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Noise Control Stealth Tower 217

Posted by timothy
from the for-the-last-time-would-you-be-quiet dept.
Ben writes: "I have just reviewed a really innovative case. Noise dampening kits have been available for some time, but I think this is the first solution where the manufacturer has done something to combat the noise coming out of the BACK of the case! With its whisper box, the Noise Control Stealth Tower finally solves this problem" Update: 06/06 21:02 GMT by T : Ben points to this mirror, too.
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Noise Control Stealth Tower

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  • great! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jeffy124 (453342)
    now if they could only make something for a set of rack-mounts.......
    • Re:great! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      rack sound reduction is very very easy. I have a set of six racks that are nice and quiet, the air conditioning coming from the ceiling for us humans is louder.

      First, you MUST have racks with doors on front and back, second you must have a plenum on the bottom of the rack and the AC drop in the top (or my raised computer room floor with a Libert unit in the other room feeding the floor with cold air, vent out the top back to the AC unit) We placed car audio damping material (Dynamat) on the solid doors and sides, and ther front smoked plexi door is left normal.

      with the doors closed (Oh add felt around the doors for a sound seal) you can barely hear the 14 servers screaming along (anyone notice hoe ML530 fans sould like jet's taking off?)
      • solid doors would be part of the problem. I work in a research lab that has two cabinets in the corner (not in their own rooms, which is what they really need), and unfortunately I sit closest to them. One has only our main server (a simple tower) sitting on a shelf above it's external RAID array, a UPS, and the tape backup system. The other cabinet has about 20 rack machines, a network switch, slide-away console+KVM switch, two UPS's, and a power supply. Both also have the typical power strips at appropriate points and a huge mess of wiring. The doors to the cabinets themselves are screen-like, i guess to allow air flow.

        We've mostly gotten somewhat used to the noise, but it would be nice to find something to shield the noise. The only real problem we've had otherwise is the heat it generates on hot days outside when the AC hasnt been turned on.
      • Agreed. I did such a good job of noise proofing my rack cabinet that I wound up moving all my machines into it, to shut them up. Here's a step-by-step with photos [flaredev.com].
  • by Limburgher (523006) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:43AM (#3651976) Homepage Journal
    Be bewwwwwy, bewwwwy, qwwwyyyet. I'm hacking wabbit.com. . .
  • I've gotten so used to the noise of my fans running that I can't sleep without them. Its amazing how well a dual proc G4 acts as a white noise machine.
    • Heheh, its funny - I've been working in a high-tech firm for only a few weeks, and yet I already misunderstood the purpose of this article: I thought they ment eltronic noise - like magnetics static buildup or something.

      Yeah, I have an Athlon XP - I can't talk on the phone in the same room as that computer.

      My old Duron has an extra internal case fan and its quieter. Oh, well. Maybe an old Mac Cube (no fans - all convection cooling) would be best.
  • by gylle (531234) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:46AM (#3651991)
    I have moved my very noisy server into a kitchen closet that previously held a small refrigerator. So it has a power outlet and is well ventilated. No more noise in the bedroom (at least from the server ;-). And buying wireless LAN equipment to connect the server to my laptop costs less than the quiet case in the article.
  • Alternatives (Score:2, Insightful)

    by delta407 (518868)
    The alternative to using said "stealth case" is to run a quieter power supply with a cool-running CPU. Such systems are easy to obtain; you could either use an early 486 or unplug your Athlon. Of course, you don't get much processing power either way, but it sure is quiet. You could even use a mirror in full sun; it processes at the speed of light!

    Incidentally, I have a Gateway 486 DX2 that has had all of the parts replaced except the case and power supply. It's completely silent; the soft hum from my printer's wall wart is louder. (Makes a great firewall, I might add.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:47AM (#3652001)
    It has stealth in the name, which raises the cool factor by like 10! Your friends will be thinking it escapes radar detection and that it may bomb them at any time.

    You do want your friends to fear you, don't you?
  • I would think that the fleece would reduce heat transfer. The noise is a big plus, but isn't there some way to get quiter without losing heat transer. In our apartment all the computers run hot. And some reach dangerous levels periodicly. I woyuld also think that the felt or fleece could also blaok airflow if your not careful also hurting heat transfer.
    • It could in theory improve heat dissapation, say you made a dimond mesh (diamond is a great thermal conductor compaired to air, or most things!)

      The mesh would collapse the sound waves (turn them into heat probably!), and be able to conduct the heat better than air would.

      Ok it's probably impossible to do this, but copper/steel wool might have the same kind of effect!)
      • It could in theory improve heat dissapation, say you made a dimond mesh (diamond is a great thermal conductor compaired to air, or most things!)

        As we all know, Snow is a great noise dampener and a perfect way to keep your box cool...

        And slightly cheaper than a diamond mesh.

      • i think the conducting capacity of diamond vs air is beside the point, since the air is typically flowing outside the case and thus transporting the heat away.

        the mesh won't be flowing i guess.
    • Think about how hot the air is coming out the back of a modern computer? What, not hot at all? Congrats, you have plenty of fans in there. Now think about a friend's computer that has only a front, rear case fan, and power supply fan. That air is hot compared to the temperature of the case. Cases are often sheet steel, and not designed for heat transfer. I doubt the paint is anything special. Unless the case is un-painted aluminum, I doubt there is significant heat dissipation.

