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 Post subject: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 5:26 am 
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Hello :-)

I'm looking for a completely silent laptop (i.e. without a fan and with an SSD harddisk) and although the SPCR seems to be most about stationary PCs maybe somebody here knows about silent laptops as well?

I currently have a Sony Vaio with a 2.54 GHz duocore processor which I'm otherwise very satisfied with, however, it is in my opinion quite noisy and I need it to be completely silent - I will be using it for sound recording purposes. I'm looking for a laptop which has about the same speed as the Vaio.

I'd appreciate any tips you may have ...

Best regards,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:00 am 
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It's unlikely that there are ANY fanless laptops with that kind of speed/performance. It might be out there somewhere, but I haven't seen it.

The best thing you can hope for is a machine that has a very low TDP CPU, with a cooling fan that is manually controllable. Also, a passive metal cooling plate for the laptop -- something like this: http://www.antec.com/product.php?id=2220&pid=21 These things can help with laptops, allowing air flow flow underneath it, and by conducting some of the heat from the base.

When you are recording, set the CPU fan off or on minimum, use the passive external cooler, long mic cables to keep the laptop far enough so its noise won't intrude... and keep your finger crossed?

You should tell us full details of the kind of sound recording you want to do, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 2:59 pm 
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Try Notebookcheck's search feature.

Hopefully, the Ivy Bridge mobile dual cores (June/July) will provide a decent amount of horsepower at a lower thermal profile and laptops will get a bit quieter...

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:02 am 
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Hi both,

& thanks for replying!

@CA_Steve: I tried the tip with the notebook feature search but as far as I can see there's no entry for "noiseless" or the like.. Might I have overlooked it?

@mikeC: Thank you also for replying and giving the link to Antec. I looked at it but if I go for a completely silent solution (will be recording where the basic "sound" is total silence with very short cables for high quality) I didn't see any solutions...?

I also went into the control menu for the Vaio, however, the passive cooling setting still means that it sounds quite noisy when the processor is being used. So no way forward in that it seems. Maybe I'm just out a little too early ...

Best regards,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:41 am 
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Jesper, what are you trying to record? silence?

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:00 am 
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Hi Mike - yes, I might record "silence" ... can be a singer that pauses for so long that everything silences & I need to have the laptop close to the recording venue as long cables - even digital - in my experience affects the sound (used to work with high-end audio)...

So the silent laptop is the way to go for me ...

Best regards,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:36 am 
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How about a separate audio recorder?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:56 am 
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evalon wrote:
@CA_Steve: I tried the tip with the notebook feature search but as far as I can see there's no entry for "noiseless" or the like.. Might I have overlooked it?


"Emissions" is the entry you are looking for. Put in a high number, like 85%.

As Mats pointed out, why not go with a separate recording mixer? Use one with FireWire or Toslink output. Then, find a laptop you like with Firewire or Toslink. That'll get you 5 meters or more away plus the distance from the mixer to the mics. You can also isolate/reduce the laptop noise by having a barrier between it and the mics (from being in a different room to just building an enclosure of some sort for it)...or just run long mic cables to the mixer. :)

You might want to peruse gearslutz forums for specifics - it's filled with DAW builders/users.

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Last edited by CA_Steve on Wed May 09, 2012 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:07 am 
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Mats wrote:
How about a separate audio recorder?

Yeah, that sounds more practical to me, too.

But this List of fanless laptops (thread started 2007) might help ID the very few out there right now.

Another alternative is to use something like the Audioengine D2 wireless 24-bit 2-piece DAC with a good mic preamp connected to the "sender" to distance the laptop (connected via USB or SPDIF to the "receiver") w/o any loss in fidelity.

But a good mobile recorder might be simpler.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:12 pm 
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Hi All,

& thanks again for suggesting solutions for this...

The external soundcard is an idea I'm currently looking into myself, however, I'm looking for the very best and also what is most important is that I can record - not necessarily play back - with the card in superb quality.

A stand-alone recording device also is something I'm looking into but I'm looking for something with superb quality which I've not yet found.

