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Where to start cutting PC noise - fans & controllers

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Triggaaar, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I'm slightly jumping the gun, as I haven't yet switched my PC on (most parts arrived today, so it's not quite ready). While I won't know how loud I find it until it's built and is in location, I'd like an idea if there are a couple of things I should do while building the PC, rather trying to fix later.

    My PC will go under the stairs, so doesn't have to be silent, but I don't want the loud buzz that I get from my old PC.

    The case fans I got are 120mm, but case takes 80mm, so I need to order some, and I thought I'd look at other options at the same time (ie, PSU fans, CPU fans & fan controller).

    PSU - 600W Enermax Noisetaker
    CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3500 with retail heat sink and fan
    GC - 128MB Gigabyte GV NX66T128VP - GF6600GT (fanless)
    HD - 2 * 300Gb Seagate Barracuda

    Questions:
    1) Should I get 3 or 4 80mm case fans, and is it worth paying double for silenx?
    I was thinking of 3/4 80mm case fans. The motherboard only has 3 fan connections available, so I don't know if I can have 4 (2 in, 2 out, as per case design) - do I just connect 1 or more directly to the PSU?
    Fans I've considered are Akasa 20dba 1800rpm 25.4cfm & Silenx 14dba 2200rpm 28cfm (obviously better, but £40 for 4, vs £20).

    2) Should I consider replacing the PSU fans?
    I understand the PSU is relatively quiet, so I'm hoping I don't need to replace it's fans.

    3) Should I get a new CPU heatsink and fan?
    I assume most of the noise will be from the bundled CPU heatsink/fan, so maybe a better one should be on my list.

    4) Should I get a fan controller for the case fans (or is 4 fans at 14dba fairly quiet when in a cupboard)? If so, which one?

    Many thanks :thumbsup:
     
  2. dan1979

    dan1979
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    What makes you think you need 3/4 case fans? That's a lot of fans and really over the top. 2 at most would suffice, one at the front to draw cold air in and one at the back to put hot air out. Companies like Dell manage to make quiet PC's without any case fans.

    I used to have multiple case fans which gave out a lot of noise (even though they were all 20db fans), my CPU was about 5/6 deg. lower but so what all that maters is it runs stable which it does - now I go for as few fans as possible.

    Bundled fans can often give a high pitched wine - obviously some may be better than others, it's something I'd probably change though.
     
  3. The Dude

    The Dude
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    Hi,

    I use the Akasa 80mm case fans and you can't hear them, I'd say the SilenX are probably overkill at that price.. To be honest, I think you're overdoing things too.. My case is fully soundproofed, and packed, and I only use two akasa's both pulling from the back of the case, IMO as long as you're getting the hot air out of the case, you'll likely have no problems.

    For the CPU, i use the Scythe Kamakaze (I think you would want the samurai for your Cpu), it has a variable speed controller and shifts tons of air if you do crank it up, and is still much quiter than a standard cpu cooler.. It's a big beast though... make sure you can fit one in your case if you like them.. ;)
     
  4. rdhir

    rdhir
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    I agree on the 3/4 fans. That's overkill for your system.

    You do not need to discard your 120mm fans. Either dremel your case if there is space and you don't mind, ir use a 80 to 120 mm adapter, which allows you to mount the fan outside using a duct. See below (not a recommendation - just to show you what you need)

    http://www.whispertec.com/accessories-fan.html

    Secondly yes you can get a fan controller as often the CPU fan is the biggest noise, but if your motherboard supports it turn on Cool n Quiet. This will slow down the CPU, when it is not busy. If find this can virtually silence PCs using Athlon's. You may need a BIOS update and will need to install the driver, you can get this from AMD if you can't get it from your motherboard manufacturer.

    Thirdly before you install anything your PSU is monstrous and very surplus. Two hard drives, an Athlon and a 6600 don't require anything like 600W. You could probably manage with 300-350W. 600W is only required with a Pentium 4, SLI 7800 style system, or some other power hungry horror. This could generate a lot of noise.

