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Building Quieter Computers 398

So, as I suspect many of you have, I've got a home office that I probably work from for 2/3s of my working time, as I'm often working in the non-trad. office hours as well. It's nice having this space in my home, but the fans from the desktops are so loud, I feel as if I'm standing in the middle of O'Hare's runways. Anyone out there know of power supplies with quiet fans? CPU fans that are extra smooth?
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Building Quieter Computers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Hook +5V to the GND wire on the fan, and +12V to the +12V wire on the fan

    No, don't do this. When the fan breaks it allows +12V to flow directly into sensitive +5V components. This destroys at least the motherboard and most likely some of the expansion cards. I am not kidding!

  • Except PowerBook G4's have an extremely loud fan which comes on any time the thing does any real work (like playing a DVD).
  • Here's a picture of some fan silencing tunnels- made out of dryer-ducts with fake fur glued to the outside and inside.http://www.airwindows.com/studio/SilencedFa ns.jpg [airwindows.com]

    The following is taken from my airwindows/studio page- slightly out of date but with some effective ideas in it- especially mass-loading the case walls with aluminum tape.

    "Finally, before we get into instruments, here's a glance over the ways Airwindows controls ambient noise. The main computer's case is heavily reinforced with aluminum tape to damp and weight it (several pounds worth) and the front bezel is concrete-filled. Extensive internal damping on both computers is used to cut drive and fan noise. Finally, and as shown here, the fans from the computers are run into acrylic fur lined ducts (applied to the outside as well for amusement value and minor sound absorption) that powerfully damp and absorb fan and air handling noise, as well as block direct sound paths from inside the computer. On the far right you can see the humidifier Airwindows runs (in the kitchen, as part of maintaining a comfortable environment, particularly for vocalists) and that, too, makes use of a large duct which cuts its noise down by more than half. It's shut off for serious work or monitoring: the main computer, which cannot be, is approximately twice as loud as the ticking of the (also sound-damped!) clock in the room, and the MIDI sequencing computer is about half again as loud as the ticking of the clock. To give a reference for what this is like, both computers running simultaneously are not as loud as the ordinary, not-especially-loud refrigerator in the other room- they're roughly as loud as water running through pipes elsewhere in the building, which is slightly louder than the ticking of the clock. A more pro-audio reference: neither computer is as loud as a running ADAT with head spinning and tape loaded."

  • by hawk ( 1151 )
    Thousands? how about $995 for a blade 100?


  • The early iMacs have a fan.

    The later ones do not. Some of the later ones didn't have a fan, but due to a screw-up at Apple, they had a OEM Hard Disk Drive that was just plain noisy.
  • My DishPlayer's HD makes a lot of noise. But when I close it in in my VCR cabinet, it gets very hot and tends to crash.
  • Build or buy a box that you can put the machines in. A glass-fronted cabinet would work pretty well.

    I'm thinking of doing so for my machines... I have a Playstation 2, and it has a loud-as-hell fan. So when I went looking for a TV stand, I got one that had sliding glass doors on the front, and put the PS2 in that. That cut the noise level to almost nil... when you slide the door open, you definitely notice the difference.

  • There's a lot of people using their PCs in recording studios who also need nice quiet solutions. Check out the articles in Sound On Sound [sospubs.co.uk], such as this one [sospubs.co.uk]. You can get quiet fans for your case and stick your hard drive in an acoustic cover that keeps the noise in.

    Although personally I think unless you have a perfectly silent machine you'll soon think the noise is unacceptable!


  • Whether you have a Mac or a PC, you can't violate the laws of physics. The simple truth is that noise radiated from an engine varies as the fourth power of the power output; you can design well or poorly but it's still going to be "much louder" when you run it hard.

    The real solution is cooler computing in the first place.

  • The high end Suns might be quiet, but the Blade 100 on my desk ($995, plus 4 cheap 256meg PC133 CL2 ECC DIMMs from Crucial) is far noisier than the Dell Dimension and Optiplex machines sitting next to it. The Seagate IDE HD Sun used is the biggest culprit, replacing that with an IBM 60GXP-series is reported to do wonders.
  • by larien ( 5608 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:16AM (#178062) Homepage Journal
    You really don't want to spin down all disks, as that can cause extra wear & tear, reducing the drive's lifetime. Well, certainly, you don't want to have disks starting and stopping constantly.

    As for getting a solid state disk, why? You'd be best off just buying more RAM for probable less money and better performance. These days, you don't need swap space unless you want crash dump analysis. Ideally, you should never swap, with everything being held in RAM.

  • Do you understand how quiet 34dB is? Perhaps you have forgotten that sound doubles in intensity for every 6dB (it has an exponential relationship with perceived volume).

    Realize that the average background noise [nbci.com] in a residential home [state.mn.us] *without* computers is about 50dB. That means 34dB is well below the noise floor in the average home.

    Remember that your computer has fans. Fans produce noise. If you can produce only 34dB from your computer then you're doing pretty well.

  • Yep, www.pcpowercooling.com [pcpowercooling.com] has good stuff for quieting your computer down.

    I love their silencer cooling fans ($9 each), open up your power supply and swap this fan in place of it, works great. A lot cheaper than the ~$100 for a new PSU.

    Throw this fan in the front of your case too, to get extra airflow lost when moving to this quiet fan.

    Their CPU coolers also work well and are very quiet.

    After switching my K6-2 450 to their 275W silencer power supply, a silencer fan in the front, their CPU fan, the loudest thing in my case was the hard-drive.

    Modern 5400 RPM drives are a LOT quieter than 7200 RPM and older 5400/7200 RPM drives. Pick up one of the new inexpensive Seagate, Fujitsu or Quantum drives, they run just about silent.

    After all these changes, I can finally sleep in peace (only a very slight whirring left) with my PC on all the time.

    If you have a faster CPU, the CPU coolers that PC power and cooling sells aren't up to the job IMO. In that case, you'll want to look at water cooling your CPU. Cheap, and a lot quieter than most CPU fans, since this one [safeshopper.com] uses a 120mm fan spinning slowly at ~2K RPM instead of the normal 60mm fan spinning at 5-8K RPM.

