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

Think-Tank Case by Coms-Com

Cases|Damping
If the name Coms-com.com doesn't ring any bells, don't feel bad. We had never heard of them either. Coms-com.com is certainly a memorable URL, though their website is not so original; it is a close facsimile of the Antec site, a brand they distribute in Korea. Their quirky naming extends to the Think-Tank, a surprisingly decent quiet-minded case for those on a tight budget. See the complete Russ review.

NY Newsday discovers PC noise... and SPCR

Yes, another major US daily paper has discovered PC noise as a topic worthy of editorial attention. In a piece entitled If there's too much noise coming from the bedroom, it may be the PC, NY Newsday columnist Lou Dolinar discusses how he dealt with the "sheer roaring noise" of a newly built PC. SPCR and several of our sponsors are identified as key sources of information and products... but why no hyperlinks?

Pentium M to replace P4

Just weeks after the Prescott-core P4s began rolling off the lines, these hottest CPUs ever made are on the chopping block. According to this Reuters news report, Intel has scrapped plans for two new P4-based products as it shifts focus to making chips that have twice the computing power. This is the highly efficient Pentium M, currently limited to mobile computing. The move comes amid concerns that in future versions, the Prescott would require too much power as well as expensive cooling systems. The new strategy shows Intel is backing away from a focus on raw speed. Intel plans to introduce dual-core chips for desktop computers in 2005 and plans to start shipments of dual-core chips for notebook computers the same year.

From a Silent Computing perspective, this is the best news from Intel in a long time. Thermals, cooling and noise are inextricably related. It is should be well known that not only can a Pentium M match the performance of a P4 that is double the clock speed, its thermal efficiency is around 4X better. That is, a Pentium M requires only 15W to match a P4 that draws over 60W for the same performance.

The Reuters report says Intel's dual-core chips for desktop computers will be available in 2005. Perhaps this means the single-core variety Pentium M for desktop will be available sooner?

The Register's analysis.
Overclockers.com's take: "The End of (Easy) Scaling"

Toshiba MK6022GAX 5400/16mb cache Notebook Drive

Storage
Reviewed today is the MK6022GAX, the highest performance notebook drive in Toshiba's lineup: A 5400 RPM, 2.5" drive with 16 mb of cache. It surely performs, but does it plumb the sub-20 dBA depths or remain in more audible >20 dBA territory? Here's our acoustic report on the Toshiba MK6022GAX.

Review: ActiveCool AC4G Thermoelectric cooler

Cooling
With Intel CPUs soaring well over the 100W mark, questions about the efficacy of conventional heatsink and forced air cooling arise again. The AC4G system from ActiveCool employs one of the likely alternatives: Thermoelectric Cooling. Thermoelectric Coolers (TEC) are nothing new, but Active-Cool aims to put the technology to work in a new way, by varying the power of the TEC in accordance with demand to keep both the temps and the noise down. Our indepth-report on the ActiveCool AC4G.

Chill Innovation CP-350A PSU

Power
The name Chill Innovation came up in in the SPCR forums, with some European members suggesting a close look at this 350W 120mm fan PSU. Not long thereafter, there came a promotional e-mail from Chill Innovation; naturally I responded with a request for a sample. That sample recently arrived, and now we have another PSU review for you to consider.

Review: ASUS QuieTrack CRW-5232AS & CD-S520/A4

Storage
ASUS QuieTrack CRW-5232AS & CD-S520 are examined for noise performance in SPCR's second optical drive review. The new optical drives fare well against earlier ones regarded as quiet — or at least noise-reduced.

Zalman ZM400B PSU

Power
The Zalman ZM400B-APS is a solid ATX12V v1.3 compliant PSU that is very quiet at lower power levels. The current capability of the 12V line is high enough to handle all but the most loaded systems, the high >75% efficiency ensures it stays reasonably cool throughout the power range, and it can handle the heat all the way to max power at 50 degrees C. Check out the complete review.

Fujitsu MHT2060AH review by HardwareZone

Singapore-based HardwareZone.com has a department store approach to hardware reviews, so sooner or later, they do something that strikes your fancy, no matter what your particular interest. Their recent review of the Fujitsu MHT2060AH does it for SPCR, commenting as they do, on the performance of several other 2.5" notebook drives from Seagate, Hitachi, and Fujitsu, ranging in spindle speeds from 4200 to 7200 RPM, and 2 mb to 8 mb cache. Makes for an interesting roundup.

PCWorld carries MikeC Review of Fanless PCs

A brief review I wrote for PC World Magazine on the fanless Hush ATX PC and Voodoo PC Rage F-50 (based on Zalman TNN500A) is in the May issue of the magazine curretnly on the newstands. It's in their webzine as well.

160G/8mb-cache Faceoff: Samsung vs. Seagate

Storage
Seagate Barracuda and Samsung SP Series hard drives are topics of endless discussion in the SPCR forums. We have also featured reviews of these drives, some in direct comparison. However, this is the first time that we're considering the current ATA performance leaders of each series, head to head. The review is Edward Ng's debut as a writer for SPCR.

Review: Hush ATX PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
Seems like only yesterday that we were oohing and aahing about the Hush Mini-ITX PC but amazingly, that was five months ago. It was around the time that the Hush ATX PC was released: A larger more powerful version of the original, revamped for the much hotter Intel P4 processor. Here is our review of the bigger and faster Hush ATX PC with a P4-2.8.

Heavy Traffic Warning; slowdowns likely

A TechTV show featuring yours sincerely discussing -- what else? -- silent pc and SPCR was shown last night and also during the day today. Both broadcasts caused immense spikes in traffic (20X the norm) that the site became inaccessible for a while.

I expect it may happen again tonight at 6pm (Eastern) when the show reruns. TechTV apparently reaches 40 million North Am. homes. Traffic from even 0.1% of that audience squeezed into an hour would be enough to crash most non-enterprise web sites. Sorry, but not much we can do right now.

The Tech TV web site

I haven't seen it myself... I hope they made me sound/look at least somewhat sane. :-D

Zalman ZM-RS6F Surround Sound Headphones

Audio|Video|Misc
Gentle Reader, your first question may be: "Why is Silent PC Review reviewing headphones? Aren't headphones supposed to be, you know, not silent?" While it does seem off-topic on the surface, there are some good reasons why this sort of product, and this product in particular, is right up our alley. Zalman ZM-RS6F Surround Sound Headphones

Enermax NoiseTaker 475 PSU

Power
Frankly, the performance of this new NoiseTaker PSU from Enermax, whose products I have shunned for a couple years, surprises the heck out of me. Why? How about the highest efficiency I've ever measured, and the highest power output before the fan ramps up beyond idle? Is it the new ATX12V V1.3 compliant circuit they designed? Or the dual 12V rails? It's not clear, but one thing is for sure: This Enermax deserves a place in our Recommended PSU roster. Read the review for details. It's the first done with our new Thermal Simulation Case.