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"Silent audio computer", ...how to build a pc for music listening
NumLOCK
post Feb 24 2003, 09:57
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Hi all,

What about sharing our personal experiences with building silent, flexible home audio/entertainment devices? wink.gif
This was my first time - and the choice of components was not easy ! Very often, you can't have both speed and silence. Here's what I did.

I've just built a PC on a following basis:
- ABIT KD7-E mainboard (VIA KT333 chipset / allows cpu multiplier setting / voltage lowering in BIOS / down to 1.1V in 0.025V increments).
- AMD Thoroughbred 2000+ 1.65V cpu (multiplier is unlocked out-of-the-box).
- flower CPU heatsink -- it rocks: depending on cpu voltage, there's no need for a fan !!
- 256MB of cheap PC266 ddr sdram
- nice black midi-tower case without PSU.
- special, ultra-quiet 300W PSU
- 7200RPM, 80GB WD HDD
- ATI Radeon 9000pro with VGA, DVI- and TV-out

The following components were modified:
- cpu was underclocked and heavily under-volted (running as 1500+ @ 1.2V). Can also run ~1200MHz @ 1.1V.
- Radeon 9000 pro was modified for passive cooling
- northbridge fan of the motherboard was replaced with passive cooling solution.
- HDD was put in silent 5 1/4'' acoustic armor.
- the case was stuffed with custom acoustic damping material.

The special components were mostly Zalman stuff, found on:
- http://www.quietpc.com/cpucool2.php (CPU flower cooler)
- http://www.quietpc.com/psu.html (silent PSU)
- http://www.quietpc.com/silentdrive.html (HDD armor)
- http://www.quietpc.com/vgamb.php (VGA and M/B heatsinks).

Results:
- there are two fans in the system (PSU & CPU), one of which can be deactivated.
- runs smoothly at 1500+, 1.2V, ~40 Celsius with big, silent 600RPM fan to blow some air into the case (no fan is fine also: ~42-55 Celsius depending on cpu voltage).
- pc is near-silent (just about "undetectable" from 30cm distance).

Additional thoughts:
- I'll add a soundcard and a LAN card (no fans, so no problem)
- I'm still hesitating about what DVD-rom drive I'll put in there.
- I've put the 7200RPM HDD because that's all I had.. but maybe I'll replace it with a 5400RPM (or lower) one.
- operating system not chosen yet.

Epilogue / What I learned:
- I'm VERY satisfied with this silent PC.
- In the future I'll be careful about the noise when buying components for other pc's.
- There's no way I'd buy a GeForce FX (think noise..)
- Silent machines need more expensive cooling components, but I think it's really worth it !

This post has been edited by NumLOCK: Feb 24 2003, 11:01


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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 20 2003, 06:00
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QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 19 2003 - 02:14 AM)
QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 19 2003 - 04:05 AM)
...A better way wink.gif is to get a hardware monitoring program, such as Motherboard Monitor, and find out what "VCore" voltage is being used by the processor. If the processor is using 1.75V or something like that, it's a Palomino. If it's 1.5V, it's a Thoroughbred (A or B, you can't tell which at this point)...

I have speedfan installed on my system. Looking at the bottom of speedfan, it displays VCORE = 1.75. Does this mean I have a Palomino?

Yup, you have a Palomino. Which means it'll run a bit hotter, but that doesn't mean you should lose hope, it just means you might lose another 100MHz trying to run it totally silent. wink.gif

QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 19 2003 - 02:14 AM)
I read the bit about modding the PSU fan and placing it outside of the case.  I have I question, What is the recommended temperature of the PSU?

That's a tough question, because much of it depends on where you put the thermal sensor to measure the temperature. But my guideline is: warm air coming from the PSU fan is okay, hot air is a bad sign. One way to ensure cool air from the PSU (hence a slower fan) is to duct cool air from the front of the case (maybe I said this already): Pop open the top 5 1/4 drive bay and use some cardboard to guide it to the front of the PSU, and making sure it blocks the air from mixing with the rest of the case. The idea is to separate the PSU from the rest of the case so the PSU has its own cool air supply. You will need to block any vents that are facing the CPU.

QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 19 2003 - 02:14 AM)
Other questions

1.  RubberBands!  How/where are they supposed to be used.  How about plasterceen,  would that be a better alternative?

Don't use normal rubber bands (like I did)... they'll become brittle, and whatever they're holding will eventually fall. I tied a few rubber bands together and ran them through some holes at the bottom of the 5 1/4 drive bays, then slung my HD through them. This makes the HD much quieter, but not quiet enough. I plan on replacing the rubber bands with some kind of enclosure soon, hopefully before the bands break.

QUOTE
2.  I currently have a 350W PSU powering:
 
  1xHDD
  2xCDD
  1x92mm fan

I want to buy the Silent PC 300W PSU + additional fans:

  1xHDD
  2xCDD
  4x92mm fans with 5-1/4 fan speed controller to control all 4 fans

Fan layout.  I will be modding the case.  1 fan at the top of the case blowing hot air out.  2 fans on the side of the case blowing air in, 1 pointing towards the GPU and the other pointing towards the HDD.  and the final fan (which I already have) pointing at the flower heatsink!

Is this a good layout for maximum airflow with big/quiet/slow speed fans?

You might be able to do away with one of the side fans; one fan could supply enough air. Or you can use no fans on the side and just build a duct for the CPU/GPU fans.

QUOTE
will 300W PSU be enough power to power all this?

300W will almost definitely be enough.

QUOTE
All 4 fans will be the 92mm quiet fans from quietpc.  they will be controller by a 5 1/4 4xfan controller with all fans running at there slowest!