  • I want to use a PC in a recording studio.
    Basically, the only way to do it is to long
    audio and midi cables to a PC outside the recording room, since PC's are entirely too
    noisy for a studio. If notebooks had good
    audio hardware available there would be some
    options there. Maybe the G4 cubes are really
    quiet, but again, not too many options in the
    area of professional audio hardware.

  • Or, get a Dell OptiPlex GX150. Dell only sells these to Corporate/Educational institutions, but they're the quietest PCs that I've ever used. I just got a shipment of 15 in here at work, and it's too bad that none of them are for me...

    I couldn't even hear it running over the noise of my PC and the air conditioning in my office, it's that quiet. If they had SCSI 160 hard drives in them, I'd probably swap out my Micron workstation for one...
  • The shipment I got was all mini-towers, and the one sitting next to my desk is also a minitower, and they're absolutely quiet. I've also used the small desktop model, and that one is quiet as well. I haven't seen the ridiculously slim one in person yet, but I imagine it's also quiet, but it has about as much room for expansion as an Apple Cube, so it's not much good for the average hardware lovin' geek.
  • Wadda you think?

    Maybe Steve Jobs was right about those damn fans for home machines?
  • My experience is that the wimpy little fans that are included in the vast majority of computer cases and power supplies are the biggest culprits in computer noise. In order to move the required amount of air through the system, fans are selected that run at too high a speed. And then, to make the noise problem worse, someone usually decides that a fine-mesh screen has to be placed over the fan in order to keep anything larger than a couple of millimeters from being poked into the fan (I swear I've heard some setups actually ``whistle'' when the fans are running). All this seems to make for a darned noisy cooling system. It would sure be nice if case manufacturers took this aspect of their product into account and published some figures on the noise level of each case so as to provide those with a need for a quiet computer some information to make a reasonably informed choice.

    The quietest computer I ever had on my desk was an industrial rackmount case (not a very desktop-space-friendly footprint but the HD in my usual desktop system had died) that included three 5-inch fans running at a slower speed: two in the front (the blew across the hard disks mounted behind them) and one in the rear behind the PS. They ran at a slower speed and were whisper quiet. The case was more expensive than the cheapo ones that are normally found today. I highly recommended a case with the larger fans if you want a quieter system.

    Another source of noise are the hard disks. Once you get more than one in the system the noise level seems to get objectionable. I've got some older SCSI disks in one computer that don't ``whir'' so much as ``whine''. (A rackmount case full of these disks sounds less like a computer and more like a vacuum cleaner -- well, almost.) Replacing those disks with newer drives can help out a lot. Move the old ``whiners'' to that web server running in the basement.

    If you find a good solution, let everyone know.


  • I bought a power supply, heatsink, cpu and case fan from them in hopes of making things more quiet. Did it work? Well sorta, not as well as I'd hoped.

    Regardless of how quiet they say it is, the power supply is only a little more quiet than the average *brand new* power supply. In my opinion the $80 price tag is not worth it - you'd get about the same performance with any other brand new ps. And bad enough, after 4 months mine is now starting to "flare" up once in a while - you know when the fan goes berzerk and creates a lot of annoying buzzing (a sign that it's time to replace the fans, doh!).

    Another thing, the CPU fan and heat sink is good however the accessory supplied to connect it to your CPU is a joke. I bought the one for a Celeron/PII and it wasn't even close to fitting. It was just a metal wire slung underneath the fan through the fins of the heatsink. I didn't even understand how it was supposed to grip the CPU slot. After a lot of fiddling and playing I gave up and ended up having to remove the wire and hack together my own connection using an elaborate mesh of elastic bands.

    Next time I upgrade I'm gonna try fans from QuitePC.com

    "I can only show you Linux... you're the one who has to read the man pages."

  • The iMac was the loudest computer I ever used. I loved it, but it had an annoying noise.
  • by TBadiuk ( 14048 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:22AM (#178091)
    Ok, since I spent about $200 US a year ago to fix the exact same problem I thought I'd share what I learned.

    #1) You need to fix ALL noise sources inside your computer. Throwing in a new CPU fan no matter how quite will not really help much. You need to get a quieter CPU FAN (the Molex radical fin someone mentioned is what I used), a new power supply with a quieter fan, AND, MOST IMPORTANT, you need to quiet down your hard disk drive(s).

    Check out www.quietpc.com - I got all 3 products I needed (CPU FAN, Power Supply, and HD noise suppressors) from them.

    Lastly, if running a CPU that takes a lot of juice, you need to turn down the CPU VCore to cut back on some of the juice. My Athlon 1000MHZ runs 100% stable at 1.40V. This is important because most "quiet" PS units have variable speed fans. I can hear the difference between 1.75V and 1.40V.

    Also- Be sure to try and lower the power consumption of your PC as much as possible. Example- An external modem with seperate PSU will not tax your internal PSU as much hence that variable speed fan will spin slower.

    Lastly, you can take more drastic measures like cutting voltage to the fans and then underclocking your CPU (say a 1.4GHZ CPU down to 1.0GHZ) to generate less heat.

    Someone on /. even mentioned a while back that they got a DEAD SILENT PC by disconnecting all fans and then just running there 1G PIII at 500MHZ or so since the CPU barely gets warm....

  • I find that two of my boxes vary quite a bit in noise, and I originally thought it was fans. That is, until I moved a hard drive from one machine to the other. IT seems my Quantum Fireball is quite a noisy little piece of metal...while the IBM DeskStar 60GXP that replaced it in my main machine is nearly silent. You may want to look into hard drive noise.
  • Yeah, and some of us live in real houses built of stone, not cardboard.
  • by warlock ( 14079 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @08:17AM (#178095) Homepage
    An X terminal is a good solution if you're not concerned about using the fastest badest AGP or whatnot framebuffer. This way you can put your computer in the basement if you're really inclined.

    Anyway, since I'm one of those that really like my Matrox G400, I did consider moving my computer to a nearby closet (about 10 feet). My motherboard can power up the system off the keyboard, which is cool, and all my drives (dvd, cd, cdrw) are scsi so I could keep those on my desk.

    The only problem I had was finding a good quality extension cable for the monitor. All those I've tried reduced the quality significantly or introduced obvious artifacts (moire, filckering at the edges etc). Did you observe any degredation of image quality?

    I'm also concerned about heat problems, although I guess I should try it...

  • Troll-boy, this never happened.


