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?