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.

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.

SPCR's Revised PSU Testing System

Power
It's a brief article about SPCR's PSU Testing System as it evolves forward. A new thermal simulation box provides a realistic working environment for the PSU under test, and a soon-to-come lab-grade Variable AC Power Supply will allow thorough examination of output power capabilty under real world stress conditions. Both new tools are better investigative tools for more precise results.

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.