"Silent" PC, who's interested or done it?

Gnome

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,931
So I hate noisy PC's. I've been building quiet PCs for a while now but every time I build a new one I try to better my previous build. I've done 5 quiet PCs so far.

Thought I'd get some input from others, and post my latest build for those whom are interested. I'll update the thread once I'm done and tell you how it performs and how quiet it is ;)

Please remember the objectives of this project in order of importance are:
1) Low noise
2) Performance
3) Looks

So firstly the components I bought:
Gigabyte P55A UD3
Intel i5 750 CPU
G.Skill Ripjaws PC12800 CL7-7-7-24-2N 1600Mhz Memory
Sapphire Ultimate HD5670 1GB
Thermalright HR-02
Nexus 120mm D12SL-12 fans x2
Cooler Master Sileo 510
Cooler Master Silent Pro M600
Western Digital Green Power 500GB

I also bought 2 sheets of Targa T-Mat (R150 per sheet), yes that is sound deadening meant for cars, for those who don't know, and did up the case.

Btw. I chose the Cooler Master Sileo because I like basic sober looking cases and it only had 2 fans. These super bad-ass 7 fan cases may be great for gaming but in terms of noise they are the worst option. Naturally finding cases that meet the requirement of low noise is fairly difficult in SA and on a budget, the Sileo 510 was the best I could do.

After I added the Targa T-Mat this is what it looks like, I did up every panel but only took pictures of the mayor areas:
The side panels coated on the inside:


The inside, front:


The inside, back:


So the important question: Does it make a difference? Not sure yet, I can tell you one thing, before I did it when I "ticked" the panels they made a metallic pining noise, now it just makes a soft dull thud. Case also weighs about twice as much as it did!

Finally I'm also suspending the hard-drive as follows:
Click

This I can testify makes a huge different, I've been doing it for a couple of builds now, the difference is day and night in terms of noise. Naturally you already need a computer that is nearly silent (which I do), else the fan noise will drown out the hard-drive noise.

Lastly the CPU sits right up against the exhaust fan, so I don't have a fan on the CPU. I only have the 2x Case fans and PSU fan. Tests by reviewers show only 5 degree temperature drop by putting a fan on the CPU, considering I'm not going to overclock I think the heat sink is more than enough.

Please feel free to comment ;)
 

Archer

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
21,409
3 suggestions - use Scythe gentletyphoons for your fans, they produce 37CFM @ 1100rpm with 16dBA noise levels. Its only 2 dBA but hey, it is better. You could also get the 1800 rpm version then control it via the motherboard, only spinning up when it gets really hot. You could even limit it to never go at 100% if you really dont want noise. Second, why not use rubber grommets for your hard drives? Seems much easier than that wire setup, and easier to take out/install if needed. You can also use the rubber grommets to mount your fans to help reduce vibrations.

Otherwise you've pretty much got is as quiet as it will get. I dont have personal experience but water cooling should get you better results as well. Only thing you could do to make it 100% silent is seal your case and fill it with a non conducting fluid.
 

Gnome

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,931
3 suggestions - use Scythe gentletyphoons for your fans, they produce 37CFM @ 1100rpm with 16dBA noise levels. Its only 2 dBA but hey, it is better. You could also get the 1800 rpm version then control it via the motherboard, only spinning up when it gets really hot. You could even limit it to never go at 100% if you really dont want noise. Second, why not use rubber grommets for your hard drives? Seems much easier than that wire setup, and easier to take out/install if needed. You can also use the rubber grommets to mount your fans to help reduce vibrations.

Otherwise you've pretty much got is as quiet as it will get. I dont have personal experience but water cooling should get you better results as well. Only thing you could do to make it 100% silent is seal your case and fill it with a non conducting fluid.
I read some reviews, the Nexus is rated for 13dB by independent source (Silent PC Review) at lowest setting and 16dB at 9v. They were the recommended but those scythe were also highly recommended. Just couldn't get them locally ;)

http://www.acoustiproducts.com/en/acoustipack_antecson.asp

I used the above which I got about 6yrs ago. Worked well but the foam started disintegrating a while back so i had to pull all off it out again. Also used silicone gaskets on on most screw fastened components.
The fans I got come with silicon tabs instead of screws. I was also thinking about AcoustiPack but it is more expensive. Glad I didn't after you say it disintegrated.

The Targa T-Mat is meant for car environment, it's a rubber substance and aluminium, highly doubt it'd disintegrate. Guy I bought it from says he's got some in his race cars engine bay. Doesn't smell like anything, and at first I thought it would be messy but it's actually just soft rubber with a glue on it. Doesn't make a mess at all. Cutting and measuring took a while tho. To do the entire case probably took around 3 hours, everything was carefully measured using a ruler and cut using a hobby/utility knife.

Lastly I'll say this, not sure if the foam actually made the panels very heavy but this stuff makes the panels very heavy, entire case feels incredibly sturdy now when I press down on it

I find the noisiest component is usually the Graphics card. Get a fan controller like this one so you can turn the dial down on all the fans.
http://www.prophecy.co.za/deepcool-rockman-control-p-38776.html
Yeah, I've done that before, even fitted a huge Thermalright cooler on 2 builds ago, but this time just went passive.
 
Last edited:

nakedpeanut

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
3,522
Haha wow after reading about you suspending the HDD's I'm sure I spoke you at tuks about this :)
Anyways looks great, and interesting idea with the T-Mat.

