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Topic: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

  1. #1

    OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    I want to convert my computer to run as quietly as possible, as well as the new system I am going to build once I gather the funds.

    I want a quiet system for two reasons. Number one, is so that PC noise doesn't interfere with my recordings.

    Also, these machines are in my bedroom (no other available quiet rooms for a studio) and I don't want fans to keep me up at night once I get two systems in here. Also, the drone of fans gets annoying when you are awake too.

    I've messed with liquid cooling back in my gamer days, but it was more trouble than it was worth.

    The problem is, I do not know where to get quiet cooling products. Everything on Newegg seems to be gamer-oriented these days, and things have too many LEDs or suck too many amps for the hardware I will be using.

    I guess the better question is where should a musician buy computer parts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlueMax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    If you're in the USA, shop online at Newegg.com - in Canada, NCIX.com

    Which CPU do you have? Socket 478/75 (Pentium4) or 754/939 (Athlon64)

    But either go with something that has a 120mm fan or is entirely fanless (difficult to do with the Pentium4 Prescott "press-HOT")

    Some examples:

    Something like that.... and the Antec "Tricool" 120mm case fan at the LOWEST setting is also very good. There are other near-silent 120mm fans out there. 120mm is key.... the bigger the fan, the less it needs to spin for decent cooling.

    There are fanless power supplies too... and power supplies with bigger, quieter fans.

    Even whole fanless pre-made computers, but that starts getting pricey.
    "AAAAUUUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!" -- Charlie Brown

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    I've used Quiet PC in the Uk and found them excellent. They exist in the States and elsewhere also.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA

    Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    A spinning motor is only tested and verified to turn X many revolutions in it's lifetime. Look at the details in the spec sheets.

    Leaving them on all night ?

    I've got drives that are 6 yrs old and still work perfectly.
    I always turn my machines off when not in use.

    In my opinion ...
    The claim that shutting them off and turning them back on causes more stress than just leaving them on, is a spoof perpetuated by people who want to sell you more hardware.

  5. #5

    Smile Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    Hello DZ,
    I've built a computer that is running at about 11 db. In other words, sitting under my desk I cannot hear it. I was able to do so without spending tons of cash. I've listed below what I did and some changes I would make based upon current standards.

    There are two things to keep in mind. First, you want quiet components. Second, you want the best airflow you can get. The better the airflow path, the less hardware you need for moving air. Air movement means a cool case.

    Antec P108 case - by far the quietest case with the best airflow available. http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81800 You will see more press on the Sonata. Don't be fooled! I bought one and it is now my wife's computer case. (It is quiet, but not as quiet as I need.) You will find many DAW users are now using the P108.

    Acoustic Treatment for the PC. You can find products like AcousticPak, but they are are pricey. We had some carpet put in with a thick water resistant pad. I used some extra pad for my acoustic treatment and it has worked like a charm. You can find AcoustiPak here: http://www.quietpcusa.com/acb/showpr...ectGroup_ID=15

    Fans - There are several fans you will need. CPU, maybe a graphics card fan, 80 mm and 120 mm fans. The trick here is to get the quietest fans you can (Zalman and Pabst are my fans of choice) and use as few as you can. This is where the airflow for the case is crucial. The less fans you need, the better off you are. Expect to have at least one 120 mm fan. I use my 120 fan for pulling in air through the front of the case. 80 mm fans pull air out. You want to be able to change the speed of the fans also.

    CPU fans are dependent on what chip you are using. Don't save $10.00 on a fan. Get the quietest you can and make sure you can change the speed of the fan.

    Hard disk isolation. It works and is worth the $$. I got the frames with the rubber feet. I've not tried the cooling pipes or enclosures so I can't speak to them.

    Power Supply - First of all, make sure you are getting a supply that will provide more than enough power! Don't skimp, cutting it close on power can cause all sorts of mystery problems and is not worth it. There are several great products out there. A variable fan rate is not a luxury, it is a requirement.

    Fanless Power Supplies - Given current chip requirements I've shied away from them. However if you can spare the $$ they are an interesting alternative.

    Give the new Dual chips from Intel are coming out that give 40% more processing power with 40% less power consumption, they are worth waiting for. Even if they gave the same processing power with 40% less electrical requirements I would wait. 40% is *huge*!

    I hope this helps. QuietPC is my favorite place to buy silencing material. They have tons of information, etc. to help you make an informed decision. Yes, you will end up paying 20$ more overall than a New Egg or MWave (maybe) but I like supporting sites that provide that extra value.

    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  6. #6

    Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    Leaving my PC on all night is more of a lazyness issue than anything, really. (Yeah, I know... )

    I checked out that quietpc.com site. That Antec Sonata is a BEAUTIFUL case! Methinks I'll get one.

    Thanks for the tips, LFO. I'll look into those things. That P108 is beautiful too... Though I am not sure if my ATX power connector is long enough for the PSU to go on the bottom (I won't be buying a new PSU just yet). Augh.. I can't decide now.

    Now, I just have to make a decision. Should I overhaul my PC to make it quiet first or should I buy Cubase first... Sadly, I do not have the money for both right now.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA

    Re: OT - Silent(ish) PC cooling

    I probably knocked a few db off of each box here by adding 1/4" foam to the inside of the top, back, and 2 sides.

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