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Stripey

Noisy PCs

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Having just switched from using a laptop back to a desktop machine in the "studio", I'm painfully aware of how much noise all the fans generate. I'm using the stock intel core2duo cooler, cheapo generic psu with an 80mm fan, 120mm case fan and just added a gfx card with yet another fan on it. The base noise level is really distracting when mixing/monitoring (even the noise from the birds outside really pisses me off), so I'm looking at trying to eliminate some of the noise.

I'm going to switch to a psu with a 120 or 140mm fan, and buy a 3rd party cooler. I was just wondering if anyone here has had any real success at making a machine less noisy, or upgraded to components with bigger fans and noticed a difference?

Anyone using water cooling? Seems quite affordable these days, but all the cheap systems seem to involve using a fan on the radiator, which makes buying a good heatsink for half the price seem more attractive. Any thoughts?

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I've built a couple of media centre PCs over the years and as these have been sitting in the living room then I've always tried my best to make them as quiet as possible. The key thing I've found is not to try to make what you have quieter, but instead try to eliminate what you have that makes any noise.

I've a few suggestions for you. If the desktop machine isn't going to be used for gaming or for running Vista's Aero interface then I'd consider downgrading your graphics card to something that is passively cooled. You'd be surprised at how many different options there are and for pretty cheap prices as well. I've found the small fans on graphics cards to be the noiseiest component in my experience.

I'd certainly buy a better PSU and one with as big a fan as possible. Something like: Nesteq EECS Power Plus PSUs, 135mm Fan

With the new PSU in place, then depending on how good your computer case is (aluminium cases are ideal - they absorb a lot of the heat - check out the Coolermaster models) you might find you can get away with disabling the case fan as well.

There is a lots and lots of options for CPU coolers. Just take a look at some of these: Quiet PC UK - Quiet P4 CPU Coolers for a Quiet PC

A lot of these depend on how much space you actually have in your computer case as some of these coolers are huge. But they make a big difference. Obviously, water cooling is the ultimate solution but even that generates some noise (the pump isn't completely silent).

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Having just switched from using a laptop back to a desktop machine in the "studio", I'm painfully aware of how much noise all the fans generate. I'm using the stock intel core2duo cooler, cheapo generic psu with an 80mm fan, 120mm case fan and just added a gfx card with yet another fan on it. The base noise level is really distracting when mixing/monitoring (even the noise from the birds outside really pisses me off), so I'm looking at trying to eliminate some of the noise.

I'm going to switch to a psu with a 120 or 140mm fan, and buy a 3rd party cooler. I was just wondering if anyone here has had any real success at making a machine less noisy, or upgraded to components with bigger fans and noticed a difference?

Anyone using water cooling? Seems quite affordable these days, but all the cheap systems seem to involve using a fan on the radiator, which makes buying a good heatsink for half the price seem more attractive. Any thoughts?

not cheap, but you could get a fanless AT psu for about 50 quid. no fan, no noise obviously, (if neil just said all that stuff above i didnt get a chance to read it cos the wife just called me for my dinner - and she sounds angry) i can get more data for you on the fanless psu's if you are interested.

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I actually built the machine with a mATX mobo (in an ATX case) so i could use the integrated gfx and save some money but when I switched to using 1680x1050 it became pretty unstable and would crash almost every day under load - the northbridge heatsink was too hot to touch. I stuck in an 8600gt and now it's totally stable. I know there are passively cooled versions of the 8600gt around but I've been overclocking the chip by 200mhz for fun with CUDA so the fan is probably necessary for the meantime.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's upgraded from the stock intel c2d cooler to anything 3rd party and if there was a significant noise reduction.

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I just built a new pc with a tiny antec case and it makes pretty much no noise at all.

My last machine was a noisy bastard too.

However, I dunno if this case would be any good if you are planning on expanding/upgrading the machine lots.

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If you're only recording, likely your processor isn't being pushed so you can easily go into BIOS and turn down the fan speed on the cpu cooler by 25% or more (experiment with different speeds under different loads to get the best mix).

When I built my core2duo rig a year or so ago, the stock cooler was pretty noisy though, so I switched it out for one of these Akasa jobs. It's cheap, cheerful and quiet, just check you have the headroom in the case for it.

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If you're only recording, likely your processor isn't being pushed so you can easily go into BIOS and turn down the fan speed on the cpu cooler by 25% or more (experiment with different speeds under different loads to get the best mix).

When I built my core2duo rig a year or so ago, the stock cooler was pretty noisy though, so I switched it out for one of these Akasa jobs. It's cheap, cheerful and quiet, just check you have the headroom in the case for it.

My projects rely on a lot of vsti/vst fx so both cores of the cpu are getting driven pretty hard when im working on audio stuff. I have an e8400 chip and it idles around 27/28celcius so the cooling demands shouldn't be too intense, i reckon a top down cooler with 120mm fan should do the trick, and help with the passively cooled northbridge. I'm just worried about installing a new heatsink since putting on the stock intel retail cooler nearly snapped my mobo and left it with a distinct bend in the pcb. I hate that push pin attachment.

The stock cooler is definately the noisiest fan in the box right now.

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Yep the push pins are definitely a pain. THe stock coolers are badly made though and the 3rd party ones easier to fit in my experience. If in doubt though, best to whip the MB out so you can support it from behind, a broken MB is never a happy day. :up:

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Yes, you (generally) need fans on the water-cooling radiator, but you can run them much, much slower, making them quieter. Water-cooling is great. My next PC will have everything but the PSU water-cooled.

As for the rest of the stuff - Silverstone make a very nice line in kit designed to be as quiet as possible. Their stuff is a little pricier than most, but I find the quality is generally quite a bit better. The PSUs are particularly good. Depending on what your needs are, they do a 100% silent PSU (400W IRCC), which has no fan at all. I built my father-in-law's PC out of almost entirely Silverstone stuff (case, cooler, psu, fans, etc), and it's pretty much silent. Cost about 150 for everything, but it was worth it IMO.

Another option would be acoustic lining for your case, but in my experience it tends to boost the temperatures in your case by a good 3-5 degrees at least.

One final thing to look at is the quality of your case in general - if it's an el-cheapo one, chances are the quality isn't too good, which ususally contributes to noise - extra vibration from loose joins and thinner panels, poorer cooling performance (so your fans have to work harder), and so on.

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