How To Build A Quiet PC
There are a thousand and one articles out there that give you methods for quieting your PC. Some of those methods are helpful and some are inadequate. These five simple steps are what we believe to be the five top priorities to keep in mind when building a quiet pc or upgrading your current machine to a quiet pc.
#1 Concentrate on the THREE BIG SOURCES of PC noise
The Power Supply, CPU Fan, and Case Fan
Then, once the big noises have been reduced, you can address the small noises in your pc. If the small noises (hard drive noise, video card fan/s, or loud cd/dvd drives) are still a source of frustration, then you can address them and/or you can consider case insulating material.
More information is available in our Frequently Asked Questions regarding which computer parts to Replace First in order to quiet your PC.
#2 When planning your Quiet PC, Buy Smart.
When everything else is equal, buy a motherboard that has a heatsink instead of a motherboard fan. If two video cards are basically the same, buy the video card that has the heatsink instead of a video card fan or fans. However, if the particular motherboard or video card you had your eye on didn't come with a heatsink, but instead came with a fan, you can easily replace that noisy fan. Those small fans actually tend to be quite noisy because of the turbulence produced when a lot of air is pushed through a small area. Consider using a Zalman silent video fan to replace that noisy video card fan. Consider a Zalman motherboard heatsink to replace the motherboard northbridge chipset fan.
#3 Establish Proper Cooling in your Quiet PC.
Make sure your computer doesn't overheat in the search for a Quiet PC.
- Establish a good airflow pattern. See our computer cooling page for more information.
- Use the right products for your computer.
Generally, we don't suggest that customers alter an existing product themselves to make it run slower (quieter). Standard computer parts are not designed to cool sufficiently without the same airflow.
If you are an overclocker or just a do-it-yourselfer that likes to experiment, just keep in mind that running a product outside of its specifications is an at-your-own-risk procedure.
All of our quiet CPU coolers have specifications on their product pages which indicate which cpus they are designed for. These products will silently cool your CPU sufficiently when installed properly.
- Consider hardware monitoring.
Many new motherboards include hardware monitoring which enable you to track your CPU's internal temperature at all times.
- Consider products that boost the ability of your PC to cool itself, including quiet case fans, rounded cables, or a case such as the P183 which provides superior cooling by the upper and lower chamber structure to isolate power supply heat from the rest of your components.
#4 Buy High Quality computer silencing products
As PCs get faster and faster and computer parts get noisier and noisier, almost every computer cooling company is jumping on the quiet computer bandwagon. This doesn't mean that every "quiet" CPU fan or "quiet" power supply is created equal. The parts we carry are highly specialized and are "silent" or "ultra quiet". All of our parts run less than 33 decibels, most of our parts run at 20 decibels or lower, some of our parts are absolutely silent (they have no moving parts). In addition to the specifications given to us by manufacturers all parts we carry withstand our Quiet PC test as we use all parts we carry in the highly regarded Quiet PCs which we build. We have chosen each and every quiet computing part we sell because it is the best solution for that particular computer noise problem.
There are many products that we have tried, but have not decided to sell because:
- We couldn't honestly tell our customers they were the highest quality quiet computer parts available.
- They were overly difficult to work with.
- The price tag was too high in relationship to the benefit they provided.
#5 QUIET YOUR PC BY STOPPING THE NOISE AT THE SOURCE.
It is far more efficient to stop PC noise at the source of the noise rather than try and cover up the noise.
This is true both in terms of how well you can stop PC noise, and in terms of how convenient the process is. Trying to cover up the PC noise by adding sound proofing measures such as installing quiet case insulation, placing your computer in an insulating box, or putting your computer in a closet, is less effective, less convenient, and more costly than replacing the offending parts with reasonable quiet alternatives. Usually you can replace 3-4 parts and have a computer, which is nearly impossible to hear without putting your ear within a few inches of your PC.
Case insulation is a great idea, and may just provide you with that little bit of an edge when it comes to silencing your computer. Keep in mind, however, that insulating your computer won't decrease computer noise as well as replacing the offending parts. Additionally, installation of computer insulating material at times can be both time-consuming and tricky, and can increase the temperature inside your computer case.
Fan vibration isolators, rubber grommets, and noise dampening quiet computer feet are also great noise dampening touches which work well in unearthing every last source of noise in your quiet PC.