Silent PC Review is passionate about ergonomic spaces for people and finding creative, practical solutions to silencing all kinds of IT machines. We provide detailed reviews and ground-breaking knowhow about the acoustics of computers and components, as well as their energy efficiency and thermal performance.

Chenbro Gaming Bomb Xpider case

Cases|Damping
It was not long ago that we reviewed a Swifty, yet here\'s another one, a new gen with a twist -- no, a bend! -- this time for the P4: The Swiftech MCX478-V. Ralf runs a gamut of tests with a variety of fans on the new heatsink, then tosses it in the ring with some recent heavyweight contenders for a thorough comparative roundup....

VIA EPIA TC Mainboard (integrated PSU)

Helping to achieve slimmer, fanless designs, the VIA EPIA TC mainboard features a built-in 12V DC-DC power converter, eliminating the need for bulky power supplies that need a noisy cooling fan, and providing 60W of power on the 17cm x 17cm board. A horizontal SODIMM slot on the underside of the mainboard and the optional CardBus (PCMCIA) and CompactFlash slots help to achieve the VIA EPIA TC's unique low profile design by providing expandability without using the vertical PCI slot.

Fall 2003 Promo Giveaway

Donations|Giveaways
Some of you may have been waiting for... Silent PC Review's Fall 2003 Promotional Giveaway! We have two generous sponsors who have put up two attractive quiet case + PSU packages for this event, which begins today and ends Dec 3. Check out the prizes and see how to qualify!

Review: Hush Mini-ITX PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
Hush Technologies' sleek and stylish Hush Mini-ITX PC finally gets reviewed at SPCR. It looks for all the world like a cross between a high end stereo amplifier and a high end CD player. It could easily become a fetish if you're so inclined. Our complete review, complete with sound power testing results.

Review: Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer

Cooling
Two weeks ago, I jumped the gun to post a preview of the Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer because I did not have access to an ATI 9500-9800 or nVidia GF3 card, for which the product is designed. Russ Kinder happens to have a Sapphire-ATI 9500 VGA card, now nearly 2 years old, but still a good performer, and more importantly, one that the Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer would work with. I arranged to have a sample sent to Russ, and now, a scant week later, we've worked together to turn this once-preview into a full review.

Archive: A Primer on Noise in Computing

Reference|Recommended | The Silent Front
A primer on noise and sound was one of the many items on my list for core articles when SPCR was first launched. There is so much misinformation about sound that I felt it mandatory to provide some kind of baseline, an introduction to this complex subject. It is, in fact, a subject that seems simple only if you never scratch below the surface. Hopefully, this article serves well enough for its purpose: To provide guidelines by which you can interpret noise specifications, commentary by others, and what your own ears tell you.

Swiftech MCX462+ Heatsink Review

Cooling
Just one look and you know it's a Swiftech. A Swiftech MCX462+, to be precise. Russ tackles a review of this massive cooler from the original heavyweight CPU heatsink maker. A little late, as the replacement MCX462-V has already arrived... but that's not Russ's fault, and he's already looking at the new beast. Meanwhile, enjoy his MCX462+ review.

Newbie Silences a Dell OptiPlex GX-240

Do-It-Yourself Systems
Growing increasingly disenchanted with the noise of the Dell PCs that ended up in his office, Jonathan Horner did a google search that led him to SPCR, and "a new and exciting arena to explore." His newbie success story is likely to strike familiar chords with many readers. A Seasonic Super PSU and the recently reviewed fanless Heatlane Zen cooler are used in Mr. Horner's Dell silencing project, which also features the second OptiPlex GX-240 to appear in SPCR.

Energy Efficient Athlon 64 3200+

AMD's Athlon 64 3200+ appears to be exactly the kind of smart CPU that power users who also want silence have been wishing for. X-bit Labs' recent article about this new 64-bit processor from AMD reveals a great deal of intelligent thinking to maximize computing power and energy efficiency. AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology has several components:

  • Lower max heat dissipation than comparable Intel processor
  • Switches to the Halt/Stop Grant mode when the HALT command is performed. As a result, the processor temperature gets dramatically lower if it is not loaded 100%.
  • Reduces working frequency and Vcore when the processor is not under heavy load in order to lower the heat dissipation even more.
The last feature has never appeared in desktop CPUs before, though it has been used in mobiles for a while -- under the name "PowerNow!" for AMD and "SpeedStep" for Intel. X-bit Labs found a huge range of speeds and power dissipation for their sample Athlon 64 3200+ system, from 2GHz and 89W down to 800MHz and 35W. (See table on p.4 of the article for full details.) The X-bit Labs article is well worth a careful read.

Scythe Heatlane Zen NCU-1000 fanless CPU cooler

Cooling
The Heatlane Zen NCU-1000 CPU Cooler is another unusual CPU cooler from Scythe. It is massive, looking for all the world like a skyscraper on the motherboard, it uses a heatpipe to spread the heat evenly throughout its substantial expanse, and it is designed to cool P4 processors while running completely fanless. SPCR takes them at face value and tests the Zen without a fan on a P4-2.53 system.

Small and Silent: the Nimble V5

The Nimble V5 is an ultra compact yet complete mini-PC based on the VIA Digital Media Platform comprising the power-efficient VIA C3™ processor and the digital media optimized VIA UniChrome™ CLE266 chipset.

Measuring only 2"x7.7"x7.7"-about the size of a paperback novel-the Nimble V5 Personal Video Conferencing Player fits easily onto any desktop in the house or office and operates silently, drawing only about 12 watts of power. (Read the review at epiacenter.com)

Review: Arctic Cooling Copper Silent 2 TC

Cooling
Thermally controlled fans on CPU heatsinks attempt to provide silence whenever possible, and maximum cooling ability when needed. It’s simple in concept, but very difficult to make work in practice. Arctic Cooling have been doing it for a while. Russ examines their latest iteration for socket-A, the Copper Silent 2 TC. It is a thumbs up for the SPCR audience.

Antec 3700BQE (Black Quiet Edition) case

Cases|Damping
Thermally controlled fans on CPU heatsinks attempt to provide silence whenever possible, and maximum cooling ability when needed. It’s simple in concept, but very difficult to make work in practice. Arctic Cooling have been doing it for a while. Russ examines their latest iteration for socket-A, the Copper Silent 2 TC. It is a thumbs up for the SPCR audience. ...

Fanless Heatpipe CPU Cooling System by FMAH

Do-It-Yourself Systems
A fanless CPU cooling system custom-made using heatpipes, a massive heatsink and a unique system configuration by contributor Fred Mah, fmah of the SPCR forums. The cooling power of this silent system is nothing short of impressive, able to handle the hottest XP without a fan. It's easily adapted to any type of socket CPU and makes all kinds of system setups possible. It's in the Cooling section but could also go into Systems. A very cool design!

Cable Sleeve & Heat Shrink Tutorial

Starsky over at Blue Couch has written a tutorial on Cable Sleeve and Heat Shrink for beginners. The article includes information on removing molex connectors, and contains a brief video on using a naked flame on heatshrink. (Caution: A heat gun would be a preferable method.)Read the Tutorial