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Hardwareluxx Silent Guide 2013

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Philipp Moosdorf

Page 1: Hardwareluxx Silent Guide 2013

Scythe_Gekko_logo How do you make a loud PC quiet? This question is at the beginning of our Silent Guide. Based on a typical gaming computer we want to show the way for a quiet PC, but at the same time explore the limits of the possibilities. The guide is completed by recommendations for the purchase of a silent computer.

When you buy a new PC, you usually pay particular attention to high-performance components. However, commissioning of the new acquisition can quickly lead to disillusionment. The performance monster may turn into a real rowdy, making concentrated working hard. In this situation, you can either resign to your fate, or take matters into your own hands and reduce the operating noise of the computer through various measures.

First thing to consider is how far the noise level can be lowered and the amount effort to put into this. Optimizing PC acoustics is fast becoming a time-consuming and expensive pleasure. A new set of high quality case fans can devour a three-digit euro amount. Large noise reductions are usually also possible with simple and inexpensive means. A new acquisition on the other hand is a different question: How can we ensure in advance that the complete PC or the self-assembled computer does not become a troublemaker? For a DIY, it is advisable to learn about the noise level of each component in tests or take into account the experience by other users (for example in our forum). A single aberration can cause a PC to become too loud.

The single aberration also brings us back to a problem that becomes particularly noticeable during the subsequent optimization. There is little advantage in deactivating suspected individual noise sources, as long as one or more components remain audibly louder than the other components. Even the very best case fan does not really help if the loud graphics card fan ist still disturbingly noisy, or the noise of the hard disk access is unnerving. Accordingly, the complete system should be put under scrutiny - and may well surprisingly show the occasional component as the noise source.

But enough about theoretical preliminaries. For this Silent Guide, we used an average gaming computer in which we would like to present and evaluate various silencing measures in a manner as practical as possible. We present the testing system in this video:

The following components are installed in the compact Lian Li PC-V700:

Key data: sample system
CPU: AMD FX-8350
CPU Coolers: AMD Boxed Cooler
Mainboard: ASUS Crosshair V Formula
Memory: 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP
HDD: Crucial m4 SSD 128 GB Western Digital WD15EARX
Graphics card: ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II
OS: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium

The performance of this machine allows the use of both sophisticated application programs as well as current games. In its raw state, the PC makes more than 45 dB (A) disturbingly loud noise, relaxed concentrated working is hardly possible. But what strategies are on offer to keep the silence? Must compromises be made to keep the considerable heat of the system under control?

We will be adjusting both the software as well as use silent components. At this point, we want to thank be quiet!, Caseking and Seasonic for making the components available to us.