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 Post subject: Silent desktops - What can be recommended?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:52 am
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Would like a PC desktop, as silent as possible.

Do not want to build myself or to open it and change parts. The computer should be silent out-of-the-box and preferably come from any of the major manufacturers (for example Dell, Fujitsu, HP).

What models can be recommended? Are there any consumer reports or reviews on the subject?

Many thanks in advance for all serious tips and recommendations!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:47 am 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Hello Anna,

It is not easy to make a recommendation on a quiet OEM system. Almost everyone here builds their own after evaluating individual components. I have heard reasonably quiet Hewlet Packard computers though. How are you going to use the computer? If gaming is not a priority a good choice would be a machine with the new AMD 780G chipset paired with an efficient processor like the 45 watt dual core AMD X2 4850e. The 780G chipset is new and has the best integrated graphics ever. I am sure Hewlett Packard will be offering systems configured with this chipset. There is a review of this chipset and processor combination in this site at the link below.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article807-page1.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:28 am 
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Location: jkpg, SWEDEN
Why not take a look at SPCR's custom builds? There is an article about the latest Gaming rig they configured at the startpage.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:42 am 
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Location: Northern California.
Full fledged:
SPCR recomended complete PCs
http://www.silentpcreview.com/section18.html

basic tasks?
http://www.aleutia.com/offgrid/
or a mac mini or similar.


The main OEM's use substandard fans that maybe quite at first, but they die fast. Also most OEM I 've opened seem to have poor airflow across the HDD, so they tend to die quicker than normal too. I have yet to see an OEM PC with a dust filter...Kinda of important in a silent PC- if your not going to open the case and cleaning out the dustbunnies every so often.

Course this is in the USA- EU seems to have some cool "boutique" silent PC's. Hopfully the euro crowd has some interesting option for you...

And BTW

Welcome to SPCR!!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:52 am
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thank you for the information so far!

I will use the computer for office work and some image editing (Photoshop). No gaming.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:04 pm 
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Location: Europe
Have a look at this site. I have no experience with their systems, but they claim that their focus is to build systems with quiet components.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:17 pm 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Hello Anna,

The Pyrotech site that Tephras linked to above has great configuration options for quiet computing. Pyrotech even offers choice of OS so that people who want to avoid Vista could go with Windows XP. The hardware options include a multitude of components that are highly recommended by Silent PC Review.

An example configuration that is reasonably priced but feature rich could include the following:

Case - Antec Solo
Power Supply - Corsair VX450w
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H
Processor - AMD X2 4850E (45 watt dual core)
RAM - Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 (either 1 or 2 sticks of 1GB)
Hard Drive - Samsung HD501LJ (500GB hard drive)
Optical Drive - Your choice of burner
Operating System - Windows XP

This configuration excludes the monitor, speakers, mouse and keyboard. The Gigabyte motherboard, which has the new AMD 780G chipset, includes integrated video, sound and ethernet. I would ask if there is a quieter fan choice than the included Antec three speed 120mm case fan.

One caveat though--I am not familiar with Pyrotech however the site is pretty cool. You can plug in the options via the configuration page and check out prices.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:52 am
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks again for the info. I also found Pyrotech, and coincidentally they are in the same city as I - Stockholm.

I called them to see if they had a walk in store where one could listen to their line of computers, but they said most of them were custom built and shipped the same day. But since I was interested in their Pyrotech Ultrasilent 3 model, which they claim to be more or less soundless, and since they produced two of these per day, they said that it might be possible for me to show up before they shipped one of them away and listen to it.

The guy on the phone also said that if they replaced the harddrive to an SSD drive the computer would have no fans or movable parts anywhere, and therefore be completely soundless.

The SSD drives now come at 64 GB which might be a little bit too small, so I guess then I would have to stick to a manual drive if I choose Pyrotech Ultrasilent 3, until 128 GB drives are released at a reasonable price.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Location: Poland
Anna Johansson wrote:
The SSD drives now come at 64 GB which might be a little bit too small, so I guess then I would have to stick to a manual drive if I choose Pyrotech Ultrasilent 3, until 128 GB drives are released at a reasonable price.