      If you have mini-towers in your pad you probably don't have much room for more fans. If you want to have fun and have two 3.5" slots directly above each other, try this. Get a $15 Antec 5.25 to 3.5" drive bay converter. Put the floppy there. Remove the covers to the 3.5" slots. Buy two (2) fifty milimeter (50mm) quiet running fans, and stick them in the slots. They should fit almost perfectly.

  • Slashdotted (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Posted anonymously because I have enough karma. First page only; the server is almost dead.

    --- Story: ---

    Introduction

    We are quite a fan of Noise Control's products so far here at OcPrices, with both their Magic Fleece noise dampening material and Silverado coolers providing great quiet solutions for today's noisy PCs. Their latest product is the "Stealth Tower" case, complete with "whisper box". The Stealth Tower is basically a high-quality tower case pre-lined professionally with magic fleece. In our tests of the magic fleece, whilst the drop in noise was quite significant, the majority of the noise was now coming out of the back of the PC, via the case fans and PSU. Naturally these couldn't be lined with the fleece! With the stealth tower, Noise Control have constructed a "whisper box", a metal box heavily lined with fleece, with some cleverly aligned holes that allow air to circulate, but should stop 90% of the noise from escaping.

    As you can see the case is quite a behemoth! With five external 5¼" bays and four 3½" bays, you won't be running out of space any time soon. Because of the case's heavy fleece lining, and the fact that it is a big case already, the stealth tower is a heavy object. Hauling it onto some scales revealed an empty weight of 12.5kg (27.5lb).

    Thanks to Chillblast for providing me with a World Exclusive review on this case. You can *only* buy this case from them if you are in the UK since they are the only Noise Control UK distributors. The case costs 166.99 inc. VAT - but as you are about to see, you certainly get your money's worth. Lets take a look at some mug shots.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:48AM (#3652010)
    Page 1:

    NoiseControl Stealth Tower with Whisper box

    Manufacturer:Noise Control
    Cases
    Posted by Ben on 5-June-2002 at 7:02
    Introduction
    We are quite a fan of Noise Control's products so far here at OcPrices, with both their Magic Fleece noise dampening material and Silverado coolers providing great quiet solutions for today's noisy PCs. Their latest product is the "Stealth Tower" case, complete with "whisper box". The Stealth Tower is basically a high-quality tower case pre-lined professionally with magic fleece. In our tests of the magic fleece, whilst the drop in noise was quite significant, the majority of the noise was now coming out of the back of the PC, via the case fans and PSU. Naturally these couldn't be lined with the fleece! With the stealth tower, Noise Control have constructed a "whisper box", a metal box heavily lined with fleece, with some cleverly aligned holes that allow air to circulate, but should stop 90% of the noise from escaping.

    As you can see the case is quite a behemoth! With five external 5¼" bays and four 3½" bays, you won't be running out of space any time soon. Because of the case's heavy fleece lining, and the fact that it is a big case already, the stealth tower is a heavy object. Hauling it onto some scales revealed an empty weight of 12.5kg (27.5lb).

    Thanks to Chillblast for providing me with a World Exclusive review on this case. You can *only* buy this case from them if you are in the UK since they are the only Noise Control UK distributors. The case costs 166.99 inc. VAT - but as you are about to see, you certainly get your money's worth. Lets take a look at some mug shots.

    Page 2:

    Case Exterior
    The stealth tower is an attractive case despite its bulk, with a sliding cover to hide CD-ROM drives and other paraphernalia from sight. I was particularly impressed with the whisper box, which blends seamlessly with the case's design.

    Now that we have taken a look at the exterior, lets have a look at the much more important interior where the Stealth Tower really comes into its own compared to other cases.

    Page 3:

    The Interior
    Inside the Stealth Tower you will find wall-to-wall carpeting the likes of which you have never seen! Most of the panels are double lined with the noise dampening material, so the dampening effect should be much more profound than when I tested the Magic Fleece kit myself.

    The large metal expanse with no fleece attached is where you install the motherboard and other components. Behind this tray is a double lined side panel

    You can see the notch in the second layer has been carefully cut so that the side panel fits on snugly, fitting the case skeleton like a glove.

    You can see that the drive bays, where normally a lot of noise escapes is extremely heavily lined with fleece. I am very impressed with the sheer amount of noise dampening matting used in the case - if you were to DIY a case of this size with the same extent of sound proofing, you would have to factor in at least two fleece packs - which would set you back over £80 alone from Chillblast.

    Here is the inside-back. Plenty of spare PCI slot gaps, and space for an 80mm fan to be mounted. This is where 90% of the noise escapes in a regular fleeced case. Enter the whisper box!

    Page 4:

    Whisper Box
    The whisper box is large and heavy contraption that attaches onto the back of the Stealth Tower by means of extremely strong magnetic strips.

