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 Post subject: Which desktop PC is the most silent
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:10 am 
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Location: New York
I am trying to find a quite pc. I know I can get a quiet PC if I build one, but I do not want to go that route. I want to buy something from one of the major manufacturers like Dell, HP, Compaq, etc. Can someone on this site recommend a model that is the most quite from these manufacturers.

I have already bought, tried, and returned two PCs from DEll, a Vostro 410 and a Inspiron 530. Both of these have a low pitch whining sound that drives my wife bananas.

If you are in the room and there is some background noise in the room, or you are playing videos, the PC noise is not noticeable at all. But when you are just reading something online and the room is quiet without background noise, then the whining of these PCs gets very annoying.

I had a Dell Optiplex 330 that just died on me and that was very quiet and my wife loved it, and I would like to try to get something similar but newer and also very quiet. So far i am not having much luck.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:23 am 
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I would get an HP with AMD processor. A friend of mine bought one and I was impressed by how quiet it is. Costco sells these with extra year warranty added for free, and even if you are not a member, their prices are good enough to justify the $50 membership fee.

As an added bonus, the included HP monitors are excellent (I bought a 2207 model a year ago to use with my the PC I built myself).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:10 pm 
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I just bought a new Dell Vostro 410 as well and I thought I was going nuts but it was the computer making a low droning noise about every 3 seconds. chas036 is right it can get annoying. Not only that it causes headaches ! I opened the thing and I can't for the life of me tell where or what is causing it. If there's any other noise in the room you won't notice it but if you like to work in quiet or silence it becomes the loudest "softest" noise in the world. Mine is in a computer compartment of a wooden desk and I put a towel underneath it and on the sides to dampen it but it's still there. It's a little softer with the metal side panel off but not gone completely. Does anyone have any suggestions ?? Can I run this thing without the side panel on ? I bought this new off a guy on EBAY and I'd hate to think I'm stuck with noise for the next few years. Evereything else about the machine I like. Heck my 5 yr old Sony VAIO that sits right next to it runs quiet as a mouse.(it has other issues though).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:12 pm 
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the big 3 wont have a silent pc due to the fact that...

1) budget hard mounted hdd, chosen for price not quiet.(grommets are not soft mounted)

2) non efficient HS so faster, louder cpu fan is necessary.

3) non efficient PSU see above.

After you fix all that your good to go...

...thats why we build em ourselves... :D

Now if you branch out beyond the main oems and are willing to spend some coin, silent pc's can be bought.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:43 pm 
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JJJB --

Most cyclical noises like you describe are caused by two noises of similar but not identical frequency. This can be two hard drives in the computer that are hard-mounted to the chassis, which have very slightly different spin speeds. Say 7200rpm and 7100rpm. The 100rpm difference works out to about 1.7Hz, which means every 1.7 seconds, you could hear a beat or pulse.

Same with fans. One at 1500rpm and another at 1700rpm -- the 200hz differences works out to 3.4Hz -- 3.4 seconds.

These noises get exacerbated by resonances in the chassis itself, and in the air enclosed in the case.

How to solve it?

Stop each noise maker one by one (in turn) and see if / when the noise stops. Then identify the noise source(s) closest in quality to the one that you stopped. Try stopping that and starting up the other one. If the noise still is gone, then those two noise makers are the culprits.

If you change the speed of one of those substantially, the beat frequency will cease. Or soft-mount both.

I could go on & on but I'll stop now... and see if you understand what I'm saying. Then others can chime in... and together we'll suck into into the silent swamp. :twisted:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Well I tried unplugging the fans one at a time and it made no difference what so ever. There is only 1 hard drive and I don't really hear anything from that. It still makes the noise even with side panel off so that blows the "air enclosed" theory although it IS louder with the side on. Just like a two headed drum will "ring" more as opposed to a drum with just one on top.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:28 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Say 7200rpm and 7100rpm. The 100rpm difference works out to about 1.7Hz, which means every 1.7 seconds, you could hear a beat or pulse.

Same with fans. One at 1500rpm and another at 1700rpm -- the 200hz differences works out to 3.4Hz -- 3.4 seconds.

Just point out this is simple unit conversion:
7200 rev/min => 120 rev/sec = 120Hz

The conversion to seconds above is wrong. Hz is literally times/second. To get the beat period in seconds from Hz you need to inverse Hz (=seconds/time)

1.7Hz (times/second) => 1/1.7 seconds = 0.6 seconds

3.4Hz => 1/3.4Hz = 0.3 seconds

Neither of these will be too noticeable.

