I first heard of this great site from an article in the Georgia Straight.
I promised myself that when I upgraded computers, I'd try my hand at a silent PC.
Four months later, 'ere we go...
The noise making bits of my system:
Lian Li PC7
AMD 2100xp w/ stock cooler
MSI Geforce 4200ti
Maxtor 60gb non-FDB
Liteon 48x CD-RW
ASUS 8x DVD
My desk is built into an alcove, so there's no way to put it on the floor without having cabling issues; it sits about 2 feet from my ears (perhaps life would be simpler if I just drilled a hole in the desk, but hey, what fun would that be?).
In stock form, the thing was so loud that I literally couldn't hear myself think. I'd get mentally fatigued after an hour.
After trawling the site and forum I've done the following:
First step was to disconnect all the Lian-Li case fans. There are 2 intakes in the front and an exaust at the rear.
The stock AMD fan is a howler, so I installed a Thermaltake Volcano9 using the manual pot for fan speed. Strangely, at lowest setting (1850rpm), the fan emits a slight scraping sound which eases as RPMs are increased. I found the best compromise between scraping and fanblow turbulence was ~2500 rpm.
Had I known about other possibilities such as the Coolermaster CP5 series, I wouldn't have gone with the Volcano9.
In any case(pun intended), there were improvements to be sure. With the fan noise under control, the Maxtor's bloody high-pitched whine needed addressing. I ended up using some foam from the Maxtor retail box of all things to make a basic foam sandwich. The foam fits perfectly in the U-canals of the 5 1/4 drive bay adapters:
Sorry not the best pic. I didn't foam the top or bottom in the interest of heat dissipation.
However, the front was game:
The 5 1/4 bay cover conveniently keeps the foamies together. Drive whine was nicely reduced (sorry no decibel meter), but now it's quite warm to the touch. Frankly, I can't wait for this silly Maxtor to fail, so I can have an excuse to get an FDB drive.
With the HDD under control, the Enermax PS sounded more noticeable. Disconnecting the 92mm fan is easy enough. There was a 1 degree rise in MB and CPU temp according to ASUS PCProbe. FYI, the 80mm fan spins at 2500rpm. The exaust from the PS,now the system's sole exaust, is a fair bit warmer.
There's a huge difference in the two optical drives. The Liteon has such a banshee wail, that one just sits there thinking "you've got to be kidding!?!". The Asus on theother hand, purrs like a kitten. The Asus seems to have far superior build with a belt driven drawer, etc.
However, I suppose it's simply the difference in spinning speed- 48x vs. 8x.
-All case fans disconnected
-AMD stock CPU fan replaced with Volcano9@2500 rpm
-Enermax 92mm fan disconnected
-Silly Maxtor foamed up.
After all this faffing about, PCprobe claims:
54C CPU Idle
43C MB Idle
60 CPU w/ Load (after a few hours of Morrowind)
48 MB w/ Load
Although the case is now warm to the touch, the numbers suggest it can take more heat, no? I'm concerned with the sorry airflow of the system.
Also, it doesn't look like the big Zalman VGA heatsink will fit; the RAM clips and Northbridge look like they're in the way?
Overall, the machine is quieter now, but it's still annoying. Does anyone have any suggestions? Go for that Coolermaster CP5-7JD1b-0L perhaps?
Panel damping? Or maybe just throw the Maxtor out the window?