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Thread: What makes a quiet system?

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    What makes a quiet system?

    Just wondering what you lot think is the biggest influence on making a computer as quiet as possible.

    Is it the case? Fans? CPU Cooler? GPU type? PSU? Or a combination of all of them? They can each cost about the same amount, especially if you go for things like Noctua fans and coolers, so wondering which component is most effective.

    Recently moved my case from under the desk to the desk top and the constant drone is making me want to make it quieter.

    So, what are your thoughts?

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    Senior Member Peter Parker's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Moving parts make noise. You listed fans already, but the CPU/GPU/PSU coolers tend to have a fan(s) on their heatsinks too. For me it's always been the GPU cooler that's loudest, but I'm not so bothered about noise as long as it's not a wind tunnel !

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    TBH almost all 'enthusiast' gear is rough as a badgers doodar in terms of noise, when the big players (dell etc) can make the same spec much quieter by designing the whole not one part of it.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Don't forget the spinning drives, they cause a lot of vibration and noise as well.

    Generally speaking, if you're moving a lot of air, there's going to be noise.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Fast moving air is noisy, so large fans turning slowly will move larger volumes of air slowly, so will be quieter. Unrestricted air flow will be quieter as there will be less turbulence. So design is key, a larger case with plenty of space, larger fans will tend to be quieter. A lager case also gives more room for larger after marker coolers which may also have larger but slower fans.

    The downside is the overall size and weight of the final system.
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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    It's easy to find out what's causing yours to be noisy.

    Grab something like a biro, something you can wedge into fans.....and stop a fan at a time and notice the difference. You'll probably find one or two which are producing most of the annoying whine and you can target those first.....either slowing the fans down via bios, fan controller or even a resistor (you can buy 3 or 4 pin pass-through cables with resistors soldered in to slow the fan down).
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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Yeah I get where you're all coming from.

    I did think about HDD noise, but if you need plenty of storage it's not something you can do much about, except use 1 large capacity drive instead of multiple smaller ones.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    It could be anything vibrating, from moving parts in components, to the case window or the panels themselves. It could just be the way the air flows around a certain part of the PC...
    Also, what you find noisy, others barely notice, so it's very subjective.

    Basically, mess around until you find the issue and then develop a solution.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    I've tended to find in my systems that the graphics card ends up making the most noise out of everything.

    It's easy on a build to put loads of effort into finding the most efficient CPU cooler with a pair of 120mm slow moving fans (as Peter said, they'll produce least noise in that configuration), and then you've got a graphics card that's extremely hot under load with just a very small blower fan on it running at huge RPM to dump the heat.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    The thing with the graphics card though is that most (is not all) modern GPUs should be damn quiet when on the desktop and should really only ramp up when gaming......and while your gaming a fan shouldn't really effect you too much due to in-game audio.
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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    All valid points, thank you.

    I suppose the question I was trying to ask was, can one of the so called "quiet" cases like a Fractal Design Define R5 with its Ultra Silent Design cover up the majority of noise in one hit rather than the individual components.

    I know it's not something that has a definitive answer but maybe a general consensus.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    A case designed to be quiet may help make loud parts sound quieter than when they are installed in a regular case... but you would probably want to pair a case like that with other parts designed to be quiet as well.

    Quiet cases generally have sound dampening material and/or shock absorbing mounts for drives/fans

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    What makes a quiet system?

    Well, design factors as Peterb mentioned. Also, quality components helps. Dpending a little more on 'quiet' fans, good bearings, etc. Some things benefit from sound isolation - moving parts that vibrate are a lit quieter is mounted in a way that the vibration can't be transmitted to other parts of the chassis. At one end of the market, mounting cages with rubber isolators. At the other end, a couple of heavy duty rubber bands.

    Another option is dound deadening panels. Sound sound made internally is then absorbed before it gets out.

    Yet another option is component choice. Generally, high power components, especially CPUs and graphics cards, generate a lot of heat. So, don't buy such items unless you really need them.

    In short, think about WHAT causes noise, and item by item, take steps to deal with it.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Fan filters can make your system louder too - many are only a couple of mm from the fan blades which can result in increased airflow noise. Poor fitting filters can rattle and vibrate too.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    The thing with the graphics card though is that most (is not all) modern GPUs should be damn quiet when on the desktop and should really only ramp up when gaming......and while your gaming a fan shouldn't really effect you too much due to in-game audio.
    True, I just find it to be a bit of a shame when I'm about to hit a silent atmospheric part of a game and the PC sounds like an out of control vacuum cleaner. If you're wearing a headset or there are explosions going off in game all over the place then it's not such a problem, and I've never had any trouble in idle, I agree.

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    Re: What makes a quiet system?

    I found rubber bands (or bungee cord for a stronger alternative) much more effective at reducing drive noise than any rubber mountings or the like. You need sufficient length of rubber/elastic so that it can damp the vibration; too short a distance through the mounting (as is common with rubber mounts) and you still get a lot of transmitted noise.

    Rubber fan mounts are also very useful for reducing induced vibration from case fans.

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