Why you need silent system?

The forum for non-component-related silent pc discussions.

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z_unit
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Why you need silent system?

Post by z_unit » Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:45 am

I kinda dont understand why do people here want silent systems, why preformance is not matter to your you only want it to be as silent as possible?
I myself have fan with 6000 RPM on CPU and its noise level is 55 DB and its fine you will stop notice it in couple of days using it.

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Post by markjia » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:27 am

There are many different possible reasons...

I like it quiet for peace of mind and so that it doesn't disturb me when I'm listening to music in the room.

It's also an end on to itself...it's a challenge and we do it because it is. I think it is sometimes the same thing with extreme overclockers. Will they really notice the difference of a few extra MHz? Probably not, but they still try to push their system as far as it will go.

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Post by lm » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:29 am

It is a good question.

For me, i never got used to loud background noises, even if they were constant. When i was in highschool, i always shutdown my computer for the night since it made quite a lot of noise. When i got into university, my roommates computer was on 24/7 and it always annoyed me when i was trying to get some sleep. I did not get used to it during the 3 months he was my roommate. I also used to shutdown my computer when i read a book, but not care about it when i was doing stuff with it. Now at my workplace there were huge number of computers near me, so they made quite a lot of noise. I did not get used to it during the time i worked there, and when i changed to another company, there was a very whiny computer in my working room, and i never got used to it. That whine actually made it hard to concentrate on my work.

So i never got used to lots of background noise, it irritates me and makes it hard to concentrate on brain work. Also it is annoying if you want to watch a movie where the dynamic range is from whispers to explosions, those whisper-quiet moments really need quiet environment and computer humming doesn't help it.

At the moment my server is in my bedroom, and i am sure my wife would not appreciate 55DB computer during the night.

Also you need to talk louder if there is lots of background noise, you need to put your stereo volume up, etc. Eventually probably leading to hearing loss. Heck, even 24/7 of a whiny computer can probably give hearing loss in couple years.

And about the performance issue: I am not a gamer, and large part of other computers users are not gamers either. I use my computer for normal office work and file server, email and web browsing etc. The most cpu-involved things i do are playing mp3 and watching movies, and compiling code. Playing mp3 was possible on a P1, watching movies became possible on a P2/400 and all those other office work could be done on a P2/400 too.

Compiling code, on the other hand, can use all the cpu power you can throw at it. So i don't mind having a lot of processing power available sometimes. But these are just every now and then so it wouldn't be a good reason to have it make more noise all the time.

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Post by teejay » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:38 am

Who said performance didn't matter? There are quite some very powerful yet very stealthy rigs owned by people around here. You can get the best of both worlds, you know. You've just got to know how... and SPCR does 8)

For me personally, I can sleep perfectly well while my neighbour is drilling holes or chasing his kids right outside my bedroom window... however, I get really distracted (and annoyed) by constant background noises when I'm concentrating or thinking hard. As a software engineer that usually involves being near a computer, which quickly adds up to wanting a silent one. When I'm gaming I don't really care: my headphones or 7.1 speakers on Audigy 2 tend to drown out the rest of the world :D

Oh, I almost forgot: this silent stuff is actually kind of... fun... or does that make me a freak? Nah, not on SPCR :D
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Post by Pauli » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:50 am

This is a silly question. Quieter is better when it comes to computers. When you listen to music or watch video on your system, do you want to hear the roaring of the fan in the background?

In any case, there is no need to sacrifice performance for silence, it just takes a little bit of effort and perhaps a little more money. Well worth it.
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Post by z_unit » Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:12 am

markjia wrote:I think it is sometimes the same thing with extreme overclockers. Will they really notice the difference of a few extra MHz? Probably not, but they still try to push their system as far as it will go.
Overclock with old systems was not noticible like 30-60 Mhz but with new ones you can overclock as much as 500 Mhz and more and it gives you really noticible preformance increase, but i would not try that on fanless cpu.

I watch movies really often and programming to and noise dont annoy me at all because i just dont notice it at all.
Also i sleep in room with my pc turned on to.
Well maybe some people are special, but as for me the noise is not problem.

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Post by Rusty075 » Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:16 am

Perhaps some background reading on the subject:

Noise in Computing: A Primer is a good place to start. Adbuster's Take on NOISE would be good as well. The Adbuster's article specifically deals with the "you'll stop noticing it after a few days" idea.

Excessive noise in your environment reduces productivity, reduces audio quality, impairs concentration, etc, etc.


Quiet and performance is not a tradeoff, it just requires a smarter approach than strapping a vacuum cleaner to your CPU and hoping you stop noticing it after a few days.
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Post by teejay » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:15 am

z_unit wrote:noise dont annoy me at all because i just dont notice it at all.
...
Well maybe some people are special
Yeah, you said it... you must be a very special person indeed.

