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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 May 1 2003, 02:52
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QUOTE (Annuka @ Apr 23 2003 - 09:04 AM)
QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 19 2003 - 04:43 AM)
The 300W model is $70, and rated at 14dB (almost pure silence).

I have replaced the standard PSU fans with 12 dB pabst fans on a several PSUs. The PSUs are quieter, but nowhere near 12 dB. The turbulence inside the casing makes the fan a lot noisier. Try to reduce turbulence or the new PSU/PSU-fan purchase might be in vain.

The "special" fans used in the SilenX PSU's are rated at 14dB in free air for 12V, but most of the time the fans run at <=5V. Also, the fans reportedly make almost no adverse motor or bearing noise whatsoever, so at low speeds all you hear is the airflow, and not the usual clicking sound most other fans make. And maybe you hear a little turbulence. smile.gif

I think their PSU's used to be straight-up Fortron mods, but they now get custom-designed PSU's from Fortron (bigger heatsinks, higher temperature tolerances perhaps). So most PSU's might not fare as well with such a slow fan. For typical PSU's that need a higher-speed fan, attaching the fan to the outside of the PSU (to reduce air turbulence) is a good idea.

Speaking of PSU's, my Antec 400W burned out (again). My first one (unmodded) lasted 5 months, and this one (an RMA replacement that I did modify) lasted 11 months. And this time the ATX connector melted to my motherboard, so I need to solder a new 20-pin connector to the motherboard. I worked discreetly when I did my PSU fan mod, so I swapped the old fan back in and sent the PSU back to Antec. I hope they give me another replacement. smile.gif
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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
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 17 2003 - 03:58 PM)I have an...   Apr 18 2003, 17:32
- - JEN   How do I find out which Athlon XP 1900+ I have?   Apr 18 2003, 20:49
- - 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
- - CiTay   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 19 2003 - 11:14 AM)there is ...   Apr 19 2003, 14:12
- - SometimesWarrior   QUOTE (CiTay @ Apr 19 2003 - 06:12 AM)QUOTE (...   Apr 20 2003, 05:25
- - 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
- - CiTay   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 23 2003 - 12:14 PM)Is this t...   Apr 23 2003, 13:24
- - spoon   QUOTE So, my question is, if I leave the vcore @ 1...   Apr 23 2003, 14:54
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- - Annuka   QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 19 2003 - 04:43...   Apr 23 2003, 17:04
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- - CiTay   QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 26 2003 - 06:22 PM)Is the Se...   Apr 26 2003, 17:48
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- - 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
- - ff123   Today I put isolating screws on my case fan, and s...   May 1 2003, 06:03
- - Delirium   QUOTE (ff123 @ Apr 30 2003 - 10:03 PM)Today I...   May 1 2003, 06:08
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