  • Unless you just need the raw brute force horsepower, don't use a traditional desktop/side machine. Even ancient laptops have hookups for VGA, keyboard and mouse-like device, and even those that do have fans don't make nearly as much noise as that big honkin' megatower.... didn't y'all run Slashdot off a laptop for a week or three once? As I recall, it wasn't that bad...

    Just as a shameless plug (I bought one of their smaller boxen, the BlackPerl Z), the Emperor Linux Rhino [emperorlinux.com] (aka Dell Inspiron with a custom Linux install) is a full gigglehertz PIII platform, with a PAIR of optical drives (one can be a burner!), built-in 10/100 Ethernet, up to 512mb RAM, up to 48gb of disk, sound, and a 15" screen if you're tired of staring at a CRT all day. Yeah, it's a pig, and expensive, but it'll do everything you'd need it to and be quiet about it. And you can take it with you.

    I can second the recommendation on the PC Power and cooling stuff, too, if you're not in the mood to buy a new computer; (chief geek over at Linux Journal) Dan Wilder's response to them was, and I quote, "[these are] built like a brick shithouse!"

    Good luck...

  • I haven't heard it myself, but every review has said that it is very quiet. It's a sub $200 liquid cooled case, completely self enclosed. It will quiet down your computer and cool it down a lot as well. The company is Koolance [koolance.com] and I first saw a review of it [hardocp.com] at HardOCP [hardocp.com]. Nicodemus
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:52AM (#178106) Homepage
    I'm assuming that you're looking for a different answer than: Get a Mac?

    Kevin Fox
  • The main computer is in a case I found that seems to reduce the noise somewhat. Other than that... everything else with a fan is tucked away behind something to baffle the noise, or in a closet, etc. I really only need one or two machines on the desk; the rest can hide.

    Better: put all your servers in the basement, where it's cooler (and the temp is more constant) where they are out of the way.
  • Acctually, i made a reset cable from an old electrical wire and a switch - connected it to the right pins on the MB. So i just flip the switch and it reboots.

    mind you, i spend 98% of my time in linux - just happened to be in windows when i shot the pictures.


  • by abelsson ( 21706 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:59AM (#178113) Homepage
    Funnily enough i can post exactly the same comment twice in one day and still be on topic :)

    See http://abelsson.com/tystdator [abelsson.com] . Comments are in swedish, but it's the pictures that are interesting in any case. Dont worry about not understanding the comments on that page, you're not missing much. I originally wrote it for a swedish friend of mine..

    The basic idea was just that i wanted a quiet computer - and i had a spare room behind where i had my computer. So.. i just a few drilled holes in the wall and put the computer on the other side.

    It works extremely well. Best part is that my box is *completely* quiet. It's exactly like having a fanless box. I've almost started to get annoyed by the noise my monitor makes. :)

    It looks pretty cool too.


  • Sure, there's value. Last time it came up I had no direct experience, this time I did and added $.02. I guess what I was more reacting to is the lack of references to previous discussions thereby potentially heading off repetive commentary and drawing out new experiences/sources. But you're right, it's still better than your average dead tree rag.
  • by snopes ( 27370 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:07AM (#178117) Journal
    I recently picked up a new higher watt power supply and cpu fan from PC Power & Cooling [pcpowercooling.com]. Higher wattage is supposed to aid in reducing fan noise and their stuff is supposed to be high-quality ball bearings that will run quieter. Well, they definetely run quieter, but not even close to silent. And I found the bulk of my noise to be coming from an old hardrive. Well, I removed it as it wasn't really needed anymore and the nice new IBM in there still makes it's share of noise just spinning.

    Best suggestions I saw the last time this came up was consider what quiet really means given your ambient noise. For me, it turns out to be nearly silent as the thing is in my bedroom. Based on my experience this is pretty tough to achieve. One issue I've yet to resolve, which you may like to look into, is how to build a *nix system where you can spin down all drives. The problem is swap disk. As for as I can tell presently, you always end up with one disk spinning (or constantly up/down) due to even the smallest swap accesses. What might be feasible, but exspensive, is a solid state disk for swap.

  • by snopes ( 27370 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:14AM (#178118) Journal
    I'm a little surprised this was posted. It's not like this subject hasn't been up before with some excellent feedback:

    Ultra-Quiet Linux Boxes? [slashdot.org]

    Computers And The Noise They Make [slashdot.org]

    I'm pretty sure there's at least one other story in the archives which I didn't find immediately.

  • First, I'll agree with all the folks who recommended PC Power & Cooling PS's. The Silencer 230 & 275 models are especially quiet, and I put them on all my heavily-used systems.

    Drives are another factor, as many folks have mentioned. I put mine in some of those plastic removeable enclosures, disconnect the auxilliary fans, and it helps muffle the noise. It does trap the heat from the drive, but I've been running some 7200 RPM drives in them for about a year now with no problems.

    Regarding fans... a simple rule is that the bigger the fan is, the slower it can spin to move the same amount of air.

    For CPU fans, I've found that nearly all are cheap, nearly all are quiet when new, and they always get noisy after 6 months or so of heavy use. So keep a spare around, and replace it when necessary. Or just go with the huge heatsink suggestion, and maybe use a large slow-spinning case fan to move some air over it.
  • I can go to 'X' and get nice quiet fans, I can go to 'Y' and get a silly red porthole for the side of the case I buy from 'Z', etc. with all the companies selling boxes and their 'custom configurators' none seem to put it together. I need to put together a new box soon. I want a nice cool quiet duron system with a decent power supply, etc and I want it to already have the red porthole installed, and if it can have transfer art on the box (like on the bottom of skateboards) featuring Ed from Cowboy Beebop so much the better!

    It really surprises me that I can't at least easily find companies selling cases that already have portholes and lights installed. Once you've gon to all the trouble to set up jigs and such for cutting sheet metal it's as easy to do 50 as it it to do 1.

  • Just move the computer. I have my computer on the other side of a wall, with long monitor and keyboard cables. Cut a hole in the drywall if you want. It works very well and the room is completely silent. Take care though - if you put your system in a closet or the like, it will most likely heat up the air in the closet and start causing the computer to fail.

    Another solution is a quieter case. This case is *much* quieter: http://www.koolance.com [koolance.com]. Your components run significantly cooler too.

