I built a computer this week, from components. It has a radiator (for a
CPU cooler) blowing air out the top of the case, so for that reason and
others, the case is a little more open than usual. Usually I choose
"quiet" cases, but I couldn't find one compatible with the radiator I
wanted. The case fans, front and back, are already set to low and I
don't wish to tinker further with them. The case is louder than I expected.
Feeling "desperate", and inspired in the best wreck'ed way, I cut and
taped up the cardboard box the case came in, still cubic-like. I set it
propped up over the case so that there were 2" at the front-bottom for
air intake and 12" of space in front so as to not block the main
"air-take"of the computer (which has a 200mm fan). The top of the box
ended up a foot over the top of the PC (there had been styrofoam in the
container too), and the rear of the case is not blocked at all. The
configuration above has perhaps raised the temperatures 1-degree Celcius
(=2-degrees F). I am running a freely downloadable program called
SpeedFan 4.5 (new to me) which is proving me with no less than 11
temperatures from the components and motherboard to monitor. I could
recommend it to you (get it from the maker to avoid malware. I can get
you a link if you like).
I do not regard the current cardboard box as a permanent fixture. ;) I
am however open to suggestions. I am thinking about going to hardboard.
Is there something I might glue inside to help absorb fan sounds?
Other thoughts? Will its size affect how well it will block sounds? I
will note that if I move so that there is a piece of particle board
between my head and the rear of the fan (120mm), all of the shrillness
BTW, for the disbelievers that are too busy to make them, my cardboard
box does provide me a good "template" from which to proceed. I have to
give the wreck credit for helping me to be creative here! I see I may
need flexibility to make temperature adjustments (to say nothing of
getting at the CD drive, which is not a serious concern). An Easy-lift
on, Easy-lift off solution should suffice. I can put a handle on top! ; )
Thanks for reading!
Update: It looks like I can reclaim my 4-by-8.
After making myself read all (14 pages) of the reviews on my computer
case at Amazon, I found a fair number were disgruntled about the fan
noises even though most weren't. I think most of the buyers of this case
have expensive (i.e. loud) graphics cards. And a couple made
reference to a long thread in a computer hardware forum. To make a long
story short, it turns out the "noises" I was bothered by are primarily
the result of the 200mm front case fan being too close to a metal "grid"
in front of it that was surely only there "to keep people from losing
fingers". Over it is a dust cover, so that grid really isn't really
necessary after all. So a mere 75 minutes later, I nibbled out the
grid, and now, ... , to borrow a line from B. B. King, "The shrill is
gone!". : )
Some of you were with me in spirit, if only to keep me from bloodying
myself up!! I even took a couple of breaks. Amazing what one can
accomplish with a little patience (and the Internet community).
snip, whew! That was a hard cut. I need a break.
snip, wow! another hard cut, time for another break.
snip, Hey, I wonder if the refrigerator is still running?
snip... Ah, cold refreshment... why'd I waste the first two breaks?
And that's why nothing gets done...
Reminds me of a car I had for a short time a century or two ago. Every time
I drove over a particular bridge, the car was filled with this god awful
sound. It sounded like the car would self destruct. There was a little
vibration. But the sound was downright scary. I brought this up to several
individuals and even had some of them ride in the car with me. The car was
fine otherwise. It only happened when driving across a particular bridge I
had to cross every day. Just the one bridge though. Any other bridge was
I finally found this old curmudgeon to drive with me. He had me drive over
the bridge several times. It was scary and stressful. He finally figured
out the the passenger side window had a small "hitch" in it's ability to
fully close the window. This particular bridge was very high off the ground
and the wind patterns, etc interacted with a very small opening on top the
window. It was totally an acoustic problem. Here I thought the engine was
going to blow up.
Over ten people tried to solve the problem. I could not figure it out. But
that old guy was tinkering around with the window and figured it out.
Sometimes a sound can happen in the most unexpected manner.
Yes, definitely! There are at least a couple of dozen people over at
the Corsair hardware forum who think the designers should have actually
built a computer in the case before they started selling it. Quite a
few people seemed too timid to take the "knife" to the case. But people
were removing the fans from the case and observing that the fans didn't
make any noise outside the case.
And having done it, I think there is at least some reason for pause.
The steel "mesh" one needs to nibble away is pretty thick. It can be
"cut" piece by piece bending with a pair of needlenose pliers, but that
creates too much metal dust (the case has a motherboard, etc. in it).
Fortunately, the back comes off the case, so many specs fell right
through, and I vacuumed a lot. I had to "abuse" some electrical snips,
but you have to do what you have to do...
FWIW, the manufacturer, Corsair, does Not stand behind this procedure.
They deny there is a problem, but they will be able to swap fans with
you as often as you like. The "mesh" is not removable and big computer
cases don't ship cheap...
That's a good story. I'm sure you were glad to get it resolved. Somehow
it reminded me of the woman who called city hall to request that the new
"Deer Crossing" signs be moved further down the road, since that would
make it more convenient for motorists!
DAGS "Sonex". Not guessing, first hand experience with the product in
using it to absorb sound and reflections. I used it a lot in the studio
Generally speaking, the thicker the material the more sound absorption
at the frequencies you are most likely dealing with.
A combination of distance, intervening walls/partitions, and sound
absorbing materials can be balanced to help you reduce the noise fairly
Other things I routinely do for clients, is do put the computer
enclosure in a cabinet, with a sliding shelf/tray, a "flipper door", and
with plenty of ventilation, either at the bakc, or where the vent will
be directed under the desk.
I put some pics on my web pages showing where I am now. I like to try to
entertain everyone who is kind enough to try to help me, and it gave me
an excuse to experiment and further configure my computer, camera, etc.
BTW, I have learned that I can **no longer** trust or recommend
sourceforge.org as a great source of "malware free" software (ccleaner,
pdfcreator, and filezilla, for instance). It's gotten so they are
either sneaky about trying to get extra software on your computer, or
worse. They have a new "partner" called slashdot (or similar). I tried
a new (to me) ftp program called WinSCP, which I found even easier to
use than filezilla. It has its own web page.
Here is a link to my 2 photos (I'll take it down in a few days):
With an added cardboard box in front of the computer, it works even
better. I'd say I'm at about 20% (noise-level) of where I was. That's
using my scale, not DBa. And the most-annoying high-frequencies are
mostly gone. All I have to do it step to the other side of the "new
wall" to remind me of why I put it there. I'm planning to pick up some
strofoam to replace the cardboard box--they have it readily available at
Menards--my BOG. Unless I try something else. I'm not ready for a $250
solution (e.g. Sonex) quite yet. But it's nice to be aware of such
things. I'm sure I'll keep thinking about optimizing my set-up. I was
very fortunate that my piece of plywood fit, with 3/4" room to spare at
the ceiling! If you think it would help if I added something to the
wall or the "styrofoam" that will go in front of the PC, don't hesitate
to mention it. You may note that I shoved in rolled-up towels the
vertical length. The real source of the noise is the front and rear
fans. I know that because when the radiator fans go on, you can't even
tell, by listening.
I tried to choose *quiet* ones. See, for instance, the Gigabyte Strich
gtx750-ti graphics card (whose fans have only went on when I ran the
"Windows Experience" (rating) test, a Corsair H105 liquid CPU cooler,
and an Corsair RM power supply (whose fan I also haven't heard
yet!)--which was made quiet for home theater systems. If you read my
other post, you'll recall I had to cut 25 square inches of steel out of
the case to get the "shrill" out of it! But I did. There are some
carefully selected components there if you want a quiet system. You'll
have to look pretty hard though to find a case which will accommodate
the 38mm wide radiator of the CPU cooler above. It is the first liquid
cooler Corsair made that is "PWM" (~power-managed), so it runs quiet at
idle--and that was what drew me to it. From my week of experience
though, I think it's much better to start it at 1000 RPM, rather than
let it waver/pulse/click between slow and off (so a Corsair H100 cooler
with after-market quiet SP fans will surely give you a lot more case
options). The installation of the CPU cooler was much easier than the
traditional fan, which I have always seemed to always spend too much
time installing. Oh, yeah, and an Intel SSD drive which I saved some
money on over the holidays (480GB for $199). One can't even find a
computer with an SSD drive at BestBuy... They almost chased me out of
there when I asked them what was up with that! The answer is of course
that they want to keep the costs of their systems down so they have a
higher profit margin.
tomshardware.com has almost "everything you need to know". I hope I
wrote something that may be of use.
Interesting. I had a local guy build me a new tower last month and it
is pretty noisy. I had always assumed it was the 2 fans on the
graphics card but doing a little testing I have found that the 2 fans
in the case are the culprit. I am betting it is the front one.
Looks like I need to begin a search for a "quiet" fan that delivers
the flow to keep this sucker cool.
Good tip about SpeedFan. I have used Core Temp in the past and
although it doesn't provide as many monitoring points it does offer a
setable shutdown point and that has saved me a few times.
Unfortunately it does not play well with AMD so I running on the edge.
Thanks for the post.
If you remove the fans from the case and then run them, do they make a
lot of noise? (It's ok to run the PC for a few minutes with the fans
loose.) I've got to wonder if part of the noise isn't vibration related.
You might eliminate the noise with a couple of plumbing washers.
Noise/sound is vibration related, by definition. As has
already been revealed in this thread, there are a lot of ways for air to
make a sound. Some of them are sneaky!
Yes (with regard to your point below), washers may help if there is room.
The computer is going back to the shop next week to have 2 more drive
bays installed and I will have them check on the fans for vibration.
The front fan came installed in the case and I'll bet they didn't
install a "quiet" fan.
You might consider whether a "3-speed fan" might work for you. Of
course, you can't run it on low if you are producing alot of heat. I
found it interesting/surprising that my graphics card temperatures was
10-degrees C. warmer (40C instead of 30C), at idle, when I Didn't have
the radiator fan also on, helping to blowing the hot air out of the
case. Despite my recent experience, I'm still a relative "newbe", only
building a system once every 4 or 5 years.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.