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.

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.

Enermax Laureate EB205U external notebook HDD enclosure

Storage
The Enermax Laureate EB205U external notebook HDD enclosure is a little aluminum enclosure only marginally bigger than a notebook drive. USB 2.0 provides both connectivity and power for the drive. How well does this $22 MSRP device work?

FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN 400W PSU

Power
It's a generic-looking power supply, both outside and in, and it conforms to new EU regulations aginst the use of toxic and unrecyclable materials in electronic products. They also claim that it's very efficient despite its modest appearance. Is it good? Is it stable? Is it quiet? We run a sample of the Fortron-Source Power FSP400-60GLN Green through our PSU test system.

Dualcore Shootout, Noise & Efficiency on... ZDNet!

ZDNet, not often vocal in the CPU wars, just published a comparison between the AMD 3800+ and the Intel D 820. Its conclusion leaves little room for doubt and echoes the opin of innumerable enthusiast review sites:

AMD currently offers the most attractive dual core option. The entry level Athlon 64 X2 3800+ may cost $87 more than its Intel counterpart, the Pentium D 820, but the AMD chip is a much better performer. It also uses considerably less power. A typical Athlon 64 X2 3800+ system uses less than 100W, while an equivalent Intel-based system uses about 50 per cent more, so it will be easier to build a quiet office PC around an AMD dual core chip. The lower electricity cost could also be a significant factor in enterprises with several thousand PCs.

Note the SPCR-esque references to quiet and reduced energy consumption — this is very worthy of note, as it appears in one of the most mainstream of tech publications. The number of people this message can reach is phenomenal compared to SPCR's typical audience size.

S3's New Chrome 25 & 27 GPUs

S3 Graphics announced their latest GPU's, the PCIe Chrome S27 and S25. "Advanced 90nm lead-free manufacturing enables unprecedented 700Mhz core frequency for Chrome S27 and industry-leading performance per watt across the series, enabling silent yet powerful 8 pixel shader performance." High performance paired with low heat is certainly good news on the noise front, provided that the final products bear out the marketing claims.

Enermax Liberty EL500AWT & EL620AWT power supplies

Power
A venerable power supply brand expands its range to 120mm fan with detachable cable models. The Liberty line aims for high efficiency and low noise as well, and offers up a big serving of functional luxury. Their marketing team is bent on Big Ideas this time around: Eternity cables in the Liberty power supplies. We examine the 500 and 620W models.

Seagate Momentus 7200.1 100GB SATA notebook drive

Storage
Our usual noise-focused review of a new Momentus 2.5" HDD model from Seagate. This one is 7200 RPM, with 8 MB cache, SATA & NCQ and still very quiet. Pretty pricey at this point, but that's the norm for any fast cutting-edge component.

ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1 Semi-Fanless Power Supply

Power
ePower's entry into the very quiet PSU realm is... "semi-fanless", says our reviewer. No, this does not mean it has half a fan; rather its fan acts as if it's not there half the time. The EP-450P5-L1 is much like the Phantom 500 in its basic operational premise, but the execution is quite different. It was very quiet much of the time on our test bench, but you will have to read the whole review to fully appreciate the Lion's strengths and weaknesses.

News from the Web

TrustedReviews says the AOpen MZ915-M half-height P-M SFF is a "very small and quiet system" but perhaps just "a stopgap" till AOpen's mini-PC is released. We tend to disagree with the latter view. The French site Matbe.com did a more thorough review comparing this AOpen against the Shuttle SD11G5 earlier this month. FYI, we reviewed the Shuttle recently, and we're working on a MZ915-M review right now.

The T-Balancer fan controller received plenty of rave reviews from SPCR forum members; now it may have some competition. According to BigBruin, the Sunbeamtech Theta TP-101 offers even more connections than the T-Balancer, though there are still as some software kinks to work out.

Bjorn3d has a pair of HIS graphics cards (the overclocked x800GT and x800GTO flavours) on the test bench, and while they don't test noise levels in the review, these are ATI cards with the highly regarded Arctic Cooling vidcard coolers factory-installed. Sounds like a good deal, if you can find them.

Intel seems to have taken the first step in their "performance-per-watt" quest with their new line of Pentium 4s. Buried in the AnandTech overclocking review is a very interesting tidbit; a new Cedar Mill P4 system draws about almost 20% less power than a Prescott system at the same clock speeds.

Intel's new Capabilities Assessment Tools

The Silent Front
They're benchmarks, designed to test a PC's gaming or "Digital Home" capabilities. It's probably the first time that a processor company is trying to create benchmarks for a whole PC rather than specific components. It's also the first time in the PC industry that real "User Experience" based on perceptual research is embedded in benchmarks. We present a first look of beta versions of these very interesting new performance assessment tools.

Corrected Efficiency Results for Recommended PSUs

Power
For PSU Test Rig V.3, we revised our testing equipment and methodology to improve the accuracy of the load testing and efficiency calculations for our power supply reviews. As part of this revision, we re-tested most of the power supplies on our Recommended PSU List using the new methodology. The new results are reported in this article along with the original results.