  • try quietpc.com [quietpc.com]. They've got lots of good stuff, including hard drive cooling blankets. Worth a look.
  • Wouldn't sound any different (unless you only did one speaker). You can't hear phase.

    If you want to try though, just take your speaker cables and switch the + and - connections. Try doing only one channel or the other and you'll get cancellation and a really odd sound. (Pretty much how the BOSE heaphones work) Do them both and well, you'll be listening to your music upside down. But it'll sound exactly the same. The RIAA may attempt to sue you for playing this 'derivative work'. Don't say I didn't warn you.

  • There's some really good info and ideas at:

    http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/jan00/articles/noise. htm [sospubs.co.uk]

    The article is aimed at studio use, where background noise is unacceptable.

  • I just apply a blast of compressed air once every couple months.. no dust problems anymore :). Helps to disconnect the case and move it to another room (e.g. the one with the big blue ceiling) though. Getting a ionizing or other air filtration system helps too, just put it in the room w/the comps.

    I haven't bothered with the ducting yet. Having the side off and the fan blowing in works great.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:31AM (#178148)

    If you really want quiet, and don't care about looks, get a small desk fan. I paid about $15 for a high-quality one that is whisper quiet and flows a LOT of air. I just popped the side off the case and blow the air in, my Duron 600@900Mhz runs at 45C instead of ~60C with the stock heat sink. I had 2 exhaust and one intake fan, and disconnecting those got rid of most of the noise.

    When I get around to it, I'll properly connect the fan with some ducting and reconnect the side of the case up. This works great because it cools my horribly overclocked video card and hard drives / DVD / burner as well.

    Think big fan, low RPM for quiet.

    Other tricks to reduce noise:

    • Use rubber washers to connect the fan to the case. Where the fan touches the case there will be some vibration and noise transferred. Putting the rubber washer in reduces that.
    • If your case just has a pattern of holes, get out the dremel and cut a big circle. Those holes introduce turbulence which can cause noise.
    • Put your fans on a switch for when you don't need mega-cooling. This works well, and my ultra-quiet desk fan has three settings. On the first one, you don't even know it's on.

    Another tip: Rather than a intake in the front and an exhaust in the back, try a single, large, low RPM fan -cut in the top of the case- blowing out. Heat rises, and this works well from what a friend of mine has reported.

  • > No, don't do this. When the fan breaks it allows +12V to flow directly into sensitive +5V components. This destroys at least the motherboard and most likely some of the expansion cards. I am not kidding!

    I hadn't thought about that - the guy's got a point. A short on the fan would draw lots of current, and could pull +5V line up to +12V. It wouldn't have to get there before the P/S shut itself down - even +6 or 7V would probably be enough to do damage.

    I came close to this when a +12V fan failed catastrophically. The cheap-azz bearings caused the fan blade to wiggle out of position. A blade hit one of the holes in the case and got stuck, which presumably shorted out the fan motor a few seconds later.

    I'm gonna hit the surplus stores and hunt down some 12V fuses. I'm thinking that something at 1.5-2 times the rated fan current (probably 250mA tops) in series with the fan before hooking it up should do the trick. The goal is to have the fuse blow on short before the P/S +5V line gets drawn too high.

    And with the price of fuses at a surplus store, I could probably do some destructive testing on a junk mobo to verify the fuse is doing the right thing. Lord knows I have enough "dead" (they still turn, but they whine like hell because of dead bearings) fans in my junk parts box!

  • > You shouldn't need to underclock your computer to turn the fan off if it is a Pentium 166. An AMD will make a little more heat and may need to be slowed down a little, though.

    Depends on the AMD ;-)

    From personal experience, a K6-III-333 (grey-market laptop part available at Fry's) or K6-2+-450 (make sure it's the "2+" version) underclocked to 200 MHz will outperform (the hell out of) a P166. I run one in an I-Opener, cooled passively, and the mobo temperature never goes above 46C. (And that's with a big power transistor about two inches away... without that transistor, I think it'd be around 40C.)

    If your P166 box happens to be running an ASUS TX-97 series board, search for beta BIOS 0112. This version allows you to run VCore down to 2.0V, 2.1V, and 2.2V. That won't help you run your P166, but the K6 CPUs I mentioned require the lower voltages, and are available for around $30-40. And they all have lots (256K on the K6-3-333, 128K on the K6-2+) of on-die cache compared to the P166.

    Same MHz, better performance, lower voltage, lower temperatures. AMD CPUs that never made it into laptops are great!

  • > My solution to running a fan at lower voltage would be to run it off the 12V supply with an appropriate series resistor. Calculate the value from the power rating of the fan. There's no need to get the 5V supply involved.
    > You might find that the fan has trouble starting up on the lower voltage supply, but runs fine once it gets moving. In this case, a big capacitor in parallel with the resistor will supply the full voltage to the fan for a short time after the power is applied.

    Actually, I had exactly the problem when I tried running a huge-ass 120mm 24V fan at 12V. The resistor-capacitor circuit wouldn't help there, but it'd solve the equivalent problem for 7V fans quite nicely. Thanks!

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:04AM (#178155)
    1) Undervolt your fans. Most 12V fans can run at 7V. (Hook +5V to the GND wire on the fan, and +12V to the +12V wire on the fan).

    The fan will run slower, but cooler.

    2) Work on airflow near your fan blades. A fan with a great big sheet of metal with punched holes in it will be loud. The same fan with the metal grill removed will be quieter. The same fan with the metal grill and some extra space around it (because these fans typically blow air out in a cone on a 45-degree angle away from the center of the fan) will run even more quietly.

    Still need finger protection? Get a real fan grill - the old-sk00l things that looked like three or four concentric circles of wire stuck together with a couple of cross-wise pieces of wire.

    3) Rule of thumb - low RPM = low noise. If you don't get enough airflow (for cooling purposes) when you undervolt your 80mm case fan, carve up the case and add a big-ass 120mm fan. An undervolted 120mm fan can often move as much air as a typical 80mm fan running at +12V. If your local surplus store is well-stocked, you might even find some +24V fans that run at +12V. (But be sure to test them first ;-)

    Well, there are a few ideas to start with. I'm sure others will follow up.