    Once attached to the case, it has no likeliness of coming loose without a good tug, allowing you to drag the case around without it slipping off. If you are planning to carry the case around however, of course it is a good idea to remove the box.

    The whisper box works on the premise that hot air can move by convection, whereas sound travels in straight lines. The box is split into two sections, one for the PSU, and another for the case fan / PCI peripherals. Nearly all of the sound waves are deflected straight into fleece, where as the warm air coming out of the PSU and case fans can drift up to the top of the box and be expelled, and warm air from the case fan is expelled from the bottom due to pressure build up.

    The entire interior of the whisper box is heavily lined with magic fleece noise killer, and thus weighs quite a lot. It's build quality is fabulous, and it looks like part of the case rather than just a third party add-on.

    Page 5:

    Performance
    I will compare the Stealth Tower to my other case, the Lian Li PC-60. I have fitted both with the same 80mm case fan and the same Enermax 430W whisper PSU. Lets compare both decibel readings, taken with the following contraption, and then case temperatures.

    For the CPU I have fitted a 2100XP processor, with an Arkua copper core thermoengine. Its not the loudest of coolers, but certainly couldn't be considered quiet either. It is about on a par with most "regular" 4500rpm fans. The graphics card is the Creative GeForce 4 Ti-4600, which has quite a loud and annoying fan - and definately the noisiest component in my PC. It will be interesting to see how the Stealth Tower copes with it.

    Case CPU temperature (full load) Case temperature

    Lian Li PC-60 48.9 26.4

    Stealth Tower 52.1 29.0

    The Noise Control case results in a 3 degree increase on both the CPU and ambient case temperature. Initially I did the test with no case fans installed in any case, and the difference was a much more profound 6 degrees. The CPU was also a rather worrying 51 degrees with the Lian Li, and a borderline pass of 57 degrees with the noise control case. It just goes to show how stupidly hot these Athlons are getting now - even with a good cooler. Lets see whether the reduction in noise is worth the temperature cost. I also dug out my old fleeced case that I built myself and fitted the same components again. Readings were taken exactly half a foot from the front, then the side and then the back of the case about half way up in all tests.

    Case Side Back Front

    Lian Li PC-60 48.0 Db 56.9 Db 50.8

    DIY Fleece case 43.5 Db 55.4 Db 44.5.1Db

    Stealth Tower 40.1 Db 45.3 Db 40.1Db

    The extent to which the Stealth Tower reduces system noise is truly amazing. There was barely an audible whisper coming from the whole PC, and it certianly showed up my l33t fleecing skills or lack thereof! To be fair to myself, the main difference between my DIY effort and the Stealth Tower is the whisper box on the back, it really does do wonders for noise reduction, with the PSU only audible if you put your ear to the whisper boxes top port. The differences in Db may not look like much, but when you consider it is a logarithmic scale, the differences are really VERY significant. Just for fun I placed a Delta screamer in the Lian Li (not actually connected to anything except the fan header) and then again in the fleece case and listened for the difference. I would say that the difference was maybe 80%. In the Lian Li, the Delta is as-ever, unusable in my opinion. In the Noise Control case it really isn't so bad! Finally! That said, I find it unlikely that anyone investing in the Stealth Tower would then negate its huge potential by putting such an uncivilised cooler in it!

    Page 6:

    Conclusion
    The Noise Control Stealth Tower case is big, beautifully made and sublimely quiet. Sure you get an increase in system temperature compared to an aluminium case, but the differences in volume need to be heard to be believed. Remember this review was conducted using regular equipment, with the likes of Zalman CPU coolers and PSU's, a silent PC - even an Athlon 2100XP PC - is now a possibility. People hankering after tranquillity, and especially those that NEED quiet PCs, for audio visual work or recording etc should not hesitate to buy this case. I am a total sound Nazi, and although I found the original magic fleece DIY kit impressive, the amount of noise coming out of the back of the case was still an annoyance. With the Stealth Tower, Noise Control have finally come up with a viable solution, and for that I humbly thank them!!

    Click for an explanation of our awards.

    Highs
    - Huge potential for expansion
    - Substantial size ideal for watercooling
    - Nice looking
    - Amazingly quiet
    - Revolutionary Whisper box
    - Sublime build quality

    Lows
    - Heavy
    - Not cheap
    - No removable motherboard tray

    Comment on this review in our forums here [ocprices.com].

    Check out the prices on these and other cases, plus guaranteed CPUs, peltiers, water coolers, case modding equipment and more in our Overclocking Equipment Pricelist [ocprices.com] featuring 70 overclocking retailers/vendors from 9 countries.

    n.b. moderators: I have enough karma, maybe I will post anonymously
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by dknj (441802) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:50AM (#3652024) Journal
    I don't think I can quiet down my case [digitalzophar.net] that much

    dk
    • by fisman (66079)
      Have you never tried strapping that to your back sitting on a scateboard?

      I am really dissapointed in you.
    • That giant fan.. a silly idea.. or IS it??

