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"Silent audio computer", ...how to build a pc for music listening
atici
post Apr 11 2003, 02:56
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Yeah I know biggrin.gif I think the usual brute force solution : huge fans with big heatsinks never make such a difference. Make sure you select "Optimize CPU/Chipset" and "C2 state" cooling in the prefs.

BTW do you have 52 deg celsius after you use this program or before? With 100% CPU usage normally I hit to 60 degrees. Is that tolerable, or should I put some more thermal compound?

This post has been edited by atici: Apr 11 2003, 03:08


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fewtch
post Apr 11 2003, 03:03
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I think I'll be transplanting my PC to a new case soon (with a side fan) to eliminate the front fan entirely. That seems to be the major source of noise with my PC, and a side fan would be blocked by the case (e.g. on the other side from where I'm sitting). Maybe a different PSU fan, too... something has to be done (hot weather on the way as well).


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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 11 2003, 03:34
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QUOTE (fewtch @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:03 PM)
I think I'll be transplanting my PC to a new case soon (with a side fan) to eliminate the front fan entirely.  That seems to be the major source of noise with my PC, and a side fan would be blocked by the case (e.g. on the other side from where I'm sitting).  Maybe a different PSU fan, too... something has to be done (hot weather on the way as well).

Unless you're using the front fan for direct cooling (if it's pointed at your hard drive, for example), you can probably just remove it. Then tape up any vents on the back or side of your computer, and the exhaust fans will draw in all the air they need from the front, without the need of a front fan.

Some people at the Silent PC Review forums actually saw their case temperatures decrease when they removed the front fan, perhaps because the fan forces air into the back corner of the case where it's not needed, and so it hinders proper airflow. For everyone else who removed the front fan, system temperatures stayed about the same or maybe went up one degree.
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wynlyndd
post Apr 11 2003, 03:44
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I was reading somewhere about how two fans placed parallel in the back is better than two placed serially, one in front and one in back.


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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 11 2003, 03:46
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QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 06:56 PM)
BTW do you have 52 deg celsius after you use this program or before? With 100% CPU usage normally I hit to 60 degrees. Is that tolerable, or should I put some more thermal compound?

If your motherboard is reading the diode temperature from the processor, 60 degrees under load should be okay for an Athlon XP processor. What heatsink to you have installed on the processors? Also, installing more thermal compound probably won't improve your temperatures; the idea is to have as little compound as possible, just enough to fill in any microscopic pits on the heatsink and processor die.

My two XP's (it's an SMP machine) idle at 44/49 and can reach up to 54/58. I would slow the fans down even more (and let the temperatures rise), but they're already inaudible over the other fans in my PC.
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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 11 2003, 03:54
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QUOTE (wynlyndd @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:44 PM)
I was reading somewhere about how two fans placed parallel in the back is better than two placed serially, one in front and one in back.

I found this to be the case as well, since it can double the amount of airflow using the same number of fans. Plus, the fans in the back aren't pointed at your ears, so they'll be less noticeable.

One thing that helped my case a lot was the removal of the fan grills. I tore off the thick metal grills on the back of my case, and that allowed me to speed up my variable-speed fans in the back of the case without generating any additional noise due to air turbulence.
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DonP
post Apr 11 2003, 04:14
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One of the guys on a US tv show "The Screensavers" recently gave a computer the silent treatment.
Other than some of the methods mentioned here (flower CPU sink, dynamat on the case, ...) the unusual
step was a baffle-muffler (sort of like a car muffler) on the output of the case fans. He had to go to
Dolby lab to find a room quiet enough to even measure the sound. The result was basically
14 dBA for sound under 100 Hz and 8 dBA for over 100 Hz. The background level of the room was
5 dBA. In practical terms, you have to hold your breath to hear it, and you won't hear it from more
than about 1 meter away. Article and lots of photos:

www.techtv.com/screensavers/howto/story/0,24330,3422228,00.html
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ff123
post Apr 11 2003, 04:25
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QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 10 2003 - 06:46 PM)
QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 06:56 PM)
BTW do you have 52 deg celsius after you use this program or before? With 100% CPU usage normally I hit to 60 degrees. Is that tolerable, or should I put some more thermal compound?