BUT there's also an editing part to recording and here I'd like to use the laptop as well which means that in this context low sound levels also are important. So no matter which solution I chose a silent laptop is the way to go for me ...

It seems, however, that the Vaio I have should be able to be silent - from what I've read on the internet - and that it's a question about setting some values correctly in the Vaio software. So I've posted a question about this in the Sony Vaio group on notebook review and hope to get a reply from people with Vaios...

So hopefully they can help solve the issue ...

Best regards,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:00 am 
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Hi all!
I am also very interested by a completely silent laptop too. When I mean silent, it's without a fan, since I don't think the noise of the harddrive sounds very disturbing (even if a SSD is always better... except for the wallet...).

I own a DELL mini 10, without a fan then. And honestly, when you are used to this type of silence, you can't go back!
The truth is 1gb of RAM starts looking a bit short (I run Win7 and use frequently IDE to program. I can't upgrade this version of mini 10).

I'm looking for any suggestions, whatever the power of the laptop (but more powerful than what I've got now: processor ATOM, 1Gb, 10")
(I've tried the search in Notebookreview with 90% rating for emission but I get only Atom processor, and tablets)
Thanks a lot!


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:53 am 
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ThePhi wrote:
(I've tried the search in Notebookreview with 90% rating for emission but I get only Atom processor, and tablets)
Thanks a lot!


I think that's all you'll see unless you want to move to a laptop with an ARM processor in it, like the new Samsung Chromebook. Next year, Haswell TDP drops from 17W to 10W along with some severe idle/low power modes. Perhaps that'll be low enough for quiet/silent options. For grins, you could check out Samsung's series 9 laptop with the 17W IVB processor.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:59 am 
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What specifically are you recording? Are you recording something for an Audiobook, vocals for a song, etc? It does make a difference between what's going to be best for you.

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro, and under normal use, using gfxCardStatus to use the Intel GPU, if I had a SSD, it would be silent. Dead silent. Factor in some workload, and the fan will kick in, and it's a real loud one.

I have a Dell Mini 9 with SSD, and that thing is completely silent (with 2gb of RAM at that). There's the Dell Mini Duo, that's fanless, dual core atom as well, not spectacular, but great for general purpose stuff. I had one come in to work a few weeks ago.

If you were to get a more powerful laptop, a variable speed laptop cooler, you could probably undervolt or keep the speed down on the CPU enough to run it near silently, and still have enough oomph for recording, because once that microphone is muted, you can let the speed back up to stock speeds, crunch the rendering, and do just fine with that. When I record, it's typically very loud (think full hard rock band), so the noise level of my laptop is completely irrelevant, because it isn't within 5 feet of the mic, much less loud enough to be remotely audible.

These are all just options, not knowing what you're recording. Just saying recording is like going to a car dealership because you need a car, and you like to drive. You have to be a little more specific about what you do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:46 pm 
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Hi bonestonne,

- thanks for replying & also thanks for asking the questions you ask ;-)

I'm currently in the process of developing the recording system I'll be using and the A/D and D/A converter units most likely will be transferring data via one of these cards:

http://www.cesys.com/en/products/katego ... t/usbs6-1/

http://www.rigisystems.net/index.php/us ... t-kit.html (in German but if you can use google translate you might be able to read it ... ?)

The most likely one is the CESYS card as it allows for up to 40 MBytes of data transfer/second - something that I may eventually need for very high resolution audio & other signal recordings. The CESYS card works with WIN7 & XP & Linux, whereas the rigisystems card also works with OS X from Apple.

Also, I essentially have no experience with Apple or Linux based computers so I would prefer a Windows based computer. And to that end I guess that I will be needing the very best of computers to work with these speeds ... I currently have a Sony Vaio from their professional series, a very stable & fast computer, however, it is NOISY often also when it doesn't do anything (text reading, disconnected from the internet). I've tried to undervolt it using the "undervolting guide":

http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardwar ... guide.html

but with virtually no result. Also, with the rigisystems card it generates drop-outs in the streaming at 352 kHz & 384 kHz sampling frequencies so it's not the most optimum computer for this purpose.