If you plan to have all fans running at the slowest possible speed, you could save some cash and just modify your fan connectors to feed the fans 5V instead of 12V (see the bottom of this page).
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Posts in this topic
- NumLOCK   "Silent audio computer"   Feb 24 2003, 09:57
- - Hanky   Sorry but I have no knowledge at all on this, but ...   Feb 24 2003, 10:05
- - NumLOCK   I haven't tried water cooling, it should be fi...   Feb 24 2003, 10:12
- - rc55   @Hanky: I don't meant to be rude, but if you d...   Feb 24 2003, 10:28
- - wdekler   @Numlock You can get your money PSU back if you wa...   Feb 24 2003, 10:38
- - NumLOCK   QUOTE (rc55 @ Feb 24 2003 - 10:28 AM)@Numlock...   Feb 24 2003, 10:43
- - NumLOCK   QUOTE (wdekler @ Feb 24 2003 - 10:38 AM)@Numl...   Feb 24 2003, 10:58
- - AiZ   Hello everybody, As long as your hard drive suppo...   Feb 24 2003, 11:02
- - niktheblak   The following are some of my personal experiences ...   Feb 24 2003, 11:24
- - NumLOCK   @AiZ At least for my HDD, the most "disturbi...   Feb 24 2003, 11:39
- - Gabriel   I think that electrical tape means the IDE/floppy ...   Feb 24 2003, 11:45
- - niktheblak   Sorry, I didn't know the exact english express...   Feb 24 2003, 11:52
- - NumLOCK   I see.. it seems to be that ugly kind of red tape...   Feb 24 2003, 12:03
- - Annuka   I managed to silence my workstation some months ag...   Feb 24 2003, 12:06
- - n68   yup... i don`t belive in quieting each compo...   Feb 24 2003, 12:16
- - dgover2   Just a couple of notes, don't know if they wil...   Feb 24 2003, 12:24
- - KikeG   QUOTE (n68 @ Feb 24 2003 - 12:16 PM)i don...   Feb 24 2003, 12:58
- - NumLOCK   QUOTE (dgover2 @ Feb 24 2003 - 12:24 PM)Now i...   Feb 24 2003, 13:54
- - niktheblak   QUOTE (NumLOCK @ Feb 24 2003 - 01:03 PM)I see...   Feb 24 2003, 14:04
- - userXYZ   I can recommend the following components out of my...   Feb 24 2003, 14:33
- - DonP   A former employer set up the training rooms with m...   Feb 24 2003, 14:59
- - NumLOCK   QUOTE (DonP @ Feb 24 2003 - 02:59 PM)A former...   Feb 24 2003, 15:09
- - Kim_C   Here's a review of fanless ProSilence 350 PSU....   Feb 24 2003, 15:14
- - fileman   Hello everybody, I'm using a water cooled sys...   Feb 24 2003, 15:18
- - GeSomeone   QUOTE (AiZ @ Feb 24 2003 - 11:02 AM)As long a...   Feb 24 2003, 17:56
- - aabxx   I would say my solution is as good as it gets.. my...   Feb 24 2003, 18:11
- - Artemis3   This is only a reminder: Hard Disks and CD Drives ...   Feb 24 2003, 18:36
- - niktheblak   QUOTE (Artemis3 @ Feb 24 2003 - 07:36 PM)This...   Feb 24 2003, 23:25
- - Patsoe   QUOTE (aabxx @ Feb 24 2003 - 06:11 PM)I would...   Feb 25 2003, 00:48
- - ff123   I'm going to upgrading my system in the coming...   Feb 25 2003, 03:27
- - DonP   QUOTE (NumLOCK @ Feb 24 2003 - 06:09 AM)lengt...   Feb 25 2003, 03:59
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (ff123 @ Feb 24 2003 - 06:27 PM)4. NVid...   Feb 25 2003, 07:30
- - SometimesWarrior   My current dual-XP1600+ machine is so noisy I can ...   Feb 25 2003, 07:45
- - ff123   QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Feb 24 2003 - 10:30...   Feb 25 2003, 08:10
- - Continuum   QUOTE (aabxx @ Feb 24 2003 - 06:11 PM)If this...   Feb 25 2003, 08:19
- - KikeG   QUOTE (ff123 @ Feb 25 2003 - 03:27 AM)1. Athl...   Feb 25 2003, 09:25
- - Gabriel   Hard drive considerations: A current 7200rpm driv...   Feb 25 2003, 09:31
- - Gabriel   Just found this Fanless heatsink with fluid inside...   Feb 25 2003, 09:47
- - arman68   QUOTE (Gabriel @ Feb 25 2003 - 08:31 AM)A goo...   Feb 25 2003, 09:48
- - Gabriel   PII, PIII and PPro were unable to automatically th...   Feb 25 2003, 10:15
- - Patsoe   In light of the fact that were talking audio compu...   Feb 25 2003, 14:35
- - Trelane   Nobody's mentioned laptops yet! My PC (wh...   Feb 25 2003, 15:27
- - NumLOCK   I have a japanese Panasonic T1 laptop which has no...   Feb 25 2003, 16:45
- - SometimesWarrior   Sorry for resurrecting the thread, but this site i...   Mar 6 2003, 15:32
- - JEN   OK... I have decided to join in with the cat theme...   Apr 10 2003, 20:36
- - Joseph   http://www.alienware.com has some pretty small li...   Apr 10 2003, 21:37
- - atici   I recently discovered something which I liked a lo...   Apr 10 2003, 21:46
- - cd-rw.org   I think I will switch from this server cased behem...   Apr 10 2003, 22:26