I find the best way to keep my PC quiet is to turn it off :D
 

Synaesthesia

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
5,513
Where did you get all the stuff? Import it? I love silent PC review. Man those guys are serious! Incidentally the quietest computers they've ever tested was an iMac (< 20dB even when stressing CPU + GPU). I appreciate manufacturers who care about noise. Pity Macs are so damn expensive (especially here)
 

Gnome

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,931
Haha wow after reading about you suspending the HDD's I'm sure I spoke you at tuks about this :)
Anyways looks great, and interesting idea with the T-Mat.

I find the best way to keep my PC quiet is to turn it off :D
Haha yeah, thought I recognized your user name from the BigTent Honours group :p

Hopefully this turns out well and isn't wasted effort ;)
 

Archer

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
21,409
I read some reviews, the Nexus is rated for 13dB by independent source (Silent PC Review) at lowest setting and 16dB at 9v. They were the recommended but those scythe were also highly recommended. Just couldn't get them locally ;)
Thought as much. I'm bringing Gentletyphoons two back and will be putting them in my HTPC to replace Antec TriCool fans. Even on low I can hear them. Hopefully the typhoons will sort that out.
 

Synaesthesia

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
5,513
My dream PC is a Mac Mini with an Intel SSD. Perfect silence with amazing speed! However any (quiet) laptop with an SSD will be the same.

It takes a lot of effort to build a PC as silent as that. But it can be done. Looking at yours Gnome it probably will be.
 

Gnome

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,931
Where did you get all the stuff? Import it? I love silent PC review. Man those guys are serious! Incidentally the quietest computers they've ever tested was an iMac (< 20dB even when stressing CPU + GPU). I appreciate manufacturers who care about noise. Pity Macs are so damn expensive (especially here)
Everything can be gotten locally ;) I bought from: (This worked out the cheapest and I chose prophecy for those items because I have used them before and never had problems)

From Prophecy:
Gigabyte P55A UD3
Sapphire Ultimate HD5670 1GB

From NGR Computers:
Intel i5 750 CPU

From Landmark PC:
G.Skill Ripjaws PC12800 CL7-7-7-24-2N 1600Mhz Memory
Thermalright HR-02
Cooler Master Sileo 510
Cooler Master Silent Pro M600

From Sybaritic:
Nexus 120mm D12SL-12 fans x2

Targa T-Mat from this guy http://www.payntwagon.co.za/pages/products/targa-audio/targa-t-mat.php

Hard-Drive I had around.

Just want to mention that it's the first time I used LandmarkPC but damn, their service is impressive. Don't hesitate to use them guys ;) Other stores were great also btw. Good delivery times, etc.
 
Last edited:

nakedpeanut

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
3,522
I have an extra fan blowing through my 5" drive bays getting air through my cooler and out the back faster, but it was quite noisey so I did a 12v to 7v fan conversion, which dropped the noise quite a bit. So depending on your temps, and airflow in the case you could do that to decrease to fan speeds. Can be dangerous if you feed power back to your PSU. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article6-page1.html
 

Archer

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
21,409
I have an extra fan blowing through my 5" drive bays getting air through my cooler and out the back faster, but it was quite noisey so I did a 12v to 7v fan conversion, which dropped the noise quite a bit. So depending on your temps, and airflow in the case you could do that to decrease to fan speeds. Can be dangerous if you feed power back to your PSU. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article6-page1.html
Motherboard fan headers... Why all the effort of 12-7V conversions? Unless of course the fans you used dont have the right connector, but then I say you got the wrong fan ;)
 

Synaesthesia

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
5,513
I have an extra fan blowing through my 5" drive bays getting air through my cooler and out the back faster, but it was quite noisey so I did a 12v to 7v fan conversion, which dropped the noise quite a bit. So depending on your temps, and airflow in the case you could do that to decrease to fan speeds. Can be dangerous if you feed power back to your PSU. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article6-page1.html
That's why I use fan controllers. Used to use the Zalman resistive ones but PWM is even better (pulse width modulation). That way you can eg. turn down the fan on your graphics card for surfing etc. and turn it up for games.
 

nakedpeanut

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
3,522
It's a 120mm(or 140mm not sure :) ) Thermaltake I scavenged from my first case from them (~6years ago) That thing moves so much air it's not funny.. Neither is the noise though :p
 

Gnome

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,931
Another option is to install water cooling in your pc's and then install a car radiator and the noisy fan outside your house in a shed like this crazy guy

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=189928
I considered going water cooling, only problem is on "silencing" I spent:
R810.54 (heatsink) + R88 (fan) + R88 (another fan) + R300 (T-Mat) = R1286.54

This naturally doesn't take into account that I need a better CPU heat sink anyway (the Intel one is dreadful as any review will tell you).

Water cooling:
The pump alone was R1200 at which point I gave up.

In the end you can't go lower in noise than the Nexus Fans, the transformer on the PSU has some noise to it also (I can hear a faint noise on my current build from the PSU transformer) and Seasonic just released some heavy duty 450w Passive PSU's (google for more info). Seasonic are saying they tested these to be stable. So might switch to that PSU at a later point since the Cooler Master is rated at around 18dB at loads I'll be experiencing which I can then cut down to 13dB with just the Nexus fans. I'd still have HD noise tho, so it all depends on my financial affairs ;)

I think the best silent solution is oil cooled with a custom alloy case so the case acts as a heat sink (I see archer mentioned it). Less expensive than water cooling, completely passive. Think last I phoned transformer oil costs around R80 per litre.
 
Last edited:
Top