I bought a new computer recently, but it came with 3 fans!
-- and the fan noise is driving me a little nutty.
I replaced a nice Dell, that was whisper quiet [2 fans I think].
I need some ideas for sound insulation material that I can attach to
or wrap around it. I've got to try something.
Looking on the www, "open cell foam" insulation might be worth trying.
I don't think a little more heat generation will hurt it, although I
would monitor it.
depending upon the machine and what's in it, you may require the installed
fans. You could try disconnecting one of the case fans to see if it lessens
the noise, and doesn't raise the temps to much. My guess would be that the
noisiest fan is the one on the processor, especially if it's a stock Intel
processor. You can go to www.newegg.com and find an aftermarket cooler for
the processor that is much quieter, just read the reviews. You will however
have to be somewhat comfortable working in the box, on the motherboard.
I assume you discussing a desktop model. I found that resting the bottom of the
case on a sheet of 1" thick foam rubber eliminated almost all of the noise. I
realized that I was hearing transmitted vibration and not actual fan or air
noise. Whatever you do, make sure that you don't obstruct the intake and output
vents on the case.
I found "foam rubber" - actually plastic - sheet material at
a fabric store. I cut pieces to fit inside both side
covers, leaving any vents uncovered, attach with double-
sided tape. Also a piece laying on the bottom of the case,
and taped to the inside top cover when possible. Seems to
Bigger help is to experiment with whether you need all the
case fans and whether they need to run at full speed. I
make adapters that plug into power supply accessory leads
and connect the (12 V) fan between the +12 and +5 wires,
resulting in the fan operating at 12-5=7 volts; slower and
nearly silent. You need to experiment a bit.
I added a fan speed controller to the (Intel) CPU fan on one
box and lowered its speed. Was really noisy at full speed.
That was a 2.8GHz single-core P4, running really hot in the
olden days. I think the multi-core CPUs of today don't need
so much fan.
Slowing down the external fans as described helps some. A program like SpeedFan
which watches the processor temp, and slows down the processor fan when when the
temp is low can help even more.
If the processor fan runs full speed all the time currently, this may make the
difference you need.
I tried several different things to solve this problem for myself. I
finally settled on one that works great, at least for me.
I built a small rectangular frame out of 2x3s
for each side. I then stapled a cutout of wool blanket to seal one side.
Next, I packed the cavity with as much cellulose insulation as I could
cram into it. I then stapled the other side closed with another layer of
wool blanket material.
I made 3 of these panels. The front side and left side of the computer
are completely enclosed, but the right side leaves about a 5 inch gap to
allow for air flow. This is all right up against the wall, so the left
panel touches the wall. The top is open to allow for air flow.
The density of the compacted insulation absorbs most of the sound, which
make a *big* difference.
Also, I would avoid anything like open-cell foam. That stuff's a little
too flamable to be used near electrical equipment IMO.
On Fri, 15 Jan 2010 13:32:53 -0800 (PST), marco polo
If you're going to to do anything like disconnect or change the
voltage on a fan, you ought to put some temperature monitoring
software in your computer. I'm pretty sure there is freeware
available for almost all PCs now. Possibly this:
Asus Probe II
This may work on non-Asus motherboards. I only have Asus so I can't
test it. It really works well for me, giving the temp of the mobo
and the cpu, and even keeping a history of them. Etc. It doesn't
monitor the power supply in my case, because the power supply isn't
set up for that. It's very versatile.
This webapage has 3 things. Asus Probe and two others less likely to
be of any help if you don't have Asus.
This one has 3 programs. AsusProbe, and Smart Doctor that is
supposed the same sort of thing, I think, for the fan on video card
(at least for ASUS ATI Series Graphics Cards and ASUS NVIDIA Series
Graphics Cards, but I'm not sure (but not for ATI RADEON LE and SE))
It installed okay but didn't run on my XP installation. Said "Fail to
load dlls! But my video card doesn't even have a fan, so I guess it
doesn't matter much. The Help works and it's mostly for games. I
don't play games either.
The help says "ASUS SmartDoctor is a powerful utility designed for
three major goals. Overclocking, monitoring and cooling"
Program 3 is to update the mobo bios. If one is so inclinded.
All are freeware.
Google the search string "quiet pc fans"
and you will find many fan options.
I had a noisy CPU fan and replaced it
with a real quiet one. Prior, it was
driving us nuts. You could hear it in
any room of the house. Now you
can hear the quieter fans, but they are
quiet enough to ignore.
Larger diameter fans can move the same amount of air at lower
RPMs, resulting in less noise.
One of the most important factors in choosing a quiet fan is avoiding
ones with a small diameter, which must be run at higher RPMs
to move any respectable amount of air.
I have 7 large diameter fans in my PC. Combined, they make far less
noise than my hard drives do. The only fan that I can hear is the
smaller stock-fan that came with my graphics card.
Insulation won't help if you keep the ventilation properly open. The noise
is generated by low quality fans and coolers in the computer. Google "silent
computer fans" and you will find a whole new market of computer silencer
equipment. My son builds computers and cannot stand any noise. He uses
silent coolers and fans in his computers but most commercial computers are
noisy, which is why he won't use them.
The design I posted earlier works well and doesn't impair ventilation.
That's mainly because I leave the top open, and I have a 23cm fan in the
top of my case venting up. All intake comes from the gap left in the
rear of one of the side panels, and that's the panel that faces away
from where I sit.
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