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.

Vancouver Gets Sound Smart

In the Dec 2005 issue of Vancouver's CityNews newsletter is a surprisingly progressive item of interest to anti-noise citizens everywhere:

Noise is often an inescapable part of living in a city the size of Vancouver. But, there are ways to make some noisy situations more manageable. The City of Vancouver has created Soundsmart, a three-part series for residents concerned about noise. The Soundsmart brochure is a brief rundown on noise basics. There’s also a 20-page comprehensive noise guide that helps you understand noise, and offers do-it-yourself ideas for reducing noise in your home. Both are available for free to Vancouver residents at City Hall. An in-depth 100-page noise control manual is available for $20. All three Soundsmart publications may be downoaded for free online at www.vancouver.ca/soundsmart.

All of these are very worthwhile downloads, especially the very in-depth Noise Control Manual. It is a pleasure to see one's own city take such initiative in a matter that's so often glossed over.

Squeezebox 3 Digital Music Box

Audio|Video|Misc
This unusual product by Slim Devices is a bridge between a stereo and a PC. The visible portion looks like a large, stylish digital clock -- but it has a remote. The invisible portion is a music server software that runs on a PC anywhere within reasonable distance. A wide variety of digital music files can be accessed through the Squeezebox and played into the stereo. The connection to the PC is via ethernet, either wired or wireless. It's one of the most exciting PC products we've come across; it's also one of the most exciting audio devices. Our very first audio/PC component review.

SPCR's Lab Clearance Sale

Forum regulars know it's a great way to pick up barely used, high performance quiet PC components reviewed by SPCR at very low prices. Check out the current items on sale at SPCR's Lab Clearance Corner.

The Deaf iPod Generation?

Canada's Maclean's magazine reported in its Dec 1 issue that over 27 million users around the world risk hearing damage because of the iPod's ability to play as loudly as 112 dB -- "louder than a chain saw" -- for hours on end. Reportedly, the EU has a 100-decibel cap on portable music players, but there's no such limit in the US or Canada.

Preview of Intel's Yonah... Vs. AMD X2

Anand managed to get hold of an early "Yonah" dual-core Pentium-M derivative processor from Intel, and a motherboard to go with it. The bad: It's not compatible with existing CPU sockets/boards. The good: Performance in most benchmarks is close to AMD X2-3800+, and power consumption is quite a bit lower at load. It's not clear whether the 108W and 144W comparison refers to AC power to the system or DC (I suspect the former).

How close this sample is to the production model, who can say? Still, it looks like AMD has a new target to shoot for; Yonah is supposed to be relased some time in the first half of 2006, perhaps even the first quarter. Anandtech's Yonah report.

Seasonic SS-300SFD 80 Plus: Little Big PSU

Power
After all the gleaming silver, blue-glowing, features-bursting power supplies that dance across the SPCR test bench, it can be a relief to come across a product utterly devoid of excess. The Seasonic SS-300SFD - 80 Plus version is such product: An SFX12V PSU able to deliver anywhere from 40W to a full 300W at >80% efficiency, quietly without fuss.

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro HSF

Cooling
Our favorite low cost quiet heatsink/fan maker has a new flagship with some unusual and innovative heatures. Multiple copper heatpipes and thin fins, of course, as in the original Freezer, and an improved "frameless" fan mounted with miniature soft rubber grommets. It's quite the cooling performer. What about noise? Read on to find out about Arctic Cooling's latest.

Notebook Hard Drive Roundup

Today's show is brought to you by the letters H and D, and the number 7! Storage Review recently finished a fairly comprehensive review of 2.5" hard drives, rating 7 units from Fujitsu, Samsung, Hitachi, Western Digital, and Seagate based on performance, power dissipation, and sound pressure levels -- still measured from the unlikely distance of 3mm.

Upcoming Articles & Reviews at SPCR

In response to popular demand, here is a list of articles and reviews we are working on or planning, in possible chronological order. Delivery is not guaranteed! I'll try to keep it uptodate. Posted articles will get deleted, new articles added to the bottom.

Silverstone PSU Muffler

Silverstone recently released their PP02 "Power Supply Muffler". While it may not silence your loud PSU, at about $15 it also won't empty your wallet. Of course, there is nothing new under the silent sun: Muffled Computing has been making and selling many variants of this basic concept for years.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB HDD

Storage
Seagate joins Maxtor and Hitachi in offering a 500 GB hard drive in this era of ever increasing storage capacity. The Barracuda 7200.9 is a 4-platter drive with 16 mb of cache and SATA 2.5 compliance. We take a sample for a spin around our lab.

Modding the Zalman 9500 Heatsink

Cooling
Seagate joins Maxtor and Hitachi in offering a 500 GB hard drive in this era of ever increasing storage capacity. The Barracuda 7200.9 is a 4-platter drive with 16 mb of cache and SATA 2.5 compliance. We take a sample for a spin around our lab....

Asetek Vapochill Micro CPU heatsink/fan

Cooling
The Asetek name has long been associated with extreme PC cooling, including refrigeration and water cooling. The're stepping more into the mainstream with an unusual heatpipe-heatsink/fan product that borrows from previous technologies. We gave the Vapochill Micro a thorough workout on the testbench for cooling and acoustic performance.

Quiet 7800GTX-512 Vidcard, too?

Previews and reviews of the 512 MB nVidia Geforce 7800 GTX video card flooded the web over the past 24 hours. While it is clearly not a silent solution, the reference card's 92mm fanned slot-venting cooling solution has been praised for its low noise. Perhaps the makers of video cards, the last bastion of the "Performance at any (noise) cost" mentality, have finally started to take acoustics seriously across the product line. The availability of low-noise video card solutions has grown by leaps and bounds in recent weeks.

ASUS Offers Silent X1600 Gaming Vidcard

Asus recently announced the imminent release of the EAX1600XT Silent/TVD/256M, the latest and fastest of their gaming graphics cards to feature fanless, silent cooling using a system of heatpipes and massive cooling fins. The new card is based on the ATI 1600XT Pro graphic engine, the 2nd tier model of ATI's latest X1000 series. Previous fanless gaming cards by Asus have included both ATI and nVidia GPUs: the Extreme AX700/800 Silencer ("Reverse Cool") and Extreme N6600GT Silencer, all with big passive heatpipe/heatsink cooling.