Now, if you'll excuse me: I have to go and post on a few case modders forums that there is really no point in jazzing up their case. Oh, and after that I should point out to some gamers that all that playing around is really a waste of time...
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Post by jimmyfergus » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:19 am

Do not feed the trolls...

This guy's just baiting us. After all, what's someone who doesn't care about noise doing on SPCR?

Of course, I'm playing his silly game myself by responding...

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Post by teejay » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:20 am

Yeah, you're right. Just couldn't help myself for a moment there :twisted:
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Post by Lwood » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:34 am

A lot of what goes on at SPCR goes hand in hand with energy efficiency. Undervolting, laptop drives, high efficiency PSUs and smart component selection all reduce a computer's power draw, which can become considerable. For me this is another motivation to silence my computer.

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Post by mathias » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:09 am

teejay wrote:Now, if you'll excuse me: I have to go and post on a few case modders forums that there is really no point in jazzing up their case.
Case modding is obviously a preference, I think almost everyone can see that you can't convince someone to either like or dislike it, despite how completely pointless it is.:lol:

That's not really the case with noise, it's more complicated. Noise perception does change over time, I find it often gets much worse. I also find it changes with mood. It also depends on ambient and other noise, a 6000 RPM fan might not add a lot of noise over a whiny hard drive and a wildly vibrating aluminum case, I think that willl likely depend on if it's a 6cm or 8cm 6000 RPM fan.

I remember how an article on overclockers.com talked about how doom3 would be used by a lot of people as an exuse to get GF6800ultras or make other expensive upgrades, for those overclockers that think this way, I suggest using trying out silence as an excuse for some getting some new stuff which isn't entire cost justifyable on it's own(like maybe a thermalright XP 120). Also, putting some heavy books on an (aluminum) case might reduce the vibration significantly. Can anyone think of any other good ways to let people try out a bit of quiet?
teejay wrote:Oh, and after that I should point out to some gamers that all that playing around is really a waste of time...
I've heard that so many times. People here are too polite, I think most never derisively call people deaf.

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Post by teejay » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:19 am

My sarcastic self got the better of me when I wrote that. I just wanted to illustrate how z_unit's posting struck me, telling SPCR that silencing is a waste of time. He must have struck a wrong chord with me when he wrote that silencing is just for us "special people"...

I am both a case modder and a gamer; my PC-V1000 is actually a first attempt at a classier look (i.e. less windowy bling-bling illuminated and all that).
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Post by mathias » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:53 am

teejay wrote:My sarcastic self got the better of me when I wrote that. I just wanted to illustrate how z_unit's posting struck me, telling SPCR that silencing is a waste of time. He must have struck a wrong chord with me when he wrote that silencing is just for us "special people"...
I wouldn't be all that surprised if people who haven't horribly damaged their hearing with loud music or otherwise are the exceptions.

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Post by markjia » Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:05 pm

z_unit wrote:
markjia wrote:I think it is sometimes the same thing with extreme overclockers. Will they really notice the difference of a few extra MHz? Probably not, but they still try to push their system as far as it will go.
Overclock with old systems was not noticible like 30-60 Mhz but with new ones you can overclock as much as 500 Mhz and more and it gives you really noticible preformance increase, but i would not try that on fanless cpu.

I watch movies really often and programming to and noise dont annoy me at all because i just dont notice it at all.
Also i sleep in room with my pc turned on to.
Well maybe some people are special, but as for me the noise is not problem.
In terms of overclocking, I'm talking about the extremes here. Meaning, pushing a 2.8GHz CPU to 3.5GHz as apposed to 3.4GHz. How big a difference will the extra 100Mhz make? We are talking about less than a 3% difference in clock speed. But people still take extreme measures to try to gain the little bit of extra speed.

The number of reasons for quieter computers are almost endless. If they are not obvious to you, then it's not a matter for your concern. It doesn't mean that it is not a valid issue to many other people.

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Post by Pjotor » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:11 pm

I guess I started doing it 'cause I like the absence of noise. I have never had a period in my 32-year life where I remember wanting to have noise (music, traffic, radio) in the background just to keep the silence away.

Nowadays, there is a good bit of fun in the mix.
Happy silencing!

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Post by ecto » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:45 pm

Same for me as with many others - I've never liked background noise. Even when I was 10 years old I had to go tell my parents to reduce the volume on the TV when I was trying to fall asleep.

Until a month ago I had a separate computer room, but now I've moved and I'm forced to having the computer in the bedroom. Wanting to have the computer running during the night I'm pretty much forced to try to get is as silent as possible to be able to sleep.

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Post by the_smell » Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:29 pm

Like many other people I went for a quieter computer because I found the noise annoying when doing almost anything. I am sure I work better now with a quiet pc, and it certainly enhances movie watching and game playing when you don't have computer noise spoiling the atomsphere created by the all the sound a video technology you've invested in.

