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.

I’ve Got This Thing On My Desk


There’s this thing on the desk. It’s labeled, “5.25 Media Dashboard.”

Damn right.

“Is anything geekier,” I ask as a proud geek?

The computer I designed this summer is all I’d hoped for. Every time I shoot photos I plug in an external card reader. Now I’m going to add this one more little thing to speed the process and make the computer more functional.

This goes down as a 21st Century problem, right?

The choice was buying a card reader or buying a CARD READER. I chose the latter.

The “dashboard” occupies the same sized slot a CDROM drive fills. Ten cables with a variety of plugs snake out its rear. Nine will be plugged into a corresponding socket on the motherboard. The tenth will draw power.

There’s a digital thermometer on board and the ability to adjust fans speeds with a thumbwheel. I’d like to make this computer even quieter. Slower fans will work as long as things don’t heat up too much.

Too much to do now. The building takes place in about a week.

I’m Rebuilding A Quieter PC

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was worried how it will all come out. I always am when it’s PC build time.

I’m writing tonight in case I can’t write this afternoon! I’m about to make modifications to my desktop PC, always a little chancy. That’s especially true this time. To install the new component I bought this computer’s motherboard must be removed!

I built the computer myself. It’s got a beefy quad core AMD Phenom II cpu. The cpu came with a heatsink and fan which I mounted directly onto the chip itself.

It works well, but it’s NOISY!

For most common applications the computer chip throttles back and the fan slows down. The noise is there, but not too bad.

When I’m transcoding video or working with large Photoshop files it’s the opposite. The cpu gets busy which makes it hotter (a little over 100&#176 Fahrenheit). The fan responds loudly.

My purchase was a Cooler Master Hyper N520. It’s a huge cooling structure with two fans that circulate air past copper tubes surrounded by aluminum fins. This massive heat sink and slower running fans should cut the noise to a whisper… at least that’s the claim.

In order to do this the computer itself will have to be dismantled. Though the N520 sits on top of the cpu it is screwed to a bracket underneath the motherboard–inaccessible without disassembly!

This is a little nuts. I know!

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was worried how it will all come out. I always am when it’s PC build time. Usually my fears are unwarranted. That doesn’t reduce the tension.

I will report back after the job is finished. It’s not the kind of task historically undertaken by “all thumbs” guys like me.