Silent PC guide

Case fans

Fans are generally speaking the most noisy part of any computer. Unfortunately we can't just get rid of them, because the computer would burn to a crisp on the inside, but at there are some things we can do. First, let's talk about some fundamentals: Fans move air for the purpose of getting hot air out of your computer and cooler air in. In doing so, fans cause two types of noise, one is caused by the fan actually spinning, and can be screeching, humming or buzzing. The other is the hissing noise caused by air moving. Both can be fixed by using better designed fans with lower rpms, but this can cause your computer to run hotter, so you should keep an eye on the temperature in your computer for a while after doing anything to the fans in your computer.

Apart from replacing fans, there is also a trick that allows you to run your fans at a lower speed. By simply rewiring the fan connector, you can make the fan run at 7 volts instead of 12 volts, which will roughly make the fan run at half the speed. I will create a page describing this procedure once I get a digital camera to play around with. :)

To replace your fans you need to find some good low-noise fans to replace them with. Most computers use 80mm case fans, but some have 92mm and 120mm fans as well. If your computer has a 120mm fan, take care to check the width of your fan as well, as it can be 25, 32 or 38 mm wide.

There are three manufacturers that sell low-noise fans:

Panasonic Panaflo fans make use of liquid bearings, which makes them very silent. Their low-speed fans make excellent are good choices for quiet computers. I've found a couple of places that sells them:
  • Electritek - good order page, but limited select, and a $50 minimum order
  • Digi-Key good selection, no minimum order, but their online catalog is not exactly user- friendly.
Papst (called EBM industries in the US) makes two series of fans called Megafan and Variofan. These fans are sturdy and well balanced, and are virtually noiseless when running at low rpms. (For instance, when running on 7 volts.) They can be hard to find, but the following places are worth trying:
PC power & cooling
PC Power and cooling sells a quiet "Silencer" fan, which is very quiet. However, it is only available in 80mm size. Here's where to buy them:

If you don't feel comfortable replacing the fan in the inside the power supply, you can just get a new power supply unit. This also have the advantage that you can get one with a temperature regulated fan, which makes it very very quiet. I know of two companies that make quiet power supplies:

PC power & cooling
Their Ultra-Quiet PSU is rated at 34 dBA, which is pretty good.
Their Ultra-Quiet PSU is rated at 26 dBA, which is very good.

Ok, now that we have a quiet case fan, let's move on to the cpu fan >>>

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Last modified: March 2nd, 2001 - Design by Monica & Fredrik Hübinette