Real silence - move your PC to another room!

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

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Post by b1_ » Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:49 pm

This is a valid solution guys.

I'm a bit surprised at the hostility shown towards xg2004. He's done exactly what MikeC and all the other contibutors to silentPCreview have done by creating this fantastic site, only on a smaller scale, and he deserves some cudos for that. Whether his solution is not technically silencing the PC is just splitting hairs as far as I'm concerned. All I'm here for is to find solutions to my loud pc so I can finally get some peace and stop having to wear earplugs.

Isolating your PC is just as valid as padding your case or locking your HDDs in boxes, and definately deserves a forum section - there's a lot more to it that just getting advice on cabling, and I'd love to hear about how people have gone about it, even if by doing so I come to the conclusion that it won't work in my situation. I thought this site was about getting informed about all silencing solutions.

When I first discovered this site I read all the recommendations and started to formulate my silencing strategy but then it occured to me to just move my PC into the next room. Why not? Buy a few cables and viola, peace at last. I did a search on the subject here and found a few posts but they all had this same hostility towards the idea!? I don't get it? Why is it considered so loathsome to move the thing?

Anyway, thx for the reminder xg2004. It wasn't viable before because the next room was my flatmates and for some reason he was against it, but now I've moved and there's a nice big closet next to my desk. I'm upgrading soon and will be silencing still (seasonic PSU, SLK-947U, NB heatsink panaflos modded, fan controller, Antec SLK 3700BQE, 6800GT how the hell to I silence that thing?, seasonic HDD, acountipak deluxe - I don't think it's that much more money for silenced stuff if you're building from scratch) but for a temporary solution it'll do me, and maybe I'll be able to take these "starting to look digustingly caked in ear wax and goop" earplugs out. I just want some damn peace!

Btw, first post. Hi everyone. No longer a lurker, woot! :D

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:40 pm

Well since you've been lurking for a while, b1_, maybe a WELCOME is inappropriate; how about So you finally decided to come in from the cold and join the chat around the fireplace? . :lol: :wink:

As to hostility towards the original post, I don't think it was across the board, but I agree there tends to be a bit of nose-thumbing shown towards distancing as a solution -- avoidance rather than elimination (it's kind of wusy, right? :lol: :lol: ). In any case, I agree that it's a viable approach when and where it's an option... (your own experience confirms this point.)

As Ralf Hutter mentioned in his first response in this thread, tho, you can't just take a noisy computer and hide it, because it will often still be audible. I recall hearing a server PC in the closet on the top floor of a 3-floor house that you could hear from the acoustically padded home recording studio in the basement. :shock:

Still, I don't think the topic really deserves its own section -- it just seems too obvious (at least to me) what you have to do: Get the PC reasonably quiet, find a suitable distanced space, come up with whatever remote control/monitor setup you can afford (and works) and hope that the PC's noise doesn't bug someone else now!

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Post by al bundy » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:59 pm

fancontrol wrote:...The PC is already quiet, it's mostly in the closet to reduce the amount of clutter on my desk. I was thinking of posting something about how I silenced the PC and solved the closet heat problem. Then I read this thread...
Please do tell how you silenced the PC and solved the closet heat problem?


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Post by George » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:20 am

I tried it and it does really work. Even if you live in an apartment I'm sure you can find a place to put your pc in. You just have to be creative. For example one night when my neighbor was out I broke into his room and hid my pc in his closet , I drilled a hole in the wall and ran all the cables through it. Now I cant hear a darn thing. Getting the best sleep I can remember - however my neighbor seems cranky these days. :)

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Post by wim » Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:38 am

b1_ wrote:seasonic HDD
:?: :?:
oh you meant seagate, right.. :wink:

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Post by b1_ » Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:50 am

wim wrote:
b1_ wrote:seasonic HDD
:?: :?:
oh you meant seagate, right.. :wink:
Seasonic, Seagate, Seashells, same diff. Hey, you type fast you pay the consequences.

