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 Post subject: Different perspectives
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:43 am 
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Noise from our personal computing can be lowered by many ways. Here's some points that usually aren't discussed much.

- Reduce the amount of computers. Less computers = less noise. For most of us, one is enough. If it's a notebook, you can have your computing environment with you always, and use wireless keyboards/mouse, external or networked storage and 24" lcd or crt or whatever you want at desktop. In light desktop use, many laptops run without fan. Then again some can be very noisy.

- Keep them off/hibernated/in standby when not in use. Computer that's powered off makes 0 db noise :)

- If you must run a server, you can usually put it to garage or someplace else where the noise doesn't bother, or even better: use a webhotel/other service provider to get rid of the box completely. With virtualization (like the free VMware server) you can run multiple operating systems and servers in one box.

- Lower room ambient temperature. This will help with automatically controlled fans and also lower your heating bill (or make your air conditioning raise your utility bill, depending on your climate). Added bonus: you'll sleep better in 18 degrees celsius than 25.

- If you have multiple rooms and must really have systems running 24/7,
place such systems instead of bedroom to rooms where noise doesn't bother much.

- One hard disk (system disk) per machine is usually enough. If you need more storage for multimedia or whatever, use NAS boxes or fileservers put somewhere where the noise doesn't bother. Performance is lower, but for just storing stuff you don't need that much speed as for system disk. Solid state disk as system (and only) disk will eliminate HDD as noise source.

- Some older components are still powerful enough for most use and power efficient. Added bonus is that they're almost free nowadays. Old P3 boxes don't use much power, and thus it's possible to build systems with just one or two fans. It's recommended to add more memory and faster/larger/more silent hard drive too. Installing modern coolers can be painful though. Additional bonus: saved cash.

- When buying new system, lower end components are usually less power-hungry, and thus easier to silence. Even that in same CPU family CPUs are usually rated at same wattage, lower-end models will use less power, usually directly relative to clock speed.

- Reduce system load: Idle system produce less noise. Seti@home, folding, prime95 should go if you want to keep the computer more at idle. Use hardware firewall instead of software, they're quite cheap. There's also units integrated with router, adsl modem and wlan. Disable GUI effects. Use firefox with adblock and noscript to block flash on web pages. Disable unnecessary services. Put virus scanner to check only created/modified files with extension list. You can use windows task manager to check most resource hungry tasks (cpu time, memory usage) or top on linux.

- Don't overclock, as same system running on stcck speed would produce less noise. This way you can also use cheaper motherboard and RAM and spend that money on more RAM and possibly silent storage (or beer).

- Make sure you have enough RAM. This will reduce HDD seek noise, as swapping won't occur and modern operating systems will use spare RAM to cache HDD content.

- Spend less time near computers, this is extremely effective if nothing else works ;)

Now some of these things might seem obvious or silly to some of you, while they could be useful to someone else. Nevertheless these methods will reduce the noise you'll experience.

Anyone else got something along these lines?


Last edited by paha_paawo on Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Different perspectives
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:05 am 
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Location: Washington D.C.
paha_paawo wrote:
One hard disk (system disk) per machine is usually enough. If you need more storage for multimedia or whatever, use NAS boxes or fileservers put somewhere where the noise doesn't bother. Performance is lower, but for just storing stuff you don't need that much speed as for system disk.


I think this is a key point that is starting to gain acceptance among computer enthusiasts but is still too radical for the common user. Of course businesses have started moving in this direction not only because of costs (it's more expensive to have a dedicated raid array in every server) but also because of noise and power usage. The fact is that the trend in SPCR computing these days points more and more to the hard drive as the primary source of noise in a well build machine, and everyone is looking for ways to silence them. This goes doubly true of older hard drives and high speed SCSI drives - I fired up an old 8GB SCSI drive last night to recover some files and was appalled at how loud the thing was.

So for those of us who require a lot of storage, building a NAS is a cheap and efficient way to cut down on the noise. And with a well designed low-power PC, it's a good way to cut power costs as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:54 am 
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I think those things go without saying.

About overclocking--actually, here on SPCR two popular options are undervolting and underclocking. Undervolting is more important, because it reduces power consumption more than underclocking, and it also doesn't reduce performance. The problem is that cheaper motherboards lack the ability to undervolt or underclock. Most motherboards can overclock and overvolt, but undervolting is another matter.

I personally find one hard disk per machine too many--now that I've figured out how to implement diskless workstations, I'm not going back.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:45 am 
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All sounds fair enough. I would think though that modern components would tend to be less power hungry for a given level of performance. So I'm not sure that using old components is reasonable unless performance doesn't matter or price is a factor.
Couple more, also pretty obvious:
-keep fans turned off when not needed
-realize that the computer doesn't have to be in the same location as the monitor/keyboard/mouse etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 1:42 am 
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Many good points. I think most of us could benefit from some of these ideas even if others don't fit our situations.

I've had HDDs go bad-and like having 2... but the next system will have both as eSATA. A Hard drive in a seperate enclosure at 6' distance can be made very quiet. Look around...is there a place within 6' of your computer you can stow a HD enclosure?

I'm not too sure a P3,except the most low end-can go fanless as there's no easy way to get a decent heatsink on it. Right now a basic Sempron and Mobo is very cheap. Cool + Quietlets you throttle down automatically for low usage. Crystal CPU may take more skill setting up-yet can do a bit more.