      Using a single, large, low-rpm fan with quality bearings and well balanced blades would be a very practical way to cool your case while keeping it quiet. Now what we need is for somebody to design a commercial case like this, albeit one that is fully covered with metal for normal shielding / noise reduction purposes.
  • I've found the noise from the Athlon 1800+ in my bedroom to be quite soothing in the amount of white noise it creates in the background.

    I did a little somewhat unscientific case study on the white noise it generated a few months back. I started shutting the box down at night while I was in bed. It turned out after 1 week of shutting it down to get rid of the noise that I actually had a harder time getting to sleep, and often woke up in the middle of the night. Within a few nights of leaving it on all night and day again I was back to sleeping like a baby.

    With a baby on the way I'm tempted to set up a computer in the baby's room, not only so I have something to do at 4AM in the morning between feeding/changing, but also as an introduction of white noise into the room. I guess I'll see how well this works, maybe it'll be as soothing his mother's voice.

    • With a baby on the way I'm tempted to set up a computer in the baby's room
      poor child: when (s)he come to a really silent place, garanteed panic.
      on an other side, when (s)he grows up, perhaps that silence will be one of those things of the past...
    • We have one of those radios that makes nature sounds in our nursery... there's one that's supposed to be wind that sounds very similar to a pc.

      She doesn't sleep well without it, either.
    • It's rediculous to think that you require some sort of noise to get to sleep, and even moreso to subject a child to that sort of thing. You've conditioned yourself to accepting it there when you try to sleep, and so without it you have a harder time. Fine. Your child hasn't! Given more than a week, I bet you any amount of money that you'll be sleeping just fine.

      Those people who say that they /need/ white noise to get to sleep, and always have, are fooling themselves. How did you get to sleep before you had a computer?

      levine
      • by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:55AM (#3652409) Homepage
        Go ahead and ignore the numerous studies indicating that white noise can help you sleep.

        A perfectly quiet room is not conducive to a good night's sleep - you wind up being woken by small noises, such as the house creaking, wind blowing through trees, the HVAC system coming on and turning off, etc. White noise gives a higher base noise level that makes these events less noticeable because they're not such an abrupt change from what's in the room otherwise.

        did you get to sleep before you had a computer?

        Most people leave a fan running in the room - not only does it generate white noise, but it helps air circulation and keeps the temperature more stable.
        • Define most people? I would bet you that most people don't leave a fan running in their room.

        • You're right - white noise can help you sleep. Unfortunately, the noise generated by computer fans is not white noise - it's far from uniformly distributed in frequency. Most small fans are very whiny. Good small fans are still slightly whiny.

          On occasion, I've left a box fan running to mask incidental noises and mild tinnitus and help me sleep - but computer fans, in my experience, usually make the problem worse. My current case is equipped with the quietest, least whiny components I could find, and it's still occasionally annoying.
      • Actually the only way I used to be able to get to sleep before I had some sort of fan noise in my room was to "pound my head" which was an obsessive-compulsive slamming of my head into the pillow. Mom starting running a small fan in my room when I was about 8, and I stopped banging my head into the pillow to drive myself to sleep. Since then I've always had a fan or a computer on in my room.

      • Unless I'm mistaken, most people (myself included) use some sort of white noise to drown out other sounds, not purely as a source of sound.

        I have a small fan that I run while my wife and I sleep and it helps tremendously so that we don't hear every car that drives by our place.

        I agree with the original poster that using white noise in the baby's room is a good idea. That way, Mommy and Daddy don't have to be so paranoid about keeping their guests quiet late at night.
      • Those people who say that they /need/ white noise to get to sleep, and always have, are fooling themselves. How did you get to sleep before you had a computer?


        White noise can help muffle the ambient noises that disturb the sleep of many urban dwellers (like sirens, cars, fighting neighbors, amorous neighbors, etc.) Without white noise, theres' silence broken by sudden sounds; with white noise, there's a more steady low level of noise and the sudden sounds are less disturbing.


        That said, I still much prefer sleeping with my tower off than on. But that's just me.

    • "Put them down on the floor."

      The infants were unloaded.

      "Now turn them so that they can see the flowers and books."

      Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards those clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant on the white pages. As they approached, the sun came out of a momentary eclipse behind a cloud. The roses flamed up as though with a sudden passion from within; a new and profound sigruficance seemed to suffuse the shining pages of the books. From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles and twitterings of pleasure.

      The Director rubbed his hands. "Excellent!" he said. "It might almost have been done on purpose."

      The swiftest crawlers were already at their goal. Small hands reached out uncertainly, touched, grasped, unpetaling the transfigured roses, crumpling the illuminated pages of the books. The Director waited until all were happily busy. Then, "Watch carefully," he said. And, lifting his hand, he gave the signal.

      The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the room, pressed down a little lever.

      There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded.

      The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.

      "And now," the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), "now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock."

      He waved his hand again, and the Head Nurse pressed a second lever. The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic yelps to which they now gave utterance. Their little bodies twitched and stiffened; their limbs moved jerkily as if to the tug of unseen wires.

      "We can electrify that whole strip of floor," bawled the Director in explanation. "But that's enough," he signalled to the nurse.

