No More Noise

my-pcWhen I was configuring my new computer a few months ago there were two very important considerations. It had to be fast for video editing. It had to be quiet.

That quiet thing isn’t as easy as you think. More powerful chips throw off more heat. More heat means more fans. Fans mean noise. It’s a vicious cycle!

The computer’s in a Thermaltake Soprano case. The case was designed to be quiet. It’s even got acoustic foam padding on the doors.

The PC under my desk is as fast as expected and quiet. I wondered if it could be quieter still? It’s so overdesigned. It should be silent.

Today was my chance. I was installing a case mounted card reader. The doors would come off. The case would be open. Everything would be exposed.

When I looked inside I noticed the fan for the CPU’s liquid cooling unit was plugged into a “CPU fan” socket. I’d been unable to control its speed. What if it was plugged into the “System fan” socket instead?

The fan, which had been running around 1,500 RPM is now clocked near 500 RPM. The CPU temperature is still 1&#176C cooler than Intel’s idling spec for my 4770-K. This motherboard/chip combination can be overclocked. I could probably squeeze out some extra performance. Right now I’m like a guy with a Maserati who obeys the speed limit.

The computer is silent… OK, nearly silent. It is just part of the white noise of the house. Turning down that one fan eliminated the bulk of the problem.

If you’ve read this far you are seriously geeky and should consider therapy.

Tonight I am happy.

Nixing The Noise

One of the biggest problems of PCs is the noise. My newest computer is no exception.

As soon as I fired it up, I head the whine and the whir. They were tough to dismiss. I buttoned up the case, but there was little change. Some of the problem was fixable, some I’m resigned to endure.

One of the biggest problems with PCs is the noise. My newest computer is no exception.

As soon as I fired it up, I head the whine and whir. They were tough to dismiss. I buttoned up the case, but there was little change. Some of the problem was fixable. Some, I’m resigned to endure.

I mentioned yesterday, the speed throttling ‘pot’ had been left of the CPU cooler. Turning down that fan made a difference – and the CPU temperature has not climbed.

Right now the CPU, motherboard and power supply all check in between 32&#176 and 34&#176 Celsius (89&#176 – 93&#176 Fahrenheit). I think the CPU can easily hand 60&#176 Celsius. I have no clue about the power supply or motherboard, though I assume they’ve got less leeway.

I should add, computers are incredible heat producers. The faster they get, the more heat they produce. And, of course, heat means electricity. This has become a big problem for the proprietors of ‘server farms,’ which need to be cooled ferociously.

If I placed my hand over the fan grate on the back of the case also quieted the machine. That fan was spinning at around 3,000 rpm. As it turns out, in my box of never to be thrown out computer parts, was another speed controlling pot.

Listening carefully, I throttling that fan back until most of its noise was gone. It is now spinning at 2,000 rpm. That’s 1/3 lower in speed, but light years in noise.

Still the computer has a definite whir. I think the problem is the hard drives. Most PCs have one. This PC has five!

The Devil made me do it.

Actually, I had the drives hanging around from older projects. They seemed too young and virile to be filed away somewhere. Today, they could probably be replaced by a single drive – and sometime in the future that’s what I’ll do. Just not now. You have to draw the cash line somewhere.

Oh – last night while throwing in the last of the additions, I did notice some errors in my thinking. What I assumed was ‘just’ a disk controller turned out to be a RAID controller.

I didn’t plan for my two 60 Gb drives to become a RAID&#185, but I had little choice if I wanted to use them.

Also, my TV card may only support 320×240 resolution – 25% of the pixels I’d get with the 640×480 I assumed it was capable of. I bought it cheap, online. Maybe I just didn’t peruse the specs properly.

I think it’s time to stop writing technical stuff for a while.

&#185 – It stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives, and in my configuration two drives look like one. Since half the data is written to each, getting over some mechanical imitations, they are faster than single drives. Other types of RAID are used to create two copies of all data, for safety purposes.