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.

Computex '05: Mini AOpen

No, it's not a Mac Mini. It's AOpen's new Pentium-M based Mac Mini lookalike, codenamed Pandora. Unveiled at Computex 2005, this tiny product is yet another AOpen effort to take advantage of the powerful formerly mobile Intel CPU in the desktop space. A fully integrated system incorporating wireless LAN, the Pandora was brought to prototype form in just a month, according to Joseph Hsu, a Technical Manager at AOpen. It uses a single blower fan that turns on only when needed. The aluminum casing was warm but the fan was not running when these photos were taken in the hot tradeshow room. A pearl white enamel painted version was also shown at AOpen's private suite display. Look for a Sept market release date.

AOpen quiet-friendly innovations at Computex

AOpen will present the world’s first ATX Pentium M motherboard -- i915Ga-HFS -- at Computex Taipei 2005. Like their last mATX P-M board, i915GMm-HFS, it is based Intel's 915G/ICH6 desktop chipset. It's loaded: Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-ch. High Def Audio, PCI Express x1 and x16 slots, and VGA, four SATA ports, DVI, S-Video, HDTV video outputs and SpeedStep. The new board features a socket 478 heatsink retention bracket, a welcome relief after the tiny non-standard HSF of the i915GMm-HFS.

AOpen also will unveil 945 chipset motherboards for Intel dual-core processors -- i945Ga-PLF and i945Pa-PLF -- that support the company's Power Master technology, which can work in conjunction with Speedstep to further reduce power consumption and heat when the system in idle.

Puget Custom Pentium-M Rig: A Silent WC System

Complete|Mobile Systems
As a demonstration of what Puget Custom Computers can do, this custom system succeeds marvelously. Very few companies that sell whole systems are willing to do the kind of modification that this Puget system required. A self-contained, passively cooled water cooling system is not the kind of thing you can request of just any system builder. With the proper selection of parts, just one of Puget's modifications could make the difference between an audible and an inaudible system.

Antec P180: A Visual Tour

Cases|Damping
No it is still not a review, we are bogged down in the details and the volume of data we're generating in the lab. But here is a detailed tour of this new case that will tell many of you what you want to know. And a couple of interesting revelations about origins of the P180 and its future.

Seasonic S12-500 & S12-600 Power Supplies

Power
They are the most powerful of the S12 series, and they are based on a more efficient circuit design than the smaller models in the line. The S12-430 is the current quiet leader among fan-cooled PSUs, but the 500 and 600 have even higher efficiency and dual PCI-e vidcard support for SLI. And they all have new Adda brand 120mm fans. SPCR's full review on the S12-500 and S12-600.

Western Digital drives: Raptor 74 & Caviar SE 250

Storage
News about Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motors being implemented across WD's entire range of hard drives promted us to take a serious look at some of their products. The two examined here today are the super-fast Raptor and a large capacity 7200 rpm Caviar SE, and they are both a lot quieter than WD drives used to be.

Scythe Silent Box SBX-1000 HDD Enclosure

Storage
The name says it all: An enclosure intended to silence a HDD. What it doesn't tell you is that that it is made of rubber (the same kind as car tires), and uses a Heatlane flat heatpipe to help keep the drive cool.

Maxtor Diamondmax 10/300 & Hitachi 7K250 Hard Drives

Storage
Maxtor's top desktop offering (300 Gb) and one of Hitachi's former top-of-lines (250 Gb), now relegated to middling status, are featured in this review. Both acoustic noise and vibration are examined, along with power & thermal related issues. They represent reasonable alternatives to our perennial quiet HDD recommendations.

Antec Phantom 500

Power
Antec adds a fan to their Phantom 350 fanless PSU, increases output to 500W, keeps the price the same, and calls it a "Hybrid Technology" power supply. Is this more marketing double talk or a genuine improvement? If a fanless PSU is silent, how is a fan-equipped version better? Which should you get, since they're the same price? Our long review on this rather complicated product.

Thermaltake W0029 Fanless Purepower 350 PSU

Power
Thermaltake's entry into the fanless PSU sweepstakes features not only a heavy external casing but heatpipes and external copper fins borrowed from one of their heatsinks. No 24-pin ATX, but SATA connectors; no PFC but high efficiency.

Scythe Kamakiri CPU heatsink/fan

Cooling
It is yet another large, unusual and ambitious CPU cooling creation from Scythe employing heatpipes, and, this time, a fan embedded right in the middle of two stacks of fins. A rheostat control with a huge speed range allows the user to go from a typhoon to a gentle breeze. But is the Kamakiri good by SPCR standards?

Doug's Quiet Wood Case PC

Do-It-Yourself Systems
Doug realized that to follow SPCR's advice of starting with quiet components to make a quiet computer, he'd have to replace most of the noisy components in his computer. He decided this would be too costly, and opted for a different approach: Build a case using pine boards and a design to contain the noise, with a little advice from SPCR forum members. Doug's successful DIY quiet system should garner a lot of admirers.

AOpen EY855-II Pentium M SFF barebones system

Complete|Mobile Systems
After AOpen introduced the i855GMEm-LFS motherboard, it was only a matter of time before they followed up with a SFF based on the Pentium M. The XC Cube EY855-II has been eagerly awaited by computing enthusiasts hoping for another quiet SFF PC option. If there is a flagship model in AOpen's XC Cube line, the EY855-II is probably it.

Soltek QBIC EQ3901 SFF barebones system

Complete|Mobile Systems
Soltek's Athlon 64-939 SFF system matches offerings from Shuttle and AOpen for style and features. It uses a standard mATX PSU by Seasonic and a standard HSF mounting system, allowing for relatively simple upgrades. The EQ3901's noise performance leaves much to be desired, however.

Front Panel Knicknacks by Coolermaster & Matrix Orbital

Fans|Controls
The computer accessories market is awash with tools and gadgets. Marketeers clearly understand the financial value of the geek's perpetual urge to fiddle. Many of these combogadgets seem utterly trivial, but few are useful even to silencers. We examine two of the more useful devices among the countless examples: The Cooler Master Cooldrive 6 and the Matrox Orbital MX411.