      The explosions ceased, the bells stopped ringing, the shriek of the siren died down from tone to tone into silence. The stiffly twitching bodies relaxed, and what had become the sob and yelp of infant maniacs broadened out once more into a normal howl of ordinary terror.

      "Offer them the flowers and the books again."

      The nurses obeyed; but at the approach of the roses, at the mere sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror, the volume of their howling suddenly increased.

      "Observe," said the Director triumphantly, "observe."
    • "I've found the noise from the Athlon 1800+ in my bedroom to be quite soothing.... It turned out after 1 week of shutting it down...that I actually had a harder time getting to sleep, and often woke up in the middle of the night."

      Are you sure your room wasn't just getting too cold with the computer turned off?
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:56AM (#3652057) Homepage Journal
    People complaining about the noise from computers are the same people that stand in front of microwaves screaming "Faster, Faster!".
    • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:06AM (#3652107) Homepage Journal
      Actually, they are probably musicians, it's the sound recording industry that will probably be the main market for this box...

      ...although I will concede that Frank Zappa did record an entire album of standing in front of a microwave screaming "Faster, Faster!".
      • Actually, they are probably musicians, it's the sound recording industry that will probably be the main market for this box...

        Huh? Why would the sound recording industry put loud computers in the same room as the microphones?

        • by Ooblek (544753)
          No no no....its not that. The machine is likely in the same room as the mixing engineer. This is the guy that ultimately needs to hear the stuff as clear as possible so he can assemble it and mix it properly. I used to have to deal with this all the time. I used to install audio mixing studios for post production, and the engineers were chronic complainers. "I can't sit under the A/C vent, its too cold. The A/C vent is too loud. The computer fan is too loud. The ights are too bright. The lights are too dim. The computer is too far away. I don't like the patch bay up there on the wall, I want it closer. I don't like the patch bay this close, I want it on the wall." Seesh.

          You also have to get special equipment to extend the monitor cable so that it shows up clear if you put the box in another room. Digital mixing and editing is great, but they have to put an insane amount of buttons on the screen in order to fit all the functionality of a console on the screen. Many buttons usually means small buttons. If your screen is fuzzy from signal attenuation due to distance, its not a pleasant thing to have to look at this all day every day. A sound studio is like a major nightmare of UI design, mixing both software and hardware. The engineers also tend to be sort of artsy, so they tend to be more "needy" than say a software engineer would be. (Just give me a dark room, a good chair, and a mouse without deadspots in it and I'm happy.)

          • the engineers were chronic complainers. "I can't sit under the A/C vent, its too cold. The A/C vent is too loud. The computer fan is too loud. The ights are too bright. The lights are too dim.

            What about "the lights are too loud"? I've experienced that before.
    • Moe: Oh, boy! The deep fryer's here. Heh heh, I got it used from the navy. You can flash-fry a buffalo in forty seconds.
      Homer: Forty seconds? But I want it now!
    • You would not believe how many users I support complain about ordinary fan noise. What can I tell them, other than "computers are noisy. live with it." Of all the nit-picky things that users bitch about, getting rid of one of them is a Good Thing in my book.

      Now, how to explain to them that I have no control over how fast their favorite websites load...


      • Of all the nit-picky things that users bitch about, getting rid of one of them is a Good Thing in my book.

        So, where do you dispose of your ex-users? ;-)
        • So, where do you dispose of your ex-users? ;-)

          You can't expect him to tell you that... it would be /.-ed, for crissakes!

          There's at least one other admin that has started using the spot I use, but at this rate we have a long way to go before space will be a problem. I guess it would be kind of awkward if we both showed up at the same time, but that's life. He/she is very neat about it and has pretty much adopted the layout I was using, so I can't really complain.

    • Um, not really. I hate the noise my computer makes. I don't even own a microwave. -Philip
    • If you have good hearing, the noise from a powerful machine is very noticeable, and if you work 8+ hours a day with them for years on end, you'll start to see the benefits of quieter machines - unless, as I said, you're half deaf.
  • If noise really bothers you, then build a server closet! Computers need cooling and air, so short of using fanless cooling systems, noise is unavoidable.

    One possible approach as other have mentioned is noise cancelling. Not noise damping with magic fleece or carpet. More like active noice cancelling technology, like the hellicopter whisper mode in the movies :)

  • by xtal (49134) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:57AM (#3652064)

    I've been running a reliable water cooled setup (including many moves, dropping upside down, upgrades, etc) for over 6 months now. It works great. I have install details [nyx.net] written up for anyone who's interested. The noise went from deafening to a mild hum.

    I'm currently gathering pieces for a passive watercooled setup (no fans) that handles cooling the video, system chip and processor. The power supply fan will be removed and replaced with a low-voltage 120mm top-mounted fan that runs silently with good airflow (for HD cooling as well).

    Rather than mount the radiator inside the case, the radiator will be top mounted with a custom lexan mount. This moves the heat outside the system (closed box). In addition, the inside will be sound deadened with leftover Dynamat Extreme [dynamat.com] from my car stereo install. This should result in a cool looking, silent machine, with no compromises. It isn't going to be cheap though.

    • If your computer is so loud that even a freaking /water/ /pump/ is quieter, the fault is entirely yours to begin with.