  • Of course you want to swap. Swapping unused apps out alows the OS to reuse that RAM as filesystem cache, which is almost always a good idea.
  • Check out QuietPC.com [quietpc.com].

    They offer replacement fans, power supplies (with fans that can turn themselves off), and little sound enclosures for hard drives.

    I'm reasonably happy with their products (not sure what the enclosure will do to my hard drive's life, but I've had no problems yet). While my two computer apartment hasn't become perfectly quiet, virtually any noise source renders the computer's inaudible. Before I could always hear the hum of the computers, now I can actually watch TV without the background noise.

  • by THB ( 61664 )
    If you don't mind paying the extra cash, and don't need to use windows apps, sun workstations are often made without fans. The high end ones are some of the best quality computers that you can get.

  • Get rid of those high RPM SCSI drives. They may be a lot better than an low RPM IDE drive, but if it is noise you are worried about, then change to IDE.
  • www.svideotorca.com has some very good VGA-cat5 baluns, A bit pricey, $240 for the pair, but gives you distances up to 400ft.
    Get involved
  • www.pcpowercooling.com [pcpowercooling.com] has an entire slew of quiet fans and power supplies. Last year I bought a ultra-quiet power supply from them along with a spare case fan.

    The power supply I believe was slightly overpriced, but those Silencer Auxilary Fans are a steal at 9 bucks apiece. You can take one of those fans and stick it in your current power supply and you will definately notice a difference.

    I'm hired out by a small recording studio that mixes with Paris, Cubase, and Gigasampler on Athlon systems, and let me tell you that nothing is more annoying than a 7 foot rack of stuff with fans on them.. ugh. Go buy some quiet fans and seal off all your equipment in another room! ;)
  • Just lurk in the Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] Case and Cooling Fetish forum for a couple days. This comes up regularly there.
  • Noise cancellation depends on being able to generate a waveform with the opposite amplitude of the noise around you that is in perfect synch with that noise. Putting your noise canceller through an amplifier and speakers would just give you a nice reverb loop, and would be quite difficult to synchronize even if you somehow were able to solve the crossed i/o.

  • maybe it would even provide a gentle trickling sound and you could save money by not buying a yuppie rock fountain ;)

    - j

  • by iso ( 87585 ) <slash AT warpzero DOT info> on Monday June 04, 2001 @08:05AM (#178186) Homepage

    seriously. people may scoff at Apple, but i worked on a cube with an LCD monitor in a quiet room for a while and it was increadible! i'm one of those people who likes his workspace to be quiet (i don't listen to music while i work either) so it was a very refreshing change.

    if you don't want a Mac then i would suggest a well designed laptop, like an IBM thinkpad (perhaps with an external monitor?). although you'd better get a pad for it that allows airflow underneath it or the fan will come on quite often (i use a RoadTools Pivot 360 [roadtools.com] at work).

    it's a rough life for us obsessed with quiet. :) what's really strange though is that while i insist on near silence when doing computer work, my hobby is DJing at insanely loud raves and clubs! :)

    - j

  • The first thing to note is that it is not all the fan. One of the noisier things in a computer is the disk drive. Quantum, for one, has disk drives they have designed for the quiet, and Seagate has followed suit. So, I would aim for one of those.

    Faster drives, ceteris paribus, are louder. A nice 5400 RPM drive can be much less noisy than a 10000 RPM drive.

    Drive enclosures are available, especially from PC Power and Cooling. And custom cases are as well, and custom low noise power supplies.

    Fans are often a culprit, and they can be replaced or have their voltage tweaked down by adding a resistor in series, or changing the power supply to the fan, or replacing the fan.

    But putting the entire box in the next room is cheaper and easier. All of these ideas are after the fact add-on hacks. No major computer maker designs for low noise in the US.
  • by Brighten ( 93641 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:00AM (#178194)
    The G4 Cube [apple.com] and the iMac [apple.com] are fanless and therefore very quiet. Apple's laptops are fanless too. So I guess the minitower G4's are the only Macs with fans these days. That's one of the benefits you get from those expensive Macs [slashdot.org].
  • Thats a total load of shit, unless you have a very selective idea about "often".

    The Sun ELC and SLC (SPARCintosh - sun4c machines builtinto monitor housings) didn't have fans.

    The Sun Blade 100 doesn't have a fan (or has a fan that can turn on and off, but i cant remember which)

    Fwiw, the only reason the blade 100 has reduced cooling needs is because it uses a USIIe, which is an embedded chip. Uses like 10w or something trivially small.

    Anyway, every other sun i've ever seen not only has fans, but _lots_ of fans. Look at the power supply on an SS10 or SS20 sometime. ALL FANS.
  • I've been intrigued by KVM switches to isolate the noise-making parts of a PC, but I've always been under the impression that they're of limited responsiveness, that they are designed for sysadmin tasks more than heavy interaction with, say, a high performance 3D video card.

    This article [cnet.com] made me speculate about remotely putting a bunch of rack-mounted PC's down the hall (where, yes, Natalie, they could be a Bwlf cluster) and running KVM over 100Mb Ethernet to desks with nice sleek LCD flat panel displays.

    But I gather this solution is not practical for some reason, like latency?

    Am I missing something?

  • Why don't you put two 12 volt fans in series across 12 volts? Then they'll each get 6 volts, which is close to your initial design. If one of them shorts out, the other will get 12 volts - no harm done.
  • Quiet fans of all types are nice (quietpc.com makes the only useful ones I've found so far), but here's something most people don't think of:

    Wedge rubber against everything that can move. Adapter cards, hard drives, CD drives, mounted fans (not the CPU fan though). Not only will this eliminate vibration and the resultant noise, but it will probably prolong the life of most of these components. Hardware doesn't like to vibrate. :-)


  • Forgot to mention: Where to get the rubber. For some reason, windshield wiper vacuum tubes work very well for this purpose. They're fairly rigid so they're easy to work with, and you can get a lifetime supply (if all you're using it for is to cut up and wedge against electronic stuff) for about $5. Any auto parts store should have it. Wash it off and carefully dry it before you start cutting it.

  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:53AM (#178207) Homepage
    MP3s + Bose Headphones = No Fan Noise
  • use a Pentium rather than AMD

    Which Pentium -- the Pentium 4? III? II?

