This FAQ is an attempt to reduce the level of repetitive traffic in the SPCR forums. Most of these questions can be answered by looking at the recommended pages
or searching the forums
. Sometimes though, there are no clear answers and I hope that this FAQ will help clarify these types of questions as well.
Q: Can someone recommend me a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [On the recommended list]?
A: Well what do YOU think? (i.e. If we recommend it then we think it's a good product).
Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [NOT on the recommended list]?
A: This is a much trickier answer. Sometimes, there's a product out that none of us have really had a chance to try out. Do a search
to find out. If there are results, then READ them and find out what the deal is. Chances are, it's one of four things:
1) It's NOT good for silent computing.
2) It's alright, but some people have had some issues and/or there are better choices.
3) It's great, but since the SPCR staff hasn't had a chance to formally review it, it hasn't made the recommended lists (or it's been reviewed more recently than the last recommended update).
4) No one knows.
Since there are usually a lot of tried and true choices out there, it's best not to get hung up on any one product that we haven't covered.
Keep in mind that although the SPCR community is global, the SPCR staff is primarily North American. So if there's a product that's not really available in North America (the Be Quiet! power supplies come immediately to mind), it probably won't be reviewed any time soon.
Q: Can SPCR review this (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
A: Yes. We don't generally buy samples but rely on donations from users and contributions from sponsoring retailers and companies. If you would like to see a product here on SPCR, don't write to MikeC. Write to the company and/or its distributors and ask if they would send a sample to SPCR for review. Or read what MikeC suggests
Q: Can someone recommend me a retailer that sells silent PC parts in Canada/UK/Australia?
A: Many SPCR members are from Canada
, and Australia
, and have posted threads on stores that sell silent PC parts in their respective countries. There are some products that are not easily available outside the United States (like Sorbothane). Unfortunately, there's little one can do about it. Your best bet is to make an offer, but be sure to do that in the proper forum
Q: What processor should I choose, AMD or Intel?
A: There is no clear and easy answer here. The less heat that a processor produces, the easier it is to cool quietly. As of this writing, Intel makes both the hottest processor as well as the coolest processor between the two companies (Prescott and Pentium-M respectively). But AMD has an impressive range too (Athlon 64 FX and Mobile Athlon XP respectively). Check out the CPU List
Via is a company that produces x86 compatible processors that run about as cool as the Pentium-M at its best. If you primarily use your computer for Email, Web browsing and music listening, then Via should be worth at least considering.
Q: What is the difference between heatpipes and watercooling?
A: Heatpipes rely on phase change to move heat quickly from one place to another. Phase change is what happens when water boils and becomes steam or the reverse. A small amount of liquid with a low boiling temperature is in the sealed heatpipe. At the hot end, the liquid evaporates and moves quickly to the cooler end, where it condenses back into liquid and is wicked back to the hot end by capillary action. The process is quick and continuous, and a heatpipe has much higher thermal transfer capacity than a solid piece of copper of the same size. The movement of heat through the pipes is achieved passively. The main advantage of heatpipes in heatsinks for CPUs and GPUs is that they move the heat away from the constricted space near the heat source, allowing large area of cooling fins to be employed at the condenser end. Usually, a fan is still needed to blow the heat away from the fins.
Watercooling, in contrast, uses water forcibly pumped through pipes to transfer heat away from the sources. It requires a water pump, a source of noise and increased power consumption (and heat) in the case. Like the heatpipe-equipped heatsinks, watercooling still requires a fan on the fins-equipped radiator where cooling takes place. With a large radiator and high volume pump, watercooling has higher cooling capacity, but at the expense of higher cost, size, complexity, noise and energy. SPCR regards watercooling mostly as an inefficient outmoded technology for overpowered PCs.
Q: There's a question that ought to be in the FAQ. Why haven't you answered it?
A: As much as I hate to admit it, I don't know everything about silent PCs. I'll be happy to add your question to this FAQ if you can post both the question and answer to this thread