      No one, and I mean no one, needs a 10k RPM Delta fan in their box. No processor gets hot enough to need it, and if ever one does you've got a whole other set of problems to deal with.

      levine
      • You can't hear the pump I use in operation. One, it's in a sealed box, and two, it's submersed in water. My case makes noise because I have a 120mm fan on the radiator, but that is much quieter than the fans it replaced. My next design won't make that necessary, and a 120mm fan at low voltage moves a lot of air at extremely low noise levels.

        Relax.

  • 1. Remove noisy cpu and case fans.

    2. Get Swiftech MCX462 heatsink (CAD$85) plus Vantec Stealth fan 80 mm (CAD$20, 21 dBA) to cool it. Use Artic Silver 3 thermal compound (CAD$13/tube).

    3. Replace case fans and possibly power supply fan with Vantec Stealth fans.

    4. Avoid slot loading DVD drives (i.e. like car cd players, no tray) because noise gets out of the slot.

    5. Make sure your box is sitting on carpet and not wood/concrete.

    6. If worried about airflow, remove those bulky IDE and floppy cables and get rounded cables. (About CAD$15-20 each.)

    Caveats: Kinda expensive, probably less expensive than this case. Overclocking is a no-no.

    • What about the hard drives ?

      Fans are one source of noise, but hard drives are another, and it can be significant. Once you get rid
      of those noisy fans, you are sure to notice the drive. There are quiet drives from Quantum, and hard drive case enclosures.

      But, an all in one package case seems like a reasonable idea.
      • "Fans are one source of noise, but hard drives are another, and it can be significant. Once you get rid of those noisy fans, you are sure to notice the drive. There are quiet drives from Quantum, and hard drive case enclosures."

        Very true. I think it all boils down to personal preference. Some people feel happy with certain levels of noise while others would want it to be quieter.

        In my experience, hard drives have never bothered me. Only when I upgraded to an athlon xp did the CPU fan start to drive me nuts so I started investigating alternate low-noise cooling options. I am willing to trade the higher noise of a 7200 rpm drive for increased performance, but with it comes to CPUs the cost is IMHO too high unless you get specialised cooling gear.

      • Note that Quantum no longer manufacturers HD's.

        There's a bunch of quieting gear on Quiet PC [quietpcusa.com], including HD case enclosures. I'd really like to know how well their fan-less CPU and GPU coolers work.

        You're very right about HD's though -- my older PC had 3 7200 rpm SCSI drives in it. I finally cannabalized it, removing the SCSI drives and replacing them with a single IDE drive (with twice the capacity). It's much quieter and much faster now (yes, they were old SCSI drives).

        If you have a Maxtor drive you can download a utility that will put the drive into "quiet" mode. It reduces performance somewhat by slowing down and re-optimizing seeks to reduce head movement. Did this for the 80 GB drive I put in my TiVo.

        Seagate drives are currently considered the "quietest" though, so take that into consideration if buying a new drive. I believe they're even quieter than the Maxtor liquid bearing drives.
        • Seagate drives are currently considered the "quietest" though, so take that into consideration if buying a new drive. I believe they're even quieter than the Maxtor liquid bearing drives.

          I tried Seagate, Maxtor, and IBM drives when putting together my quiet PC. The Seagates are the quietest, but they're not really quiet (even in a Molex SilentDrive enclosure, which helps significantly). I've wound up putting a lot of effort into building a ramdisk root partition and doing heavy readahead into RAM so that the hard drive is almost always spun down.

          Really, the Seagate's seeks are extremely quiet but the standard hard drive spin noise isn't that much more quiet than the others.

          Sumner
          • I'm not sure which Seagates *you're* using, but the spin noise on my Barracuda IV 80gig is almost unnoticable. The seeks are audible, but they're really not too bad. Maybe you got one out of a "bad" batch?
            • I'm not sure which Seagates *you're* using, but the spin noise on my Barracuda IV 80gig is almost unnoticable. The seeks are audible, but they're really not too bad. Maybe you got one out of a "bad" batch?

              I'm also using a Barracuda IV 80 gig. The rest of the machine is virtually silent, using a Siemens mobo that keeps the cooling fans off unless the heat rises (Golden Orb heat sinks keep the CPU fan off pretty much all the time, a custom low-heat convected power supply likewise keeps the power supply fan off) and it has a fanless video card. The room has no other noise sources in it and is fairly well insulated acoustically. While the Barracuda is quieter than the IBM drive by a long shot, it's not that much quieter than the Maxtor except for seeks where the Seagate wins out handily.

              It's all relative, in a typical home environment the Barracuda IV would be great. In my environment I throw it in a molex SilentDrive enclosure and have a Stealth Armsystems acoustically shielded case for the computer, and I still try to keep it spun down as much as possible--it's far and away the loudest piece of the system. The SilentDrive enclosure kills almost all seek noise but isn't as effective at cutting down the spin noise (it does help some). You really need to keep the room cool if you're going to put an 80GB drive in a SilentDrive, but I do that anyway to keep the other fans off.

