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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2002-10-02 18:29.
We reported on the small, silent NEC Mate back in May. At the time, the model was only available in Japan. Looks like that has changed. The computer is now available from NEC America in a new, eco-friendly design. Relying on an external power supply and a 900MHz Transmeta Crusoe chip, this computer looks to be a great choice for silent office computing.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2002-10-02 01:26.
A roundup review of "all recent 5400 and 7200-rpm harddisks from IBM, Maxtor, Western Digital, Seagate and Samsung with a focus on noise and heat production as well as overall performance." This is an interesting review by Hardware Analysis, a site that is new to us. The noise measurements are credible, though non-standard and appears to consider only idle noise (nitpick: the decibel scale is not well-explained). No surprises for SPCR readers: Seagate Barracuda IVs come out best in the quiet department, with a big margin over other 7200rpm drives.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Tue, 2002-10-01 10:40.
Yet another Mini-ITX project! Reader "burnin" built a PC around an VIA EPIA 800 Mini-ITX board and installed it in his car to play music.
With the hardware and software that is available today it is easy to create a PC to install in a vehicle to play all your music files from a hard drive.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Sun, 2002-09-29 13:15.
The marriage of a VIA EPIA 5000 Mini-ITX based system and a translucent blue breadbox from IKEA results in a small desktop PC that looks like a cousin to the iMac. Naturally it is extremely quiet, having only one fan at 4.3V (in the flex-atx Seasonic PSU) and a single platter Seagate Barracuda IV suspended with elastic. Read about the PC in a Breadbox.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Fri, 2002-09-27 07:10.
Anyone interested in Home Theater PCs should definitely check out this case mod that integrates a 7" widescreen LCD with a Shuttle SS40G. The resulting solution allows the HTPC to be controlled without disturbing the video to the projector, or simply to watch movies on the LCD screen itself. Very slick modification.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Fri, 2002-09-27 07:05.
For those people who own, or are interested in purchasing a Shuttle SS40G SFF PC, you may be interested in this description of a trick to quiet the hard drive. The author started with a Seagate Barracuda IV drive and then used credit card material in place of metal for the brackets to eliminate the metal-to-metal connection. Perhaps not as easy or clean as a decoupled hard drive, but useful for the SFF computers where space is always at a premium.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2002-09-26 10:34.
Reader Vance, a PC tech in one of the Gateway Country Stores, comments on the PSU pictures in IDF, Part 1:
Since the at least the pentium 90 era Gateway has used that kind of power supply design (see here for example) on the majority of their systems. They use fairly quiet 80mm or 92mm fans and some of the earlier P2-P3 slot 1 systems had rubber fan mounts and a giant plastic shroud hanging for the bottom of the PSU that encompassed a giant fanless slot 1 heatsink.
The 700XL case pictured in the IDF article is a nice design -- nearly completely tool-less to open, with a thick plastic skin/shell so it runs fairly quiet.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2002-09-26 10:19.
From the people who brought you Q-Technology comes a new PSU called the Nexus NX-3000. The new model is claimed to idle at 22 dBA, which they say is 5 dBA quieter than the quietest fan-equipped ATX/PS2 PSU. Yet with high efficiency and fan intelligence, it stays cool with good airflow under high loads. Review samples for SPCR are on their way; for those seeking more information now, check out the Nexus web page.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Fri, 2002-09-20 20:15.
The Silent Front
Well, not exactly. A handful of companies Silicon Valley does not make. Still, it is probable that of all the press at IDF, Silent PC Review is the only one reporting about the State of PC Noise. Part Two of SPCR's coverage of IDF fall 2002
includes meetings and discussions with Seasonic and Molex, and offsite visits to Antec and Silicon Valley Compucycle.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Fri, 2002-09-20 10:49.
A unique aluminum sandwich variation by enthusiast bluehat, with a large bag of sand below and above. I bet it does silence the drive -- heck, it's practically buried, it ought to be silent!
Unfortunately, not a solution that's practical for everyone. Most people do want their drive in the case & they may have a hard time justifying 20Kg bags of sand in their room (especially to others). The final touch of a tie-dye cloth cover may persuade, though.
Seriously, I am sure bluehat's hard drives are completely silent; mine are not. Here's a challenge: can this idea can be brought into the case?
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2002-09-19 15:41.
A personal DIY page on a cooling/silencing project by reader "nrf":
"I'm really researching two topics at once at this point: cooling and quieting, and they are usually at odds with each other..." and after all the mods and changes, he's "looking forward to quiet, peaceful enjoyment of my setup!"
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2002-09-19 10:15.
VIA will soon be releasing a new generation of mini-ITX boards called the EPIA M -- 'M' for multimedia. Preliminary tips suggest that "this new EPIA M series is a Babe!"
The CLE266 chipset apparently makes a huge difference for DVD playback. Basically it's the same marvelously tiny layout as the current boards (one of which we reviewed back in May), but with USB2.0, 1394, smooth DVD playback, a better TV out, LAN, DDR266 and 6 channel surround sound. It also has better graphics than the Trident Blade on the PLE133. In short, it addresses all the shortcomings of the current EPIA for home PCs.
EPIA M sounds perfect for the role of living room entertainment center PC being pushed by Microsoft (and Intel) these days -- and can easily be packaged into a virtually silent case. EPIA M boards are scheduled to be shown at the VIA Technology Forum in Taipei this year (October 8-9, 2002).
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2002-09-18 12:24.
We reported on Zalman's new VGA coolers in an earlier story. Zalman's web site is now announcing that the ZM50-HP and ZM80-HP have officially been released. In related news, Zalman also announced the official release of their new CNPS 5700D-Cu Intel P4 cooler.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Sun, 2002-09-15 17:38.
The Silent Front
It's the first industry event covered exclusively from the perspective of a silent PC enthusiast. With over 140 companies and 200 training sessions to consider, this PC silencer was run right off his feet. Back in the shelter of my quiet enclave, here is the first of a 2-part report on the State of PC Silence from the Fall 2002 Intel Developer Forum: SPCR does IDF.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Fri, 2002-09-13 10:32.
Apparently, Apple's new dual-processor G4 PowerMacs are so loud that they have earned the nickname, "WindTunnel". Abbott Schindler has built a functional acoustically insulated enclosure that, according to Abbott, dampens the noise significantly. Dimensions, a parts list and photos are all included.