Silent PC Review is dedicated to reviews, news and information about silent computers and components, as well as their energy efficiency and thermal performance.

Promo Giveaway Winners Selected!

SPCR's January 2003 Promo Giveaway is over. Our goals of increasing traffic to Silent PC Review and promoting the makers & sellers of good quiet PC products have been nicely met. Thank you everyone for making the forums so much livelier in recent weeks! The prize winners came from around the globe -- US & Canada, UK, all over Europe, and Australia. Winners will be contacted in the next 24-48 hours.

Kanie Hedgehog + EPIA M9000 Mod

Bo hacked a massive Kanie Hedgehog copper HS for P3 and mounted it on a VIA EPIA M9000 (933 MHz) but found he still could not run it without a fan. At least not in a low fan speed modded-PSU Chyang Fun E-Note case. His DIY piece at mini-itx is definitely worth a read.

Intel's Quiet PC Tips

The Silent Front
Late but still interesting follow-up on Intel's Quiet PC R&D, covering thermal control issues in new SFF PCs as well as controlling and reducing computer noise. Includes a look at ther new fan design, which may already be in production in their latest high-end P4 heasinks.

Intel's Chips are Down

"PC game wiz Johnathan Wendel knows what's wrong with Intel. It needs to shift focus away from chip performance and set its sights on lower costs." -- This is a very appropos, insightful, big picture analysis of where the PC industry is headed and why: An editorial in the (Canadian) National Post by Wynn Quon, CTO at Legado Assoc. Well worth a read! These trends will affect you and me.

Undervoltable Motherboards

CPUs|Motherboards
A new page called Undervoltable Motherboards has been added to the Recommended Section. The reason is simple: this info is hard to come by, and undervolting is very useful in reducing CPU heat, which can lower cooling requirements. This means lower fan speeds -- and less noise. Check your motherboard; if it is undervoltable, please add it to the list!

The State of Computer Noise: January 2003

The Silent Front
It's amazing to look back and see that it's been three quarters of a year since the launch of Silent PC Review. Time flies when you're having fun - and busy beyond belief! As it is the beginning of a new year, it seems appropriate to review the State of Computing Noise in Jan 2003: An overview, a challenge and a promise.

Laptops cool off with 'smart' heat pipes

News.com is running an article that talks about recent refinements to heat pipe technology that should allow for smaller, more effective heat pipes that could lead to smaller and more efficient notebook computers.

More on VIA Nehemiah C3 processor

More good news: The Nehemiah C3 is Tualatin and pre Tualatin mobo compatible! This means it's harder to miss with most boards, and selection is bigger than before. The most up-to-date motherboards can be used.

Rubber Boxes & Carved Foam: More HDD Silencing

Storage
Two more HDD silencing techniques for DIY: LeoQ's Rubber Box for obnoxiously noisy drives and MikeC's Carved Foam decoupled mounting for the Barracdua and other quiet drives that still vibrate. May be worth a read even if you're not a DIYer.

New Nehemiah core in 1GHz VIA C3 & EPIA M10000

VIA has announced a new core for the C3 processor, dubbed Nehemiah, now at 1GHz. VIA claims that when coupled with the VIA Apollo CLE266 chipset, the new C3 delivers better performance over the current Ezra-T C3 core -- up to 20% in office apps and 73% for 3D graphics. Nehemiah C3 also runs "up to 40% faster clock-for-clock than the Intel P4 Celeron." Power dissipation is still extremely low at just 11.25W max. The 1G Nehemiah C3 is already available at US$45 in wholesale volume.

A 1GHz Nehemiah is featured in a pre-production EPIA M10000 mini-ITX board currently on the SPCR test bench. It does have more juice than the 67 MHz clock boost over the EPIA M9000 would suggest. More on the M10000 soon.

Good news for silencers BTW: The new board also features a slightly larger heatsink than the one on the EPIA 800 & M9000 -- and a new quiet fan that sounds about half as loud. It measures 24-25 dBA @ 1 m, about 8-9 dBA less than on the M9000. This new fan looks like it will be used for all fanned EPIA boards from now on.

Anandtech Does PSUs

Anantech, one of the biggest PC hardware sites around, has taken a page from SPCR and provided noise measurements on a roundup review of 4 PSUs. They're mostly loud models. Voltage regulation is examined but there is no power load testing nor any indication of efficiency. And while the noise measurements are useful for comparison, they don't tell you the noise levels at min vs. max load. Plus they add to misformation about noise by saying things like a device that is 3dBA louder than another is approximately twice as loud. Jeez! You think they'd know better!

Breadbox PC in Holland

The Hartford paper piece reminded me about coverage of SPCR elsewhere: The Dutch magazine Net Professional published coverage of the popular Breadbox PC in their Nov 2002 issue. It may not be online, but they did send us a PDF copy of the printed page. For those who don't read Dutch, the text says:

"Nope, it is not a Herman Brood PC. (note: Herman Brood was a dutch artist, who also painted breadboxes, etc.) Mike Chin had all bits of hardware, hardly any budget and lots of creativity. He got himself a breadbox from IKEA and built this mini-pc. It is not clear yet what Mike his next project will be."

SPCR in Hartford Courant newspaper

John Moran, a technology reporter / columnist for the Hartford Courant newspaper in Connecticut, published a piece today entitled Computer Noise Often Is An Overlooked Problem, discussing issues well known to regulars of SPCR but still largely ignored by the PC industry. We need more coverage like this from the mainstream press. Moran's piece draws info from an interview with yours truly.

EPIA M6000's bigger HS

Just a quick note about the VIA EPIA M6000 Mini-ITX board. It uses a 667MHz processor rather than the 933MHZ part of the M9000 reviewed, but it is the same in every other way -- except the HSF. The 9000 has a smaller HS and a fan that makes a surprising amount of noise. As you can see here, the M6000 has a larger heatsink and NO fan. This makes the M6000 a better choice for those seeking silence.

Integrated Motherboard: Athlon XP, audio, video & LAN for only $119 CAN!

Anitec, a store in Vancouver, Canada has on special a motherboard with embedded (non-removable) Athlon XP 1400+, audio, video and networking for only $119 CAN: The micro-ATX K7SEM by ECS (2nd only to ASUSTek in mobo sales). It is actually possible to build a PC for less than the now well-known walmart PC and yet have additional features like a CD-Writer.