What'dya know, my first post gets a MikeC reply, do I feel special or what :).

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Post by Farnsworth » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:39 pm

xg2004, could you please explain the construction process of a power-reset-box with a eight pin connector.
I'm planning to create a box with the power and the reset button together with a headphone and a microphone connector.
Unlike many others, I'm interested in your solution to the noise problem.

fancontrol, please tell us your solution to the rising heat in your closet.

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Post by Inexplicable » Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:41 pm

If you have thoughts about distancing yourself from your PC, consider this: A PC is much like a woman. You try to put a little distance between yourself and it to get rid of the constant chatter, and at first it seems like a huge improvement. However, pretty soon you will find that it stops responding to your connection attempts and when you go see what's up, you find that someone else is using it and it's screaming louder than it ever did when you were using it.

Ah dammit, someone slap me.

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Post by b1_ » Sun Aug 01, 2004 7:22 am

*slaps inexplicable*

Well, I moved my desk across my room and tucked my very loud PC into my walk-in closet. Relief at last. Traffic noise on the street outside is louder.

My closet is 1700mm x 1500mm and has no ventilation other than the gap under the entry door. My cpu temp has slowly increased form its standard 46degrC, up to 50degrC, at a rate of about 1 degr per hour, and has stabilized there. It's winter here but still fairly warm as I live close to the tropics. I'd imagine in summer during the day it will not hold at 50 degr but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I might have the closet door! We'll see.

Still gonna silence my new PC, but at least for now my old PC has been muffled.

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Post by QuaiBoy » Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:00 pm

Didn't read the whole thread, but I would probably try this method if it applied to my situation. In fact, I think it would be even better to use a basement if you have one rather than a nearby room that you regularly use. The cable runs would probably be even shorter if you mounted your PC(s) next to the ceiling on a platform. Of course, this would be limited to non-finished basements that aren't used very often. But I would definately try it. ;-)
The hardest part for me to overcome personally would be the video cables. I can't STAND ghosting and every extender I've EVER used (and a lot of KVMs) cause it at the resolution I run. Something fun to try though.
I would say that that xg2004 hit a little bit "too close to home" with many of the participants of this thread. I have to congratulate him on meeting his goals and being happy at the outcome while spending a comparably small amount of money. Good job and enjoy!


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Post by Straker » Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:21 pm

fancontrol wrote:All very cool. Note that some claim to maintain 1920 x 1200 x 75 resolution video, which is way more than I would need.

But they're really freakin' expensive! Probably because they're purchased mostly by companies. I bet it won't be long before there are enough SOHOs & homes with enough computers that something like this will start to get cheap. And when it does, I'm all over it. The ideal solution, to me, would have a KVM switch on the reciever. That way I could use the head from my wife's PC on the closet PC. at least be consistent. Search the forums and go slam those threads, too.
My guess would be they're expensive because either they use cat5 but not Ethernet per se, they do some on the fly compression or reencoding or something, or both. I don't know much about what happens between a video card and a monitor and even less about cat5 KVM devices, so I may be making some horribly wrong assumptions, but raw 1900x1200x75fps at 32bpp is 660MB/sec. :shock:

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Post by fancontrol » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:37 pm

If they were ethernet I imagine they would cost even more. With Cat5 you do get 4 UTPs, that helps. I think the gonzo settings you mention require 2 cables as well.

It's kinda lame that they decode the analog signal only to recode it again. It seems more elegant to me to have a graphics card that spits out the digital signal that's carried over the cable, then have a remote box that turns it into VGA or whatever.

But if I had a dollar to bet, I'd put my money on low volume. Just look at the enclosures. The market isn't big enough to get the production volumes required to justify low (product) cost tooling and marketing channels.


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Post by mpteach » Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:47 pm

maybe there will be an fiber optical dvi someday?