Might you have a suggestion for an alternative?

Greetings,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:40 am 
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I'm currently about to start working with an Axia Element radio console setup, now, the reason I bring this up is because they utilize GPIO's for the audio. So I'm familiar with what you're looking to do. As far as the USB controller you're working with, since I don't work with the design and programming, I can't offer too much insight. All the systems I work with are installation and creating presets in the existing software.

The audio interface will only be USB2.0, so your current laptop with USB2.0 is going to be as fast as you're going to get with that interface, moving to a new laptop with USB3.0 isn't going to give you any improvement. That said however, the actual USB controller being used will make a huge difference. NEC chipsets are the most stable for USB audio interfaces that I've seen. There are many different chipset makers, but if you can narrow down to a NEC one, I would suggest it. Alternatively, if you have an express card slot on the new laptop, you can hunt down a USB express card if need be.

If all this is down for an amplifier, then I would still look into undervolting/underclocking a new laptop. The new ultrabooks are very fast with already low TDP numbers, but lowering the speed even by 25% will give you a pretty noticeable difference in heat output, considering you're already starting with something that's low to begin with. If you couple that with an adjustable laptop cooler, you can get the perfect balance between low noise and cooling, while having the power you're looking for over your netbook.

You'll run into a lot of speed bumps along the way, but I'd love to see how this project goes along.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:40 am 
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Hi - and thanks again for replying. My head is going elsewhere right now (preparing for the next couple of days) so this is just a brief message to say that I've read your post and will get back with any thoughts & comments I may have probably sometime next week. Be well wherever you are :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:29 am 
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Hi again bonestonne. Now there's a bit more room to look into your mail - if you're still around I'd like to clarify something in what you wrote ... Hope that's ok ...

Quote:
NEC chipsets are the most stable for USB audio interfaces that I've seen.
This is interesting as the person who was in charge of the Rigisystems USBPAL programming have experience with Intel based computers being the most stable ones for his application. But I guess the USB chip is not the same as the same as the chipset in general (?)

Quote:
then I would still look into undervolting/underclocking a new laptop
... Well, yes. What's a bit surprising with my current laptop (the Sony Vaio) is that undervolting has had absolutely no effect. Even if I reduce the voltage for the different parts of the computer a lot there's no discernible difference in the on-time and intensity of the fan. So I've been wondering if there's some setup in the Vaio software that reserves these control areas for the Vaio control software. Just in case you are interested here's the link to the undervolting guide I've used for advice on how to do this:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardwar ... guide.html

But if I could make it work the Vaio laptop probably would be quiet in normal use (text documents etc.) but hardly when it's in a high performance state: In this case the fan is indeed active so I doubt much can be done with this.

BTW another poster in these forums has suggested the Dell Latitude E6320 as being very quiet - do you have any experience with this machine? Or might a small stationary PC be an option? In this case the cooling system probably could be customised ...

Thanks again for reading & maybe replying ;-)

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:29 am 
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Intel based chipsets are different from what I'm referring to. I'm referring to the actual USB controller chipset, not the chipset of the motherboard as a whole.

Undervolting a CPU will have a threshold, but it will also depend on the TDP to begin with, and workload. When you undervolt/underclock, it will lower the overall performance, so doing moderately heavy work will still put it under a taxing enough load to case the fan to come on, potentially loudly.

A newer laptop with an i3 will give you more overall performance to begin with, allowing more flexibility in undervolting/underclocking to reduce heat. I have no experience with the E6320 laptop, but a number of newer laptops are very quiet. I do have several new Asus laptops, and a couple HP Beats laptops that are very quiet as well.