Very small differences in frequency are the worst for the beat effect. It means you can get minutes of twice loud noise (and minutes of less noise/silence--not that it matters.)

The morale is that you don't want a bunch of almost identical speed spinning components in a computer case. If you need a few fans and a few drives get them different speeds (e.g. a 10,000rpm Velociraptor, a 7200rpm, and a 5400rpm drive should be better than 2 or more "identical" drives.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:19 pm 
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Where are our manners?:oops:

...

...


WELCOME to SPCR!!!!

...

...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:35 pm 
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QuietOC wrote:
The conversion to seconds above is wrong. Hz is literally times/second. To get the beat period in seconds from Hz you need to inverse Hz (=seconds/time)

yes, that's right, my bad. :oops:
JJJB wrote:
It still makes the noise even with side panel off so that blows the "air enclosed" theory although it IS louder with the side on.

This suggests the fan in the PSU could be really nasty (and they often are) -- and that the chassis is lacking in solidity. You could try 2 more things --

1) use a plastic wire tie or something similarly non-conductive but stiff and strong enough to stop the PSU fan (without damaging it) while the PC is on. It's a little risky... but I do it all the time to check the PSU fan-- and any other noises the PSU might be making.

2) remove the screws that hold the HDD in place and place it somewhere in the case -- temporarily -- on a bed of soft foam. This will keep the HDD vibrations out of the chassis.

Listen carefully.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:00 am 
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MikeC wrote:

1) use a plastic wire tie or something similarly non-conductive but stiff and strong enough to stop the PSU fan (without damaging it) while the PC is on. It's a little risky... but I do it all the time to check the PSU fan-- and any other noises the PSU might be making.

Listen carefully.


I insert the tie before start up...its a little easier fro me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:11 am 
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xan_user wrote:
I insert the tie before start up...its a little easier fro me.

Probably the better approach -- less chance of damage.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Location: Chicago
I'll try the hard drive idea Thurs when I have time and I'm off. In the meantime I came across this stuff. You guys would probably know if it works at all or if it's safe to put inside the computer ??

http://www.acousticpc.com/acousti_produ ... g_kit.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:11 pm 
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JJJB wrote:
I'll try the hard drive idea Thurs when I have time and I'm off. In the meantime I came across this stuff. You guys would probably know if it works at all or if it's safe to put inside the computer ??

http://www.acousticpc.com/acousti_produ ... g_kit.html


I've personally used it before. Theres no risk involved. Though its impact is fairly minimal. It may quiet your system 1-2dba. The bigger impact will be the sound characteristics more than the amount of sound. It'll block more high frequency sounds and make the system sound more whooshy and less whiney. So while the actually noise level may be inpercievable, the sound quality will be improved.

If you use them on the side panels, it'll also help wiehgt them down so they dont vibrate as much, reducing vibration induced noise from the enclosure itself.

I think the thing i like the most about using this stuff, is being able to utilize it to block unwanted air vents. Sure you could just use some tape or cardboard, but then it looks ghetto. This stuff has a very proffesional look once installed.

If you use it on the bottom of your case, it then becomes a built in foam cusion to sit hard drives on to decouple them from the case. You'd still need some sort of way to secure it, but you wouldnt have to put an extra piece of foam in the case.

But dont expect miricles. It will help a little, but the biggest improvement is still going to be in the hardware pieces you choose to put in the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:23 pm 
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Thanks, that's cool I'm not expecting miracles it's such a low end hum I'm almost positive it must be the hard drive vibrating the whole shell itself because when I put in the windows power scheme "turn off hard drive after 3 minutes" it gets pretty quiet until I wake it up. I'll try the hard drive unscrewing that Mike recomended and some of this stuff too. I'll let you know how it goes. It doesn't have to be silent just a little less annoying. Thanks to everyone for helping.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:31 am 
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Well MikeC was right. I pulled the hard drive out and sat it on a towel OUTSIDE the box and the 3 second droning low end hum noise basically vanished. I touched the hard drive to where it was screwed in and it came right back. Rumbles the whole box like a tin drum. It also gets quieter when the hard drive "shuts off/sleeps" after 3 minutes of inactivity etc.

The question now is what are my options ? There's room inside to just let it sit on a piece of foam and not touch any metal. Is that safe ?? Is there any technical reason a hard drive has to have air UNDER it ? I'm open to suggestions as long as it's safe. I will get the soundproof stuff from that site though. I don't know how to upload the pics or I would to show you guys what I mean.

Would this work better ?
http://www.qrdc.com/Quiet_Computer_PC_P ... closure/10

Or this ?????
http://www.qrdc.com/Quiet_Computer_PC_P ... losure/229

I would hate to buy either of these and then not have them fit or work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:34 am 
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Location: Finland
Hi JJJB.

