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General Silencing Info

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Shadowknight281

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
Location
Charlotte, nc
I've seen the occasional interest in making a quiet computer on these forums, so I'm posting a general FAQ I made in the Newbie section of SPCR. It makes some specific references to SPCR, so you can tell I was too lazy to modify it for a one shot post on ocforums. Enjoy

This FAQ is broken into two halves, general background information and silencing philosophy, then the main section on recommended parts/equipment.
A) Recommend cheaper products?
Lists of recommended SPCR components can be found here.. Each section also includes DIY projects related to each component. For example, this section also has some cheap ways to quite your hard drive: Each section (Hard Drive, DIY systems, PSU, whatever) has articles in addition to reviews, such as swapping PSU fans, making rubber boxes to decouple and silence your hard drive, DIY elastic suspension, etc. One made a gigantic heatsink to cool their CPU, one large enough to mount a motherboard one. There’s no end to silencing ideas published on SPCR.

Each individual recommended section have a table which sums up products and differences. It's only updated every few months, so it probably won't include comparisons with more recently reviewed products.

B) What is silence?
Silence is an absolute. You can't make it more silent. It either makes sound, or it doesn't. It's like going into the mountains where the air pressure is lower than on flatlands, and claiming that you're in a vacuum. You can make things QUIETER, but not more silent. It's POSSIBLE to make things silent, but given the amount of heat put out by modern computing components, it's not bloody likely. Also, keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to go all the way in making a quiet computer. If you have background noise going constantly, you might just want to spend enough time/money to get it below that threshold. Hard core silencers shoot for a computer that is inaudible at 1 meter (about 3 feet) away. MikeC recently posted his official stance on "silent computing" on SPCR.

There is the occasional question by overclockers who come on this site who don’t understand why some people want quiet or silent computers. You can see a discussion here discussing this.

C) Addiction/Sound Perception
Silencers tend to get addicted to making things quieter and quieter. As you eliminate the loudest source of the noise in your computer, the PC will initially sound “silent”. After a few minutes/hours you will then perceive the reality that the computer is still loud/audible and you want to make it quieter. (Ex: you get rid of a 40mm fan, then a 60mm heatsink, then slow down the case fans, then get a PSU/CPU fan that doesn't ramp up and down, then replace the HD, then eliminate case vibrations, etc.)

D) Passive computers
Unless you have an older, extremely low power system, you CANNOT get away with convection cooling. A while back Apple made a completely passive computer. They had a record number of RMAs from computers frying. Even a low speed fan can be sufficient to cool a system, but you can't get away with none. Zalman does make completely passive cases that use heat pipes to cool off every components, but A) the cases by themselves are $700-$1,100 each, and B) It's still not necessarily enough to keep a hot computer cool. The instructions mention using a FLOOR FAN to cool off the case if it gets too hot! Definitely not quiet in those circumstances!

E) "I've come up with the quietest method ever! Put your computer in another room!"
Congratulations, you've had the same original, brilliant idea that someone pops up with every six months. This is indeed a cheaper, and easier way to not hear noise. But there's a difference between not hearing the computer and making it quieter. As can be seen by the forums and the main site, this site is about making it quieter. If it works for you, great. Just keep in mind that 1) You might have to drill holes through one or more walls to do this. 2) Depending on where you put it (say, a closet), lack of ventilation might cause the computer to overheat 3) REALLY long cables might cause signal degradation (such as with video) and 4) If your computer is REALLY LOUD, this might not help much. My old computer was in a separate room, with two closed doors between it and me. I still got headaches from the noise.

There is some resistance to this concept by many board members, but there's nothing wrong for wanting to do this yourself. BUT, there have been a couple of threads where some posters were obnoxious about how this was "better" than making your computer quieter in the first place. It's probably worth coming up with some more detailed/consolidated info on setting up a system this way, but I'm too lazy to do it at this time.

F) Basics for quiet fans
As a general rule, bigger fans are quieter than smaller fans. 40mm and 60mm are terrible. To equal airflow of bigger fans they have to spin much faster than their bigger counterparts. Depending on the manufacturer, 80, 92, and 120mm can be okay to excellent in terms of noise, but the tradeoff is a reduced rpm and cfm. Faster fans = more noise. Temps generally go up when fans are run slower. Hard core enthusiasts tend to be overly concerned with this. As long as the max temp under load is at least 10c under the maximum safe core temp, I wouldn't worry. You CAN over clock and have a quiet computer, just not necessarily a lot when using low rpm fans. Here is an SPCR article on fan design.

A fan controller is a must for the easiest overall sound reduction of your computer. With this you can slow down case fans, CPU fans, VGA fans, etc at one central point, increasing and decreasing speed as you feel necessary. Zalman makes an okay one, but it doesn't show voltages, Sunbeam controllers have gotten good feedback, but the lights are EXTREMELY bright. Companies offer controllers for 5.25 and 3.5 bays. You can also buy the Zalman Fan Mate 2 – you hook this up to individual fans to adjust them between 12-5v. It is left inside the case, so you have to open the case to adjust it, and it has no dial to tell you what voltage it is at. Something called PWM may be a factor; fans slowed down in this method may or may not generate noise. I'm weak on the more technical aspects, so for the curious run a search.

An alternative to buying a fan controller is to mess with the PSU wiring to make them run at 7v or 5v, as opposed to the normal 12v.

You can download several free fan related programs. Speedfan enables you to control your fan speeds if you don't wish to buy a fan controller. Fans that move at a slow RPM may not register with the program, however, some products exist such as the (discontinued?) NoiseControl EWMS fan controller which has a built-in "rpm doubler". The fan speed remains the same, but it informs the computer that the fan is moving 2x fast as it really is, allowing the fan to be seen by the programs that can’t read low rpm numbers. Everest Home Edition allows you to check temperatures, fan speeds, PSU voltages, and more.

The Noisemagic NMT-2 and NMT-3 (only available here in the U.S.) and the Evercool In-line Fan regulator (here) are devices you can attach to a fan to make it ramp up and down due to thermals in the system. If you can't get a temperature-controlled fan, and you want one, you can get a non-controlled fan, such as a Nexus, and turn it into one. Temp controlled fans are good if you want cooling to increase when things get hotter, but you don't want to have to bother with controlling them manually with a fan controller (obviously higher speeds = more noise, so it will ramp up and down as necessary).

On a related note to the above, CPU manufacturers AMD and Intel now offer a feature that increases and decreases CPU fan speed due to heat. As the stock CPU heat sinks tend to be loud and/or buzzy, this helps... but it is still much better to replace it with a quieter heat sink combo.

If you want to provide additional cooling to your VGA card, Northbridge, etc. You can buy a fan bracket to mount fans to cool additional components. Zalman makes the FB123 and FB165, Sunbeam offers the Sunbeam Wherever PCI Rack.