A small stationary machine, such as an ITX platform could be very easily done, something like the Pentium G630T would be extremely lower power, a good third party cooler could result in reasonable fanless operation. The systems are very easily configured based on what you're looking to put in, and if you're looking for a somewhat larger system, it's something to definitely consider, but it will involve a keyboard/monitor/mouse to be included at all times.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:40 am 
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Hi bonestonne,

Thanks again for replying. Reading what you write I wonder if Sony has done something to prevent undervolting/underclocking programs to get access to the system/software that controls the fan ... My laptop is a VGN-Z21 (2.54 MHz duo-core, 4 GB RAM, i5 processor) - quite a fast machine I reckon - yet as I wrote - when using the undervolting programs as described by the thread I referred to there's no difference whatsoever - even if I set the voltages to be very low in the programs ....

Anyway, Christmas is approaching and I won't have time to look more into this before ... So - for now - thanks again & a Merry Christmas :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:29 am 
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evalon wrote:
My laptop is a VGN-Z21 (2.54 MHz duo-core, 4 GB RAM, i5 processor) - quite a fast machine I reckon - yet as I wrote - when using the undervolting programs as described by the thread I referred to there's no difference whatsoever - even if I set the voltages to be very low in the programs ....
I've got a VGN-Z21ZN, and I can undervolt it with RMClock.

In fact, I've got around 10/12º C less at the same speed, as I have been able to undervolt from 1.1 to 0.975 V. This means that now it is a bit quieter -though not as quiet as I would like it to be.

Something you have to take into account: make sure you select the "RMClock Power Management" created by RMClock as the Windows 'energy plan', using the Windows Control Panel. And, *do not* use the Vaio Control Center for that.

That did it for me: if I ignored this step, I've got some erratic undervolting behaviour, sometimes getting 1.1 V and sometimes getting 0.975, and the system was not quieter in the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Hi Pet - thanks for your tips. I'll look into it one of these days and see if I can make it work better ... should be possible since you have the same computer ;-)

Greetings,

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:16 pm 
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RM Clock is a great program, though difficult to get running in Win 7 due to driver signing issues.

I used it to prevent throttling and speedstep, but you could use it for undervolting and underclocking just as easily.

The newest ultrabooks coming out are more and more powerful with less and less heat output, so they're what to look at right now. I was looking at Samsungs on display at local chain stores around here (Best Buy, Staples) and the one Samsung ultrabook I was looking at was great, I should have taken a note of the model.

If you're lucky enough to have a flexible BIOS on the machine, you can get better usage with enhanced CPU states for even more throttling. I would definitely suggest avoiding any manufacturer specific power saving applications, Gigabyte, Sony, etc etc, they're all very bad, and do cause lots of problems.

Windows Energy plans are somewhat useful though, there is an amount of flexibility with what you can adjust in there, but there are lots of limits because it's not a real full fledged application with too many in-depth features because it has to work on such a wide variety of hardware, it doesn't want to be misleading (mentioning features that aren't available on some computers, but also doesn't want to leave out essentials).

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:14 pm 
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I was in the similar need after I bought new and most powerful laptop that I could afford. It might be more powerful than my previous rack mounted 3U server (which was completely silent BTW.) but new laptop started to annoy me very quickly.
It´s Fujitsu AH532 with Intel quad core CPU running @2.2Ghz, has 12GB RAM and 256GB Samsung SSD. Problem was that it´s fan keeps almost silent until it needs to cool down the CPU and it rises it's speed which causes way too clear noise.

I have replaced ordinary stereos with CD players etc. long time ago and listen all my music from PC. I am also music maker so sound card has always been high quality and non integrated. I don't have any mandatory reason that forces me to get silent PC, does there need to be? I just dislike constant fan noises.
And when I am going to sleep I always listen some ambient at very low volume levels which does not cover that fan noise... Same if I watch some movie / document at night.

So, I had to create solution to this problem. I don't use this laptop as portable, it's permanently in it's place so I was considering some solutions that might be out of the question in topic starter.
Here's few:
1. remove bottom cover -> disconnect fan -> add second bigger (slower and quieter) fan in it's place.
-Problem was how to force airflow to go correct spot? From inside it would be very difficult.

2. Doing same but back words. It would need some kind of adapter to direct airflow from out- to inside, it was solution that I considered very seriously.
It would allow using as big fan as they get, with very slow speed to move enough air to laptops cooler. If that fan would be left always on it wouldn't need to be connected to laptop at all, which makes laptop not to "see" it at all. So it might give some kind of error when powering it up. I guess that is not a big deal and can be ignored easily. Did that with my rack PC.

