air cooling is going to save their server right about now.

Great timing (1)

josh2112 (856384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912616)

I've been researching this all week; I want to make my main desktop computer (which is in my bedroom and has an amazingly loud power supply fan) into an always-on Linux server. Now as soon as the Slashdot herd moves on to something else I'll actually be able to RTFA...

Use a older PC (1)

darthgnu (866920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912617)

For my mythtvTV computer, im using a K6-2 500 Mhz with a PVR-350, I can hear the hard drives once in a while but otherwise it is dead quiet.

Coralized link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912628)

Enjoy. []

31.7db isn't silent (5, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912634)

While I'm impressed that they actually bothered to measure the sound coming from their case, their final measurement of 31.7db hardly counts as silent. In fact I personally regard that as fairly noisy, though I'm perhaps pickier than most. Realistically how much noise one can tolerate is a personal thing. If it bothers you it's too loud no matter what the acoustic measurements might tell you. And what bothers me might not bother you. I have just listened carefully to my machine and whichever component made the most noise got replaced.

The only way to have a truly silent case is to have no fans and an idle hard drive. If that isn't possible fans like Pabst 8412 NGL [] are the next best thing. They don't move much air but they're very quiet. And a better solution IMO than the hard drive enclosures which drive up heat and reduce reliability is vibration isolators [] combined with a naturally quiet drive like Seagates. There are some fanless and semi-fanless (doesn't run unless it gets hot) power supplies out there like the SilentMaxx Semifanless [] . And replace those stupd 60mm fans that they insist on using for CPUs and GPUs with big headsinks [] and/or heatpipes [] . Also install neoprene or other washers and use rubber to deaden case vibrations. Home Depot is a great source for a lot of this stuff.

Red October (5, Funny)

Ibiwan (763664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912640)

If only I could adapt the 'caterpillar' drive described in The Hunt For Red October to cool my system... totally silent, but requires a nuclear reactor for power and separate cooling for the electromagnets... (details stolen from Knick)

How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912671)

an Apple G5. They are very quiet and well engineered tm [] .

Doesn't take a rocket scientist... (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912692)

You have two approaches to making a quiet PC - Totally passive cooling, or big fans.

Assuming you need the second choice, you only need to know three things, in (usually) decreasing order of the amount of noise they make, to have a nearly-silent machine:

  1. 120mm fans. Use them for everything except the CPU (and for that, still get the biggest you can physically mount to the heatsink... a 90mm running at 1500RPM buried inside the case won't cause too much racket, and will move more air than a 60mm running at 4000 RPM.
  2. Hard drives make noise. Pick a quiet one. Invest in a baggie of small rubber grommets and use them on every screw you use. In fact, you might want to use them on as many screws as you can, anywhere in your computer.
  3. Computers vibrate. Put nice thick felt stick-on pads (like the ones you use to protect hardwood floors from furniture) on the bottom of your case. You can even go one further and stick your PC in a sandbox (may seem like a wierd idea, but three inches of sand will totally stop vibrations from turning your desk into a great big resonant surface)... Just make sure the sand can't get into the case.

And for those of you who, like myself, have a machine or two loaded with cheap noisy IDE drives to use as a poor-man's fileserver... Two words: "Spare Room". You very rarely need to actually sit at a fileserver, so why not just stuff it in a room you never use? Or even a closet, but beware of dust and heat.

I don't know about... (1)

kdougherty (772195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912706)

I don't know about some "piece" and quiet, but I'll surely settle for some peace and quiet.

If you have the money.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912718) 64&code=020

A completely fanless case capable of handling up to an A64 3400+

huh (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11912724)

I happen to like the noise of my fan.. Infact it's gotten to the point where my room is weird and disturbing without the PC on..

Piece of what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11912727)

Some piece? Piece of what?
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