One thing I have to pull up z_unit on is the phrase 'Overclock with old systems was not noticible like 30-60 Mhz but with new ones you can overclock as much as 500 Mhz and more and it gives you really noticible preformance increase...' Back in the day (I'm showing my age now :? ) when I overclocked a ye olde pentium from 60 to 90 MHz the difference was massive, games suddenly became much more playable applications ran smooth. I could be wrong but I think this real 50% jump in speed is pretty hard to achieve in a modern system, at least for sensible money, and I doubt the gains would have such a smack-in-the-face obvious difference (appart from the increased cooling power needed).


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Post by Edward Ng » Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:08 pm

My reasons are severalfold; I guess by now I can be honest and mention most of them...

For one, I had gotten, supposedly, used to the high noise; been a heavy overclocker since the late 90s, have run my fair share of 7000rpm Delta black label cooled CPUs, multiple loud hard drive RAID arrays etc. and pretty much got the point where I had finally gotten sick and tired of all the noise. I think many people keep accepting the noise and accepting the noise and more and more until they reach a breaking point when it finally hits them, "Holy $h1t my computer's loud!!!!"

The next part was also partly from having felt that I needed to attack something new. I'd been overclocking for so long, as if, "been there, done that," and I felt that if I can keep the performance up, while cutting down on the noise more and more, that makes me that much more of a capable system builder. To overclock hard is one thing--to overclock hard while not permanently rattling my ear drums, that's another. I guess you could say I was seeking a greater challenge.

The next step was actually happening upon SPCR itself. I found a very open-minded community, well-mannered as someone else mentioned, with its own special niche on the internet that I felt very comfortable being a part of; I felt I had found a place that not only would be a good source of learning for me, but that I really could give back to, given the chance. I've spent enough years benfiting from the wisdom of others; it felt like my turn to really give back, in a bigger way than I could with my own measly web site, NgTechnik. With SPCR, I can provide knowledge and people would come for it, instead of me trying to put it in front of them and saying, "Here, eat it."

There's many, many reasons to want to silence. Besides the critical items I already mentioned, I also wanted to combine my passion for high fidelity audio with my passion for technology, and I sought to build a uniquely good sounding system on the very affordable side that would integrate the advantages of using a PC as the source, for example jukeboxing a library of music as large as I want without having to get up and swap discs, avoiding one stage of potential jitter issues, etc. After a whole lot of learning, from SPCR, primarily, coupled with some outside research (into sound cards with lockable sampling rates on the digital output that bypassed Kmixer), I was able to build a computer that had sufficient performance to handle 85% of my daily computer needs (e-mail, IM, WWW, music) that makes negligable amounts of noise (so as not to affect the music listening experience) and acts as a very good source for my audio, by providing a jitter-free source (because of the way music is ripped directly off CDs, computers avoid the potential jitter issues that crop up on regular compact disc platforms), at least up until outputting to the external DAC. There's much more to discuss on this front, but I don't want to stray significantly off topic.

I'm just offering a few more reasons to NOT run a loud machine (particularly since it really isn't necessary in 99% of cases). If your usage does not rely on a multitude of extremely fast, hot hard drives (how many applications do home users have that need this? Hardly any...), then, even overclocking, quiet computing is quite attainable.

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Re: Why you need silent system?

Post by Beyonder » Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:29 pm

z_unit wrote:I kinda dont understand why do people here want silent systems, why preformance is not matter to your you only want it to be as silent as possible?
I myself have fan with 6000 RPM on CPU and its noise level is 55 DB and its fine you will stop notice it in couple of days using it.
Performance does matter to me--but I'm a firm believer that you can have the best of both worlds.

You can build an essentially "silent" Athlon 64 system with relative ease, and it's going to be on the cutting edge of performance. I think the popular misconception is that you have to sacrifice performance for silence, when in reality most "loud" computers are just inefficiently moving air around rather than focusing their cooling in a manner that's really helping.


I'm sitting next to a loud computer typing this, and I have to say: it sucks. Silence, once you get use to it, is awesome. :D
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Post by wim » Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:43 pm

i love music. for me it started because of music, i probably play 90% of my music from the computer. one day, like ed says, i just noticed the computer noise was unnecessarily loud. thought i could probably do something about that. i'd realised that having the computer drone in the background of your music is basically just as bad as the recording having a really crap SNR - and i thought about how pissed i'd be if i bought a CD and it (the recording) had that fan drone in the background - so from a listening point of view i should really deal with the computer noise.

it didn't take long to fix it so that the noise was no longer a problem for music (and i didn't spend/buy anything, just undervolting some fans and build some duct-type things out of plastic ice-cream containers and string).

well that was the original reason. noise level interfering with music ceased being a problem a loooong time ago. suffice it to say, it didn't stop there. it's kind of become a hobby since: aiming to get it silent. it is fun. and i'll mention that i did have a silent machine for a while, and was working on a post for the general gallery, but that's gone out the window cause i've recently bought a powerful (read: hot) video card. now the system needs a rethink.


note: my definition of silent (here and anywhere else i've used the term) is "inaudible to me", i.e. someone can turn system on and off and i won't be able to pick it blind. probably any proper definition of 'silent' means no movement of air molecules which means no kinetic energy at which point quantum axioms get you into trouble and you have to rethink your 'proper definition' anyway

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Re: Why you need silent system?