Depending on your storage needs, maybe you should consider buying a 16 or 32GB SSD for system files (depending on how big your applications are), and a high-capacity 5400rpm hard disk for other data. This gets you quiet operation, fast boot up and application loading times, and as much plain data storage as you want.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:21 pm 
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the only itch about solid state drives is the price of them. it's been going down, but i'd rather something i can have working now. you can always upgrade later, and its always handy to know your way around a computer.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks for the suggestion, having a smaller SDD and one regular larger harddisk.

But the man at Pyrotech warned me from placing two regular harddisks in the box, because it had no fans the harddisks could overheat and be destroyed. That had happened to one of their customers. I wonder if the same warning would apply to placing one SDD and one regular harddisk in the same box. Does a SDD produce much heat? Maybe I can email and ask some manufacturers.

And as the post here above said - the only problem now with the SDD is the price of them. But then, as suggested, I could uppgrade when they become affordable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:35 pm 
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Location: Toronto Ontario
A laptop might be preferable. It's the only type of computer that comes from brand name companies as well as being incredibly silent. It may be more expensive though. Ultimately, building your own desktop computer to your own needs will not only be the cheapest, but will serve as an incredibly informative and educational experience. I learn something new and useful everytime I build a new computer or upgrade an old one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:14 pm 
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Location: Poland
Anna Johansson wrote:
But the man at Pyrotech warned me from placing two regular harddisks in the box, because it had no fans the harddisks could overheat and be destroyed. That had happened to one of their customers. I wonder if the same warning would apply to placing one SDD and one regular harddisk in the same box. Does a SDD produce much heat? Maybe I can email and ask some manufacturers.

SSDs produce very little heat, that's one of their advantages over standard drives. I'd also consider the 5400rpm hard disk in a 2.5'' format—a laptop drive, not the big and hot 3.5'' models. Those are energy-efficient as well, and will do just fine for data storage. If you really need a fanless design, and if there is not enough room to efficiently cool such a setup, then I guess sticking to one hard disk is the option for now.

You might also consider an option with a low-rpm 120mm fan. The high-end models are inaudible at around 600rpm and below, while providing useful airflow. This depends on the enclosure, though. I don't know if such fans fit well in those small cases I've seen on that website.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:29 am 
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There are a couple of questions I'd ask before making recommendations: You said you will use the system for "office work and some image editing (Photoshop). No gaming." Does this mean the system will be in an office? Or is it for your home?

If office, then I'd say the fanless system you're considering is overkill, because the ambient background noise in most offices is high enough that a quiet fan-cooled system will be inaudible anyway.

If it is for home use, then the noise caused by the vibration of the HDD is the single #1 problem with all the fanless chassis used by Pyrotech. The last time I examined them, neither the Zalman nor the mcubed cases had good HDD mounting solutions built-in. You really want to ask about this: In the absence of any other noise, the HDD vibration noise will definitely be audible and -- at least for me -- annoying. It's usually more annoying than having that HDD noise masked by the whooshing broadband sound of a smooth fan, even if the latter is a bit louder.

Which is one reason you might want to consider a SSD, but that's a very expensive proposition for systems that are already expensive. And having a regular HDD with an SSD does not make sense acoustically, as the former's noise will override the latter's silence.

The Antec Solo case systems (like pyro bas silent) can offer the best balance of low, benign-quality noise and modest price. This assumes the built-in elastic cord suspension is used for the HDD mounting, the main case fan is changed for a quieter one, and the CPU heatsink/fan is also very quiet. The system specs don't cover all these details; you'd need to ask. (Most modern HDDs can be used without much concern for noise, as the elastic cord suspension does very effective damping.) Here's an example of a very quiet Solo-based system: Model One by End PC Noise Keep in mind that silence is in the details. It requires good planning, good component choices and excellent attention to details of execution to make a truly quiet computer.