- - CiTay   QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 10:46 PM)I recen...   Apr 10 2003, 22:46
- - ff123   QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 12:46 PM)I recen...   Apr 11 2003, 02:40
- - atici   Yeah I know I think the usual brute force soluti...   Apr 11 2003, 02:56
- - fewtch   I think I'll be transplanting my PC to a new c...   Apr 11 2003, 03:03
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (fewtch @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:03 PM)I thin...   Apr 11 2003, 03:34
- - wynlyndd   I was reading somewhere about how two fans placed ...   Apr 11 2003, 03:44
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 06:56 PM)BTW do ...   Apr 11 2003, 03:46
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (wynlyndd @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:44 PM)I wa...   Apr 11 2003, 03:54
- - DonP   One of the guys on a US tv show "The Screensa...   Apr 11 2003, 04:14
- - ff123   QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 10 2003 - 06:46...   Apr 11 2003, 04:25
- - atici   I don't understand. When I first boot my compu...   Apr 11 2003, 04:39
- - fileman   I upgraded again (in cooling, not in power ;-) Th...   Apr 11 2003, 05:12
- - ff123   QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:39 PM)I don...   Apr 11 2003, 05:40
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 10 2003 - 08:14 PM)One of t...   Apr 11 2003, 06:03
- - 12345   It's wonderful to se people put dollars, ...   Apr 11 2003, 08:07
- - JEN   QUOTE (12345 @ Apr 11 2003 - 08:07 AM)It...   Apr 11 2003, 13:48
- - DonP   QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 11 2003 - 12:03...   Apr 11 2003, 14:42
- - CiTay   QUOTE (ff123 @ Apr 11 2003 - 03:40 AM)Wow, th...   Apr 11 2003, 14:43
- - KikeG   QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 11 2003 - 02:42 PM)Most of ...   Apr 11 2003, 14:59
- - DonP   QUOTE (KikeG @ Apr 11 2003 - 08:59 AM)Anyway,...   Apr 11 2003, 16:02
- - KikeG   See my previous edit.   Apr 11 2003, 16:12
- - Patsoe   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 11 2003 - 01:48 PM)Interesti...   Apr 11 2003, 16:21
- - JEN   QUOTE (Patsoe @ Apr 11 2003 - 04:21 PM)QUOTE ...   Apr 11 2003, 17:58
- - DonP   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 11 2003 - 11:58 AM)So, maybe...   Apr 11 2003, 18:44
- - JEN   I just installed the Silent Drive Housing for the ...   Apr 17 2003, 16:02
- - JEN   I have an xp1900+. I tried unlocking it some time...   Apr 17 2003, 23:58
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- - Delirium   I'm a bit late on this thread, but I'll ad...   Apr 19 2003, 02:53
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (Delirium @ Apr 18 2003 - 06:53 PM)On t...   Apr 19 2003, 03:43
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 18 2003 - 12:49 PM)How do I ...   Apr 19 2003, 04:05
- - JEN   QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 19 2003 - 04:05...   Apr 19 2003, 10:14
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- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 19 2003 - 02:14 AM)QUOTE (So...   Apr 20 2003, 06:00
- - JEN   Thanks for all the advice everyone especialy Somet...   Apr 20 2003, 10:20
- - JEN   What would be better? 1. modding the PSU with 2 s...   Apr 21 2003, 21:27
- - CiTay   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 21 2003 - 10:27 PM)1. moddin...   Apr 21 2003, 22:13
- - JEN   QUOTE (CiTay @ Apr 21 2003 - 10:13 PM)QUOTE R...   Apr 23 2003, 11:14
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- - spoon   QUOTE So, my question is, if I leave the vcore @ 1...   Apr 23 2003, 14:54
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- - CiTay   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 26 2003 - 06:22 PM)Is the Se...   Apr 26 2003, 17:48
- - ff123   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 26 2003 - 08:22 AM)Is the Se...   Apr 26 2003, 17:52
- - JEN   I am planning on making a CPU exhaust duct to the ...   Apr 30 2003, 23:22
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 30 2003 - 03:22 PM)As the ca...   May 1 2003, 02:35
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (Annuka @ Apr 23 2003 - 09:04 AM)QUOTE ...   May 1 2003, 02:52
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- - Delirium   QUOTE (ff123 @ Apr 30 2003 - 10:03 PM)Today I...   May 1 2003, 06:08
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