If your motherboard is reading the diode temperature from the processor, 60 degrees under load should be okay for an Athlon XP processor. What heatsink to you have installed on the processors? Also, installing more thermal compound probably won't improve your temperatures; the idea is to have as little compound as possible, just enough to fill in any microscopic pits on the heatsink and processor die.

52C was idle before I installed CPUIdle. Looks like 39C and lower (right now at night it's at 37C) is the new idle temperature.

I have a Thermalright SLK 800 heatsink using Arctic Silver 3 for the thermal compound. That's with an 80mm Panaflo currently running at 10V. But I'll probably bump that down to 7V if I can.

I've got another Panaflo 80mm fan at 9V at the back, so air flows from the bottom front to out the back and over the processor, as recommended by AMD.

My motherboard (Epox 8RDA+) does not report the internal Athlon CPU temperature.

ff123
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atici
post Apr 11 2003, 04:39
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I don't understand. When I first boot my computer the CPU temperature reading starts around 45. How could you get 37C! That's almost the room temperature smile.gif In my BIOS somewhere it said the Mobo uses some temperature reading method and it is a more accurate reading than most common ways to measure it (two years ago wink.gif) . Maybe that's why I get higher readings...


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fileman
post Apr 11 2003, 05:12
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I upgraded again (in cooling, not in power ;-)

The graphics card is now watercooled, too. It's a GF4 4200Ti and it had a small (although comparable quiet) annoying fan installed... Still no fan needed to cool the radiator. I don't know the idle temp. of my system, because there's a distributed computing client running all the time. The usual temp. (read by Motherboard Monitor 5, 100% load) is around 50C (depending on the room temp., of course).

Regards, fileman.

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ff123
post Apr 11 2003, 05:40
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QUOTE (atici @ Apr 10 2003 - 07:39 PM)
I don't understand. When I first boot my computer the CPU temperature reading starts around 45.  How could you get 37C! That's almost the room temperature smile.gif In my BIOS somewhere it said the Mobo uses some temperature reading method and it is a more accurate reading than most common ways to measure it (two years ago wink.gif) . Maybe that's why I get higher readings...

The CPU temperature I get is not the internal Athlon measurement, which is of course going to be much higher than the reading taken by the motherboard under the CPU.

Probably your mobo uses the CPU diode.

fff123
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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 11 2003, 06:03
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QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 10 2003 - 08:14 PM)
One of the guys on a US tv show "The Screensavers" recently gave a computer the silent treatment.
Other than some of the methods mentioned here (flower CPU sink, dynamat on the case, ...) the unusual
step was a baffle-muffler (sort of like a car muffler) on the output of the case fans.  He had to go to
Dolby lab to find a room quiet enough to even measure the sound. The result was basically
14 dBA for sound under 100 Hz and 8 dBA for over 100 Hz. The background level of the room was
5 dBA. In practical terms, you have to hold your breath to hear it, and you won't hear it from more
than about 1 meter away. Article and lots of photos:

www.techtv.com/screensavers/howto/story/0,24330,3422228,00.html

I liked the mods that guy made to his PC. However, the hardcore silence-freaks at Silent PC Review discredited this guy's claims. His decibel numbers appear to be off-the-wall.

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12345
post Apr 11 2003, 08:07
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It's wonderful to se people put dollars, $, benjamins, dollars, dollars and dollars on silent computers when simplest and very cheapest way to do it is to put the computer in another room/container/closed area. I've got mine in the wardrobe. The sound of this computer is comparable with a smaller power plant, alot of fans. Now I can't barely hear it (I can if I concentrate). I have friend that's soon building his box into the wall (and yes, there will be a door to get in there smile.gif ). OK, you have to walk a couple of meters when putting a CD in the tray, but that's just exercise. Just buy some extension cables, it'll shurely save you some money.
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JEN
post Apr 11 2003, 13:48
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QUOTE (12345 @ Apr 11 2003 - 08:07 AM)
It's wonderful to se people put dollars, $, benjamins, dollars, dollars and dollars on silent computers when simplest and very cheapest way to do it is to put the computer in another room/container/closed area. I've got mine in the wardrobe. The sound of this computer is comparable with a smaller power plant, alot of fans. Now I can't barely hear it (I can if I concentrate). I have friend that's soon building his box into the wall (and yes, there will be a door to get in there smile.gif ). OK, you have to walk a couple of meters when putting a CD in the tray, but that's just exercise. Just buy some extension cables, it'll shurely save you some money.