    Remember the PSU has to get rid of the excess heat, so the less watts , the less heat. You could even contemplate a fanless one, but then you need to make sure the case fans are on.

    Regarding your case, I would try it with one fan, at the back venting, if there are plenty of unobstructed vents. then add a second drawing in air at the front if it still seems to hot. If you have a vent above the CPU fan then you may get away with no fans. I have found that sometimes, one can get better results with blowing in the back if you have a PSU which has a fan to draw air as well, depends on the physical configuration. I suggest you experiment as you build.

    Use Motherboard Monitor to check your temps, or their might be something with the Cool n Quiet. MBM is better as you can monitor HD temps as well. To stress you CPU and produce max temps, use prime95 as your torture test.

    Your Livable max temps are looking for

    CPU <55
    System <48
    HD <52

    That's not to say these will be typical, in a good well ventilated system you should get less.

    Typical with Cool n Quiet and a relatively idle machine

    CPU <35
    System <40
    HD <43

    14dba in a cupboard will be silent. And finally, when your happy with cooling building the system, put it in the cupboard and torture it again so you can be sure that there is enough ventialtion in the cupboard. I for example keep mine in an ikea wardrobe with a lots of holes at the back made with a 50mm hole cutter. Actually, I keep 3 PCs, 2 inkjets, 1 laser, 2 printer serves, 1 adsl modem, 1 switch, plus all my various charging bricks for cameras, psp, mobiles and it copes fine, though I could probably ruin my central heating from it.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  5. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks guys, top info as always.

    The fact that I don't know what I'm doing :)

    I'll get 2 80mm Akasa fans sent over (less than £10, and they're sending me my DVD drive, so no extra postage). If I don't need them both, I won't use them. The 80-120 adapter may work at the rear (not with the PC now), but at the front, there are metal slots for 80mm fans, and 120 simply wouldn't fit (dremmel or not).

    I wanted the extra PSU capability for a few reasons: extra HD in future, pos internal & external), and extra GC for SLi if I every need it. When it's time to upgrade the system, I plan to keep the case & psu.

    I didn't know anything about Cool & Quiet, but with the PC on 24/7, it sounds good. Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe says it supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology. I quote :) 'ASUS Q-Fan technology intelligently adjusts both CPU fan and chassis fan speeds according to system loading to ensure quiet, cool and efficient operation.' How do I activate this facility?

    I read about MBM on here yesterday, and looked at the website. I'll do some searches when the PC is finished.

    Thanks for the temp guide, I had no idea what to look for.

    Cheers guys.
     
  6. rdhir

    rdhir
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    Cooln quiet install here

    http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871_9706,00.html


    Basically the link the second from the bottom for XP. The driver is not a demo, its the dashboard that's a demo ie it shows what can be done. Once installed don't think you have to do anything and you rmachine will mircaulously slow down the fan. Do make sure you plug the fans into the right headers.

    Just so you realise on the PSU, and do be careful on the PSU as not all 600W are really 600W, but I think yours did well in the tomshardware stresstest

    CPU - AMD 64 Max 90-130W depending on model.
    GPUs - Nvidia 120W a card roughly
    Hard disks 20-35W so....

    your total is say a little shy of 300W, but that said a 400W is always good. so with SLI and 4 drives you'd be 500W maybe.

    This is from memory so don't quote me but you can look it up on websites etc.

    Good luck with your PC. As your new can I suggest the following order of play.

    Assemble PC with CPU, Mem, HDs, graphics card only.
    Run memtest overnight in repeat mode. You can just burn it onto a booting CD, it does not need the OS Install. There's plenty of help as to how to do this.
    This proves that your BIOS timings are ok without loading the OS. If you don't do this first then you can think that your OS does not install properly.
    Install OS
    Install Chipset inc Cool n Quiet
    Install Graphics card drivers
    Install MBM
    Run prime95 as a torture test to make sure temps are ok. Run for at least 1 hour at first. Play with your fans till you are happy.
    Run prime 95 overnight/24 hours.
    If everything is ok, finish the install by updating everything from the net and installing everything else.