    Which Athlon -- the Athlon 1.33 GHz? The Duron 800?

    I suggest that for a computer that nicely balances performance and noise, you should use a Duron chip. Duron chips generally dissipate about half as much power as a Pentium III, while giving 80% to 90% of the performance of an Athlon.

    Don't use 7200 RPM hard disk drives!

    I sort of agree. But I have found the IBM DeskStar line of 7200 drives to be pretty quiet, so I recommend using one of those if you want a 7200 hard drive.

    Forget the above and buy an iMac!!

    Actually, I want to build a quiet desktop system using Transmeta Crusoe chips. Ideally 2 or 4 of them. A 600 MHz Crusoe dissipates only 1 or 2 Watts!


  • When you are putting together a new computer, pick all the components with an eye towards efficiency.

    Do you want the fastest possible video card? Then you buy a GeForce. But the GeForce runs hot. I like the Radeon; it's close to the performance of a GeForce 2, and it runs cooler. (Also, ATI has published all the info needed for free drivers, while nVidia has not, but that's another thread.)

    Do you want the fastest possible CPU? Then you get an Athlon 1.33 GHz, but that runs hot. I like the Duron; a Duron 850 will be close to the performance of an Athlon 800, but it runs much cooler.

    Do you want the fastest possible hard disk? Then you get a 10,000 RPM drive or at least a 7,200 RPM drive. But if you want quiet, get a quality 5,400 RPM drive (maybe from IBM). I bought a Quantum lct15 drive; that is the quietest drive you can get. It turns out that it is only 4,400 RPM! I do notice that disk-intensive operations are a bit slow on it, but most of the time the system runs totally fast (since it has 256 MB of RAM, my applications, once loaded, stay resident in RAM).

    As others have said, the PC Power and Cooling "Silencer" power supplies are indeed quieter. They don't move as much air, but if your system doesn't run too hot they will do fine.

    I'm typing this on a system I built for my wife, using the above ideas. Duron 850, lct15 hard disk, Radeon CPU, PC Power and Cooling power supply, 256 MB of RAM. By far the noisiest thing is the CPU fan. By the way, I didn't put in a case fan; the power supply fan is adequate to keep the whole system cool!

    One last idea. I haven't done this yet, but I think it will work very well. Small, high-RPM fans make more noise than big, low-RPM fans. I want to disconnect the CPU fan, and put in a big flexible plastic hose over the CPU heat sink; the other end of the hose will go to a 80mm case fan. I was thinking of using the vent hose from a clothes dryer for this. I figure I can use plastic tie-wraps to attach the hose to the case and to the CPU heat sink.


  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @01:25PM (#178213) Homepage
    The six or seven fans necessary because AMD's design is substandard

    Nonsense. AMD's design is just fine. The Athlon is not particularly bad compared to Intel CPUs, given what it does. (And Intel made the Pentium 4 look better than the Athlon basically by lying [inqst.com].)

    And the new Palomino-core Athlons dissipate 20% less heat, thanks to a bit of clever engineering; read more here [anandtech.com].

    If you really think the Athlon is substandard, feel free to send your Athlons to me.


  • This is an NT shop. Everyday, people curse and scream at their computers. What a terrible racket. All the fabric of our cubes, rugs and sound absorbing ceiling tiles just don't mask NT noise.
  • Peopla often think of the fans as noise culprits, but you're right to point out that hard drives can be just as bad or worse. As an example, the older Quantum Fireballs sounded like there was a little jet inside your PC case whenever spinning up, down, or doing a lot of seeking.

    But the recent Quantum Fireball 1ct drives are the quietest, bar none. The 1ct is their budget line, meaning that performance is mediocre, which is fine as long as you're not compressing a lot of video or doing other high-bandwidth things that would make the HD a bottleneck. They're so quiet though that StorageReview decided to use them in their testbed system, so that the noisiness of other hard drives could be judged.

    Of course, with Quantum getting gobbled by Maxtor recently, buy a 1ct fast if you're in the market for a very, very quiet drive. Quantum's quality has always been considered good, and Maxtor will probably be honoring Quantum's warrantees for a while.

    Also, since Maxtor has a bunch of Quantum drives to get rid of, they've been using them in place of their own cheap brands in the store-brand drive lines, like for CompUSA. I headed to the local CompUSA store last week for their Memorial Day Sale since they advertised 20GB drives for $49.95 after the mail-in rebate, and bought several since I needed redundant storage and drive speed didn't matter. All were regular Quantum Fireball 1ct drives, with a little note from Maxtor (who usually make the CompUSA brand drives) saying that they'd purchased Quantum and that the enclosed drive was "up to their high standards of quality" or some such. I was happy, since the Fireball 1ct drives are much faster than the Maxtor drives usually sold under the CompUSA brand, and quieter too. So I now have a very, very quiet RAID. :-)

  • Maybe in general, but my Dell Latitude is pretty noisy. Granted that's probably because of the airflow requirements of it's PIII 650.
  • I have to admit, I've never noticed the noise that computers make. Am I alone? Maybe it's just because I've had a computer in my room since I was in about 6th grade, but I've never thought it was something to complain about. Hell, sometimes I think I ought to start overclocking, since I really wouldn't mind putting in a larger fan to get better performance.

    The only time the noise my computer makes bothers me is when I turn my speakers up all the way I get a little whining sound. But fans, I have no problem with those.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • Google will suggest Directron's quiet pc page. A bit of searching will lead you to silentpc
    which leads to all things silent. I suggest the molex coolers and replacing the power supply and case fans with a Papst (from NW Computers) or Panasonic (from various places, try digi-key if you don't like what you find on the net). See GizZo's fan page
    for the basic set of links. Just pay attention to the before and after temperatures when you replace things. Some of the more general bits of quietpc gear are now available in the US at
    including the famous Q power power supplies.

    Oh yeah, don't forget to dynamat the inside of your case unless it's a nice Lian Li.
  • Before buying a new case or power supply, I would suggest trying this one. Go to the hardware store and pick up some carpet padding. The stuff is dirt cheap. I got enough for two cases for US$1. Use some good ol' hot glue and put the stuff inside your case. It made mine much quieter. If your fans are making lots of noise, make a muffler out of a cardboard box with lots of carpet padding inside.

  • This guy sleeps at work.