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Post by Straker » Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:49 am

fancontrol wrote:If they were ethernet I imagine they would cost even more. With Cat5 you do get 4 UTPs, that helps. I think the gonzo settings you mention require 2 cables as well.
yeah, being able to use all 4 pairs was the reason i said that, and i meant "not ethernet" in that they can probably just ram everything down the cable without worrying about any other devices, let alone actually being able to plug it into a hub. would be funny spending say $1500 for one and then finding noone else can even use the LAN while it's doing its thing (need a crappy unswitched hub for that to happen, humor me :P ).

funny that you mention analog to digital conversion and back though, didn't even cross my mind... seems like there should be an easier way to do KVM/extension type stuff with a DVI monitor/card [this is where i was going to say "maybe you can get a repeater or something", and then googled before i made myself look stupid]

looks like 5m is max for typical DVI cables, 9m for high-quality ones, so that should be good enough for anyone attempting to do this, assuming DVI doesn't suffer the same problem as VGA at length... otherwise you can get repeaters and stuff but they aren't much cheaper than for VGA :?

from :

What is the maximum length of cable for a DVI and VGA?

Using copper cable it would appear that the limits are approximately 1600x1200@60Hz to one meter and 1024x768@60Hz to 9 meters with appropriate signal strength from the graphics adapter.

VGA-Analogue is not going to have as long a range. Using high quality cables I would say that 10 meters would be the maximum for 1024x768@60Hz.

there's a link there for longer but ordinary DVI cables, but they cost just as much as that VGA amplifier/kvm thingy, $200 for 10m and $250 for 15m (they say most cards etc are actually good enough for 15m, so whatever), and then you have to see if it even works... and then you still need a really long DVI cable whether you need the amplifier or not.

and there apparently are fiber optic DVI cables, self-powered from the video card, they just convert the signal inside the connector at both ends. kinda neat, not at all competitive on price until you get up to at least 30m though, for $990. :shock:

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Post by croddie » Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:46 am

Am I misreading something? 10m>9m so it seems that analogue has the longer range.

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Post by RTF » Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:52 pm

I was considering getting a bunch of cables for my new build and tucking it away in the wardrobe of my dorm when I went to school again in Sept., but this thread, strangely enough, convinced me NOT to try it off the bat. What I realized was that I was possibly going to "over-solve" my noise problem. The system isn't built yet, so I have no idea what it's like, but by adding in the cost of audio and video cables and powered USB hubs, I'm sort of giving up immediately.

You see, I wanted this box to be fairly portable too, so it's a SFF-turned-microATXcube-turned-microATXinslimdesktopcase. I've sacrified on that end, but I'm still not at the mid-tower size yet, so it's still a victory in my book. But if I put all those cables in it won't be very portable at all; it'd be clumsy to rip everything out when I decide to go somewhere with it. It's a solution I admire, but it's at odds with my other goal.

While I still might end up putting the thing on the floor and not under my monitor if it turns out to bug me, that wouldn't be my favorite solution. It would be a kind of "maintainence" issue; where optimally I could put any of my things in any part of my environment without effect, a noisy case would demand to be "thrown in the pit" so to speak.

Technology aims towards moving everything out of that pit, in my opinion. We've gone from massive hunks of iron to mobile devices, so I'd imagine that we would end up with "desktop" computers as small, as cheap and as easily replaced as light bulbs. Something that small would be silent of course :wink:

At SPCR we are aiding, at the individual consumer level, in this progression to the miraculous "light bulb" PC with the particular emphasis on reducing noise levels. At SFFTech there is a focus on reducing size. And overclockers, well.... we know what they want :roll:

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Post by MikeC » Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:48 am

RTF --

FYI, I took the Shuttle Zen I reviewed, cut out the back grill, removed the fan & shroud from the inside. mounted a Panaflo L w/Zalman fanmate1 on the outside, and installed a Samsung 40G 8mb cache notebook drive in elastic cord in the 3.5" bay. Finally I glued a 3/4' pad of foam across most of the bottom but not covering the feet or any vent holes, so it sits on soft foam.