An Aside: All this makes me think we should set up some system integrators in the EU to offer SPCR-certified quiet PCs. The distance makes it difficult but not impossible. Perhaps our EU regulars can offer likely candidates?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:52 am
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks again for all helpful really good advice.

I will use the computer at home, for "home office" work. I realise, as suggested, that using it at my real office it would not make much difference, because of the surrounding noice there anyway.

Yes, the man at Pyrotech admitted that the harddisk they used was not isolated - and presumably could be a cause of vibration/noice. There was no room in the box for harddisk isolation, he said.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:52 am
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
And as stated in my original query, building my own computer is out of the question. I tried that once with a disastrous result soundvice. Now I want something that is soundless/noiceless out-of-the-box.

My experience with laptops is that they are not soudless and all, at least the one's I experienced with processor fans.

The Pyrotech Ultrasilent 3 seem to be the best suggestion for me so far, because they claim it to contain to fans at all. And the only movable part in it would be the harddisk, which I later could replace with a SDD. Then I would have a completely silent/noiceless computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:46 am 
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Anna Johansson wrote:
The Pyrotech Ultrasilent 3 seem to be the best suggestion for me so far, because they claim it to contain to fans at all. And the only movable part in it would be the harddisk, which I later could replace with a SDD. Then I would have a completely silent/noiceless computer.

In that case, go for a 2.5" laptop drive. They have MUCH lower vibration than 3.5" drives. Any 5400 rpm model from Seagate, Samsung or WD would work fine; they come as big as 320GB these days. The cost per gigabyte is approximately double that of 3.5" drives, but it's still very cheap -- in Canada or the US, a 160GB 5400 rpm laptop drive can be had for around $80; a 250GB one for as little as $110.

Alternatively, go for a WD Green Power drive. These are 5400rpm, quite low in vibration and the quietest 3.5" drive we know of. 500, 750 and 1000 GB capacities.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:49 am 
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Location: London, UK
Another problem about SSD is their controller chip. Some of them are of such rubbish quality that the SSD is even slower than a bug-normal laptop drive. Thus, you might want to ask for the brand of SSD they use.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:18 am 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks for the advice about choosing a WD Green Power drive instead of the one they choose - a Seagate Baracuda I believe.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:20 am 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
[quote="Cistron"]Another problem about SSD is their controller chip. Some of them are of such rubbish quality that the SSD is even slower than a bug-normal laptop drive. Thus, you might want to ask for the brand of SSD they use.[/quote]


Do you happend to know of any comparison/benchmark between different models? Thanks anyway for the tips.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:32 am 
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Anna Johansson wrote:
Thanks for the advice about choosing a WD Green Power drive instead of the one they choose - a Seagate Baracuda I believe.

You're welcome -- avoid ALL 3.5" Seagates: They have terrible seek noise.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:39 am 
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MikeC wrote:
The Antec Solo case systems (like pyro bas silent) can offer the best balance of low, benign-quality noise and modest price.
This assumes the built-in elastic cord suspension is used for the HDD mounting, the main case fan is changed for a quieter one, and the CPU heatsink/fan is also very quiet.

I second that. I would definitely go for Pyro Bas Silent Intel. It's cheaper and you can later add a second drive, or upgrade the VGA-card, or what ever...

Even for home use, it will be very silent, almost inaudiable, especially if you choose a 2.5" drive (eg. 160GB Hitachi Travelstar 7K160 5400rpm).

I am pretty sure they use a silent CPU heatsink. Ask for a Nexus fan as back exhaust and elastic cord suspension for drive mounting.
Through the years, I have read many positive reviews, in Swedish magazines, about computers from Pyrotech, always silent and very tidy build.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:44 am 
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Anna Johansson wrote:
Do you happend to know of any comparison/benchmark between different models? Thanks anyway for the tips.
Some data from c't (German magazine):
Mtron MSP-SATA7025-03 SSD Pro 7000
76.5 MB/s write, 105 MB/s read, avg. access time 4.6ms
Samsung MCC0E64G8MPP
81.2 MB/s write, 85.9 MB/s read, avg. access time 3.9ms
The other three SSD from Hama and Transcend were utter rubbish, one of which has an average access time of 118.5ms (sometimes as quick as <1, sometimes around 250).