  • I have a really quiet home environment, where I use my computer, and quietness was a critical factor in deciding which computer to buy. I chose a Twinhead [twinhead.com] laptop. These run without a fan (though they have a thermostatically-controlled fan, as a backup for their proprietary heat pipe cooling system). So Twinhead laptops are very quiet.

    I don't work for Twinhead, and have no affiliation, but I can recommend them. Curiously, their advertising makes no mention of their computers being fanless.

    "I may have said something yesterday, changed it today, and will change it tomorrow. This does not mean that simply because I made a statement yesterday, I should adhere to it." --Ayatollah Khomeini

  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:59AM (#178260) Journal
    A friend of mine just got this and he's incredibly please -> quiet case fan [quietpc.com]

  • by sportal ( 145003 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:15AM (#178264)
    First Start with that loud power supply.

    Two best options are PC Power & Cooling http://www.pcpowercooling.com/
    And Enermax http://www.enermax.com.tw

    I have a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 275W ATX and have been very pleased with it. I have to listen very closely to see if it is even on.

    Next is your hard drive. Do a google search for SilentDrive and pick one up. $34 might seem expensive, but it greatly reduces the noise of the drive. Also getting a quiet hard drive from the start helps, like the Fujitsu line.

    Last thing is your processor. Best option is just to get a fat heatsink and remove the fan. Let the powersupply fan circulate enough air to cool the pc. Underclocking your CPU helps kepe the temps down. Get rid of all your other case fans, and you only have one fan in the powersupply and a quiet hard drive making noise. Other options are getting a specifically designed quiet CPU fan and heatsink. They also make quiet versions of case fans.

  • by Agent00Wang ( 146185 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:55AM (#178265) Homepage
    Enermax Whisper series for the PSU. You can hardly tell it's on unless your ear is right up against it.
  • I had a Silencer 275 for awhile, and they are MUCH quieter than 34dB. However, they don't move very much air, and I wasn't happy with my case temps under load.

    So I bought one of PC Power's Thermalsense fans [pcpowercooling.com] and used it to replace the PS fan. Now everything is nice and quiet when I'm just surfing, but the fan revs up when it's hot or when I'm gaming. I'm quite happy with it so far.

    I'm planning on getting another one of these fan, amputating the temp sensor and putting it on a long extension wire, and using it as my case fan. The sensor will go up near the top of the case so that the fan will vary its speed based on the case temp, not on the temp of the incoming air.

  • I have had my computer go from being inconspicuous to sounding like a twin prop airplane a couple of times, and the problem was always dust that settled in the fan motor and causing distortion in the rotation.

    Try taking them out and giving them a good cleaing . That should take care of the problem most of the time.

  • If there is one rule I've learned about cooling a case after years of building computers, it's this obvious but truthful phrase:

    You get what you pay for

    A CPU, case fan, and power supply are not things to be budgeted down. A $5 fan is not equivalent to a $15 fan. This may seem obvious, but people like myself tend to buy the cheapest available from a discount online retailer when you can't look at and touch the various choices of fans themselves.

    That said, there are many things to look for when buying fans, case or CPU. First, make sure that all fans are ball-bearing - this will generally make them quieter and make them last longer. If a fan becomes noisy after time, it MAY be possible to quiet it down with a little bit of precision oil - but sometimes it's just better to replace your fan.

    Next, never underestimate cooling power. Don't go with a low power-usage fan for your CPU just because you aren't overclocking - err on the side of caution. Get a fan at least rated for the exact type of processor you have, perhaps even for a faster processor (if you have a 1 Ghz Athlon it doesn't hurt to have a fan designed to cool 1.3 Ghz Athlons).

    When it comes to case fans, placement is just as important as power. The power supply fan blows out, the cpu fan blows down (on the motherboard), if you only have one case fan it probably should be oriented to blow in. Make an air path for the flow of air - it should pass over heated components like the video card and cpu. If possible, also get some fan airflow to your hard drive. This can be done easily with a 5 1/4" double/triple fan cover that just slides in the slot and hold a 3 1/2" hard drive. These aren't that expensive and may help to lengthen the life of your hard drive(s), especially if you have a warm system, a lot of hard drives, or it's functioning as a server.

    Last but definately not least (this helped to fry a motherboard on me), placement of the case itself is crucial to good cooling. Cabinets in desks are bad. Make sure you have open air vents at least a half a foot square on both sides near fan intakes and outflows.

    Quietness comes almost entirely from the quality of the construction. Yes, excessive air flow will cause some noise, but most of the time a noisy fan comes from mechanical problems. Don't skimp on your fans, buy quality ones from an online retailer with a good return policy - return them if they make noise after a few days.

  • I just bought a Penguin Computing desktop and I can't stand to turn it on for any period of time, the box is as loud as a hair dryer. I understand the geek value in over-engineering the air circulation, but come on folks, I want to be able to hear myself think.
  • All water cooling solutions require a fan for the radiator device.

    Not so. I've seen low-end water cooling systems that simply use a 10 litre water resevour. With the heat from the computer spread out over that volume, convection cooling is sufficient.

    The only reason most water coolers use fans is so they can get away with tiny radiators.
    If you wanted to make a more portable system (unlikely in an office), and still lose the fan, you could use a bigger radiator - it can be much smaller than the 10 litre tank due to greater exchange surface area, but will be much bigger than the little exchangers that people put inside the case - you'd want to attach it to the top or sides.

    Besides, large fans are much quieter and push more air, so watercooling still beats a CPU fan.

    Grommit-mounting your HDDs makes a huge difference too.
  • Coolermaster. Still a fan, still makes some moise, but quieter than average and extremely efficient in the air-moving department.
  • ...some of us live in apartments or don't have a convenient spare room. Sure that's great solution if you can do it but it isn't very practical for most of us. Plus I doubt my employer is going to let me start drilling holes in the wall even if I could find a place to move the darn thing.

    In my case (no pun intended) I simply don't have much room (again, no pun intended) so I have to put the computer right next to me. Only solution then is to make the machine itself quiet.

  • Fact 1: I live in an apartment

    Fact 2: Drilling holes in apartment walls is a good way to get yourself a big bill from the landlord.

    Fact 3: All closets in said apartment are filled with clothes, not all of which are mine.

