Noisy computer-need suggestions

teaktart wrote on 12/18/2008, 11:34 AM
My editing computer is in the shop right now thanks to getting totally messed up with SP3, ouch...

While sniffing around inside I noticed 5 fans operating which adds up to a lot of noise when running. I have 2 Nvidia GeForce7600's each having a noisy fan along with the case fan, power supply fan, and one more.

I need some suggestions on what video cards and power supply fans might be a lot quieter. I have a quad under the hood and want to keep her cool running but as it is now there's no way to do a voice over with all that noise in the background.

What plays well with Vegas but is also fast, efficient and quiet?



johnmeyer wrote on 12/18/2008, 2:01 PM
Hi Teak! Long time since we talked ...

Any computer with fans gets noisy over time. There was just a thread about this a month ago, I think. The bearings get dry and loose, and they begin to vibrate and rattle. You can open them up and re-pack the bearing, which is what I do, or just simply replace them.

It is tough to avoid fans altogether, because the CPU you want for video editing sucks power and is going to run hot. You don't need much of a video card to run Vegas, but if you are going to protect yourself in case Vegas bites the dust, you'd better be ready with a GPU video card that can run the Adobe or Avid apps. Those all have CPUs almost as powerful as the main CPU in your computer, and so run hot.

If quiet it REALLY important (e.g., you do voice-over in the same room as your computers), the you might look into home theater PCs. If you can find that thread from a month ago, there was some really good links to sites that sell specially configured PCs, both for home theater use, and just for people that want peace and quiet. Most have really, really big heat sinks and fins. Also, water cooling may be quieter, but I don't know that for sure.


Ah, just for you, here's the link to that other thread:

Recent PCs noise ?
rmack350 wrote on 12/18/2008, 4:18 PM
There are a couple of ways you could go. Water cooling is a little drastic but not impossible. Zalman's Reserator has looked interesting to me but there might be other choices.

Another drastic measure, one we took at work, is to purchase Noren cabinets to stuff the PC into. These are very, very quiet and will generally have the PC running in an environment that's about 5-10 degrees above ambient. That may or may not work for you. Alternatively, you could have a cabinet built.

Or you could try to make the existing unit quiet by getting fanless graphics cards, a quieter PSU, and quieter fans. My opinion on the graphics cards is that there's no point buying cards that'll help PPro unless you actually have ppro or you seriously plan to get it at a specific date. If you have no plans for this sort of thing then just stick with a modest fanless card (or two).

If you're trying to do voiceover you might be better off building a cabinet. The cabinet should probably be built with it's own blower to move air through it.

There are places online that make a business out quiet PCs and they can sell you quieter fans, water coolers, and replacement graphics card coolers. One source is but there are many others.

Rob Mack

teaktart wrote on 12/18/2008, 9:29 PM
Thanks John and Rob!

Its funny but the younger tech guy thinks my CPU is maxed out with a RAID and the Video cards it has, doesn't want to add anything more. A second tech guy marvels that it runs around 70 degrees and not warm at all ( of course that's with the whole side panel removed...).

Meanwhile, considering my own personal cleanliness habits I do feel somewhat smug when I compared the dust factor on the inside of my machine to some others in the shop that looked like they had turned into carpet vacuum cleaners from the piles of dust inside...Worse than my clothesdryer !

Without spending a lot "mo' money' on this machine, having just wracked up a couple hundred bucks in repairs/reinstall OS -- maybe someone could recommend a particular video card that does all the HD tricks but may not need a fan/ or one that is much quieter. My head would explode if I had to learn another editing system, so whatever Vegas needs, that's what I want.
Likewise, a quieter fan model that I can just swap out and still keep the temps down.

It was just impossible for me to figure out how to solo operate the Vegas T/L and hit the record button, and then try to stand back and away from catching a lot of my CPU noise. Its down at my feet level under a pull out keyboard tray. To get turned around in some way and start talking and not screw up while the video TL is playing and recording was just more than I could juggle successfully. It took a zillion takes for each sentence. Pure agony... I drove myself crazy!

I have a laptop I haven't used much, guess I should give that a try. I got spoiled rotten with my quad and the laptop feels hideously slow and I still hate the Vista that's on it.
The other challenge while stepping back from the laptop/CPU is that my eyesight isn't getting any better and seeing the damned cursor isn't getting any easier either...;-)
Is there some kind of remote control we could figure out to get around the aging eyesight issue?

Steve Mann wrote on 12/18/2008, 9:44 PM
I read in last months CPU Magazine about a dead-silent desktop PC. It is submerged in a case full of mineral oil.

You could spend a couple of hundred dollars for a new case and power-supply. The quietest power-supplies I found have been from PC Power and Cooling. My quietest case has the most fans (seven). The case fans are 12-volt fans on the 5-volt bus.
rmack350 wrote on 12/18/2008, 10:41 PM
You could probably extend the cables on everything attached to the desktop PC and get farther away from it. We have to do that with the Noren cabinets. In fact you could do the same thing with the laptop, attach a second monitor to it, a keyboard, a mouse, get all the quiet parts closer.

I don't think the fact that your "CPU" is maxed out makes a difference, and I'm not sure what the tech means by that anyway. Probably means the PSU (Power Supply). Changing the fans won't affect that but quieter fans are usually slower so your system could get hotter. A quieter PSU would help but quiet fans are cheap and available at Fry's.

srode wrote on 12/19/2008, 3:05 AM
Peltier coolers for CPUs are very quiet and effective. Corsair HX620w Power supply is very quiet. Can't help you with the video cards - but I'd suggest looking at fanless designs if you want to real quiet. If you case fan is 120mm I would suggest this fan - its very quiet - its in my case and it moves a bunch of air!
craftech wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:04 AM

Can you pinpoint the noisiest fans? If it is coming from several 120mm case fans, that is pretty easy. If it is coming from the video card fan, that's a little more difficult.