You can now get a 140 mm,170 mm or 220 mm fan. A low heat CPU can run with a passive sink and one large fan at very low rpm.

Gamers however face a dilema-I suppose. I don't game-so I'm not sure why people enjoyed games on a Barton a few years back- but now want to overclock a 6600 and have a $500 Vid card. Hot rodding,beyond a certain point-means noise. It's also going to add 100 w or more. Is it worth having the extreme? Does it make that much difference?

You can get a 7600 GT passive,run a Brisbane 4000 (stock) passive....and won't that play any game quite well?

If not....do you use your hotrod game rig for other stuff...web surfing...downloads etc? Might as well get a basic puter for the low demand stuff-let the dragster just be for games.


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 Post subject: perspectives
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 5:39 am 
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been lurking here a while, I'm curious if there's any valid argument for oc or underclocking a file server. I took my rig apart last night and removed 2 80mm fans, also 2 more 80mm at the back of the desk cubby.

It's a 2500 xp, and I plan on turning it into a file server for 15+ hdd's someday (8+TB of grateful dead and other live concerts). It may or may not be in the same room as the htpc etc. and I wonder if there is a considerable drop in temp's to under clock. My current mobo only allows for a 300mhz oc and I've considered a new (used) board that will allow for better oc along w/ a passive SI-97a

I plan on building a custom mdf case w/ hdd's seperated from the rest of the system except for enough space to get ribbons and molex' through.

right now I have 3 120mm fans @ 7v and a s12-330 , I tried running the hs w/ just the 120 on the case side, but gained 8c so I put the 80 back there.

here's a work log http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=436516

I took out the bottom 80mm front and back, and put a 120mm in the bottom, suspened w/ rubber bands, sitting on foam and aimed at the vga which I took the fan out of the hs.

sorry for the long post


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:41 am 
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Location: Denver, Colorado USA
Man, /no one/ needs that much Dead ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:42 am 
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Actually, if you have some live Tool, I uh, need to benchmark it.

Specifically the 10,000 Days tour, the Denver concert?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 8:19 am 
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Max Slowik wrote:
Actually, if you have some live Tool, I uh, need to benchmark it.

Specifically the 10,000 Days tour, the Denver concert?
Yeah, I can understand how you need to test out your speakers different frequencies using some live maynard compared to studio maynard :D pm sent.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:21 am 
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ronrem wrote:
I've had HDDs go bad-and like having 2... but the next system will have both as eSATA. A Hard drive in a seperate enclosure at 6' distance can be made very quiet. Look around...is there a place within 6' of your computer you can stow a HD enclosure?


Interesting idea...can WinXP be persuaded to run from an eSATA external drive ?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:58 am 
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Not having any personal experience, but they should look just like regular SATA drives to the computer, so it shouldn't be any trouble.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 6:42 am 
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YOu can definitely boot Windows or any OS from an eSATA drive -- as floffe wrote, it's no different from SATA.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:20 am 
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If just one hard drive per machine is used, then it should not be necessary to install it externally.

A case is really not good enough, if it is!

A separate enclosure or a file server is a great idea when multiple hard drives are needed, but come on, a single hard drive should really be possible to make quiet inside the main case! Who really wants N+1 different boxes under their table.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 10:24 am 
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Thanks. It's not something I'm thinking of doing - just my curiosity getting the better of me :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:00 am 
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Several terrabytes of Grateful Dead is a perfectly good idea,I'm not clear whether this is for personal home use or for an online public site. I've put multiple shows onto DVD for at home---yet mostly prefer CD. Hard drives do die.

I'd be thinking BIG drives and SATA at least. I'm guessing you plan to use some smaller drives you have...rather than buy 15 500 or 700 gb drives...

I probably would look to a Brisbane 3600 X2 on the Gigabyte M59 S 5 mobo to have a CPU - Mobo best able to manage so much stuff spread around so many locations. It happens to run cooler-thus quieter than an XP chip.

You get on board Giga Lan, can handle a BUNCH of drives,have solid caps-which can mean cleaner audio. It has dual bios-taking the fear out of a bios flash...and dozens of other features.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:16 am 
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I often remaster an audio file or have a bit torrent running all night..not far from where I sleep. I really want VERY quiet...don't need big power-but do need more than one HD.

So far...nothing totally silences a HD,but getting them into a noise-reducing box 6' further from my ear comes closest.


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 Post subject: Computers are for doing stuff
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:07 am 
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A lot of your suggestions make sense, but I have to disagree with this one:

Quote:
- Reduce system load: Idle system produce less noise. Seti@home, folding, prime95 must go.


Sure, don't load down your computer doing things without purpose, but what is worth doing? To me folding is very worth doing. It may save a lot of people, maybe even me, from alzheimers or cancer. Also, I don't have time, or much interest, for computer games, but it's sort of fun to look at my fah log and see how the work unit is going, or to see how many people I have passed in my point count. I keep my folding machine running 24/7, and when I get time to work out a proper configuration for lm-sensors I'm going to overclock it so it can do more folding!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:26 am 
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Of course how far you will go is up to you :)

The point of the thread is to just list unusual measures to reduce computer noise, and leave the decision to implement them or not for the reader.


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