    Cheers

    Rajiv

    Install OS
    Install any motherboard drivers inc Cool & Quiet.
     
  7. DLPMaybe

    DLPMaybe
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    Just one thing to add to what others have said... If I was starting a build from scratch I would pay particular attention to any fans on the motherboard, CPU and PSU. These are the hardest to upgrade once a system is built if they prove to be noisy. Just from a perspective of having to take most of the system apart to change. GPU fans and case fans can easily be changed after if they are loud.
     
  8. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Cheers Rajiv
    Excellent, thanks. Does the cool n quiet look after case fans and cpu fan?
    I went through the online sites to determine requirements. I think I could've happily used a Tagan 480W, but the Enermax has had top reviews, and I liked the fact it had 2 12v rails. So it's in.
    That's where I'm at now, so I'll just install a CD drive.
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean - I assume the test is for peace of mind, so if the OS does not install properly, you know it's not the memory at fault.

    What's chipset? A range of software?
    I'll search on prime95 - some sort of bench test I assume.


    Cheers - that's why I thought I'd ask if I should buy more fans before I even knew if what I had was ok. Actually the CPU fan & heatsink doesn't seem to difficult to change now it's nearly built.
     
  9. BenW

    BenW
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    I don't have the time at the moment to read the above comments but you're going to get the best (If a little extreme) advice here

    The quietest 120mm fans you'll get are Nexus (Available from KustomPCs) and i asume their 80mm are reasonable too. SilentX are quiet but they tend to have a fair ammount of wind noise from the fans moving through the air.

    I'f you're changing a PSU fan you need to leave the PSU to discharge its cappacitors (Most people leave them a week) and the fans are soldered onto a pcb so you need some basic soldering skills. It is possible to change the fan wire possitions to get it funning at 5v instead of 12V.

    You should look at a new cpu heatsink. The thermalright xp120 coupled with a nexus 120mm fan at 5v (about 700rpm i think) should be sufficient. Can also look at the Scythe Ninja

    I wouldn't bother with a fan controller. Get the nexus running at 12v/7v and you should have a reasonably quiet system.

    The other thing you haven't mentioned is the motherboard chipset cooling. If its got a fan rather than heatsink then it'll probably be the noisiest part of your pc. Try the Zalman ZM-NB47J - Bottom of Page

    Hope that gives you some ideas.
    Ben
     
  10. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I agree about this, I ripped off the chipset fan from my motherboard a few weeks ago and swapped it with an old P200 heatsink which works just fine.

    Even if you don't swap the chipset fan now you should expect to in a year or so as the bearings on these die very quickly. :)
     
  11. BenW

    BenW
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    That'll be because they're 40mm fans running at stupid rpm. Think most of them run at 4000-6000rpm. You can guess how noisy that is
     
  12. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks, good point, hadn't even thought about it. Those Zalman's are cheap enough (although out of stock at the moment). I'll have a look at how easy it is to change tomorrow. Is it definitely the 47mm I need for the Asus motherboard?
     
  13. BenW

    BenW
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    If you've got a fan on there i can almost guarentee you its the loudest component!

    They can be found elsewhere (OverclockersUK i think) but expect it to be ~£5 wherever you look

    I think it fits almost all motherboards.
     
  14. rdhir

    rdhir
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    Chipset drivers are the special drivers that come with the motherboard on the CDROM that was supplied with it, although I always go straight to the website and download the latest.

    They take care of things like IDE, low level bus communication, agp mini port... All very technical, but generally a good idea to install them.

    I just added the stuff on the PSU so that other people reading get a rough idea what to look for. You've made a perfectly reasonable decision, and I did see the PSU was getting good reviews.