The following links lists in-depth information about fans, calculating cooling, fan design, etc. for the curious: here, here, and here

G) Mufflers
Not really mentioned or used much on SPCR. Bluefront is very fond of using them in his customized cases. If you have a very quiet computer, there’s not much point/benefit in using them, they also kind of bounce air back where they came from as they obstruct a straight path of airflow from the fan. You can make them yourself, though there is a company that makes them professionally. A review has been done by the Overclockers website.

H) Water-cooling
I know nothing about it. This is an air-cooled FAQ. There's a forum specifically on water-cooling. Go there.

I) Peter Kim/SilenX
Not well liked on this site. Start here to find out why

J) Product Availability
Not all products are available in all countries, nor do all countries have specialty silencing shops. the Deals, Vendors & Classifieds section has a listing of Australian, UK, and Canadian dealers, as well as vendors who will ship to/from Europe. Not all products are available in all countries. I know, for example, that in Israel a member at ocforums could buy (locally) the Big Typhoon and Sonic Tower, but not the Scythe Ninja.

Recommended vendors include endpcnoise, Silencio (offers an SPCR discount and is establishing a presence on ebay.com), Dorothy Bradbury (Europe source for Panaflos / NMB-MAT), and McMaster-Carr for sorbothane, and EAR grommets). Also, please use this link when searching for and buying stuff on-line; SPCR gets a small comission from products purchased this way. Reviews also have direct links for purchasing the reviewed products at several vendors.

K) Are there any other quiet computing sites in other languages?
Why yes, there are. There's a French site, Danish site, and a German site.

L) What's this about putting a computer in oil??
Some people have placed their computer in a fish tank of oil. This provides quiet cooling, but is also inconvenient since you have to stick connections to USB, firewire, keyboard, etc through oil every time you need to do something. Also, you can't put a hard drive in the oil; it's not waterproof and will be destroyed. You also have to have other components placed outside the fish tank, so no... I really wouldn't recommend it. In fact, this concept has been around for a long time, but for an example, here’s an article from Tom's Hardware using cooking oil

M) Why haven't you provided links to all the sections of SPCR referenced in this FAQ?
Two reasons;
1) by looking it up yourself, you may run across other articles and information not mentioned here, giving you more exposure to quiet computing ideas and ideas, and more importantly
2) I'm not your mom.

Main FAQ
1. The motherboard
This can be home to one of the loudest fans in a system, sometimes tying with the video card. The motherboard has a chipset cooler that either uses passive or active cooling. Active cooling, in this case, is a loud 40mm fan. Zalman makes the several passive heat sinks; the ZM-NB47J and ZM-NB32J provide fairly good cooling ~$5. They also recently released the ZM-NBF47. Mcubed makes a special passive cooler compatible with their custom cases, such as the Borg nF4. Thermalright offers the HR-05 and HR-05 SLI passive coolers ~$25. A heatsink similar to the Scythe Ninja cooler, albeit with a fan, is available, by Jing Ting, the TJS0005. May be silent with some modifications or ducting. Expensive at $40. The Xinruillan Dragon Fly is a new product that has not been reviewed or priced yet. Here is one SPCR discussing a roundup of chipset coolers performed by madshrimps. Madshrimps also looked at the Cooler Master Blue Ice, another tower heatsink that may be quiet with modification. I haven't found any reviews yet, but EnzoTech offers several different coolers in different designs.

If there is interference with the placement of the Zalman motherboard heat sink by the VGA card or CPU heat sink, you can try cutting out the fins that are blocked by those areas. Users have done this and had little to no reduction in cooling the MB even with the reduced number of fins.

Note: Some motherboards might have coil whine due to voltage regulation. If you experience this, take the board back to where you bought it or sell it and buy a new one. Supposedly, some members of SPCR have used silicon caulk to help with the noise. Use the search function to find out what they did. The kast post in this thread has links to user experience/methods of dealing with whine/buzz.

2. The video card.
Older video cards, such as the Geforce 2 used 40mm fans cooling. Newer cards run hotter, and thus have bigger fans 60mm. Whoopee. It's SLIGHTLY quieter than 40mm (though I've had cards where the opposite was true). Just make sure that the new cooler doesn't interfere with the chipset cooler on your motherboard.

Zalman makes several reputable coolers, seen here: The heat pipe solutions are the quietest as they don't have a fan. Really hot cards will need a fan, so I would recommend one of the fan brackets mentioned earlier. Alternatively, you can buy screws to slide into the groove meant for the ZM-OP1 fan and mount whatever fan you wish. I've had great success with the ZM80C with a 92mm fan. The advantage of this vs. a pre-fanned option is that if the fan goes bad you just replace the fan instead of having to throw the whole heat sink out. (Unless you are willing to mod it with a fan swap.) Unfortunately, you will lose a PCI slot due to the size of the bottom heatsink. It's also one of the heaviest VGA sinks on this list, thought I've had no issues with the Zalman on my card. Thermaltake offers the very similar "schooner". It is reputable to be difficult to install, but it has a heatsink that sticks outside the case in addition to the Zalmanish sandwich. A German review claimed the "BeQuiet!" brand, also based on the Zalman design, to be the most effective Zalman-inspired cooler, though heavier, but it's not available in America.

Aerocool makes the VM-101, another entirely passive card cooler. Unlike the Zalman, it doesn't take up room for a PCI slot. There's hasn't been as much feedback on these forums as the Zalmans though. It may or may not cause space conflicts with your MB chipset due to its size. There have been reports of sliding around when handling it even after assembling it, but a lot of people haven't found this to be too big an issue with the cooler.

The Zalman VF700 is a fanned cooler that uses a design similar to their popular 7700/7000B designs; it is very quiet and favored by many silencers on this forum.

Another mainstain in quiet VGA cooling is Arctic Cooling. They've made many revisions of their original Arctic Silencer cooler. Thankfully, their website has a table that shows what coolers are compatible with which card model. Some exhaust hot air out of the case, some do not. There have been several reports that the fans start ticking or otherwise go bad after a few months, but their coolers are still very popular on both this and other forums.

Thermalright now offers the V-1 and the V-1 Ultra; they allow you to mount a 80mm fan of your choice. They're also close to releasing the new HR-03 passive cooler.

A new company called Aerocase has released a couple of new passive heatsinks called the Condor and the Raven. SPCR reviewed the Condor here.

If you're afraid to mod your card, you can usually find manufacturers who sell video cards with passive/quiet cooling, but they may charge a premium compared to louder cards. See the VGA forum for a list of out of the box quiet cards. Here's a recent roundup of a few passive cards at anandtech.

3. The hard drive.

Here is SPCR’s hard drive testing methodology.

