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 Post subject: Splitting the PC into two parts, one silent, one noisy
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:33 am
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Location: Paris
Hi!

Does anyone know of a project using such architecture as splitting the PC into two parts: one part to be very silent on the desk, the other part to be wierdly noisy, concealed in the basement - the two bits probably linked via high speed Ethernet?

Any info or link will be welcomed!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm
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Location: AB, Canada
search the forums for KVM or just search for "pc in another room" or something, but be forewarned anything farther away than say 10 feet gets really really expensive, particularly the DVI cable part of it. :P
two parts would most likely simply mean having an external cd-rom with your monitor/keyboard if you need one. what would be all-around easiest (and best imho) though if you were planning on having lots of space, is just to build a normal PC, use a laptop drive or something else really quiet for a boot drive. then put together another machine from spare/old/cheap parts and fill it with drives and put it in the basement on gigE. :P

or rather, depends what you meant by half and half - easy to share drives, much harder to share/use anything else over distance (cheaply at least).


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:44 am 
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Depending on your needs, it may worthwhile to look into a remote desktop. WinVNC is a decent program in that regard. I personally use Linux and SSH for my remote access needs.

It would be a little more helpful however, to know what you have in mind for the noisy computer.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:33 am
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Location: Paris
Thanks for your inputs. The VNC idea looks promissing... But it means that I have to set up two PCs, a quiet front-end viewer running VNC, and a back-end server with all the noisy stuff (high performance CPU, RAIDed disks, power supply and the necessary fans). But it still leaves me to set-up a quiet front-end viewer. For this, using a 2.5" disk for booting up is an interesting idea, together with a low consumption CPU. But then I wonder how I will gain access to local (silent side) peripherals such as CD-ROM/DVD drives and USB-linked peripherals such as printer and scanner... Any suggestions?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:57 am 
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Whether you need to take the 2-part approach depends on just how much computing power you need. The 2-part approach obviously will require a fair amount of effort & expense, but if implemented correctly, would allow you to run impossibly noisy things such as multiprocessor server boards with multiple high speed SCSI drives. However, you can achieve pretty high performance in a single box with <25dBA/1m noise levels; the cost and complexity is much lower.

In my home office setups, I have a P4-2.8G 1G RAM 2-drive system that measures 23 dBA/1m, and I just set up an A64-3800+ 2-drive system that measures about the same or slightly lower. The noise is mostly just broadband -- whooshing, if you will, at a very low level. Under my desk, both are essentially inaudible and their acoustic level never changes; this latter property is probably more important than absolute noise level -- a louder but steady benign noise (broadband) is generally much less intrusive than varying noise -- at almost any level. We perceive even small changes very easily.

The trick is to get the noise level down to the ambient or very close to it. At this point, the PC becomes essentially inaudible, masked by the ambient noise. (Different ambient noise levels is one common reason for the diversity of opinions about a particular product's audibility in these forums.)

The only thing I personally want/need in future is more storage space. Rather than swap drives or add more drives in the exisiting boxes, I am planning a USB 2 or network-based remote storage. Fairly cheap stand-alone arrays for up to 4~6 drives are now becoming available. With USB2, they're fast enough for just about anything, and even in network format, they're good enough to serve movies perfectly smoothly.

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