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

Silent Mid Gaming PC Build Guide

Do-It-Yourself Systems | Silent PC Build Guides

The relentless downward pressure on PC component prices has made it possible for enthusiasts to assemble ever more powerful yet inexpensive systems. In our hands, $1,000 is enough to assemble a PC capable of pretty high performance game play at astonishingly low noise levels. We showed you how to assemble a Silent SFF Gaming rig a few weeks ago; this time, it's a mid-budget gaming system in a mid-tower case that is even quieter, at least at lower loads when you care most about the noise.

Thermalright Shaman 140mm Fan GPU Cooler

Cooling
The Thermalright Shaman is a massive eight heatpipe GPU heatsink with an equally imposing 14cm fan. Taking up three extra expansion slots and weighing a total of 680 grams, this monster should have no trouble quietly cooling a high-end graphics card. We check it out on a 215W GPU.

MUKii TransImp USB 3.0 Adapter and Hard Drive Dock

Storage
The MUKii TransImp USB 3.0 adapter and hard drive dock are a pair of useful gadgets for anyone who works extensively with PCs and needs the ability to quickly access a hard drive without the bother of hooking it up inside a PC.

AMD HD 6900 Series Launch

Internet News

AMD PR has done a good job: Reviews of the Radeon 6950 and 6950 graphics card dominate today's tech news as tech web editors trot out their findings in accordance to AMD's NDA schedule. We wonder if such a concentrated salvo is better for market awareness than a slightly less intense but longer lasting barrage, given the apparently short attention span of Joe Public. Perhaps it's all just about mind-share at any given point in time. A quick scan at most of the reviews suggest the 6970 reaches parity with the nVidia GTX 570 but fails to catch the GTX 580, which remains the fastest single-chip video card on the market. The HD 6950 appears to have hit the value sweet spot, providing all the features like triple monitor support, 2GB memory and the architecture of the new Cayman chip at $299, a price point where there is no direct competition. Hit read more for the review links.

Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C & AC Freezer Xtreme Rev.2

Cooling
The Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C and the Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2 are two divergent different approaches to extreme CPU cooling that manage to remain in the same basic "side-blowing fan on a tower of fins joined to the base by heatpipes" design dominating the field. Is there a winner? Yes, and its by a lot more than a nose.

New high areal density 2-and-3 TB Greens from WD

Storage
Three Terabyte capacity in a 4-platter drive and 750GB/disc density is excellent, but the 2 TB model in a drive with one less disc might prove to be even better for noise and power. We examine samples of the latest WD Caviar Green models along with an earlier 2 TB 4-platter AV-optimized Green.

Asus DirectCU & AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
The Radeon HD 6850 is AMD's sub US$200 entrant in the discrete graphics card market. We have two on the bench to compare, a reference sample from AMD, and the Asus EA6850DirectCU, which is overclocked, has an adjustable core voltage, and is cooled using a direct-touch heatpipe heatsink. They turn out to be winners, especially the Asus.

Zalman CPU & VGA Power Consumption Meter

Fans|Controls
These are not the first power meters to bear the Zalman name. But they are the first by any PC components company that seem to offer serious CPU and VGA power measurement tools for end users.

SuperTalent Introduces USB 3.0 Virtual PC

Internet News

Ma Labs today announced they will begin offering Ceedo Personal with Super Talent's USB 3.0 Express RAM CACHE flash drives. Ceedo is a software virtualization and delivery platform that creates managed application workspaces – a set of applications that can be run on any Windows PC without installation, and then managed remotely. Combining Ceedo Personal with the 4-channel USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache flash drive (16, 32 and 64 GB versions) allows you to create a Windows Virtual PC environment that is FAST, flexible and totally portable — your personal virtual PC in a wee USB stick. When used on a USB 3.0 port, the speeds approach those of standard SATA SSDs. *Discuss this news in the SPCR Forums.*

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD

Storage
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB is the largest portable bus-powered external hard drive money can buy, supports the new USB 3.0 standard and features a unique interchangeable adapter interface.

Silent SFF Gaming PC Build Guide

Do-It-Yourself Systems | Silent PC Build Guides

Gaming PCs consume more energy, put out more heat, and run louder than mainstream machines. There isn't much we can do about the power and heat of high-end gear, but we can certainly help gamers build quiet system to fulfill their needs. Since they are typically louder to begin with, gaming systems have the most benefit from SPCR know-how. For our first gaming system guide, we show you how to build a small factor gaming system that is well cooled and impressively quiet yet powerful enough to run modern PC titles smoothly at high resolutions.

HTPC Home Server

Silent PC Build Guides

A final home server variant in a Silverstone GD-03 Home Theater PC case, with a horizontal layout designed to go into a shelf below a TV. This is the final chapter in our Silent Home Server Build Guide.

Samsung LN55C650 55" LCD HDTV

Audio|Video|Misc
Inky blacks and vibrant colors from any angle, high contrast yet natural colors: Sounds like what you get a with a high price LED TV (or energy gobbling plasma)? Without resorting to expensive, exotic technologies, the Samsung LN55C650 55" 1080p web-enabled LCD TV turns in a great video performance at a very attractive price.

Zotac IONITX-P-E: First CULV-embedded Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards
Zotac was the first to introduce tiny desktop systems featuring Intel CULV chips in the ZBOX line, and now they've introduced the first CULV mini-ITX motherboards. The Zotac IONITX-P-E features an integrated dual core Celeron SU2300 processor, ION graphics, 802.11n, eSATA, and a full-sized PCI-E expansion slot.

Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

The Silent Front
This article is in response to a recent email from a sophisticated technology user who suffers from tinnitus. The writer refers specifically to electronic noise from second generation Intel SSDs triggering his tinnitus symtoms in such an upsetting way that he was compelled to seek help from Intel directly. The kind of electronic noise Richard describes is not normally audible to most people, but there is little question that it is all around us, emanating from just about every type of electronic gizmo that is part and parcel of modern living.