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Quieting a system?


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
OK, some background will be required here to determing my chances of any degree of success, but essentially my current rig is fairly noisy and whilst at first this semeed Ok as the price to pay for my XP3000+ now that I am looking forward to building an AMD64 3200+ into what I very much expect to be a sub 22db setup it no longer seems tolerable. This becomes especially relevant as I hope to relocate my XP3000 to be a potential network and file server here, the rest of it is up to spec and no way should I let it go to waste, but I don't really have the luxury of anywhere more remote than a hallway to locate it and it still matters to get it quiet there to not annoy anyone for 24/7 uptime.

So I am wondering what mods I can employ and what chances I have of success in getting the noise down and keeping temps acceptable - if I could get stability and cool I would even underclock.

So my "hit list" for noisy components in the old rig is something like this....
1) No name 80mm exhaust blowing from top (stop this and noise halves!)
2) QTEC Gold 400W Dual Fan PSU (this must be most of remaining)
3) Anonymous case (removing top reduces 80mm fan noise)
4) Radeon Sapphire 9700 pro fan (surely overkill for a server, could use in new rig until I can afford better)
5) Coolermaster Silent CPU fan (surely no scope here, tried stopping momentarily and cannot hear over PSU)

I should also say my system tends to run around 40oC case and 52oC CPU under load of about 80% folding. I may well leave the system folding as a server but with reduced load. The box also has in there a couple of hard drives and two optical - the hard drives would stay but the DVD would come out and just the CD stay if it were a server.

However, being a lazy so and so plus tight on funds (new rig has most of my budget!) I was wondering what advice people could give me on achieving maximum quiet for minimum outlay and fiddling. I suspect with the right PSU the exhaust fan would become redundant.... my next worry is that I am forced into looking at the case to make any further improvement (because that basically means more work than a build, have to dismantle first!).

I have no faith in the quieting systems that encase a case within a case, they must bugger your airflow and I imagine have limited effect. Also wondering about a cool graphics card that is not totally weak, don't want to cripple the system as it may still ocassionally be used as it is now, as a backup and by others in the house so am only taking things out to A) Reduce noise B) Save money if I think it is worth the hassle.

Sorry for the long post, kinda thinking out loud here - I am imagining someone here must have been through this or something very like it and would be very appreciative of any shared experience in this area. Needless to say esoteric solutions like water cooling and heat exchangers are out of the question - but others like underclocking and thermostatic PSU's are very much encouraged (I was thinking of the "Silent" Hi-Tec 420W which I think can be had under £40 but maybe someone here has better ideas?)

[EDIT] Oh and I have registered over at SilentPC Forum, it is really opinions from good Ole OSNN I am looking for here rather than links to the silencing specialists/freaks [/EDIT}


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Bump - plus update, discovered my ASUS A7V8X-X mobo will only increase the CPU vcore and not DECREASE, so underclocking is out....

And I am presently experimenting with the exhaust from top of case unplugged - getting 45oC case and 57oC CPU. Anybody here care to voice opinions on those temps for a server? I know they will drop a little with the 9700 out, but trust me not a lot unless I change the case or maybe put in a PSU with a single 120mm fan (this the latest idea I am toying with) Maybe one from Q-Technology rather than b***y QTEC!


I just get used to any noise and it just slips away and I become unaware of it.

Only noise I get is the sound of the HD fan.

Quietning a system I am not sure really what else to suggest.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
yeah - I know what you mean, and I know about HD fans too (got a real noisy paired set in my rig, but with a switch so only use 'em when I want to).

But the thing about the system I am quieting is it is gonna move to be a server (albeit with keyboard and monitor for occasional standalone use) and it is moving to a landing outside a couple of bedrooms ,,, the guest room and the seventeen year old step daughters bedroom. So it's not so much me, just has to get down to ambient noise level (for my stepdaughter I think this is 15-25DBa range, depending how p***d she is with me!)

My latest idea is to get not one but TWO ANTEC SLK370BQE cases since they seem pretty good value and use one for the new build and one for the server... or should I get one to see what the case/psu is like?


