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.

AOpen i915Ga-PLF with Power Master

The full-featured i915Ga-PLF is one of several new AOpen socket T motherboards with a unique function they call Power Master. The board supports the Enhanced Speedstep Technology in the newest 600 series Intel processors, but the i915Ga-PLF's Power Master can turn older chips without the new EIST into power misers, too.

CrystalCPUID: User Configurable Cool 'n' Quiet

Contributor Jan Kivar reports on using CrystalCPUID, a user-configurable substitute for Cool 'n' Quiet, with his Athlon A64 system. Version 4.3 of this advanced utility can work not only with Athlon 64s, but also Intel 600 series and the Pentium M processor, as well as the K6 and K7.

Shuttle SB86i BTX SFF system

Complete|Mobile Systems
Shuttle's first real BTX SFF system in their first steel chassis continues the somewhat larger trend started with their other socket T models. PCIe VGA, a BTX 80mm fan PSU and an actual Intel BTX HSF rather than the right angle heatpipe HS preferred by Shuttle -- all these make for a ground breaking SFF. Acoustics are still challenged.

SPCR turns 3 today.

It's our third birthday anniversary today. Well, give or take a few days. I recall telling someone back then that SPCR would probably dwindle down in about three years because by then, average computers would be quiet enough to make the site unnecessary.

Boy, was I ever wrong!

We've come a long way since then, and SPCR probably helped to shape the perceptions and perspective of both the users and makers of PC gear. Acoustics is paid at least lip service by just about every computer gear brand today, and there are so many more real choices for noise-conscious end users than could be fantasized three years ago.

But there's a long way to go before mainstream computers and components are built with benign acoustics as a primary design goal. And there is work to be done in creating a sound specification and reporting convention that is accurately reflective of human perception and understandable for everyone.

Anyway, wish us a happy birthday & raise a toast with us today.

PS -- For a bit of a laugh, look to the bottom of this internal news achive page to see what we were writing about at the beginning. Amazingly, not that much has changed.

Shuttle XPC SB81P: Loaded 775 BTX

Complete|Mobile Systems
It's the first of Shuttle's socket T SFF systems, and it is loaded to the gills with convenience and performance features. It borrows heavily from BTX layout without quite being BTX. Visibly bigger than its predecessors, with a huge (for SFF) 350W PSU, this Prescott-only machine is unfortunately quite a lot noisier. Frankly, we're a bit disappointed.

Asus Adapter runs Pentium-M on S478 board

The ASUS CT-479 Adapter Kit pre-release news was hot a couple of weeks ago; Legit Reviews and Anandtech just posted complete reviews. It's compatible only with a few of Asus motherboards right now. There are some limitations but the idea is compelling, especially for just $50 if you already have a suitable Asus board. Anandtech said " the Asus solution effectively demolished all other desktop Pentium M solutions," although they failed to adequately appreciate the the P-M's performance in the context of its low noise and high energy efficiency in a desktop platform.

Silverstone LC-11 media PC case

It is slick and sleek, pretty and small, with an odd twist borne out of functional (cooling) need: The motherboard goes in upside down. Supplied with a small 240W PSU and two 80mm fans, the LC-11 is pretty quiet, too, especially if you take care, but it takes only Micro-ATX boards. Ralf Hutter tries a Pentium M system in this case -- with nice results.

A New Energy Star... in 2007

The Silent Front
The U.S. Environment Protection Agency is moving to tougher Energy Star specifications for computers. For the first time, the spec will define efficiency in terms of power consumed while a computer is on, rather than just on standby. Preliminary conditions for desktop computers include the following: The PSU must be rated for >80% efficiency, and not exceed 50~60W AC power during idle. Over 60 stakeholders met to discuss the proposed changes for the first time on March 15. We managed to speak with a handful of attendees after the meeting. The catch is the new energy Star spec is not effective until Jan 1, 2007. A lot can happen between now and then.

Seasonic S12-430: Beyond the Super Tornado

Seasonic's S12 series was recently introduced as a replacement for the now >18 month old Super Tornado series. It shares much with the earlier series, but does everything just a little bit better. The 430, the middle of five models, is about the quietest fan-cooled PSU we've reviewed, by a small margin, and also one of the most efficient.

Raidmax RX-520XPW Power Supply

It's a very consumer-directed "Feature-laden" power supply with windows, shiny silver finish, LED fans, a convenience AC outlet, reasonably quiet fans and big claims of low noise. Our first enounter with a Raidmax PSU did not impress us, despite all the bling.

IDF Spring 2005: Report from San Francisco

The Silent Front
For SPCR, the Intel Developers Forum is interesting for the plethora of genuinely valuable information, technical education and marketing that Intel and its partners pack into the three days. Then there is the usual guerilla marketing parallel event AMD runs at a nearby hotel, and this time around, in the skies above San Francisco with several planes spelling out "AMD Turion 64 Mobility", their forthcoming mobile CPU. Intel's main focus was multi-core... everything. Naturally, AMD also focused much attention on multi-core. My interest was mostly issues that impact acoustics in computers, but there wasn't much to focus on, really.

Arctic Cooling Freezer 4 heatsink/fan

The Freezer is Arctic Cooling's "high-end" heatsink. At US$34 it is still relatively inexpensive, but is targeted at the performance market. Can this modest heatpiped HSF compete successfully in cooling performance while maintaining AC's reputation for low noise established with their Super Silent series?

Shuttle SN95G5: A64-939 SFF

Complete|Mobile Systems
It is not the first AMD Athlon 64 SFF barebones system from Shuttle, but it is the first to use a Socket 939 motherboard. We installed a 3500+ Winchester (90nm) core in a minimalist setup with a notebook HDD, played long in the BIOS and measured, tested and listened to bring you this review of a quiet, powerful system that is almost as small as the Shuttle Zen.

Seasonic PSU wins 1st "80 Plus" efficiency certification

Anyone who has read even a few articles at SPCR knows that we've encouraged high efficiency PSUs for a long time. Now, it looks like the PSU efficiency race has officially begun. 80 Plus in the US has a unique program to encourage and reward (with rebates) higher efficiency PSUs in IT gear. A Seasonic PSU has just been awarded the first 80 Plus certification.

The 80 Plus test is quite tough: Their standard calls for 80% or better efficiency at 20, 50 and 100% loads. It's the 20% load test that's the challenge; for lower rated PSUs, this means high efficiency at very low power, which is usually difficult. Surprisingly, the newly certified 80 Plus PSU is the Seasonic SS-400HT APFC, a 400W model, which means it reached 80% efficiency at just 80W load. Seasonic says the newly released S12-500 and S12-600 retail models are, in fact, the higher power models of this 80 Plus qualifying PSU. Download the 80 Plus press release (a PDF).

Interestingly, SPCR's PS Fundamentals & Recommendations article is linked on the 80 Plus consumer techical info page.

Enermax Noisetaker EG701AX-VE SFMA 2.0: 600 Watts!

The current top-of-the-line Noisetaker power supply, now in second gen, is a humdinger with 600W rated output capacity and more up-to-date connections than most desktops are ever likely to use. Amazingly, it's still pretty quiet, so if you need a few extra horses under the hood to put a little more swagger in your walk...