It measures 17~18 dBA/1m and is quiet enough to be right on the desk next to the monitor. No hum, no buzz, just a small amount of fan blowing noise.

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Post by POLIST8 » Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:57 am

If you have thoughts about distancing yourself from your PC, consider this: A PC is much like a woman. You try to put a little distance between yourself and it to get rid of the constant chatter, and at first it seems like a huge improvement. However, pretty soon you will find that it stops responding to your connection attempts and when you go see what's up, you find that someone else is using it and it's screaming louder than it ever did when you were using it.

Ah dammit, someone slap me.

MikeC - Did you put it in another room? LOL.

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Post by scalar » Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:23 am

I'm just going to ignore the whole flame war, and offer some constructive advice on how to simplify and/or make this setup easier to manage.

1. Exceeding the 16-foot USB length limit using Active USB 2.0 extension cables. These are in fact cables with a single-port USB 2.0 hub built into the end of the cable.

According to the USB specifications, you can daisy-chain up to 4 hubs in a row between devices, which allows you to have the PC 64 feet away from you and still have your local USB devices work properly.

2. New USB laptop docks integrate all major communications ports into a single USB 2.0 connection, and you don't need a laptop for this to work.

This particular dock (which is just the first one I saw) includes the following local ports:
- DB-9 serial port
- DB-27 parallel port
- 10/100 Ethernet jack
- PS/2 keyboard port
- PS/2 mouse port
- 2 USB 2.0 hub ports

So rather than stringing your keyboard, mouse, parallel printer cable, Palm dock serial cable, scanner cable, and other various stuff back to your distant PC, you really only need this dock and one USB 2.0 cable to pass it all back to the distant PC.

(Since this dock is itself a hub, you'd only be able to use 3 of the active extenders, and only get 48 feet away from the PC.) :)

3. For VGA cable extensions, basically the cheap stuff is unshielded and unpaired. If the cables are short, you will not notice the effects of this crappy design, but the image quality will rapidly degrade as the cable length increases.

It's the same with network cables. You could probably run gigabit ethernet over two 4-foot chunks of straight-wire phone cord but the signaling would begin to fail with longer lengths due to the signal leakage, crosstalk, external noise, etc.

For best performance, the three Red/Green/Blue signal lines need to be isolated from each other in separate coaxial cables, with grounded shields. Usually the heavier the shielding on the coaxials, the bigger and stiffer the outer cable will be.

This "Pro series high integrity" 75-ft Belkin VGA extension cable is interesting in addition to the 3 RGB coaxials, they also use twisted pairs for the sync and other wires, which helps keep those signal lines clean.

Really, the best place to put the PC is on a shelf somewhere in the laundry room. That droning noise will fit right in next to the washer and dryer... :D

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Post by HammerSandwich » Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:12 am

Scalar, the distance should be (N+1)*16, so 80 feet with the max of 4 repeaters. And a cursory search found active extension cables much less at Newegg.

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Post by fancontrol » Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:21 am

scalar, cool stuff. The attraction of Cat5 to me is that it is already run through the house and can serve multiple functions as things evolve (phone, ethernet, ethernet phone, phony ethernet, etc.)

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by xg2011 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:07 pm

XG2004 here - had to re-register as my old e-mail address no longer exists and I couldn't log in for some reason.

Just to update everybody who might be considering this solution - my PC is still in the same place, in the open cupboard at the top of my stairs. I have reduced the number of cables, as I now only have one USB cable, one SVGA cable, one headphone cable and one microphone cable. I use a USB hub with seven USB sockets on it, and connect my keyboard, mouse, and DVD writer to it, and occasionally my camera, USB memory stick, and MP3 player.

I have the same set up downstairs - a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and USB hub, and DVD writer, so I can sit upstairs in my bedroom, or downstairs in my lounge, and access the same PC, without having to do anything at all to it - no switch boxes necessary.

