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Seagate to offer "upgrade kits" for Barracuda IV drives is running a story about Seagate's new upgrade kits for their Barracuda hard drives. Designed at making the upgrade process smoother and easier for folks not as comfortable with a hard drive swap, these kits will be sold at Fry's retail locations and (also owned by Fry's) The kits will include detailed instructions, both as a booklet as well as printed directly on the hard drives.

Samsung offers "silent" CD-RW drive

ZDNet has a review of Samsung's new SW-232B 32X/10X/40X EIDE CD-RW drive. According to ZDNet:

It's...affordable, and it offers generally good performance for a 32X/10X/40X burner. However, the SW-232B's biggest selling point is actually on the inside, where some great technologies make the drive both reliable and nearly silent.

All this silencing goodness comes from Samsung's "Dynamic Vibration Absorber" (DVA) technology. While most CD drives are silent when not in use, DVA apparently allows the drive to run nearly silently even when burning CDs.

nVidia video card shootout at Tom's includes noise test

Noise awareness seems to be on the rise. Tom's Hardware Guide has a shootout of nvidia 4400 and 4600 video cards. Tom's is focussing more on noise these days, and in this shootout they measured the noise from all the cards! The quietest cards were the Abit 4400 and PNY 4600 at 30db. The loudest was 50 db!

Thanks to Daryl for submitting this news!

"Low power" AMD SFF Processors Coming Soon! says 35W "Athlon SFF processors on Palomino and Thoroughbred cores are in the AMD Ordering Part Number table for May. It means that Athlon SFF should also be announced very soon. Athlon SFF (Small Form Factor) is a new AMS solution designed for quiet fanless PCs. As we see, from the table, these CPUs will feature lower Vcore and will be rated up to 2000+. Athlon SFF is expected to work in a special processor socket different from the current Socket A."

Fanless at 35W seems like quite a challenge, but this is interesting news for PC silencers.

Shuttle releases SS40G with heat pipe cooling technology

Shuttle has released the SS40G version of their popular barebones systems. This version is the first one to accept Athlon XP processors, and uses an innovative (for computers) heat pipe cooling mechanism to keep them cool. However, as any Shuttle owner (including this one) can attest to, the main source of Shuttle noise has always been the PSU fan. Word on the street is that Shuttle has made some inroads here, at least for US models, though the results are still not 'quiet'.

HP e-PC offers P4 performance at 25dB(A)

HP, which has been one of the few computer manufacturers to put any sort of emphasis behind acoustics, has released their new e-PC 42 computer. Offering a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 in an ultra-small form factor, this computer is rated at an incredible 25dB(A). This is by far the quietest mainstream computer on the market today. With prices starting at $969, this computer is also very affordable.

PaceBook PaceBlade: The Tablet PC Arrives

PaceBlade, a startup company in Taiwan, has introduced the PaceBook which is a 3-in-1 computer. Acting as a LCD desktop, notebook and tablet PC all in one, the PaceBook uses a Transmeta chip and is entirely passively cooled. There are reviews of the PaceBlade available at and Tech TV as well as several other places around the web. Priced at $2,095, the PaceBook isn't cheap, and with a 600MHz Crusoe chip, it won't be a powerhouse, but for those looking for a near-silent computer, this may prove to be a good solution.

"Thermotunneling": A New Cooling Technology from Cool Chips

From the company's press release, dated May 14, 2002--

Cool Chips plc (COLCF) said that its Cool Chips(TM), wafer-thin discs designed to produce cooling or refrigeration more efficiently than any competing technology, use quantum mechanical electron tunneling as the primary cooling mechanism. The Cool Chip(TM) is one of the first transformative technologies to emerge from the nanotechnology revolution. The Cool Chip(TM) technology could eventually replace nearly every existing form of cooling, air conditioning, and thermal management. Prototype devices are being shown publicly for the first time at the Nanotech Planet Conference in San Jose, California, that begins today.

Cool Chips will be more than adequate for cooling the next generation of microprocessors, which will produce upwards of 100 watts of heat per square centimetre. Cool Chips are currently in development, and it is expected to take over a year to complete prototypes which demonstrate high output and efficiency.

ViaArena's Silent PC

ViaArena has posted a short piece on how to build a silent PC using a VIA C3 800 with a VIA Pro133T based mainboard and S3 graphics card "lying around" in their office. With a stock Enermax PSU, their PC could hardly be "silent", but it is still good to see the attention on quiet computing.

PCs: For Whom the Decibels Toll

There is an article running on Wired entitled, "PCs: For Whom the Decibels Toll". The article is somewhat brief, but still provides a good overview of some recent developments in the Silent PC marketplace.

NEC desktop quiets down

According to this article on, NEC is releasing a desktop computer based on Transmeta's Crusoe chip called the "NEC Mate". As the article states, "It's so quiet...that the only noise it makes sounds like rustling leaves." Certainly sounds promising, but unfortunately, NEC has not announced plans to bring it to the US Market yet.

Water cooled laptops by Hitachi

Hitachi Ltd. will install a water-cooled radiation mechanism in a product scheduled to the released at the end of September. A tank for storing the solution, or the cooling medium, is installed at the back of LCD display.
...there were two reasons why the decision has been made on using it this time. First, it wanted to make a laptop that is quiet and has the same level of performance as a desktop PC.

The Silent PC discusses PC Noise

Anyone who's been in the Silent PC arena long enough has visited Tomas Risberg's excellent site. Recently, I noticed a new section posted on his site, entitled, "PC Noise" which provides a very insightful, thorough analysis of PC Noise; where it comes from, why it bothers us and how to measure it. Worth a read.

A drive quieter than the Seagate Barracuda IV?

Since its introduction late last year, the Seagate Barracuda IV has been the quietest drive on the block. Well, according to Storage Review, that title no longer belongs to the Barracuda IV. Who's the new king of the hill? Another Seagate Barracuda. A SCSI version of the Barracuda. As the Storage Review charts show, the Barracuda 36ES2 measures a full 2dB(A) quieter than the 80GB Barracuda IV. Part of this is due to the single-platter design of the 36ES2 compared to the dual-platter design of the 80GB model. Still, for the SCSI enthusiasts out there, this is certainly good news!

Not just your average "How I built my silent pc" site

Mirar, one of the regular contributors on the Yahoo Groups Silent-PC mailing list, has posted his experiences in building a silent PC. Much of Mirar's work focuses on building a custom case, designed to reduce noise as much as possible. To quote:

I decided to design and build a case that would address this. The needs would be:

  • Silence. It would need to be heavy and dampening enough. A thin metal case is not the way; perhaps with heavy dampening mats.
  • Cold. It would need air ducts wide enough to handle lot of air without turbulence, and lots of spaces for fans.
  • Space. It should be easy to work in; not much screwing and pulling out irrelevant cables to remove a hard disk. Or a PCI card.
  • Simplicity. I should be able to build it. And I'm not /that/ handy with tools.

The result is very effective, if not all that pretty. :) Lots of pictures and explanations -- definitely worth a read.


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