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

StealthPC Foundation Kit by ARM Systems

Cases|Damping
Review of a new prototype exclusive version of ARM Systems' 120mm fan StealthPC enclosure with complete Acoustipack damping preapplied, and a Panaflo-modded Zalman 400B. An Athlon 64 3200+ system is assembled in it & run up against a silent nutter's custom rig. Unfair but interesting.

Join the SPCR Folding Team!

The SPCR Foldling Team is actively seeking new members. If you have an idle computer, a bit of competitive spirit and don't mind contributing to scientific health research, folding is for you. Find out more here. Note that there are many more threads in that section of the forum about SPCR's folding@home adventures, trials, victories and tribulations.

Antec Aria SFF Case (w/PSU)

Cases|Damping
Antec's entry into the toaster-shaped SFF sector is not a barebones system, but a case and power supply. The new ARIA is a generic case meant to accept any small motherboard up to MicroATX size. A 300W PSU with high 12V current capacity and 120mm fan, the option to install three hard drives, and case walls made of low-resonance aluminum-plastic multilayer composites are among the Antec Aria's many assets. Read our review for the full details.

Is the Silent PC Future 2.5-inches wide?

Storage
The silent future is 2.5" wide, I announced in a recent SPCR Forum post, referring to the future of silent computing, and to my recent discovery of extremely quiet notebook hard drives that easily put the quietest of 3.5" desktop drives to shame. This brief article follows up on that post: An overview of 2.5-inch drive developement and a noise analysis of three notebook drives with two SPCR reference desktop drives.

Archive: CPUs Ranked by Noise / Heat

Reference|Recommended
NOTE: Consider this article an archive; not updated since March 2004. Check for more recent articles in the CPU & motherboards section. A long-overdue update (the first in a year!) to CPUs Ranked by Noise / Heat, SPCR's listing of processors and how easy or hard it is to cool them quietly. Now includes info on Pentium-M, AMD XP-mobile, AMD's 64-bitters, and Intel's hottest EEs.

Athlon XP-Mobile 2500+ examined at Hexus

An interesting overclocker's look at the AMD Athlon XP-M Barton 2500+ has been posted by HEXUS.net. "It fits straight into a desktop S462 board without modification (uPGA XP-Ms excepted), is fully unlocked for multiplier selection, defaults to only 1.45v at 1.83GHz, and overclocks prodigiously." For SPCR readers, these comments suggest the processor might also be very undervoltable, making it run even cooler than it already does. HEXUS concludes..

The low-voltage nature of the CPU can also be used to power an ultra-quiet system, should the user be so inclined. The results speak for themselves. High performance doesn't necessarily have to be limited to the Athlon 64 or top-end Pentium 4 CPUs. What's more, it can be achieved with a £70 CPU.

Also check out this related XP-Mobile thread in the SPCR Forums.

PC Cooling & Silencing... with a Cookie Jar!

Do-It-Yourself Systems
SPCR Forum member Bluefront has a thing about filters and ducts. He uses them to great effect in keeping his PC systems cool, quiet and dust free with a minimum number of fans. The Cookie Jar duct PC is his latest brainstorm. Bluefront says it is the quietest PC he has built yet, and probably the cleanest.

Undervolting VGA cards at X-bit LAbs

In an echo of SPCR articles* about CPU undervolting, X-bit Labs recently posted an article entitled “Cool” and “Quiet” or Anti-Extreme Overclocking Experience. It discusses sophisticated undervolting of several VGA cards and reducing fan voltages to reduce heat and noise; several different voltages present on the VGA cards are dealt with individually. Positive results are reported, so this may be a viable solution for those who are electronics-savvy and deft with a soldering iron. One thing not really discussed is any changes in performance as a result of the substantial undervolting (as much as 15% for the VPU and 26% for internal circuitry).

*CPU Undervolting articles at SPCR:
CPU Undervolting & Underclocking: A Primer
,
Undervolting T'Bred-B CPUs with José Ángel
,
Ultimate Underclock & Undervolt Project
.
Also, there has been much discussion in the Forums.

Scythe's e-Otonashi fanless EPIA-M cooling case

Cases|Damping | Cooling
In the e-Otonashi, unusual heatsink maker Scythe has turned again to a Heatlane heatpipe, in a somewhat more ambitious product: A compact case for VIA EPIA-M Mini-ITX boards that offers a fanless CPU cooling system as an integral part of its design. In many ways, the e-Otonashi is a kind of poor man's do-it-yourself kit version of the recently reviewed Mappit A4F, a small, prebuilt fanless, EPIA-M PC. For those who prefer to cook their own rather than dine out... our review of Scythe's e-Otonashi fanless EPIA M case.

Mappit A4F: A Truly Silent PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
The Mappit A4F comes so close to the SPCR Holy Grail of a Zero dBA PC that it might as well have reached it. This fanless M-ITX system is not flawless and it can probably be improved on even for acoustics... but there is hardly any point if you can't hear the improvement. I couldn't hear it whan I first turned it on while it was in my lap. It is the quietest computer I have ever used or seen or heard or even heard about.

Review: Superpower's Superb Aluminum Case

The Mappit A4F comes so close to the SPCR Holy Grail of a Zero dBA PC that it might as well have reached it. This fanless M-ITX system is not flawless and it can probably be improved on even for acoustics... but there is hardly any point if you can\'t hear the improvement. I couldn\'t hear it whan I first turned it on while it was in my lap. It is the quietest computer I have ever used or seen or heard or even heard about....

AOpen XC Cube EZ65: A Quiet, Powerful SFF

Complete|Mobile Systems
A second quiet SFF barebones review in a week, this time from AOpen: The XC Cube EZ65 delivers low noise performance in a spiffy body that contains an Intel 865-based engine with both AGP and PCI ports. It is not just a quiet pretty face, it's a serious performer. Read our review to consider why we think AOpen has succeeded in creating a PC for Everyman with the XC Cube EX65.

Pentium-M to the Desktop!

The Inquirer reports that

"Intel will this week announce details about a new wave in desktop computing using the Centrino bundle... Pentium M, a successor to the Pentium III-M, is a cool operator, and can do most of what a Pentium 4 can, whether it be labelled a Prescott or not. The INQ understands that the Pentium M is such a successful chip that in 2005 Intel may integrate the low wattage CPU cores into one four way die."

One assumes this means a desktop chip package and some reference boards, perhaps announced at the Intel Developers Forum in SF this week. It is exciting news for low noise computing enthusiasts, who have experimented with expensive P-M versions of Mini-ITX boards. We anticipate a huge migration to the Pentium-M, limited only by quantities of what Intel can deliver.

Shuttle Zen XPC ST62K: Finally, a Quiet SFF PC!

Complete|Mobile Systems
The Zen XPC ST62K is not only Shuttle's smallest SFF barebones PC, it is also their quietest. They moved the PSU out of the box and replaced it with a fanless brick; they also elminated the AGP port and rely exclusively on the integrated video in the ATI 9100 IGP chipset. Is it really quiet? Yes! Is it powerful enough? Yes. We hope it signals a new era of competition among PC component and system makers for the prize of the quietest. Our comprehensive review covers all the details.

X-Bit Labs' roundup of current AMD & Intel processors

An excellent examination of 14 processors, with a succinct summary. Probably a must read for anyone interested in keeping up to date with developments in CPUs. No surprise that the new Intel Prescott is deemed a loser. They like the Athlon 64 - despite its short anticipated socket life. The X-bit Labs Performance Tests of 14 Processors article.