It is currently Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:13 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2002 1:20 pm
Posts: 341
Location: Vancouver
I think getting one can be cheaper than building a computer myself. I save the time too.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1196
Location: UK
I wouldn't just look at whether or not they're quieter or not off the shelf. Are their fans easily replaceable if you want bring the noise levels down?

Certainly having used many HP systems they're well thought out inside. Modern energy policies mean that mainstream computers have very efficient power supplies in general which also means PSUs which can be quiet. Whether or not the individual fans and heatsinks installed are ideal is something else, it'll depend on model and this is where you might want to do a bit of DIY work afterwards.

A major downside is lack of upgradability. Things are built to a price and obscure form factors and bespoke components are common. Don't expect to just whack in another ATX motherboard or PSU when the time comes.

_________________
Silverstone SG03B: E8200, Asus P5E-VM HDMI, 2Gb RAM, Leadtek 9600GT+S1 rev. 2, Samsung 500Gb, Seasonic X-400, 2x Akasa 120mm, Scythe Zipang 2 fanless


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2002 1:20 pm
Posts: 341
Location: Vancouver
edh wrote:
A major downside is lack of upgradability. Things are built to a price and obscure form factors and bespoke components are common. Don't expect to just whack in another ATX motherboard or PSU when the time comes.


Do the PSUs usually have different connectors?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:29 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:43 am
Posts: 15
It depends... I typically order Dells for baseline systems/most normal customers. They tend to be very quiet and pretty much every desktop (Mid tower) use generic ATX power supplies now (they used to be proprietary).

However, watch out for the "slim" models (for instance the Inspiron 660s), which are small and may seem tempting for a HTPC build (and I know for a fact they are silent as I just set one up). They use smaller PSUs which may be a form factor available to the masses but not that I know of. More to the point these slim models tend to only have 2 SATA headers (1 for the HDD, one for ODD), so that may matter if you have more HDDs in mind.

Like edh said--yes it may be cheaper (particularly when you include a copy of Windows) but in the long run may hamper your upgrade paths...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:36 am 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4609
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Also - read the tech spec for the product to get a better idea of it's upgradability. I've known too many people that have purchased a reasonably priced PC and then realized they couldn't add/upgrade the discrete graphics card due to:
- low wattage/low 12V amperage PSU
- odd case dimensions
- lack of a PEG connector or other 12V high amp line.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:12 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 11858
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
boogityman, edh and Steve have lots of good, relevant points.

Regarding noise, generally, PCs from big companies are much quieter than they were say 10 years ago, but not anywhere near "SPCR quiet". However, you don't have to guess, at least not with Dell systems. They have a pretty extensive anechoic chamber and acoustic analysis tools. I was in contact for a while with the guy who ran their main sound lab for many years. They were providing acoustic info mostly for server and office products, for the engineering types who'd specify their needs in great detail, but they have long since expanded the acoustic testing to include all their consumer products as well.

The acoustic data is buried not in the usual spec sheet, but the environmental data sheets. They keep moving the location of the main page for these, and currently can be found in the Environmental Data Sheets link on this page: http://content.dell.com/us/en/corp/dell ... ducts.aspx

The data sheets page, then, is here:
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/glob ... ?c=us&l=en

Since there are dozens of products, and they vary in acoustic, let's look at what Dell says are best selling SOHO desktop PCs:
http://www.dell.com/us/soho/p/desktops- ... redir=true

Among these, the $550 models look similar to something a DIYer might want to build. The Inspiron 660 Desktop -- i5 processor, 8gb ram, 1tb HDD, Win 7 in a case that looks like a small mATX. Look up the datasheet -- http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/co ... 11m002.pdf

At the top of page 4 is the acoustic data, based on ISO 7779 testing. The bystander position SPL is the closest to SPCR's measurement standard -- 1m distance from the object, with A-weighting -- which is 26.4 dBA in idle. The operator position is a closer distance (just over 0.5m), so it is curious that it is actually lower here: 23.7. Maybe the mic is facing a fan in the bystander position. SPL for various other states are given, and the highest practical number is for HDD accessing, which is 25.9 and 25.1

These SPL numbers are modest, but they are nowhere near what lots of SPCR DIYers achieve routinely, at least judging from what they post in the forums. Our lab systems are typically <15 dBA@1m. Ditto my personal PCs. Usually placed on the floor beside or under the desk, they are essentially inaudible in normal use, including high load or with HDD accessing. None of the Dell datasheets I've looked at over the years indicate this kind of quiet, not even close in SPL, nothing under 20 dBA, and there's no way they have the same smoothness we achieve -- by tuning out tonality and choosing the smoothest sounding fans -- & HDDs -- and leveraging the cooling headroom provided by superior heatsinks by running fans as slowly as possible.

So... don't fool yourself. Yes, today's commercial desktop PCs are pretty quiet, but except in a noisy office, they would always be audible to the user. Whether you find them annoying or not depends on you, of course. They are a bit cheaper for the same basic specs, but with careful shopping, A DIYer would end up with better quality parts, and far lower noise.

_________________
Mike Chin,
Editor/Publisher, SPCR
Support SPCR with your donations!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: how noisy are typical commercial desktop systems?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:43 am
Posts: 15
Very interesting MikeC. I should have prefaced my post by saying I was new to the whole silent PC thing as only recently did I have the epiphany that computer noise is really annoying...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group