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Xoxide Resource Center: Building a Quiet Computer

Tips For Building A Quiet PC

Author: Dave Melchiore

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Case Fans | Power Supplies | CPU Coolers | Hard Drives | Final Thoughts


If your computer keeps you up at night, or if you just can’t stand the piercing, whining noise any longer, you would do well to invest in some new components to quiet your PC down. In this article, I will discuss the theory of making a Quiet PC and recommend products which will help you on your quest. There are four main components which make the most noise in your computer, and they are, in order, as follows: case fans, power supplies, heat sink fans, and hard drives.

Worst Noise Offenders:

  • Case Fans
  • Computer Power Supplies
  • CPU Coolers
  • Hard Drives

  • Case Fans

    Case fans make the most noise not only because they move air, but because they vibrate and therefore cause the case itself to resonate and amplify the noise even further. To best quiet your case down, use the largest fans which will fit in your case, because a larger fan will spin more slowly to move the same amount of air, and therefore be quieter. When mounting fans, use Vibration Dampeners and rubber screws to isolate the fans and prevent them from making the case resonate.

    Case Fan Noise Suppression:


    Power Supplies

    Computer power supplies also produce large amounts of noise, and again, it is because of the fans. Generally speaking, the more fans a Computer power supply has, the louder it will be. Also, stay away from power supplies with a bottom intake and rear exhaust. They are great for cooling, but the 90 degree turn the air must take to exit the power supply causes turbulence, and therefore, noise. To quiet a power supply down, there are a few options. If voiding warranties is not a concern, opening up the power supply and replacing the fans with quieter models would help. At the same time, it would be a good idea to mount those fans with rubber screws and vibration dampeners. This would minimize the vibrations transmitted to the power supply. Finally, a power supply vibration dampener, mounted between the power supply and the case mounting point, would reduce the power supply fan vibrations transmitted to the case. For the ultimate in quiet power supplies, however, buy a Fanless Power Supply.

    Power Supply Noise Suppression:



    CPU Coolers

    CPU cooler fans are also a main cause of noise in a computer. Again, speaking in general terms, the larger a fan you can fit on a CPU cooler, the slower the fan will have to spin to cool your components, and therefore the quieter it will be. Some noise is always going to be created by air whooshing through the CPU coolers fins, so if the ultimate in quiet computing is desired, a water cooling setup with a passively cooled radiator, such as the Zalman Reserator 2, will be the quietest solution.

    Hard Drives

    Finally, a hard drive creates almost all of its noise through resonance. A hard drive when running outside a case is almost silent, but all hard drives vibrate due to the rotation of the platters and the movement of the seek head. All that vibration is normally transferred directly to the case, causing quite a bit of noise. Picking a hard drive which is quiet to begin with, such as the Seagate Barracuda line, will greatly help things. Correct hard drive mounting, however, will be even more beneficial. Use a Hard Drive Silencer, or rubber grommets and rubber screws to mount hard drives to the bays. Very little vibration will make its way to the case itself, so it won’t resonate and amplify the noise.

    Hard Drive Noise Suppression:


    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, it is quite possible to build a completely silent PC if you are willing to spend the money. However, it is much more practical to apply the knowledge you gained from reading this article to your own computer. With a relatively minor outlay of money and some time, it is possible to build yourself a very Quiet PC without breaking the bank.

    We encourage readers who find this information beneficial to share it with friends or other interested parties. Readers ARE encouraged to link to this article from their own websites.

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