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

Petitioning Retailers is Crucial

So says Jake in his call to silent action in our General Forum, asking folks to email, phone and write letters to retailers urging them to include noise ratings alongside their products... Lots more good ideas to promote silence awareness in the industry. Thanks, Jake!

A $5 DIY Power Meter

Power

Consumer electricity monitors work fine to measure power consumption, but they cost upwards of US$100. It's also more than we need. Our electronics advisor Tommy Yee suggested building one really cheaply. With our shoestring budget, that sounded much better. My super simple power meter took half an hour and $5 of parts. A very useful tool.

Fujitsu announces new, quieter SCSI drives

For the SCSI fans out there, Fujitsu has announced a new line of SCSI hard drives using their "Fluid Dynamic Bearing" (FDB) technology. Currently, these drives are vaporware and are not expected to be available to consumers until at least September.

Fanless (or Not) with TKPower 300 & VIA C3

Do-It-Yourself Systems | Power
Partly a review of the TK Power 300 power supply and partly a DIY quiet computer project, John Coyle's quiet computer project utilizes many components and techniques discussed in Silent PC Review: the above-mentioned PSU, VIA C3 processor, quiet Seagate Barracuda IV hard drive, Zalman fan mounts, Panaflo 80mm fans, variable fan speed contro, drive decoupling by suspension, etc. A worthy first article!

MX-EVA3 CPU Evaporator Cooler

Icrontic has a review of the MX-EVA3 CPU evaporator cooler. Described as sounding "like a refrigerator", this cooler isn't for the silent PC crowd. However, the technology used here to allow overclocking could just as easily be applied to enabling silent-running computers. Of course, with a price tag of $499, this cooler isn't exactly for the mainstream crowd.

Seagate to offer "upgrade kits" for Barracuda IV drives

News.com is running a story about Seagate's new upgrade kits for their Barracuda hard drives. Designed at making the upgrade process smoother and easier for folks not as comfortable with a hard drive swap, these kits will be sold at Fry's retail locations and Outpost.com. (also owned by Fry's) The kits will include detailed instructions, both as a booklet as well as printed directly on the hard drives.

Samsung offers "silent" CD-RW drive

ZDNet has a review of Samsung's new SW-232B 32X/10X/40X EIDE CD-RW drive. According to ZDNet:

It's...affordable, and it offers generally good performance for a 32X/10X/40X burner. However, the SW-232B's biggest selling point is actually on the inside, where some great technologies make the drive both reliable and nearly silent.
All this silencing goodness comes from Samsung's "Dynamic Vibration Absorber" (DVA) technology. While most CD drives are silent when not in use, DVA apparently allows the drive to run nearly silently even when burning CDs.

nVidia video card shootout at Tom's includes noise test

Noise awareness seems to be on the rise. Tom's Hardware Guide has a shootout of nvidia 4400 and 4600 video cards. Tom's is focussing more on noise these days, and in this shootout they measured the noise from all the cards! The quietest cards were the Abit 4400 and PNY 4600 at 30db. The loudest was 50 db!

Thanks to Daryl for submitting this news!

"Low power" AMD SFF Processors Coming Soon!

Xbitlabs.com says 35W "Athlon SFF processors on Palomino and Thoroughbred cores are in the AMD Ordering Part Number table for May. It means that Athlon SFF should also be announced very soon. Athlon SFF (Small Form Factor) is a new AMS solution designed for quiet fanless PCs. As we see, from the table, these CPUs will feature lower Vcore and will be rated up to 2000+. Athlon SFF is expected to work in a special processor socket different from the current Socket A."

Fanless at 35W seems like quite a challenge, but this is interesting news for PC silencers.

Shuttle releases SS40G with heat pipe cooling technology

Shuttle has released the SS40G version of their popular barebones systems. This version is the first one to accept Athlon XP processors, and uses an innovative (for computers) heat pipe cooling mechanism to keep them cool. However, as any Shuttle owner (including this one) can attest to, the main source of Shuttle noise has always been the PSU fan. Word on the street is that Shuttle has made some inroads here, at least for US models, though the results are still not 'quiet'.

HP e-PC offers P4 performance at 25dB(A)

HP, which has been one of the few computer manufacturers to put any sort of emphasis behind acoustics, has released their new e-PC 42 computer. Offering a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 in an ultra-small form factor, this computer is rated at an incredible 25dB(A). This is by far the quietest mainstream computer on the market today. With prices starting at $969, this computer is also very affordable.

Review: VIA's Small & Quiet Eden Platform

CPUs|Motherboards
Silent PC Review's first "official" review, on the VIA EPIA-5000, one of the all-integrated Mini-IPX motherboards in the recently launched Eden platform by VIA. Small can indeed be quiet!

PaceBook PaceBlade: The Tablet PC Arrives

PaceBlade, a startup company in Taiwan, has introduced the PaceBook which is a 3-in-1 computer. Acting as a LCD desktop, notebook and tablet PC all in one, the PaceBook uses a Transmeta chip and is entirely passively cooled. There are reviews of the PaceBlade available at Anandtech.com and Tech TV as well as several other places around the web. Priced at $2,095, the PaceBook isn't cheap, and with a 600MHz Crusoe chip, it won't be a powerhouse, but for those looking for a near-silent computer, this may prove to be a good solution.

"Thermotunneling": A New Cooling Technology from Cool Chips

From the company's press release, dated May 14, 2002--

Cool Chips plc (COLCF) said that its Cool Chips(TM), wafer-thin discs designed to produce cooling or refrigeration more efficiently than any competing technology, use quantum mechanical electron tunneling as the primary cooling mechanism. The Cool Chip(TM) is one of the first transformative technologies to emerge from the nanotechnology revolution. The Cool Chip(TM) technology could eventually replace nearly every existing form of cooling, air conditioning, and thermal management. Prototype devices are being shown publicly for the first time at the Nanotech Planet Conference in San Jose, California, that begins today.

Cool Chips will be more than adequate for cooling the next generation of microprocessors, which will produce upwards of 100 watts of heat per square centimetre. Cool Chips are currently in development, and it is expected to take over a year to complete prototypes which demonstrate high output and efficiency.

ViaArena's Silent PC

ViaArena has posted a short piece on how to build a silent PC using a VIA C3 800 with a VIA Pro133T based mainboard and S3 graphics card "lying around" in their office. With a stock Enermax PSU, their PC could hardly be "silent", but it is still good to see the attention on quiet computing.