In terms of the case fans, sleeve bearing fans are generally quieter than ball bearing fans. They are also cheaper and can be inexpensively replaced since they tend to fail sooner than ball bearing fans.

The Zalman ZM-F3 is a very good and very quiet sleeve bearing case fan. The link I provided is through froogle. If you order more the shipping doesn't change much. For example, at $5.10 each from eWiz through Froogle (which is what I linked) you will pay $13.80 for shipping if you order 10 fans. That comes out to $6.48 each for the fans shipped.
Not a lot of places carry them anymore, but those who do charge between $10-$15 each for that fan + shipping.

TimTyler wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:14 AM
For the last eight years, in three different office spaces, I've put the computer in another room. Drill a 2" hole and run the cables through the wall. Viola', no more computer sound.
teaktart wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:50 AM
I would do Tim's idea but my bed is on the other side of the wall and there are times when I'm rendering overnight I can still hear it humming away thru the wall and it can be irritating...Also, isn't it kind of hard to stick a blank dvd thru that 2" hole to burn a dvd? !

I've thought of building some kind of enclosure to dampen the sound but then there is the issue of heat buildup in a small space; which is why I have it sitting a couple of inches off the floor to eliminate some vibration and dust yet keep the 'heater' at my feet, and away from my ears.
I'll have my techie guy look at these postings/links to see what might fit in my case.

I think by 'maxed out' he's concerned about heat buildup but with the 5 fans running it seems to run cool.
I definitely hear the higher pitch whine of the video card fans especially when I start it up, then they settle down a bit.

The idea of a system sitting in oil boggles my mind! I thought water cooling systems was getting out there, but what do I know having owned VW buses all my life, when they introduced water cooled engines we all thought that was 1983, in this case maybe Detroit was ahead of the Germans....
TimTyler wrote on 12/19/2008, 7:30 PM
> isn't it kind of hard to stick a blank dvd thru that 2" hole to burn a dvd? !

That's what external USB DVD drives are for :)
nedski wrote on 12/19/2008, 7:54 PM
I put together a Core2Quad PC earlier this year. I have one Nvidia 9600 GT, 8 GB of DDR2 RAM, three Western Digital 640 GB SATA II drives, a LG Blu-Ray burner.

I bought a "Antec Sonata Plus 550" Black/ Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with a 550W Power Supply. It has lots of fans and it is very quiet. So quiet that most ambient noise in my house drowns out the sound from the PC. I'm six feet away from it and I can barely hear it. It's so quiet that I can fall asleep without it bothering me, the only thing that will bother me is all the lights from all the computer equipment. The blinking lights from my network router and cable modem and the hard drive light are what I'll notice if I wake up in the middle of the night!

I was really pleasantly surprised how quiet it turned out to be.

P.S. I'm really annoyed by sound when I'm trying to fall asleep, unlike many people, I HATE the sound of rain when I'm trying to snooze! :-)
teaktart wrote on 12/19/2008, 8:26 PM
I was just thinking today that it would be extremely helpful to us non-techies if someone would make a video about how to build a computer such as you did.
It could be a fun video project to explain why you made the hardware choices you did and then a step-by-step video tutorial on how you literally put it all together.
Put it up on YouTube or somehow link to this forum so folks who are getting ready to buy/build a new computer would get lots of good info on whats current and what works well with Vegas.

Any takers on that? Anyone building before the end of the year with all the good prices on hardware right now?

jazzmaster wrote on 12/19/2008, 8:35 PM
I put pillows around mine. Works.
blink3times wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:03 PM
"Also, water cooling may be quieter, but I don't know that for sure."

I run a liquid cooled system. It's the quietest system I have ever had. It's whisper quiet even at 100% load. I also get very stable temperatures. I still have fans for the power supply, the harddisks and the video card, but they all run at low rpm and are not heard.

Liquid cooling IS a pain in the butt though and it is not without risk. I actually blew a video card not too long ago because I got a bit of condensation forming on the cooling block which dripped down on to the card. Of course I got a little smarter and insulated the cooling block since then.
nedski wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:38 PM

There are lots of videos on YouTube about building PC's. Just now I just typed "build PC" in the search box and there were 67,600 hits. I'm sure at least some of those should be helpful to you. Another web site I just found is this page has 23 steps.

There are really only three things you need to put together a PC. #1 - a phillips screwdriver, #2 - patience, #3 - the ability to install software, #4 - patience.
Oh yeah, that four things. ;-)

Except for laptops, I haven't bought a pre-made PC since the 1990's. There are several reasons I put them together myself. The biggest one is that most pre-made PC's don't have what the parts I want. Many vendors will customize their computers somewhat but the price gets a lot higher than if I just buy the same parts and do it myself. No, I don't worry about tech support, in the very rare occasions that a parts breaks, I just replace the part myself.

Computer parts prices always go down, there are always good prices and they are pretty easy to find.
Infinite5ths wrote on 12/19/2008, 9:45 PM
I have this case: Antec P180

With a quad-core (stock fan), large-fan power supply, 4 HDDs & an Nvidia Geforce 9600 it's quiet enough to record violin tracks in a 20'x10' room.

The exception is when I use my 3D modeling/animation software, which causes the Geforce fans to kick on. But in Vegas, Sonar, etc. that's never a problem.
craftech wrote on 12/20/2008, 6:18 PM
I was just thinking today that it would be extremely helpful to us non-techies if someone would make a video about how to build a computer such as you did.
How about this one?

or this?

or these?