Making a quieter computer

Discussion in 'Cases & Cooling' started by Smartazz, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    Hi all, When I first built my current rig I thought that it was really quiet. However, since then I've been bothered by the noise it emits at idle. I have all fans powered down to minimum. What else can I do to lessen the noise output of this computer? The Antec 1200 is using all stock fans and my H80 is using Corsair fans in a push pull configuration. The case is also 3 years old if that matters. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. T_Yamamoto

    T_Yamamoto Lifer

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    Well first off, figure out what is making all that noise.

    There is also the noise absorbing foam.
     
  3. kleinkinstein

    kleinkinstein Senior member

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    Is it fan/bearing noise, air noise, or something else?
     
  4. fire400

    fire400 Diamond Member

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    ssd with h20 cooling.
     
  5. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    I think it's fan noise. After 3 years do fans get noisy?
     
  6. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Possibly. Dust gets in the fan motor and causes harshness and vibrations.

    To make a computer quieter, you need to go through an iterative process of finding out the noisiest part of the computer and making it quieter, then repeat the process as necessary until you are satisfied. It is easy to do, but YOU need to do the work because your ears are near your computer, not ours.

    The most likely culprit are the fans. Start by unplugging the SATA data cable from your boot drive so that you can turn off the machine at any time without having to properly shut down Windows. Then, unplug all fans except for the graphics card fans. Yes, even unplug the H80 push/pull fans. Don't worry, your CPU will be fine for the short amount of time it will idle with no load. After unplugging all those fans, turn on your system.

    Did that cut out enough noise?

    If so, then you have to do two things.
    1) Reduce the number of fans. The Antec 1200 was meant to be a windtunnel of a gamer case. It has more airflow than even a 4.5GHz Sandy Bridge will need (not sure about your graphics card though).
    2) Out of the remaining fans, replace with lower RPM units. Just replacing them may reduce bearing noise, but lower RPM will also reduce noise (as well as airflow).

    If not, then the next possible culprits are the fans you can't unhook (PSU, GPU), the H80 pump and the HDDs. You can unplug power to the HDDs as well as unplug the H80 pump (basically turn on machine, listen for a minute, turn it off - it will be fine!). For graphics card, you'd need to remove the entire card. For PSU, you can momentarily stop the fan by using something to physically restrain it.
     
  7. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    Thanks. I'll get to it.
     
  8. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    Loudest component turned out to be the case fans. I'm thinking about going through the process of installing a fan controller that can slow them down enough and installing good acoustic dampening. Is this a good approach?
     
  9. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Start by slowing them down first. Dampening the case by adding materials to it is really the last ditch approach, and should not be the first thing tried.
     
  10. piasabird

    piasabird Lifer

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    Maybe try some of those 3 speed fans and slow them down a bit. My Antec 300 seems to run pretty quiet but I dont have a video card. I wonder if having a large slow turning fan on top helps. I also do not have fans in the front of the case.
     
  11. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    You're talking about the Antec Tri Cool fans with a speed selector switch. Those are okay, but the fans themselves are not known for being that quiet at any particular RPM versus some other popular fans.
     
  12. birthdaymonkey

    birthdaymonkey Golden Member

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    Replace 120mm fans with Nexus or low-RPM Scythe Slipsteams. These are both fairly affordable options. Turn off the giant fan on top. You don't need it.

    I'm running a 2500K at 4.5 with a NH-D14 and five Nexus 120s (2 intake, 2 on HS, 1 exhaust), all at 7v - less than 700rpm. My CPU doesn't exceed 75 even in the summer under Linpack; right now it's happily idling at 29-30 on the hottest core.
     
  13. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    After about an hour of gaming, CPU temps hit 70C, will getting slower fans make this significantly worse and is 70C anything to worry about. GPU temperatures were about the same, but I know that 70C is nothing for a GPU.
    Edit: If this won't hurt temperatures too much, I'm planning to get 6 of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835610006 in addition to Indigo Xtreme and dampening material. Is the wave dampening material significantly better than the flatter material?
     
    #13 Smartazz, Feb 17, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  14. Zevvo

    Zevvo Junior Member

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    I always vouch for Noctua fans. I run mine at full loud (1300RPM) and still cannot hear them.

    They just released some new 120mm ones, but those won't be out for a couple of weeks.

    I would, however, recommend some be quiet! or Noiseblockers. PWM if you want the fans to run at a specific speed according to temperatures.

    http://www.aquatuning.us/product_in...s-2-120mm-BQT-T12025-MF-3--120x120x25mm-.html

    http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g/c...under_25dba-120mm_Ultra_Quiet_Fans-Page1.html

    Expensive fans, but they are some of the best. No noise from the bearing.
     
  15. birthdaymonkey

    birthdaymonkey Golden Member

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    Hard to go wrong with those fans. They're not the best performing, quietest, or cheapest, but they do very well in all three of those categories. They've been the spcr reference fan for years for good reason.
     
  16. Smartazz

    Smartazz Diamond Member

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    Awesome recommendations. Thanks. What should I go with for noise dampening material though?
     
  17. kiriki

    kiriki Junior Member

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    With regards to sound absorbing material, consider that open air vents do not block sound.

    You should also consider the cost of the material vs just buying a new case designed for silence.

    If you are willing to consider a case swap, I would suggest Fractal Design R4 as it has been on sale for $60 at NCIX US and $80 at NCIX CA. Get an extra 140mm fan for the front.

    I have recently switched to this case from a HAF 932 (original version) and I can hear electronic whine from my monitor that I had never heard before when the fans are on 5v. I have Scythe GTs on my 212evo and in my PSU. Case fans, PSU fan, 212 fan are all on the R4's built in controller. My GPU heatsink is an Arctic Cooling unit. The fans on that failed so I replaced them with 3 other 92mm fans. Those are connector-modded to 7v. I find that I can game with the fan controller at 5v with cpu temps around 65C @ 4GHz without changing voltage settings.

    TL,DR: how quiet you can get depends on what temps you are willing to accept and what you can purchase.
     
  18. Zevvo

    Zevvo Junior Member

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    I agree.

    To get some quality foam is going to cost a lot. If you were to get a new case, the R4 is hands down the best.

    I would really suggest getting some new fans first before getting the foam. I can't vouch for the fans you linked, so I'll stick with my recommendations.
     
  19. birthdaymonkey

    birthdaymonkey Golden Member

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    Yeah I wouldn't worry about replacing your case or installing damping panels just yet. Try the quiet fans first, and then if you're not satisfied replace the case.

    Again, the Nexus are a strong choice at half the price of a Noctua or Noise Blocker. I've got several Noctua NF-P12, S-12B, and P-14 sitting in my box of unused fans because the Nexus offer a better balance of noise/performance. Plus with the money you'd save on buying six of them, you could almost buy an R4 if you decide you need still more quiet.
     
  20. Rasterman

    Rasterman Member

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    Get better fans (Nexus) and run them as slow as possible. More fans running slower is better than a few fans running fast.
     
  21. cubby1223

    cubby1223 Lifer

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  22. Zevvo

    Zevvo Junior Member

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