Over the last several weeks, I have been working to make my home system more quiet. (maybe I'll post a summary of what I did in another tread). Then, last week, my grandpa called me and said he needed a computer fast. So I went and bought a Compaq Presario SL1055CL at Costco ($900 on sale including a 17" LCD). To my surprise, this Compaq is nearly silient, and very well designed. Here is my mini review so that others that might want to purchase a complete computer system could consider this as an option.
The system is an AMD Athlon 3000+ w/ 512M 160G Drive, CD-RW, DVD-ROM in a small mid tower case. Built in graphics on the motherboard - VIA S3 Chrome.
Here is a view of the front of the system (with plastic protectors still on):
To keep noise down, the system contains only 3 fans. An 80mm in the power supply, an 80mm on the CPU heat sink, and a 92mm exhaust fan. All three are thermally controlled. The power supply does it's own thermal control, and the motherboard controls the CPU and exhaust fans. When you first turn on the computer, the fans spin at full speed and it is very loud, but in less than 1 second, they spin down to nearly silient.
The rear exhaust fan has a nicely unrestrictive cover :
The front intake is quite good for a stock case:
All in all, the system is quieter than my Antec 630 which I have been mod-ing to make quiet over the last few weeks.
The motherboard that it uses is an ASUS A7V8X-LA, which must have Asus Q-Fan, because that seems to be controling the fan speed. There are no adjustments for it in the BIOS, but the default seems to work well. I woudl guess that it's running the CPU and Exhaust fans at 6 or 7 volts at power on and idle, and doesn't seem to increase much over that. I didn't get to do a lot of testing under full load so I don't know how well it ramps up as heat goes up, but my initial impression is that it stays quiet very well.