    Fact 4: My SO would be unhappy if I tried to move her clothes aside to put a computer in the closets.

    Taking these facts into account, I submit to you that putting my home computer in a closet is unfeasible for the near future. Buying a bigger place is an optional but highly costly strategy to get a quiet computer.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:09AM (#178296)
    I've been on a quest for a quiet computer for some time now. To date unless you buy a Mac Cube, it is hard to get a machine that is truly quiet.

    I've tried PC Power and Cooling's Silencer [pcpowerandcooling.com] power supply. Quieter than most (20db) but definitely not silent.

    The problem as I see it is partly fan noise and partly case design. Most machines these days have several fans for cooling, most of which seem to create around 30db of noise. Not deafening to be sure but if you have fairly sensitive ears (like I do) it is enough to wear you out after a while. The other part of the problem is reverberation (for lack of a better word) from the case. The case seems to act like a drum for all the fan noise. Really though, the noise due to the case is really just a function of the fan noise. Eliminate the fans, and you eliminate the noise.

    Unfortunately it seems there hasn't been much effort put into keeping systems quiet because it requires more engineering time and effort. It's cheaper to just slap a fan in the power supply and another on the chip than it is to design the systems to not produce much heat or duct it efficiently. With commodity motherboards and assembly from components, it is very tough to design a system that will be flexible enough and still keep costs in line.

    If there are any entrepreneurs out there, design a quite case and power supply and I will buy it. I would love to have a system that is silent or very close to it.

  • I worked for two decades for one of the leading power supply manufacturers. The fans that are presently used are both noisy AND of very marginal reliability. These fans use "sleeve bearings" as opposed to more reliable ball bearings. But before you fault the power supply companies, realize that although ball bearing fans are readily available (NMB, Pabst, etc.), they cost several dollars. Your typical high quality power supply (shipping to HP, Compaq, Dell etc.) sold in high volume in the range of 10-15 dollars as of 1999 with cheap fans, probably at the low end of that range today. Adding a couple bucks for a quality fan was _always_ ruled out by the computer maker as not worth the money. There are plenty of sleeve bearing fans that are quiet, at least for the first thousand hours. The steady increase in noise is sufficiently gradual that you will always find that your new computer is much more quiet than your old piece of trash, giving you great satisfaction in your continued "upgrades" to the same level you started at. Fortunately, most of these fans are a very standard form factor and can be swapped out easily with a high quality unit. Just don't expect this to ever be "standard equipment".
  • I bought my keyboard / monitor / mouse extension from ITM Components [itm-components.com] over in the uk.
    Cost around 50 ukp with packaging , but 1600x1200@85hz about 15 feet away with zero degradation is really cool
    I believe they import from the US .. Mail them [mailto] and see, they were really helpful
  • by j-jahnke ( 187900 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @08:01AM (#178310)
    I did this as well, actually I have all the computers running in the basemnt. Down there I have a KVM which lets me choose the machine want to view. And since I ran Cat5 through the house I bought a KVM Extender and plug in my monitor and keyboard in the office. Works great. I wanted to hear sound so the other day I bought one of those TV/Audio 2.3 GHz reciever transmitter sets so I got audio up here as well.

    I need to build a RJ45 to 1/8 Stereo plug cable so I can get the microphohne down the basement though. I will most likely need an amplifier too.

    In all the KVM Extender (which will work fine without a a KVM was in the neighborhood of 250 bucks and the 2.3 GHz receiver transmitter were a hundred bucks from Radio Shack. So not bad at all, but then I REALLY value my quiet.

  • Their website can be found at QuietPC.com [quietpc.com].
    They are a UK company, but they may ship to the US or be able to suggest a US distributor.

    Steven Murdoch.

  • I believe that Hard Drives cause the most noise inside a computer

    That used to be true, but nowadays it's the CPU fan that's causing most of the noise.

    Just try booting with the HD power lines disconnected and you'll see that with modern (IBM) drives there's hardly any difference. Unplug the CPU fan for a few seconds and the noise is gone.

  • by jdfraser ( 204972 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @08:04AM (#178325)
    Yeah but running Windows? Where's the hole you made for the reset button, or do you just bang on the wall and yell for your roommate? Jamie
  • Search google
    Click on second or third link
    Ta da
    Solution [zdnetindia.com]

    (for the paranoid goats)
    http://www.zdnetindia.com/help/howto/stories/19027 .html

    Pinky: "What are we going to do tomorrow night Brain?"
  • You could use the water cooled system that was mentioned here a while back. Im sure that's much quieter.
  • Actually in terms of relative comparison, you might as well use your examples as arguments *for* his 4th power noise/efficiency claim.

    What would happen if you overclocked the G4s/G3s to GHz speeds? Power consumption would go up. So would heat disappation, which would necessitate more effective and noisy cooling solutions.

    Of course the reality is that you cannot effectively OC these CPUs because there are physical limitations that prevent us just doubling the voltage and clock frequency to these chips. On the other hand I'm pretty confident that even as these CPUs get clocked higher, they will still radiate less heat than an Intel CPU :)

    Geek dating! [bunnyhop.com]
  • It was for a quiet power supply! I think I've only seen one or two relevant posts so far; most of the rest are harping about computers, Macs, Suns, etc.

    try this site [pcpowercooling.com], PC Power-Cooling.

    My friend tells me they are really quiet (I've heard them) and swears by them, despite the slightly higher cost.

    In their power supply section they have an ultra quiet section, and they even 'measure' the dB of their power supplies. The ultra quiet 275 ATX is only 34dB!

    Geek dating! [bunnyhop.com]
  • by Red_Winestain ( 243346 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:34AM (#178364)
    I have a G4 Cube, purchased because it is silent. You have a choice of OS:
    • Mac OS 9.1
    • Mac OS X
    • OpenBSD
    • Debian GNU/Linux
    • Yellow Dog Linux
    • NetBSD
    • Windows (emulated under Mac OS)
  • by shmert ( 258705 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:53AM (#178375) Homepage
    Get a Powerbook with a ton of RAM, install your system (only works with OS X) and a few apps onto RAM disk, unmount HD, and go. No fan, no HD, no monitor buzz, just clickety clickety. I hosted a website like this, and it's nice, because you don't even realize the thing is on. RAM Disk performance smokes, too.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken