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Silent computer - new fans and case

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I guess a lot of you people take special care to buy/build a computer which isn't too noisy. Same here. When I built my current machine 3 years ago, I used Noctua fans (one for the video card instead of the stock one). Together with the Corsair PSU, a very silent computer overall.


Now the fans are getting old and noisier - still not as bad as stock ones by far, but not completely silent. Since winter is coming (I feel like a Stark when saying this) so I used some resistors to keep them slower, but they'll need replacement.


Any ideas which fans should I go for this time - Noctua again or something else?


Currently I have:

Intake: 12 cm 1300 rpm

outtake: 12 cm 1200 rpm (the 'outtake' type)

cpu: 12 cm 1200 rpm

video card: 12 cm 800 rpm (outtake type)


Also just this weekend I upgraded the system hard drive to a faster and noisier one (WD Black, it won't shut up), I may need to upgrade or at least damp the case as well. Currently I have an old Enermax Chakra. Any ideas for a decent replacement?



post #2 of 27

Unless you need tons of storage, replace the HD with an SSD. The performance gain is worth the upgrade alone. 

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

I need a ton of storage for photography. I'm at 5.5 TB right now and am thinking about investing in a RAID array. Yeah I could buy a SSD just for the system, but why bother when I can just use a small portion of one of the drives for the system. Since I rarely reboot (once a month maybe) I'm not bothered by the startup speed. And there wouldn't be difference in noise since I'd have 3 HDDs anyway.


It's still probably the most silent desktop PC I've heard outside of some pricey custom rigs (or fanless), but I like real silence.

post #4 of 27


think there's a forum on that site too

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yeah haven't been on that site for a long time, I found those people kinda obsessed... I'll check it again though, thanks for reminding me of it.

post #6 of 27

Try Noctua with their FLX adapters that let you undervolt  the fans. That is what I did and used Fractal Design Define R3 and am very happy.

post #7 of 27

You could try to clean up your current fans; remove old oil and reoil them. It should lower their noise level audibly, but it might not do the trick for you.


Personally, I use Noctua fans as well - they're REALLY silent - I use this:




My entire stationary PC system is so silent, that I sometimes turn the computer off by accident, because I want to turn on my computer but forgets that it's already turned on... :D 


- Very low noise graphics card (ealier on I had a Radeon 4850 passive cooled; YAY!!!! Now that I need a bit more juice and power, I settled for a Radeon 6770 with special fans that makes it extremely silent)

- Very low noise CPU cooler (Cooler Master 212 plus) http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6603

- Low noise PSU from Cooler Master

- System coolers from Noctua (ealier on I used Papst)

- Case from Cooler Master, fitted with foam paddings to reduce noise levels even further

post #8 of 27

I build an entirely solid state computer for the fun of it just to see if it was possible, based it off of an Intel Atom and fitted it with a ssd and a passively cooled graphics card, wasn't the most powerful thing but it had enough power for most basic tasks and because there were no fans or moving parts it didn't make a single sound.

post #9 of 27

A few random thoughts:


-Exhaust case fan is probably not necessary.

-1200 RPM fans are probably excessive if you aren't running old or overclocked hardware.

-Consider whatever progeny of the P180 Antec is currently selling?

-How about a remote NAS box or fileserver for bulk storage, with an SSD for local OS support in your client?

-Along the thin client line, how about an Atom processor on a mini-ITX board with passive video card and external brick?

-Or, just pull some silly watercooling build in a ridiculously large case. That's my preferred solution!

post #10 of 27

The new all-in-one water cooling solutions work amazingly well and perfectly silent as the fans on the radiator usually don't even have to spin and there is no sound from the pump.

post #11 of 27

I decided to get a be Quiet Dark rock cpu cooler instead of a Noctua, its very simiar to the Noctua but i got it for a better price.....and it looks better lol, but also VERY silent

post #12 of 27

If you cut off the rear exhaust grill you might not even need a fan there.

post #13 of 27

One option is to use a bigger cooler. They dissipate the heat well, and your fans will never have to run at more than 50% the speed. I use a Noctua NH-D14 cooler, and the fans never run beyond 800 rpm, even after overclocking. Same with 2x NFP12 intake fans, and the 3x chasis fans are also set to low speed.

So a better airflow means you don't have to run the fans too much.


Or you can also consider some water cooling, it can reduce the number of fans required.

Edited by proton007 - 12/19/12 at 12:57am
post #14 of 27
I'd recommend the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 or the Fractal Design Define R3, the're both pretty silent cases and the asking price is around 110~120$. But if you just want to replace a couple of fans I'd recommend Nanoxia and Bitfenix (regular Spectre). There's also Scythe's fans, but those are pretty hard to get. Those fans are pretty good, even at high settings. I heard that it's recommended to buy 200mm fans to improve airflow and silence in the case, but I'm haven't tried that one myself.

For the video card you should check Gigabyte's Winforce Series, they're regarded as some of the most silent video cards.

And for the CPU, well, most of the aftermarket ones have similar performance (sound and temperature) if the CPU isn't overclocked.

Samsung F1 hard drives are very quiet.

HDD vibration & noise reducing methods - ranked
Hard Drive Silencing: Sandwiches & Suspensions. There are a lot of modern cases that have that kind of suspension built-in. Most of the noise from the drives comes from it vibrating with the case, your hard drive must be faulty if you can clearly hear it spinning.
Edited by po0930 - 3/8/13 at 3:30pm
post #15 of 27

fractal design define r4 is great for silent computing. i'm about to try out the new swiftech helix fans (super cheap) and I'll let you guys know about performance/silence. noctua is still king of fans for silence and performance imo

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