Fair enough, only 5 drives were tested, but the availabilty of reasonably sized drives is nothing else but baaaaad. The Samsung drive was also the only drive with a real SATA interface and its size was following the 1.8" specifications.

I'd stick with Samsung if possible. Now unfortunately, the prize doesn't point out whether you're buying a drive with a good or a horrible controller. All withint 500 to 1000€, so 1000$++.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:17 am 
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I will try to arrange with Pyrotech to listen to both the "Silent" and the "Ultra Silent" models, and I will report here of the experience.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:18 am 
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Many thanks also for the benchmark info above, and have a nice week!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:18 am 
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My Dell Dimension 4300 (3GHz P4) has been running quietly at work for 5yrs now. Don't know what that says about longevity, but it only uses two fans (one PSU and one ducted exhaust).

It's quieter than the fluorescent ballasts and my stupid gNAT firewall.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:55 am 
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Location: Borås, Sweden
Last year I ordered a Dell Dimension, but had to replace it because of the extremely loud (Seagate Barracuda) hard drive.

I also contemplated buying a system from Pyrotech, but in the end I chose the German silent PC specialist MR Computertechnik who builds systems under the brand name ichbinleise. I'm sure the Pyrotech guys know their stuff, but it felt safer to buy from a somewhat larger company.

The ichbinleise ("I Am Quiet" - I like that name!) site is in German only, but they are happy to ship to Sweden. And they are very easy to communicate with.

I chose a system with fans, but they also build fanless systems. The system I got is very solidly built and the fan noise is really low. You can hear the fans in a quiet home environment, but the noise level is very comfortable (and I *hate* fan noise!).

The most impressive part is the lack of hard drive noise. I have a 500 GB Samsung drive in my system and it's almost unnoticeable.

My old PC was relegated to the basement, but now I've grown ever more tired of that beast and have ordered a second ichbinleise PC.

And no, I don't have any personal interest in the company! :D

/Mattias


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 Post subject: Could this be the quietest pre built system to date?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Posts: 11
Hi guys

Has anyone seen the Fujitsu-Siemens ESPRIMO P5925?

It claims noise specs of 17dBA !! with CPU 90% load (Blue angel
requirement). A weighted sound power level Lwad (in B) /
Workplace related A-weighted sound
pressure level LpAm (in dB(A)), (bystander
position) (ISO9296

http://sp.fujitsu-siemens.com/dmsp/docs ... rimo_p.pdf

I'm thinking of buying one but I just can't quite believe these specs, aren't these figures claimed quieter than even the SPCR designed systems? PC pro magazine did a review of it http://www.pcpro.co.uk/labs/188397/fuji ... rimo+p5915 and they measured 23dBA. Can we trust these specs?

Even the quietest Dell machines only say 23dBA at idle in the specs.

Opinions/advice please would be great.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:44 am 
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Location: New York
I think that they do a decent job of measuring sound.

"Testing is carried out in an acoustically treated listening room, using a precision sound-level meter with an "A-weighted" audio filter. The results are in dBA and, to put a rough perspective on measurements, levels of 25dBA can be compared to the background noise of a bedroom at night, while 45dBA represents background noise in a typical living room.

Results are based on four readings: front and side while idle, and the same again but under intensive use. Intertek also measures the power consumption of each PC, while idle, in sleep/standby, and off."

While this gives some info, its not very descriptive as to the exact process. Additioanlly, many pcs are quiet at idle, what is important is load noise. For this pc it can be as much as 45 dBA (depending on the fan speeds) or around 30.


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reply to original topic:

It would be interesting to find out what Anna thought of the quiet and ultra quiet boxes.

Now that SSDs are even cheaper, any upgrades seen?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:37 pm 
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It's been 3 months, I am always curious how these turn out.


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