May 4, 2010 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a good article or discussion about quiet computers / quiet cooling fans?

I bought a Dell Dimension 8400 for use with music projects but then OH MY GOD!! The CPU Fan is hellbent on non-linearly cooling the CPU at random times, the On - Off - Louder - Softer - relentless noise makes this machine useless for music, it's like having a flashing strobe light going off in a darkroom. Where should I look for the best ongoing discussion of "quietest CPU Fan" / "quietest computer" ??
posted by shipbreaker to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
the HardOCP cooling forum is a good place.
Obviously, the quietest cooling will be from a fanless passive device, such as liquid based cooling systems.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2010

Silent PC Review has always been my go-to site.
posted by xbonesgt at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2010

Check out the SilentPCReview forums.
posted by zsazsa at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2010

Seems to be an issue others are having. Try changing power settings in BIOS (often there are settings for performance vs noise level). Might help stabilize it a bit.
posted by pyro979 at 12:39 PM on May 4, 2010

You'll need to provide some more details about what this music project is, and what you're using the computer for.

It may make the most sense to remove the PC from your recording space entirely.
posted by schmod at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2010

I have a dell dimension 8400 that had a similar problem - one of the case fans was seriously LOUD (after years of being fine). What I did was purchase a replacement case fan. However, dell's case fans don't use normal fan connectors, so I had to cut off the end of the old one and solder it to the new one. I'm not sure if you'd have that problem with a new one, though.
posted by majikstreet at 1:21 PM on May 4, 2010

You might find www.extremetech.com of interest.
posted by PickeringPete at 1:35 PM on May 4, 2010

Another good resource is endpcnoise.com. I bought a great very quiet machine from them about 4 years ago, but 2 years ago when I was buying again they were too expensive. They know what they're doing, though.

BTW, fan speeds are often software adjustable. It sounds like your fan is temperature activated, which should be a good thing, but it's weird that it would go from silent to very loud. You may want to fiddle in the bios / settings programs to see if you can configure that, or maybe set it to run at a constant low speed.
posted by Nelson at 1:58 PM on May 4, 2010

posted by DrtyBlvd at 2:36 PM on May 4, 2010

If this is a used computer I strongly advise getting a can of compressed air and cleaning out the computer, especially the CPU fan radiator. I had a computer that did this (CPU fan kicking in at high speed) until I did this and got some small dust bunnies out of the radiator. The computer has been on for a year since then and has never kicked into "Fan Warp 10" since. If it's a new computer and you are up to changing the fan (with caveats about proprietary plugs with Dells mentioned above) the Egghead page lets you sort fans by decibel level.
posted by crapmatic at 3:16 PM on May 4, 2010

My current Dell had a green duct inside, from I believe the CPU fan to the rear. Once removed it was a hell of a lot quieter. No issues since removing it about 2 years ago, despite some heavy computing and being always on. Don't need to crack the case open anymore to get the fan to shut-up a bit.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:38 PM on May 4, 2010

It's not a discussion per se, but when I wanted quiet fans I went to NewEgg's page for cpu fans, clicked on the 'advanced search' link at the top of the left column and selected the lowest noise level fans. For each one there will usually be a bunch of reviews by people who have actually bought them and used them. I've found a lot of good advice there. I have 4 fans running that I bought this way I can't hear them above the gentle hum of my (quiet) hard drives.
posted by Ookseer at 11:00 PM on May 4, 2010

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