              Sumner
        • Note that Quantum no longer manufacturers HD's


          This is not true... they still do manufacture drives but it is with the Maxtor name plate on them. This is one reason why I will never purchase another Maxtor drive again. I have had nothing but bad luck with Quantum drives, but that is just my opinion... to each their own.
  • I want an Antec designed case. I've been through many a case in my lifetime, and Antec is by far the best I've ever used. I'm sure this case really does muffle the sound, but how can I be sure the rest of the case is up to my modern (Antec) standards?

    Little things make the biggest difference when it comes to cases, flip out drive bays, drive slide rails, efficient use of available space, easy access to the motherboard side (my Antec has a handle).

    Is there anyone who could compare it to an Antec? Probably wishful thinking
  • by Ubi_NL (313657) <joris AT ideeel DOT nl> on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:13AM (#3652146) Journal
    Noise Control [noisecontrol.de]
    although there is not so much mention of this new tower. Bit odd
  • Been there... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What about the Apple Cube? No noise came out of that sucker!
    • Re:Been there... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dpbsmith (263124)
      Yes, Apple finally got it right on the third try. Too bad there were other issues with the Cube.

      The original Apple ][, ][+, ][e were convection-cooled and silent. I was used to PDP-11's and such and when I saw my first Apple, I said, "Wow, they must have brilliant thermal engineering." Turned out they had NO thermal engineering. If you put expansion cards in it, it would overheat.

      The original 1984 Macintosh was silent, and I loved it. There were no expansion cards, so no expansion card issues. I'm not sure whether the issues related to overheating or not, but there were a LOT of issues relating to the power supply on those early Macs and I'm inclined to think thermal design MAY have been part of the problem.

      It's too bad other issues with the Cube (pricing, mostly) may have discredited it. I bought a standard-style G4 instead of a Cube at the time, figuring that, as with laptops, a design with lots of components crammed into a tiny space might be less dependable and more defect-prone than the spacious G4 tower.

      But I really miss the silent (not just low-noise) operation of the 1984 Mac and Mac Plus. (All the Apple ]['s I ever worked with had aftermarket fans on them...)
      • The original 1984 Macintosh was silent

        No hard drive. I have heard that Steve Jobs was very firm about not making a Mac with a hard drive; he felt it was more important that the Mac be silent than to have the storage of a hard drive.

        there were a LOT of issues relating to the power supply on those early Macs and I'm inclined to think thermal design MAY have been part of the problem.

        I'm sure you are correct. I remember seeing an aftermarket mod for the Mac, which added a cooling fan at the top of the Mac to suck hot air out. The ads claimed that your Mac would be much more reliable with the active cooling.

        steveha
  • Got an Athlon XP 2000+ chugging away accompanied by 5 Fans (2 Case Fans, 1 Hard Drive Fan, 1 CPU Fan, 1 AGP Fan) + 2 120GB Hard Drives + Sparkle 400W PSU.

    The only way I realized to get my mind off the noise is when I turn on Winamp with Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits anyone) crooning "Why worry" and "Brothers in Arms". Me and my wife sleep like babies in 5 mins tops.
  • by rocket97 (565016)
    Is anyone else having trouble seeing the pictures on the website.... I know for sure it is not the connection on my side. Does anyone know of another place to see this article/case?
  • but is it quieter than my case? [apple.com]
  • I tried 3 types of "quiet" fans and sound absorbtion padding and what worked the best is a Zalman flower cooler. They are about $28 with a speed adjustment control included. With my Athlon XP 1800, I was able to reduce the speed to the minimum with only a 4C hit on temperature from my ultra fast CPU fan I had originally. Now the next source of noise is the fan on my video card!
  • It seems that anti-noise headphones are quite common (especially targetted at airline flights). There are many other widespread uses of anti-noise generators for noise control on highways and airports.

    Why doesn't someone put a simple anti-noise circuit, a microphone and a speaker on the output of the PSU? It would not restrict airflow if cleverly placed and the sound is consistent enough to easily generate the anti-noise.

    A sample link: http://www.headwize.com/tech/anr_tech.htm [headwize.com]

  • Noisey Machines (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PMadavi (583271)
    Frankly, I take a certain amount of pride that the 3 fans in my box make. I don't know that I would want a noise dampener. I mean, it would be like building a Harley and then putting some kind of ridiculous muffler on it.
    • well then just buy 3 delta 120mm and toss them in your case, you don't even have to mount them, they'll blow enough that it won't matter. Few people buy a Harley because of how loud they are. The muffler reduces engine performance, so it makes sense. Using quiet but equally effective fans is a no-brainer.

  • Seems to me that a PC's fans are a good candidate for active noise cancellation. Basically you hook up a microphone and speaker at the same location as the noise source, and playback a 1/2-cycle-delayed recording of the noise. Timed correctly, the sound waves interfere and cancel each other out.

    I am guessing that if someone researched this carefully, they'd find a handful of frequencies that contribute the most to fan noise, and a small electronic device could be designed to counter just those major harmonics in the fan noise.

    Or I could be talking out my ass, who knows?

