In essense, notebooks are complete prebuilt systems, and they could be discussed in the existing prebuilt / SFF / barebones forum. However, they are fundamentally different from desktop PCs in they they are almost impossible to "mod" in the vast majority of cases. The best approach to a quiet notebook to buy the right one to begin with.
The proliferation and immense popularity of notebooks in recent years leaves the average buyer with an incredible array of choices. There are no web sites or resources I know of that focus thoroughly on the noise notebooks make. So why not start here?
- Report experiences with notebooks, whether quiet, noisy or sopmewhere in between Details are important: Make, model, config can all affect performance.
- HDDs and fans are the only sources of noise in a notebook, so identifying the HDD is very useful, and telling us about the speed / noise / load / heat behavior of the fans is important.
- Tell us about any notable aspects other than noise, whether good or bad.
- The worst noise offenders will probably be Mobile Pentium 4 based systems because these CPUs run so hot. Avoid them like the plague.
- The quietest notebooks will probably be VIA processor based, though they appear to be hard to find, and not really suitable if you do games, and other multimedia-heavy stuff. Pentium-M systems will also be quiet, in general. I have little experience / knowledge about AMD-based notebooks; perhaps those in the know could post here -- and it can be added to this FAQ.
It's a start.