Still loud, what more can I do?

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gernotg
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:44 pm
Location: NY

Still loud, what more can I do?

Post by gernotg » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:42 pm

Hello,

I built a new computer to use for watching movies in the living room. Here's what I got (and why):

I wanted a "desktop" shape case, and from what I could see the one rated the quietest was the Aztec NSK2480. Based on this choice, I had to get a micro atx motherboard.

I wanted the lowest power processor that would do the trick, figuring that lower power would result in a quieter computer. I looked at some mobile processors but I couldn't find any micro atx motherboard with an M or S1 socket, so I had to give up on that. I fairly randomly picked AMD over Intel. The lowest power processor I saw had a rating of 45W. There were several of these with the 45W rating, so I picked the only dual core one which was the Athlon 64X2 BE-2350.

Based on that, I looked for a micro-atx board with an AM2 socket. I wanted to avoid a separate video card and ended up with one with an on-board "HD ready" ATI Radeon video chipset, the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H. In retrospect, I should probably have considered the power usage of the motherboard, memory, and hard drive as well, but I didn't, I just went with what sounded good.

The first time I put the system together, I immediately noticed how loud the CPU fan was that came with the AMD processor. I read up some more on the forums here and replaced it with a Scythe Mini (although I wasn't thrilled that changing the heat sink voids the warranty on the processor), and so far it seems that the passive cooling is sufficient. I haven't figured out how to monitor the temperature when Windows is up, but I let it play a video for 30 minutes and then looked in the bios and the temperature was only at 37C.

However... even with the passive CPU cooling, it's still so loud :-(
I'm not saying it's disrupting my video watching, and it's certainly much quieter than the old computer that it's replacing, but still...

Even with noise from the outside through the open windows, and dryer noise from the basement, I can still hear the case fans from 4 meters away. (I can't actually tell if it's the two case fans or the PSU fan, but it does appear to be fan noise, not from the hard drive or anything)

The two case fans in the NSK2480 are set to "low". What more can I do? Is it safe to disconnect one of them (and if so, which one)? Should I try to replace the PSU fan or even the entire PSU? Anything else I can do to muffle the system?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thomas
Posts: 664
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Location: Denmark

Post by Thomas » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:37 pm

SpeedFan should be good for monitoring temperatures. It can be downloaded several places on the internet, and it's free.

Temperature monitoring is number one, before doing any silence mods :wink: 8)

I'll bet it's those TriCools, which are noisy ! You can check it, by simply stopping the fan with your finger or a pencil. Doing it for 5-10 seconds is enough to locate noise sources, and wont harm cooling, nor fan.

You CAN do the same with the PSU, but take care regarding electric shock !!! ONLY use plastic (electric insulated) things for this. However, that PSU should be VERY quiet, especially with such a low load, so start with the TriCools, and see how things works out.

Check the recommended fans list for suggestions for replacing fans. I've tried the Nexus and S-flex, and are very happy with both. I think the S-Flex have a slight advantage due to lower starting voltage. Then add a Zalman FanMate for each fan, and you should be well settled.

It sounds like you dont undervolt? If you dont want to tinker too much with that, I suggest you at least enable Cool and Quiet.

At this point, it should be possible to run those fans at very low voltages :D

And dont be surprised, if you now can hear the hard disk and/or CPU fan :wink:

Good luck with it.

EDIT: Typos.

nitram_tpr
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Post by nitram_tpr » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:17 pm

I have read that the PSU in the Antec cases can be noisy, I recently built a system around the Antec case and I found the PSU to be nice and quiet.
The case fans though even on low were too loud for me. I replaced them with 2 Akasa amber series fans and plugged them into the motherboard fan headers, the case is now silent.
The other alternative is indeed getting a fan controller.

Edit.

Typos!
Last edited by nitram_tpr on Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

jhhoffma
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:46 am

I agree with Thomas that the tricools on anything but low can be very loud. Doing the pencil trick (I'd use my finger on the hub from the inside) you can stop the fans and see if the noise goes away. If it does, the the fans are your culprit and can be changed out with any quiet 120mm fan. My personal fav right now is the 800rpm Scythe Slipstream; very good airflow with little noise, even less if undervolted. There are others as well, check out the Fans forum for recommendations.