The quickest and easiet way to completely banish hard drive virbrations is to suspend them inside your case. If you have spare 5.25" drive bays then it's very easy to use some plain sewing elastic to hold the drive(s) in place. The only noise that should remain then is the drive motor, which I believe is barely noticeable on most new drives.

Mike's article is pretty much the gold standard for elasticating (new word? :P) hard drives: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article8-page2.html.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:52 am 
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The "suspended" hard drive looks interesting but I think it'll be a last resort. The thought of having to string up a hard drive in a brand new computer makes me ill...lol But maybe not as much as listening to hummmmmmmmmmm.......................

I'll try everything else first.

http://www.directron.com/silentdrive.html#caption


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:43 am 
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JJJB wrote:
The "suspended" hard drive looks interesting but I think it'll be a last resort. The thought of having to string up a hard drive in a brand new computer makes me ill...lol But maybe not as much as listening to hummmmmmmmmmm.......................

I'll try everything else first.

http://www.directron.com/silentdrive.html#caption


yeah, like nobody here tried all that before settling on suspension... :roll:

If you want to eliminate vibration noise and keep the drive cool at the same time suspension is the most effective, both in results and economically.

Youll come around....eventually. Muuuuhaaahaaaa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:37 am 
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JJJB wrote:
Is there any technical reason a hard drive has to have air UNDER it ?

It's safe -- as long as you don't knock & jostle the computer. I do this for SPCR lab computers which never get moved. But you might be best advised to turn the drive upside down so any exposed electronics can get a little convection cooling. If there is even a tiny bit of airflow across the sides and bottom of the drive, you're OK. The amount of heat you're trying to dissipate is only 6~8W, typically, and the overall area of heat radiation is large. The top is the least effective cooling surface because it is just a thin plate.

There are innumerable ways to suspend HDDs, btw, and it is perfectly safe as long as you think through the details & execute sensibly. New ways to float-mount HDDs periodically surface in this massive thread on the topic. The ingenuity shown here is often delightful. HDD Elastic Suspension... Show your pics!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:44 am 
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my preference is to have drives on their sides, to promote more convection from both top and bottom.(now the sides.)


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 Post subject: Re: Which desktop PC is the most silent
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:44 am 
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chas036 wrote:
I am trying to find a quite pc. I know I can get a quiet PC if I build one, but I do not want to go that route. I want to buy something from one of the major manufacturers like Dell, HP, Compaq, etc.

I got an Acer Aspire L320 for a family member. It's very small and it's quiet. External power supply, which is a good sign. Not the highest performance machine, with an E2140 processor, but adequate for an office computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:29 pm 
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theres nothing wrong with just leaving it sitting on the bottom of your case on some foam, except that its not secured. What i have done in the past is to cut some holes in the bottom of the case, and use some insulated wire to "tie down" the drive which sat on some foam.

Suspension is the other way to do it.

Everything else doesnt really work very well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:02 am 
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Actually, you can use eDead on everything in your PC case that might resonate, which will get rid of the buzz/hum (but will not remove seek noise).
And, of course, you can both suspend and de-resonate...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:18 am 
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Aris wrote:
theres nothing wrong with just leaving it sitting on the bottom of your case on some foam, except that its not secured.

Hot glue and cardboard work well to secure drives on foam. Hot glue is actually a great way to mount a lot of stuff inside the case and reduce sound transmission. Hot glue fan to cardboard duct. Hot glue cardboard duct to case.

A few big blobs of hot glue would probably be the only thing needed to nicely mount a hard drive to the case bottom--I'll have to try that. :)

PS - I once built a case using just hot glue and plexiglass. It is plenty strong when applied liberally.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:39 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
Aris wrote:
theres nothing wrong with just leaving it sitting on the bottom of your case on some foam, except that its not secured.

Hot glue and cardboard work well to secure drives on foam. Hot glue is actually a great way to mount a lot of stuff inside the case and reduce sound transmission. Hot glue fan to cardboard duct. Hot glue cardboard duct to case.

A few big blobs of hot glue would probably be the only thing needed to nicely mount a hard drive to the case bottom--I'll have to try that. :)

PS - I once built a case using just hot glue and plexiglass. It is plenty strong when applied liberally.


Silicone glue.
no burns. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:42 am 
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xan_user wrote:
Silicone glue.

The hot glue stays nice and runny on plastic/cardboard, but sets pretty much instantly when it is pressed onto metal. It is also easy to remove, which is nice when you are a serial upgrader. :)


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