It’s true that some are not interested in worrying about how noisy their computer is, if at all it works well and they can run anything they want on it. But an enthusiast computer builder will probably want much more from his computer, and that is to look good and to be silent. Also, even for a low usage computer, it’s not that pleasing to hear it growl like a Hemi engine.

On the other hand, with today’s technology, there is no excuse to have a noisy computer, mostly because manufacturers are putting price on silence and they are developing much more sound-friendly components. These will try and eliminate all the noise from a computer, but the user still must pay attention to some guidelines.

What are the major sources of noise?

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This list is pretty narrow, and it turns out that to keep a computer quiet is not that hard, but the process of soundproofing your computer must begin early on in the build. For you to enjoy a noise free computer, keep in mind that the sources of noise in a computer are the following:

  • Fans (Vents)
  • Vibrations
  • Dust

Also, you will see that these factors have an influence on each other. The fact that the vents make the most noise in a computer is no mystery. The simple revolving motion of the wings will cause air currents to form and they will create sound. Too many vents moving too fast will make your computer sound like a mill.

Also, when the vents work, the motion of the wings creates vibrations that move towards the case, which will be heard by the user. Also, there are other sources of vibrations, such as the hard drive or optical drive. These are the most likely sources of vibrations in a computer, and for those who use inferior quality water pumps for water cooling systems, the vibrations will be much louder.

Dust is one of the computer’s most dangerous enemies. It can find its way virtually anywhere and cause unnecessary air currents that will result in unwanted sounds, it can land in vents and make them vibrate more, screech or even break them. Also, when it coats components, these will increase their temperature, making the vents work harder and thus, more sound.

Also, sometimes, if the wire management isn’t done properly, one of the wires might touch the fan blades of a vent. This will make a distinct clicking sound that will drive most nuts. Also, by creating a proper wire management, you will have less surface for dust to collect on and less air turbulence in the case.

How to Make Your Computer Quiet

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Now that we’ve isolated the leading causes of computer noise, it’s time to fix them and help you create that silent computer that you’ve always wanted. By following these tips, you will be able to either reduce the noise your computer makes, or create from the first time a silent PC that will last longer (although, without no maintenance, it will get noisy after a while).

1. Don’t cheap out – buy quality components

Although you might be tempted to save a few bucks on your build, it’s better to go for quality components that come from trusted manufacturers. These products have better performance and they are produced with top of the line materials, so you will both save money in the long run and they will also be in an optimal state for a longer period of time. This will eliminate the possibility of developing other problems that could cause noisy components. A good example might be a power supply, cooler, or even fans.

2. Be careful how many fans you install – limit them if necessary

A lot of fans might do a good thing for your cooling system, but don’t overdo it. Too many might start making noise and your computer will start howling at you when it’s turned on. Keep a decent number of fans, or if you want to max out your case, think about adding a fan controller or a voltage splitter. These will reduce the RPM of your fans, but still allow them to offer you airflow, and the noise level will drop significantly.

3. Protect your computer from dust

Also, if you are adding many fans, it might be best to add filters on all the intakes of your computer. Dust filters are starting to become default features in mid range cases and high end cases, but if your case does not have integrated dust filters, you have to buy a few. We’ve talked about how dust affects a computer, so be careful!

4. Do a good Wire Management or contain the noise

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As we have spoken before, a good wire management makes your computer work better, it reduces the surface where dust can settle and it improves airflow to the case. Increased airflow means that you can get away with no active cooling on certain components (we’ll be talking about this in a moment). Also, there are lots of developers of soundproofing materials that stick on the inside of your computer and absorb noise.

5. Remove the sources for vibrations – go passive

One other way to contain vibrations is to use silicone holders instead of screws on vents and special silicone brackets for hard drives. Some users have even gone as far as adding rubber feet to their cases or rubber feet to their power supplies in the pursuit of low noise. These are great ways to make your computer silent for cheap.

Passive cooling might be your best option to have a silent computer. If you put into practice the tips above, then your case will have good airflow and your fans will revolve just enough to maintain a good temperature with no noise and no vibrations, you can opt for fanless CPU cooler and video card coolers, also if you decide that you do need a fan for your GPU or CPU later on when you want to overclock, better look for passive coolers that allow a vent to be mounted later on. A fanless PSU is also a great idea for keeping the noise down, but I’d rather go with one that has a smart monitoring feature (Silent PSU).

Last but not least, if you can afford, then you might be better off with an SSD drive than with a HDD. These new drives do not have moving parts, therefore they last longer and they are completely quiet. Also, if you do not use your optical drive, better replace that with a card reader or USB 3.0 card.

If you will follow these tips when you build your own computer, then you will end up with a very silent build that will not give you trouble for a long time (if properly maintained). Also, use these tips if you want to make you current rig more silent and maybe even sleep with it in the same room. Remember, how it sounds is just as important as how it looks and how it works!


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Author

I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.