In the time since I wrote my original post in 2004, I've had three more PCs, and am now using an i7 860 with Windows 7. Absolute silence in both rooms. My new PC is very quiet anyway, but not silent, and I wouldn't be able to stand sitting next to it, while listening to, or writing, music.

So my original outlay of £40 has actually been reduced, as I've sold off my spare cables, that was about 5m of PS/2 extension cables, x 2, and four or five lots of 5m USB extension cables, plus exactly the same for my downstairs room. It's so nice to be able to buy any components I want for my PC, without having to give a second thought to whether they are quiet/silent or not.

Things are now even better in the 'put the PC in another room' world, because you can now get dirt cheap DVI-D to CAT5 adaptors on Ebay (something like £5 - £7 a pair), which give about 30m range, apparently, and USB to CAT5 adaptors for similar low prices.

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by Zustiur » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:01 am

Since this topic has been revived;
There is another simple solution that hasn't been mentioned. It's just as valid as the solution presented here.
Wear ear-plugs.

XG2004/11; just for the sake of comparison, if I were to follow your plan...
My computer box would have to be in the laundry as it's the only room where the noise wouldn't be an issue. About 8 meters away from my desk (as the cable would run).
I would then be able to hear the computer from my kitchen which might be just as annoying at times.
I would also have to go through a solid brick wall which already has electrical wires and water pipes in it.
It also wouldn't solve the problem as one of the worst sources of sound from my PC is the terrible cheap speakers.

Sadly this just isn't a viable solution for me.

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by slntpcusr » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:16 am

I've been reading about quiet PC components for years, looking up dB levels at different loads etc... I built a somewhat standard quiet computer a couple years ago and still found it too noisy. The loudest part ended up being the power supply which was one of the quietest ones around. I never really got into the water cooling / foam insulators etc. and in my case I don't think they would have made a difference that was worth the hassle.

I thought about moving the computer into a large closet but I worried about heat in there so I bought some cables and relocated the computer into another room which when the door is closed I can't hear at all (EXCELLENT!!!).

It's a full desktop (which I choose for configurability and fixability) so your results may vary if you're connecting lower powered components like a laptop or something but here's what I used:

25 feet DVI Digital Male to Male Dual Link Cable - from dedicated video card to monitor input (~$15)

32 feet (10 meters) USB 2.0 Active Extension Cable A Male to A Female - from USB on desktop to monitor USB cable (monitor has a built in hub which I connect the keyboard and mouse to) (~$15)

25 feet 3.5mm Audio Cable Male to Female (2x) - one for the desktop audio output to my computer speakers, one for the microphone. (~$8)

Everything works great, highly recommended!

In my case the DVI connection is solid, no sparkles or video loss, no noise on the audio cables either. USB connection is solid, I don't notice any input lag on mouse or keyboard. My computer speakers have a headphone jack so I can use that if I want. I can crank the desktop fans up and still be totally silent. For USB stuff like thumb drives I can plug it into my monitor. If I ever need to use firewire / DVD / power switch / reset switch / eSATA / (never) then it's just a few steps away.

The only sound I hear is from using input devices (keyboard / mouse) and audio from speakers (good!) and if you put your ear RIGHT next to the monitor you can barely hear the LCD monitor (probably the CFL or power buzzing) which is not noticeable at sitting distance. It's so nice and silent that I find myself getting back into music, it's so much more pleasant when you don't have to crank the music to hear subtleties or just to listen at low volume. Also nice if you want to keep the computer running while you sleep if your keyboard / monitor / mouse are in your bedroom.

Read up on max cable lengths for each type of connection (wikipedia etc...). In my case I pushed the recommended max and read some reviews about different cables / experiences and got something long enough for my needs but not too long. Everything works great, much cheaper than quiet / no fan PCs (which can limit you as far as configurations / cost). Using the same wires I could run some super overclocked screaming PC and still be totally silent, no special hardware or endlessly tweaking components and PC case for noise levels. Audiophiles will probably be interested too, you could run an optical cable to a DAC / AMP in another room and use the same keyboard / mouse / monitor setup or just VNC to the desktop from another computer (as a remote control) if you want. These days tablet computers are totally silent also so that's another think to think about.