Interesting!

Where can I get 15 metre cable extensions for ps/2 mouse, keyboard and 15 metre cable extension for the monitor to graphics card.

Why 15 metres. I measured the distance and it turned out to be 15 metres plus!!!

Any ideas where I can get them from?
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DonP
post Apr 11 2003, 14:42
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QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Apr 11 2003 - 12:03 AM)
However, the hardcore silence-freaks at Silent PC Reviewdiscredited this guy's claims. His decibel numbers appear to be off-the-wall.

Most of their complaints had the tone of armchair quarterback, like how could he measure that quiet because
the meter would be very expensive? I believe the measuring equipment (and as I mentioned, the measuring
room) were borrowed. Getting a plug on TV does wonders for access to stuff!

I think I'm ready to try building a muffler (maybe just run down to NAPA?) B) and dynamat on the case as both are easy, cheap, and no thermal compromise. The computer is already pretty quiet compared to most; the video is nvidia Geforce 2 which is already fanless and the CPU is the only fan on the motherboard.
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CiTay
post Apr 11 2003, 14:43
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QUOTE (ff123 @ Apr 11 2003 - 03:40 AM)
Wow, this is a great program.  I use an Athlon XP 2200+ thoroughbred; don't know whether it's A or B, and CPU temp dropped at least 13 deg C -- it's coming down as I write.  I was running at about 52C in idle.

I think the HLT instructions are disabled by default with AMD, and enabled by default with Intel. At least ASUS says that it deactivates HLT on their VIA boards: http://www.asuscom.de/support/FAQ/faq100_cooling.htm (Babelfish translation). This suggests that you can use CPUidle et al, provided that you have a good enough PSU. Idle temp is low on all three PCs of mine (2x PIII, 1x PIV) without any CPU cooling software. Perhaps Intel is more confident about this, having the extra ATX12V connector for the CPU (atx12vPSDGV1.pdf).
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KikeG
post Apr 11 2003, 14:59
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QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 11 2003 - 02:42 PM)
Most of their complaints had the tone of armchair quarterback, like how could he measure that quiet because
the meter would be very expensive?  I believe the measuring equipment (and as I mentioned, the measuring
room) were borrowed.

Anyway, their complaints were fair. There's no meter able to reach -30 dB, as the author of the article supposedly claimed he had access to. In fact, -30 dB levels are not possible in this world. I find really surprising that just by dampening you get a noise of just 8 dB. Just breathing causes a higher noise. I wonder if any of us has ever been at a place more quiet than 15 dB. Hey, a very silent room is around 25-30 dB.

Edit: The guy used a Larson Davis 824 sound level meter. Looking at his specs, its noise floor is at around 16 dBA, so there's no way he could realiabily measure a level of 0-5 dB at the testing room as he claims. Also, he claims a level of 8 dB at 120 Hz and above, when the noise floor over 500 Hz is of around 12 dB and more.

This post has been edited by KikeG: Apr 11 2003, 16:11
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DonP
post Apr 11 2003, 16:02
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QUOTE (KikeG @ Apr 11 2003 - 08:59 AM)
Anyway, their complaints were fair. There's no meter able to reach -30 dB, as the author of the article supposedly claimed he had access to. In fact, -30 dB levels are not possible in this world. I find really surprising that just by dampening you get a noise of just 8 dB. Just breathing causes a higher noise. I wonder if any of us has ever been at a place more quiet than 15 dB. Hey, a very silent room is around 25-30 dB.

I couldn't find a range spec on the particular meter he used. A couple of other models on the Larson Davis web site are spec'd
to 20 dB and -10dB.

To be fair, he split the measurement into 2 frequency ranges, roughly 100 hz and up or down. The louder one was 14dB not 8.

What sound level would you estimate corresponds to the subjective observations of him and the Dolby guys like "can't hear it
from more than 3 feet (1M for you metric guys) and can't hear it at all unless you hold your breath, assuming Dolby knows
how to make a room that quiet?
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KikeG
post Apr 11 2003, 16:12
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See my previous edit.
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Patsoe
post Apr 11 2003, 16:21
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QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 11 2003 - 01:48 PM)
Interesting!