    • Easy to try out - pick up a pair of noise cancelling headphones (Bose used to make them, I think Sony do too now) and sit near the case. If it works, rip them apart and run the output into a loudspeaker. The problem would probably be balancing the output to have the same frequency content as the source noise.

      A fun project for all the family!
  • by fisman (66079)
    These guys [uci.edu] seem to claim the noise is good for you! I quote the bit of interest for the guys to busy to read the whole thing.

    A recent advancement in technology that is becoming widely used in psychological counseling and health service settings is the random noise generator. These devices, similar to the size and configuration of a smoke detector and/or an air purification device, emit a wide frequency band described as "white" or "pink noise." Adjusted to a relatively low level, these can be effectively utilized in the spaces in which the client interaction occurs to mask undesirable environmental sounds without negatively impacting the client interactions by being intrusive in nature.

    AFAIK the noise from a fan is pretty close to white.

    Seems that in medicine though there are always conflicting studies so I expect to be presented with the opposite result in a case study.
  • I wish I had had a really big one of these back when I was stationed on an aircraft carrier. Some masochist bastard marine architect decided to put the crew living area directly underneath the catapults. The only way I can think to describe it is it's probably a lot like trying to sleep between the rails of the New York subway during rush-hour.

    Twenty years have passed, and now if it's really, really quiet, I can't sleep.
  • this is the first solution where the manufacturer has done something to combat the noise coming out of the BACK of the case

    My systems guy would like to know if something similar could be used to combat noise coming out of the back of certain users?
  • I have an ordinary dampened case from the company that makes them (A Conto [aconto.de]) and are quite satisfied.

    The cases have been available for several years and I think the "Magiv Vent" back-dampener is on the market for a year or so now.

  • Most of the time the noise out of towers/desktops is acceptable, I expect some noise. I tend to buy quieter products, but not go the extra mile for the near-silent experience.

    However, I plan to build a dedicated Home Theater system, and am looking hard at the Shuttle barebones. In the past I had heard they were loud, but this has been improved in the latest revision, can anyone testify as to how quiet they are?
  • Seeing this post I just remembered that research is going into subjects such as noise cancellation and the like. Doing a bit of googling I quickly hit upon this faq [erols.com] on Active Noise Control.

    Seems to me that this technology would be ideally suited to solve the problem of noisy computers.

    I'd love to see Creative, for example, releasing some new hardware/drivers to help out in this area!

    In the meantime, maybe I'll get myself a pair of these [nct-active.com].

  • Everyone is so stuck on the idea of a tower. Why not make a case that is slightly more conducive to heat dissipation?

    Apple has done quite well with their iMac designs. And the Cube was an interesting, if not entirely successful, attempt at a tower-ish design that didn't require a lot of heavy cooling equipment.

    Sure, they're not that upgradeable, and you can't cram 3 video cards, 6 SCSI controllers, 4 sound cards, and a dozen hard drives, but if you need to do that, sound isn't your first consideration anyway. And if it is, try a disk array and remote terminals; put the noisy bits somewhere else.

    Air flow is the key. Convection can be a great help, but towers aren't designed to allow that to work efficiently. Volkswagen made an entire car without a radiator or any kind of water cooling system, primarily due to re-examining the design of the car itself. Surely there are better case designs to be had.

  • I'm not a hard core gamer... I mostly use my computer for work. I recently upgraded to a 1900+ AMD. I picked up a pretty heafty fan for it (the guy at Fry's said it was the best. I've learned never to trust the guy at Fry's, so I did some research and discovered it was the best they carried.

    Compared to my old Duron 600, this thing is a beast. The noise is terrible, and for the first time I find myself shutting my computer off at night just so I can sleep.

    Can't someone just design a case that allows air to go through, cool the CPU, and still be quiet? We have all these enginers giving us bigger and bitter processers, yet nobody is giving any real thought to noise control.

    Oh gee. A case designer makes it quiet out the back. No! I want a total quiet noise solution. I'm a consumer! I'll pay for it!

    --
    • Get the Silverado CPU cooler; it has the most amazingly low sound level, bar none. There are a couple of articles on coolers at Tom's Hardware that you can check out; this link [tomshardware.com] is the table of sound levels from one of the articles.

      I believe you can find this cooler at OCPrices [ocprices.com] (the site in the original link for this article) once they're no longer slashdotted.

      Good luck!

      - Leo

  • But I'm pretty sure the SysAdmin is quietly weeping as he watches his server get /.ed into oblivion.
  • Here we go.. quick and easy:

    1.) Large, low-rpm fans - cut holes, use adapters if necessary. Nothing smaller than 80mm. That means replacing any chipset / video cooler fans too. Nothing higher than 2500rpm--preferably around 2000. Use manually adj. speed fans if possible so you can achieve proper airflow around hotspots and balance case intake / exhaust.

    2.) Don't overclock excessively. If you need extra cooling as a result, it's not worth it.

    3.) Quiet hard drive(s). High frequency sounds are much more annoying, so if you go with a 7200+ rpm drive, buy a really quiet one like Seagate's Barracuda IV ATA or else sandwich the drive in aluminum and acoustic foam.

    Sure, there are more drastic measures. But these

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