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
you can run your cpu underclocked by setting the vcore to auto and reducing the fsb... it should automatically let you run slower...

the most noise in my case comes from the cpu cooler... when I am gamin intensively it warms upto around 45C and the fan goes to max speed... I usually don't run background apps when I am gaming else i can control the fan speed with the MSI corecenter and limit the revs... @ the expense of more heat...

i'd rather put up with the extra noise :)

the psu may be noisy but I would silence the case fans first (new ones or get a regulator) and new hsf or new fan on top of the hsf... and/or hook it up to a regulator as well and vary the fan speed to your liking for noise...

if you can get more heat out of your case faster the rest of your components should run cooler/therefore have need slower revs on the fans..
Generally in order noisiest first:

CPU Fan (Too high RPM)
Power Supply (Big sucker, so to speak)
Top Exhaust Fan (It has no louvers and emits into the workspace)
Video Card (if GF5xxx or above)
Front inlet fans (they have limited baffling from the front intake cover)
Video Card (if ATI)
Rear Exhaust Fans (baffled by case and wall)

It sounds like you have a cheap power supply (noisy fans are the indicator) so it's at the top of your list.

Here's what I did to cut my noise level in half:
-Put a coolermaster squirrel cage blower at 3500 RPM on my existing Volcano 9 heatsink. Same cooling as old screecher. $12
-The only place your case need holes is front (inlet) and back (exhaust). Get a roll of ~1/8 inch thick cork and glue it to the sides and top of your case on the inside (no or minimal disassembly required). $5
-Put in a quad fan speed controller and set the 2 inlet and 1 exhaust fans to minimum Only raised my case and CPU temp by 1 deg C. $19
-Put a baffle to deflect the PS exhaust air down at the carpeting or at a foam pad. It will help scatter the sound making it a little quieter.
- You may not need a quieter vid card fan. A lot of my CPU and Video fan noise stopped when I put the cork in.

Do the steps in that order until you're happy with the noise level.

PS You may need to swap that power supply with someone else for a quieter one. If it has ****ty fans there is no much you can do to help sine it has a direct opening to the outside world.


Blame me for the RAZR's
fill it with cement.... that should make things alot less noisy.... have you though about water cooling.


Beware the G-Man
Political User
Use some sound board/noise supression foam and glue it to the inside panels of yer case. One quarter to max of half inch thick.

You could also use temp sensitive variable speed fans. Also for inlet fans you can use a foam filter in from of them. This will also lower noise emitted by them. Just don't forget to clean them weekly.


The Analog Kid
1) 120 mm panaflo fans for intakes and exhaust. You could even replace the fans in the power supply with 80mm panaflo

2) Silicone gaskets around fan mounts and psu mount to isolate from case

gonaads- the foam will work to increase temps, not a good idea in my opinion

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
This would be more expensive then replacing the fans in the PSU (if you don't feel comfortable doing that), but a friend of mine got a silencer PSU or whatever they call that thing. It essentially has quiter fans...

This is not what he was looking at (I don't think), but you might try this


On the PSU, something like this might help


Here's some other items for fans and what not

http://www.frozencpu.com/cgi-bin/frozencpu/scan/se=Noise Dampening/mp=menu_search_top.html


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Sazar said:
you can run your cpu underclocked by setting the vcore to auto and reducing the fsb... it should automatically let you run slower...
HMMmmm been there today - there's a note about jumper and repower, but it did let me change some things, then I come in and voltage is the same.... Going to have to go in and look for jumper but SHOULD by default be in right place :confused: Maybe the B****y Ebay assembler moved jumper? [EDIT] Just checked - bugger did too! maybe he assumes everyone would default to be an O/Cer? I think he was wrong though... last time I ever have anything done by someone else :mad: [/EDIT]

cpu up to about 53 and case around 45 - gotta see what I can do but remaining stable.

CPU is the QTEC Gold 400W dual fan - thought I read somewhere this was as low as 26 dba, but to my untutored ear it sounds louder... Some people over at this place suggest possible PSU mods, but I'm not sure (and opinions vary there too!).

Anyway - decided to move up in spend on case for my new build and get the Nexus Breeze which I have truly high hopes of - feel better for deciding that just need to find ways to shut this B***y XP3000+ up - thanks for the thoughts - rep points go to Leejend and Sazar ('cept proly won;t let me give them him yet)

-ve reps for all the wise cracks - :p Seriously when you're next to this box as long as I am through the day it an get wearing - 'specially when you have ti think hard ;)
I would suggest spending a small amount to replace the video card with a fanless one. Even though video card fans produce little noise (stock), you would be putting the 9700 to waste and adding to the noise. From there, you could add foam or rubber spacers between fans and their connecting areas to reduce vibration noise.

But seriously, I have used rubber and foam for silencing computers before, and you probably have some laying around the place. I know I do from DVD Media spindles or CD media spindles. Some of the ones I buy have those Foam rings to them as spacers. Work wonders. Plus you could probably get rubber washers from a home depot or something for a great price.

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