Where can I get 15 metre cable extensions for ps/2 mouse, keyboard and 15 metre cable extension for the monitor to graphics card.

Why 15 metres.  I measured the distance and it turned out to be 15 metres plus!!!

Any ideas where I can get them from?

A KVM switch will work but it's not exactly cheap. I don't know which are best, so google ahead: http://www.google.com/search?q=kvm+extenders smile.gif

I think the fat prices for these switches come from difficulties in keeping a clean video signal. If you have a TFT with DVI-input you're better off; cable quality matters hardly so you can extend a DVI cable yourself tongue.gif

Also, I think USB extensions for kb/mouse are a better option than ps/2 on distances like that. Besides, getting a USB hub will be convenient so that you can have a USB CDRW drive on your desk...
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JEN
post Apr 11 2003, 17:58
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QUOTE (Patsoe @ Apr 11 2003 - 04:21 PM)
QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 11 2003 - 01:48 PM)
Interesting!

Where can I get 15 metre cable extensions for ps/2 mouse, keyboard and 15 metre cable extension for the monitor to graphics card.

Why 15 metres.  I measured the distance and it turned out to be 15 metres plus!!!

Any ideas where I can get them from?

A KVM switch will work but it's not exactly cheap. I don't know which are best, so google ahead: http://www.google.com/search?q=kvm+extenders smile.gif

I think the fat prices for these switches come from difficulties in keeping a clean video signal. If you have a TFT with DVI-input you're better off; cable quality matters hardly so you can extend a DVI cable yourself tongue.gif

Also, I think USB extensions for kb/mouse are a better option than ps/2 on distances like that. Besides, getting a USB hub will be convenient so that you can have a USB CDRW drive on your desk...

OK!!!!

So, maybe thats not the best option. How about making a box for the computer case! Any guides which anyone can point me towards?
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DonP
post Apr 11 2003, 18:44
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QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 11 2003 - 11:58 AM)
So, maybe thats not the best option.  How about making a box for the computer case!  Any guides which anyone can point me towards?

A box could help, but one way or the other you still have to move the heat, so you need the same number
of cubic feet/minute of air flow through the box (if used most optimally) as with a bare case. If it has enough
vent area then you could do it without adding more fans, but noise from the case can come out
through the vents.
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JEN
post Apr 17 2003, 16:02
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I just installed the Silent Drive Housing for the HDD and the Flower heat-sink with the fan-mate all the way down. The sound difference is amazing!!!! What a reduction!!!!

The noisiest components in my pc now are: the PSU and the GPU. They will be next to get the silent treatment biggrin.gif

Once done, my pc should be at an acceptable noise level, I hope! wink.gif
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JEN
post Apr 17 2003, 23:58
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I have an xp1900+. I tried unlocking it some time ago, but was not successful. Does any one know a company in the uk who will do this for me.

I want to underclock the cpu to reduce the voltage so I can use the flower heatsink without a fan.

Please help!
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SometimesWarrior
post Apr 18 2003, 17:32
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QUOTE (JEN @ Apr 17 2003 - 03:58 PM)
I have an xp1900+.  I tried unlocking it some time ago, but was not successful.  Does any one know a company in the uk who will do this for me.

From what I've heard, all Athlon Thoroughbred "B" models are unlocked right out of the box (I could be wrong about this, since I only heard it once and I'm not sure where from). So You could order a "B" and not have to worry about unlocking it yourself.

I don't know of any services that let you send in the processor. If you do some Googling for "unlock athlon" or something along those lines, you will be able to dig up some decent unlocking guides. The procedure requires steady hands, but it's straight-forward.

If you have a Thoroughbred "A" instead of the old Palomino, the unlocking process is less painstaking because you only have to connect one bridge on the chip and not several.

Finally, the Thoroughbred processors (perhaps the "B" even more than the "A", IIRC) run much cooler than the Palomino's due to the T-bred die shrinkage (a smaller micron-size, isn't it?) and lower default voltage. So if you have the Palomino and are serious about running fanless, you might want to try upgrading anyway.

But FWIW, you will be able to run the machine much faster if you just use a (virtually silent) 5V Panaflo L1A blowing on the flower. Going from "virtually silent" to "totally silent" is a tricky endeavor.
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