If it's not the case fans or your PSU fan, then put your ear next to the hard drive and see if you can hear a whining sound (you don't say what HDD you used, so it's always a possibility). That's a different problem and much harder to deal with short of getting a new HDD.

Hope that helps and WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

gernotg
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:44 pm
Location: NY

Post by gernotg » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:08 pm

Thank you so much for your advice, everyone. I didn't get to try everything yet, but here's an update on the status.

I downloaded SpeedFan. Currently, the CPU cooler doesn't have any fan that I could control, and the case fans are set to "low" and not controllable from the motherboard (I also don't have the right cable to make them controllable right now, either I'm blind or it didn't come with the case). So I can only use SpeedFan to monitor the temperature. There seem to be three sensors on the motherboard that it can access, two of them are around 35C and one is 82C. I have not been able to figure out where this sensor is located, and I couldn't find anything on the motherboard that felt all that hot to the touch. Maybe I just have a badly calibrated sensor? I don't know.

For comparison, I tried SpeedFan on my old computer. There is one CPU fan and one case fan, which are controlled from separate headers on the motherboard. SpeedFan also shows two fan controls, but one of them does nothing, and the other one controls both fans. I also have two temperature sensors on the motherboard, which show around 35C, and didn't go up at all when I shut off the fans completely. Again, I don't know where the sensors are, but touching several parts on the motherboard quickly convinced me that I had to turn the fans back on, so unfortunately, it doesn't seem like I can use SpeedFan for automatic fan control.

Back to my new computer, I tried to do a better job figuring out exactly what was causing the noise. I stopped the two case fans by hand, and although the difference is noticeable, the hard drive (Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive) also clearly contributes. When I'm up close, I would say that the fans and the hard drive are almost equally loud, though at a different pitch. But in the end I'm not really sure which one is the one bothering me when the lid is on and the computer is a few meters away.

I think I'll wait a week or two to see if the remaining noise still bothers me or if I get used to it. If it does, I'll first try to make the fan speed controllable from the motherboard and see if I can use SpeedFan to regulate it below the current "low" level. That should at least give me the chance to turn the fans off from a distance to see if replacing the case fans would even make a difference. If not, I guess I'll buy a quieter hard drive or a different power supply.

Thanks again for all the advice, I really appreciate it!

Modo
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Location: Poland

Post by Modo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:24 pm

I have the same enclosure, and I managed to get it very silent. Some advice:

If the hard disk is screwed on too tightly, it will pass vibrations to the case. Try this: Turn the silicon gromets so that all of them have the larger part up. Screw the bottom screws just enough to keep the disk from moving, and screw the top screws a little tighter (one or two turns maximum). This way the disk will be in place, but it will lay soft on the bottom gromets, and hang down on the upper ones. That should considerably reduce the vibrations. Also, consider putting sound dampening foam in the hard disk area of the case, especially against the front panel—this will reduce seeking noise.

Change the case fans to quiet models (Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm, for example) that can be controlled through the mobo. Using SpeedFan, set them to half speed at idle, and full speed under load (when CPU core temperature reaches, say, 50 C). You might not even need the higher rpms, if you don't plan a graphics card for your system. Alternatively, you could try and mod the Tri-Cools to allow lower voltage, and to make them mobo-controllable. I hear they can be made quiet this way, although it requires some soldering.

Change the PSU fan. A low-rpm, quiet fan should be enough, since the PSU gets no additional heat from other components, as it would in other cases.
Last edited by Modo on Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:53 pm

gernotg --

You've already got very good advice, and I'd say it's worth trying most of the things suggested, including quieter fans.

One other thing to consider is where the system is placed. In acoustics, mechanical coupling and cavity resonance both often come into play.

Mechanical coupling occurs when the noise and/or vibration from one object is transferred to another by direct contact, or conduction. This can make the 2nd object vibrate and make noise, which adds to the original. Simple examples of a noise-maker that becomes louder through mechanical conduction: A house fan placed atop a desk with a large wooden top. The same thing happens with a mixer atop a typical kitchen counter (not granite top).