Post by lenny » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:02 pm

z_unit wrote:I kinda dont understand why do people here want silent systems, why preformance is not matter to your you only want it to be as silent as possible?
I myself have fan with 6000 RPM on CPU and its noise level is 55 DB and its fine you will stop notice it in couple of days using it.
Assuming this is not troll bait (I must say the behavior here has been amazingly restrained), people in this forum silence their computers for different reasons. Performance is important to some, not to others (see thread on silent router using underclocked P3/400). If you're really interested, hang around and read more.

The general aim here is, given a configuration, how to make it quieter. Different people here have different constraints on budget, components, performance. The challenge is to work within those constraints and come up with a quiet setup. And then make it even quieter.

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Post by gitto » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:09 pm

i started the same way as wim. bought really nice speakers and soundcard....and then realised the constant computer whirr meant the high snr wasnt much use. and then it turned into a research obsession, figuring out what would be best for my new silent computer needs. i'll soon put my money where my mouth is though :)
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Post by halcyon » Sat Oct 23, 2004 1:08 am

Noise is a fatigue inducer (proven by psychological tests, references available even on web). To me it is also a conscious irritant, distractor when doing thinking and a diminisher of musical enjoyment (I often listen to music at my computer).

Also, silencing for me (as to so many others) has been a sickness. My initial computers were very noisy. Eventually I grew tired of their constant irritation. Then I started finding the causes of noise and eliminating them one by one.

I'm still on that path :)

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Post by Qwertyiopisme » Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:07 am

My computer before I had started silencing had a 60mm delta fan at 12V.

...

Needless to say, that was too loud (and I survived with it for a year too....) and so I started modding and changing stuff, eventually getting better performance, much quieter, and far better temps.

otherwise I tend to agree with the others here, and with the two articles that were posted.
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Post by daba » Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:35 am

It's hard for me to work without a clean desk and clean room. Such reflects the interior of one's mind.

Then comes the silence. We don't want turbulence in there.

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Post by grandpa_boris » Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:57 am

there are several reasons i got into silent computing.

i dislike noise. if i am listening to music, high ambient noise makes it impossible to hear softer passages and robs the music of the nuances. and as i got older, i found that noise has irritated me more and more.

high noise makes it harder to concentrate and think. it may not be obvious, except in comparison. one of the documented and scientifically proven arguments agains "cubicle culture" is that the higher ambient noise levels inherent in "open cube" environments decreases productivity as compared to singe occupant offices. why replace or worsen the ambient noise of a cube farm with screaming of high-speed fans?

there are documented links between prolonged exposure to high levels of ambient noise and a variety of nasty health issues, like high blood pressure, hearing loss, elevated stress levels, elevated fatigue, etc.

for many applications, an overclocked water boiler isn't necessary. examples abound.

for applications that require very high CPU power, quiet or even silent solution are possible and often don't cost much more than a noisy solution of the same problem. again, examples abound.

why live with a jet engine in your office, when you can have the silence (or at least a low level of noise)?
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Re: Why you need silent system?

Post by wim » Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:24 am

lenny wrote:Assuming this is not troll bait...
i didn't think this guy was baiting.. he just seemed puzzled as to why we do it. i s'pose we must seem like a strange cult to some folks. i know i've had friends laugh when i groaned about their noisy machines.

besides, he gives us all an excuse to hear eachothers reasons and share stories abt why we got into this! *stokes the campfire*

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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:53 am

I dunno about you z_unit, but alot of my friends and family have gave me praise for quieting their computer.

Noise is define as unwanted sound. So therefore i want it to go away. simple as that.

I didnt drop tons of money on nice speakers just to have a fan roaring in the backgroup.

I like having a computer in my room doing stuff while i sleep peacefully.

An i did OC too. got a mobile barton 2400 at 3400 speeds. it is possible to OC and have quiet.

Everyone is different. i got a friend with fan that roars and he tryed the quiet computing thing and went mad. had to reinstall in loud fans. he likes noise

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Post by meglamaniac » Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:25 pm

In response to the original question:
Being able to sleep would be my primary concern.
Closely followed by watching movies or listening to music. You wouldn't accept a DVD player or a HiFi that made 60dba, so why accept it in a PC?

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