The noise of the hard drive depends on two factors: vibrations and whine. If you have a Fluid Dynamic Bearing drive (FDB) you've made a good start. Old ball bearing drives are louder than the new FDB technology. Direct contact with the case will transmit vibrations, generating resonance throughout the case. This will generate a "humming noise". The quieter the computer, the more noticeable the vibrations. Putting your hand lightly on the case will enable you to feel vibrations. When softmounting the drive, seek noise decreases, as the noise is enhanced due to metal-to-metal contact. A summary of different methods to quiet drives, from best to worst, can be found here. There are two ways to decouple the drive to prevent vibrational noise: placing the hard drive on foam/bubble rap/a towel/etc. so it is not in direct contact with the case, or suspending it with rubber. Several places sell 5 ¼ bay holders to put your 3.5 drives on such as the NoVibes III (note: remove the cork on the bottom as it still transmits vibrations). Supposedly this will decrease performance as some data might get missed and have to be resent due to the drive bouncing up and down, no matter how slight. Must users have reported that there has been no decrease in drive performance from suspension, however. If suspension bothers you that much, just put it on foam, or Velcro it to the bottom of the case. Decoupling the drive will increase temps slightly, so you might want to have a fan blowing on if that concerns you. Decoupling will make a noticeable difference in seek noise and vibration, but not with whine.
Stretchmagic is a popular material used on SPCR to suspend hard drives. It's about $2.50 at hobby stores like Michaels. You can also use sewing elastic for suspension. However, do NOT use regular rubber bands; they'll dry out and break from the heat from being inside a computer case.

The Samsung Spinpoint series is one of the preferred choices of SPCR users, but ones with Nidec motors are quieter than models with JVC motors. It has very little whine and tends to vibrate a lot, so definitely consider decoupling the drive from the case. The Seagate Barracuda IV and V were the previously the quietest SPCR reference drives, but they lag in performance compared to the Samsung and are no longer manufactured. The Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS is currently neck and neck with the Samsung T-series 400GB drive for being the quietest performer.

The new FDB Raptors are comparable to the Samsungs in whine noise and the vibration level of the older Seagate Barracudas. The seeks are loud in a drive mounted without any HD silencing techniques. This has been reviewd on SPCR. The seeks are audible even if the drive is on foam and enclosed in a Smart Drive, but are, quoting MikeC: "Quite distinct and sharp, but not that loud". An in-depth analysis was made by Joe DeFuria. The new 150gb Raptors seem to have identical acoustic properties to its forebears, the 74gbs.

Some users have also switched to using notebook drives (5400rpm, generally), which run quieter than desktop drives. Unless you stick your head next to the computer, an enclosed, decoupled Samsung desktop drive isn't noticeable from my experience. The current quiet notebook champ is a 5400rpm drive by Samsung, the MP0402H 40G. This and several other drives have been reviewed by SPCR under the Storage link at the main site. There's also been a recent review of a 7200rpm drive by Seagate, but it's fairly pricey and really isn't much quieter than a cheaper desktop drive of the same speed and has slightly poorer performance. Hitachi also makes a 7200rpm drive, the Travelstar 7K100.

If you find the seek noise of a hard drive is too loud, see if it has AAM (Advanced Acoustic Management). You can use this to slow down your drive and make it quieter at the cost of performance. This doesn't always help though, as tested with the Raptor. Seagate, for legal reasons, is not allowed to use this feature anymore, but others like Hitachi, Western Digital, and Samsung are still able to use it. Hitachi has a tool that most drives, not just Hitachi drives, can use to enable AAM. One exception is that users of Asus boards with A.I. Quiet are unable to use AAM, due to some sort of incompatibility problem.

If you want to maximize sound elimination, consider an enclosure. The Silentdrive is only rated for 5400rpm drives. It WILL fry any faster drives put in there. There have even been reports of 5400rpm drivers dying from the heat due to the enclosure. The Smartdrive 2002 (or the 2002c, which is the copper version) will cut out a little whine noise and acts as a heat sink for the drive. It costs around $60-70. It's expensive, and it's made for PATA drives, though SATA drives will work with it too. Despite being "rated" for only 7,200rpm drives, I've had no issues with the non-copper version with my Raptor. SilenX also makes an enclosure. Users on SPCR have reported that it lets some sound out, as it doesn't enclose the entire drive. It also increases drive temps significantly, despite including a thermal tape for improved heat transfer. The Nexus Drive-a-way only has a couple of feedbacks on it so far, but consensus is that it's similar to the SilenX where it cuts out noise while increasing drive temps. It also uses thermal tape to try to reduce temps. A user who tried it said that screwing it all the way causes vibration noise to be audible. Not screwing it all the way removes this, but also prevents adequate contact with the thermal tape, causing an increase on drive temperature. It is longer than most other enclosures as it takes two 5.25 bays in order to be mounted due to the location of the screw holes. The Scythe Silentbox SBX-1000 is better at dealing with vibration than the SmartDrive but not so much with the whine. , Other enclosures are made by Silentmaxx, A.C. Ryan Xilencer, Fek Pro (still available?), and Mbcubed (vertical silencer). Opinions of the last three can be found through the SPCR search engine. SteveY found the Silentmaxx to be inferior to the Nexus Driveaway as the Nexus increased the drive temperature. Edward NG, an SPCR reviewer, decided not to do a review of the A.C. Ryan due to inferior performance, so I would avoid it. A German website compared the mCubed Vertical Silence, Scythe Silent Box SBX-1000, and Silentmaxx HD-Silencer Rev. 2.0 in a roundup.. Both an early Smart Drive model without the current cooling fins and the Scythe Silentbox have been reviewed on SPCR. Here's another recent roundup, done by nici, and his review of reviewed tthe new Scythe Quiet Drive

For the record, Alphacool makes the Silentmaxx enclosure, which is sold under Silentmaxx (duh), Logisys (note: any claims that it uses heatpipes are WRONG. It's a translation error; somehow "cooling channels/fins" gets mistranslated as "heatpipes").

Alleycat made a hombrew enclosure that some people have replicated. Here's his web page , and a a couple of different threads discussing it.

ichbinleise - a German shop - offers a bunch of hard drive silencing products, foam, and verax rubber sticks in their on-line store. The foam and hd products have been branded under their own name. One of the HD silencing products looks like a HD cage with foam between drives. It's apparently a rebrand of a product by Alphacool and isn't any better than a Zalman hard drive cooler according to scrawnypaleguy it isn't worth buying. More of their products under their own name can be found here Some opinions on their products can be found here. This compares it to a "Bituman Box", which is some type of home-brew enclosure. They are willing to sell to people in the U.S and in the European Union, so if you're really curious about some products not available here, given them a shot.

There are several products that use hard-ish rubber to quiet a drive down, such as the Silentmaxx X-Swing set and a Zalman cooler with heatpipes on it. The Nexus Disktwin attaches to the side of a HD, but it increase drive temps. There is a mixed to reaction to whether it actually helps vibration from the drive or not:

Yes Yes Yes
Yes-review
No
No - MikeC
No

Avoid round cables, as explained here by Ralf Hutter (scroll down the page a bit):]

Unrelated: If you're in the market for a black floopy/media reader, Mitsumi card readers have compatibility issues with Asus boards, according to them, so if you need a floppy/media reader combo, buy Ultra. I've had no problems with them.

4. Case fans
First of all, the Fans and Controllers forum has a stickied list of 120mm fans. Also, SPCR has recently started posting fan roundups (by different sizes) in this section.

A lot of case fans claim to move an obscenely large amount of air at extremely low noise levels. These claims are always lies or blatant exaggerations. Despite what some people claim, there ARE official ISO standards for measuring IT noise (1 meter), which is not used by most manufacturers when testing the noise made by their fans. To decrease noise, get a fan controller or a Zalman fan mate to undervolt the fans. Make sure you don't set it too low so the fan doesn't spin when you turn on the system. Fans can be safely undervolted, but they DO need a certain minimum power level to consistently startup every time the computer is turned on.

Brands to avoid: Vantec Stealth series, SilenX, Thermaltake. Vantec Stealths are loud, SilenX specs are blatant exaggerations and overpriced. The SilenX fans are Adda fans with a high markup. Thermaltake fans are just very loud with specs nowhere near reality.

There are several good brands of fans out there. In the recent 80mm SPCR roundup, the quietest was the Scythe Kama Flow SA0825FDB12SL, but it's almost impossible to get outside of Japan. The next best was the far-easier-to-acquire Nexus. As to 120mm, the Noctua NF-S12 Series ranked first, followed by the Scythe S-Flex & Kama Flow Series, and then the Nexus. All of them put out a low CFM, but they are EXTREMELY quiet even at 12v. The Nexus 120mms are a rebadged Yate-Loon D12SL-12 with an inline resistor to drop the speed down to 1000rpm. If you buy the Yate Loon model, it will run at 1300rpm (generating more noise, of course) but is much cheaper than the rebadged Nexus or most fans marketed as quiet/silent. Places like tekgems and Jab-tech carry Yate-Loon fans. The Nexus brand is carried by a wider number of on-line stores. A medium speed 120mm Yate-Loon is sold at CompUSA under the Mad Dog brand. Acoustic PC also sells a blue-led Yate Loon that moves at 1,600rpm, for those into that kind of thing. The 92mm Nexus was beaten out slightly by the Fander FX-92-W in the last roundup in part because it comes with a built-in fan controller, but is only available in Poland. The Nexus is supposed to be made by Dynaneon/Dynatron/Top Motor, and the 80mm is rumored to be made by Bisonic.

Note: Yate Loon/Nexus are available in orange and black. If you want something prettier, Nexus offers a black and white model that costs the same as its orange model. Performance is the same, though there doesn’t appear to be available anywhere but under the “Nexus” brand. Several places on the web stock the black and white model, such as Endpcnoise and Heatsink Factory. For our U.K. brethren, I’m unfamiliar with most shops on your side of the continent, but I know at least Kustompcs carry them.

The Panaflo (no W at the end, dangit!) L1A series was the previous SPCR reference fan. According to the 80mm fan roundup, they are no longer in production due to being merged with NMB-MAT, but you may still find some samples on the internet, While not as quiet as the above fans at 12v or under, there were more shops which stocked them, and they cost much cheaper than Nexus fans. They don't come with RPM monitoring. Panaflo made fans ending in"1BX," these did have fan monitoring, but they weren't as good as the L1A.. Quality can vary. On-line shops bought surplus or rejected Panaflos from different OEMs, so buying Panaflos from different shops at different times might have resulted in fans of varying qualities. Dorothy Bradbury, one of the recommended vendors, was supposed to be able to get "fresh" Panaflos on a regular basis. If you can find Panaflos, avoid the M1 and H1 fans, they mean "medium" and "high" speed fans and are not as quiet as the L1A series. As previously mentioned, NMB and Panaflo merged as seen here and here. So NMB fans should have both Panaflo and NMB numbers on their fan labels.

For non-U.S. shoppers, there have been good reviews on Glacialtech Silentblade, Globe S1202512L-3M , and Coolermaster A12025-12CB-5BN-L1 fans. They aren't quite as quiet as the Nexus, but reports have been that it's almost a tie between the Nexus and Glacialtechs. Papst fans are generally considered pretty quiet, but despite their claims, their 80mm fan is NOT 14db.

There have been some mixed information about the Akasa Amber fans, I would personally wait for more feedback from SPCR regarding this fan, but there's a thread discussing these here. Due to having a clear plastic frame, they generate more vibration than fans with made with an opaque softer plastic.

Scythe S-Flex are rebadges of Sony Airflex fans. Sony originally only intended to use their fans to cool off various models of their plasma tv lines. These fans have been both been very quiet and very ticky. They still have their fans on this forum, but one user did an impromptu review of six fans, and the Scythe came in fifth place of the fans tested. Consensus is that they are louder than the Nexus, between slightly and a good amount.

If you need significantly more airflow, consider an aluminum Evercool. You'll need to undervolt it to 3.5-5v to make it relatively quiet. It's nowhere near as quiet as the Nexus, but if you need a relatively quiet fan that moves a good amount of air, it fits the bill. There is little to no bearing noise, just the "whoosh" of air moving.

Fans can and will cause turbulence noise due to restrictive grills. Faster fans, obviously, will generate more turbulence noise. Low restriction grills, or removing them entirely, will help, in addition to slowing the fans down with a fan controller.

Fans can get louder over time due to heat and usage. You can sometimes fix this by puting a drop of oil on the motor. Peel back the label over the motor, and then apply. Not guaranteed to always make it quieter, though.

5. CPU heatsink
First things first; ANY heat sink you buy may have a poorly finished surface, sometimes to the point of being concave. If you get a new SPCR recommended heat sink, it may perform poorly not due to the design, but due to a defect in the particular one you bought. In that case, just return it for another one from where you bought it, or get a lapping kit (mentioned below) to fix it yourself. Lapping has been said to allow better contact between the CPU and the heat sink, possibly providing better thermal performance, but I wouldn't bother if you're a casual user, or not a massive over clocker who is running his CPU extremely hot from over clocking it. It takes sandpaper of several different grits over a period of several hours for a proper lapping job.

The more powerful CPUs put out more heat, so you're going to need bigger and better heat sinks to cool them at a quiet level. The stock heat sink you have? Throw it out. Most, though not all, of the quieter heatsinks out now are based on a tower design, so you need to make sure your case is deep enough to take it and that it won't interfere with parts of your motherboard. Also, depending on your motherboard layout, it may interfere with some of the larger heat sinks for some video cards.

The current "king" of quiet cooling is the Thermalright Ultra-120. The Scythe Ninja is the current "runner-up", but it was designed to be able to run fanless. The current iteration of the Scythe comes with a fan, but it was originally marketed as a passive heatsink and sold without it. For best direct aircooling, you can't beat the Thermalright, but for passive operation, the Scythe is still tops.

So far, there are a few other good passive CPU heat sinks, though they remain the minority compared to fanned versions. "Passive" he sinks do require some airflow, so don't use it in a purely convection setup. Scythe makes several, different models, such as the NCU-2000 and the Ninja, though the older models can be harder to install than the Ninja depending on the orientation of the CPU socket. Silverstone makes the NT01, but it requires certain motherboard configurations for the best performance, and use of one of their cases with a wind tunnel. From personal experience I can say this is NOT a good heat sink for most users. Even ducting it, my 3.0 Northwood was hitting 85C on load.

The Thermalright xp-120 was the former quiet cooling king; a heat sink that, like the Ninja, use 120mm fans though it is not capable of passive cooling. Many users have reported receiving samples with concave bottoms. Without a perfectly flat bottom, it's won't make good contact with the CPU, leading to much higher temps. Alternatively, get the Thermalright xp-90 or xp-90C. It doesn't have the poor finish reputation of the xp-120 and can take 92mm fans. To install a Nexus 120mm on the XP-120, you'll need a dermal to cut flanges into the side of the fan. There should be an example of how to do this in the XP-120 review on the main site. Additionally, there are aftermarket clips available at some on-line stores that are designed to let you use closed-flanged fans on the heatsink. Thermalright has also released the SI-120. It is a revised version of the XP-120, except the heat sink is raised above the CPU by heat pipes.

Zalman makes some nice offerings such as the 7000 and 7700, but the Thermalrights enables you to put whatever fan works best for you on them. With the Zalman heatsinks you're stuck with the fan they give you due to the design of the heat sink. You CAN mod it with another fan if you're willing to do a little cutting, see here here. Zalman released, the 9500. It uses a blue 92mm fan and appears to be as large as some tower coolers. The SPCR review shows it to be a good performer but at sound levels unacceptable to SPCR visitors.

You'll need some thermal paste for replacing both CPU and VGA heatsinks. I recommend, using Arctic Silver Ceramique. It's not conductive but is capacitive, but still is less likely to lead to damaging your equipment than pure Arctic Silver 2/3/5 (which uses silver which can conduct electricity). If you're obsessed with thermal performance, then consider using Arctic Silver 5 instead of Ceramique.

Thermaltake makes the Big Typhoon, a heat sink that has gotten very good feedback on other sites. The torque is in the middle of the heat sink, which is something to consider, but it cools very well and oddly, comes with a quiet 120mm fan. Given that Thermaltake is known to have particularly loud “quiet” fans, it's a nice change from their previous track record. Here is a recent SPCR look at the newest revision.

If you install a mobile version of the P4 or AMD (whatever), it will generate less heat than the normal desktop version with comparable performance. Adaptors are now coming out to use Pentium-M processors in desktop motherboards, which generate around 30-40w of heat. There are also manufacturers who are (slowly) introducing boards to use in normal ATX style cases. Via also provides an alternative CPU that generates low heat, but it's mostly good for non-high performance (e.g. gaming) applications.

If you're willing to take a performance hit, you can see if your motherboard supports undervolting the CPU. This will decrease the amount of heat the CPU puts out, making it easier to cool it and the system. Sometimes doing this too far will keep the system from booting up, period. Some users have also experimented with under clocking the CPU as well, though going too low may cause instability or not allow the computer to boot. Just reset the motherboard settings by moving the appropriate jumper or pull the battery off of the motherboard for a few seconds.

6. PSU
PSUs may or may not be loud under normal usage; depending on which one you buy. When pushed, though, the PSUs fan WILL get loud (er). A passive PSU requires good system airflow (since it has no fan), but even low airflow will do. Some do have fans if a certain thermal threshold id pased. Passive or not, there have reports of some units making a buzzing noise, though only noticeable in a really quiet system. Silentmaxx is a German manufacturer who’s recently released the 400W MX460-PFL01. SPCR did a review of a Coolmax CF-300 that died during testing. The company never sent a replacement sample despite promises made to the site operator. Silverstone (and Etasis) makes a 300w PSU, that's gotten good feedback from SPCR users. Antec made the 350w Phantom. There were quality control issues with the initial batch, but later models had almost no complaints. Still, I've had no problem with mine, and you get a 3-year warranty. Antec has stopped production of the 350w and replaced it entirely with the Phantom 500w; it has a somewhat loud emergency fan once the PSU reaches a certain temperature. Fortron makes the 300w Zen.

The recommended list has a list of both fanned and fanless PSUs. The Seasonic company is the biggest favorite fanned PSU maker. The new Antec Neo line, while not reviewed as having the amount of efficiency claimed, is comparable to the Seasonic noise-wise in the SPCR review of the same and comes with a modular cable setup. There have been issues with the PSU providing power to the motherboard and incompatibility issues with Asus boards. Newer batches are correcting this problem, though there have still been reports of issues with Asus boards. For those wanting a case/combo, this comes standard with the Antec P150. The PSU review list on the main site has a variety of PSUs review that are hybrid models; they are similar to the Antec 500w Phantom in that they have a fan that kicks in once a certain temperature threshold has been reached. The list of hybrid models reviewed is always increasing, so I encourage you to look through the reviews done on SPCR.

Note: Fanned or Fanless, some PSUs may have a high-pitched whine due to voltage regulation. As with the motherboard mentioned about, consider returning it or selling it.

Another alternative is to make your current PSU quieter by swapping the fan out, and even use some rubber fan isolators (covered below) to mount it. Make sure you leave the computer off for AT LEAST 24 hours, or you CAN injure or kill yourself. Unplugging the computer then pressing the power button is supposed to help discharge it quicker as well, but don't take my word on that.

Another method to keep your PSU from ramping up is to use pliers to twist the grills on the back of it to the side, allowing cool air to enter it more easily. If you're willing to sacrifice the top 3.5 bay, you can also construct a duct bringing in cool air from the front of the case directly to the PSU. Examples of both are found here.

This is SPCR’s PSU Test Platform. Also, see this article on PSUs. Read the entire thing. Most high end systems don't use even 300w, despite what PSU manufactures want you to think. For example this website allows you to calculate how many watts you'll need in your system. It really ain't that much. Unless you're running two 6800 video cards in SLI, you'll probably be fine with a 350w PSU.

7. The case
Make sure it has good airflow. If it has restrictive grills, cut them out with metal snips or buy a case with fairly open grills such as Antec's 3000b or 3700BQE. Better airflow means better cooling, which allows you to safely use slower (and undervolted) fans, which in turn generate less noise. For slower fans also try to minimize messy wiring to improve overall airflow. For more case options, see the recommended case list on the main site, as well as the stickied list of cases using 120mm fans in the Cases and Cooling forum.

Try to get a case that only uses an exhaust at the back and an intake in the front (preferably, 120mm) as opposed to side and top exhausts/intakes. You don't need a case with 8 fans in it. Really. See the article here as to why.

Get a case with rubber/silicon grommets for your hard drives. It will slightly reduce vibrations from the HD to the case. It's not as effective as suspending your drives or placing them on foam, but it's useful if you have a bunch of drives, and will still help a little. It is still better than direct mounting to the case. EAR grommets are supposed to be slightly quieter than most stock grommets that come with cases. The part numbers can be found here. Antec's P180, P150, and Sonata II have grommets far superior to these, though, but they aren't available separately from these cases right now.

As case vibrations can be transmitted to the floor as well, try putting on a towel or some carpet, or buy some soft silicon or rubber feet for computer cases. For a quick check for vibrational noise in general, put a heavy book on top of the case, or push your hand on it and see if there's a difference in noise.

Currently, the case of choice for both SPCR and many other websites is the Antec P180 covered on SPCR here and here. It offers much better cooling than most other cases and uses panels comprised of an aluminum/plastic/aluminum sandwich to cut down on vibration and to act as a thicker wall to keep noise in. The VGA duct doesn't seem very effective, and you may need to buy an extender for the P4 cable (see Newegg or FrozenCPU) due to the location of the PSU at the bottom. You need a P4 cable of about 19-21" to reach the connection if it is located at the very top of the motherboard. The front door lets cool air in without providing a direct path of noise and the hard drive grommets are FAR better than any aftermarket or stock case grommets from anywhere else. The only other weakness is that the fans are screwed directly into the case instead of including fan isolators to prevent transmitting vibration to the case. It also requires some care in the wiring at the bottom of the case so the cables don't run into the bottom fan, preventing it from spinning. There have been some issues with warped doors on early production models, but newer versions are out which provides aluminum material on the inners portion of the door, reinforcing the door as a whole. If you don't like silver, endpcnoise and svc offer a black model. The endpcnoise model is more expensive, but a portion of the profits goes towards maintaining SPCR. The one from svc, the P180B, does not. They are differentiated by the possession or lack thereof a SPCR specific logo on the front.

The Sonata 2 is similar to the Sonata I, but it provides a cooling duct and has better airflow. Unlike the P180, it comes with silicon fan isolators to prevent vibration from being transmitted to the case. While not as quiet as PSUs offered by Seasonic, there has been good feedback on the PSU, but DO NOT plug in the PSU fan monitor into the motherboard, for some reason this causes the PSU fan to run at maximum all the time. This is a flaw that Antec is aware of, and hopefully later models will correct this. By the way, the original Sonata has terrible grills and holes in the side of the case those allow noise to escape, so if you want to buy this series of case marketed as quiet, please get the Sonata II over the I, even if you can get the I cheaper, unless you are willing to do some modding. The improvements in the design are worth the extra cash you might spend over the older model.

The Antec P150 is almost a baby P180. It comes with some panel dampening, though not effective as that in the P180. It gives you the option of using a cage with 4 hard drives, or removing the cage and using the optional rubber drive suspension (neat), though you can only mount 3 drives instead of four. It comes in pearl white and has no door. It uses the same side vents as on the P180 to prevent a direct path of noise to escape. This case comes with the Seasonic-quiet Antec Neo PSU rated at 430W. As mentioned above, there are issues with the current batch of Neo supplies so you may have to RMA it immediately or want to sell it and put in a PSU of your choice. It IS still a popular case right now, despite the issues with the PSU. There have also been issues with the rubber used in the suspension, and there have also been reports of drives falling down due to failing rubber. Hopefully, later revisions will fix this. Antec has mentioned that they are changing the rubber to a new formulation to help with this issue. The Antec Solo is a P150 in black, minus a PSU. I would keep an eye on the Cases and Damping forum for any updates/more experiences on the suspension in these cases.

SPCR does review Home Theater PC cases, though I'm not going to discuss them here. Check out the case reviews and the recommended cases "reviewed non-tower cases" sections.

Aluminum lovers, see #14 below.

"Advanced" Material
This is related to the above sections, just a little more anal in terms of additional silencing products, "final" steps in minimizing noise, and a few components (input devices) that most people don't consider necessary in making a quiet PC

8. Mounting fans
Those neat plastic fan holders for easier installations of fans? Throw them out. They help transmit fan vibrations throughout the case. Isolators make the most difference with high-speed fans as they generate more vibrations than low speed (duh). Softer rubber will help reduce the vibrations from the fan as well. For a cheaper method, or just a quick check to see if isolators will really do much for you, get some soft foam earplugs, cut them in half, roll them tight, and then use it to mount the fans to the case. Another ghetto-tastic way to decouple fans is to use zip-ties, but I would be careful when moving the case. A more advanced and secure version can be found in this thread. Commercial offerings to avoid fan vibrations from being transmitted to the case, there are several different types of isolators available from a variety of places:

Mcmaster-Carr (see links from SPCR main page) to isolate fans from the case. Direct screw mounting will transmit vibrations to the case from the moving fan. Ear isolators are limited to mounting fans with an open flange. You cannot mount a fan grill on the EAR isolators either. The McMaster-Carr numbers for the ear isolators are 5801k6 5801k8. The K6 is for 80/92mm fans and the K8 is for 120mm fans. The EAR isolators may require you to drill wider holes where you intend to mount them, or at the very least use soapy water or some other for of lubrication when installing to prevent tearing during installation. Many of the options listed below are easier to install (though more expensive) and allow you to mount fan grills on them in addition to mounting the fan.

Personally, I recommend the rubber sticks available at www.directron.com and www.veraxfans.com. They cost more but are easier to use and mount than the EARs. Ignore the instructions that tell you to cut the ends off after installing the fan on the sticks, not doing so allows you to remove the fan and put on a different one while cutting the ends off won't. Unlike the EAR isolators you can mount any fan, with or without an open flange. The rubber sticks also have little knobs on the outside that allow you to mount a fan grill if you wish. I would try ordering from Verax as it seems that Directron is slow to order new stock after they run out. Some cases tend to have holes which are too big to install them easily (or at all). You can try mounting them on the fan itself instead of on the case, then pull the rubber nipples through the holes from the inside. That's how I was able to use them in an Antec P150. Alternatively, use somr rubber washers to keep the sticks from going through the holes.

For those outside the U.S., there are similar products available in the U.K. and Australia. The Amacrox Rubber Suspension Kit is very similar to the Verax rubber sticks, but there aren't many places known to sell them right now. They ARE available from Maplin in the U.K. For Australians, Alltronics has some isolators similar to the Amacrox/Nexus kit here.

There has been a review of Acoustiproducts isolators and rubber grommets on SPCR. The gaskets are considered kind of useless since they won't hold their shape well. The review indicates that the isolators themselves are alright though.

Nexus makes a kit that includes closed flange isolators, open flange isolators, zip ties and EAR grommets. I have this kit, the closed flange sticks worked, though I broke two, a problem I did not have with the Verax sticks. The open flange mounts were also difficult to mount and seem to be made of a hard rubber. Softer rubber is more effective in minimizing transmittance of vibrations. The kit gives you more for the same amount of money as four packs of Verax sticks, so this may be better for those more economically minded. The closed-flange sticks also seem slightly harder than the Verax sticks. As with the Verax sticks, they allow you to mount a fan grill on the outside of the case. Currently, I’m only aware of Specialtech carrying this kit in the U.K. Jab-tech offers a very similar closed corner rubber sticks for $1.30 here . They offer both open and closed flange sticks in a variety of colors, for those who like to prettify/color-coordinate their cases. Don''t know how it stacks against the Nexus or Verax sticks.

