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

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.

French PC without Noise

Cerebral-concept.com from across the Atlantic submitted a quiet PC project article. The link here is to the google translation suggested. A snippet, the last line:
All this handling has made it possible to move the noise without developing toilets cooling which can dangeureux averer and without couter much of under, right some holes in the wall and to the pieces of wood are enough.

StorageReview examines the Barracuda V SATA

It's been a long time waiting for the Serial ATA - 8MB cache version of the Seagate Barracuda V to appear. While not widely available yet, Storage Review has obtained a sample for their review. In short, the acoustics of the drive is the same as the PATA version, but performance is now quite a bit higher.

Tiny Cool & Quiet Mini-ITX gear at Vegas CES

Really spiffy, quiet little devices based mostly on VIA EPIA-M boards:

- The Panda PC from NorhTec, practically silent because it does not require a fan under normal conditions.
- Wall Mounted Panel-PC from Opus Solutions with integrated panel monitor measuring a mere 90mm deep.
- Cappuccino, the world's smallest PC at 6" x 5.75" x 2.25" and weighing less than two pounds, from Intraplex.

Ogle these visual wonders at VIA's press room.

Quiet MP Dual-CPU Workstation

Do-It-Yourself Systems
Leo Quan, a graphic designer and visual artist, tells us about his trials and tribulations with a new topic for SPCR: The challenges of cooling a dual-Athlon, dual-hard drive workstation quietly. Leo applies PC silencing concepts freely, modifying them to his needs, and goes the whole 9 yards with a slew of mods. He gets very close to his elusive goal and, in the process, comes up with an effective new silencing technique for noisy hard drives.

VIA's new Socket-370 C3M266 mainboard

VIA announces the C3M266, a highly integrated MicroATX mainboard with advanced digital media and connectivity capabilities for full-featured PCs at price points below US$400. It's designed for a combo with the VIA C3™ processor and based around the innovative new VIA Apollo CLE266 North Bridge, also used on the EPIA M Mini-ITX boards. It is like a large EPIA M, for a more conventional but still small PC, and the freedom to choose your own socket 370 CPU - which will soon be limited to VIA C3s. Integrated video, 6-ch audio, firewire, USB2, LAN, MPEG-2 decoder... but no AGP port.

SPCR Jan/03 Promo Giveaway Update

Our Jan 2003 Promotional Giveaway gets bigger: Almost 40 prizes for quiet computing now, including top low-noise PSUs, cases & HS. Considering that less than half of our ~600 members currently qualify for the draw, your chances of winning are really good! (Hint: Doublecheck the rules & your member profile to make sure you qualify!) Check the prizes and rules under Announcements in SPCR's Forums.

Power supply water cooling

A step-by-step article showing you how to water-cool a nice little QTec 550W PSU from scratch at Digital-Explosion. Basically, it involves replacing the fans / heatsinks with plates of copper. Each plate has a copper pipe soldered to it which is where the water runs to remove the heat.

Swiftech GPU Peltier reviewed by 3dXtreme

3dXtreme has a review of the Swiftech MCW50-T 80 Watt Thermoelectric GPU Peltier. "This is the Swiftech MCW50-T, the first fully assembled thermoelectric graphics card cooling unit in the world..." With GPUs rivalling CPUs for heat, water cooling and peltiers may become inevitable for anyone who wants a chance at a quiet top end computer.