3. First idea actually I got was to use heat sink paste that's also glue, and connect big enough passive cooler to CPU. In my case it was almost impossible as CPU had heat pipes going to laptops heat sink where the fan was.. there just were no any suitable space to mount that passive cooler.

4. Create big box which works as acoustic silencer and put that laptop there. It keeps it's fan noise inside but if it's big enough it doesn't make machine to get too hot. Especially if silencer box has some bigger, slower and near quiet fans installed.

5. This is what I did: I drilled whole to my wall for cables and put laptop to closet. There was electric socket already. Good point in this solution was that I didn't need to ruin laptops cover.
I used one 5m long USB cable that I already had, directly from laptop to external sound card and 7-port USB hub from closet to studio room, to which I connected mouse, keyboard etc. I had also long display cable at hand so I didn't need to buy anything for this.
Closet's door does not even need to be closed and it reduced noise to nonexistent levels.. Ah, sweet silence! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:58 am 
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Dr3Tri wrote:
This is what I did: I drilled whole to my wall for cables and put laptop to closet. There was electric socket already. Good point in this solution was that I didn't need to ruin laptops cover.
I used one 5m long USB cable that I already had, directly from laptop to external sound card and 7-port USB hub from closet to studio room, to which I connected mouse, keyboard etc. I had also long display cable at hand so I didn't need to buy anything for this.
Closet's door does not even need to be closed and it reduced noise to nonexistent levels.. Ah, sweet silence! :)

That's a practical solution! :lol:

But it must have been a nasty noisy laptop to require such a strategy!

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 6:52 am 
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Hi All,

So ... now I've sold my Sony Vaio VGN-Z laptop and although I found it to be utterly reliable and pleasant to work with the fan just was not useful for my purposes ...

However, this also means that I'm in the market for another 13.3 - 14" laptop - completely silent - and would aim for a Dell E6320 with an SSD HD unless some of the newer Dells are also completely silent in practice:

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=62978&p=547369&hilit=dell+E6320#p547369

Might one of you have some updated information on this?

Best wishes for your Summer (northern hemisphere) :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:08 am 
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If i were on the market for a completly silent laptop, i woudl consider the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 + Microsoft -Type Cover 2. I would love that setup for my personal laptop if i weren't gaming on mine.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:06 am 
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Hi Abula,

Thanks for your feedback - it looks like an interesting combination yet it is somewhat outside of the economic scope I have for this purchase... Basically I would have been quite satisfied with the Sony Vaio speed-wise & feature-wise had it not been for its noise level. This is why I'm looking at the E6320 - or similar/slightly newer - as it would suffice for my needs ...

Cheers :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Search completed - successfully ;-)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:00 am 
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Hi All,

... so I'm pleased to be able to say that I've now found a laptop that appears to be completely silent in all the normal uses that I have put it through: the Dell E6420 (i3 2.1 GHz processor; 8 GB RAM, 120 GB Samsung SSD, win7 prof. 64 bits, 1600*900 screen). Price can be £180-£200 on ebay.

The fan "never" comes on when the system is set to "quiet" mode and it has performed flawlessly in the tasks I've used it for (including data streaming, spice simulations). I write "never" because I have made the fan start when I placed the laptop on a thick carpet which probably worked as an insulator so that the heat couldn't get away. Otherwise no fan sounds :D

Greetings from a very content Dane :wink:

Jesper


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:53 am 
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Congrats!

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a completely silent laptop ...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Nice, evalon.

I can say I have a similarly quiet laptop, at least for all my routine uses, the most demanding of which is modest Photoshopping, likely much less demanding than your applications. It's a ~1 yr old Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon, running TPFC.62, a fan control app addon set to "Smart", "58C switch" and "7". Fan RPM is almost always 0 & there is no audible electronic noise from any of its internal components. It's pretty quiet w/o TPFC.62 but w/ it, I have silence. :)

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