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Silent PC guide

The holistic approach


If you've done at least one thing from each of the previous pages, you will have a pretty quiet computer by now. However, if you're still not satisfied or you were not able to do some of these things, then this is your last chance. This page describes ways to make your entire computer more quiet, starting with the least drastic measures...

Sound absorbing materials

One simple way to reduce the amount of noise your computer makes is to line the computer with a sound-absorbing and/or vibration-dampening material. There are several suitable materials available:
Accumat
They have some different materials, all very good, and odor free, but also quite pricey.
B-Quiet.com
A tar based material, it has a slight odor and can be a bit messy, but much cheaper than Accumat.
Carpet padding
This is is very cheap material, and pretty easy to find. Here is an nice page that describes how to do this.
Studiofoam
This might actually be the best material, but I haven't tried it myself yet.
I've tried some of the above materials myself, and while it does help, it does not make your computer entirely quiet unless it was very quiet to begin with.

Noise absorbing computer cases

There are some noise absorbing computer cases out there, with better fans, HD enclosures etc. There are even cases made out of plastic form material. Check out Tomas Risbers page for some links.

Computer Enclosures

This is one of the most expensive ways, but also one of the most efficient ways to make a computer quiet. Unfortunately there are not a lot of products to choose from, the ultra-super-deluxe model is the ISOMAC made by Sound Construction & Supplies. They also have a slightly less ultra-super-deluxe model called ISOBOX, but they are both quite expensive.

If you can't afford an ISOBOX or ISOMAC, you can actually build a box yourself. One example of how to build one can be found here.

An even cheaper way is to through a simply throw one or more thick blankets over the computer. I have friends who swear by that method, but it can also cause severe overheating, so make sure that your computer has *good* airflow and proper temperature monitoring before trying this method.

Distance

Sound travels, but it diminishes as it travels. It is also reduced by anything that might be in the way between you and the computer. This is particularly useful for file servers and other servers where you don't need access to the monitor all the time. You can also control these servers using VNC. For non-servers you'll need a good quality extension cord for your monitor, and some extension cords for keyboard and mouse. However, beware that high resolutions will definitely be degraded if you have more than 10 feet of cable between the graphics card and monitor. However, a few feet might be enough to put the computer in another room, in a closet, or behind a piece of furniture. Sometimes it is even enough to just push your computer further in under your desk. If you put some distance between you and your computer, you might want do consider using Daemon tools to make a virtual cdrom drive. It might also be possible to use a firewire cdrom drive, but I don't know how long a firewire cable can be.

Drastic measures

Of course, the best way to get a silent computer is to just get rid of the noisy computer, or not to have a computer at all. For instance, you could have a terminal without any moving part connect a server, you could use a portable computer or buy a completely new computer. However, that is really outside the scope of this guide. Read more on Tomas Risbers page.

All done, go read about my experiences >>>


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Last modified: March 4th, 2001 - Design by Monica & Fredrik Hübinette