Quiet PCs - how much noise does a PSU make?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Peter Parker, Mar 17, 2002.

  1. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Although my PC isn't obtrusive when a film is playing, I was thinking of trying to quieten it down a bit.

    The CPU fan seems very noisy due to its high speed, but case fans and the PSU don't seem to make much noise at all.

    I was looking at the 'quiet PC' stuff, and PSUs are very expensive (£45), and after having just taken mine apart, all I can see is a 4inch case fan. Admitted, the PSU itself might generate some noise, but surely the fan makes the most?

    So, if I replace the PSU fan with a 'quiet' one, shouldn't that be enough?

    Also, in peoples opinions, how would you list the noisiest components in order of noisiest?

    i.e. :

    CPU
    PSU
    Case fan
    DVD drive
    Hard drive

    I haven't tried them all myself, so that is just guess work. How much noise does a hard drive make for instance?

    Also, who has significantly reduced the noise in their htpcs without spending loads of money on doing it?

    My desktop PC (1.2ghz TBird) generates about 55db of noise and it only has one case fan, CPU fan and a PSU with a fan, as well as a HD and a DVD (not accessing at the time). The reading was taken from about midway up the tower case and half a meter away.

    Cheers.

    Gary.
     
  2. alanrob

    alanrob
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    Pop over to www.overclockers.co.uk
    They have a great selection of PSU and fans that might help you out.
    They also have a very good forum full of very helpful members (a bit like here :) ).

    There are also other sites that go into how to make a PC quieter - www.quietpc.com being one.

    You'll also find (as I did) that your hard drive makes more noise than anything else inside your PC.
     
  3. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Hi Alanrob - that's interesting you should say that.

    Do the hard drive sound proof cases make a lot of difference then?

    I've decided to get a quiet CPU fan and a quiet 4inch case fan for the PSU. I'm going to monitor the PSU and see what sort of temps it runs at, and then replace the fan with the quiet one and see if there's any difference in temp.

    I'll also take some sound readings before and after to see if there's any real drop in sound levels.

    Anyone know how to get a PSU to turn on without it being connected to a mobo? I'd like to do some out of the case tests to see what difference a case fan does to air flow and noise levels

    Cheers.

    Gary.
     
  4. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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    The Seagate Barracuda IV range of IDE drives are virtually silent. They come in 20, 40, 60 and 80GB capacities. They are widely available from the likes of Dabs, Simply and Insight.

    I have a 40GB Barracuda in my HTPC, and I cannot hear it at all. All the other components are silent/quiet, so it's not as if they are drowning the hard drive noise. The PSU, case fan and CPU fan are from Quiet PC. The graphics card is a fanless Radeon 7200 and the DVD Drive is a LiteOn LTD-163 (1x speed when playing DVDs).

    The PC is quiet, but not silent. The CPU fan is the most audible, then the PSU fan. However, it's quieter the the projector which is the Panny AE100 (30dBs).

    --- Dave
     
  5. tomson

    tomson
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    I recently installed an 80GB Seagate Barracuda in my mac - its really quiet (and very fast) . Too bad the case fan sounds like a plane taking off :(
     
  6. miro

    miro
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    I am currently designing a HTPC and have done a lot of research. So far I've come to the following conclusions...

    Dave is right with his choice. The Seagate Baracuda IVs are 21dB at idle and 24dB when busy. The human hearing lower limit is 25dB. Bonus!

    The ATI 7200 is fanless but obsolete. Buy now at £65-75! Otherwise, the 7500 which has a fan. Maybe a modification could be made?

    DVD, Dave again. I have the Liteon 163D and its quiet.

    PSU, try the Zalman ST300BLP 300W silent at £63 from chillblast. Or quietpc.com Ultra Quiet PSU 300W for £63.45.

    CPU, the Zalman CNPS6000-Cu FlowerCooler for £35 at overclockers.co.uk

    ...we have to spend some pennies to get a quiet pc.

    Miro.
     
  7. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I had some supermat pink sound deadening insulation slabs left from the HT room insulation, cut those to size and sealed in black bin liners with selotape.

    One slab behind the plastic front from just above the bottom front air inlet, up to below the floppy opening.