I hope this helps someone, I found this thread via Google and thought I'd share my experiences. I just wish I had done this years ago.

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by Betsie » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:45 pm

Holy crap, people. How is moving your computer do a different room different from putting carpet on the inside of your case? I'm glad this solution worked for this guy. I'm glad your solutions work for you, but why jump down his throat for sharing his experience? I'm a little disappointed in people. We usually have a big love fest in here. Ralf! Pass that bong back over here.

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:24 am

Betsie --

It's a long thread started 7 yrs ago, and there are many opins here, not just the first negative ones. To recap my comments (probably from 2004!)...

1. some hard core silencers consider distancing a kind of copping out -- hence the disdain.
2. the biggest issue with distancing is that lots of people just don't have that option. You need the space, spare room, closet and/or distance to do it, and some noisy PCs need a lot of it. (see my early comment about the noisy server)

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by HokieJoe » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:53 am

I just wanted to add that is a great resource for anyone interested in a remote install location for their PC. With the advent of DVI and HDMI (ugh!), it is now possible to carry sound and video over moderate distances with no quality loss (assuming the cabling is up to spec). You can buy most of this cabling, which is great quality, for affordable prices from places like monoprice, blue jeans cable, etc. As well, several cat5/cat6 hdmi baluns have appeared on the market which would allow an even greater distance. The only limited factor here would be USB perhaps.

All that said, I still think that building to improve efficiency, and reduce noise and heat are worthy goals (especially if you live in a hot area or worry about tight confines). I already have a 4x4 hdmi matrix switcher from monoprice. My plan is to 'offsite' my pc with the rest of my home theater components in a dedicated equipment closet. I'll pipe the PC/360/PS3/Dish hdmi outputs thru the hdmi matrix switcher and that way i'll have access to any of these outputs on up to 4 different screens/monitors. I could daisy chain a splitter before or after the matrix switch to add even more outputs.

I have the space and attic access, so for me this will be the holy grail. No wires in sight and no equipment noise. For others, as already stated, this may not be a viable option. BTW, this forum helped me back in ~2006 with a fan noise problem. The members here responded and cured my ill. Thanks again!

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by Audiophiliac » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:48 am

I do not have an issue with the OP sharing his solution here. Although, I would argue that this was the wrong forum to share it in. This site and forum was designed by and for quiet PC enthusiasts trying to help each other achieve the goal of comfortable and quiet computing. The focus is on making the PC quieter or even silent. Simply moving the PC somewhere where you cannot hear it does not accomplish this goal at all. It is akin to the age old rhetoric, "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make any noise?". Of course it makes a noise!

The idea of moving the PC to another location may create a quiet computing environment. However, it does nothing to reduce the noise created by the PC. Therefore, does it really apply to the vast majority of those of us who actually want to build quiet/silent PCs? I argue that it does not. But more power to the people who want to go through the work to locate their PCs away from them. There is more than one way to skin a cat I guess. Or more applicable to this scenario, there is more than one cat to skin. :)

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by Mettyx » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:25 am

WTF, drilling through a wall??
I don't think so...

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Re: Real silence - move your PC to another room!

Post by Cistron » Wed May 02, 2012 11:40 pm

This might be in the spirit of the thread:

Has anyone tried streaming (Wifi, uPnP, or so) audio and video separately to a ceiling mounted beamer and a DAC-2.0 HiFi combo at the other end of the room?

I've been browsing for a while, but can't seem to find a solution. Most multi-device application seem to be produced for streaming music to several rooms. Airplay doesn't support two parallel streams yet (e.g. AppleTV and AirportExpress). Any ideas?

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