    BIOS settings contain amongst other settings the memory timings. nVidia chipsets are a bit sensitive to these timings and its easy to build an UNRELIABLE computer because the memory supplier is being agressive in timings that he has written to the memory (serial presence detect). So the memtest makes sure its all ok before you end up wasting hours. I think this is less of an issue now with 939 as the memory controller is built into the CPU but I still think its worth doing. Look at it as part of your three day burn in.

    Good Luck


    Rajiv
     
  15. Paul Shirley

    Paul Shirley
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    Check the mboard layout carefully before buying, the graphic card slot might prevent adding a chipset heatsink. Its the only fan I can't silence on my MSI board ;(
     
  16. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Well I've assembled the components,but it appears memtest will only run off a bootable CD (not via the OS) with intel. That is according to the website, and I've also tested it, and it works on a P4, but not my AMD. So I've started installing XP, so I can run memtest, and found that when I bought XP on the classifieds, the chap forgot to send me the product key :( - so I'm a bit stuffed at the moment.

    It sure is! The psu is reasonably quiet. The CPU fan average, but the motherboard fan is loud.

    I've already bought, but there appears to be enough room.
     
  17. rdhir

    rdhir
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    As you ar waiting for a product key. You don't need the OS for memtest86 and it works on AMD and Intel as they are compatible.

    To burn a bootable floppy go to this page

    http://www.memtest86.com/#install

    Download the ISO image. Open your CD Rom writing software and select burn image. Some software by default has their own image extension (eg Nero) but if you select all files it will pick it up. Burn the CD and then boot from it, don't forget to set the BIOS if necessary.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  18. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    When I tried this earlier, it didn't work. I set CD drive to bootable, put the CD in and booted, and it prompted me to put a different CD in. I did the same with the Win XP CD, and it worked. I also used the created CD on a different machince (P4) and it worked. Only thing that could have been wrong, is the CD drive I was using in my machine is old, and may have had trouble reading the created disk.

    Anyway, I've temporarily put XP pro on, and am now running memtest. Once done, I'll format the drive and put XP home on.

    Does memtest just keep repeating? How long should I run it for?
     
  19. mjn

    mjn
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    Don't forget 120mm fans are quieter than 80mm fans, and shift more air!

    Also, depending on what case you got, you might want to cut out any fancy metal pattern on the fan holes, as they just create noise!
     
  20. SeanT

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    i have no case fans, a couple of silentdrive enclosures, a temperature controlled psu, zalman northbridge cooler, graphics card cooler running at 5V and a temperature controlled 80mm fan mounted above one of the big cheap ebuyer fanless cpu coolers - my sky+ box is louder than my PC!!! (it has a little thermal padding in it but not much)
     
  21. rdhir

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    How long to memtest

    there are options to get memtest to repeat. Just press the help key when its running. My view is overnight, so that's however long you want that to be - lets say 6h-24h.

    Have fun

    Rajiv
     
  22. OneEleven

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    My motherbaord only has 2 fan headers I used one of these to give me more
    I replaced the stock fan with a Zalman CNPS 7000 - this has a 92mm fan which runs pretty quietly. The CNPS9500 looks mightly impressive. I don't think it's out yet though (and anyway wouldn't fit in my case :thumbsdow
    Zalman fanmate or an Inline resistor will reduce fan speed - I use personally use fanmates as these at least allow adjustment :thumbsup:
    If you can can take 92 or 120 mm fans though I'd fit those. I was also advised to use Panaflo fans to reduce noise by the people I bought my kit off - these made a huge difference in quietening down the system - and airflow flet better too :thumbsup:
    With all that done my system is inaudible when sitting on the sofa :clap:
     
  23. Paul Shirley

    Paul Shirley
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    The nice thing about 12cm fans is you won't really need a speed reducer, I can't tell the difference with or without so leave it running full speed.
     

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