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Do-It-Yourself Systems

Silent SFF Gaming PC Build Guide

Gaming PCs consume more energy, put out more heat, and run louder than mainstream machines. There isn't much we can do about the power and heat of high-end gear, but we can certainly help gamers build quiet system to fulfill their needs. Since they are typically louder to begin with, gaming systems have the most benefit from SPCR know-how. For our first gaming system guide, we show you how to build a small factor gaming system that is well cooled and impressively quiet yet powerful enough to run modern PC titles smoothly at high resolutions.

Silent Home Server Build Guide

You've seen system build guides on other tech web sites before. They are usually shopping lists of components recommended for the "Ultimate Gaming Rig" or "Mini PC" or what have you. There's nothing wrong with these types of guides — otherwise we would not be proposing to do them ourselves — but there's no question they can be improved. The unique selling proposition (to borrow a phrase from marketing 101) of our Silent System Build Guides is that not only will we provide suitable lists of up-to-date recommended components for a particular type of computer, but we will actually build these computers, and run and test them acoustically under tough actual-use conditions in our anechoic chamber.

Single Moving Part PC in Silverstone TJ08

Another month, another silent PC. This time, in a handsome presentable case with just one moving part: A 120mm fan spinning at 500rpm. The SMPPC combines an Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, a Cool'n'Quiet AMD Athlon 64 2X processor, high efficiency DC/DC power conversion and DIY modding on a heatpipe heatsink in a Silverstone TJ08 for a system that is immeasurable even in an 11 dBA anechoic chamber.

Silent PC with No Moving Parts

A PC without any moving parts has been the Holy Grail of Silent Computing for years. It's a quest that has led some individuals to fabricate their own cases, massive heatsinks turned inside out, with the components bolted inside them. The final moving part to go is the spinning hard disk drive. A new PC for our anechoic chamber uses a Samsung SSD to eliminate all moving parts for truly silent performance.

Quiet Media PC made from Junk

Edward McKeating's project started not as an exercise in reuse and recycle but because he wanted to move his media PC into the living room to watch TV and videos more comfortably. The problem was that the PC was ugly and very noisy. He decided instead to modify what he had with some of the junk cluttering his garage. The end result is a unique and successful DIY media PC that cost only a can of paint and some time and effort.

Bill's Recycled, Fanless, Silent Woodbox Computer

An English electronic engineer who likes making things, Bill Todd made many modifications, and created a new wood case to take this modest old Pentium III system far along the road to silent nirvana. His ingenious journey involved recycling and creating of all kinds of parts including old electronics heatsinks, home-made damping gel packs, scraps of plywood, and even wheels from an old scooter. Two years after he first assembled this passively cooled system, it's still working silently away, even after a leak in a gel pack next to the hard drive.

Superquiet Superclocked DIY Core 2 Duo System

Chris Thomson returns with a Core 2 Duo upgrade of his quiet PC, greatly overclocked with carefully chosen high performance parts, modified judiciously, and meticulously ducted for maximum airflow and cooling with minimum noise. It's another magnum opus on the current state of DIY, enthusiast, air-cooled, high performance, silent computing.

Jani's Big Quiet Wood Case PC

Here's a DIY quiet PC project story by a Finnish teen who has the distinction of being the youngest SPCR editorial contributor to date. The project involves another custom-built wooden case (not the first at SPCR), exotic woods, a cardboard box, and some help from Jani's father.

Quiet DIY OC'ed Pentium D 830 System, Part Two

Chris Thomson returns to SPCR with Round Two of his Pentium D silencing saga. As before, Chris does a great job with systematic documentation, and this time, he incorporates the feedback on his original DIY article from many forum members. By identifying names, their comments, and the way these comments were used for further improvements, the article also becomes a showcase of the SPCR spirit: A community sharing in exploration and discovery.

Quiet OC'ed Pentium D 830 System

Chris Thomson built a system around a hot, overclocked Pentium D 830 dual-core processor with a total system power draw of 327W AC and managed to quiet it down to true whisper levels by applying ingenuity and drawing judiciously on the infobanks of SPCR. The great attention to detail makes this one of the best documented DIY articles we've posted.

Quiet PC for Torrid Thailand

An old friend from another life asked about a quiet computer... and the end result is a PC that's been custom built to be quiet in the tropical heat of rural Thailand. Its components include an Athlon64 X2-3800+, EVGA nVidia 6800GS-256, Samsung 200GB HDD, and six fans in a modified Antec P150 case; still, measured SPL is just 23 [email protected] Quiet is in the details of this high heat optimized PC.

Doug's Quiet Wood Case PC

Doug realized that to follow SPCR's advice of starting with quiet components to make a quiet computer, he'd have to replace most of the noisy components in his computer. He decided this would be too costly, and opted for a different approach: Build a case using pine boards and a design to contain the noise, with a little advice from SPCR forum members. Doug's successful DIY quiet system should garner a lot of admirers.

Jordan's Quiet DampTek'd Home Theater PC

His mother turned into a digital shutterbug and wanted a bigger than a 17" screen to show and edit her photos. Jordan Menu used this as a good excuse to make a quiet Home Theater PC that could also play movies on the big 52" TV in the family room. In the process, the Nexus DampTekacoustic damping material also got a test run.

Kiwi Quiet P4 Cooling

Peter Scott writes from New Zealand about his efforts to quiet a noisy P4 2.66A box. His article is a saga of experimentation and inventiveness, which seem requisite for a successful PC silencing project. Peter also shows us another variant of the HDD anti-vibration decoupling suspension technique we espouse. This article will inspire those for whom the latest "silent" gear is not available.

Fanless DIY Dual-P3 WC System

Given the the absence of any decoupling suspension on the hard drive, Ami's fanless dual-CPU P3-500 Blue 42 can't be a silent system. But I think it must be very quiet and it must have been fun for Ami Rodan to build. It's another testament to PC silencing creativity — although some will quibble over the mixing of metals in the watercooling system.


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