Cavity resonance describes the boost in loudness at certain frequencies due to the resonance of the AIR in any cavity, even when it's only half enclosed. This occurs in cabinets, bathrooms, speaker boxes (which make use of cavity resonance), and even cupped hands.

In a typical TV cabinet, both mechanical coupling and cavity resonance may affect the noise of your PC, which makes noise and vibrates. If it is in a cabinet, try taking your PC out, and place it on a large piece of foam (a sofa cushion will do) on the floor instead. If it's now quiet enough for you, then you've identified the problem and you'll easily figure out what to do.

If none of the above seems applicable, well, back to the other suggestions. :lol:

Thomas
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:21 pm
Location: Denmark

Post by Thomas » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:39 pm

gernotg wrote:.... There seem to be three sensors on the motherboard that it can access, two of them are around 35C and one is 82C. I have not been able to figure out where this sensor is located, and I couldn't find anything on the motherboard that felt all that hot to the touch....
I believe this is a quite important point, before doing any silence mod. That 82 deg C might be a wrong reported temparature from SpeedFan (seen before!), but it might also be a hot CPU. If it's the CPU, the internal temperature can easily be much higher, than what you can feel from the outside.

What does your mobo manual say about temperature sensors? And how does those temperatures reported by SpeedFan, compare to what you see in the BIOS setup utility?

jhhoffma
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:13 am

Thomas wrote:
gernotg wrote:.... There seem to be three sensors on the motherboard that it can access, two of them are around 35C and one is 82C. I have not been able to figure out where this sensor is located, and I couldn't find anything on the motherboard that felt all that hot to the touch....
I believe this is a quite important point, before doing any silence mod. That 82 deg C might be a wrong reported temparature from SpeedFan (seen before!), but it might also be a hot CPU. If it's the CPU, the internal temperature can easily be much higher, than what you can feel from the outside.

What does your mobo manual say about temperature sensors? And how does those temperatures reported by SpeedFan, compare to what you see in the BIOS setup utility?
More than likely it's a faulty temp reading based on his noncompliant motherboard and his BIOS readings, 82C to 37C doesn't happen that quickly. Also, 82C is way too hot for that CPU unless you botched the HS install, but in that case your temps would never be 37C even at idle.

Try downloading CoreTemp and comparing the CPU temp to the ones in SpeedFan, then you can relabel the TEMP1, TEMP2 in Speedfan with something more meaningful.

Thomas
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Post by Thomas » Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:58 pm

jhhoffma wrote:More than likely it's a faulty temp reading based on his noncompliant motherboard and his BIOS readings, 82C to 37C doesn't happen that quickly. Also, 82C is way too hot for that CPU unless you botched the HS install, but in that case your temps would never be 37C even at idle.

Try downloading CoreTemp and comparing the CPU temp to the ones in SpeedFan, then you can relabel the TEMP1, TEMP2 in Speedfan with something more meaningful.
Good thinking 8)

gernotg
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:44 pm
Location: NY

Post by gernotg » Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:02 pm

I tried CoreTemp. It reports two core temperatures: 2C and 10C. Quite impressive, to get that far below my room temperature! :-) Hhm, maybe if I assume that they're in some sort of Anti-Fahrenheid notation... I could convert 2C to 34F, and then replace the F with a C, that would get me pretty close... Maybe I can to the same with the bogus 82C reading, and pretend it's 82F.

potsy
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Post by potsy » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:09 am

Hi gernotg, here's my fusion case (which is the NSK with a volume knob) which is super quiet and might give you ideas: potsy's puter

I've just updated my mobo/cpu to Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R with an Intel E8200 and the 200w psu is running it fine even with the cpu under 100% load.

If you don't want 2.5" drives there's a thread recently where someone put their 3.5" drive in a scythe quiet drive and mounted it in the cage below the dvd writer. It's worth thinking about your drives - after I got rid of the psu fan & cpu fan & tricools the drives sounded louder than you think they do!

I can recommend the Noctua 800rpm fans. They're a lot softer than the tricools.

I also reckon a fanless psu would run fine in the box (rather than the external brick I have). The separation of chambers keeps the heat out.

Potsy

jhhoffma
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:24 am

CoreTemp might be reporting the deviation from T(j). You may have to do some research and addition to figure out the actual temp.

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