The Sunbeam fan screws are similar to the open flange ones that come with the Nexus ones. There have been reports of difficulty in using them, in some cases breaking them when attempting to install, so try to use some lubricant during installation. Frankly, given the amount of complaints on other forums, I would avoid them entirely.

Those gaskets in the shape of fan housings are really useless, so is just putting washers between the fan and the case, screws will still transmit vibration, that's why the rubber decouplers are recommended above. The gasket seal will ensure that the air is pulled from the interior of the case. The isolators don't always mount the fan flush with the case, so a little air may be pulled from the outside of the case. Still, I haven't really noticed a problem so I wouldn't worry about it. You can always use some tape or silicon caulk to seal the area around the fan to eliminate the gap between the fan and the case.

9. Acoustic Dampening material
Acoustipack is a heavy sound deadening material you can apply to your case. There are several versions, including pre-cut kits for some Antec cases and ones made specifically for HTPC cases. If you have already have a quiet system, it won't that help much. If you have a loud system, especially with high frequency noise or a lot of case vibration/resonance, it should be a significant help. The Acoustipack Deluxe V.2 comes with extra foam blocks and a better sheet of acoustic dampening material than the normal version, or versions that are pre-cut for particular case models. A warning, most dampening materials will add significant weight to a case, so expect your computer weight to increase by 7-10lb.

Mutemat seems to be similar to Acoustipack according to the SPCR review, but there is no definitive answer as to whether it is better or worse than the previously reviewed Acoustipack. The reviewer didn't do any "scientific" testing, but he believes that it's about the same quality as Acoustipack. As reported in review, this is made by a U.K. company, and should be easily available to people there.

Nexus Damptek has gotten a couple of feedbacks in the forums. The Nexus kit has the blocks for 3.5/5.25 bays sold separately from the sheets that are cut and mounted to the walls of the case. The blocks are reportedly easy to tear, according to nicci, so you should avoid purchasing them. I’ve read somewhere that the foam is somewhat meh in terms of effectiveness and somewhat hard to remove after installation, unlike Acoustipack.

Another is SonexWilltec. Nobody's used it except Ralf Hutter, and he said it was okay. It doesn't have adhesive backing built into it, so you'll have to glue it on yourself.

For those in Germany, Silentmaxx also makes a dampening kit. No users on this site have reported using it, so it's unknown how good it is. See here under Produkte

Most of those above are in the $60-80 range. Cheaper stuff like Paxmate (around the $20 range) is useless. Buy the good stuff, or not at all. Unfortunately, these dampening agents above have not been tested in head to head comparisons, so it is a mystery as to which may be the best. Alternatively you can try to make a DIY dampening kit from Mcmaster-Carr as outlined here using Sorbothane, a very popular material used to decouple hard drives and dampen cases on these forums, and a cheap foam such as egg-crate foam. Others have used floor tiles from Home Depot and the like.

10. Quiet CD-ROM/DVD-ROM
Don't know. Use the search function. I've had good experience with recent Plextors though. At full speed any drive will be loud. Programs like Nero Drivespeed allows you to slow down your CD-ROM/DVD drives to an acceptable acoustic level. There have only been a couple of reviews of optical drives under the storage section.

11) Keyboard
Noise comes from the "click" of depressing the key and the sound of your fingers hitting the keys. Generally, most, but not all, quiet keyboards use laptop style keys, so it may limit your choices if you're not a fan of laptop keyboard, which are "shorter" than normal keys. Here is a list of reportedly quiet keyboards:
-Any brand of roll up rubber keyboards; they lack tactile feedback so they can be very hard to type on
-A4Tech KBS-720
-Aeopen KB858 (corded)
-The Apple Pro keyboard has gotten some good feedback. This also lists a method to turn it into a standard windows keyboard by modifying the registry
-Auravision eluminX
-Benq x120
-Benq X800
-Gray CoolOne - It's the only keyboard I've seen that actively ADVERTISES itself as being quiet. It's also water resistant/proof, so its good for those who keep drinks at their keyboards. It's a wired keyboard and costs $179. There's only been one user on SPCR that's used it, but he gave it a favorable reference .
-Gyration's Wireless RF Keyboard- has a 100ft range, similar to the non-wireless Viewsonic KU-201
-IBM ThinkPlus Enhanced Performance USB Keyboard talked about here.
-Kensington makes a laptop style keyboard
-Keytronic KT2001
-Logitech Dinovo-expensive; Bluetooth $200-$250. The RF version is about $150; they've recently released a new "laser" model that uses Bluetooth 2.0 and is supposed to have a faster data transfer speed and a longer range. The Delete key is different from normal keyboard designs.
-Logitech Multimedia Keyboard (latest generation)
-Logitech PSK-5000
-Logitech UltraFlat Dark Shine, UltraFlat Light Pearl
-Logitech UltraX (OEM, so you can buy it from places like Newegg, but not normal computer stores)
- Logitech UltraX Cordless, black color (may be quieter than the corded version
-Logitech Wireless Comfort Pro
-Logitech Wireless Multimedia Keyboard
-Macally Icekey- isn't bad, though it's set up for Macs
-MS Comfort Curve 2000 (ergonomic, and resistant to liquid, so good if you're clumsy and like keeping a drink on the desk) - some claims it's quieter than the diNovo
-Microsoft Internet Keyboard - one user claims it's "near silent" provided you don't push the keys down very fast.
-MS Natural Keyboard (ergonomic, if you dig that sort of thing.)
-MS Wireless keyboard
-Optimus Keyboard - has laptop style keys and the ability to simulate icons on various keys (IE icon, Mozilla icon, etc). Should be quiet, should be expensive. May be released at the end of this year, though the release date seems a bit iffy. It looks cool. There’s a small pad that has been released, but it’s around $100, obviously, an entire keyboard would be much more expensive. Forum posters have claimed that the OLED technology behind it may lead to the keyboard lights burning out quickly.
-Saitek PK09AUP Pink Ergonomics Keyboard & Mouse Combo - The Eclipse isn't quiet, but this is. I don't know if the green one is as good, in case your're worried about being girly.
-Thanko Silent Keyboard - talked about here.
-Viewsonic KU-201- is pretty good, though the arrow keys are in a slightly funky position and may not have the optimal configuration for gaming

-Dell Quietkey, contrary to the name, is NOT quiet

Some methods to quite keyboards involve putting foam under keyboard keys. Someone else used petroleum jelly in another thread, but it was somewhat messy.

12)Mice
-There hasn't been much discussion on quiet mice on the forums. Thanko has the Thanko Silent Mouse, which has been marketed as being quieter. I personally find it somewhat uncomfortable to use.

Of the more standard “clicky mice” the Kensington Pilotmouse Optical Wireless mouse (model #72129) has the two best primary buttons I have ever experienced. They are audible, but extremely muted and not very "clicky." Another forum poster seemed to have a similar experience with the Aopen optical mouse, model O-75B. stretch had good a good experience with the Logitech V500. However, none of them comes anywhere near the Thanko in terms of noise levels.

Certain Logitech Mice, such as the MouseMan Dual Optical, MX310, MX500, MX510, MX518, and G5 have been known to make a high-pitched noise when used. Soldering a new resistor inside the mouse is supposed to fix it. More details can be found here. . One SPCR reader mentioned a partial fix here.

Here is a list of mice reputed to be whiny:
-Benq x805 mouse/keyboard combo
-Logitech Cordless Click, MX300, 310, 500, 510, 518
-Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer (Wireless)
-Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 - instead of whine it "chirps" ever 2-5 seconds - one user reported hearing whine through his headphones when moving the scroll wheel, but apparently reinstalling his soundcard drivers for the SB Audigy 2 ZS fixed the problem

Methods to quite a mouse here Another mouse mod, here A method to quieten a mouse without any soldering required here and here

There has been even less talk about quiet mouse feet or mouse pads, but it’s obviously better to use a soft cloth neoprene backed mouse pad the mouse has almost no sliding sound over a hard plastic one

Some recommended "quiet" mouse pads include; Micetracker Mice Pads
Ulti-Mat Breathe - A cloth mouse pad that comes in several sizes, from small to very very large

13) Speakers
Speakers, particularly cheap ones, can have a "hissing" noise. Unfortunately I haven't seen any feedback on "quiet" speakers.

14) Aluminum
Aluminum does NOT lead to a cooler computer. In a PC case, cooling is dependent on airflow. If you run it with no fans, your computer will shut down/be damaged. In the unlikely event it might help, the only components directly touching the case are the hard drive and the PSU. The hard drive is slightly cooler, 2, maybe 3 degrees, touching the case. The PSU, and everything else, depends solely on airflow. Aluminum, being less dense than steel, is more prone to vibration/resonance. This will generate an audible hum when moving components are directly coupled to the case. You can theoretically make it as quiet as a steel case, but it a lot harder and requires more effort to do so. See MikeC’s comments on the acoustic effects of aluminum cases.

15) Cats
You need one, they increase computer performance by 1000% and decrease computer noise by 8db

****
ETA: I've turned the belowt into a dumping ground of misc. info, until I can find a way to put it in the first post. Randomness in the presentation of the below information may ensue.

A) SPCR has been covered in the news due to the ever increasing popularity of silencing/making quiet computers, even in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Mike recently collected a bunch of articles on SPCR/himself/quiet computing in general here.

B) For those who wonder about how much integrity SPCR has, see here, and here, which proves that SPCR is more about giving fair, honest reviews instead of being all about the Benjamins. (Oh, and the makers of the Magnum PSU are complete nutters).

C) Since it's kind of hidden, the Silent Front section has an article that shows off the SPCR Sound Lab. This is where various products are tested for the reviews.

I've been told that my current browser will only allow me to read a post to a certain length, so if the FAQ thingy is long, others may be able to read the whole thing, while I can't. I've been trying to trim the fat to fit as much in there as possible, but I'm running out of things I think I can cut out right now. So, I wanted to post a couple of things here which probably won't make it in any further revisions.

D) Prototype VGA coolers
There are some prototype VGA coolers that are purely passive that have been shown at trade shows by Arctic Cooling, Thermalright, and Scythe


E) Prototype Chipset Cooler
Ainex is releasing a new, passive chipset cooler in the near future. It looks like the Zalman 9500 minus the fan (and smaller in size, of course)

F) Rear noise from case
Put a blanket/acoustic foam/eggcrate foam/pillow behind your case. Having a hard surface like drywall or tile will reflect the noise better than a more absorbant material.

G) Ramble ramble ramble
Needless to say, I don't have any space either to say why I wrote this thing in the first place. Good as it is, SPCR doesn't have a recommended section, or even stickys, that point out miscellaneous products to make a quiet computer. I don't mean things like CPU heatsinks, hard drives and so on, but other things that aren't mentioned, or things people wouldn't think to ask about:
Fan isolators
Motherboard heatsinks
Aluminum vs. steel cases
Cheap methods to accomplish the same thing as professional products (DIY hard drive suspension, foam earplugs to isolate fans...)
That fan gaskets are useless
Quiet keyboards/mice, or how to make them quiet
The benefits of cats on dealing with noise

This has ALL been covered on SPCR, somewhere or another, but it's scattered all over the place. Moreover, someone might mention, say, fan isolators, but very rarely do people mention what company makes them, or if they are good (or crap). At one point, EAR isolators and grommets were one of the most popular products used by forum posters... but good luck finding out what part numbers they were, or where to buy them!

So, I threw this (way too long) FAQ-thingy to primarily list the different parts available that are mentioned rarely, such as the MB heatsinks by Zalman, Jing Ting, etc. so the readers finding out what type of solutions are out there, so they can find what works best for them. It's still up to them to do research for themselves, such as what models are recommended if they need 500gb of storage, the newest, latest heatsinks that haven't been reviewed by SPCR, the best COMBINATION of silent components that still enable them to have a quiet machine that's still light enough for a LAN computer, if it's really worth spending the cash to import a product from overrseas, etc[/b]

H) Misc fun or interesting stuff related to SPCR
Top 10 Signs you take Silent Computing too seriously
Silencing helmet
silencing humans
How do I beat silence addiction?
Damn you addiction
Another sign of the addiction to silence
I'm such a 'tard (share your PC-related goofups)
The Vicious Cycle
Bling and silent computing
Advantages to a Quiet PC?
The bug has me!
Making the computer sound pleasant
Does the journey for the dead silent pc ever end?
the $50 once and for all solution to ALL pc noise!!!!
 
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Skeith

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2005
Location
Winnipeg Manitoba
wow tonnes of info!!
lol use a sponge. Might sound retarted but i know people who have lined their cases with sponges for a sound damping material lmoa it works too suprisingly.
 
OP
S

Shadowknight281

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
Location
Charlotte, nc
tom10167 said:
This thread is the definition of excellence and good posting. Stick it for example, if no other reason.
? Excellence and good posting? How so. I don't really think it's that different from the other stickies througout the forums here...
 

damarble

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Location
Spokane, WA
How is this the first time I've seen this? Awesome job! I recently went on a silencing rampage myself and am now proud to have a PC (in sig) inaudible at about 2m. The loudest component is a Yate Loon D12SL-12 @ 5v. (true 28 dba @ 12v) It was expensive and a pain, and the temps hit 50c load (compared to low 30's with my last rig) but the lack of noise feels so good I recommend silencing to anybody.

And oh yeah, STICKY THIS THING!!! :D How is it still not a sticky after all this time?