    One inch tall bit in the bottom 5 1/4 inch blank up-to the DVD rom.
    One above the DVD drive at the front, joining a slab along the top of the case to over the PSU.

    One large L shaped bit over the expansion cards up-to the ATX cpu location, probably increases air-flow speed past the ATI Radeon DDR, over the Celeron 1GHz into the Enermax Whisper temperature sensitive dual fan 350W PSU EG365P-VE.

    The pc's easily quieter than the Barco 808s and about the level of a Playstation 2!

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  8. Griggsy

    Griggsy
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    Miro,

    Check out the following

    link

    for instructions on a graphics card mod. It seems to be an ATI card on the site, not sure if it is a 7500 though.

    Regards,
     
  9. miro

    miro
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    Thanks for the link Griggsy, I don't know how I missed that!

    The card looks like a 8500 series with a few different capacitors.

    BTW, I can't find any reference to the 7200 being obsolete. Looks like I've listened to a bit of misinformation from a contributer somewhere.

    Miro.
     
  10. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Here are my results:

    HTPC output at 0.5m and idle: 45db approx

    With radial cooler quiet fan (£20 + vat) 45db approx

    Replace PSU fan (same as case fan) with a Papst Quiet Fan (£14 + vat) and cut away grill: less than 40db.

    With DVD playing: 42db.

    I think the reason the CPU replacement fan didn't make much difference was because the other components were noisier. When replacing the PSU fan the result was more noted than had it been done first.

    Seagate Barracuda drives are now very quiet, and as I have to replace the HD in the HTPC, I'll get a 40 gig one for it. I've currently got the hard drive to shut down after 3mins of non use so as to reduce any unwanted noise.

    The noisiest component is the DVD drive when playing, so I'm wondering who has a recommendation for a DVD drive that is very quiet, reliable and region free (or hackable with a firmware upgrade).

    Cheers.

    Gary.
     
  11. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Seagate Barracuda drive is very quiet, as is the Liteon LTD163 DVD drive. I got them both from ebuyer.com.

    PC is very very quiet now, so quiet that my Davis pj sounds noisy instead. :)

    I'll have to take some db readings again soon...

    Gary.
     
  12. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hi Gary,
    I'm curious can the Liteon LTD163 DVD be made region free?

    Rob.
     
  13. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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    The ltd-163 can be made region free. See here for details.

    http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/dvd/dvdfi.htm

    You don't have to update the firmware; instead you just run a utility (from DOS) which switches the mode (I guess by writing to a single location in FLASH). You need to do this just once. It works on my LTD-163.

    I'm not sure about LTD-163D, which seems to be more common now. The above website reports it works on these drives to.

    --- Dave
     
  14. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Hi Rob,

    I used the R1211 utility to make my 163D region free. I got mine from: the same place Hoglet reccomended.

    Use DVD Genie to check that it has worked OK, but make sure you don't have Region Killer running at the same time. I did and couldn't work out why the utility didn't work... :)

    In fact it had, but Region Killer was making DVD Genie 'see' a region 2 locked drive.

    Disabling RK and rebooting with no region switching program, then running Genie showed the drive to be region free.

    It's quiet, and plays nicely. It also plays Toy Story 2 which my Pioneer 104s had trouble with.

    HTH

    Gary
     
  15. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I looked on ebuyer and noticed it's only abour £46, but a tray loader.

    One of the things about the Pioneer 106s DVD I like is the slot loading, as I have the HTPC in a mini-tower case on it's side.

    I think I'll revisit this after I've had Roland's fan mod on my Barco 808s.

    thanks,
    Rob.
     
  16. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Hi Rob,

    I was initialy after the 106s because I knew it could be made region free (like my 104s) and by using the slow down software, made to run slower/quieter.

    I read over at avsforum that someone had got the Liteon and it was quieter than the 106s even after using the slow down trick. That and the fact I had been waiting over a month for it to come into stock at the online place I'd ordered it from, made the Liteon a better option.

    I ordered the 106 because it appeared to be in stock but wasn't told taht until two weeks later (supposed to be 3 day delivery too) so I wasn't too pleased at having to keep waiting for it to become 'in stock'. They had also debited my credit card on the day I'd placed the order which was a bit naughty as well.

    Pity about you needing it to support sideways loading, as it seems like a good drive so far.

    Gary.
     

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